Category Archives: Dinner

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FROM THE PIE KING HIMSELF!

Can we all just take a minute and really look at these pies? They could easily be mistaken for the scented fake ones that you find for the holidays in order to make your kitchen smell delicious; however, this is the real deal. I am proud to say that I know the fine baker that made these beauties, and also privileged to say I get to eat these twice a year.

I consider my stepdad, Dave, the “Pie King.” This nickname did not come right away, you see. I need to backtrack and little and explain that he is just a good cook in general. He especially shines when Thanksgiving rolls around each year, he truly makes an amazing meal. He literally cooks everything from scratch and we are continually impressed each year. Because I have always been more of a “foodie,” meaning I choose to stuff myself with food instead of “saving room for dessert,” I didn’t always make dessert or the pies, a priority. Therefore, I always admired him for his fine cooking skills. Then it dawned on me, my stepdad is amazing at making pies, too! All of this time I had let his turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing talents take the front seat when in all reality, the pies were the prize!

That incredible pie that I had eyed up and down throughout the previous years was calling my name. But not just the pumpkin pie, the apple pie as well. I didn’t know how to handle this situation so the obvious thing to do was just to eat a slice of each!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my Thanksgiving tradition. Saving room for two slices of pie from the Pie King himself!

From the pie king himself!

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Talk about the perfect step out of my normal restaurant routine. I feel like even as a foodie, I am attracted to the same type of restaurants time and time again. Sushi, Burgers, Seafood, Wine Bars, etc. etc. Casona is quite the experience for several reasons.

I went down to my parents in South Jersey earlier this spring to celebrate my mom’s birthday. It was a beautiful day and we were looking forward to a nice lunch and then heading over the bridge to Philadelphia to see the Seaport Museum. We had talked about going to Collingswood for a while but just had not gotten around to it. Collingswood is a cute town with a lot of shops and restaurants on the main strip, and really perfect to walk around when the weather is nice.

After looking at our options, we came along this homey, Latin/Cuban restaurant that we all agreed sounded perfect. We were all impressed with the variety of the menu. Everything from sandwiches, soups, salads, you name it. I could not help but order the Cuban sandwich. The pork is roasted in a citrus marinade, ham, swiss cheese and garlic mayonnaise. Cooked to perfection!

There was a cute shower going on in the back on the patio while we were there and it looked like a lot of fun. They definitely have a great atmosphere, something a little different than South Jersey is used to and we will definitely be back in the near future.

Congratulations, Casona, for your recognition as BEST BYOB restaurant on the Philly Hot List this past week! Way to go!

Casona, the Large House of Latin Flavors in Collingswood!

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I have a thing for Taco Bell. Not many people do, or at least not many people are willing to admit it, but I do. In high school, my sister Christy and my friend Mattie and I used to hop in my ’96 Jeep Grand Cherokee after school and go to the nearest Taco Bell for a Cheesy Gordita Crunch. Oh but wait, my love started before then! This is actually terrible but my elementary school in Charlotte served Taco Bell on Tuesdays for a year and I would bring my $.80 for a chilito whenever I was allowed. Wow! Probably a good thing they didn’t keep Taco Bell Tuesdays for too long, otherwise I am not sure what kind of physical condition I may be in after weekly indulgences since age 8.

Side note: I have to say that from an advertising point of view, they have had some genius campaigns over the years. “Yo Quiero Taco Bell,” anyone remember that? Or “Think Outside the Bun?” Hmm I’m pretty impressed.

So, let’s get back on track. So over the past few years I would say I have kept my guilty drive through visits to a moderate level. Perhaps 3-5 times a year. But then something happened. The Doritos Nacho Cheese Taco happened. Are you kidding?? Did this just fall from heaven? And how did no one think of this before? The co-branding of Doritos and Taco Bell should have happened a long time ago. It happened for me on my way home from my friend Amy’s house one morning. Yes, morning. Not one of my proudest moments, but what can I say, those Taco Bells were ringing and I could not fight the resistance any longer.

 

 

Sucker for Taco Bell

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This year for Easter, my mom and I asked what we would like as the last side for our “traditional” Easter dinner. The winner was macaroni and cheese and I don’t think I could have been any happier!

Just look at that colorful, scrumptious plate! I think it topped of the meal just right. Easter is the only time I will ever eat ham. For some reason I never really enjoy ham throughout the year. It’s different on Easter though because I don’t think I left a single crumb on my plate.

Although the meal was amazing, my favorite part of the holiday is spending time with my family! What are some of your Easter traditions?

Macaroni Always Wins

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Today has just been one of those really wacky, weird days. Lots of curve balls, running around, non stop! Well, non stop until the fire alarm sounded as soon as I sat down for a weekly meeting.

Im sure every office is the same in the respect that when a fire alarm goes off, there is hesitation like, “do we really have to get up?,” or “do you think it’s real or just a test?” Well we did the same thing until we heard the announcement it was time for us to all head outside. First lesson quickly learned: change out of high heels before attempting to go down 17 flights of stairs. Wow!

So it’s really such a gorgeous day and it’s not bad waiting outside bit I quickly realized I left my gym bag at my desk and it didn’t seem as if we were going back in so that was my immediate justification of not going to the gym tonight. However, a group of us headed to lucys (after we were released for the day of course) and I realized summer is quickly approaching and I shouldn’t let myself out of going to the gym that easily.

After having an amazing margarita in the nice breeze, I headed back to see if they were letting us back into macys. I was lucky to get up to my desk, grab my stuff, including flat shoes and my gym stuff, in time to catch an early bus. So I thought…

To make a long story short, I decided to grab a bite before my spin class tonight and I’m so happy I stumbled upon Toyama Sushi I’ve been here before but never had their version of the Mexican roll- off the charts!!

Spicy tuna, shrimp tempura, avocado, jalapeño, yellow soy bean sheet with eel sauce. (now you can see why I have to drag myself to the gym) Anyway, I highly recommend this roll it is ah maze ing!!

Then I finished my meal off with green tea Mochi ice cream, just learned the name tonight, and I’m leaving extremely satisfied! I love spring, and sushi and getting out early! Now I’m pumped for my spin class, bring it on!

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Pleasantly surprised with this afternoon:)

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I have been going to Fire and Oak for a couple of years now and I am always impressed with the creativity and variety on the menu. I have always loved the tuna flatbread and the sushi, but they also have tasty truffle fries and salads.

During my last visit they offered a specials menu that was new to me, including Tuna Tartar. Just look at it! It’s almost too pretty to eat. Almost:)

The dish is served with fresh tuna, scallions, caviar, cucumbers, sweet soy sauce and some type of spicy mayonnaise sauce artistically drizzled over the dish.

It was aesthetically and tastefully created to perfection.

Elegant Tuna Tartar at Fire & Oak

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This title comes from the fact that I have had  the song “International Love” stuck in my head all night and only found it fitting for this post. I don’t really listen to the radio anymore since I commute to the city for work and the few times I do get into my car and have a chance to listen to the radio, there is always a new song that I can’t believe I haven’t heard yet. In this case, it was International Love. Don’t even know who it is by. Chris Brown? Neo? lol just kidding but trying to prove a point I am out of the loop when it comes to pop music these days.

Sorry for the rambling…back to what we are here to discuss, FOOD!

I love working close to so many of my friends. I also love working so close to so many different types of restaurants, not only scenery wise but the variety of food within a 10 minute walk is amazing. I am a lucky girl.

One day last week, Rachel and I had a lunch date scheduled and no plan on where to go. This is one of those situations where I told her I was up for anything, then she suggested an Indian food place not too far, and I was immediately like “why didn’t I suggest something like the Bread Factory or Hale and Hearty, the usuals.” Now don’t get me wrong. It is not like I do not like Indian food. And, I am not a hypocrite, I really do love trying new things. I have no real reason as to why it has taken me this long to try the Indian cuisine. “Sure!” was my response to Rachel’s text and I couldn’t be happier with that decision!

We went to Minar on 31st st and Broadway- it is a small Indian restaurant where a lot of people seem to order ahead and take it to go back to work. I’m glad they have a nice seating area too so we had time to take a break from our busy day and also catch up with each other. My friend Alex has been on an Indian Food kick the past year or so, so I was sure to ask her for a suggestion before I got there so I would know what to order 🙂 Good thing I did and good thing Al knows her stuff because the food was kicking. Funny thing is, Alex’s suggestion is what Rachel ordered the last time she was there so it was a sign it was meant to be.

So…what is this mystery food I speak of? Chicken Tikka with Naan bread. Wonderful. Not too spicy like I expected and the flavors were like nothing I had tasted before. It was a LOT of food and we know for next time that we can probably share the bread and rice but I was in heaven. I don’ t think I had been that full in a while!

I don’t know enough about Indian food to know if Chicken Tikka is like the “California Roll of Sushi” but I am willing to go back and try other dishes as well. Bring it on Minar!

International Love

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Yes, they went there. The Shannon Rose took that gutsy risk and decided to offer what is called a MURDER BURGER– a burger deep fried in Harp beer batter. So many different thoughts went through my head when I saw this on the menu. First of course being, “Um of course I want to eat that, a cheeseburger? fried? wow!” Of course the other thoughts consisted of not wanting to have a heart attack at 26 since I would probably be able to finish the entire thing. But still, a fried cheeseburger? It might be a risk I was willing to take. Solution? Have your date order it instead 🙂

Let me step back and give a little history of the relationship I have with The Shannon Rose. The first time I experienced the restaurant was at the Clifton location. My friend Sophia introduced it to me and I loved the pub atmosphere, the drink menus and the bar food as well. They have a great selection of sliders and fries- exactly what everyone and anyone wants to eat at a bar. The problem was I didn’t live too close to Clifton so it was always a bit of a hike. We met friends there a couple of times when the UFC fights were on (to please the boys) and even though I had no interest in what was going on with the fights, I was satisfied with the rest of everything going on…music, friends, food and drinks!

When I was driving home one day and noticed that an old Fridays by our apartment was turning into a Shannon Rose-Ramsey, I was thrilled! A short while later, when we went there for the first time, I was impressed with what they had done to the place. It has been open for a few weeks now and it is STILL a full house every time I pass by. One of the coolest features is that they have live music at night with different bands. Really cool.

I am recommending to everyone out there to go and try the Shannon Rose Quesadilla. You will not be sorry! Not only is the quesadilla delicious but it has a secret, genius ingredient…spinach and artichoke dip. AMAZING.

So back to the burger…I always say you have to try everything once. (Well when it comes to food). And actually, I might not say that if I was having this conversation with lets say, Anthony Bourdain, however; try the burger. Then you let me know…is it true or false? Does everything fried  taste good?

T or F? “Anything Fried Tastes Good”

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Too bad I didn’t serve this on a different colored plate! The picture would have been perfect. Next time!

This is a picture of filet with blue cheese crumbles and homemade croutons with a side of Spanish rice.  I found this recipe on allrecipes.com and decided to try to make it because it seemed simple enough!

The filet was amazing- the cut was great and the meat itself was incredible. Honestly this was not hard to make and it was actually kind of fun trying to make the croutons. That is something I had never done before and it was so easy! We added much more Parmesan cheese to the croutons than called for, but what can we say? We love cheese 🙂

Anyway, the most surprising part of this whole experience was that I really enjoyed the entire meal! Including the blue cheese which is something I tend to stay away from. Definitely will be making this again!

I think I do like blue cheese afterall

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In my last position, I had to order food for meetings every once in a while. Okay, one might think, not a big deal just look at the catering menus, pick out a few different types of sandwiches and carry on with your day. Well, that was not the case for me. Instead, I would do as I was asked but then I would actually go home and try to replicate the menus that I had been dreaming of ever since placing that order at 10 AM.

The life of a “forever hungry” person is not always easy 🙂 Pictured above are mini sandwiches I made for an Ugly Sweater Holiday Party we had at our house in December. It is a smoked turkey sandwich with cheddar cheese, spinach and cranberry mayonnaise on an onion roll. I added the onion roll because the flavors of onion and cranberry just mesh so well. Now I am not going to pretend like these were the best things I have ever made. Remember, I am learning!! They WOULD have been the amazing party sandwiches that I had so desperately hoped for if I didn’t prepare them so early. I was trying to make sure all of the food would be ready at the same time, therefore I made the sandwiches a couple of hours before everyone came over. So, by the time the guests had arrived, the bread was going a little stale.

OK all you experts out there, HELP! Should I put the bread in the refrigerator? Keep it out? How do you keep it fresh? They were still a hit but I have a little more learning to do before attempting to put them out before a group of hungry people again!

Do it Yourself Catering

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