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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There is a new spot in town! Well, new to me. I go through Living Social/Groupon phases; meaning, sometimes I think everything looks like a great deal and I can’t wait to try 5789 new restaurants, and sometimes I can’t seem to find anything appealing. Well one of the best deals I have experienced was when Danny and I went to That Fondue Place in Edgewater, NJ.

It wasn’t a typical set up of what one would think when going out for fondue. There are not many fondue restaurants in our area but the couple of places we have gone, it is a darker, intimate setting and on the fancier side.

Right away, there was something different about “That Fondue Place.” We were greeted right away into a large room filled with tables and bright lighting. The servers acted as hostesses as well but you would not notice a lack in service. Our groupon allowed us one appetizer option, one entree and one dessert. Definitely remember to bring your wine or beverage of choice because it is BYOB.

We had an amazing Bruchetta cheese fondue as the appetizer and this was served with a variety of breads. It was something different and we had not seen it offered anywhere else. For the entree, you pick not only a cooking style, but also the food that you will be dipping! So we went with a Coq Au Vin (seasoned beef broth with burgundy wine and spices,) shrimp, pork, chicken and filet. They also have ravioli as a choice but I lost that battle with my husband 😉

You end the meal with an amazing dessert fondue. This was by far the hardest decision because there were so many options that would probably have been equally as satisfying! Hands down, they have something for everyone. Campfire (marshmallows, graham crackers and melted chocolate), Cookies n Cream, Chocolate Knockout, Chocolate Cheesecake, seriously? Next time I want to just go for dessert!

All in all, it was a great experience and we left not only extremely full, but extremely satisfied 🙂

Fondue melts my heart

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I seriously have to drag myself to the gym, it is not an easy thing for me to do. On the other hand, it is extremely easy for me to make up excuses as to why I shouldn’t have to go! 🙂 The hardest part about going to the gym, is walking to my bus back to Jersey passing restaurant after restaurant and not going in and ordering anything and everything on the menu.

Well, 5 Boro Burgers is one of those places that I pass on a weekly basis. I passed it when it was under construction and was genuinly excited to find out it was a burger joint. Oh, the little things in life. My favorite thing about it was the fact that one whole side of the restaurant opens up and is such a nice breezy place to sit on 36th Street without being right in the middle of Herald Square. My husband and I had tickets to the Jimmy Fallon show one day and we were trying to think of a new restaurant to try that would be somewhat quick before the show. Lightbulb!!! Five Boro Burgers!

It was a perfect day to sit outside and take a huge bite out of an enourmously large burger only to waddle ourselves up to Rockefellar Center to NBC studios.

What I should have done, was taken a picture of the wings. Being that I am not a wings fan, I typically don’t even blog about them because how boring would that be for my readers to have to hear about something that I have no interest in! Boy was I wrong that day! Danny ordered Garlic Parmesean Wings, OUT OF THIS WORLD! I was in shock that I loved these wings (off the bone, none the less) as much as Danny did! I think I would go back just for them.

Then we moved on to the whole purpose of our visit…the burgers! They creatively named all of their burgers after the….drumroll please… Five Boros!

-Bronx Burger: Guacomole, Pico de Gallo, Mozzerella Cheese, Spicy Mayonnaise & Bacon

-Queens Burger: Roasted Red Peppers, Spanish Onions, Bacon, Mozzerella Cheese & Balsamic Dressing

-Brooklyn Burger: Grilled Onions, Cajun Seasoning, Steak Sauce, Crispy Bacon & Cheddar Cheese

-Manhattan Burger: Grilled Zucchini, Mushrooms, Onions, Vodka Sauce & Swiss Cheese

-Staten Island Burger: Grilled Pineapple, Green Pepper with a Sweet Rum Glaze and Pepper Jack Cheese

Im pretty sure we both got our own renditions of the above selections but left extremley satisfied. Off to the Jimmy Fallon show we go!

5BORO BURGERS

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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.

Danny and 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 love wine & cheese bars. I love the atmosphere, the wine and of course, the wide variety of different cheeses to try. I wasn’t really into wine bars before I met my husband. Certainly not because I don’t like wine or cheese, simply because I had never really been exposed to them.

We went to Grand Cru on our first date and I have to say I was blown away. Ever since then, we have made it a tradition to try a new wine and cheese bar each year on our anniversary. For Valentine’s Day this past year, we went back to where it all began at Grand Cru.

My absolute favorite cheese (for now…) is Tete de Moine. This is a Swiss cheese that has hints of nuts and dried fruit. It pairs well with fruit and almost any of the spreads that Grand Cru offers.

We have tried to recreate wine and cheese nights at home before (See Perfect Start to a Romantic Evening) but places like Grand Cru really know how to do it right. The myriad of breads, spreads, fruits and cheeses are right on. I could go for a glass of wine right now!

Where It All Began ❤

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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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