Wednesday, March 30, 2011

San Fran Sourdough

I heart sourdough bread. I salivate just thinking about a slice of sourdough smeared generously with butter - real butter, not margarine. I am particular about this combination. The sour of the bread with the salty and creaminess of the butter make me very happy. Much to my delight, I have a mother-in-law who thoughtfully brings me a loaf each time she frequents San Fran. Makes my taste buds happy every time!
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Urbanspoon coolness

Apron Strings and Foodie Things Denver restaurants

My blog is now a featured blog on Urbanspoon! This is especially exciting to me because I think Urbanspoon is great. It's my go-to site for getting the scoop on restaurants I want to try. How cool is that?!
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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Dine & Dish: Zink Kitchen + Bar

During the food lovers’ bliss that is Restaurant Week, we dined at Zink Kitchen + Bar where the menu features American fare with a modern twist.

To begin the multi-course meal, we tasted the Oyster and Sunchoke Chowder, Stuffed Piquillo Peppers, and Lobster & Shrimp Enchiladas. The chowder was served hot and the smokiness of the bacon crumbles blended nicely with the mild artichoke flavor of a sunchoke. The peppers were vibrantly red and stuffed with a creamy blend of Manchego cheese and chorizo. The favorite appetizer was the generously portioned enchiladas. In this dish, avocado, chipotle cream and lobster combined into a velvety bite that successfully managed to stay on the enjoyable side of the satisfyingly-rich vs. overly-indulgent flavor scale.

For our entrees, we ordered the Beef Cheek Pan Stew and Crisp Skin Suckling Pig. Speaking of teetering on the side of overly-indulgent, I should’ve known that the actual beef cheek would be too heavy for me to enjoy. The dish did win me over, however, with its broth and braised veggies that satisfied every bit of my craving for comfort food. The Suckling Pig was flavorful in its own right, but the real star of the dish was the creamed corn pudding cake. This entrée accompaniment struck a divine balance of sweet and savory and melted in the mouth. May I have another, please?

For dessert, we tasted the Turtle Crème Brulee and Banana Cream Hand Pie. As the names suggest, the desserts were inventive and clever twists from the more traditional variety. The brulee was layered on top of chocolate cake and the favorite part of a brulee - the burnt sugar top - was enhanced with the additional crunch of candied pecans. Also with a twist, the cream of the banana pie was rolled up - almost eggroll style - in a pie crust and rested on a perfectly caramelized banana.

I cannot in good D&D conscious end my review without mention of the location of Zink Kitchen … Being in a general chain hotel, the location is not one which I find appealing. Upon entering the restaurant, one must first ignore the restaurant’s proximity to the hotel swimming pool and the unappetizing aroma of chlorine. Once seated in a table, the décor is standard and the atmosphere tolerable enough to enjoy one’s meal.

Bottom line on Zink Kitchen + Bar: If you can get over the location, the menu and attentive service are worth a try.

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Zink Kitchen + Bar

Zink Kitchen on Urbanspoon
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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patty’s Day!

Cheers to green beer!

Now, if I could just get some corned beef and cabbage…
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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Dine & Dish: The Squeaky Bean

I’ve been posed with a bit of a D&D dilemma. To post or not to post this restaurant review? I like to think of my blog as a happy one. Hence, I prefer to post dining experiences I enjoy. On this particular occasion I was seriously disappointed. But after consideration, I’ve decided maybe that’s worth sharing too. So here goes…

With a recommendation to try this quaint neighborhood restaurant, we went to The Squeaky Bean. Sitting at the bar, I took in the playfulness of the wall décor. Playful seemed to be a theme of the restaurant - of which I loved. Food can be fun! And The Squeaky Bean knows how to make it so.

When my wine was poured from a beaker into the wine glass, I was eager for our small plate order. The Veggie Fondue came out and made me laugh. It looked like vegetable lollipops. I loved the presentation! Unfortunately, what it gained in presentation it lacked in flavor as the dipping sauce was full of air and light on the creaminess you so hope for in a fondue dipping sauce.

Still appreciating the playfulness of the food, I had high hopes when ordering our entrees. We ordered Croque Madame and the Seared Hiramasa. At first bite, the Croque Madame was rich with flavor and melted warmly in my mouth. But with each bite, the richness of the dish took over and it became so heavy on the tongue that it was eventually pushed aside. The Seared Hiramasa was served with the pouring of a tomato broth around the fish and perfectly braised leeks. As I took my first bite, I wondered: Was the broth supposed to be warm or dare I say hot? Sadly, it was cold. Again, the presentation was appealing and each of the individual elements on the plate were nice enough but the overall entrée was one note on the texture front. All it needed was a little diversity of texture and it would have been a successful dish.

Final word on The Squeaky Bean: Playful presentation that fails to deliver on flavor. So sad.

Need a bigger helping?:
The Squeaky Bean

The Squeaky Bean on Urbanspoon
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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

After a leisurely morning of watching The Food Network, I was inspired to put on my apron and get cooking. (Before I say more, it should be known that many a time watching cooking shows results in absolutely no activity in my own kitchen.) This time, I decided to try something I’d never attempted before - Pulled pork sandwiches!

While I mixed together the spices for the dry rub, I tried to figure out a way to make the recipe slightly healthier. Then, after diligently trimming the fat from the cut of meat, I realized that was all I could do in the way of making it a lighter version. What was eventually dished onto my plate was an indulgent BBQ pulled pork sandwich with the confirmation that slow cooking builds an unmatched depth of flavor.

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Pulled Pork Recipe
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Saturday, March 5, 2011

I’ll have the fillet

For a celebration dinner, I typically want to go out. I love the whole experience of dining out – the food, ambiance and the buzz of restaurant activity. But on this particular celebratory night, my husband suggested we dine in. I loved his idea of cooking together. So it was with a little Van Morrison playing in the background that we moved around the kitchen.

On the menu: Beef tenderloin fillets with blue cheese crumbles on top, grilled asparagus, and baked sweet potatoes
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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Dine & Dish: Street Kitchen Asian Bistro

With the tagline of “Have you eaten today?”, the menu at Street Kitchen Asian Bistro was inspired by the food offerings of street vendors in China, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. This recently opened restaurant is sister to locally known Parallel 17 of the Uptown neighborhood. We sampled the new fare during the buzz of restaurant week.

For starters, we tasted a sampling of Dim Sum - of which the Ginger Chicken Siu Mai and the Char Siu Pork Bun were the favorites. We also tried the Crab Rangoons and they were better than I’ve tasted elsewhere. Wondering what made them so tasty, I discovered that the crab filling had a hint of goat cheese that combined to make a surprising flavorful creation.

Next, was the Tom Yum Kung soup. Oh, how I love thee. A friend recently introduced me to this soup and if you are a fan of coconut, you will love it! And the Street Kitchen version did not disappoint. We then moved on to our entrée selections of Char Kuey Teow and Pad Thai both of which were as we expected but still tasty and quite hearty.

For dessert, we had the Thai Banana Fritters and they were delightful. The highlight of the dessert was the combination of the banana with the warm, buttery caramel drizzled on the plate. As you can imagine, it was with full bellies and to-go boxes in tow that we left this new Asian fare restaurant.

A note about the Restaurant Week offerings at Street Kitchen: Everything we sampled is on their regular menu as well. It’s nice to know I can order my favorites again next time.

Need a bigger helping?:
Street Kitchen Asian Bistro

Street Kitchen Asian Bistro on Urbanspoon
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