Archive for the ‘Food Events’ Category

Doylestown Chili Contest

August 17, 2009

Doylestown Chili Cook Off signThe Doylestown Fire Company #1 is hosting a Chili Cook Off on September 19.  I love chili and make a good version myself but here is a chance to compete and have some fun.  I haven’t decide to compete yet, who else is in?

Call Cyndi for details 215-345-7881

Omaha Steaks

July 8, 2009

We usually screen our phone calls to avoid the telemarketers seeking donations for all kinds of charities but for whatever reason I picked up the phone last week. On the other end was Cathy from Omaha Steaks. Seems they were having a special on Bone-In Strip Loin steaks and since we bought from Omaha Steaks in the past we were eligible for the special. So in a moment of weakness, I went for it. Long weekend coming up, you can never have enough steaks in the freezer and I like bone-in steaks.

Omaha Steak BoxesFour days after talking to Cathy, a big styrofoam box arrived on my front door complete with dozen Bone-In Strip Loin Steaks, a dozen steak burgers and apple turnovers (more about the burgers and turnovers in a future post).  The box also contained some dry ice that keep the goodies frozen during their trip.  It always a good sign when there is some dry ice left over from the journey.  It’s also good fun. Using tongs, cause the dry ice will burn you if it touches your skin, I threw the remaining chunks into our fountain.  The warm fountain water causes the dry ice to go from solid to gas very quickly making the water “boil” and leaving thick vapour that always reminds me of Halloween every time. So I’m a big kid, LOL but try it if you ever get dry ice it’s fun.

Omaha Strip Loin SteaksThe individually wrapped steaks were pretty good sized, each weighting in at about 14 ounces. The steaks appeared to be well marbled which usually mean a moist steak. The amount of bone was smaller than I thought there was going to be. Ryan doesn’t like bones in his steak so these small bones were not going to be a big problem for him. The general appearance of the steak made me start thinking about when we could fire up the BBQ and grill me some steak.

Grilled Omaha Strip Loin Steak

I didn’t wait too many days before we fired up the grill. To go along with the steak Donna halved some Red Bliss Potatoes and placed them in some foil with some onions, olive oil, salt and pepper. We had already defrosted four of the steaks in the frig from the night before and had them coated them with some olive oil, salt and pepper. As we allowed the steaks to come to room temperature we grilled the potato and onions. I grilled the steaks about 3 minutes, turned 90 degrees-3 minutes and then turned over 3 minutes and then turn 90 degrees. I than brushed on some Cattleman’s Sauce on both sides for about a minute and then placed on a platter to rest. As the steak rested Donna cooked some Green Beans and I dressed a couple of Tomato slices in some oil,balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to make a tasty garnish.

The Strip Loin steaks were very good. The grilling resulted in a nice pink medium rare flesh that was flavourful and moist.  The bone was very manageable with most of it located near the edge of the steak so I cut it out with my first knife cut. The meat had a nice density to it that you needed a steak knife to cut but was tender enough in you mouth to give a great mouth feel.  Donna did find a tough section in her steak, some silver-skin perhaps but mine, Ryan and Robbie’s were perfect. Ryan said his was one of the best steaks he ever had and given our recent visit to BLT Prime, that it a high complement for a frozen steak. Great home grilling steak dinner.

Still looking for recommendations for the Best of Bucks Co – Steak Top 5 list, so help out by leaving a comment here on the blog as to where I should go.

If you haven’t already take the surveys on what is your Favourite Cut of Steak and your Favourite BBQ Sauce.

July 4th ‘Cue for the Cure

July 4, 2009

July 4th is a great day for BBQ and Fireworks here in the USA.  It’s even better when you can combine your fun and do a great thing.  Today I got to go to Facebook friends Derrick and Naylon’s ‘Cue for the Cure.  Their friend Donna has developed Breast Cancer and they are rallying around Donna to support her fight against this nasty disease.  They have formed Team Donna! to walk in this Fall’s Avon Walk for the Cure 2 event with the intent to raise at least $6,000. So today’s BBQ took on the important purpose of kicking off the fund raising efforts for Team Donna!

'Cue for Cure Raffle Prize One of the way Team Donna! was raising funds for the Avon Walk for the Cure is by selling Raffle Tickets on Gourmet Cocktail Gift Basket. Complete with two bottles of Grey Goose Vodka, often voted as the best vodka in the world, and all the goodies to make some great cocktails, who could pass up the chance to get a chance to win this?  I know I didn’t and unfortunately for me, the other guest were buying tickets too. LOL lowering my chances of wining but helping out the cause a great deal.  You can learn more about Team Donna! efforts here or clicking on the link at the bottom of this post. I hope you make a donation if you can.

'Cue for the Cure Fruit SaladSo now for the food at the ‘Cue. It was a great spread that started out some amazing fresh Fruit Salad.  A healthy way to start and finish the meal. There were several fruit dishes brought to the ‘Cue by friend and family but I shot this on on the buffet.  The Grapes burst in your mouth and the Watermelon melted into sweet water. The Strawberries, Kiwi, Blueberries and Melons were a calliope of fresh fruit tastes. The mixture cooled the afternoon heat and prepared me for the rest of the BBQ.

Empanadas at 'Cue for the Cure


Next up were the Chicken and Beef Empandas. These Latin American classic were great. Nice and crispy on the outside, with a well cooked filling of either spicy chicken or beef on the inside. It seems like there is as many recipes for empandas as there are people in Latin America but Derrick thought the filling was a combo of plantains, meat, some cheese,  some curry, garlic, onions and other spices.  I think there might even be some potato in there but I am guessing.  I started out without the dipping sauce but when I got to it these savory pastries got even better. Cilantro, hot sauce, green onions, black pepper, vinegar, salt, and lemon juice seemed to be the ingredients here but whatever it was great.

Jerk Chicken LegsWe had chicken two ways at the ‘Cue. The first was a flavourful Jerk Chicken. Naylon had created her own combination of spice packs and home seasonings to create a spicy but almost fruity coating for the chicken legs.  Grilled over Derrick’s new combination BBQ, the chicken legs brought the heat but also the flavour. Very nice but not too much heat to scare away us Canadians.

BBQ Wings at the 'Cue for the Cure

The second way we had chicken was BBQ Wings.  These marinated wings were the more traditional hot wings you would get in a great bar. Naylon created her own marinate of spices that permeated the wings and was grilled into the flavour of each wing. Again the heat was there but not over powering the rich and sweet chicken meat.

Burgers at the 'Cue for the CureEvery 4th of July has to have Burgers and Dogs, and ‘Cue for the Cure was not different. The burgers went fast so that by the time I got to shoot the burgers and dogs the first set where in peoples’ mouths. LOL.  They were good and what can you say about them.

 Corn Bread at the 'Cue for the CureOne dish you should always get to first at any of Derrick and Naylon’s BBQ is the Corn Bread. It’s to die for.  Sweet, moist, dense, not grainy, no annoying corn kernels and almost pound cake like in consistency. Great flavour and a great mouth feel.  Note to Team Donna! auction off pan fulls of this Corn Bread on eBay and you can make your target as soon as those of us who have tried it know about the auctions. Trust me I’m in marketing guy and a Foodie. LOL

Thanks to Derrick and Naylon for inviting me today, it was fun and I got to help out a great cause. So readers it’s up to you now to help out.  Click on the link below and see if you can help too.

Happy July 4th, this one was extra special.

Link to donate to Team Donna!

American Food

July 3, 2009

Tomorrow is the 4th of July.  The biggest American patriotic holiday of the year. There should be lots of BBQ, burgers, hot dogs and fireworks. I thought it might be interesting for my Canadian friends back home to highlight some of the American Food they might not be familiar.

A special summertime treat in the New York-Philly area is Water Ice. The name is a little redundant but this icy sweet treat is very refreshing on a hot summer day. It is also called Italian Ice. Basically it’s shaved ice with some sort of sweet flavoured syrup added. I think we would call it a Slushy in Canada. 

There are several other things that have different names down here. Hoagies are submarines and Cheesesteaks are a special kind of submarine with hot thin chopped steak meat covered some kind of cheese (even Cheeze Whiz LOL if that is even a cheese), grilled peppers, onions and mushrooms. There is a huge debate in Philadelphia as to which place has the best cheesesteak and all my PA friends have an opinion about which store has the best cheesesteak. Donna and I have tried several and are working on a Top 5 – Best of Bucks Co list.

Soda is pop down here and Donna and I tease each other if we ever order “a soda” in a restaurant. The variety of “sodas'” down here is amazing. I have even found a grape NeHi that Radar O’Reilly used to drink on MASH.  I always thought that was a made up brand because Radar was so short as in “knee high”. Sure enough it was real and actually good. They also have gourmet soda down here but that’s just too over the top.

A local mystery to me is Scrapple. It’s some sort of ground pork product with cornmeal or flour and different spices that gets fried as breakfast meat. I tried it a few times but just find it nasty with the one exception, the Dublin Star.  I think it was the exception cause they used buckwheat rather than the flour or cornmeal version I tried before. I am also pretty sure my MD wouldn’t want me eating anyway.

Pork WingsPork Wings are a recent discovery for Donna and I.  These are great. Not sure what part of the pig they are but they are delicious. I had them at Big Bob’s BBQ and at John & Peters. They taste like pulled pork on a stick and who doesn’t like anything that comes on a stick.

I am sure there are a few more differences but we have been here so long they don’t seen so different anymore. I think that’s good.

For my Canadian friends living in the USA, let me know what you find different in the USA and what you miss back in Canada. Take Care and Happy Holiday Weekend.

Take the different Food Surveys here if you haven’t already.

Happy Canada Day

July 1, 2009

Happy Canada Day Everyone!

We have been in the US since 2001 and have celebrated eight Canada Days down here. Over the years we have celebrated by having BBQ’s, Poker Tournaments, Dinners out and Friend in but this year is going to be quiet.  I have a big presentation tomorrow so we are keeping it quiet.  We will make it up on the Weekend but for now I am going to write about the foods we miss back in Canada and try to have each time we go back.

Donna and I compared list and had a few common items.  Hot Hamburger Sandwiches, Donairs, Poutine, Chow-chow, Dulse, Crispers and Caramilk chocolate bars .  My Canadian friends will know what these are but for my American friends, I’ll provide some details on what the items are.  A Hot Hamburger Sandwich is a lot like a hot roast beef sandwich except a large hamburger patty replaces the roast beef. Beef gravy goes on the patty, bread covers the patty and more gravy on the bread. Fries or mashed potatoes and vegetables comes with it.  Sounds simple but we haven’t seen on down here yet. A Donair is a spiced meat in a pita wrap sandwich with onions, lettuce, tomatoes and sweet donair sauce.  It’s a lot like a gyro but the garlic sauce is sweet rather than savory. I have posted about these in my post on Middle Eastern sandwichesPoutine is basically french fries, grated cheese and gravy. Again simple but haven’t seen it in the US. If you go to Quebec that have restaurants that serve 20 different combo of poutine including putting foie gras on it.  We do make our own for Ryan and Robbie from time to time but not as good as a serving at 2:00 in the morning on say St. Catherine Street in Montreal. Chow-chow in Canada is simply pickled green tomatoes and yellow onions.  US recipes have all kinds of other vegetables added but even though recipes show up on several recipe sites but no Chow-chow is seen on the stores shelves near us. Dulse is dried seaweed that has a strong salty taste with a crunchy texture at first that ends up being chewy. You get a big bag and eat it like potato chips – salty and crunchy.  The best dulse comes from Dark Harbour in Grand Manan. Crispers are a Nabisco salty snack that are part chip – part cracker. Robbie loves these and we bring back bags of different flavours, Salt & Vinegar, BBQ, Ranch and Regular. Caramilk Bars are chocolate bar made by Cadbury that has pockets of caramel inside a wrapping of chocolate. Donna craved these when she was pregnant with Robbie so much we had a constant supply in the frig for the entire pregnancy.

We miss these foods but vacation time is coming soon so we re-stock.  If you are reading this in Canada, send us a care package if you can.  LOL  Happy Canada Day!

Update – Ryan added some restaurants we miss back in Canada. Swiss Chalet – Rotisseary Chicken, Tim Horton’s – Coffee & Donuts, Deluxe French Fries – Fish & Chips, Osaka Japanese Grill – Beef Teriyaki, Vitos – Pizza and QB’s-Best Wings in the world.

Gourmet Open House

June 29, 2009

Fruit Platter at Heidi & Paul'sMy boss, Heidi and her husband Paul hosted an Open House this weekend at their home just outside of Newtown. It was a great affair with friends from work and Paul and Heidi’s neighbours coming together over some great food. 

There is nothing like Fresh Fruit as an appetizer. Sweet cherries, grapes and strawberries bursting in your mouth. Nice healthy nibbles. The fruit went well with the Peace Valley wines that Paul had selected for the event.

International Fruit and Cheese DisplayThe wines also went well with the Cheese Display that the Caterer put together for the event. There are six different cheese to chose from along with some melon, pineapple, blueberries, strawberries and blackberries.

Carmelized Onion and Arugula StrudelThere were two savory appetizers ready for us when we arrived.  The first was Caramelized Onion and Arugula Strudels.  These pinwheel apps contain a sweet onion and slightly bitter arugula mixture. The smoothness of the mixture contrasted nicely with crisp texture of the phyllo dough. Simple combination but well executed.

Lemongrass ShrimpThe second savory appetizer was the Lemongrass Shrimp.  These tasty shrimp skewers were well prepared with the lemongrass giving the delicate shrimp a light Thai flavour. The pineapple presentation gave the shrimp a tropical feel and great decoration for the table.

Kara's White Bean DipFacebook Friend and co-worker Kara brought her Vegan White Bean Dip with some Taco Chips.  The dip was nice ‘n thick and creamy. I detected a slight garlic flavour in the dip. Kara also brought a Hummus dip that brought the garlic a little stronger.  Both were welcome additions to the table as they were homemade and well made.

Rosemary Filet MignonAs if the many appetizer wasn’t enough about 4:00, the caterer opened up with full blast of  entree bites for us to enjoy.  The first dish on the kitchen buffet was a Rosemary Marinated Filet Mignon. Served at room temperature, the tender beef was served with a Creamy Horseradish Sauce. The tang of the sauce contrasted nicely with sweet herb infused meat.

Poached SalmonThe second dish was a perfectly Poached Salmon with a Creamy Dill Sauce.  Well presented with carrots, lemon, limes and orchid flowers giving great colour to the dish.  The salmon portions were delicious with a great salmon taste, sweat with a little taste of the sea. The dill sauce contrasted with the sweetness of the flesh. A drop of lemon juice made the salmon flavour intensify.

 Portabella Mushroom Caps with Leek RagoutThe surprise of the main entrees was the Portabella Mushroom Caps with Leak Ragout. The meaty portabella mushrooms were coated by a creamy Leak Ragout. The contrast of the dense, meaty mushrooms and the almost cheese like ragout was very nice. This vegetarian dish was a nice change from all the protein in the Filet and Salmon.

Marinated Grilled Vegetables

For sides, the Caterer prepared Marinated Grilled Vegetables, Long Grain & Wild Rice Salad and Roasted Red Bliss Potatoes. The veggies included Grilled Peppers, Zucchini, Asparagus and Carrots.

Roasted Red Bliss Potatoes with Feta CheeseThe Roasted Red Bliss Potatoes were matched up with some Balsamic Vinaigrette with Feta Cheese. The sweetness of the potatoes matched well with vinegar and the salty cheese making a nice potato salad.  The small bite-sized potatoes went well with the main entrees of filet and salmon.

Long Grain and Wide Rice SaladThe Long Grain and Wild Rice Salad also went well with salmon.  At first I thought the plump pieces of fruit were raisins but come to find out the were Sun-dried Cranberries that were plumping up from the Sage Vinaigrette. I passed on the Rice Salad but others passed pleasing comments on how well the rice was cooked and the nice contrast of the sage in the vinaigrette and the sweetness of the rice.

Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

I am never sure if the the Tomato Mozzarella Salad is a side or a main entree.  This version is amazingly colourful with the Multicoloured Heirloom Tomatoes, White Mozzarella and Green Basil.  This classic dish looks very modern with the flower garnishes. The drizzle of Balsamic Vinaigrette gives the dish a shine and nice contrast in tastes with the sweetness of the Jersey Fresh tomatoes and the tang of the vinegar. It was an nice vegetarian dish.

Dessert TrayFor dessert, the caterer put together a comprehensive tray of different confections and fresh fruits. I won’t even try to name all the different pastries and sweet bites are on the tray.  I did try the Mini Cream Puffs and Eclairs along with some fruit but take a look and I bet you can find a least a couple of goodies you could complete the meal with.

 Thanks to Heidi and Paul for hosting a great Gourmet Open House.  Donna and I had a great time talking with old and new friends while eating some great food. I hope the pictures and descriptions did justice to party.  Thanks again.

Bryce’s Catering Co., 1438 Manoa Road, Wynnewood, PA 19096               610-658-2400