February 23, 2011

TJ's Coffee Cake

One lazy weekend, ABF & I decided to try the Trader Joe's coffee cake mix with breakfast.

It's pretty idiot-proof...the bags are clearly labeled just in case you can't tell which is which (and trust me, when I'm sleepy enough, I've been known to mix the two.

It's super simple to put together, and I relished the chance to get my hands in the mix!

It bakes up in about 45 minutes. I found myself getting impatient towards the end, but if you put it in first thing as you go about getting breakfast ready, it won't feel quite so long.

I really enjoyed this--it's buttery, crumbly, ,and quite tasty. It sells for about 3 bucks a box. It's a handy little something to keep in your pantry for a rainy weekend morning!

February 21, 2011

Samantha's (Super-Awesome) Smoothie

You may remember my post on the delicious Samantha Sandwich (have you tried it yet??) A lot of my friends tried it, too, and raved about it, so next I had to try the Samantha Smoothie, aka Samantha Heller's Get Well Good Morning Smoothie (go HERE for the recipe and more of her delicious ideas!)

My day starts pretty early--around 4am to be exact--and I have to admit I do NOT usually feel like eating at that time. If I DO eat, I have to have something quick and ready to go, because I am determined to sleep as long as possible. I love that I can whip up this smoothie the night before and have it ready to go--in fact, it makes two servings, so I'm set for the next two days! Also, I bought everything you see here at Trader Joe's--affordable and healthy!

I often think of smoothies as sugary, not-very-filling drinks, not substantive meals or snacks. This smoothie packs some omega-3 and fiber-rich walnuts and flax seeds (ground in my coffee grinder).

And while walnuts are good for you, make sure you measure--especially if you don't cook that much. You may think you know what a tablespoon is, but do yourself--and your waistline--a favor, and measure out just to be sure.

This blended up in less than 30 seconds. It makes about two servings, so I sampled some right away (DELISH!) and then portioned it out into two glasses: a standard juice glass, and then, just for kicks, a fancy-schmancy cocktail glass that came with my Chambord bottle.

Why not have fun with breakfast?

This is not like just downing a glass of juice, which might taste nice but isn't filling you up at all. This has serious flavor (berrytastic) and fiber, and a serving of this will actually stay with you. I now have the next 2 mornings' breakfast ready to go, so I can sip a healthy drink while I get ready in the (very) early hours.

Thanks to my favorite Registered Dietitian for yet another 'healthy' recipe that is also fabulous!

You can learn more about Samantha and get this recipe (and others) here!

February 20, 2011

Stoppin' at the Pitstop

My friend Jen's boyfriend Tom is also a food fan like myself, and he saw a Long Island joint on a Guy Fieri (Food Network host) show a few weeks ago. It just happened to be 3 miles from ABF, AND on the way to our Long Island vineyards, so we made a double date to hit it up on President's Day Weekend!

There were signs (literal and figurative) all over touting the recent Guy appearance--including a spray paint self-portrait Guy did before he left. I know that's why we were there!

Tom told us the hot Cuban sandwich was one of their signature dishes, so both he and ABF ordered that.

This is not your standard, 1-inch thick panino. No, my friends, this is a serious sandwich with roasted pork, sliced ham, pickles, mustard, and more. I took a bite of ABF's and thought it was quite tasty. Tom & ABF both liked it, but I don't think they were blown away by it. Good sandwich for a good price, though.

Thanks, Tom, for the innards shot!

ABF also ordered the New England clam chowder, which did have some good chunks of clam, but wasn't quite as creamy as I like it (which probably means it's healthier for you!

Jen got the crispy chicken sandwich and cheese fries. I had a fry or two while we waited for our order, and they were good and surprisingly NOT salted. I'd always rather add my own salt that have too-salty fries. I'm still a little skeered of liquid cheese, so I didn't indulge.

I ordered the cheeseburger with sweet potato fries. The burger was fine, pretty decent, but not showstopping. Just good, solid, single patty fare. The bun was soft, the meat was well-cooked, and I enjoyed it. If you're really hungry, though, you might want the double cheeseburger. I'm not sure this would fill you up if you were a guy (or a really hungry gal!)

The sweet potato fries were really, really good. I do not "live" for fries, but man, I couldn't stop eating these!

We won't speak of this creamy deliciousness, but ABF had the brilliant idea of adding some of his root beer to it and yea, verily, it was good.

The woman at the register helpfully suggested that we make our items part of a combo, so my fries, shake AND burger came to a mere 8 dollars! Kevin's was around 10 or 11. That was nice of her, and made for a very affordable meal!

What surprised us all was how tiny the Pitstop is! You can't fit more than maybe a dozen tables in there. While it might look like a fast food joint, every dish is made fresh and made to order. Don't expect to zoom in and out, but you will also get dishes that are a step above your usual drive-in.

The Pit Stop
1706 Sunrise Hwy.
Merrick, NY
Phone: 516-223-7799

February 19, 2011

Seeking Shelter at Clovis!

ABF & I headed back out to our new favorite place, Clovis Point Vineyards, for their President's Day special: a glass of the 2007 Archaeology along with a wine tasting. We brought Jen & Tom with us--they'd come out last year to DuckWalk but this was their first trip to CP.

It took a good while to get out there, and by the time we arrived things were closing down there. We were the only ones there and the crew was wrapping up to head home, but they were still super friendly and welcoming. We got to meet one of the owners, Hal Ginsburg, and he told me he has read my blog! That made my day!

He also shared some of their Brix chocolates that they used in the previous weekend's Valentine's chocolate/wine pairing. These chocolates are made specifically for tasting with wine, and they were excellent. A square of dark chocolate and a sip of Clovis Point's Vintner's Select Merlot team up wonderfully!

Along with enjoying the Archaeology blend, which I really savored, Tom & Jen also really liked the 2008 Chardonnay (which ABF & I love). I think we all brought home a bottle of it!

As with everyone we've met at Clovis Point, Hal clearly feels passionately about his wine and he loves to share that passion with others. Instead of feeling like we were at a business, we felt like we were just standing around someone's living room, visiting and feeling welcome very moment. I love, love love this spot, and I can't wait to go back.

February 18, 2011

Fragole--Still Got it!

My friend Jen introduced me to Fragole a few years ago, and we realized it had been over a year since we last ate there together..time to fix that!

Fragole has a wine list with every bottle 28 dollars each (some premium wines are higher--but those often go half off on certain days!) We decided to split a bottle of Torrontes. I don't drink white as much these days, but I find Torrontes to be consistently crisp, fresh, and drinkable...and this one definitely was.

We started with the Insalata Rustica: Roasted red and yellow peppers, buffalo mozzarella, house-made marinated artichokes and olives tossed with greens. Homina homina--this was scrumptious!

Normally I get the black linguine with shrimp (stellar!) but this time I tried the fresh pappardelle with short rib ragu. It was pretty fantastic. I saved half for the next day, and it was even better. However, I think I still prefer the black linguine. I'll need to go back soon to verfiy. ;)

Jen got her go-to dish--the salmon with capers (which I now loooove, wasn't so sure on my last visit), mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach.

This is a great dish, too! We were both careful enough to save room for dessert. And not just any dessert...THE dessert.

The cheesecake was just as delicious as last time, but much, much smaller and more structured. The last time we ate it, it was more of a deconstructed dessert. This time it was more centered and together--I liked it better the old way, but that didn't stop me from cleaning the plate. ;)

I can't imagine Fragole turning out a disappointing dish. This place is still at the top of my list for Favorite Eats, whether in Brooklyn or not!

394 Court St
Brooklyn, NY 11231
(718) 522-7133

February 16, 2011

Argo Tea Tasting!

My coworker Patty put her business card in the jar for an Argo Tea giveaway and actually won! She was gracious enough to share her tea tasting with her coworkers, and the Argo Tea folks (really, Devonte) brought the snacks and drinks to our weekly editorial meeting--win!

Along with some pastries and hot coffee, Devonte also brought us a pesto sandwich, muffins, and their latest seasonal drink, Red Velvet, which is a hot red tea, white chocolate, and raspberry. I think everyone in the room really enjoyed this drink--it's sweet but not too sweet, and it has unexpectedly delicious layers of flavor. Wow.

The pesto sandwiches were really good. The bread was pleasingly soft, the sundried tomatoes were tangy, and the pesto was cracktastic--I couldn't get enough of it. I found the Swiss cheese a little off-putting myself, but not enough to stop eating.

These were perfect little snacks!

I shared a chocolate croissant with a coworker, but I wasn't crazy about it.

I also had a bite of the chocolate chip cookie, and it was okay, but not for the almost 500-calorie count!

My favorite item by far is one of their newest: the green tea muffin.

This has a strong matcha flavor--which you might guess by its bright green appearance. It had a crunchy top and fluffy insides, and I not only shared one with 2 coworkers, I also shared more of another. I'm coming back for some piping hot Red Velvet and a green tea muffin!

Argo has several locations in NYC and Chicago (where they're based)--visit here for more info!

February 15, 2011

The Village Cheese Shop

ABF & I arrived a bit early for our reservation at Love Lane Kitchen, so we popped into the cheese shop across the street. It was closed the last few times we drove through, but this trip, time was on our side!

It's a small space that's delightfully (and aromatically) packed with infused oils, vinegars, pasta, spreads, and of course, cheese!

There's also a sunny side area for seating--you can enjoy cheese, wine, sandwiches--you name it!

They carry several types of rice that work well with risotto (each grain gives a different degree of creaminess). I usually cook risotto with arborio rice, but I picked up a box of the Vialone Nano after reading its description as the creamiest for risotto. Done!

A lot of tempting baked goods line the area by the register. I was super-hungry before dinner but managed to resist the lemon bars, raspberry (!) bars, and other goodies. I did take a piece of raspberry-cinnamon rugelach for later.

When I ate it the next day, I liked it but didn't love it. I saw pieces of dried fruit (the raspberries?) but personally, I prefer the smooth/jam fillings. This still had a perfectly-crafted dough to it, though, but next time I'm opting for the lemon bars. :)

Don't let the vast amount of (delicious) options overwhelm you. The people behind the counter were friendly and helpful and patient. They'll help you pick the perfect cheese, spread, dressing, or other accompaniment. ABF brought home a lovely wedge of Brie that we've yet to consume.

The Village Cheese Shop
105 Love Lane
Mattituck, NY
(631) 298-8556
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