Potato Torte and Strawberry Granita

Potato Torte
Potato Torte

For the first time yesterday I made a pastry crust! Last night’s dinner was a potato torte with cream (infused with thyme), Gruyere cheese, bacon, and pastry crust. Might I add that the crust has 2 sticks of butter in it! I felt really guilty but once we took our first bite, that guilt washed away. It was amazing! So, we didn’t eat the WHOLE thing, but we ate about 3/4 of it. How sick is that? It was so easy to eat. It seems like it would taste so heavy that you could only have a little, but the crust was so light and flaky and there is honestly not that much cream and cheese in the entire thing. Did you notice the cute “U” for “Urmos” I put in there as the vent holes for it? That keeps too much steam from building up inside the torte which would cause the crust to be soggy.

Plus, does it make us look any better that we didn’t eat the out crust of our slices of torte? And does it make it even that much better to know we had a big salad with it? Well, whatever, it made ME feel better. So that’s all that matters right?

Strawberry Granita
Strawberry Granita

And for dessert (yes I said dessert). Yes, we were able to cram even more food down our throats after that. I had made a strawberry granita earlier that day and put it in the freezer. The granita has a little mascarpone in it and is infused with mint. This is something I’ve made many times. It’s so easy and so refreshing.I’d highly recommend it…especially in the hot weather months.

Note to all, at 9:26am this monday morning, I am FINALLY feeling the fullness I should have felt last night. Ugh. Hopefully that will pass. Some exercise will definitely be in order today…but seriously, in the end, I have no regrets. Every bite was worth it and tasted just as good as the bite before.

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Imperial Koi – Greensboro, NC

Not having access to really fresh sushi and sashimi is a pain I deal with living inland. Nothing compares to sushi so fresh you can taste the sea it came from. So when a new sushi place opens up I get excited and hopeful that this may be the link to that freshness.

When you walk into Imperial Koi it feels clean and formal. The service is top notch, they are very attentive to you all night, not letting a glass go empty and making sure that “everything is wonderful”.

Lina and I went with a group of friends so I got to see alot of different dishes. The menu had a good selection of starters, entrees, and sushi. I started off with some nigori sake which came in a small glass with a stick of cucumber. For starters I got the seaweed salad which was a nice start to the meal, simple and clean.Lina got the Simple Salad which was mixed greens (not iceberg), wontons, and orange segments. The dressing was a ginger dressing. Very nice salad.


For my entree I needed to try the sushi so i ordered ala carte. Tuna, salmon, white tuna, sea urchin, and a spicy tuna roll.

The plate came out simple and clean. What I was looking for was freshness of the fish. All the sushi was quite good as a whole which is hard to find here. Between the tuna, salmon, and white tuna nothing stood out but were all great pieces of fish. The sea urchin was delicious, this is one of my favorites and this one was awesome. But the highlight of the night for me was the spicy tuna roll! I usually don’t order this roll but I wanted to see the execution. This roll had great texture, the spicy tuna mixture had a little kick and did not have too much mayo. This roll was outstanding.

My wife ordered sweet potato tempura roll, eel sushi, and shrimp and cucumber roll. Everything was good but the highlight was the sweet potato tempura roll, it was an interesting twist on a roll and the sweetness of the potato played nicely with the saltiness of the soy sauce.


And finally for desert we got the chocolate banana spring roll with vanilla ice cream. This was nice end to the meal as the portion was perfect and the flavors were well balanced.


I would definitely recommend this place to anyone looking for fresh sushi, great service, and an awesome spicy tuna roll!

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French Toast with Sauteed Figs

Mmmm…breakfast this morning. French toast with sauteed figs.

We went the slightly healthier route by using whole wheat bread. Very simple and basic recipe. Bread soaked in a mixture of eggs, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. For the topping – we sliced the figs in half, sauteed them in a teaspoon of butter on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Topped the french toast with the figs and a little maple syrup. Delish.

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Revolution – Durham, NC

A couple of weeks ago Mark and I went to Revolution for dinner before checking out a show at the DPAC. We were beyond impressed. The decor was our first “entree” so to speak. Really hip and clean looking. We never had a water glass that went below half full before it was refilled. The bread was delicious.
We started out with an appetizer of prosciutto, arugula, parm, and preserved orange. The orange didn’t quite “fit” for me, but otherwise it was really good. A good clean start to the meal that prepped us for what was to come.

Mark opted to get two appetizers for his main course. Above is a photo of the foie gras BLT made up of foie, serrano ham, arugula, and tomato. He quite enjoyed it. It’s a very rich appetizer but he seemed to love it. For me, it was too rich but I just can’t seem to appreciate foie the way many foodies do. Oh well. I keep trying.

He also ordered the Korean BBQ Short Ribs with kimchee. He’s a big kimchee lover so this was also a winner with him.

Now for my dish. I ordered the seafood paella and it was TOO DIE FOR. Such a lovely sauce. It’s not your classic paella but they did a really good job with it. Each mussel and clam had a bit of rice and vegetables in with it. It was a really neat way to serve paella.

By the end of the meal, we were so full from the food, the bread, the beer (mine non-alcoholic of course…being preggers and all). So we went for an espresso. It was so delicious and I just loved the added touch of the biscotti that was served with it. Those details truly do make a difference.

I would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone. They push the envelope more than they do here in Greensboro. Check it out….Their website is: www.revolutionrestaurant.com

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Salvino’s – Greensboro, NC

Last weekend we went to Salvino’s…my favorite Italian restaurant in Greensboro. They (by far) surpass any other Italian restaurant I’ve been to in the area. The food is perfectly flavored and salted. And the portions are fairly large so you definitely get your money’s worth.


The last meal I had was a linguini with scallops, shrimp, lobster, sundried tomatoes, and scallions in a “rose” sauce (which is a mix of marina and cream). It was delicious. They have the best scallops I’ve ever had around here. There is no fishiness to them at all. My only issue is that there was a little to much sauce for me. But that’s easily resolved by just asking them to go light on the sauce next.

My husband got their classic lasagna Bolognese. He loved it and ate it all! I tried it and it was definitely delish.

So, we would highly recommend this restaurant. The service has also always been great. And fyi, you can’t make reservations there and need to have your entire party there before you get seated.

Their website is: http://www.salvino-restaurant.com

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Chicken and Potato Hash

Strangely, this is the second Guy Fieri recipe I’m trying this week…and I’ve only ever tried one other recipe of his before in the past.

This was ok. I’m usually more of a white meat girl, but used the chicken thighs this time for a change. This is one of those meals that’s great to make when you don’t know what to make and you just toss in a bunch of things you already have lying around your kitchen. A good “standby” dish. We just paired it with a spinach salad. Overall, a fairly healthy meal (minus the dark meat). Oh, and he called for Queso Fresco. Well, I’m not supposed to eat that kind of cheese while I’m pregnant (unfortunately because it’s so good!). So, I used Ricotta Salata instead. This is the first time I’ve tried this cheese. After years of watching Giada De Laurentis, I figured it was about time. I have to say, I wasn’t very impressed with it. Not sure if I’d use it again…

So, ingredients I used are chicken thighs, small red potatoes, red onion, green and red bell peppers, jalepeno pepper, beer, salt, pepper…I think that’s it?

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Asian noodles and salmon…home cookin’

I’m going to try and start blogging about the yummy dishes we make at home. Yesterday I made an asian noodle salad (inspired by a Guy Fieri recipe) and baked salmon.


The salad consisted of soba noodles (made of buckwheat), napa cabbage, red bell peppers, carrots, celery, cilantro, soy sauce, olive oil, hoisin, sriracha, sesame oil, lemon juice, slivered almonds, sesame seeds, and rice wine vinegar. Really good. I thought salmon would go well with this kind of dish, as it usually fits well with asian inspired meals. All I did was put a little salt, pepper, and olive oil on the salmon and bake it in the oven at 375 for about 25 minutes. The entire dish came together really well…AND we have noodle salad left over to eat with our hot dogs (organic turkey) tonight.

I won’t blog about tonight’s dinner because honestly how much can you say about hot dogs? They’ll be on whole wheat buns and be topped with veggie chili and slaw I picked up from Cincy’s today.

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La Torre de Escorial (Barcelona)

In search of the Calcot….

Day Two. A day of Gaudi, great weather, and a suprising little restaurant called La Torre de Escorial. We were lucky that it was calcots season when we went, and also lucky that the concierge knew of this place.


Calcots are white onions replanted, left for several months to sprout up through the soil. They are then grilled and dipped in romesco sauce. After seeing Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia and La Predrera we were ready for lunch. It was on the way to Park Guell which made it convienient.

So we take our seat and see the fixed price meal which includes a whole bottle of wine. This seemed like the best option considering the whole menu was in Catalan. The appetizer was bread rubbed with tomato and drizzled with olive oil. This is a very popular way to eat bread in Spain and is a wonderful change from the typical bread and butter.


Next up was the first course, the calcots.

Now eating these wonderful onions is serious business. There are the gloves and the bib. (we didnt use the bib)

 

The peeling. You have to peel off the outer layer to get to the middle onion. These can be hot so you have to be quick.

 

The dipping. You then dip them in the romesco sauce which is tomato based sauce with garlic, almonds, hazlenuts, chile, and red wine.


The tilting of the head. You then tilt your head back to lower the calcot in.


And then the consumption. Ahhh, this is why you come to Barcelona!! Now drink some red wine and repeat.

The third course came and was aplate of different meats. We had pork, chorizo, rabbit, chicken, and a grilled potato. Simple flavors but perfectly cooked.


Then the desert was Crema Catalana which was a delicious custard with torched sugar on top.

This was one of our true Catalan dining experiences with traditional Catalan cuisine and a cozy local feel. If you are in Barcelona during calcots season be sure to seek this place out.

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Bar Inopia (Barcelona)


We heard about Bar Inopia before traveling to Barcelona. Inopia is an innovative tapas restaurant and is owned by Albert Adria, brother of Feran Adria who owns El Bulli (which is outside of Barcelona and considered the most famous restaurant in the world). We went there our first night in Barcelona and had an amazing meal. Not only was food great, but this is where we met a great group of people (from Chicago but now living in Barcelona), who showed us some great spots in the city a few days later.

We started off our meal with chicharones (pork rinds), mixture of olives, and anchovies with white vinegar and olive oil. If anchovies tasted the way they did in Barcelona, we would be eating a lot more of them in the States. There was none of that oversalted, brown, canned fish. This tasted as if it were just caught and filleted that day. Oh, and the olives were not like the canned variety you buy here…they had the perfect amount of salt and didn’t need any seasonings to mask their intense flavors. Our favorite was the larger green olive called the Manzanilla olive.

Next up, fried artichokes. These were not of the canned variety. These were freshly peeled, battered, and fried artichokes with a sprinkle of salt on top. They didn’t need any dips or sauces, the flavors were amazing as it was. And now comes the Batatas Bravas. Now we’re talking fried goodness! It’s hard to relay how fried potatoes can taste so good…but these were not even your typical batatas bravas — medium cut potato pieces, deep fried, topped with a red sauce and a sort of sour cream.

The ham croquettas were smooth, yummy, oozy pieces of lusciousness. The fried sardines were pretty good. Not life changing, but good.

Onto dessert…the pineapple with molasses and lime zest was a surprising treat for the palate. Usually I want my chocolate, but this made me forget that. So refreshing with a touch of sweetness to balance out the tartness of the pineapple. We also enjoyed a cortado and almond cake
(which was delicious as well).

Overall, Inopia is a place you want to visit when you go to Barcelona. It’s hip, frequented by tourists and locals alike…be prepared to wait outside for a spot…

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Pinotxo Bar (Barcelona)

Barcelona : 10:00 AM

We took a cab from the airport, checked in to our hotel, threw our bags in the room, and then hit Las Rambla. A couple blocks down was the famous Mercat de la Boqueria where we were looking for some coffee and some food. When you enter La Boqueria you are hit with meat, fruits, tourist taking photos and then Pinotxo Bar where you can start your day right with a glass of cava and a chu chu, and thats what we did. (and then some…)

So as we sit down at the bar we are greeted by Juanito the owner and order two cafe con leches. As we try to decide what we want first Juanito picks up a Xu Xu (Chu Chu) and gives a thumbs up. This pastry was delicious, fried dough with custard in the middle. It was the best pastry we had in Barcelona.

The bar was getting crowded and the staff moved in and out of their small space with ease. They were cooking up calamari, chick peas, lamb stew, and various seafoods. It was time for us to get the next course. Dos copas des cava por favor!!

With cava in hand we are ready for the real stuff. Looking overwhemled Juanito comes to the rescue with suggestions of seafood and meat dishes.

We had heard of the fresh seafood of Barcelona and Juanito recommended the large shrimp and some of the lamb stew.

They grilled the shrimp whole and sprinkled salt on them. They tasted like the sea. We also had seen Bourdain suck the the brains so here was our chance to experience that type of food ecstasy moment. It was briny and salty, full of flavor.

We came back 3 more times to Pinotxo Bar mainly for cortados and xu xus, but we did try another special which were the chick peas. Cooked in oil and mixed with onions, raisins, and pine nuts, this was one of the tastiest dishes we had in Barcelona.

If you get a chance to experience this bar, please do. Everyone from tourists to locals eat here and there is a good reason for it. The food and drink are delicious and the atmosphere gives it that extra charm.

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