Food Hunter's Guide to Cuisine: November 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Night Before Thanksgiving..Oh How Things Have Changed!

When I was in my 20’s the night before Thanksgiving was a late night of dancing and drinking (I don’t know why but we always went out dancing on that night).

I’m way into my 30’s now (ok, closer to 40); and boy how things have changed. We won’t stay up nearly as late as we used to; and instead of dancing we’ll be cooking; prepping for the huge meal we’re going to have tomorrow.

But as they say some things never change; there will still be drinking involved tonight!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

John's "World Famous" Burgers

So maybe they’re not “world famous” but they sure were a big hit at our house this past weekend. We don’t eat burgers often so when we do we try to come up with something just a little different. Click here and here to see two of our past burger ideas.

Normally we’d come up with these recipes together but this one my husband came up with on his own. He’s very proud of it, which he should be, because it was delicious. He made fresh grass fed beef patties and grilled them on our outdoor grill. Each burger was topped with melted cheddar cheese and fresh baby spinach. There were also some crimini mushrooms that had been sautéed in equal parts butter and oil and oven roasted tomatoes slightly sweetened with sugar. All of this delicious goodness was piled onto a toasted focaccia roll spread with homemade garlic mayo.

It was seriously one of the best burgers I’ve ever had…and I’m not just saying that because he's my husband. (although I hope it wins me some brownie points) If you’re ever in the market for a burger that’s just a little different you should give John’s “world famous” burger a try. And who knows someday they might really be “world famous”

Monday, November 16, 2009

POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice...Review

Believe it or not but I’ve never had pomegranate juice. I do however remember eating and liking pomegranates as a kid. So when the people at POM Wonderful offered to send me some 100% pure pomegranate juice I thought why not…I’ll give it a try.

I normally don’t drink a lot of juice; mainly because I find most of them to be too sweet and loaded with crap. POM Wonderful pomegranate juice is different. It's somewhat sweet and tart and has no added sugars, preservatives or fillers.

I think their website says it best:

“A little bit sweet, a little bit tart, a whole lotta wonderful”

And how could you not love anything that comes in these cute little 8 oz bottles!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

How To Decide Where to Eat When Traveling

We travel a lot; both for business and vacation, and it’s my job to seek out where we’re going to eat on these trips. So, I’m always on the look-out for that perfect place; be it for a quick breakfast or a fancy dinner.

What is my method for picking restaurants?

Let’s take our most recent trip as an example. Last week we spent a few days in Chicago. Having been to Chicago several times before I have a few favorites that I like to re-visit.

1. Return to old favorites

We always seem to have brunch at Gage; which I love for its eccentric menu and good food.

Another staple is L’Appetito for their Italian sandwiches. On this visit we shared a “La Bomba”.

Tomato focaccia filled with Italian meats and cheeses; it’s easy to see where this one got its name.

Of course we had to have dinner at our favorite Chicago restaurant Café Spiaggia. We had an amazing meal of homemade gnocchi with wild boar followed by crispy balsamic glazed pork belly and italian doughnuts for dessert.

Ok, that’s the easy part. Choosing the remainder of the restaurants took a bit more planning.

2. Decide on the type of food.

We knew we wanted to have pizza one night; Cuban and maybe Tapas/small plates another night.

3. Narrow by location.

I always try to stay within a short walk or a quick cab ride from our hotel. This isn’t always easy but I try.

4. Research

By this time I will usually have a nice list of potentials and it’s time to check reviews on sites like Chow or Yelp.

We ended up at Quartino for Italian style tapas. So many things on the menu sounded good; it was hard to choose. This is why I like small plates; you can have a little taste of everything. We had some fried calamari,

veal meatball sliders,

an assortment of olives and a plate of orecchiette with duck ragu.

La Madia for pizza and appetizers turned out to be an excellent choice. The wild mushroom and ricotta bruschetta was delicious. As was the fresh buffalo mozzarella and basil pizza.

Carnivale was our Cubon/Fusion choice and it was also very good. The highlight of the meal was the Ropa Vieja.

Shredded beef piled on top of sweet plantains and drizzled with a spicy mayo. This ropa vieja was like no other I've ever had.

So there you go...that is how I go about picking restaurants in new places. How about any tips or tricks you'd like to share?