Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sal's Pizzeria - Montgomery, AL

Zac and I went to Sal's Pizzeria last night, located off Zelda Rd in Montgomery, behind Nancy Patterson's Bistro. The food was SO good, and I especially enjoyed reading about the ingredients.  They were all fresh, high quality, ingredients that shined through on the plate. We got the Antipasto platter appetizer with cured meats and cheeses.  The gorgonzola was amazing!  We split a personal size Salsiccia pizza topped with Housemade fennel sausage, caramelized young spring onions, panna, ricotta, thyme.  This is the first time I've had fresh ricotta and it's nothing like the stuff you get from the store.  I've heard chefs say that on TV, and they were right.  We ended with a strawberry cake milkshake that hit the spot! It tasted just like Nancy Patterson's amazingly good strawberry cake.  Another key thing to note is the price for all that food.  With two drinks and tax the bill was under $30 for two people. Can't beat that, especially for the high quality of food  at Sal's. Overall had a great time and great meal at Sal's and can't wait to go back!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Dinner Tonight - Sausage Portabella Pizzas

Tonight we had Sausage Portabella Pizza with Fresh Mozzerella Salad.  Recipe for the "pizza" courtesy of Rachael Ray.  I used fresh Italian chicken sausage from Fresh Market, added chopped jarred roasted red bell peppers to the toppings, and used sliced Havarti cheese on top.  We got the fresh mozzerella at Fresh Market.  It was very easy to make and turned out great.  As Rachael would say, Yum-o!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sushi Ran - Sausilito, CA May 7, 2010

The last night of our trip we went to Sushi Ran, across the bay from San Francisco in Sausilito, CA. First, the town of Sausilito was so cute. It was on the bay and had great views of SF, Alcatraz, and areas beyond. I honestly cannot remember exactly everything we got at Sushi Ran. I should have kept a menu and circled what we ate, it all runs together now. All in all though it was visually stunning and super tasty! For our main courses I got the sushi tasting and Zac got the sashimi tasting.  We also got a beet salad appetizer, two maki rolls, and assortment of other sushi and sashimi dishes.  Best sushi we've ever had!!

Sashimi sampler platter

Sushi sampler platter

Beet Salad

Maki on top - shrimp tempura roll with shrimp tempura, romaine lettuce, tobiko, asparagus, avocado
Maki on bottom - futo-maki, consisting of  shrimp, eel, kanpyo, shiitake, tobiko, japanese cucumber, gobo, egg omelet

Assortment of sushi and sashimi.  Orange piece is tobiko - cured flying fish roe.

Me, very full and happy after dinner!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Washington DC - July 2010

I recently went to Washington DC for work, but was able to spend some time the weekend before site-seeing with my mom and dad.  Friday night my mom and I went to Charlie Palmer Steak, across Constitution Avenue from the Capitol.  We shared the crab bisque, served cold with lump crab in the middle. The bisque was super creamy and so good!  For our entrees I got the Roasted Diver Sea Scallops (couldn't pass up scallops!) with braised smoked pork belly, anson mills polenta, and carmalized shallot.  My mom got the Line Caught Alaskan Halibut with sweet corn and fava bean succotash with crisp red onion.  The meal finished with a two each of three different truffles.  Mmm Mmm!

Me and my mom at Charlie Palmer Steak

Saturday for lunch we ate at Good Stuff Eatery, behind the Library of Congress and the Capitol.  My husband and I became aware of Spike Mendelsohn on the 4th season of Top Chef (one of our favorite shows).  So had to try his restaurant since in DC!  I got the Good Stuff Melt (so much cheese!) and my mom got the Colletti's Smokehouse (cheese, onion rings, and BBQ sauce, wish I could have eaten both!). We both washed our burgers down with hand made milkshakes.  Off to more site-seeing!

Another exceptionally good meal was lunch at Oyamel near Penn Quarter. The three of us shared the guacamole, made table side.  I got the "Ceviche de hiramasa", consisting of Australian yellowtail served with fresh hearts of palm and baby cucumber salad, passion fruit, vanilla and rose.  This was the most amazing ceviche I've ever had! I wish I had taken a picture.  It was a beautiful dish.  I had tastes of both my parents dishes too, all were super delicious! Must go back!

In Georgetown, we stumbled upon a little Italian restaurant Ristorante Piccolo.  All I need to say is that I can't wait to go back!!  Also glad we made the walk down to Georgetown Cupcake.  So rich and sweet but so good!!  The line was out the door and around the corner by the time we left; the cupcakes are that good!

Overall a great trip to DC, one of those towns where it's hard to get a bad meal, and have plenty of great places to go eat!  And of course the site-seeing was fun too!

Fleur de Lys - Chef Hubert Keller, May 6, 2010

On Thursday (May 6th) of our vacation, we drove down from Napa Valley to spend 2 days in San Francisco.  On the way we stopped by Muir Woods National Monument and Muir Beach, photo below.  It was so beautiful!

Very glad we had the time for the brief diversion from our main mission - get to San Francisco in time for our reservation at Fleur de Lys!  Fleur de Lys is a 1-star Michelin restaurant, the flagship of Chef Hubert Keller (other restaurants are Burger Bar and Sleek).

We both opted for the 5 course menu which includes an Appetizer, Seafood dish, Meat course, Cheese plate, and Dessert.  It was so good!

For our appetizers, I got the "Symphony" dish.  I can't remember everything on the dish but know it was amazing!  The foie gras "burger" was a treat, smoked duck sausage was amazing, watermelon/cucumber/cavier dish was refreshing, and the whole thing together was a visual masterpiece.

Zac got the Veal Sweetbread "Meuniere" with morel mushrooms, poached egg "purse", toasted brioche, and veal jus.

For our seafood dishes, I got the Maine scallops, with toasted pinenuts, sliced potato marbles, sundried tomatoes, olive sauce, and Banyuls reduction (first photo below).  Zac got the Wild Jumbo Prawn with brioche crust, sweet and sour radicchio, cannelilini bean emulsion, and crispy pork belly (second picture below).

Zac's meat course was the slow-braised Snake River Farm Waygu Beef Cheeks with pretzel curst, on spatzle, choucroute gratin, and scented with a beer sauce.

I got the Roasted Quail stuffed with Ris de Veau, presented with parsnips, young leeks & foie gras, lightly smoke apple flavored veal jus, and pine nuts.

Next was our cheese course, an assortment of artisanal French Cheeses.  I LOVE cheese, and had never had a cheese I didn't like, until I got to the stinky cheese!  Zac couldn't eat it either, couldn't get past the stink! The blue cheese was amazing, I ate mine and Zac's!

Finally time for Desserts!! We knew what we were getting before we even saw the menu.  Zac got the Fleur Burger and I got a chocolate souffle. Zac's dish came with the chocolate burger. The "cheese" was actually passionfruit! The dish came with fennel ice cream "fries" and a milkshake.

Enjoying our desserts!!

Dinner wrapped up with a chef's selection of truffles and petit fours.

An amazing dinner that we'll never forget!! Thanks Hubert!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Recipe for a Happy 4th of July - Baby Back Ribs, Pita Bread & Hummus

For 4th of July this year we decided to cook baby back ribs.  I never get tired of ribs, especially these ribs.  They are SO easy to make it's crazy. Thanks to Alton Brown for the recipe (and showing us how easy it was on his show many years ago). Link to recipe is below.  Along with the ribs I decided to make Pita Bread with some store bought hummus. This is only my second time making Pita bread and both times it's turned out fabulous. I need to do it more often! I used my bread machine to make the dough, then baked in the oven. Again, so easy, nothing to it really. Oh, and the sauce that you end up making by simmering the braising liquid of the ribs - try a little on some corn on the cob. yummy!  Happy Birthday USA.

Link to Alton Brown rib recipe


Pita bread dough right before going into the oven

Fritz watching us get the ribs ready in the kitchen. He doesn't like to sit on the tile, so he curls up like this with his arms tucked under himself on the door mat, as close as he can get to us WITHOUT being on the tile.  Silly dog.  One of the reasons he's the best.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Bottega - Yountville, CA - chef Michael Chiarello

Our second night in Napa Valley we had reservations at Bottega in Yountville. Guess who came by our table!! Michael Chiarello was very nice. It was so cool getting my picture taken with him!!

We both ordered an appetizer.  Below is the Pecorino cheese pudding with crispy soft boiled egg & forno roasted Delta asparagus.  Check out the size of the asparagus!  I've never seen asparagus so big.  And the egg!! It was absolutely amazing! The inside was soft and creamy but the outside was crispy. I have no idea how they did that! Now the best part - the Pecorino cheese pudding.  All together, one of the best dishes I've ever eaten.

Zac had the Wood Grilled Octopus, with olive oil braised potatoes, pickled red onion, and salsa verde.  The octopus was so tender, not at all chewy. Look how huge the pieces were!

For our entrees, Zac had the Wood-oven whole sea bass with meyer lemon, forno roasted Delta asparagus, & sunflower seed Romesco sauce. Check out the teeth on the fish!! crazy!  The sunflower seed Romesco sausce was absolutely amazin with the fish. Neither of us have ever tasted anything like it, it was delicious!

I had the Garlic and Calabrian Chili Roasted Dungeness Crab with crab-saffron aioli and bruschetta. The "top" of the shell just came off with the crab and more brushcetta on the inside. Quite a presentation! My hands got quite messy, but it was so worth it! I keep repeating myself on every dish I know, but this was and absolutely amazing dish. The crab legs were huge and so juicy. The aoili was just perfect with the crab, and drawn butter was in the bottom of the bowl for dipping too.  Yum!!

No dessert, too full after that wonderful feast!!

Bouchon - Yountville, CA, a Thomas Keller restaurant

Our first night in Napa on our recent vacation in May out West we had reservations at Bouchon, which is just down the street from Thomas Keller's most well known restaurant The French Laundry (see previous post about going to his garden).  Eating at Bouchon was a lot of fun.  They really packed people inside, but still were able to keep the intamacy.  Oh, and John Cleese was sitting at the table behind us!!

Bread was served with fresh butter. We didn't take any pictures, but found this one online. Fun!

For our appetizers, we chose 3 of the specials:  Duck sausage, Fennel and apple soup, and dungeness crab and lobster salad.  The sausage was one of the best pieces of sausage either of us has ever eaten!

Entrees:  We had the Steak Frites - pan-seared prime flatiron, caramelized shallots, maître d'hôtel butter & French fries. See picture below (from the internet).

Entrees: I had the Gigot d'Agneau - roasted leg of lamb with English peas, green garlic, rhubarb confit, young turnips & lamb jus 

Dessert:  Although we were absolutely stuffed, we just had to get dessert.  We had the Mousse au Chocolat Noir (dark chocolate mousse).  So rich and chocolatey!  Picture is from our actual dessert too =)

Overall we had a wonderful time at Bouchon with some of the best food we've ever had! 

Monday, June 7, 2010

Dinner Tonight - Grilled Flat Iron Steak with Mango-Corn Salsa

Tonight I tried something that I don't do very often, make dinner from scratch with no recipe. It's so much fun to see how it turns out! Sometimes it's a flop, and believe me I've had some flops, but sometimes it turns out wonderful and I can't wait to make it again! Tonight was definite success (affirmed by my husband), so I wanted to savor the moment here.

I bought a flat-iron steak the other day at the store, because I read that it is a quick-cooking less expensive steak option, and great for grilling.  I also had a mango that needed to be eaten, and some other random ingredients left over from various other recipes (I had 1/2 an onion that needed to be eaten), veggies from the garden, veggies from the freezer, and a mango I had no idea what to do with that my grandmother gave me over the weekend.  So I came up with Grilled Flat Iron Steak with Mango-Corn Salsa.

1.5 lb flat iron steak, trimmed of fat
dash of cumin, chili powder, oregano, salt and pepper

1 mango
1/2 jalapeno pepper
1/4 onion
1 tomato - seeds removed
2 ears of corn, cooked and removed from cob
1 banana pepper
zest of 1 lime
pinch of salt

Let steak sit out at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Prepare salsa while the steak is resting and cooking.  Preheat grill (or grill pan) with a little bit of oil over medium heat.  Season both sides of the steak with seasonings.  I just eye ball it and cover each side with a liberal amount of seasoning. Cook each side of steak for 4-5 minutes per side, longer if you like it well done. Let steak rest for 10 minutes before cutting! If you get impatient, you will lose the tasty juices when you slice the steak.

Salsa - Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until you get the desire consistency. I left out a handful of the corn and just stirred in at the end.

Slice steak into thin strips, and serve with salsa on top. Serve with a side salad and enjoy!

French Laundry and Thomas Keller - Yountville, CA

Our first night in Napa Valley we had reservations at Bouchon, a Thomas Keller restaurant, in Yountville.  Bouchon is right down the street from Thomas Keller's most well known restaurant, The French Laundry which many think is the best resturant in the country, and on the list of the best in the world.  We strolled down the street from Bouchon to the French Laundry, and crossed the street to take a look at Thomas Keller's vegetable and herb garden (photos below). We tried to get reservations at French Laundry, but even two months in advance (the maximum time they let you make reservations), it was booked for private parties. However, we are very glad we ended up at Bouchon (review to come)! Even with Bouchon, we called 2 months ahead and still didn't get our first choice date!

The French Laundry (above), and Thomas Keller's garden (below)

Battista's Hole in the Wall - Las Vegas

Our last night in Las Vegas we ended up at Battista's Hole in the Wall. It's a block off the strip by the Flamingo.  It's been around since the Mob days and felt very authentic. Every meal comes with house wine, soup or salad, garlic bread, pasta side dish, and homemade cappucino. We were absolutely stuffed after all that food, but very glad we ate at Battista's!

After Vegas we spent 2 nights in Napa Valley.  Next up - More amazing food!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

SeaBlue @ MGM Grand - by Michael Mina, Executive Chef Stephen Hopcraft

We first read about this restaurant in our guide book.  We decided to go after we got a buy one get one free entree coupon from one of the discount Vegas show ticket stores along the strip.  Michael Mina has a 1 star Michelin restaurant in town (his namesake Michael Mina restaurant) as well as restaurants around the country, so we figured SeaBlue would not disappoint, and it did not. The food was absolutely amazing, mostly seafood with a Mediterranean flare to it. If I had to pick our best meal in Vegas, which would be very difficult to do, this one might just be it.  The inside of SeaBlue was also very appealing.  One of the walls next to our booth was a water flowing over a blue backlit wall.

Appetizer No. 1 (left) - We got the "Tasting of Three" Raw and Marinated dishes, which included Yellow Tail Jack Crudo, Spicy Shiitake Mushroom with Ponzu, Scallop Ceviche with Tomato, Citrus, and Avocado, and Tuna Tartare with Pocket Bread, Pinenut, and Pomegranate.

Appetizer No. 2 (right) - We got the "Tasting of Three" fried and crusted dishes, which included Lobster Corn Dogs with Whole-Grain Mustard Dipping Sauce, Corn & Jalapeño "HUSH PUPPIES" with Smoked Pepper Dip, and Crab-Stuffed Piquillo Peppers with Basil Aïoli.
 Zac's Main Course - Hawaiian Bigeye Tuna Served with Olive Oil Smashed Potatoes, Jumbo Asparagus and Medley of Mushrooms

Barbara's Main Course - Tangine, "Moroccan Clay Pot", of  SEABLUE "Paella", includes Seasonal Shellfish, Chorizo, Grilled Quail, Rabbit

Dessert - This dessert was a banana's foster on top of a creme brulee, very tasty!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Cravings Buffet @ The Mirage

No pictures for this one, but Sunday morning we ate at Cravings at the Mirage.  I had the champagne brunch and Zac had the bloody mary brunch (all you can eat and all you can drink).  We were in Vegas and had to eat at a buffet at least once.  We both liked it alot, lots of variety, including an omelet station, gellato, enormous assortment of pastries, and i could go on an on.  Overall a very good buffet.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Mesa Grill @ Caesar's Palace - Bobby Flay restaurant, 1 Michelin star

4/30/2010 - We've survived our first afternoon in Vegas and laughed up an appetite at the Jerry Seinfeld concert. Now onto Mesa Grill at Caesar's Palace.

Appetizers: Blue corn Pancake with Barbecued Duck and Habanero Chile-Star Anise Sauce (left), and Yucatan Chicken Tacos with Grilled Red Onion and Peanut-Smoked Chile Barbecue Sauce (right)

Entrees: Fire Roasted Veal Chop with Horseradish-Maple Glaze, Wild Rice Tamale, and Sage Butter (right), Green chile cioppino with Lobster, Scallop, Grouper, Mussels served with Blue Corn Stick and Scallion Butter (left and below).

No dessert - too full!

Burger Bar @ Mandalay Bay - Hubert Keller restaurant

My husband and I recently took a vacation to Las Vegas, Napa Valley, and San Francisco. We ate some amazing meals along the way. My next posts will attempt to chronicle our culinary adventure.

4/30/2010 - We ate here for lunch after landing in Las Vegas.

Kobe beef burger on Onion bun with buttermilk onion rings (left), Country Natural burger on Onion bun with buttermilk zucchini fries, peppercorn cream sauce (right)

Craft Atlanta - Tom Colicchio restaurant

We recently found ourselves in Atlanta and ate at Craft Atlanta in Buckhead. We love Top Chef (and Top Chef Masters), and the idea of eating at one of Tom Colicchio's restaurants was very exciting. Overall we had a great time over a great meal. Menu is a' la carte. Sorry, no pictures! Would definitely recommend.

Amuse Bouche - some kind of pea soup with creme fraiche and bacon on the top.
Appetizers - roasted veal sweetbreads and foie gras terrine.
Main Course - Braised beef short ribs and roasted Alaskan halibut. The waiter thought Zac said "swordfish" when he said "short ribs". The staff was very nice about the mix-up, and brought us the short ribs. They left us the swordfish (and didn't charge for it).
Side Items - Sauteed asparagus, assorment of wild mushrooms, and mushroom risotto
Dessert - Marscapone ice cream
Petit Fours - some vanilla cookies and white cholocate truffles covered in crushed almonds

Link to website:

So what is this blog about?

This is my first post on my first blog. I love everything about food - eating food, cooking food, reading about food, watching shows about food, and traveling to get food. So that is what this blog will be about - Food. For the most part I envision writing posts about restaurants recently visited, recipes recently cooked (and if there were a sucesss or not), and posting photos of both. I'm looking forward to writing this blog, and to anyone reading it, I hope you enjoy it too!