Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wendy's, Panara....etc...

Panera I love thee....but your website sux... the food DOES NOT. I do not have one of these places over where I live, therefore I have to celebrate it when I am home in Charleston by patronizing the location in Summerville, Sc.

On the Saturday morning I stopped there on my way out of town, t hey had a bunch of youngins working in there (read nonchalant teenagers). The menu has so many fabulous choices in the sandwich dept. that it was hard to make a choice. I did, however choose :

Turkey Artichoke
on Focaccia
Smoked turkey, spinach artichoke
spread, Asiago-Parmesan, tomatoes
& caramelized onions
This panini delivered. Completely. I loved it. The flavors were so perfect, nothing about it was wrong, well, except the choice of sides. Don't get me wrong, I totally get the "new age fancy sammich eater" thing, and no, fries should not be served with this sandwich. I have no clue what would have been a good accompaniment but I know it wasn't in the offerings they had there - a hunk of bread, an apple, and god knows what else- they lost me at apple. Here though, is the official listing from their menu of sides:

• Portion of French Baguette
• Portion of Whole Grain Baguette
• Kettle-Cooked or Baked Chips
• Apple
The chips may have been good, but the girl mumbled so I got a french baguette, which was, by the way freakin awesome- I am after all, a bread addict. The chips may have been good too though. When I pulled around, it was like a junior breadmakers of America camp meeting. They teens were all piled up against the counters. They glanced at the window and sent one over to get my money and then went back to it until I interrupted them again by having one sent over to deliver my food. Nonetheless, Panera Bread----loves it!
Wendy's. Normally, there are only certain things I eat from these fast food places. For example - McDonalds - only their coke, iced mocha, McRib, hashbrowns and occasionally yogurt parfait. Wendy's honey bbq boneless ribs and fries. Only. Oh and coke. They are 2nd behind McDonalds for good soda.
I was due to go to a luncheon today for my Social Worker's Association. The traffic was horrendous because of some construction, so I whipped around and decided to try something different at Wendy's. The apple pecan salad is now my 2nd fave thing to eat there. It has craisins, apples, blue cheese, grilled chicken and a to-die-4 pomegranate dressing. I liked it so much, I will probably have it for dinner tonite. That dressing is probably the best I have had in a while- and sort of "fancy-pants" - magazine food, my husband calls it- and straight up my ally!
Wendy's apple-pecan grilled chicken salad- Loves it!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

More on Stick Boy Bakery

My fave new place in town, god knows I'm a bread addict. I had heard the praises of the stuffing bread that they sell for the holidays, so I bought 3 loaves. 1 for a friend and 2 to take home for Thanksgiving. First bite- choking on sage. But I can kinda see how it might be just perfect for Turkey sandwiches. Or to break up and make the stuffing with. So, I decide to give it the benefit of the doubt and use it for all that. Well, it makes a very good stuffing. Seriously good. Doesn't need any spices added to it and craisins give it just the right balance. The 2nd loaf I used for turkey sandwiches. Well, lets just say it's better left to stuffing. I also saw the cranberry pecan pie they have to offer. The filling is more like a cranberry relish made into a pie, which I am kinda sure would be fabulous---thinking up that recipe as I write...but I like my pie better, because I offer the whole cranberries that can give you that tart bite against the immediate sweetness of the pie filling. Either way, can't beat Stick Boy Bread for the artisan fabulosity!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ruby Tuesdays

Well. I hafta say, I am surprised that Ruby Tuesdays is still going strong...or is it? Today is the first time I have been in RT for a while and now I remember why. My co-workers chose the place to eat today, being flexible like I am, I went.
Oh, where to begin....
The menu...what is up with that? is not the next best new thing. Crab/salmon cakes. When done well, the

y could be the star of the show, however, given the quality of the other food I saw today, well..I bet they are not. I didn 't want to risk $20 on crabcakes.

Premium sandwhichs. I chose the Turkey Avacodo burger. Previously when I had this at the RT in Fayetteville, it was good beyond words, today- not so much. In fact today, the only flavor I really tasted was mashed avacodo.

The salad bar was good tho.
Oh, and watch your change...apparently if you place it on the left they keep the change, if you place it on the right, you get change..who knew? It's like an unspoken, under the table, Mafia kinda tip. I would just rather say, "Keep the change" which is what I did. My other table guests fell victim to this new bill/wallet sort of change keeping shenanigans.

Overall, next time they say RT, I say TB (taco bell!)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Why I love the holidays

Cooking- I love it. Baking, I love it even more! However, I am just not a traditional person for the most part. So as I was sitting in my kitchen, looking at my fall ingredients, I was trying to think of something I could make for Thanksgiving dinner that would be very tasty yet different, but with traditional flavors.
Viola!! Cranberry-pecan pie!
I let my coworkers be my guinea pig and they all agree, this is the best every version of a different kinda pecan pie. This recipe is so simple it's ridiculous!!
1/4 cup melted butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups cranberries
1 cup pecans (or walnuts)
1 cup white chocolate chips (optional)
1 pie crust
Preheat oven 350 degrees. Mix first 5 ingredients. Add remaining. Mix well, but do not damage cranberries. Pour into unbaked pie crust. Bake 45 min. til set. Cool and serve with orange whipped cream (recipe follows)
Orange Whip Cream
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 tsp orange flavoring
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Mix liquids together first, then gradually add the powdered sugar. Whip with mixer until peaks form. Time will vary.
Serve immediately. Refrigerate unused portion.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Nonna's of Lillington

Overall, I don't have a problem with this place. The food is very reasonably priced and usually any pasta dish is spot on. The star of the pasta menu I would venture to say is the Putanesca. I know, anchovies, but do not scoff...explore the world with your taste buds, I promise if you are not deathly opposed to anchovies or are adventurous, you will definitely appreciate this journey! A+. The star of the pizza menu is the Sicilian supreme!

Now the appetizers- a different story. I think they are all frozen. The potato skins I had seriously were frozen (tasted just like the frozen Ruby Tuesday ones I make at home) but it had a half slice of American Cheese slapped on top. ewwww. They were reasonable about giving me a refund on it though.

The visit I made their just last week though was somewhat a disappointment. I got the Chicken vegetable soup and the chicken gyro. They do not offer a soup and sandwich menu, only soup and salad (oh and the salads are iceberg-minimal but the added onions and tomatoes make it a winner to me-the right light bite with the huge portions you get). The soup, which we waited 20 minutes on, while my companions had their food almost immediately, 20 min. into lunch and I was still waiting for both the soup and the gyro. Finally when it came, the soup was very bland. I'm not sure what the problem was really, as I had tasted it before when a friend ordered it and it was thick and hearty, this time it was thin and blah. The gyro- well, if it had cucumber sauce on it, I couldn't find any. And I love cucumber sauce. The chicken was ok. The meal overall was disappointing compared to everything else I'd ever had there.

I say Nonna's .....worth a visit. The pasta-never had a bad one from here and I've been working my way down the menu since they opened. Stay away from the potato skins. Oh and the Stromboli's are fabulous too! many good options that totally outweigh the negatives!

Monday, October 25, 2010

It's back....

and it is as kick-ass as ever...the McDonald's McRib. Now being that I am an avid patron of McD's for the Iced Mocha and their coke (best in town)...I rarely eat their food- hashbrowns or fries only - unless I'm truly starving, but you slap a McRib down in front of me and it-is-O-V-E-R!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sandra Lee- it has to be said...

Ok, let me get this out of the way first and foremost--Foodnetwork- my favorite channel with Bravo running a close 2nd.

God knows I love a cooking show...and an easy to do one, well that's even better. So I am in the kitchen, I'm there perpetually btw...and Home Made Easy is on. I am distracted by the pink and orange curtains, table stuff, food stuff, Sandra's outfit, towels, etc....and I am thinking it looks like a hot pink flamingo vomited oranges in there.

I just caught the tail end of it where she is making a whiskey cocktail that is---you guessed it-organe (oranges) and pink (cherry juice) and whiskey. It's for a tailgating party. Only when we are subjected to the tablescape :::cringe:::where there are children's favor. It is at this point we learn the tailgate is for a 6 year old little girls soccer game. Really?? Whiskey cocktails at a 6 year old's party?

Now before you say it..I know the cocktails are not for the children, but the idea of adults getting gollywhomped at a kids birthday party is just disturbing to me.

As disturbing as Sandra's matching clothes/curtains/tablecloths and all that crap on the tablecape..who wants to clean up all that crap??? Not me sister I tell ya...

but I do like some of her recipes.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

And so I'm back...

Been crazy busy for way too long..however, I am back and ready to blog:) Holla!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Gourmet--No way..part two

Being from Charleston, SC, I have been fortunate enough to sample many different types of cuisine, from Gullah to Israeli Mediterranean. I've experienced many types of bread-and yes, even ciabatta.

A couple of weeks ago, a new eatery opened up in Lillington. I am beginning to think maybe the building is why nothing is ever good in that place. First it was Iguana's then it changed and changed and changed again until it is the establishment that is there now...West Front Street Diner or Cafe or whatever it is called. It is located at 1 West Front Street-not that it matters. My co-workers and I decided to give it a try. The menu was 4 -6 pages on notebook paper. This may turn out to be the root of their problem. Nothing they specialize in, but everything to offer.

I for one was very excited when I saw a large selection of different gourmet type sandwiches, among other things, which actually may have ended up being the downfall. I settled on a Mediterranean grilled chicken sandwich. It described the sandwich as grilled chicken, feta cheese, olives, grilled onions and sauce. I was delighted! I chose ciabatta bread because it has always been really good in my opinion, with this type of combo.

My female co-worker ordered the Alfredo pasta sans chicken with garlic bread. My male co-worker ordered the french dip with aus jus.

We were very excited about an opportunity to have something besides fast food in this 1 sidewalk town. Oh. This disappointment.

Problem 1.

The aujus. The sandwich was like a footlong sub. The dip was about a quarter teaspoon. When my co-worker asked for more, it was ignored.

Problem 2.

Fettuccine Alfredo. Served with untoasted bread, with unmelted butter. When my coworker ask that it be heated, it was served back to her burnt.

Problem 3.

The Mediterranean grilled chicken sandwich. Where do I begin? First, I was brought the salad. When I informed the waitress I asked for the sandwich, she argued with me that I ordered the salad. Finally, she took it back and came back with a sandwich and fries that were literally on a saucer. The bread was so burnt around the edges it was inedible. The fries were the best thing about the meal. The grilled chicken was cold and mushy. The sauce had wilted the cucumber and the feta cheese was practically non existent. I chose not to eat it. I thought I would be polite and not complain being that I was with my coworkers and between me and another coworker that shall remain nameless, well, we are well known in this town!

When the waitress asked if I wanted a to go box, I told her no. She asked me what the problem was and I repeated what I just wrote. She proceeded to take my debit card and charge me. She must have had second thoughts because she brought the manager over. The manager looked like she just stepped out of Trading Spouses and was going to start yelling about tainted money. Between the 2 of them they decided I needed a refund. AT this point, my coworkers have left. While they waitress and manager are collaborating on a refund which took about 14 min. too long, the "chef" came out and proceeded to speak to me in such a condescending tone that I pulled the Charleston card on him. Now please, I do not hate Lillington, but let's face it, this town is not the mecca of variety. Therefore, when he lowered his voice, put together his hands and proceeded to define ciabatta bread, I had had all I could take. I informed him that he should not speak to me as if I were from Lillington. I was from Charleston, SC and I had probably seen more gourmet food in a week than he has seen in his lifetime. He then, not taking the hint, tried to define Greek to me. Why must I revisit the insult again. I then raised my voice and informed him that I was not from Lillington, I knew what gourmet was and the crap he threw on that plate was not it.

At this point, it was his wise choice to head back to the kitchen. However, it did not stop the rest of the crew from peaking around the wall to see what "the bitch that just insulted the whole town" looked like. I had plenty of animosity for one day. I got up and went to the bar where now the owner, the manager and the waitress were collaborating on the refund. Finally after an excruciating lunch hour, I was refunded.

I rate this place a Hell No We Won't Go!! and you shouldn't either!