Make your cake and eat it too!

August 24, 2010 at 4:46 PM (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Hey there… it’s been a while!  Been a while since I’ve had any time in my kitchen, and that does not make me happy.  This weekend, however, I finally had a day where I could really mess up the kitchen!  What did I make to mess up my kitchen this weekend you ask?  Well, I took a stab at one of the only kinds of cake I’ll eat anytime of year; carrot cake.  Now before I get into my recipe, I have to mention that one of my favorite things to do right after I clean my entire apartment is bake.  Something about the warm aroma coming from the oven just makes my apartment feel that much cleaner!

This time around, I decided to try, for the first time, carrot cake!  Here’s the recipe I used, for the cake and the frosting:

Ingredients

  • Butter, for pans
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, optional

Directions

Frosting:

  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 stick salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) round pans; Line bottom of the pans with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add eggs and vegetable oil. Using a hand mixer, blend until combined. Add carrots and pecans, if using.

Pour into pans. Bake for approximately 40 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Remove from pans, place on waxed paper and allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:

Add all ingredients, except nuts, into a medium bowl and beat until fluffy using a hand mixer. Stir in the nuts. Spread frosting on top of each cake layer. Stack the cakes on a serving plate and serve.

I don’t personally like nuts in any of my baking (that’s what she said? no?), so I left them out.  Another great tip is this:

**Make sure you shred your own carrots! It keeps the cake so moist even into the second and third day you have it around.  I also like this recipe because you can make it a bit healthier by using one regular cream cheese and one reduced fat or fat free cream cheese for the frosting.  I would show you a picture of the cake, but it disappeared so fast, I couldn’t snap a shot!  I have one piece left in the freezer but even if I don’t get a picture of that, you can guarantee I will make it again!  This recipe is compliments of non other than…

MA GURL!  Seriously, my mom thinks I’m crazy when I say when this woman dies (GOD FORBID) I will travel to her grave with a stick of butter and a jar of mayonnaise but it will happen…it…will…happen.

Now I have something to get off my chest, I know I promised Top Chef recaps, but honestly, I’ve had it with this season.  Once that pea puree fiasco happened, I gave up.  I just couldn’t do it anymore.  I, of course, will keep watching, but let me say this: Top Chef DC, you are lucky that you have moved to 10pm because you would have lost my viewing to Master Chef with the rude, crude…and SEXAY Gordon Ramsay.  Seriously, check it out it’s a great show!

Well this post wasn’t my finest, or most entertaining, but I do recommend you all try this carrot cake recipe!  Until next time, sicuro viaggi and bon appetit!

**Peas, Love and Good Eye Sight**

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ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE!!!

July 31, 2010 at 6:47 PM (Uncategorized) ()

Before I move on to the other things I made today… we NEED to talk about Top Chef.  Everyone likes being right, correct?!  And everyone likes to point out when they’re right…right?!  So I just need to take a second and do an “I told ya so” dance!  Was it not even a week ago that I said, they should have Art Smith, Jose Andres and some members of Congress on the show?! Seriously, ask and you shall receive!

This week’s episode of Top Chef was FINALLY DC!!!!  First, Aaron Schock (aka Doogie Howser) was the guest for the Quickfire Challenge.  I’d be doing myself a disservice if I didn’t take a second to brag that I was one of the first people in DC to take him out to lunch when he was a candidate back in 07.  So now that you all know that tidbit of useless information, the quickfire challenge was ALL TOO FAMILIAR.  Being someone who has to know every federal election law ever written to avoid being sent to prison, I was hysterically laughing when they brought up the new “food rule.” While planning convention activities in 2008, the Federal Election Commission decided to try to avoid lobbyist and special interest groups buying lavish dinners for members of Congress by making a rule that everything had to be small enough to be served with a toothpick (or a spoon; i.e. an amuse-bouche).  One of my favorite dishes at the conventions was actually an amuse-bouche made on an edible spoon! Ahhh, loopsholes!  This rule is more commonly known as the “toothpick rule”  to which Rep. Schock referred to.  So this challenge was not only one that was close to home, but a very DC-unique challenge.

The elimination challenge was also awesome because there is NOTHING I miss more than DC Power Lunches.  There were many Fridays that were spent drinking expensive bottles of wine in the most lavish restaurants in DC during the lunch hour giving y’er shpeal, making deals…and that was just my experience!  Those types of lunches happened everyday.  Not only was this a good challenge, but they had it had The Palm which is a notable DC restaurant, with hugely notable DC judges!!!  Sen. Mark Warner was there, ART SMITH, Luke Russert and Joe Scarborough, just to name a few.  I seriously feel like the were listening to me bitch!  And what made me literally scream at the end of the episode?!  Next week’s guest judge….

IS JOSE ANDRES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Pretty sure I’ve made my case for him since the beginning of, not only, this season of Top Chef, but of this blog.  He’s my favorite, HANDS DOWN, favorite DC chef.  I am so happy Top Chef finally saw the light and are incorporating more DC into this season.

As I said before, this is the most manipulative, competitive group of competitors I’ve ever seen on this show, which honestly, makes a lot of sense because there isn’t a more manipulative, competitive city than Washington, D.C.  This episode, Alex OBVIOUSLY stole Ed’s English Pea puree and ended up winning the elimination challenge because of it.  I hope he falls flat on his face, literally and figuratively, and is eliminated next week. He’s a Russian Spy and I don’t like the cut of his jib.  Then Amanda needs to go…still vying for that.

At the end of the day, Andrea was asked to leave, which wasn’t unexpected, she’s definitely wasn’t a stand out chef this season and was bound to leave any way.  I can’t wait for this week’s episode because of Jose Andres, I hope he’s on for all 52 minutes or whatever length of time the show is actually on for.

Alright kids, thanks for coming and until next time, sicuro viaggi and bon appetit!

**Peas, Love and Power Lunches**

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Fail to the Chef

July 26, 2010 at 7:46 PM (Uncategorized) (, , )

Wednesday marked the 6th episode of Top Chef DC, a season of Top Chef I was anticipating the start of more so than any other season.  There are the obvious reasons like the fact that I used to call DC home, but I also though that, perhaps, Bravo and the Top Chef crew could try to top last season’s Vegas contestants.  We’re 6 episodes in, and they’re giving us nothing.  The Challenges are lame, the contestants suck– well I’ll give them one thing, they are the most competitive, manipulative group this show’s ever had.

Now that I’ve bitched about the season once again, I have to say this week’s was probably one of the better and more fitting venues and challenges yet.  The contestants had to made only cold dishes on the USS Sequoia, the President’s boat version of Marine One.  The USS Sequoia takes off right next to one of my favorite watering holes in DC, Cantina Marina and is right in the Potomac.  But!!! (and you knew that nice talk wouldn’t last long) I was so turned off when they flew in a guest judge from MIAMI!!!  I mean come ON!  Jose Andres owns 5 restaurants in DC, Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant, The Source, is in the Newseum where the first epsiode too place, ART SMITH HIMSELF, who has also been on TOP CHEF MASTERS, has a restaurant there and you couldn’t find a DC area guest judge?!  Be serious for a second. Thanks. Phew, glad I could get that off my chest.  End of the day, my iron horse was asked to “pack her knives and go.”  Dagger.  I’m still pulling for Kenny or Angelo.

Now that I’ve got all that out in the open onto a little dish I put together tonight that completely hit the spot.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but if there are two types of food a LOT of people like, it’s Mexican and BBQ.  Tonight, I couldn’t decide between the two, so I decided, why not just combine them?

There you see a BBQ ground turkey taco.  Here are the ingredients:

– ground turkey

– BBQ sauce

– Monterrey jack cheese

– shredded lettuce

– sour cream

– salsa

– jalapenos

– soft tortilla

After cooking through the turkey with some salt and pepper, saute it in BBQ sauce, this will heat up the sauce to keep your dish hot.  Then just dress the taco the way you want!  I like mine with shredded monterrey jack, lettuce, sour cream, salsa and topped with some jalapenos.  Since I had some turkey left over, I made a side taco salad with everything but the tortilla!

Wine of the night: Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc.  Runs about $9.99

Tacos are a great thing to make if you just have a bunch of stuff to throw together.  I highly suggest trying this one night if especially for something with a new twist.

This weekend will be the first time I have a moment in my apartment to cook so I will move onto Albania as the second Around the World dish!  Until next time sicuro viaggi and bon appetit!

**Peas, Love and BBQ Pavo**

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She Sells Sea Shell(fish) by the Sea Shore

July 15, 2010 at 4:22 PM (Uncategorized) (, , )

This past weekend my mom came from Connecticut to visit which was great because visitors to me screams restaurant time!!!  This is when I head to Open Table, Travel & Leisure and Food & Wine for recommendations in my area.  Her visit prompted me to finally try the Bedford Village Inn right outside Manchester.  Now we all know I’ve bitched and complained about the food around here, in fact, I’ve been waiting for a meal at a restaurant around here that really was satisfying…well ladies and gentlemen! I’ve found it!

There are a number of reasons I absolutely will be making the BVI my “go-to” restaurant in my remaining months here in New Hampshire.  One, of course, as mentioned the quality of food.  Nothing was over-salted (cough cough Firefly cough), undercooked or bland.  The second reason is actually the main reason I love this place: they have three different restaurants in the Inn and regardless of where you eat, the tavern, the restaurant or Corks, the wine bar, you can choose from any of the three menus.  So if you want a more contemporary feeling place with lounge type music but want the high end food from the main restaurant you can.  Or if you want a cheese platter while dressed down in the tavern, you can!  There is also a great wine list.  Corks, which I said before, is the wine bar set up at BVI and it was great.  They had Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc by the glass which is EXACTLY what I was looking for on a hot Friday like last week.

I also felt like I had walked into any restaurant in DC walking into Corks.  It most reminded me of Veritas in Dupont which is a fantastic wine and cheese bar I would highly recommend down there.  It’s definitely a “hidden gem” as you’ve probably driven past it 100 times and just never knew it was there.  I digress!  To the food!  My mother had a veggie pizza that was to DIE for, and I ordered their bamboo steamed shrimp and scallops that came over lo mein noodles with a somewhat spicy soy sauce on it.  It was so good.  I would recommend this place to anyone having to visit the Manchester area.  So happy I finally found a place where I KNOW I’ll get a good plate of food!

Just when I thought I had probably the only good restaurant meal I’ll have in Manchester, we found Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier on Saturday after some retail therapy.  Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier is over the water in Kittery Point, Maine and it is the quintessential place to have lobster!  As you can see, even Travel & Leisure Magazine agrees!!  You eat at picnic tables, wear Lobster bibs, and BYOB.  It is THE best way to experience lobster– here’s the little sucker they made mine:

This was the sweetest, most succulent lobster I have ever had.  It doesn’t even need the drawn butter!  And seriously, if anyone tries to tell you lobster is best in a restaurant, they are clearly out of their minds.  The ONLY way to eat lobster is at a picnic table, fingers covered in shell and a mug of beer next to you.  End of story.  So if you have a chance, get to Chauncey Creek, its absolutely unreal.  Dang it now my mouth’s watering!

Okay, since we’re talking shellfish, let’s talk this week’s Top Chef — since I’ve already written a novel on those 2 restaurants, I’ll make my summary quick.  Here goes:

Crab Quickfire challenge = awesome because everyone knows the best place to get lobster is (well duh) Maine, crawfish is NOLA, and crab is MURALAND (that’s Maryland for all you non district readers).

Fresh Farm Market elimination challenge = also good because of the amazing fresh farm markets DC has to offer… HOWEVER they traveled to Virginia for this one.  Yeah, adds to the beef I have with this season (pun, INtended).

Amanda still drives me nuts, I’m still angry Nelson is gone, and now the Maryland homeboy has been axed.  I’m pretty sure I’m still right though about Tamesha soooo keep an eye on that.

Well thanks for reading!  Until next time, sicuro viaggi and bon appetit!

**Peas, Love and Lobstah**

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Hail to the Chef…

July 7, 2010 at 10:04 PM (Uncategorized) (, )

HOW COULD I FORGET!!!!! Top Chef DC has started! And I know I tried to incorporate Top Chef Vegas last year when I started this blog, but I was horrible at keeping this thing up last year.  Also, this year Top Chef takes place in DC!  I mean seriously, I spent more than 6 years there, and was the person my friends called to get restaurant recommendations (and still do!).  So since I’ve already condemned myself for forgetting this, let’s move on because I seriously have some thoughts about this season… herre we gooooooo!

Bravo…I love you.  With all my heart, even when you try to make every guy that watches your station gay…. C’mon, I remember the days you were a station SPECIFICALLY created to replay the best movies ever… get it… BRAVO!?!?! We like the movies so much we watch you to replay them?! Yea.  Those days were a loooong time ago.  Regardless, I love you.  Especially when you introduced things like Millionaire Matchmaker, Project Runway and….Top Chef.

Here’s my beef with this season…no pun intended.  What kind of challenges are these?!  DC is a VERY underrated foodie city.  I had some of the best meals of my life in that city and some of the most prominent chefs in the WORLD have restaurants there… and this week…you want them to come up with a Hilton room service menu option… I mean, it could make sense, a lot of business travel happens in DC, a lot of dirty politicians bringing their mistresses to hotels….maybe.  But STILL!  So far, I’ve seen lame DC challenges involving people that are in NO WAY interns (thank you though for taking Hill staffers down a notch, that actually gave you bonus points this season muahah), this Hilton menu challenge and baby food?!

Also, this week, they had guest judges Mike Isabella (my love and executive chef of one of my top 3 favorite restaurants in DC, Zaytinya), Brian Voltaggio and Spike.   Amazing guest judges for being in DC…but to not mention Good Stuff Eatery when introducing Spike?! Have these people been to DC in the past 2 years?!  Apparently not.  Spike opened Good Stuff after his appearance on Top Chef season 4.  He’s made creative burgers and the best milkshakes I’ve ever had– something that was missing from DC (other than Five Guys of course, which is different because it’s a chain).   I mean I get trying to market and advertise a pizza place he hasn’t even opened yet, but come on, at least we know Good Stuff is doing well already.  Oh man I feel like I’m just getting started…

Can we talk about Amanda for a second.  She’s AWFUL.  I mean Robin last season was bad because she was just annoying and kept getting through even though her cooking was no where on par with the unbelievable talent that radiated from the chefs in Vegas, Amanda is just a bitch.  I understand competition, but she’s just mean.  Angelo on the other hand is like Mike Isabella from last season, cocky because he’s competitive.  I like that.  (It does help Angelo is from Connecticut…us Connecticutians have to stick together!)  That and he’s actually really good! Just like Mike I. was, people just don’t like them because they have egos.

Two other chefs I really enjoy are Arnold and Kenny.  Unfortunately, one of them went home this week because they were paired with people who I kept forgetting their names because they just don’t stand out.  I mean the woman Arnold was paired with, I can NEVER remember her name!!  Anyway, that’s competition, in one day out the next.  I also have to admit that I really liked Tracey because she was full of one liners and I have a prediction…

Tanesha = dark horse.  Write that down.

Okay, I’ve bitched (almost) enough about this season but regardless, it’s still one of my all time favorite shows so I will continue to watch and continue to update on the blog.  Hopefully they will really take advantage of the incredible views, restaurants and chefs that call DC home in the near future.  It would be a shame to have Nancy Pelosi (gew) show up on one episode and find that sufficient enough to qualify that as Top Chef DC.

Until next time, sicuro viaggi and bon appetit!

**Peas, (and) Love (to the) best city in the US**

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Fall in the District

October 22, 2009 at 11:56 AM (Uncategorized) (, , )

So it’s officially fall in Washington, DC, meaning the weather jumps from 34 degrees one day, to 70 the next… its ridiculous.  Regardless of the weather, fall brings out my favorite smells and dishes!  It’s almost time for Thanksgiving which means all the food magazines are coming out with their “what to do with Turkey leftovers” editions, how to make cranberry sauce like you grandmother, and mashed potato secrets.  It’s also the time that the candle companies put out their autumn wreath, pumpkin, apple cider and fall leaves scented candles!  Seriously, it doesn’t get any better than that… or does it?

Fall also brings eggplant and pomegranate season!!!  Anyone who knows me knows that if pomegranate or goat cheese is involved, chances are, I’m going to order it.  Eggplant, while available all year round just seems like such a cozy meal for me, so I tend to gravitate towards it in the fall and winter.  At home, my favorite pizza is eggplant and onion pizza from Franco Gianni’s, which I was so excited to have last week one of my 2 recent trips up North.  Having the eggplant fresh on my mind, I decided while at the store getting my food for the week ahead and figuring out what to have for dinner that night, to get a baby eggplant and fry it with some mozzarella.  This dish is so tasty and another dish that you can make look expensive that is in fact, very reasonable.

Of course, as my starter, I made a delicious Caprese Salad:

IMG01315

Just some tomatoes from the vine, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil and a ready made balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing.  I guess I could honestly say, if asked the question “what’s one dish you could eat for the rest of your life and never get tired of?” it would be this.  Easy, cheap, everyone should know how to make it… and it always just looks so pretty.

I was snacking on this while tending to my eggplant which I started by slicing into about quarter inch slices leaving the skin on.  The skin is full of antioxidants and turns that beautiful purple color when its all cooked.  Before I move ahead, here are the other ingredients I used:

– baby eggplant

– fresh mozzarella

– vodka sauce

– whole wheat penne pasta

– fresh basil

– one egg

– Italian bread crumbs

– about 1/2 cup of flour

– oil for cooking

Now, while this dish is easy you have to be VERY careful when heating the oil.  I would suggest using a pot or a very deep frying pan since you’ll need to cover the bottom of it with oil that will obviously get very hot and will start to sputter when you first put the eggplant down.

Alright, so back to actually cooking, after you’ve sliced the eggplant, coat each side with flour, then egg, then the breadcrumbs.  When you’ve done that, cover the bottom of the pot or pan with oil and turn to a medium heat.  Once the oil is hot, place the pieces of eggplant in gently and with some sort of utensil (not your own fingers!)  Turn eggplant once at first, allowing each side to get a nice crunchy brown color (I’d say about 3-4 minutes on each side), then turn the heat to low, you can keep flipping after the 3-4 minutes on each side to brown it to your tasting.  Place the leftover mozzarella you’ve sliced from your Caprese Salad and place a piece on each of the eggplants.  You can let the eggplant continue to cook and the cheese to melt as you make the pasta.

Since I’m assuming you all know how to make pasta, I’ll skip the obvious.  I do however suggest heating the sauce in a separate pot (or in a bowl in the microwave if you’re so inclined) before adding it to the dish.  It will cool the dish down immensely if you do not.  When your pasta and sauce are ready, lay the pasta down, then the eggplant then the sauce and top with some basil.

IMG01316

I was cooking for one, so I had plenty of eggplant leftover.  If you do have leftovers, here’s a great suggestion.  The next day, I got a nice fresh sub roll, toasted it, heated some more sauce, placed the sauce in the roll and placed my leftover eggplant and mozzarella in the sub.  It was my own eggplant parmesan sandwich and damn was it good.

Now that I’ve shared my recipe for this week I have to let you know I’ve completely caught up on Top Chef Vegas, FINALLY!  And thank God most of the people I can’t stand are gone… except… Robin.  She’s awful and she never shuts the hell up!  I have to say though, listening to Mike I. and Laurine talk about her just cracks me up.  I loved the episode where they had to deconstruct dishes, and of course, when Mr. Charlie Palmer was the guest judge.  I spend way too much time in his restaurant in DC as it is on the ground floor of my office building.  It was great to see him on the show especially since the Volt brothers both worked for him.  I also learned I need to get to the Pigs and Pinot party he hosts every year in Vegas… someone please start working on that? Thanks.

Alrighty, I’m going to start dreaming up the next recipe I could throw together for another post.  Since it is almost Thanksgiving as I said before, it’s almost time for my grandmother’s cranberry and apple casserole so keep your eyes out for it!  Until then sicuro viaggi and bon appetit!

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Smorgasbord

August 20, 2009 at 10:49 AM (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Well since my last post on Saturday, a smattering of things relevant to this blog have happened (hence the post title.)  Tuesday I made a delicious, EASY and cheap dish that yields plenty of leftovers for the rest of the week.  It’s a dish that my mom used to make all the time, bow tie pasta with spicy Italian sausage.  I like my food with spice, you can obviously use whatever heat sausage you’d like.  Hell use Turkey sausage if you so please, that also works in this dish.  Now none of this is homemade, although one day when I have time I’ll include a recipe for homemade Vodka Sauce, but its something I wanted to include for those cooking on a budget (because honestly, who isn’t these days.)  In total this meal will run less than $10 and will make enough for a week’s worth of pasta.

This is so simple, all you need is a 16 oz roll of Hot Jimmy Dean Sausage ($3.99), a 16 oz box of Farfalle bow tie pasta which you can find for $1-2, and a bottle of Classico Vodka Sauce which usually runs about $3-4.

– In a frying pan, cook the sausage through while breaking down with a fork.

– While sausage is cooking, boil water, cook pasta

– When the sausage is done, drain the grease by putting a paper towel over the plate you will put the sausage on, dab the top with another towel

– When the pasta is done and drained, place it back into the bowl, keep stove on low, pour vodka sauce on top let the sauce heat up as you mix it over the pasta

– Lastly, add the sausage, mix it in with the pasta and sauce and, voila! You’re done!

It’s that simple.

Now, because this WOULD happen to me, after I made a week’s worth of lunch or dinner with this dish, my schedule completely filled up with business lunches and dinners with friends to catch up before my vacation next week.  In DC, August is the time of year to do these things.  Congress is out, it’s too damn hot for tourists, and everyone takes their vacation, so it’s a great time to take advantage of the usually busy restaurants in the city.  This is exactly what 3 of my colleagues and myself did yesterday.  We decided our lunch would be at Kinkead’s, An American Bistro.

This restaurant is right in the Foggy Bottom Shopping Center on the GWU Campus (my grad school Alma mater!)  It’s an American bistro with a heavy seafood influence (twist my arm.)  Now, I had been running late from being called into a senior staff meeting, which is weird because I’m no where near senior level management…anyways!  I showed up desperately looking for a strong drink to calm my nerves, and settled with the Red Zin they serve by the glass.  I was so frazzled I didn’t even ask what it was, but it was quite delicious.  My colleagues all went with the crabcakes which they said were phenomenal and I went with the Cashew and Coconut crusted Cod with Brazilian Style Chile Coconut Milk Sauce with Shrimp, Yucca, Lime and Cilantro, it was as amazing as it sounds.  I would definitely recommend Kinkead’s although I still think the Oceanaire has some of the best seafood in the city.

Since I had some catching up to do at dinner time as well, my friend and I decided to FINALLY try the Good Stuff Eatery on 3rd and Penn, SE.  For those of you who watch Top Chef, this is the burger and salad joint Spike from Season 4 opened.  Now from what I had heard, the burgers are good, not quite as good as Five Guys, but what keeps you coming back there instead of Five Guys are the milkshakes.  I wholeheartedly agree.  The burgers were so good, I went with the Good Stuff Melt that had Muenster and Cheddar cheese, sauteed mushrooms and caramelized onions with the Good Stuff sauce and a plain vanilla milkshake.  My friend went with the Coletti’s Smokehouse which has applewood bacon,sharp Vermont cheddar, fried Vidalia onion rings with
Chipotle BBQ sauce and a Toasted Marshmallow shake, their number one seller.  The milkshakes were the best we’ve ever had.  Hands down, if you’re ever craving a milkshake, go to Good Stuff.  They’re also known for the Milky Way shake… that one’s next on the list!

This trip was fitting as last night was the premier of Top Chef Season 6 which takes place is Las Vegas!!!  Now, it’s as just a shock to me as it was my mother that I LOVE Las Vegas and hosting a show like Top Chef there is a great idea.  It’s a hot spot for foodies and celebrity chefs.  Without getting into a complete synopsis of the show, they’re already throwing out more twists and turns than ever.  Fitting in Sin City.  The first quickfire challenge was a relay challenge and I love those.  Watching Preeti (who I honeslty could not tell if she was a guy or a girl for the first 10 minutes) try to shuck clams was embarassing.  Seriously, how did you make it on this show.

The winning relay team then had to challenge each other with a dish that included the food that was their leg of the relay.  Girl from Philthadelphia won. Ugh.  Anyways, the elimination challenge was great, they had to base a dish over a vice of theirs.  Some chefs got very creative, especially the winner, Kevin whose dish was based on his procrastination.  He switched the food that was supposed to be slow cooked to fast, and the fast cooking food to slow.  He wowed the judges and I wanted to scratch his beard and make him do a little Leprachaun dance.  While Kevin’s dish was awesome and I really do enjoy watching him, I’m totally rooting for Michael Isabella!

Michael Isabella1

Yeap! That’s my guy.  And you wanna know why?!  He’s the Head Chef of Zaytinya, one of my top 5 favorite restaurants in Washington, DC.  It’s one of Jose Andres’ 5 restaurants in the area and is a Lebanese and Mediterranean Tapas place.  My best friend and I go there all the time to sit outside, enjoy a bottle of Cypriot wine, eat pita bread (and other delectable dishes) and play “who has the better deal.”  Yes, each couple that walks by, we say, out loud, which of the two is getting the better deal.  Try it sometime. Oh, and there can be a draw, but there seldom is.  Anywho!  Michael did really well the first episode, I think he can make it pretty far.  He does have to step it up a little bit if he wants to be a finalist.  Whip out that braised lamb with almond pasta, goat cheese, and roasted red peppers.  If the judges find it as orgasmic as I do, he wins.  At the end, Tattoo Neck (yeap you can guarantee they’ll all have nicknames by the end of this season) has to “pack up her knives and go.”

tattooneck

Thank God, I couldn’t even remember what she looked like or what she cooked because I was too busy staring at her tattoo neck and gagging over her peach- sized earring holes…

Alright, now that I’ve written a small dissertation about my week in food, I’ll let you all go.  Until then sicuro viaggi and bon appetit!

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