Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Your questions answered about QUINOA

How did this food get so popular, so fast? What is the best way to cook and serve it, and what does it taste like?
Check out this article in the NY Times, "Five Things to Know About Quinoa."

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Elephant Walk -- University Heights

There's a new restaurant near the University of Cincinnati campus, on McMicken in the area now called U-Square. It's a combo of Northern Indian and Ethiopian food.
While we have a LOT of Indian restaurants in this and nearby neighborhoods, Ethiopian is unusual. So we ordered from that side of the menu.
This is the vegetarian sampler platter.
It didn't do much for us.
I'll write in more detail as soon as I can get the time.
Elephant Walk Ethiopian sampler

Sunday, April 6, 2014

New Menu Items at La Poste

Clifton's destination restaurant (La Poste) has debuted a spring menu.
While several reliable dishes remain available -- such as the Roasted Crimson Pear appetizer ($12 for almost a meal in itself, with prosciutto, herbed goat cheese and arugula, served warm), Wild Mushroom Ravioli ($18 and incredibly rich, but you can ask for an appetizer sized portion and be satisfied) and Seared Diver Scallops ($16, with the preparation altered somewhat from Day 1 of the restaurant) -- there are new salads, a bowl of mussels in a garlicky fennel broth, and several new entrees.
Click here to see the current menu.
My husband ended up ordering off-the-menu specials for both his appetizer (a mushroom/onion soup) and entree (amberjack with lots of veggies).
Someone had to sample new menu items, so I went with a Smoked Duck Breast appetizer ($13, pictured below), followed by a fish that I've never seen on their menu, and we've been regular patrons for the 3-4 years they've been open.
La Poste: Smoked Duck Breast
It was Skate Wing with quite a few sliced veggies and a caper sauce; I didn't care for the too-salty "sunchoke galette" that the fish and veggies sat on, but the rest of the dish worked well.
Skate Wing entree

We split a very nice Mandarin orange creme brule for dessert.
And you can always rely on the staff at La Poste to suggest appropriate wine pairings for each dish. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Restaurant Review: Mazunte Taqueria Mexicana

I finally got to try this place that I've heard nothing but good things about.
It's obvious from the moment you walk in the door that good things await. The room is cozy and yet spacious, the dark wood tables and stools along with the colorful wall art all seem inviting -- and right by the door is a station where a middle-aged Mexicana woman makes and displays the house salsas.
Mazunte Salsa Bar

The menu includes four types of tacos, three specialty dishes with rice, and several other hearty main dishes.
As this was just my first visit, I tried the Mixed Tacos: $9 for one each of the fish, shredded pork and skirt steak varieties. (The fourth taco choice is a different preparation entirely -- "rolled and fried crispy with braised chicken" and other ingredients. The tacos I ordered were all made in soft corn tortillas.)
Terrific tacos

The tacos were on a par with those at Bakersfield -- which means excellent -- and my favorite was the fish taco, which you can order with the fish breaded and fried or grilled.
We had a taste of the Pozole ($6.25), a not-too-spicy Mexican soup, which was perfectly seasoned and quite delicious.
I would have been tempted to order tamales, which I love, but the manager said he was still cooking the day's batch and it would be another half-hour before they'd be ready.
Other choices include enchiladas ($9), blue corn quesadillas ($8) and chile relleno ($8.50). They all sound so good, I can hardly wait to go back.
Mazunte is not a bar scene -- unlike Bakersfield -- although you can get bottled beer, Sangria or a Margarita. I'm hoping they might add to their drink options, but even if not, I could make this a regular stop.
Unfortunately, it's not on my side of town -- but it's very near my gym. So I could see stopping in for lunch and/or to carry home some of these dishes to reheat later for dinner.
The counter scene

Monday, March 31, 2014

Spring, at Last (and Opening Day of baseball, too)

Started a diet yesterday to lose just a couple of pounds.......it will start to get easier now that we will have warmer weather, more daylight, better chances for outdoor activities, and spring crops such as asparagus, peas, strawberries...........Thank goodness. Happy beginning of April, the month of lilacs.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Best meal we had in ATLANTA

Oddly enough, this brunch at COOK HALL in the W Buckhead Hotel (next door to the Westin, where we stayed) was my favorite meal of our 3-day stay.
The omelet with smoked salmon, goat cheese and spinach was perfect, and the fruit plate was totally delicious--it included cantaloupe as tasty as the best mid-summer melon you're likely to happen upon. Also, the cocktails were spectacular, the dining room pleasant, and the staff fun to talk with.

We dropped back in at the end of the evening for a hot toddy and some more chat with the bartender.

Would return!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Try this for supper

Or breakfast, or lunch for that matter.........

Recipe: Eggs with Quinoa, Smoked Salmon and Avocado
Serves 2
1 cup quinoa, cooked according to package directions, seasoned with salt and pepper, if desired
1 ripe avocado, peeled, cut into cubes and sprinkled with lime juice
4 ounces smoked salmon
2 T cooking oil (canola, peanut or olive)
½ cup yellow bell pepper, diced
5 eggs, lightly beaten
2 T plain yogurt
Salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
Arrange quinoa, avocado cubes and slices of smoked salmon on two dinner plates, leaving room for the cooked eggs.
Heat oil over medium heat in a medium, nonstick frying pan.  Add pepper and cook, stirring, until they start to soften. Meanwhile, stir the yogurt into your beaten eggs and add salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture into pan with peppers and scramble softly until eggs reach desired level of doneness. (This only takes a couple of minutes.) Sprinkle with cheese and divide onto prepared plates. Serve immediately.

Avocado: A perfect food?
This delectable fruit traces its ancient origins to what became Mexico, which still produced some of the world’s best specimens. Known in parts of India as butterfruit for its creamy, satisfying mouthfeel, avocado strikes us as one of the best foods on the planet. What a nutritional powerhouse it is: higher than almost all other fruits in protein, packing more than half your daily recommended intake of fiber, loaded with the healthiest type of fat and rich in vitamins and minerals. Did we mention that it’s delicious all on its own? Or peel and slice a ripe one, mash it with a fork, add a squeeze of lemon or lime and a little salt and pepper, and spread it on bread or toast for a quick lunch.  We like to make a sandwich with a slice of sharp cheese and a few leaves of spinach on toasted whole wheat. You’ll be getting a lot of potassium, vitamins C, E and an assortment of B vitamins along with the fiber and healthy monounsaturated fat. An average avocado has about 200-235 calories.