Archive for the ‘Outings’ Category
Natalie and I were asked to take part in the judging of the Taste Addison Food Competition this year and we were super excited to do so. We are all about supporting local foodies so this event is a perfect match.
I met up with two other foodies and we drove all around Addison tasting the competiton entries and listening to each chef explain to us what their inspiration was for each item. I was very inpressed by all the entries and overall had a fantastic time. If you follow us on Facebook I documented the evening with pictures and quick descriptions. If you don’t, then here is a recap:
Chef Pete: Sloppy Turkey Joe
Chef Pete is a caterer and really impressed all of us with his presentation. When we first walked up he met us out side with some wonderful champagne. He surprised all of us by opening the champagne with a huge sword!! He later showed all of us his collections of swords. I asked him what he uses all the swords for and he humbly answered “to open champagne”. I mean of course he does! What else would you use them for?? I loved that answer! People who have a collection of swords specifically to open champagne are on my awesome list.
Chef Pete is also an ice sculpturer – awesome… He took us into his giant walk in freezer where he had mini shot glasses made from ice. It was really neat to hear him talk about the sculptures.
The Sloppy Turkey Joe was amazing and the little brioche roll made this little sandwich outstanding. The turkey was tender and the sauce finger lickin.
Chef Pete even gives cooking classes which I might have to arrange. I need him to show me how to make my ground turkey not so dry.
The Italian Club served up a pork “speedy”: (sorry for the picture, it absolutely does not do the meal justice)
Michael Trovalli, the President of the Italian Club walked us through the history of the “speedy” and how the peasants would use the scraps of meat that were a bit tough to make these sandwiches. They would marinate the meat for a long time to help break down that toughness, cook them and place them in a baguette or roll. A cheap filling meal that could be eaten quickly. We also learned that the Italian club is more than just a restaurant and that you don’t have to be a member to enjoy all that it has to offer. The wonderful establishment offers language classes, wine tastings, cooking classes and regionally themed dinners. The pricing was amazing and the food even better. I fully intend to bring my huge family to sit down and have a true authentic Italian dinner.
Chamberlians Steakhouse presented a fillet stuffed with spinach and apple-wood bacon. The steak was accompanied by a side of sweet potato grits topped and broccolini. The whole meal was drizzled with the most delicious Whiskey Cream Sauce. (worst picture ever, sorry.)
Chamberlains has never let me down in terms of a fantastic meal.
Executive Chef Lan was charismatic and open to all of our questions. Unfortunately we were all so busy ooing and awwing and eating that we didn’t ask very many. The steak was like cutting into butter and the Whiskey sauce was a perfect touch to bring the whole meal together perfectly. I would come here for the garlic herb butter alone. By far one of the best steaks I have ever tasted.
I went to Foodbuzz Fest 2010 this past weekend in San Francisco and had a blast! To bad I thought the event was sold out when I bought my plane ticket and planned an awesome trip Napa instead…. I managed to convince my better half to let me rearrange the Napa plans slightly so I could attend at least one little portion of the event.
I jumped up bright and early Saturday morning and ran over to the Sir Francis Drake Hotel and attended 3 classes. I was also able to meet up with a food blogger friend I had never met before but have talked to a bunch. If you don’t know Azmina you need to meet her! She is amazing!
My first class was a photography class, which went by super fast. Lot’s to learn. Not enough time.
Then I went to a Fresh Express class were we learned a great salad recipe. I was so hungry at this point I dug into my swag bag and started eating all the random food stuff they had given us. The food smelled awesome.
Next up was a panel of fabulous food bloggers that talked about blogging and we had a little Q and A session.
As everyone headed to the food pavilion, after all the classes, to eat for the next 4 hours I did my best to convince my hubby to let me go. I mean come on. Who goes to a Food Convention and doesn’t eat a single thing!!!?? Me that’s who. I know, I know. You guys feel real bad for me I can tell…. Whatever…
Next up Napa!!! Yeah I know. You’re still feeling bad for me aren’t you?
I truly believe that the little town of Yountville is the most beautiful little town I have ever seen. The landscaping is beautiful, the people are amazingly nice and the wine is, well, everywhere!
I’m so moving here. Anyone want to go to? I need a few roommates if I’m going to be able to afford it!
I mean come on. Look at these phots. Why do I live in Dallas? It is so grey and flat here. Sad. I need to win the lotto!
We had a wonderful trip and ate so much amazing food. Too bad I don’t have any pictures for you… My food pictures were so bad I’m not showing you. Instead you get me!! Good trade huh!?
See I’m a good daughter – this is picture is proof I call my mom. Hi mom!
I went on a fun little adventure the other weekend. My good friends Natalie from Natalie’s Killer Cuisine and Joy from Joylicious invited me to go blackberry picking with them at Duck Creek Blackberry Farm. They got me all excited about the trip before telling me what time we’d have to leave to make the hour-long drive. Yeah, they’re sneaky that way…that’s why I love ‘em! The farm opens at 7:00 a.m. on Saturdays and usually sells out of blackberries by 9:00 a.m. We knew we’d need to get our tired butts out of bed early to beat the crowd. And yes, blackberry farms do get a crowd. We met at a local Starbucks at 6:00 a.m., and let it be known that this Starbucks was not open yet!! Three early risers with no coffee. We’re like superhuman or something. Our mission: blackberries!!
The vines were filled with huge, juicy berries. It was so peaceful to be out in the country in the early (not so hot) morning. The fresh air did me good. Oh, but I could have done without the bugs. I don’t live on the 18th floor in the middle of the city because I like bugs. Small ones I can maybe deal with, but bugs outside of the city are like HUGE. We’re talking giant yellow and black spiders, wasps, and stink bugs. I know…I’m making this sound fun, aren’t I? It really was though, promise.
Along with the bugs, we met some really great people out there picking berries in the early morning light. We learned that there are lots of u-pick farms in our area. I’m definitely going to find the peach orchards and blueberry farms next! We all wandered around talking about what we were going to make with our blackberries. The possibilities are endless, but most of us wanted dessert. We were starving around all that fruit with no breakfast in our bellies.
With our buckets full and our foreheads glistening, we said goodbye to the farm and left the country for the bustle of the city. And when we got back to the Starbucks we found it waiting for us with open arms! The country was great, but ME NEEDS COFFEE!!
All afternoon I poured over my cookbooks. I took notes, flagged potential recipes, and listened to my tummy growl for blackberries. I baked most of the day on Sunday and again on Monday night. I could have frozen some of the blackberries (and will wish I had in a few months), but I couldn’t resist using them at their freshest. After baking most of them into rustic desserts (which I’ll feature here in a few weeks time) I used the rest for tasty mojitos. Craig and I make mojitos a lot because they are so refreshing and crisp. Plus, rum has no carbs (see, we eat healthy)! Lots of our local restaurants feature fruity mojitos, but I’ve never had a blackberry one. It was sweet and tart, and well, delicious!! Plus, look at the color. Amazing!
6-8 mint leaves (more for garnish)
1/4 cup fresh blackberries (more for garnish)
1 teaspoon light agave syrup
3 oz. light rum
2 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
Add the mint leaves, fresh blackberries, and agave syrup into a cocktail shaker. Using a muddler or the stick of a wooden spoon, muddle the ingredients until the mint is fragrant. Add in ice cubes, rum, and lime juice; cover and shake vigorously a few times. Strain the liquid into an ice-filled glass and top with club soda. Garnish with mint and blackberries. Makes 1-2 drinks depending on size of glass.
After wandering around the farmer’s market and the wine festival for a bit we decided to head into one of my all time favorite places to go in NB. There is this beautiful little cheese shop in downtown New Braunfels, Gourmage, that we make sure to stop at every time we are in town. The owners are extremely knowledgeable and do a wonderful job recommending cheese pairings. Every time we go in we spend at least an hour sampling and talking. They have a very nice display of chocolates as well as oil’s and wines. This store is just perfect and should not be missed on your next trip.
As Nat talked about earlier we tend to head to NB during the off season, last time we were in town was over the Christmas holiday. All 13 of us had gotton up a bit late and by the time everyone had showered, dressed and headed into town for breakfast we had missed it. Go figure. So to kill time in between all of the restaurants shutting down breakfast and preparing for lunch we wandered into Gourmage. My family loves cheese and it is a pre dinner staple to have a cheese spread. Gourmage is not huge and we we pretty much took over the place. We are also a pretty loud family and talk over each other constantly but the owners managed us and any other patron that walked in with grace and patience. We sampled cheese like crazy and walked out of the store loaded down with fabulous finds. Natalie and I bought some amazing cheese for our New Years party and everybody bought a different type for later that evening. (we are always planning the next meal, even before the first one…) I love that my family is obsessed with food.
This past weekend Emily, Michael, Craig, and I took a road trip down to New Braunfels. We met up with our parents and aunt for a fun weekend of wine drinking! My parents own a rental property on the river in New Braunfels, so we go down to visit during the off season. NB is a wonderful German town on the Guadalupe and Comal rivers surrounded by the Hill Country region. Usually when we visit, we spend most of our time sitting on patios enjoying the sunshine, eating chicken fried steak or having a beer and listening to Texas country music out at Gruene Hall. But on this trip we had one mission…the 7th Annual Wein & Saengerfest!! There is nothing like mixing German culture and food with Texas wines. And despite the sweltering afternoon sun, we had a blast!
We started out Saturday morning at the New Braunfels Farmers Market. We talked to a lot of local farmers and drooled over some amazing produce and crafts.
There were so many vegetables!! I mean look at these stacks of onions and beets. Practically every table was piled high with deliciousness.
I really love the punchy colors of fresh fruit and vegetables. Makes me crave healthy food for a change!