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Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Sunshine of My Morning

I want to introduce you all to the woman who, each day, brings me and all of my quirkiness to life...the Starbucks Mermaid.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fat Free and Suck Full

I was perusing through Trader Joe's today (yes, I is a little hippie, but they have good, cheap wine and amazing food...SHOP THERE) and I was having a hard time finding regular, full o' fat sour cream.  I found it, but it got me thinking.  There are certain things in life that are not meant to be low fat or fat free.  Let's do a list.
  1. Ice Cream - There is "cream" in the name.  Low fat ice cream sucks. sucks.  I am a huge advocate of healthy, delicious, fresh food, but ice CREAM is not that.  If you are dieting or trying to watch your weight (and I support each and every person out there attempting to live a healthier life) eat two tablespoons of real, decadent ice cream instead of the cup of low fat crap. You will thank me, and be less resentful to your diet.
  2. Mayonnaise - What on God's green earth is fat free mayonnaise?  Mayo has three ingredients. Eggs, oil and vinegar.  You CANNOT have fat free mayonnaise.  It might be something else, but it is NOT mayo. And, it also sucks. Dieting? Suck it up and choose one of the 400 types of wonderful mustard for your sandwich. Or...
    1.  Take a small piece of your dry sandwich, put mayo on it.  Put a fantastic mustard on the rest.  Eat the mustard-y sandwich and save that amazing mayo-y part for the last, wonderful bite.
  3. Cheese - Again, fat free cheese is awful.  The one thing that goes best with wine is cheese.  So, if you disgrace cheese by removing anything about it (in this case, fat) you are disgracing wine.  I am angry just thinking about that.  If you have only had the cheese that you get in the refrigerated case of the grocery store next to the pickles, you are missing out on an incredible piece of life.  Eat a good smoked gouda, a Humbolt Fog,a Point Reyes Bleu, a sharp cheddar, and a list that goes on and on.  Take chevre, drizzle honey on it and a (SLIGHT) sprinkle of truffle salt, bake and spread on a french baguette. Once again, you are welcome.  If you are dieting, order everything without cheese.  Instead, have two or three bites of really great cheese.
  4. Half and Half - Brittney, I love you more than I could ever, ever express in words, but Fat Free Half and Half does not exist.  Let's begin with what half and half is.  It is half milk and half CREAM.  There is no such thing as fat free cream.  Therefore.......WTH?  According to Rob, it is harder to understand than "Inception".  Cream has fat, so if you have fat free cream, it is NOT cream.  If you are dieting, have fat free milk in your coffee.  At least it is honest about what it is.
Wow...I am pretty much a good Samaritan tonight.  Not only have I saved you all from the dumpster fire that is "fat free" food but I have ALSO given you tips on how to enjoy the foods you love and still stay healthy. 

Food should be enjoyed and celebrated.  Have a beautiful and delicious night!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ode to Costco Cake

To be honest, I have no idea how to write an ode and I have no interest in learning.
(Rob, this means I do not need you to google it and then make me listen to its origins on our next car ride together.) 

So, really, this is going to be a rambling on the awesomeness of Costco sheet cake.

Lets go through the list of required attributes a cake must possess to be considered awesome.
  1. Size - My mom always said that too much of anything was not good for you.  This does not apply to cake.  Much like everything at Costco, the cake is huge.
  2. Flavor - You can have the most beautiful cake in the world, but if it tastes like crap, you have a beautiful piece of crap.  Costco cake is simply delicious.  Rob said it best today when he said their vanilla filling tastes like smooth vanilla cake batter.  He was quick to explain that in no way should his comment be taken as an insult.
  3. Frosting - Buttercream.  Do not try and argue with me on this one. And do not try to gross me out by asking me (as my wedding cake lady did), "So, you literally want a glob of butter and sugar on your cake?" Because, yes I do, and now you have just turned me on a little bit. 
Now let's go through the things that make a cake suck.
  1. Whipped cream "frosting" is not frosting. It is whipped cream and belongs on fresh fruit or pumpkin pie.
  2. Fresh fruit by itself is not a cake filling.  Don't try to "healthy up" something that is clearly made for indulgence.
  3. Fondant.  As much as I admire the beautiful creations that fondant creates, it sucks.  My sister, one of the most amazing bakers I know, has to begrudgingly use fondant when people, who think it is more important for food to be pretty than taste good, insist she cover her delicious cakes in the chewy, sugary, play-dough like substance.  Fondant has ruined cake.
So, unless you are lucky enough to be able to call my sister and have a cake made whenever you want, the next best thing you can do is go to Costco, pick up one of their sheet cakes, go home and  mow that bad boy down.  (And if I have to remind you that cake is fattening and that if you eat a lot of it all the time and do no physical activity that you will get fat, then click the little red "x" in the top right corner of your computer screen because you are dumb and I am not allowing you to be a part of the the Cool Kids Club that is this blog.)

Happy Birthday to one of most favorite people in the world, my dear (and radically talented) friend, Sharon!  Thank you for sharing your Costco cake with me today!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Closest To My Heart

If you are ever in Alexandria, VA, or even within two hours of, there is only one thing that you need do.  Eat at Daniel O'Connell's. 

This restaurant has been the place of two very meaningful nights in my life.  The first night was a dinner with my husband and my amazing parents-in law as we celebrated spending the week together in our nation's capital before we received news that changed all of our lives.  Today, as I do always, I remember the beautiful, selfless and hilarious Nadine Smith, my husbands (and my) Nana.  The second night was a dinner with my daughter, my sister, my coworker and my boss to celebrate my husband being admitted into the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States of America.  Needless to say, this place has a special place in my heart. 

And, oh, the fabulousness of the restaurant.  O'Connells (or as Rob calls it, Seamus McDougals), is filled with vibrant life, fantastic food and vintage soul.  The entire restaurant is furnished with items from salvaged old ships and churches.  The first night we sat at a table that was placed on the bow of an old ship and Rob and I sat in an old church pew.  We had filet mignon and shepards pie while the folks in the bar were "Irish" drunk and wonderfully loud.  I strive for that every night.

Then we had dessert.  There were s'mores.  At our table.  S'mores.  Hershey's chocolate bars, Reses' Peanut Butter cups, marshmallows, graham crackers and a sterno.  All the wonderfulness of camping without all the suckiness of camping.  Perfection.  Add blueberry bread pudding.  Hold on...I need a moment.

Daniel O'Connells means the world to me.  As much as I love food, there is nothing better than the experience it brings with it.  Tonight, I wish all of you the love of food! 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Chocolate Bouchon

Yountville = Bouchon.  Bouchon = Bouchon Bakery.  Bouchon Bakery = Chocolate Bouchons.  Thank you, Thomas Keller.

These tiny chocolatey morsels are, and I am almost 97.6% sure, the closest you can get to heaven here on earth.  I even mentioned something about bathing in a tub full of them today.  To be fair, I had just wine tasted at Alpha Omega, but we all know that I am much more clearheaded once I have had wine. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Best of...Fast Food

It is time for all of us to get off of our high horses of food snobbery and stop acting like fast food is not amazing.  Seriously, stop.  So, here is my list of the best of...Fast Food restaurants.

There is nothing better, and I might even be referring to food as a whole, than an In-N-Out animal style cheeseburger, fries well done and a Diet Coke.  Again, please refer to the basic facts about food that state that Diet Coke is better than Diet Pepsi.  Even Thomas Keller agrees with me. (I am not sure how you cite a reference, but see GQ's issue regarding Fast Food.)  And if you argue with Thomas Keller, well, that is just dumb.

One word.  Chipotle.   (Quinonez, stop.  BF is not better.)  Fresh, delicious and fast food.  It is literally what all fast food should be.  More importantly, the have cilantro lime rice.  Not to be dramatic, because Lord knows I don't have a flair for the dramatic, but I would literally eat cilantro by itself.  But you add it to rice (ohhhhhh, did I not mention that I am obsessed with all things carbohydrate filled?  In due time) and I am in love.  And the carnitas...oh, the carnitas.  Eat at Chipotle.

Chicken Sandwhich
Although Rob would disagree, the Burger King Tender Crisp chicken sandwhich cannot be beat. He claims that Chick-Fil-A is the best.  I will give that sandwich its due respect, but I am unable to give it the crown of "Best".  Did anyone get the pun? Crown...Burger  The perfect chicken sandwich must have mayo.  Duh.

Fresno = DaVinci's
San Luis Obispo = Fattes
Washington DC - Pizza Mart (TOTALLY worth the $13 cab fare to get there)

Chicken Nuggets
I am not sure if this is sad or amazing, but my comfort food, whether it be the flu or a hangover, is McDonald's Chicken McNuggets.  I was sad when they switched to all-white meat, as the only good thing about poultry is the dark meat, but I have adjusted.

Once again, McDonalds takes the trophy.  And for all of you vegetarian/vegan/organic hippies that have eaten their fries, they are made with beef stock.  Suck it.  When they are freshly fried, to the perfect crispiness, they cannot be beat. 

So, go out, enjoy fast food.  As a reminder, fast food is not good for you.  Do not eat it everyday and then blame the restaurants that you have gained weight.  Eat it sparingly, but enjoy each and every one of those sparse bites.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Some Basic (Scientific) Facts

I will begin this with the utmost basic facts about food. 

Diet Coke is better than Diet Pepsi.

Truffle oil is overrated and totally overused by restaurants that want to appear expensive.

Even gross food is good when deep fried.  Example?  Sure...zucchini.

Digestivos really do work.  Drink Lemoncello after dinner.  You will be much happier.

Coffee is one of the best things ever created.  Good coffee (and I mean good coffee), not only makes your morning brighter but can awaken every one of your senses.

There is a wine that compliments every type of food.  You will hear quite a bit more about this.

Ranch salad dressing is not all the same.  Two of the best are Firestone Grill in SLO (AKA Doghouse grill in Fresno) and Castillo's in Fresno.  You're welcome.

Fresh fruit and vegetables, bought from local farmers, is one of the most refershing experiences you will ever have.  Shop at local farmers markets.  Support restaurants and grocery stores that buy from local farms. Support your community.

Bread and butter.  Olive oil and balsamic vinegar is great, but there is nothing better than a fantastic bread and butter.  And while on the topic, if you give me unsalted butter, you better give me a great salt to add to it.

Salt is not "just salt".  Use good will make your food better.

There are many more facts about food I have, but I don't want to overload you with all of the awesomeness at once.  It could be a little overwhelming. 

Stay tuned for restaurant critiques, "best of's" and generally amazing comments from someone clearly qualified to blog about food.