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I love Food. Cooking it. Eating it. Experiencing it. As a result, that's what this blog has evolved into: A journal of my gastronomical journeys abroad, as well as my culinary creativity at home. I hope you enjoy what I have to say, and I'd love to hear your comments... Cheers!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Falling for Fred's Again

My wife and I enjoyed a sensational meal at one of our fave spots in town last night. Fred's at the Vinoy Hotel in St. Pete has recently re-invented itself to become a much more traditional Steak House, what with the a la carte menu, the raw bar, etc. We've found ourselves there for many a celebratory night out, and this one didn't disappoint...
Opened up a nice Napa Cab (Castle Rock); We shared the French onion soup, which was rich with sherry and well-balanced with the onions and melted Gruyere. Always a good starter!
The wife got rainbow trout, which was light but flavorful and abundant! There were 2 huge filets on the plate (good news for me, considering I am a huge fan of leftovers, and my wife almost never cleans her plate!). I couldn't resist ordering the Kobe burger. Served on a toasted challah bun, with a sweet, caramelized tomato jam, and melted, shredded cheese that all worked so well together. If you've never tried kobe beef, it's worth a shot. It's richer, a bit gamier, approaching bison (which I love, too). The sides we ordered were awesome: creamed spinach that had a bit of a crunch to it with panko bread crumbs toasted on top, cheese and just the right balance of cream so it was rich but not overly goopy and/or watery. Almost a misnomer to even call it creamed. Recalled to mind a favorite chef friend of mine, Tim Love, making "fried" spinach for me once; the crispiness of the outer edges of the spinach take on a fried onion consistency. Just terrific. But the surprise of the meal had to the spaetzle. The chef prepares hers with peas, prosciutto, and mushrooms folded in to the potato/pasta mixture. If you like gnocchi, then you will LOVE spaetzle! Not dumplings per se, but the flavor profile is a close cousin. Forks were flying in an effort for both of us to get our fair share of every plate!
The attentive staff topped off our meal with a complimentary Anniversary dessert of Hazelnut Chocolate mousse, which was, it goes withut saying, decadent.
Great way to top a memorable meal...

Friday, March 26, 2010

New Site I Like

Once you're done perusing my blog, of course (!)... check out this site...

Passover coming up shortly... gotta love the food-centric Jewish holidays! Stay tuned...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Yes, Masters

In an unintended, ironic twist, Top Chef Masters debuts at exactly the same time THE Masters tees of in Augusta, GA. Take that, Tiger!
Found a preview of the new season, which premieres on Bravo April 7th at Grub Street.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Simple/inexpensive balsamic steak with baby bellas and S-D tomatoes recipe in this blog's archives. Made it again for friends...delicioso w/ sauteed spinach!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fishin' for Dinner

My fraternity buddy Fish was in town for business, and I took him to one of St. Pete's finest (I'm biased) for dinner -- Z Grille. (www.zgrille.net). Only bad news was Zack wasn't there tonight (PS I recently nominated Zack for Next Iron Chef America, and the casting director LOVED him...be on the lookout!)...

We ordered a bunch of menu faves, and Fish was a good sport and willing chow partner. Wok Spicy Shrimp Lettuce Wraps, California Deviled Eggs (chef's favorite), and Chipotle BBQ Pork and Smoked Gouda Quesadillas came all at once for us to share... then the main course was -- of course -- Zack's famous Dr. Pepper Fried Ribs, all gooey and sweet and spicy and fall-off-the-bone tender.

A big hit and a big thumbs up from a NYC guy who travels a ton for biz and eats at some high profile joints around the country. Credit Zack and his take-no-prisoners cooking style (not to mention his skater/rocker-cum-avant garde eclectic decor)for bringing some serious attitude and street cred to the Tampa Bay area!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Big stamp of approval to the roasted summer squash recipe I posted from CHOW last week. Made it last night and it was stellar. Easy prep. Great results!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Ebelskivers! Ever heard of 'em? They are the Scandinavians' gift to the pantheon of pancakes. Neat idea, especially if you like combining sweets and savories at breakfast time... or perhaps breakfast for dinner.

Texturally, ebelskivers are similar to their flat, round cousin. But they cross over into popover territory from there. Fill them with fruit, or bacon and cheese, or make 'em like cinnamon sticky buns. Only challenge is: you need a special pan to make them. Although, the more I think about it, the more I wonder if you could use a traditional muffin pan. I may give that a try... and report back.
Either way, I'd start out with pancake mix (although there is 'special' ebelskiver mix available)
and have fun with your fillings from there!

Who says the Dutch have never contributed anything significant to the culinary culture?!?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A slice of...Pi?

Just heard this via a FB friend of mine, Rick Richmond: today, March 14th, at 1:59pm, we are all obliged to eat mass quantities of pie. Apple, Coconut Custard, Key Lime, you name it... the rationale? Because on 3-14, 1:59 it equals the exact digits of the irrational number PI...! HA! I love it when mathematics and eating conspire together!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Spin on Spaghetti (Squash)

Courtesy of Chow yet again...love this idea as a hearty side dish to make an ordinary meal a bit more exciting...

Grown Ups Love Milk Shakes Too!

Found this in my e-mail inbox this morning, courtesy of Chow... the only thing missing would be the flambe!


Monday, March 8, 2010

Back to Cookin'

Feels like it's been forever...since I've had a chance to cook in earnest in my own kitchen, and, in turn, blog about it here! Things have quieted down on the travel front for me, and tonight I used a little bit of inspiration from F&W mag, and a little of my own know-how, and came up with a (mostly) healthy, delicious dinner for the wife and me...

Roasted Fish with Lemon-Pepper Aoli
The Food & Wine recipe called for sea bass filets, but I opted for tilapia because a) it's about 1/4 the price, b) my Publix wasn't carrying sea bass, and c) my wife doesn't stray too far from her beloved tilapia comfort zone when it comes to me preparing fish in the house...
  • Turn broiler on high. Place thinly sliced lemon pieces plus 1 tbsp. EVOO in a small roasting dish, and broil until lemon slices start to brown.
  • Meanwhile, make 3 deep slices into each of 4 fish filets, and place a small bay leaf in each slit (so, 12 total, if you're keeping score at home).
  • Transfer all but 2 of the thin lemon slices into larger broiler-safe dish/pan, sprinkle with chopped thyme (or sprigs, if you have 'em), and place fish in dish/pan, drizzling another tbsp. EVOO on top, plus salt and pepper to taste.
  • Broil fish for at least 8-10 minutes. I broiled for closer to 15 -- I like the fish as crispy as possible, and the lemon juices and olive oil helped keep it from drying out.
  • While the fish is broiling, mix 1/4c mayo, the 2 reserved thin lemon slices (finely chopped), and a pinch of cayenne pepper to create the aoli.
  • When fish is ready, plate it with lemons (remove the bay leaves!) and pour whatever juices are in the pan into the aoli, and mix. Serve immediately.

As a side, I concocted a simple, yet flavorful and complimentary side dish of chopped spinach and artichoke hearts.

  • Sautee in a pan that has EVOO and minced/chopped garlic already.
  • After a few minutes, add grated parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Squeeze fresh lemon juice on top after serving.

A nice chilled glass of Pinot Grigio was a terrific partner, although I could imagine a Sauvignon Blanc doing the trick, too...

Stop the Bacon Insanity!

Bacon ice cream, bacon coffee...bacon cereal? Celebrity chef Tim Love on how crispy smoked pork has finally jumped the shark. Plus, VIEW OUR GALLERY of the craziest bacon dishes ever.

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