Thursday, September 25, 2008

what's in a name?

What's in a name? A name unlike any other by that name? Here in Fort Wayne, people have the misconceived idea that a bagel is a bagel. If it looks like a bagel and tastes like a bagel, it's a bagel. How poorly misguided my dear friends have become. Thank God, this 1/2 Jew is around to introduce you to what is known as the "bagel". There is much debate and scrutiny over this carbohydrated creature, but the truth is the best bagels are bagels from the East Coast. Many have spent hours, perhaps even years, researching and researching the science behind the bagel and the truth's all about the water.
What your eyes are feasting on in the picture is an "The Works", the perfect culmination of salt, sesame, garlic, poppy seed, onion and plain all wrapped into this beautfil piece of bagel art. Toasted or untoasted, the delicate, chewy crumb of this bagel requires a spread of whipped cream cheese and a couple of pieces of smoked, cured salmon a.k.a. lox. However you top your bagel is your choosing, but if you're ever on the East Coast, make sure you try this phenomenon. The truth shall set you free.

Monday, September 22, 2008


The night before I headed to Washington state to visit my mom and stepdad I made chicken enchiladas. As I was planning my meals for the week, I had this major craving for enchiladas. It was as if the enchilada mummy awoke from its deep slumber and attacked my taste buds! When this craving beckons, I heed it's call! Years ago I pulled an enchilada recipe off the Food Network and ever since it's been my "go to" recipe for enchiladas. Of course it calls for making a red sauce which as far as I am concerned is the deciding factor in a dish of enchiladas. This particular recipe calls for New Mexican chile powder - its flavors yield a very mild, smoky and complex chile. Though enchiladas require some leg work, it if definitely worth the time invested. But doesn't anything good in this life require investment?

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I have some very exciting news to share with you dear readers! I have accepted an offer to write restaurant reviews for a local free magazine here in Fort Wayne called Whatzup. This is literally a DREAM COME TRUE!!! I am so excited. Keep your eyes open, my first review will be published in the October 9th edition! Even if you're not in Fort Wayne, you will be able to view the magazine online, it's published on a weekly basis (every Thursday). I will be one of the featured columnists once or twice a month. I will make an effort to post the reviews here as well.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


On a recent trip to NYC to attend a Yankee's game with my dad, we jetted over to Lupa for a late lunch. Dad and I have been long time (okay perhaps semi-addicted) Food Network junkies. Over the years, we have gained appreciation for certain celebrity chefs and have had the privilege of visiting a few of their restaurants. We have visited Emeril's (fish house in Vegas), Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill in Vegas and Emeril's Delmonico's Steakhouse in Vegas. This time we visited Lupa, one of the many restaurants Mario Batali is a owner of and Lupa's focus is Roman cuisine, served familia-style. Located in the "Village" (Greenwich Village, for those who aren't so hip to the NYC lingo), Lupa is a small restaurant fitted with heavy wooden tables and a beautiful bar encased with blood red bricks. The menu offers a nice selection of antipasto, salads, soups, pasta courses and main courses including steaks, fish of the day, veal, chicken and pork.

Our neighbor seduced us with ordering the "special" appetizer - prosciutto croquettes. Spinach, ricotta encrusted with deep fried salty prosciutto, laid on a dot of spicy tomato sauce. They were to die for, I could've eaten a bowl of those little suckers. We shared the ricotta gnocchi with mild sausage, tagliatelle with chicken and olives and saltimbucco (a slab of pounded veal with a prosciutto and sage crust). The gnocchi was out of this world - they were like little pillows in my mouth, light, feather-like. Simply scrumptious. The saltimbucco was tasty, the warmth of the sage and the saltiness of the prosciutto complimented one another and the taglieatelle was simple and fresh.

One thing my dad and I noticed throughout all the dishes was attention to the simplicity of the flavors - the chef really let the ingredients speak for themselves. It was almost as if, they were restraining themselves from "showing off". Often Italian restaurants attempt to satisfy diners with exuberant, complex sauces and it was a pleasant surprise to enjoy not only the simplicity of the sauces but the divinity of homemade pastas.

Of course, then there was the dessert menu. Repeatedly, we saw the same dessert coming out of the kitchen, Lupa Tartufo (truffle). Dad ordered that one and I ordered the Black Pepper Panna Cotta with Stone Fruit. Now here's the catch, now I know why everyone in that stinkin' restaurant ordered the huge chocolate truffle sitting on a warm chocolate sauce, because it was so delicious and yet wasn't overwhemlingly rich. Inside its shell, there was ice cream, hazelnuts, truffle and cherries. You should probably wipe your mouth right about now. The panna cotta was creamy and spicy, very refreshing. Lupa was a real treat, I look forward to visiting some of the other restaurants Batali is affiliated day.

Friday, September 5, 2008

the island life.

So I am settling back in my Midwest habitat after a relaxing and enjoyable week's vacation visiting my mom and stepdad in Whidbey Island, Washington. We visited two wonderful farmer's markets while there and I whipped up a batch of late summer squash soup for my mom. The pics above show some of the lovely produce and flowers available for sale at the markets. We also played with my mom's puppies, Vallyn and Trey, and I learned how to sew! I made two pillows!!! We also painted ceramics, saw Mamma Mia, went to flea markets, toodled around Queen Anne's district and Ballard in Seattle, oh what fun! Of course, I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies and Getrude Armstrong Cake for my stepdad. It was a wonderful time and I wish I lived closer to my mom, she's a joy to be around. My boyfriend caught a sinus infection, so last night I made some matzo ball soup for him, it was comforting and soothing, a sign of the cooler weather and heartier meals to come as fall beckons.