Tag Archives: food

Recommendations

7 Feb

Since mentioning to my friends and others that I am now food blogging I’ve gotten a litany of suggestions of places to try. To garner feedback and get other opinions I’m starting a list, which will be updated to reflect places I’ve been, new places to try. Hopefully the resulting list will also provide me further fodder to tell you all about.

  1. The Strip Club
  2. Be’wiched Deli
  3. Saffron
  4. Travail Kitchen
  5. The Anchor
  6. Smack Shack

Thanks to all my foodie friends for the great list to start trying! I love you all.

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Cooking with Grandma

12 Jan

I remember as a small child one of the highlights of the Christmas holiday season was my father’s parents coming to town. When my grandfather was still alive he would go down to his local Italian grocery store in the morning before getting on the airplane and buy up all the fresh baked bread. He would fill an entire suitcase with Italian bread and check it with the rest of his baggage. One of my most treasured memories as a small child was watching him or my father open that suitcase in the middle of the dining room and you could almost hear the “awww” sound of cherubs singing when the suitcase was opened. I remember my father’s favorite was the round rolls with the sesame seeds covering the entire crust.

My favorite Italian Deli in New Jersey

My grandparents would come for two weeks during Christmas and during that time we would cook at least one big from scratch Italian meal. It ranged from eggplant parmesan, hand made gnocchi, bracciole (pronounced bra-zhole), meatballs or chicken cutlet. Most of my memories are of grandma directing myself and my parents as she was a bit older when I was little and enlisted my help as she couldn’t see as well as she used to be able to. She taught me how to make the gnocci from scratch and how to roll them out with my two little fingers to get them just the right shape. She showed me how to pound the garlic and the meat then roll them up for bracciole and how to cook them in the marinara sauce so they would soak up the flavors in the sauce.

It’s amazing to me that there is so much more to cooking than just the mechanics. Throughout my adult life I have tried to replicate the recipes that she taught me but no matter how I try it never tastes exactly the way grandma makes it.

My grandparents are in the middle

She passed away at 99 1/2 on January 10, 2010 and in thinking about this first anniversary of her death, I was thinking of all the memories of cooking with her. Those were my most favorite memories of my times with her, that and playing cards with her. She and my grandfather taught me how to play cards as a small child and I remember pestering them mercilessly when they were in town to teach me a new card game.

I digress, I still haven’t figured out the recipe thing. My sister and I were discussing this, as she was telling me she has had the same experience. She had theorized it may have something to do with the pots that grandma used, or a specific brand of tomatoes. It amazes me all the permutations that can cause the taste to vary slightly, thus making it nearly impossible to replicate completely.

Why I love True Thai

10 Jan

The first most obvious answer to this statement is of course that I love Thai food as I’ve previously mentioned. (However, since I’ve never been to Thailand I don’t pretend to be an expert on authenticity.) There is however, a second more subtle reason that I choose True Thai as one of my top 10 restaurants of all time. Good ol’ business savvy and emphasis on quality. Through going there frequently I’ve gotten to know one of the owners Anna, pretty well and she not only remembers us, but remembers details of our preferences, spoils us with treats when we go there and routinely ask us to try new things she’s adding to the menu. All these small gestures demonstrate that she appreciates our business and hopes we continue to come.

She pays attention to details, which is evidenced by the fresh flowers on the table every day and the fanciful way all the dishes are garnished, not to mention the beautiful dishes themselves. She is usually the first face you see when you enter for dinner, welcoming everyone who walks in and thanking everyone who leaves. She remembers names and/or specific details about her regulars orders and often offers recommendations based on what you’ve ordered in the past. In addition to knowing her customers, she has a very high standard of freshness and quality that I’ve rarely seen in restaurants sustained over a long time. In the summer she grows many of her own peppers and basil in the back of the restaurant and has a local grower who grows the rest of her produce, which only adds to the flavor and quality.

Photo Credit: Sonaly Xiong

Anna has her own blog which I read pretty regularly. She does a great job of educating people about Thailand with a witty mix of personal life and the restaurant business. I admire her business savvy and appreciate that her customers are an extension of her family. If you haven’t been to True Thai, I would highly recommend it.

PS: Call for a reservation on weekends or other busy times or it might be a little bit of a wait to get seated.

Food Motivated

3 Jan

Things you should know about me;

  1. I love food
  2. I love trying new foods
  3. I would rather eat than cook
  4. My husband is the chef in our family. I can cook but he usually does.
  5. I am friends with many restaurant owners which helps finance my foodie habits.
  6. I love animals but I love eating them too.

Brutis the Steer

When I used to train dogs we would use positive reinforcement training and the easiest dogs to train were the “food motivated” ones. I often joke with people that I myself would fall squarely into the food motivated camp. I hesitate to call this a food blog since I think of more traditional food blogs such as my friend Stephanie Meyer’s blog in which she talks about her extraordinary cooking skill and shares spectacular recipes most of which I’ll never be organized enough in the kitchen to actually execute.

For me this is about sharing my thoughts and ideas about food, places I love to eat and the reason that I enjoy the experiences I have with food.