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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Swirl Wine Gift Certificate Winner!

And the winner for the $20 Gift Certificate to Swirl Wine is......................

AK!!!!!! (Check out her blog on Social Media Marketing!)

Yay AK!!!  Enjoy your wonderful $20 gift certificate to Swirl Wine!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Swirl Wine Gift Certificate Giveaway!! - LAST DAY TO ENTER!

Don't forget to get your last vote in TODAY for a chance to win a $20 gift certificate to Swirl Wine in Timonium.

Just leave a comment on this post telling me what kind of wine you like.  The contest ends TONIGHT at 11:59PM!

Good luck!

Friday Morning Haiku

Lemon bar and a beautiful rooibos tea at The Casual Cup
It's a rainy day
I just want to stay inside
and drink loose leaf tea
Last weekend, I had the absolute pleasure of going to The Casual Cup in Phoenix for a 2 hour tea tasting.  We tried a white tea, two types of green teas, a black tea (assam) and a rooibos "tea" (it's not really tea since the leaves come from the African Red Bush).  The wonderful owner, Wendy Savelle, paired our teas with delights from the kitchen - scones, quiche, lemon bars.  
Everything was absolutely delicious!  More than that, it was just so much fun to learn about tea and to try all different kinds!  I met the loveliest ladies and learned about the Royal Tea Club - a group who meet up for Tea at various tea rooms in Maryland and Pennsylvania, and sometimes England!!!! 

I realized that once I finish all the million teabags that I have left in my kitchen, I will tread softly into the Wonderful World of Loose Leaf Tea. 
I also realized that I miss going to Tea Rooms, and will try and make a serious effort to getting around to more of them this year.  What a wonderful resolution :)

The Casual Cup
13820 Jarrettsville Pike
Phoenix, MD 21131
phone: 410.667.3606
toll free: 877.937.9338

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Curbside Cafe, Baltimore Food Truck

Curbside Cafe is our local burrito truck and I love it SO MUCH!!!!

I heard really great reviews about the spicy chicken burrito, so I decided to give that a shot the first time I stopped by the truck.  I got the platter for $8 - burrito, a choice of a side and a drink.  Or you can order a burrito by itself for $6, a side for $1.50, and a drink for $1.

The chicken is a pulled chicken with a spicy sauce that can easily be masked by the cheese, sour cream, or avocado (if you want it to be masked).  It was also WOH DELICIOUS.  If you aren't into spicy food - don't let that scare you away from trying this burrito.  However, their other burrito choices include chana masala (chickpeas in Indian spices), pulled pork, grilled veggies, black beans and steak burritos.

For my side, I chose the fried plantains seasoned with salt and pepper.  These aren't your usual fried plantains, as you can see from the picture.  They are actually tostones and they are excellent, but honestly, the burrito was big enough that I really didn't need to have the platter.  However, I would consider purchasing these separately if I just wanted a snack one day.  Love.


The next time the truck came by, I chose the spicy chicken burrito bowl, to save myself some calories, plus it was only $5, which is a steal for a flavorful and VERY filling lunch!!!! I can't wait to keep going back!

Curbside Cafe Food Truck
On Facebook
On Twitter 

Curbside Cafe (Mobile Truck) on Urbanspoon

Don't forget to enter my $20 gift certificate giveaway to Swirl Wine shop in Timonium!  You can enter once per day until Feb 25th!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Morning Haiku

Enjoy the weather
Eat outside and walk around
It won't last for long

Good morning!  Wow, I am super excited about today's weather.  I am not excited that I'll be inside for the most of it staring at a computer, but I am determined to enjoy my lunch hour and take a walk.  I think I'll head to the harbor for a nice break in scenery. 

A smoothie is also calling my name.  Hmmmmm where should I go?  I want a fruit and yogurt based smoothie - any suggestions in the downtown area?

Also - don't forget to enter my $20 gift certificate giveaway to Swirl Wine shop in Timonium!  You can enter once per day until Feb 25th!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Swirl Wine Gift Certificate Giveaway!!

Do you like wine, beer and/or liquor?  Do you like winning things?  Well then get excited friends because I have an AWESOME giveaway for you!  Swirl Wine is offering one lucky TofB reader a $20 Gift Certificate to their store in Timonium!!!!

I've written about Swirl a number of times, so this is very exciting for me!  What I've always loved about Swirl, is the enthusiasm the owners (husband and wife team, Austin and James) have for teaching others about wine.  They offer wine classes, as I mention below, and they also hold wine tastings on Friday evenings. 

Here are their two upcoming classes ($20 each).  I've taken Swirl 101 before with a friend of mine and not only did we learn a lot, but we had a blast!
  • Swirl 101: The Basics, Saturday, February 26th  1pm-2pm
    • Geared toward the new wine enthusiast. Popular styles, regions, and terminology will be explored.   
  • Swirl 201: The Nitty Gritty, Saturday, March 12th  1-2pm
    • Each "Nitty Gritty" class will be centered around an in-depth investigation of a particular region, varietal, or style. The dynamic region of Spain will be on the agenda for this class.
 So drop by Swirl, and enter my giveaway!  You can enter ONCE PER DAY!

2320 York Road, Timonium, MD

- One winner will receive a $20 gift certificate to Swirl Wine.  The certificate may be redeemed for in-store purchases, including wine classes.
- Enter the contest by leaving a comment on this post telling me what kind of wine you like.  You can be as specific or as vague as you like :)
- You can enter ONCE PER DAY!
- PLEASE leave a contact email!
- This giveaway will end on Friday, February 25th at 11:59PM.
- I will choose the winner by random selection on February 26th and I will notify them via email and via a blog post!

Good Luck!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Cacao Lorenzo Chocolatier, Lutherville

Let's spend some time together to talk about my favorite chocolate in the history of the world - the chocolate from Cacao Lorenzo

It is straight up amazing and I am obsessed.  In fact, I've been obsessed for a while, which is a rarity for me.  Here's a review I wrote of the place back in 2005 on the review site "Judy's Book"  and it's actually quoted on Cacao Lorenzo's website as well!

Here it is:

October 23, 2005

Words cannot describe this chocolate.  To describe this chocolate would be an art. One cannot write what this chocolate is about without having music flow through the words.

Ahahahahah Ok I am done.  But in all honesty.  The bar has been raised.  This is by far the fanciest chocolate I have ever eaten, and I am not being facetious when I say I can picture the Mayans nodding approvingly.  The lovely owner makes all the chocolates himself and is very friendly and open about what he does.  The only drawback is that he doesn't sell individual chocolates so you must buy them in a box.  BUT YOU WILL LOVE THEM SO IT DOESN'T MATTER.

There is no need to sample here, this guy knows what he is doing.  He also makes a different special everyday.  On my birthday he made something called Frutti Fresco (or something like that) which was a small sliver of dark chocolate topped with some kind of milk chocolate paste, probably ganache, and then topped with two different berries.  INCREDIBLE.  I took the first bite and felt like I was transported to heavenly chocolate land where everything is good and delicious.  I would also like to mention that normally I don't like dark chocolate, but I loved his.  His regular box of chocolates has really unusual flavors that seem to work so wonderfully together.  One of the chocolates is called India which is made with a spice that we actually use in Indian cooking - and it's yummy!  Another is made with infused lavender and another is made with port soaked figs.  Who is this guy?  I think I need to be best friends with him because he amazes me.

Nakiya V.
Lutherville Timonium, MD

That’s right. I wrote that 5+ years ago and in that time I found out the guy was Larry McGlinchey, and he's the coolest and most awesome chocolatier ever, and yes, we're basically best friends :), I’ve discovered my love for dark chocolate, I’ve had the “India” chocolate as one of the favors for my wedding, and I am just as ridiculous hahahahahahaha.

And I still love these chocolates.

My favorite is definitely the Basque Squareport wine soaked figs, milk chocolate butter ganache, the Lavender Flowerlavender flower infused ganache, dark chocolate and the India - Spiced dark chocolate ganache.

If you want to impress a loved one this Valentine's Day (click here for specials), or literally ANY DAY - get them a box of these chocolates.

Cacao Lorenzo Chocolatier on Urbanspoon

Friday Morning Haiku

Flowers and candy
Glass of champagne and oysters
'Tis the days of love

Every year Dan and I agree not to celebrate Valentine's Day, and every year without fail he still gives me a present - usually a box of chocolates from Cacao Lorenzo (which is my favorite chocolatier IN THE ENTIRE WORLD - review forthcoming!).  

This year, Dan told me he was taking me out to a surprise dinner, so I was already super excited about that.  But then last night, he surprised me a little early with my present - tickets to see Alton Brown at the Hippodrome!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG OMG OMG I AM SO EXCITEDDDDDDDDDD!!!! ALTON!!!!!!  THE FOODIE EXPERIENCE!!!!!!

Yay!  Dan is super awesome!!!!!!!!!!

How do you celebrate Valentine's Day?  Do you hide in your house to avoid crowds and all shades of red and pink?  Or are you like Dan and I, where you say you won't celebrate it but still end up doing something anyway :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Baltimore Events

Here are some press releases I've received lately.  As always, feel free to send me press releases if you would like me to post information.  I try not to do complete lists, as they are usually pretty exhaustive elsewhere.

For more Valentine's Day information, check this list out on Dining@Large.

Valentine's Day at Crush Restaurant

Crush Restaurant is celebrating Valentines day by offering a special 3 course Pix Fixe menu for $50. Diners may also choose from a limited a la carte menu.

Pick one option from each course:
    • Lobster bisque with lobster salad slider
    • Shrimp with grits, andouille sausage & bacon     
    • Kobe beef tataki with potato fried rice and truffle aioli
    • Hearts of Romaine with caesar dressing, crispy parmesan, garlic croutons & proscuitto
    • Spinach Salad with blueberries, goat cheese, pumpkin seeds & balsamic vinaigrette
    • Mahi with roasted shrimp & red pepper bisque      
    • Salmon with a miso bbq glaze, mushroom stir fry, potato springroll & japanese mustard     
    • Scallops served with mushrooms, asparagus & truffle potatoes      
    • Chicken breast with lobster mashed potatoes, asparagus & mushrooms    
    • Beef Filet, spinach fondue, bearnaise & matchstick potatoes      
    • Flourless chocolate cake, vanilla ice cream & chocolate sauce
    • Apple cake, vanilla ice cream & caramel sauce
    • Blueberry cake, vanilla ice cream & blueberry sauce
    • Assortment of housemade cookies    
Crush Restaurant
510 East Belvedere Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21212
(443) 278-9001

Valentine's Day at Morton's The Steakhouse

 Morton’s The Steakhouse in Baltimore is celebrating Valentine’s Day weekend, February 11 – 14, with a special three-course menu for two, as well as a Valentine’s Day cocktail, The Red Velvet.

Morton’s special $109.99 three-course menu for two:
  • Choice of two salads
    • Morton’s salad with blue cheese dressing, chopped egg and anchovies
    • Caesar salad;
  • Two single-cut filets (or upgrade to a double cut filet mignon, prime ribeye steak, or single cut prime New York strip for an additional cost);
  • Choice of two seafood options
    • Morton’s jumbo lump crab cake, 
    • colossal shrimp Alexander, 
    • broiled sea scallops,
    • chicken Christopher; 
  • Two side dishes; 
  • Two desserts, choice of
    • Morton’s Legendary Hot Chocolate Cake, 
    • crème brulee,
    • key lime pie
In addition, pair the meal with a bottle of 2007 Beringer, Napa Valley, Pinot Noir, or 2008 Beringer, Napa Valley, Sauvignon Blanc, for an additional $45. 

Morton’s The Steakhouse
300 South Charles Street.
Baltimore, MD 21201

Valentine's Day at Phillips Seafood Restaurant
Phillips Seafood Restaurant - Harborplace is offering a three-course Valentine's Day Menu for $48 per person, available from February 11-14. The regular menu will also be available a la carte.

Pick one option from each course:
    • Hearts of Palm & Artichoke Salad - Passion fruit vinaigrette, frisee greens & pomegranate
    • Baked Oysters & Clams - Garlic & herbs
    • Tuna Two Ways - Tartare tuna, wasabi topeko caviar, blackened with kani crab salad, soy glaze & gaufrette potato chips
    • Baked Stuffed Lobster - Crab & imperial sauce, roast potatoes & jumbo asparagus
    • Grilled Cobia - Lobster mashed potatoes, tangerine fennel butter sauce, sugar snap peas & shitake mushrooms
    • Surf & Turf - Grilled filet mignon & broiled lobster tail, saffron rice & roast winter vegetables
    • Red Velvet Cheesecake with  fresh berries & cream
Phillips Seafood Restaurant
301 Light Street
Baltimore, MD, 21202.

Maryland Science Center's Wine Series: Que Syrah, Shiraz – February 24th

On February 24th at 6:30pm, the Maryland Science Center's wine series, Science Uncorked, returns with "Que Syrah, Shiraz."

Participants will explore how climate and soil affect how wines taste and sip samples of wines to understand their taste differences. The Wine Market's Wine Director, Lucien Walsh, will lead the discussion and presentation. There will be food available. 

Tickets for Science Uncorked are $50 ($45 for Maryland Science Center members) and are all inclusive–wine, food and program.

Maryland Science Center
601 Light Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
(410) 685-5225

Swirl Wine Classes

My favorite wine shop is offering wine classes again - sign up soon before classes fill up! Each class is $20

  • Swirl 101: The Basics, Saturday, February 26th  1pm-2pm
    • Geared toward the new wine enthusiast. Popular styles, regions, and terminology will be explored.   
  • Swirl 201: The Nitty Gritty, Saturday, March 12th  1-2pm
    • Each "Nitty Gritty" class will be centered around an in-depth investigation of a particular region, varietal, or style. The dynamic region of Spain will be on the agenda for this class. 

Swirl Wine
2320 York Rd.
Timonium, MD 21093

Phillips Seafood Restaurant at Harborplace - A Series of Cooking Classes

Phillips is offering cooking classes again, which consist of a demonstration, some wine and a delicious meal with the Chef!  here's the list:
  • Crabology. Saturday, March 19. 
    • What is the difference between crab claw meat and jumbo lump crab meat? Enjoy a tasting of the various grades of crab meat with a glass of wine and a demonstration on how to make your own hors d'oeuvres.
  • Clam Bake for Two. Saturday, April 16. 
    • Learn how to shop for fresh seafood, select it and whip up an easy one-pot meal. Then they’ll show you how to combine it all to create a clam bake that includes a whole Maine lobster, snow crab legs, shrimp, clams, mussels, potatoes and corn on the cob.
  • The Freshest Catch. Saturday, May 7. 
    • Salmon. Barramundi. Flounder. Mahi-mahi. It’s all so good. But how do you select it, clean it, grill it, or stuff it with crab? Enjoy lunch, wine, and discuss all the intricacies of a great meal with the chef.

Each class costs $50 and it includes the chef demo, wine, lunch, and a swag bag to go. Get three classes for  $125. Classes begin at 11:30, and space is limited, so register early.  Call the restaurant to register.

Phillips Seafood Restaurant
301 Light Street
Baltimore, MD, 21202.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Slainte Irish Pub and Restaurant, Fells Point

Although Slainte (pronounced Slawn-Cheh) Irish Pub and Restaurant has been around for more than five years, it's recently had a menu overhaul in an effort to make the place more like a gastropub, thanks to the hiring of  Chef Bill Crouse.  I was so happy to receive an invitation to taste the new menu!  I didn't really know what to expect, but I assumed traditional Irish fare, however it was so much more than that.  By the end of the meal I was completely blown away by each item I tried. I love when my expectations are surpassed! 

Mushroom Gnudi (Gnocchi) $9 - Mushroom gnocchi fried golden and served with brown butter and sage. These are not like your typical potato gnocchi - it tasted more like a deep fried ball of mushroom risotto.  Doesn't that sound good!?  They are so incredibly creamy and cheesy.  To all those mushroom haters - you can hardly tell they are in this dish, don't let it deter you from trying this. OMG I want five million more of these within my reach.

Ploughman's Platter $14 Smoked fish, cheeses, charcuterie, homemade relish and spread served with toasted bread. Love the presentation of the board and the variety. This would be a good appetizer for a group to share. On the plate were some artichokes, smoked trout, tomato aspic, pate, blue cheese, apples, olives and salami.

Spiced Cornflour Calamari $9 - The calamari is served with beet chips and smoked pepper aioli. If you love calamari you will love these.  They are large in size and the breading doesn't overwhelm the meat.  The aioli is a really nice change from the usual marinara sauce and the crispy beet chips are a colorful addition.

Sauteed Mussels $9 - P.E.I mussels with tomatoes, basil and garlic in a white wine butter. What a large serving of mussels for $9!  I love the savory flavoring - it's definitely an appetizer you can eat a lot of without feeling too full (trust me hahaha).


Fish 'N' Chips $16 - Two portions of Heavy Seas classic lager battered cod, potato wedges and Slainte slaw, served with vinegar on the side. The cod was flaky and moist inside the wonderful breading and the chips had a good amount of crisp to them.  The coleslaw was freshly made, was light on the mayo and included lots of pickles and pickle juice.  Probably one of the best coleslaws I've ever had!  This meal made me nostalgic!

Guiness Sunday Roast $18 - Irish pot roast braised in Guinness, served with boiled potatoes and carrots. Straight up comfort food.  I hardly noticed a beer flavor, to be honest, I just noticed how much I loved the pot roast and the potatoes and carrots.   The meat was succulent, the sauce was nice and savory and the vegetables were perfectly boiled.  What more can you ask for?

Gilled Duroc Porkloin $16 - Porkloin served with herb spaetzel and pink peppercorn goat cheese sauce.  Wow.  I loved this.  The spaetzel reminded me of tiny pieces of waffle fries and I couldn't stop eating them (have you noticed a theme in my review so far? hahahah).  The creamy goat cheese dressing is not as overpowering as you would think while the pork itself was light and wonderfully flavored.  What an excellent, EXCELLENT dish.


Guinness Breadpudding $8 - Breadpudding served with a warm caramel sauce.  The pudding was light and fluffy, which is never what I am expecting when I order bread pudding.  Our dessert was not served with a warm caramel sauce, but a raspberry sauce instead.  I think the caramel sauce would be a much better addition.

Zeppole (actually an Italian dessert Chef Bill brought over from his times spent in Sotto Sopra).   What we have here are deep-fried dough balls (DOUGHNUTS) sprinkled with powder sugar, and served with a cup of chocolate ganache for dipping.  The balls weren't too sweet, so the warm chocolate was it's perfect accompaniment.  WOW. My tummy was so full at this point in the meal, but I destroyed this plate because my brain would simply not allow me to stop.  PURE PERFECTION.  GET THIS NOW.  SERIOUSLY.  I DON'T WANT TO HEAR ANY EXCUSES FROM YOU.  Unfortunately, this is not on the menu currently (AAAAAAAAAAH!), but hopefully they will still offer this every time you go!

All in all, I think this new menu is incredible. Of course I will order my Zeppole every time I come here, but I also can't wait to try their Dubliner Cheddar Mac and Cheese which is topped with braised pork shoulder ($13), or their Shepherd's Pie ($12). You can come here and have a great time watching a football (soccer) game with your mates, and at the same time have a delicious dinner with your significant other.  Either way, Slainte is Baltimore's gastropub - go to Fells Point and give it a try!

 Slainte Irish Pub on Urbanspoon

DISCLAIMER: Though this was a free tasting, I still only wrote exactly what was in my heart and tummy about my meal at Slainte!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Jason's Deli, Timonium

 JB's Bagelini

As I mentioned here, Jason's Deli offered their patrons two days of free entrees while they were training their staff.  Of course I took full advantage of that!

I ordered the JB's Bagelini ($5.29) - Smoked turkey breast, provolone, smoked red pepper-cilantro aioli and fresh made guacamoke, pico de gallo.  Pressed between an olive oil toasted bagel.  For the price this was a surprisingly good and filling sandwich.  I loved the aioli, whereas the guacamole wasn't all that exciting.  This is a great lunch sandwich. 

Chicken Panini

Dan ordered the Chicken Panini ($7.29) - Marinated chicken breast, provolone, basil pesto with pine nuts, roma tomatoes, spinach.  Pressed between olive oil French bread. Now this sandwich was not a favorite of mine.  I thought the chicken was overly spiced, which made the entire sandwich too salty.  All the ingredients sound great - but something was definitely off.

HALF Muffaletta

I was able to try a bit of their signature sandwich, the Muffaletta, and immediately wished I had ordered one.  If you love olives, you will love this sandwich.  Even if you don't even like olives you may very well like this sandwich because the bread is just that good.  

And look at that plate!  That's HALF a sandwich right there!!! You can order either the Ham and Hard Salami Muffaletta or the Turkey Muffaletta.  You also have the choice of 3 sizes - Quarter ($6.29), Half ($7.99) or the Whole (9inches - $11.99). The Muffaletta bread is spread with an olive mix and antipasti with olive oil and provolone and your choice of meats. There's no way you're leaving hungry after half of that thing - or even a quarter!!!!! 

California Club

The next day I tried the California Club ($6.99) - Croissant with turkey breast, bacon, swiss, tomato, sprouts, mayo, and guacamole.  I decided to get fresh fruit on the side, which was served with a creamy sour cream based dip that I enjoyed.  This sandwich was great, I really really liked it, and even liked the guacamole better this time around.  It also made me appreciate how much I love croissant sandwiches, of which there are many on the menu.

All in all, this was a great sandwich shop, and I expect it's going to give Panera Bread some stiff competition,  considering they are in the same shopping center.  The salad bar looked interesting and fresh, and they were also giving out free soft serve - which I heard they were going to continue doing!  The space itself is huge and definitely family friendly.  All in all, those free entree days worked out well - I can't wait to go back for an inexpensive and tasty lunch and Dan's already been back TWICE!!

Jason's Deli on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 7, 2011

Tutti Frutti, Cockeysville

Yes, it's freezing outside and here I am talking about Tutti Frutti, the new frozen yogurt place in Cockeysville...but how can I not?  This place is awesome and we've been waiting for a place like this in the suburbs for a long time (sorry TCBY!).

They have so many yogurt flavors and so many toppings that it would be hard to have the same experience twice.  Their flavors and toppings are said to change all the time - in fact, they boast 40 yogurt flavors and 40 toppings that they can cycle through, keeping their most popular ones, of course. 

This is just a sampling of some of the flavors and toppings they offer, according to their website:
Creamy Yogurt: Peanut Butter, Taro, Cookies N Cream, Banana Pudding, Almond, Green Tea, Pistachio
Tart Yogurt: Acai Berry, Pomegranate, Pineapple, Papaya, Pina Colada, Passion Fruit, Kiwi
Toppings: Granola, Banana, Strawberries, Cookies, Chocolate Chips, Fruity Pebbles

For my first time I kept it simple and went with the basic vanilla, a bit of chocolate and topped with some oreos and toffee bits. I loved this combination!  Sooo simple and creamy!

I have heard that the strawberry and banana is one of the best flavors, so I can't wait to try that...but that seems more of a Spring/Summer flavor to me - especially topped with some fresh fruit, of which they have many :)

This is a self-serve place - so don't let that spell disaster for you! Their cups are very large and you will feel like you need to fill that entire thing up, but beware - your treat is weighed at 45cents an ounce, and that adds up fast!

I love the variety of this place.  I can see myself coming here often when the weather warms up a bit - you should think about it too!

Tutti Frutti
10128 York Road
Cockeysville, MD 21030

Friday, February 4, 2011

Friday Morning Haiku

Foodzie, Foodzie, on
the wall....Who makes the greatest
Tasting Box of all?

If you remember this post, I wrote about the Foodzie Tasting Box and how my friend thought it was a terrible idea.  He suggested I purchase $20 worth of groceries myself....or that he would just buy me $20 of fun groceries so that I would still maintain my surprise.

Well, I took him up on his offer and decided to compare his box with that of Foodzie's.  So here's my review of the Foodzie Tasting Box. 

Let me tell you what selection of (VERY SMALL) samples I received for $20:

Clockwise, starting from the Top Left

2 teabags
A tiny bottle of dulche de leche
Roasted almonds with hickory salt
Raw blueberry and gogiberry granola bar
Dried nectarines
2 mini matcha and chocolate cupcakes

Was it worth $20?  To be honest, it's hard to say.  I've spent $20 on worse things - Pier V parking comes to mind, in fact.

Just as I imagined, I did love the surprise of opening the box and seeing what was inside, but so far I am not impressed.  The almonds were OK....they tasted like almonds.  The mini cupcakes were a bit dry.  The dried nectarines were like dried apricots gone wrong.  The granola bar tasted like eating bird food.

I still haven't tried the dulche de leche or tea yet.

So, yes, this box failed me.  

I did like that it gave me the opportunity to sample items I would have never bought on my own....but perhaps that is a problem?  I'm not going to write the Foodzie Tasting Box off completely though, I think every once in a while it would be a fun treat, but I'm not sure I would ever subscribe for a year's worth of boxes.

It certainly seems that my friend has a very good chance of winning the Tasting Box Challenge.  I think even another friend wants to get in on this as well.  This may be the greatest challenge of my life, and I mean that in the AWESOME way.  

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Reader Question: Lemon Curd?

I received a lovely jar of Lemon Curd from Trader Joe's as a gift, but unfortunately I have no idea what to do with it.

Does anyone have some ideas/recipes that uses lemon curd?

Yes, yes, I know I can Google it - but this is more fun :)   Thanks!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ra Sushi's New Menu Items

Ra Sushi is such a fun place to go.  The atmosphere is very hip and lively.  And just like the restaurant, the menu is also exciting, especially because they update it every once in a while.  So let's talk about some new menu items that was I was lucky enough to try:

Otoko Salad

  • Otoko Salad (Chicken $10/Beef $12) - Choice of grilled chicken or beef tossed in a spicy yuzu dressing with grilled red and green bell peppers, onions and asparagus.  It's served over some greens with a rice wine vinaigrette and topped with watercress and fried ramen noodles. 
    • I really liked this salad - it was a great starter and the yuzu dressing was nice and spicy. I would recommend the beef.  
Sushi Rolls

Pacific Roll
  • Pacific Roll ($9.50) - Spicy mix of albacore tuna, cilantro, jalapeño and cucumber, rolled and topped with fresh avocado and mango salad.  Finished with red beet tempura bits and sauteed cashew nuts.
  • Tropical Roll ($8.50) - Cucumber, mango and avocado rolled and topped with spinach tempura bits, spicy shrimp mixed with masago and mango salsa.
  • "RA"ckin' Roll ($13) - Crab and cream cheese rolled in rice and seaweed, lightly tempura battered and topped with guacamole and "RA"ckin' shrimp.  It's finished with a creamy ginger teriyaki dipping sauce, red beet tempura buts and togarashi.
  • Vegetable Tempura Roll ($7.50) - Lightly battered asparagus, sweet potato and Japanese eggplant rolled and topped with crunchy tempura bits and drizzled with a sweet eel sauce.

    "RA"ckin' Shrimp Roll
Interestingly enough, the Vegetable Tempura Roll was my favorite out of all of these, although that's not to say that I didn't love any of the other options.  I thought they were all tasty with a lot of complex flavors.  In fact, the "RA"ckin roll actually reminded me of risotto - which was interesting for a sushi roll!  But what I loved about the vegetable roll is that I could identify all the flavors, and they worked so well together.  I would love to order this again and again. 


  • Sweet Mochi Trio ($7.50) - A traditional Japanese treat.  This is a combination of mango, strawberry and vanilla ice cream wrapped in sweet rice cake.
    • Yes!!!!  Mochi!!!!!!  I loooooove this stuff and was so happy that this was added to the menu.  Although I only got to try the strawberry flavor, it did not disappoint me.  The chewy outer layer and creamy ice cream was perfect. 
  • Ginger Blossom ($8) - Hendrick's gin, St. Germain, muddled strawberries, pink grapefruit, lime juice and a splash of ginger ale.
    • Please sir, can I have some more? 
  • Elderflower Smash ($8) - Absolut Berri Acai, St. Germain, muddled blueberries, lemon juice and soda.
  • Dragon Bite - Bacardi Dragonberry, strawberry puree, lemon juice, yuzu  and a splash of soda. 
    • I love how inventive these drinks are - they match the menu perfectly.

Of course there are many more new menu items, as well as the old ones as well.  I think this place is great - everything is so creative!  If you haven't been to this place before, go for their happy hour (Mon-Sat, 3-7pm) and you'll be hooked! 

Thanks to Profiles, Inc. for their wonderful photos!

DISCLAIMER: Though this was a free tasting, I was not asked to write a positive review nor did I feel any inclination to write anything which did not reflect my true opinion of Ra Sushi.

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