Thursday, September 6, 2012

Jackson's Mighty Fine Food & Lucky Lounge

September already!!! Where does the time go??? Well the last weekend in August I got to spend in Virginia! I went to see a friend that now lives up there and our fun filled weekend we stopped off at Jackson's.

I wasn't sure what to expect as I had done no food research at all (I know totally not like me), but this place was awesome. The service was great, the decor was fun, and the food was down right tasty! I was so wrapped up in conversation and eating I must apologize for not taking pictures. But take my word, the shrimp/crabcake specialty sliders were awesome and so was the firecracker rock shrimp roll.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Federal Donuts

My parents kept telling me about this donut place in Philly and to be quite frank, I didn't see what the big deal was, donuts. I'm not a huge donut fan. Then we got there and its this small hole in the wall place (love places like that) that also makes fried chicken?!!
What makes this place special is they have "fancy donuts" that change every so often with crazy flavors like fig on fig or creamsicle. Then they make fresh fried donuts to order.

Holy cow, they were good. Strawberry rhubarb pie and pomegranate nutella were my top 2 favs. This place just inspired me to take my baking to the next level. Watch out!!


I love tapas! Small plates, but I always manage to over eat. Amada in the new Casino, Revel is owned by iron chef, Jose Garces. My family has let me be in charge of their stomach's and so far I've done pretty well. That night we put ourselves in the chef's hands deciding to go with the Chef's selection of tapas and wine pairing. Amazing!

Just enjoy the photos. The colors and shapes are just beautiful. I can't even explain how wonderful everything tasted!

This last photo was the house made donuts with saffron, vanilla, and brown sugar. I think I was in heaven. The honey was infused in house with lavender. This place was an amazing treat! Don't pass it up!

Bizarre Foods Featuring Me!

So the end of July I returned to good ol' Jersey! The family and I went down to Atlantic City for the Food and Wine Festival. There was one event I just could not pass up-The Bizarre Brunch with Andrew Zimmern! (If the name doesn't ring a bell, its the guy on the travel channel who eats things that you probably never wished upon your worst enemy in grade school)
My family and I had no idea what to expect. My mom just kept coming up with random things like monkey brains or animal testicals. Well she was right about the latter. When we first arrived it looked like a normal buffet with champagne and omelets until you took a closer look.
There were signature dishes that I had to search out within the buffet. I decided to skip the tongue-tried that in China already. I did eat everything on that list though!
Crickets on french toast....why not?! They were pretty crunchy. The lambs liver was extra soft. Just as I was thinking I had conquered the worst, we were pleasantly surprised when Zimmern announced each table would be getting a special small plate with more goodies!

From left to right-Chicken Feet, frog legs, Pork ribs, and in the back-Pork Ball. My least favorite were the chicken feet because there was not any meat. I don't even like eating chicken skin and to think about the feet skin I shiver. Frog legs were pretty yummy I think I would try them again. The pork ball...just the thought...made me make this face...
Believe it or not it wasn't really that bad. I was just hamming it up for the camera. I had a great time trying all the foods and washed it down with some ice cold adult chocolate milk!
After enjoying our delicacies I even went over a talked with the Bizarre Food man himself, Andrew Zimmern.

Happy Eating!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Keep Austin Weird

Going back in time a bit, I got sent to Austin, Texas for work a few months back, and loved it! Not sure what to expect, visions of cowboys danced in my head with a long southern draw that I wouldn't understand. It was almost the opposite, Austin, was this hip, chic, urban place I did not want to leave.

After arriving I headed to get settled at my hotel, The San Jose. My boss suggested I stay here and it looked pretty cool online. Well, it was more than cool. The building was covered in ivy and the whole feel of the place was very laid back and relaxing, I was on Texas Time now. Each room had it's own entrance not a shared hallway. The decor was modern and chic. Really could I just pick this place up and move it back to Fort Lauderdale.

Now to feed my stomach. I asked for a few local recommendations and I ended up at Hopdoddy, a burger bar. where everything is made in house. I really enjoy places like this. I ended up with the GREEK burger-Lamb, Feta Cheese, Arugula, Pickled Red Onions, Tomato, Cucumber, Tzatziki Sauce. Oh and the seasonal peach cobbler milkshake!!!! AMAZING! Get there early because there will be a line!

Next I headed down Congress Street to check out the shops and sites. I found Allen's Boots! Cowboys?
Yes! Real boots? Yes! There were rows and rows of boots, every shape, size, and color. Just leave me in here for a bit to cool off and enjoy the country music. And ofcourse, buy my first official cowboy boots. If you didn't know when I was young, I was obsessed with country style, I had a horse and a goat. So I decided on a pair of Tony Lucchese boots, which are made right in Texas. 
After my purchase, I headed down to the state capital building to learn a bit about the history of Texas. 
My next day in Texas, was all work related, a new Whole Foods was opening in Arbor Trails! Beautiful store. Did you know Whole Foods originated in Austin, Texas??
I think there must of been something in the water, because I just wanted to enjoy everything Texan. Texas tea, Texas BBQ, and I don't even like red meat. 

Overall, I wish I could have extended my trip. I had a wonderful time and the people were just so welcoming. Austin had its strange and weird things, but that is what made it quirky and had me coming back for more! Till next time-Keep Austin Weird!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Busy Little Bee

Hello Hello Hello!!

 I've been cooking, eating, and traveling.... so I will be updating you with my recent experiments and where I have been! Stay tuned!

Monday, June 4, 2012

My Changing Thoughts on Food

Eating is essential. What you chose to put in your body is your own choice. Over the past year or so I've changed what I eaten or maybe at times my body forced me to change what I should eat. One other big part of my life is my decision to stay active by running half marathons. It's not just about the medal at the end (though that does help get me to the finish line) it's about seeing results and having a happy, healthy body.

My work takes me to Whole Foods and I've always loved that store, but I do not love the price tag that comes along with it. Working in this store has surrounded me with health nuts, people that don't know how to cook, and people just like me-they want to be healthy. 

So let's get down to the nitty gritty. Here's what I have changed

1-I do not drink milk anymore. Almond milk all the way. I'm not sure if the Forks over Knives scared me out of drinking it anymore, but I just feel better not drinking it. Want to know some of the benefits of almond milk? Take a look here.
A favorite of mine is the dark chocolate almond milk after a good workout!

2-Limiting my intake of red meat. My dad (probably like every other man) is a hard core carnivore. He could eat meat 7 days a week. My body just started to reject it. I feel very lethargic after eating it and after many medical studies, it's just not good for you. 

3-Eating fresh! Do you know where your food is coming from? Have you ever juiced an orange? Well I have and after making my own orange juice someone please tell me what is in tropicana because it is sure not all oranges. I don't want to eat processed foods or foods with tons of fillers.

4-I got rid of my microwave. (GASP!!) You are probably thinking I'm crazy right about now. At first it was kind of weird, but eventually I realized I just didn't need it and have gotten along just fine without it. Just think, the people of our past didn't have them. If it's not good for you to stand in front of a microwave why should I be eating food that I microwave? Think about it.

5- I make most of my own food. I have really limited my going out to eat and this was forced and by choice. First off, its good to save money (or pay off my student loans). When I go out to eat, I want it to be something I can't make at home or something really special. When I cook my own meals, I know exactly what went into them and who was touching them!

Even though I have made these adjustments it doesn't mean I don't have a day when I eat french fries or handful of candy. We have to indulge now and then, but it is all in moderation. I'm about to treat myself to a banana with nutella right now! I just encourage you to think about where your food is coming from and what you can do to keep your body healthy. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Dinning in the Dark

Most of you probably thought I stopped eating or died, but I have done neither. This readjusting thing is just starting to set in. My mom came to town for the Easter holiday and I was able to take her to a great restaurant Nick took me for my birthday, Market 17. It specializes in local foods that are natural or organic. Can't get much better than that can you?

Well, it does. How does dining in the dark sound? Scary. Messy. Sloppy. Creepy. These are just some of the thoughts that ran thru my head when the opportunity arose. Ofcourse we did it. You can chose 4,6, or 8 courses. The waiter suggested 6 so we went for that. Being escorted into a small room with curtains blocking out the light there was a dim chandelier lit. The waiter, Brian explained that we will now need to get used to using our sense of smell, feeling, and taste. He removed the light and came back with his night vision goggles on and all you could see was a small red dot.

The food was all very good, nothing crazy, we started with salad, appetizer, a fish, 2 meats, and dessert. Since your sight is gone its amazing how much stronger your sense of smell is. Forget about eating with silverware and just dig in with your hands. This really helped you identify what you were eating. After every course Brian the waiter came back and could see what we had or had not eaten and would test our skills of what we thought we ate. My mom was trying to psych me out near the end when it came to the second meat as she was thinking it was something weird or gross. The dessert way by far my favorite. Miracle fruit.  You chew it for about a minute and then eat different fruits with different levels of acid. The restaurant serves you a plate of pieces of fruit including a limes, lemons, and grapefruit. My favorite by far was the lemon!!! It was amazing. The crazies thing is miracle fruit originally from Africa, is now being locally grown in South Florida! If you can get you hand on some of these your in for a great experience.

Back to the whole experience, even though you can not see your food, dining in the dark was awesome. There was nothing to be scared or nervous about, if anything its just one more way to enjoy your food. It isn't all about the presentation! 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Traveling the State of Florida

I haven't fallen off the face of the Earth and I promise you I have been eating...alot! I've tried a ton of new places and ate at a ton of Whole Foods. In the past week I went to a total of 16 different Whole Food Markets all over the state of Florida, as far North as Orlando and as far South as Naples and Coral Gables.

My love of cooking is growing everyday as I get to experiment at home with my brand new kitchen aid mixer my bf bought for my birthday! I just tested it out the other day to make a favorite irish sweet.

I'm testing new things with the pasta company I work for and learning what the trending food habits are in each area.

I'm starting to settle into my new home and I promise things will be back to normal soon! Stay tuned for some great places to eat in some new areas!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Update!!! Where & What I'm up to!

Hey Everyone! So you probably thought I fell off the face of the Earth! No! I've had so many exciting things happen in my life, I haven't really gotten the time to blog. Since my initial work training for Severino Pasta, I've packed up my things and relocated to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to be closer to a majority of the Whole Foods Grocery Stores. I tried a few great places in the Ft. Lauderdale area such as Rocco's Taco's (Great table side guacamole) and Market 17 (all fresh local products, with a menu that changes daily).

One of my bosses is touring the state of Florida with me, going to all the Whole Foods. What an adventure! My job it great, offering a great product to the public couldn't be better. Talking to all the people that visit Wholes Foods, wonderful. To add travel to the mix, amazing. All the ingredients I could ask for!!!!

After my first day I stayed in Boca Raton. That night we ventured out to Delray Beach, Atlantic Ave for some dinner. We ended up eating at a place called Vic & Angelo's. A really cute Italian place. For my entree I had a pear and 4 cheese torteloni. Really tasty.

After visiting 5 days on my second day, we stopped in Miami. We had a great steak dinner at STK. My 3 mile run this morning did not make a dent in the meal I had this evening that's for sure! Filet with blue butter and a side of asparagus and for dessert fresh bag of donuts that basically melt in your mouth. It's not just the food that is wonderful but the atmosphere just helps to make it fantastic.

The rest of the week can only bring great things for my new adventure. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sbraga-Philadelphia, PA

To celebrate the start of my new job I was told to pick a place to go to dinner. Oh the choices in Philadelphia, PA. Pretty much endless. Do I go to a favorite or try something new. I decided to be adventurous. A new restaurant in Philly, Sbraga, is right on Broad Street.

Sbraga-is American, modern cuisine, that comes in 4 courses for $45. There's more add on if your interested. Everyone choses from an appetizer, fish, meat, and then a dessert. The dishes take some basic homestyle favorites and puts a twist on them. If you try planning your meal before hand, you might just want to wait till you get there. The menu tends to differ from what is online and the servers do a great job explaining the dishes.

First, I decided on the eggplant app. I can't quite explain the dish, but it tasted amazing. Eggplant, tomato, and goat cheese.
For my fish, I decided to go with the Mackerel. Which did have a bit of a spice to it, but it was great. Normally an oily fish, it was steamed and tasted great.
My parents both had the fish and chips, which I have read great reviews and my mother confirmed them. Instead of a tartar sauce the fish is served with sauce that has an Indian curry flare.

For the meat dish I had to go with the meatloaf. Meatloaf? With a bacon marmalade? Things were going to get interesting I though! Tasted wonderful.
Now time to decide on a dessert. Everything sounded delicious. My parents both decided on the Banana Passion fruit, which was so light and just melted in your both. Even the display was beautiful.
I decided to go with something more rich-the hot chocolate dessert. Rich chocolate with warm vanilla ice cream. Drool!
Overall, I thought the meal was great, some home cooked favorites got a facelift. Keep it up Chef Sbraga, I enjoyed your creations that kept me wanting more.

One thing I will warn you all of, there are open candles on the tables, a lady behind me caught her menu on fire! I had to just laugh as she didn't even notice until my father pointed it out to her and the waiter quickly took it away from her!!!! She even said she thought she smelled something burning, but she thought it was coming from the kitchen! haha

Sbraga on Urbanspoon