Limited Torte

July 5, 2010

How do you pass off a chocolate torte as patriotic when serving it on the 4th of July?
by adding strawberries and blueberries of course

I must say, this delicious and dense creation went over well at my friends little get get together. My favorite part of the night though? backyard fireworks.

Recipe used was from Williams Sonoma Desserts

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After a lovely afternoon of laying around at my grandparents house me and Frank decided to go up to Philly for some “grub.” So I tried to make myself presentable and threw on a dress and switched all my stuff over to a different purse. It wasn’t until half way there I realized I forgot my camera. tsk tsk. oh well.

We decided to re-visit one of our favorites from the past – Butcher & Singer

Whether you like stephen starr or not, you have to admit, the guy really does have a knack for making you feel like your somewhere else completely. You feel almost like you walk right into a 1920′s steakhouse and it successfully makes you want to have a glass of whisky and a big ol’ cigar (well, not really, but you know what I mean). The high ceilings, the decor and crazy chandiliers, even the all out black and white tailcoat waiters attire. The best though would have to be a tie between the painting of dogs having drinks at a bar or the incredibly quirky ladies’ and men’s rooms signs on the restroom doors. It’s a fun experience and the food is really quite good.

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Like I said, this was actually our second time going so we already had some things in mind to try this time.
To start I got a french onion soup. Besides forgetting it was topped with cheese and having to screape it off to try to save myself from severe stomach pains later, it was very good soup. The broth was to die for – delicious
The first time around Frank had Filet Mignon with Mashed Potatoes (both very good), this time he switched the filet for the porterhouse. I actually tried a piece because of how good he said it was, and I have to agree. I’m not a huge steak fan in general, but it was so tender with a lot of flavor and almost perfect in my opinion (although I’m not steak-expert like Frank is).
I actually decided to go with the same entree as last time, which was the Butcher salad. It’s a fairly basic salad although it had strips of salami in it and little bits of cheese (which I forgot about). I remember be in love with it last time we went but it was fairly disapointing this time. I know! It’s just a salad – what could possibly go wrong? I have no idea what changed but it didn’t seem the same at all to me. I did have a side of mushrooms as well and they were good.

Last time we went we shared the chocoalte cake which was phenomenal, I remember. But this time we decided to wait to have dessert so Frank could get his favorite chocolate cake in the entire world (which is actually technically a torte) and I could see my old friends at the restaurant I used to work at when I was living in west Philly.

Zocalo is a really authentic mexican restaurant with some truly delicious food. Now you might think I’m just saying that because I used to work there and I still have friends there, but really – I do not like mexican food but I always enjoyed my meals in the back room or shoved in a corner of the kitchen at Zocalo. It’s been there for over 20 years now and the head chef/owner has worked there since it opened and just bought it over a few years back, and his wife is right from mexico so it’s stayed true both to it’s past as well as being just really authentic.

If you go during dinner please for goodness sakes do not ask for a taco. This is not taco bell, its a restaurant. I highly recommend one of the Molcajete Cuanajo or the Cochinita Pibil (really though, everything is great and I’m not just brainwashed to say that). As for desserts the chocolate torte is phenomenal and the Holjadre de Chocolate (or just “the chocolate puff pastry”) is also a favorite of everyone who tries it. My favorite drink there is definitely the Tamrind margarita and second favorite is a paloma. I gotta give it to their fabulous dinner bartender (who just happens to be a BFF lol) she’s been doing it a while now and is great at it (and I’m really not just saying that – I swear!).

in review – go. try it. love it. and say hi to gabby for me.

Mia

August 20, 2009

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Every since we were devastated by the closing of Brassarie Perrier me and Frank have been visiting Georges Perrier’s other culinery ventures. Le Bec Fin was exactly what you expect Le Bec Fin to be. The best service in the city, fantastic food and expensive. The ambiance of the restaurant was just not really our style though, very proud, stuffy and no windows to be found (one thing I hate! I looove natural light and I love to look at the busy city streets when eating dinner in center city, probably why I adore Positano Coast so much). Table 31 was very nice with delicious food, although the service was so-so on our second visit (after 3 visits to the famous chefs different restaurants we came to expect great service at his restaurants, so this was a bit of a let down).

We had been planning to spend the day doing in-door rock climbing in Philly and then grabbing some pizza or something, but when we woke up an saw what a lovely day it was we couldn’t resist finally making our way down to the beach. Atlantic City is the perfect beach-city for us. Neither of us gamble, drink, or “party” by any means, but we love to get in the water for a little bit and then jump out and walk the shops and have a great meal. Neither of us are much of a pass-out on a super crowded beach and then have greasy boardwalk food.

What a great call on our part. Everyone in Jersey and Philly goes to Ocean City and no matter what day you go the beach is always packed, but on a saturday afternoon Atlantic City definitely had people on the beach and walking around, but you didn’t feel claustrophobic.

We, of course, couldn’t pass up the chance to have dinner at Georges Perrier and Chris Scarduzio’s great Roman-Palace inspired restaurant, Mia, inside of Caesars. It’s located on the second floor of the casino and it’s pretty hard to miss. As you glide up the elevator you see these fountains and on the left side is a huge restaurant bordered by huge roman columns. As you wait to be seated you sit on these amazingly comfortable but simply lovely black quilted leather couches that I am completely in love with and wish I could take home with me.

The restaurant is beautiful, of course. Very comfortable and inviting.

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I love this photo. We are both a bit of perfectionists and have a deep love for symmetrical things, so Frank decided to make sure absolutely everything was reverse-symmetrical. I just smiled and took a few photos of course.

We were astounded by how quickly our food came out. It seemed we had only just ordered it when it was being set in front of us, perfectly cooked and delicious to follow.

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We’ll start with Frank’s since I’m sure its obvious by now that he got Filet Mignon with a side of mashed potatoes (actually it was more than a side – more like a boat of mashed potatoes). He said it was absolutely great and had to strain himself to find anything wrong with it. Those two things that are also on the plat, we have no clue what they were (the menu didn’t say and I tried it and it was definitely not my taste).

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I always have to make sure whatever restaurant has some sort of normalish steak for Frank, but I enjoy not looking at the menu beyond that until I arrive because I want to try all new things and broaden my culinary horizons a bit I suppose (I’d rather try something new and not like it than order the same thing over and over, ironic I know). I decided to go with the appetizer size of the Veal Tortilloni. It was delicious, completely delightful, and since it wasn’t huge it was just perfectly sized for me. It also allowed me to order a side. When it comes to my sides, I suppose I am a bit habitual. I almost always go with either mushrooms or asparagus. I debated back and forth, but it had been a while since I had mushrooms, and I am so glad I went with them. They were amazing, I could eat them every day and be completely happy.

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We always make an effort to save room for dessert, especially at Georges Perrier’s restaurants, as they are almost always amazing, and they once again did not disappoint! Chocolate lava cake is pretty much Frank’s favorite dessert (probably only beat out by the chocolate tort at Zocalo in Philly) and I have to say, this particular chocolate cake was “bangin”.

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I decided to go a bit lighter and just have a bite or two of his cake. So I got the selection of fruit sorbets. I forget which fruits they were, but they were very, very, good.

So I guess its time for me to fess up to the one thing I was disappointed in at the restaurant, and that was the service. I realize that it is sooo hard to find good wait staff, but Le Bec Fin and Brassarie Perrier both had phenomenal service, so it was a real let down. The server seemed to rush us when he was there and when we were ready he was no where to be found, and watching him with the other tables, we saw he did the same thing. I generally am compassionate towards servers since I’ve been there before, but this is one of those restaurants where there are people who only deliver food, and people who only bus the tables, and so on, so his only job is to interact with the customers and he felt like more of a drive-thru attendant than a fine-dining server.

That was my only complaint though, everything else was fantastic, really.

Memorial Day

May 27, 2009

I was taking my boyfriend to the airport memorial day morning when Emily called inviting me to come over for some memorial day grilling and saying I could bring over some dessert, “if I felt like it.” Do I ever not feel like making something for dessert? dessert is the most fun thing to make in the world, I swear. Especially if it’s something that you can lick off of a spatula while its baking in the oven.
On my way back from the airport I decided to stop at Walkers Produce Stand to pick up some veggies for my mom. As soon as I walked in I smelled something other than veggies….JERSEY STRAWBERRIES. Oh that smell! Oh how I’ve missed it and longed for it over those long winter months! Import strawberries have never and will never smell and taste as super-ripe, fresh-picked Jersey strawberries. At that point, it didn’t matter how much those things cost – I would have given them my Marc Jacobs bag to have a quart of those things (luckily, it didn’t come to that). On my way home, I indulged in that smell and spent the ride dreaming of what I could make with those beauties.
I know it’s cliche, I know it’s overdone, but I couldn’t help but succumb to making the obvious: Strawberry Shortcake.
but I didn’t want to do just the regular strawberry shortcake, I wanted to do something as grand as these strawberries (can you tell I really love strawberries yet?). So…Strawberry shortcake cake!
I got the recipe for the cake from good ol’ Martha, and the Whipped Cream Frosting from CupcakeProject (although, at the last minute I decided not to put strawberries directly in the frosting). The strawberries were so ripe that I didn’t even need to use sugar to pull out the juice, I simply put them in a food chopper and they became a juicy, chunky, delicious mess!

Memorial day is a great excuse to just eat and sit around making stupid jokes with friends. Emily and Phil have the perfect house for this sort of thing too, with a great porch looking over their back yard where you can hear the kids running around a being crazy, as they always are.

The shortcake cake went over great. When I was leaving with the leftovers the guys shouted out at me, “wait, you’re taking that?!” I would have left it with them, but I had already promised any left-overs to my family who had been drooling over it when I left.

I went back to the fridge this morning to try to get a better picture of the cake, but this is all I found…

Apparently someone was feeling snacky last night! oh well!

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