Posts Tagged ‘Salad’

Southern Cooking in the Windy City

April 4, 2010

Gary and I had scheduled a Monday morning meeting in Chicago that required us to go there Sunday. So we decided to make the most of inconvenience and go out for a very good meal that Sunday night.  And what a meal we had.

We knew about the meeting a month out so we had time to decide and get a reservation. So we created a list of possibilities and narrowed the list down to Table 52.  This is Chef Art Smith’s place in Chicago which features Southern Cooking. I have seen Chef Smith several times on Iron Chef America and Top Chef. He was Oprah’s personal chef,  recently cooked for Lady Gaga and President Obama and Michelle ate at Table 52 for Valentine’s Day so there was a really good chance it was going to be memorable. And it was.

Gary started his meal with the Southern Pickles. The dish came with several house-pickled cauliflower, carrots and okra with micro greens, onions, two kinds of salt, baguette, smoked gouda and jelly on the side. The idea was to make your own pickle sandwich out of the ingredients trying the different ingredients. I like participation dishes like this where you can choose your own combination of food so when Gary offered a taste, I went for it.  The pickled vegetables were tender and sweetly pickled but not to the point where the taste of the vegetable was lost or the crunch was gone. The rest of elements added interesting tastes of sweet jam and salty salts along with different textures of crusty bread, crunchy pickles and gooey jam. Combining the different elements of the dish was fun but we both agreed that although the gouda cheese was fine on it’s own we couldn’t find a combination that matched well with the cheese.

I went for the Beet Salad for my first course.  The salad came with nice portions of  two colourful beets, whipped goat cheese, thyme crumble and Myer lemon puree. For what I thought was going to be a simple salad turned out to be a very complex dish by the various combination of items you could put on your fork. The sweetness of the beets matched well against the tartness of the Myer Lemon Puree and the almost metallic flavour of the Thyme Crumble. The textures of the dish also provided a spectrum of densities, firm beets, semi soft Whipped Goat Cheese and thick puree.  We wanted wine with the meal and had our waiter match a glass of wine with each course. For this course we had Acustic from Montsant (Catalonia, Spain) named ‘unplugged’ in the same way that you find ‘naked’ (oak free) Chardonnay.

For Gary’s second course, he went for the classic southern dish Fried Green Tomatoes. The two large heirloom tomato slices were lightly battered and then pan-fried giving the tomatoes a light crunch with a soft center.  Along with the tomatoes came fresh greens, creme fraise and a light tomato puree.  Like an old married couple, Gary and I ended up sharing tastes from each others dishes so I can report this version of the southern classic was great.  The sweetness of the fried tomatoes contrasting nicely with the spicy tomato puree.  The crisp greens and silky puree matched well also.  For this course, our waiter recommended the Eyrie Chardonnay from Oregon. I found the wine to have a light oakiness and a little bit fruity. A nice match for both the Fried Green tomatoes and my dish.

For my second course, I also went for a southern classic in Low-Country Shrimp and Grits. I lived in Florence, South Carolina back in the 80’s so I tried grits many times but never became a big fan but when you are at Art Smith’s restaurant you give them another try.  It was great!.  These grits were Stone-ground White Corn Grits and so different from my memories of the 80’s.  These grits were more like a risotto than the cream of wheat memories.  These grits were nice and creamy as a whole but the individual grits still had a bite to them as in “el dente” pasta. A very nice consistency.  The Wild-Caught Shrimp were tender, sweet and well-cooked.  The Spicy Tomato Sauce contrasted well with the sweet shrimp and creamy grits. Basically a very simple dish but well executed with excellent ingredients.

For Gary’s main course, he went for the Fish of the Day special, which was Halibut. I forgot to bring my recorder to get all the details of the dish but from my memory, the fish was pain fried and topped with a variety of vegetables and greens.  I got to taste the fish and it was perfectly cooked with flakes falling off with just the touch of your folk.  Halibut is my favourite fish and Table 52 did it right.

For the main course we decided to order the Braised Collard Greens with Smoked Turkey as our side dish.  Collard Greens are about as “southern” as you can get but the smoked turkey was different twist I had not seen before. The more common version I had seen when I lived in the south was with ham hocks.  The turkey version turned out fine with greens taking on a light sweet taste of the turkey but not the saltness of the ham version.  The greens were well-cooked, infusing the turkey into the vegetable but stopping the cooking before turning the veggies into mush.  This was the best dish of collard greens I have ever eaten.

For my main course, I went for the Maple Sugar Short Ribs.  These were the most tender short ribs I ever had in my life. Just using your fork you could twist the meat and it would flake off into single strands of flavourful meat.  The carmelized maple sugar matched well with meaty flavours of the short rib. The dish came with red wine reduction that match well but I was so focused on the tender meat.  A potato puree was the matching starch and a carmelized onion accompanied the dish. Our waiter recommended the 2007 Cristom Pinot Noir to go with the dish.  I thought this was an interesting recommendation given Gary’s fish and my short rib selection but it ended up being perfect for both of us.  Not overcoming the fish and not under powered for the ribs.  Nice wine selecting Justin.

I have had the privilege to eat in several celebrity chef restaurants; Emeril’s, Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill, BLT Prime, Daniel,  over the years but one thing was always missing, the celebrity chef. Until this visit. Making several tours of the dining room during our three courses was owner/celebrity chef Art Smith.  He stopped at every table checking to see how the meal was progressing. I thought the treat of the evening was going to be this photo of the two of us but it got better when Art joined us at our table as the restaurant thinned out at the end of service.  They say that television puts pounds on you but this thinner and fitter version of Chef Smith has been dieting and exercising lately and looked the healthiest I have ever seen him. I wish I could say that about myself but after this great meal, I wouldn’t have much credibility would I. 

It gets worse, Gary and I agreed that we were going to pass on dessert as we were both pretty full from the three courses, wine and cocktails we had already consumed. But as we sat there with Chef Smith he had the staff big over some desserts for us to try.  First came the Smith Family Twelve-Layer Chocolate Cake.  Delicious, light and a great chocolate flavour. The cake came with Vanilla Gelato and Strawberry for contrast.

Next came the Peanut Brittle.  I remember peanut brittle as a Christmas treat during my childhood but this was the best brittle I ever had.  The thick rich harden caramel sauce was chock full of fresh Georgia peanuts.  I was amazed at how thick the brittle was.  It was very good and very sweet.

Finally Executive Chef John, formerly of Charlie Trotter’s restaurant, brought over Art’s Hummingbird Cake.  I had my share of cake when I lived in the south but never had Hummingbird cake.  If I had most likely I would still be in the south cause this is great cake.  Art make his version with Banana and Pineapple flavours three layers high all coated in Cream Cheese Frosting. Served on the side is a wonderful Vanilla Gelato.  It was delicious with all the different flavours going on and amazingly light.

We had a great chat with Chef Smith during our 30 minute sit-down talking about everything from the making of Iron Chef, his diet and exercise plan, to who’s cooking in Chicago he likes (and who’s he doesn’t) and where he likes to go hear the Blues in Chicago.  The evening ending amazingly with Chef taking us to his favourite Blues Club in Chicago and having a couple of cocktails listening happily to the blues.

It was an amazing meal that will, most likely, never happen again.  Thanks Gary and Chef Smith for a great meal and a great story.

Read other reviews about Table 52 here, here and here.

Table 52 52 Elm Street, Chicago, IL  – 312-573-4000

Eating Fish in the Desert of at least on San Antonio’s Riverwalk

November 23, 2009

I went to San Antonio, Texas for the weekend and went out for Friday night dinner with a group. Anytime you get to go to dinner the big question is where do you go?  I figured since we are in Texas, we would go for some authentic Tex-Mex but the group felt more in a Seafood mood so we good a strong recommendation from the hotel conceriege and went to Pesca on the Riverwalk. Even getting there was fun as we made the taxi driver stop at the Alamo for a quick photo so I can prove I was in San Antonio if need be. LOL

I am a big fan of getting the Signature Cocktail at the restaurants I visit so when the waiter described the house special Margarita here at Pesca, I went for it and it was great. This one was made with Añejo Tequila, Grand Marnier and Lime Juice. The Anejo tequila made the drink a little smokey and a little smoother than white or silver tequila that were in most of the margaritas I have had up north in PA. The Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice provided a tartness and freshness that went along with the sweetness and orange flavours of the Grand Marnier. The top shelf ingredients required that the drink was served on the rocks with a small squeeze of lemon.  Despite the cool wet temperatures that night (did I say Texas and desert later) the drink went down well. I show restrain and managed to keep to just one.

We decided to share the Shells, Tails and Claws Shellfish Plateau as a group Appetizer. The impressive display of Clams, Oysters, Shrimp and Lump Crab Meat was a great start to a great meal.  Along with the fresh seafood items came three sauces for guests to doctor (sorry couldn’t resist since we were at a medical convention) their seafood choice. The Clams were served freshly shucked and raw. I found them Sweet and Very Meaty. Their size was impressive two-three times bigger than steamers from back home. The Oysters were also fresh and large but not as big as the clams. The Oysters were both Sweet and Briney at the same time making them a study in contrast. The Jumbo Shrimp was large in size and dense to the feel but were disappointing with a lack of flavour.  They were fresh but left a great deal of flavour somewhere else. The highlight of the Plateau was the Jumbo Lump Crab – Dense, Tender and Sweet.  There was no need to add sauce as the crab could stand on its own. This was a great sign for me as I had ordered the Crab Cakes for my main.

The Concierge at our hotel also suggest that if we go to Pesca make sure we try the Sea Scallops. Sure enough another good recommendation as we all got to try one scallop.  Served with Arugula, Lotus Root, Ginger-Sweet Chili in a Coconut Broth, the perfectly cooked scallops were excellent. Slightly carmelized on the outside, sweet and light on the inside. The Crispy Arugula and Dense Lotus Root were good contrasts to the light density of the scallops.  the Ginger and Chili went well with the sweetness of density. This was the Signature Dish of the restaurant and worth getting if you visit.

We also got to share the Heirloom Tomato Salad.  The giant pieces of tomato were seasoned simply with Salt and Pepper with some Olive Oil.  The simple presentation highlighted the flavours of the heirloom tomatoes that taste so different than the bright red tomatoes I usually buy at Giant Foods. This is the way tomatoes should taste.  Thanks Paige.

For my main course, I ordered the Crab Cakes with Dynamite Sauce. The same dense, sweet and tender jumbo pieces of crab meat in the appetizer was mixed with some bread crumbs and carefully pan-fried.  The Dynamite Sauce remains a bit of a mystery but my best guess was that it was a Remoulade Sauce with some Chipotle Chilis added for some heat.  The heat was good match for the sweetness of the crab meat. The crust from the pan frying contrasted to the tender crab meat inside the cakes. Excellent crab cakes that would give Maryland a run for their money.

For sides, we ordered family style and got (against my initial instincts) Quinoa supposedly the healthiest grain available on the earth and Deep Fried Sweet Potatoes. Both were well-cooked and great matches for the different fish dishes the group ordered.

The large portions of appetizers, heirloom tomatoes and entrees made dessert in the desert impossible for the group. We manage to barely complete the mains before calling it a night.  But before we left Restaurant Manager Michael McClellan stopped by to ensure we had a great meal and to invite us to Pesca’s sister restaurant Las Canarias next time we are in San Antonio. Las Canarias looked great and a target for next time.

Thanks to gang for making the evening great. We all shared a great meal and working for a great company.  The conversation was as a good as the food and that was really good.  I look forward to eating with them again.  Make sure you get to the Riverwalk if you go to San Antonio and if you are looking for seafood try Pesca.

Read other reviews here, here and here.

Pesca on the River – 212 W Crockett St, San Antonio, TX 78205-2520          (210) 396-5817

Gourmet Fried Chicken

September 27, 2009

Donna was craving Kentucky Fried Chicken as we finished shopping in Willow Grove so we started looking for a store but no stores were to be found.  As we got closer to Doylestown, Donna remembered that beside Thompson Toyota she saw a sign advertising Fried Chicken.  That sign took us to Gross’ Gourmet Foods and to great Fried Chicken.

Gross' Gourmet Foods' Fried Chicken and Fix'emsAt Gross’ Gourmet Foods I bought Fried Chicken Breast, Thigh and Drumstick along with Potato Salad, Coleslaw and Corn Bread to take home.  The order came to $26 which at the time seemed high to me.  When we got home I fixed Donna the plate to the right for her lunch.  As I prepared the plate, I sampled each of the items so I could report to you readers (LOL).  The Fried Chicken had a great Crispy Coating and was very Moist and Sweet inside. All three pieces were huge compare to KFC pieces especially the Breast which weighed at least a pound by itself.  The Potato Salad was very good as well.  The potatoes were done el dente so they had a nice bite to them. Donna and I couldn’t figure out what was giving the salad it’s Tang, I thought mustard and Donna thought it was garlic.  I think Donna was right as they colour remained more white than any yellow tint mustard would have gave the salad.  The Coleslaw was very creamy with the Cabbage giving the salad some nice Tang and Crunch.  The Carrot gave the salad some sweetness and some colour.  The Cornbread was Moist and Sweet. The bread was dense and not grainy like many other versions I have tried.  It was almost as good as Derrick’s Cornbread so it was very good. Together the chicken, potato salad, coleslaw and cornbread  made a Classic Fried Chicken meal and Gross’ Gourmet Foods made that meal excellent.

Gross’ also sells Wings, Ribs, Brisket and Pulled Pork as well as Sandwiches and Ribs.  They operate their retail store seven days a week as well as providing catering.  The Chicken alone make the trip to Gross’ worth the trip but we plan on trying other items very soon.

Read other reviews about Gross’s Gourment Foods here, here and here.

Gross Gourmet Foods on Urbanspoon

 Gross’ Gourmet Foods – 22 Campbell Ave, Doylestown, PA 18901-2410                      (215) 345-1721‎

Donna’s Birthday Supper

September 21, 2009

Tomorrow is Donna’s Birthday but many of the top end restaurants are closed on Mondays so we went out this evening to celebrate her birthday.  We took our own advice from the Best of Bucks County – Special Occasion/Anniversary Top 5 list and went to the Centerbridge Inn to celebrate Donna’s big day.  We have eaten there before, had great meals and I play poker with Chef Pete Jones and owe him money (LOL).

Cocktails at Centerbridge Inn

We started the evening with cocktails (surprize!). Donna went for the Singapore Sling and I went for the Vodka Martini. It was encouraging to see that the bartender didn’t need to look up in a book how to make this classic cocktail. He did a great job on this gin classic. My Vodka Martini was pretty straight forward but still well executed. Both drinks were great and the way to start a special meal.

Prosciutto with Melons, Peaches and Mozzarella at Centerbridge InnDonna started her meal with the Prosciutto with Melons, Peaches and Mozzarella appetizer.  The salty and thick prosciutto was a great match for the sweet melon and peaches. The fresh Mozzarella Balls were great texture contrasts for the fruit and the dense meat.  The dish was dressed by a Thick Balsamic Reduction that despite being a vinegar was thick and sweet. The main ingredients were enough but a salad of Micro Greens completed the dish.

French Onion Soup at Centerbridge InnI went for the French Onion Soup as my appetizer. Donna warned me about eating it because of the long cheese strings the soup often produces but I went it for it anyway.  What a great decision it was.  The Giant Portion was full of flavour and actually hard to get to get a spoonful of just broth. The rich soup was full of sweet Onion, Cheese and Croutons.  It was not overly salty as many onions soups I have had at other places most likely cause they used stock instead of those salty bullion cubes. It was excellent, so excellent that I brought half of it home. It didn’t make it past 30 minutes before Ryan had found it and heated it up for a snack. LOL. It was great soup and no stringy cheese on my clothes. LOL.

Caesar Salad at Centerbridge InnDonna and I decided to share a Casear Salad as our second course.  We are Caesar Salad snobs because we have made this salad so many times and we think we have the recipe down pat.  I have posted about our recipe here on the blog and other have tried it liked it too. The version at Centerbridge Inn was very good. Crisp Lettuce with a tangy Garlic Dressing. We had the option of Anchovies but we past given Donna’s sensitivity to fish. The split portion of salad was the perfect size for the second course. Refreshing and with great garlic taste.

Grilled Pork Chops at Centerbridge InnDonna went for the Grilled Pork Chops as her main course. The one giant Bone-in Pork Chop came with Roasted Potatoes and Grilled Asparagus.  The grilled pork chop was surounded by two generous pieces of Pancetta making a giant pork sandwich.  The actual chop was cooked perfectly and was thick, very moist and sweet. The asparagus was well cooked and tasty.  The potatoes were a little el-dente and could have roasted a few minutes longer for my taste but Donna like them as they were presented.

Poached Halibut with Potato Crust at Centerbridge Inn

 I went for the Grilled Halibut with Potato Crust and Wild Rice and Grilled Asparagus. The thick potato crust kept the flaky halibut flesh moist and delicate.  I love halibut but it has a very delicate flesh that carries a subtle flavour. The potato crust acted like an insulation keeping the fish protected. The wild rice was a nice change from other starches and was well cooked. Asparagus is one of my favourite veggies and the staff nailed it with a great grilling. The dish, well presented, was delicious.

So if you are looking for a great meal to celebrate a special occasion, check out Centerbridge Inn.  Make sure you ask for Chef Pete Jones and he will hook you up with a great meal.  Happy Birthday Donna.

Centre Bridge Inn on Urbanspoon 

Centerbridge Inn -Route 32, New Hope, PA 18938               215-862-2048

Bowman’s Tavern Lunch

July 29, 2009

I had lunch with Digital Marketing Guru Amy today at Bowman’s Tavern just south of New Hope.  I have been a client with Amy when she was at three different major agencies and she is a leader in the multi-channel space. It was a great lunch and she gave some great advice about my current projects.

 002While we talked we enjoyed a very nice meal and great service from the  hostess and waitress.  For starters, Amy had a cold Yellow Tomato Gazpacho soup and I had their French Onion soup. It was a perfect day for a cold soup as it was actually hot and didn’t rain until late afternoon. The waitress chased down the chef for us and let us know the soup contained Yellow Tomatoes, Cucumber, Cilantro, Garlic, Yellow Pepper, Onion, Orange Juice and Seasonings. The overflowing bowl of soup was dominated by the Strong Orange Flavour. The soup had pieces of diced Yellow Tomato, Yellow Pepper and Cucumbers to give some texture to the pureed soup.  Amy liked her soup and wondered why she did make this at home more often.

Bowman's Tavern French Onion SoupI went for the French Onion Soup despite the heat because I heard it was very good. When it came I found that the Sweet Broth, from the caramelized onions, chicken stock and some white wine, dominated the soup. I have had way too many French Onion Soups that were way too salt because broth was made from bullion cubes but this broth was perfectly seasoned and sweet to the taste. The Croutons and blend of Melted Cheeses added texture to dish. The combination of sweet broth, croutons and melted stringy cheese made this a very good French Onion Soup.

Double Lamb Chop SaladAmy went for the last Daily Special Lamb Chop Salad.  This colourful salad came with three Double Cut Lamb Chops and a variety of veggies. In addition to the crisp salad greens the dish came with Tomato wedges, slightly caramelized Onions, Yellow Peppers and Feta Cheese in a Balsamic Vinaigrette. The crisp veggie textures contrasted nicely with medium rare Lamb Chops and the creamy Feta Cheese. The meaty chops contrasted well with the slightly salty Feta and the sweetness of the Balsamic dressing. A great salad and I could see why Amy got the last one that day.  Perhaps when you go, they will have one ready for you.

Reuben Sandwich at Bowman's TavernI went for the Classic Reuben Sandwich for my main. The individual components of the sandwich blended into one great taste sensation. The tender lean Corned Beef, the crunchy tangy Sauerkraut, sweet slightly melted Swiss Cheese and tangy Russian Dressing, served on toasted Rye Bread was potentially the best Reuben I have ever had.  The crispy fries and pickles were a bonus for the dish. Great sandwich.

Amy and I both liked our salad and sandwich at Bowman’s, but we want to know what your  favourites are. So take the Food Surveys and tell us your Favourite Salad and Favourite Sandwich are.

 Read other reviews about Bowman’s Tavern here, here and here.

Bowman's Tavern on Urbanspoon

Bowman’s Tavern, 1600 River Rd, New Hope, PA 18938 (215) 862-2972

Diane’s Picnic

July 25, 2009

Julie's Chopped Veggie SaladFor years my co-workers in the Pharma PR group have been holding a Summer Picnic. The PR group dissolved about 3 years ago but the friendships in that group were so strong the picnic continue. This year the picnic returned to Diane’s after being at Laurie and PK’s last year.  The highlight of the picnic is getting together with friends and catching up but I am going to write on the food. LOL, you had to be there to get the gossip. Actually, I am just going to write on the salads, cause after the Memorial Day Burger Search, my physician has threaten a colonoscopy if I didn’t eat my salad. LOL. So let’s just say I didn’t eat any of the wonderful hot dogs and burgers that Diane grilled or any of the other foods (dips, fruit desserts, chips, adult beverages) the rest of the group brought. No photos – no evidence.

Julie, the birthday girl, had to leave early but we sang Happy Birthday to her and she left us her Chopped Veggie Salad. Julie obviously took a great deal of time cutting the Tomatoes and Cucumbers into pieces the same size as the Corn kernels. The colourful salad has fresh chopped Basil mixed in. The dressing is very light making the resulting salad very light and fresh in your mouth. The different textures and matching flavours make this a great summer salad.

006Nona brought a great Veggie Pasta Salad. Large Rigatoni pasta, Olives, Tomatoes, Broccoli and Parmesan Cheese were the main ingredients in the salad.  The large pasta pieces gave significant body to salad. The “el dente” veggie chunks are a nice contrast to the soft pasta. The light oil dressing helped blend the flavours of the salad creating nice contrast between the sweet Tomatoes and cheese to the salty Olives and slightly bitter broccoli. Great salad, very satisfying.

Caesar Salad

I brought Caesar Salad ingredient and put them together just before we ate.  I made the dressing at home and that was a good idea as it gave the Garlic and other items time to blend. I like a stong Lemon taste in my dressing so I added it to the dressing as well as provide lemon slices garnishes for individual additions. I have written about this salad before and this one turn out well.  I hope they liked it.

It was good to get together again to catch up, gossip and eat. The salads were great (and so was the other food wink-wink).  Looking forward to next year’s get together and Diane promises it won’t rain. LOL

Let us know your Favourite Salad type is at the blog’s Salad Survey.

Julie shared her recipe today for her Cherry Tomato Corn Salad. Here it is. Thanks Julie and Diane for sharing.

Cherry Tomato Corn Salad

Mix the following in a jar:

¼ cup fresh basil, 3 T Olive Oil, 2 t lime juice, 1 t sugar, ½ t salt & ¼ t pepper

Pour dressing over 2 Cup frozen corn, 2 Cup cherry tomato halved and 1 Cup seeded pealed chopped cucumber

Simple but fresh and tasty.

Salad in the Style of Nice

July 13, 2009

Nicoise SaladThe Nicoise Salad is a classic salad from the 1800’s.  I had mine, last night at the Warwick Hotel in NYC as I was in for the MM&M Awards judging.

The Warwick makes their classic Nicoise with Fresh Greens, Hard Boiled Eggs, Jersey Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, Boiled PotatoesGreen Beans and Tuna with a Balsamic vinaigrette.  I think the beauty of this salad is that with that many different ingredients that you get a different taste sensation in every bite by just changing the combination of items. You can also play with different texture and flavours by combining crispy greens with the soft eggs and salty olives with the sweet tuna, crispy green beans with the smooth boiled potatoes.

It was a great salad and just what I needed after all the burgers and steaks I have been eating lately.  Thanks to Joe for taking the photo for me.  BTW If you haven’t the Salad Survey yet, do it now.

CIA Dinner

June 30, 2009

About every two months or so, the Jericho National Golf Course Clubhouse hosts Peter Luger Steak night and it was this past Saturday night.  Donna and I got invited by my poker pal, Sid along with couples Mark and Barbara and Chuck and Roy.  I play poker with Mark and had been to Temple football and basketball games with Chuck and Roy so most of us knew each other. It was a great meal with the Peter Luger Steaks and interesting conversation.  The stories were great because Sid is ex-CIA (as in Central Intelligence Agency) and Marc is ex-DEA (as in Drug Enforcement Agency).  That’s not to say the rest of us didn’t have anything to add, it’s just I love stories about Southeast Asia, the Bay of Pigs invasion, Lockerbie and drug trafficking in general.  It was like a lesson in living history. I could tell you what the stories were but I would have to….. LOL. Very cool but now on to the food.

028Donna and I decided to split a Caesar Salad, as we new were going to have a massive steak. Having attended Peter Luger Night before, we have tried the Caesar before and it was usually good.  I like the Giant Parmesan Crouton they place on the salad. Nice and crispy with a cheesy flavour. The crispy Romaine Lettuce was coated with a creamy dressing. I like a stronger garlic taste but this was good.

 Peter Luger Poterhouse SteakFor our main course, Donna and I ordered the 40 ounce Porterhouse Steak, medium rare. LOL before you think that Donna and I have entered some kind of competitive eating contest, there is about 8 ounces of bone leaving two steaks, a 16 ounce strip and a 10 ounce filet with enough left over for Ryan when we get home. LOL.  The chef cut the steak before it arrived at our table making it easy to split.  The steak appeared very rare when it arrived but the taste was medium rare.  Peter Luger steaks are famous for being tender and flavourful, this one was no exception.  The steaks do come with the famous Peter Luger Steak Sauce but it was not needed here as the steak was perfectly seasoned and cooked. The almost melt-in-your-mouth meat had a big meaty flavour on the inside with a great char on the outside.  A great steak that worked for both Donna and I. 035

The highlight of the sides were the Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce. This classic steak house side was well executed with fresh asparagus lightly sauteed leaving them slightly el dente. The creamy Hollandaise sauce appeared to be freshly made and having a thick buttery consistency with a light lemon touch.  The Hollandaise matches well with the steak.  The combination of veggie and sauce was a great side to the steak.

 Donna and I were both very full from the steak dinner plus the great Open House food from earlier in the day so we didn’t order any dessert.  We usually do, actually I do, but it sounds like half the calories when I say “we”. I like the Creme Bruele at the Clubhouse but order what you like they are all good.


My friend Mark helped out with photos.  He ordered the Filet from Peter Luger and took the the photo.

Halibut SteakBarbara ordered the Halibut which is my favourite species of fish.  Her report was the favourable on the dish and recommending the dish for others who didn’t want the steak.  Thanks Mark and Barbara.

It was a great meal with great stories. Anytime you can get a Peter Luger steak you should go.  Let me know if you want to know when the next Peter Luger Steak Night is.

BTW Sid remonded me to tell you that someone in your party needs a membership to eat at the Clubhouse.  The annual membership is $50 but it’s worth it to get those Luger steaks and not having to drive to New York.

I am also interested in your Favourite Cut of Steak and where you would go for a Best of Bucks Co -Steak.

Peter Luger Steak House is an award winning steak house with two locations with the most famous location being  178 Broadway, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11211          718-387-7400

Jericho National Golf Club, 250 Brownsburg Road East, New Hope, PA 18938          215-862-8800

Rainy Havana

June 7, 2009

 I got to have lunch today with former co-worker and advertising guru Anne at Havana’s in New Hope.  On a sunny day in New Hope, one of the best places to have a drink and people watch is the patio bar at Havana’s. Alas it was cold and raining today so we had to go inside. 

The spacious lounge and dining rooms inside had a few early diners enjoying the menu as I arrived. Anne was already there and had a jump start on reviewing the menu.  It’s a big menu with some interesting Mexican and Cuban dishes.  I am a big fan of their Small Plates where you can mix and match 3 different plates for $16 or go for a single plate for just $6. They’re great if you are looking for an appetizer or a main course.

Hummus - Havanna's New Hope PA

For our appetizer, we chose the Hummus-Vegetable-Pita bread dish.  I think we were feeling like eating  healthy since we were talking about diabetes.  Also after the Memorial Day Weekend Burger Search, I could use some fiber. LOL.  Havana’s makes their hummus in the classic manner – chick peas, garlic and olive oil.  The result was creamy, not too garlicky with a nice olive oil mixture.  The veggies were nice and fresh but the pita bread was a little dense for our taste.  Despite the pita bread the dish was nice and we both enjoyed it.

Prosciutto & Goat Cheese Salad - Havana's New Hope PA

In keeping with our “healthy theme”,  Anne selected the Prosciutto & Goat Cheese Salad.  Ann is not good with cow’s milk so the goat cheese was a  great option. With three generous scoops of creamy goat cheese this entree salad was very filling.  The large pieces of salty sweet prosciutto required Anne to go at them with a knife.  The crispy Green Beans, crunchy Pistachios and fresh Field Greens gave this salad great month feel and texture.  The Mustard Shallot Dressing gave the dish some tang and nice contrast to the sweetness of the goat cheese.  Anne enjoyed the salad a great deal.

Apple Pecan Salad

I kept it healthy too by ordering the Apple Pecan Salad.  My entree salad came with tons of Real Bacon Crumbles (so much for the healthy aspect LOL), slices of Granny Smith Apples and crispy Field Greens.  The menu advertised Pecans but there were few and far apart. The Orange Poppy-Seed Dressing was a nice match with it’s sweetness contrasting nicely with saltiness of the bacon and the tart apples.  I didn’t pick up much of an orange flavour but didn’t miss it. I did pick up the Blue Cheese Crumbles which were salty so they matched well with the dressing too.  The combinations and contrasts of ingredients made for an enjoyable meal.  I would recommend it.  Oh BTW take the Favourite Salad poll and let us know your top three salad choices.

So a “healthy” lunch with a good friend on a rainy day.

Havana Bar on Urbanspoon

Havana’s, 105 S. Main Street, New Hope, PA, 18938            215-862-9897

Memorial Day Family Picnic

May 27, 2009
Tom BBQing

Thom at the Grill

Ryan, Robbie, Donna and I got invited to our Thom and Reno’s for their Memorial Day Picnic.  It was a blast meeting their neighbours and family.  It was also great from a food point of view too.  There was tons to eat and a variety of items to make it interesting.  We got there on time and Thom was already cooking up some ribs on the grill. The Marinated Pork was moist and sweet a sTom BBQing burgers and Dogslight smokey taste from the grill.  Once the ribs were done Tom switched the classics;  Burgers and Dogs. Both were great but for some reason you weren’t suppose to put ketchup on the dogs, it was ok on the burgers but not the dogs.  The BBQ featured only Sabrett hot dogs which they felt were the best dogs in the USA.  I am a Nathan’s fan myself but the Sabrett Dogs were very good.  They had a nice snap when you bit into them and a pleasant spice mixture in the meat of the dog. Not sausage spicy but flavourful enough to be a great dog.

BBQ Fix'insA nice surprise was some Breaded Eggplant that one family member brought in from New York City.  Poker buddy Pete explained that this eggplant only grows in Italy and every year the relative brings it.  Pete suggest that I eat it without the red sauce to really taste the eggplant.  I did and sure enough it was good.  I normally steer away from eggplant regardless of preparation but when Pete said it was special I knew I had to try it.  Either way I would get something to write about.  It was a good recommendation.  Eggplant, to me, has almost a metallic taste and can be tough if you get a thick slice.  These slices we thin with a light breading.  The taste was sweet with almost a cold cut density to the flesh. It was good and I would have ate more but they disappeared by the time I got back the table.  I didn’t try the pull pork but it looked and smelled great.

Tomatoes and MozzaA classic Italian Salad is Tomatoes, Basil and Mozzarella.  The picnic’s version was really special because of the two varieties of heirloom tomatoes and some really fresh basil leaves.  The mozza was obviously fresh from their taste but aroma coming off the giant basil leaves and tomato.  You could smell this dish from across the room.

Deviled EggsAnother treat were the Deviled Eggs made by local Chef Gary from Dish Catering.  Gary catered my 50th Birthday Party so I knew these would be good.  They eggs were seasoned with mustard, cayenne and paprika giving them some heat.  Not to much but a good match to the mayo and egg yolk base to the egg filling.

Corn and Bean SalsaHaving just come off our Mexican Hold’em party the week before, I thought I was full of salsa until I spy-ed the Corn and Red Bean Salsa.  This colourful salsa was a good change up from the spicy mostly tomato salsas were served at our event. This salsa was also mild in spice making it a refreshing appetizer on a hot day.

Scilian PizzaReno now runs the family pizza business in Ringoes, NJ taking over from his father Frank.  Not that we didn’t have enough to eat already, Thom started to grill some  Sicilian Pizza that Reno had made earlier that day.  I am more of a thin crust pizza fan myself but I had to try it.  Glad I did. the grill had heated the crust nicely but the biggest impact was on the melting of the cheese, basil, garlic and homemade tomato sauce. I restrain myself in eating only one piece, cause my MD is reading the blog now so I gotta watch what I eat or at least what I right. LOL.

Spinach Salad with StrawberriesNew Facebook Friend and Poker Buddies Pete and Stella’s daughter Geri made Spinach and Strawberry Salad.  This was a refreshing break in the heat of the day.  The lightly dresses greens were a nice contrast to the sweetness of the berries.  I helped Geri pass the salad to her family and got to meet more of this great family. It was a lot of fun.

Finnish BowlingOf course a bunch of us player poker for part of the picnic but the most interesting game was a version of Lawn Bowling from Finland. The idea was to knock over the different wooden markers with wooden cylinder until you get 50 points exactly before the other players. Ryan and I tried it and it was a lot of fun.  Ryan later partnered with Poker buddy Tony and they almost won.  I can see why it was a popular game and great for picnics. 

Thanks again to Thom and Reno for inviting us.  We had a great time and hope we get to do this again next year.  Happy Memorial Day.