Showing posts with label vacation eats. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vacation eats. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I left my stomach in Lima, Peru

I had the opportunity to travel to Santiago, Chile and Lima, Peru for work at the beginning of March. Even though the days were packed with meetings, of course I still found time to squeeze in some fantastic dining experiences. Here is a shot of the gorgeous ceviche we tasted at Cebicheria La Mar with giant choclo corn, aji pepper, Peruvian sweet potatoes, and plenty of leche de tigre (the liquid that cooks the fish):

While I digest my experience and put together my photos, I wanted to share a recipe from a post way back in March of 2011. As part of the Daring Cooks challenge we made Peruvian recipes. Since I am missing the bright lime and zesty flavors of the many ceviches I had on my trip, I wanted to share this recipe to try to relive the experience!

I used a Wild Alaskan Halibut steak and plenty of fresh lime juice and cilantro. A finely diced red fresno pepper added a little kick to the dish (no aji peppers here, like they have in Peru). The fish "cooked" for about 10 minutes, until just opaque. Here's the fish in the 'cooking' liquid:

Ceviche de Pescado (Fish Ceviche):
Adapted from recipe by Annik Franco Barreau
1 lb. Wild Alaskan Halibut steak
1 garlic clove, mashed
1 red fresno chili pepper, minced
1/2 - 3/4 cup  freshly squeezed lime juice (enough to cover fish)
1 tablespoon  fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
Salt and pepper (to taste)

Rinse fish and pat dry
Cut into 1 inch cubes (anywhere from 1/2 inch - 2 inches, depending on your preference)
Place fish in a thin layer in a non-reactive dish
Combine lime juice, chili pepper, garlic and cilantro in a dish
Pour marinade over the fish and lay sliced onion on top
After 10 minutes (approximately) fish will be 'cooked'
Remove from the liquid and serve

Monday, February 6, 2012

Vacation Eats: Montreal as Recommended by Friends

I missed blogging regularly while I was pregnant. Between the exhaustion of the first trimester, preparations in the second, class, and just regular activities in the third I didn't get a chance to post as much as I would have liked. So excuse the off-season post today. I realized that I never delivered on my promise to share our summer vacation eats in more detail.

Our first stop on vacation was Burlington, Vermont for the Vermont Cheesemaker's Festival and other delicious eats. I did manage to post about that (Vacation Eats: Burlington, Vermont)!

After our dairy extravaganza in Vermont we hit the road headed north. Just a few hours later we crossed the bridge and arrived on the island of Montreal. Did you know that it is on an island? We stayed right in the Old City. The location was perfect for squeezing in a lot in a short amount of time.

View from the top of Parc du Mont-Royal
Before heading to Montreal, I asked food friends for their tips on where to eat. As lovers of a good deli, we knew we wanted to sample the famous Montreal smoked meat and of course the bagels. Thanks to my Canadian friends I met at Eat, Write, Retreat and other food-loving pals we had a three page list of eateries to explore. Thanks to Ethan, Kimmy, Isabelle, Olga, Emily and others who sent along tips!

Our first food stop in town was Schwartz's for smoked meat. In the same location since 1928, it is a fixture in the Montreal food scene. Montreal smoked meat is brisket that has been seasoned, marinated, cured for a week (or more) and then hot smoked. Similar to corned beef or pastrami, but distinctly unique in texture and seasoning. We lined up outside the restaurant and waited for a spot for four at one of the long tables packed into the place. After a short wait, we squeezed into four cozy seats at the back of the energetic space. We ordered up sandwiches, pickles, coleslaw and some Cott's Black Cherry soda per Ethan's advice (and a Canada Dry...since we were in Canada...). The only disappointment is that they had already sold out of half-sour pickles for the day. We managed to get by with the regular kosher dills. 

The generous stack of smoked meat was sandwiched between thick cut rye with tangy yellow mustard. It was a perfect sandwich. We were satisfied and sufficiently stuffed for a nice walk over to the Parc du Mont-Royal. From there we walked through McGill University and down Rue St. Catherine and back to Old Montreal. I think we ended up walking about 4 miles - not bad for being four-months pregnant!

The next day we decided to do our Montreal bagel taste test. After all that walking we headed out in the car for our adventure. Montreal is known for bagels that are hand rolled, boiled in honey water, and cooked in a wood fired oven. This gives them the chewy texture and slightly sweet taste. The signature bagel is sesame. From my pre-trip polling I discovered that loyalties are divided when it comes to Montreal bagels. You're either a Fairmont or a St. Viateur. It was an even split between my sources.

Our first stop was The Original Fairmount Bagel Bakery. Claiming to be the first bagel in Montreal (opening up shop in 1919), there were high expectations. We tucked into the small shop lined with bagels from floor to ceiling. Behind the counter bagels were being hand-rolled at a remarkable speed before the cooking process. We ordered a half dozen sesame bagels along with a bagel & cream cheese each.

Our second stop was St-Viateur Bagel. St-Viateur opened up shop in 1957 and has been rolling out hot bagels non-stop! The shop was slightly more spacious, but still just a counter to order and take-away the goods. St-Viateur also has some bakery-cafes in other locations with seating and a more extensive menu. We were there for the bagels. The front window was lined with bags of flour waiting to be mixed, hand-rolled, boiled and baked off in a wood-fired oven. The speed of the hand rolling makes each bagel a unique shape as they are whipped together before the next step in the process. This location offered strictly bagels - packaged cream cheese was in a refrigerator case.

After sampling both, we had a favorite too. Something about the texture (they give your jaw a little workout), the hint of sweetness, the toasted sesame seeds, and the wood-fired crunch made St-Viateur the winner for us. After eating the half we purchased on our first trip we made a stop on our way out of town to stock up on more!

We had a fantastic trip to Montreal and look forward to going back! With such a long list of great places to eat (and see) we need a few more visits. Have you been to Montreal? Where did you eat? And are you a Fairmount or a St-Viateur?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Marc's Take: State Fair Food Guide

This week’s guest post is the writing debut of my brother Marc. While he has made cameos on the blog over the past three years, this marks his first official article! My brother is a fantastic cook, expert meat and fish smoker, and all around great guy. He shares the family love for food adventures and this post covers one of his annual traditions. With the Big E running in Massachusetts, I asked him to share his guide to state fair eating. If you follow his guide, you'll be sure to have a great time. He currently lives in Indianapolis and shares his guide to the Indiana State Fair. I hope you enjoy!

State Fair Food Guide

The end of summer brings one of America’s great traditions, the State fairs. The Big E began this past weekend in Springfield. In Indiana our state fair takes place in August, so below are some highlights to help you guide your way through the Big E over the next few weeks.

State fairs began as a way to celebrate and promote local agriculture and products available in each state. They were a way for local farmers to showcase the crops and animals they raise. They were also way to educate each other on the best practices in farming. State Fairs continue to serve this function today, although it is more of an education for those of us that are not part of the agricultural industry on a daily basis. As you visit the fair be sure to take a walk through the animal barns and vegetable displays to see this first hand.

Yes, even Lambs have Snuggies (animal print snuggies)

Now let’s talk about what makes the state fair great, the food and in particular the deep fried foods. The Indiana fair offers a great way to enjoy the fair and try many different foods, Two Dollar Tuesday. Each Tuesday of the fair vendors offer a different item for $2, usually it is a smaller portion of their signature dish. This not only allows you to save money but also try significantly more items. I recommend checking the specials at your state fair for an opportunity like this.

For the past few years a group of friends and I have made the trip to the fair. Luckily the fair grounds are in Indianapolis just a 10 minute drive. Even if you are further away the state fair is a good day trip and is worth experiencing. Here are some highlights from our trips to the fair:

Appetizers- Always start with something sweet, that’s why you came to the fair to begin with right?

Deep Fried Butter- This is by far one of the best deep fried treats, imagine a frozen pat of butter coated in cinnamon and sugar dipped in funnel cake batter and deep fried. The resulting golf ball sized treat tastes like a gooey cinnamon roll. The best way to eat it is to bite off one end take the liquid center as if it were a shot and chase it with the fried dough. 5 out of 5.

Deep Fried Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup - Right up there with the deep fried butter. People rave about the Snickers Bar and the Twinkie. But the Reese's cup surpasses both. The full size Reese’s cup dipped is dipped in a funnel cake batter and fried until the outside is crisp. The inside of the dough is soft and the peanut butter and chocolate melt together to create an unforgettable combination. 5 out of 5.

Deep Fried Cookie Dough - This was actually found at Progressive field in Cleveland, home of the Cleveland Indians. We all love raw Chocolate Chip cookie dough and this hits the mark. A generous portion of raw cookie dough is covered in funnel cake batter, fried and served with powdered sugar. The cookie dough come out warm and tastes like a partially baked cookie. If you are at the ball park this is a must have. 5 out of 5.

Entrees- Time for something a bit heartier
Chicken Eggo Sandwich- A deep fried chicken breast coated in a Captain Crunch Batter between two eggo waffles. This was worth the hype and had a nice crunch on both the eggos and the chicken. I would recommend giving this a try if available at your fair. 4 out of 5

Donut or French Toast Cheeseburger- As it sounds a burger with maple syrup between two pieces of French toast or two krispy crème donuts (your choice). This has become more popular in recent years and really isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. The sweetness of the donuts overpowers the burger and doesn’t offer the right balance of sweet and savory. 2 out of 5

Burgers and donuts on the flat top.
Gotta love the ads.


Ya Ya’s Deep Fried Tomato Balls - Greek inspired combination of diced tomatoes, cheese onions and bread crumbs fried to a crisp golden brown. These come served with a tzaziki sauce that makes it extremely refreshing after all the sweet items you had before. 4 out of 5.

Corn on the Cob - I know what you are thinking. Corn on the Cob that is too healthy for the fair, why waste your time? Well remember the fair is about celebrating the harvest and the local farmers. Oh and they have crock pots full of melting butter that your corn takes a bath in before it gets to you. Throw that health concern out the window, nothing healthy about it. 5 out of 5

Hopefully this helps you navigate the state fair and narrow down some of the choices. What are your favorite fair foods?

Here are a few more fair offerings.

Deep fried brownie

Freshly fried Saratoga chips

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Vacation Eats: Burlington, Vermont

My family loves food as much as a I do! When planning a vacation to celebrate my mom's birthday, we knew that we would do a lot of eating. We started our week-long vacation with a weekend in Burlington, Vermont. My mom, brother, the hubby and I packed up the car and headed north. After about a four hour drive we arrived at our hotel in Burlington. 

After a quick pit stop, our first dining destination was the Bluebird Tavern, recommended by my friend Jenni. This local spot is known for its local, sustainable foods and creative menu. It's located just down the road from the main downtown area in Burlington. The space is really interesting, with dark wood interior and a nice rustic feel. Interestingly enough, in its former life it was a Mexican restaurant! The current owners did a great job of changing the space and giving it a warm and comfortable New England Tavern feel. The creative menu offered a lot of choices for both food and inventive cocktails. 

We had been driving all day and were ready to eat. After ordering cocktails - a roasted orange negroni for my brother and some wine, we started the meal with two different appetizers. My mom and I shared the chilled carrot soup served with pickled eggs and microgreens. There was also a delicious oil drizzled on top (can't remember what it is now!). And the four of us shared a huge bowl of poutine with bluebird gravy and Vermont cheddar curds. 

We didn't get a picture of all the entrees, just half of my squash blossom flatbread. The dough had just the right amount of bite and was topped with fried squash blossoms, thinly sliced zucchini and Vermont Butter & Creamery goat cheese. My adventurous brother chose the Smoked Deer served eggplant, olives, and new potatoes. My mom's dry aged NY strip was surrounded with a beautiful assortment of mushrooms and a flavorful mushroom jus. The service was great and the food was fantastic. We were pretty sure that we were too full for dessert...until the menu arrived. I just can't say no to root beer floats. And this was no ordinary root beer float. This one had roasted almond ice cream (with roasted almonds) and was topped with Rookie's root beer. Rookie's is a local Vermont brew. According to their Facebook page, "Rookie's Root Beer is hand crafted in small batches in our Burlington, Vermont since 2005.We use premium ingredients such as licorice, wintergreen, sassafras, vanilla, molasses, and evaporated cane juice."

After tasting this delicious combination of roasted almond and handcrafted root beer, it will be hard to go back to plain vanilla!

Next time you're in Burlington, be sure to stop in to Bluebird Tavern! Bluebird Tavern on Urbanspoon

The next morning we got up bright and early to head to a day full of dairy delights - the 3rd Annual Vermont Cheesemakers Festival. The sun was shining and there were hardly any clouds in the sky. The festival takes place on the beautiful grounds of Shelburne Farms. As we drove toward the Coach Barn we passed grazing cows, the manicured lawn of the Inn and along the edge of Lake Champlain.

After arriving at the festival, we had our hands stamped and started our adventure. The festival was set up in a large entry tent as well as various rooms in the Coach Barn. My mom and brother purchased tasting glasses to sample out the local beers, wines and spirits. For just a few dollars, plus a few more for samples and they were  happy!

Maple syrup shots

Cheers! Maple Cheesecake minis.
After a sweet treat, we settled in for an entertaining grilling demo from Steve Atkins
Chef and Owner of The Kitchen Table Bistro.My only complaint was that he only showed us how to make the recipes and there were no samples. Since they sounded so good, we adapted one for our most recent cookout. Grilled bread (whole grain baguette) with grilled flank steak, thinly sliced Montegrappa cheese and arugula. It was a perfect appetizer and easy to customize for non-cheese eaters and non-arugula lovers.

After sampling cheeses, pickles, jams, sauces, and more we were ready for some solid food. There were two lunch vendors set up just outside the tent. We opted for the grass-fed burger topped with Vermont cheddar and a side of Asian slaw. We added on some Root Cellar bread and butter pickles that we purchased for a perfect pairing (try to say that three times fast!).

I think the hubby is thanking this little guy
for the delicious goat cheese.

The festival was a lot of fun! The tickets were reasonably priced and we had a great weekend in Burlington. It did get crowded as the day went on, but everyone was polite. There were a huge number of samples to be had - I only wish we could have bought more! Our next destination was Montreal and we weren't travelling with any refrigeration. I did get a lot of brochures to remember what we liked.

For links to all of the vendors, including the ones below visit the official festival website at It's hard to describe everything we tried, so here are some of our tasting highlights:

Root Cellar Pickles: In addition to traditional bread & butter, they also had sweet & spicy and apple cinnamon!
Red Hen Baking Company: They had a delicious assortment of breads to pair with the cheese samples. We didn't move quickly enough and they were sold out before we could get a loaf.
Maplebrook Farm:  Fresh ricotta sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, fresh mozzarella, and deliciously creamy burrata cheese.
Sage Farm: This small family run dairy produces a number of delicious goat cheeses. We tried the Sterling and the Madonna. They were creamy, a little tangy, and delicious.
O Bread Baking Company: This bakery is located on the property of Shelburne Farm and has been turning out pies, baguettes, and more since 1979. We bought a deliciously buttery brioche for a road trip snack.
Vermont Spirits: Tell me this doesn't sound incredible: "Vermont Gold Vodka is pure, delicate, unflavored vodka, handmade in small batches from the sugar of maple sap". This unique distillery produces three vodkas: two from maple sap and one from milk sugars. This results in a smooth vodka. Each year is different depending on the sap.
Cellars at Jasper Hill Farm: Of course everything that gets aged at this facility is worth noting! I especially love the Cabot clothbound cheddar.

We left the festival full and happy!

We had a few other stops in Burlington before heading north. We found a little more room in our stomachs for a tasty locally sourced dinner at The Farmhouse Tap and Grill downtown. How can you go wrong with a restaurant that offers biscuits as an appetizer! Their menu was full of tempting items and I hope we can get back there again to try out more. Farmhouse Tap and Grill on Urbanspoon

On our way out of town we stopped into local favorite Penny Cluse Cafe for a hearty breakfast. I enjoyed a hearty omelet full of fresh vegetables. The hubby opted for the special french toast and we had a gigantic fresh fruit bowl to start us off. The coffee was fresh, hot and refilled often. A great start to our day. Penny Cluse Cafe on Urbanspoon

Next stop....Montreal!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summer Vacation: Cheese, Meat, and more

I hope you are all having a wonderful week! The Good Cook Doris team is enjoying a food-filled vacation this week. Once we get back into our routine, we'll have some delicious posts about our treat-filled travels. In the meantime here is a look at our vacation so far.

First stop: Burlington, Vermont for the Vermont Cheesemakers' Festival

Next stop: Montreal for Schwartz Deli Smoked Meat

Third stop: Bagel Tasting - Seeing which Montreal Bagel we liked best

Fairmont Bagel Bakery

St.-Viateur Bagels (our favorite - hot from the oven!)

See you  next week!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Atlanta Eats: The Varsity, Flip Burger Boutique, and CamiCakes

This past week I had a reprieve from the cool spring air in Boston. I headed south to Atlanta for a work conference. The conference was held at Georgia Tech and we stayed right by campus in Midtown. My day job is spent doing marketing and admissions for an executive MBA program. The conference brought together marketing and admissions professionals from schools across the world to learn about current trends, share best practices, and do a lot of networking. Even though the conference schedule was packed, there was still time to check out some Atlanta eateries. To make room for the less-than-healthy eats I spent my lunch breaks walking around the Georgia Tech campus.

With limited time available, I had to pare down my list of suggested restaurants. @JustinCanCook and @25Lifestyle had tweeted me some fantastic looking culinary options. Now I'll have a list for the next time!

I was fully prepared to venture out on my own for these dining adventures. Luckily I found like-minded conference attendees and had dining companions during the trip.

One spot that I've had on my list for a long time is an old Atlanta stand-by - The Varsity!

The "world's largest drive-in" has been serving hungry visitors for the past 83 years. You've probably seen them on the Food Network or heard about their long-standing presence in Atlanta. The can fit 600 cars in the parking lot and 800 people inside. Now that is a big place! According to their website they make a lot of food too:

"Two miles of hot dogs, a ton of onions, 2500 pounds of potatoes, 5000 fried pies and 300 gallons of chili are made from scratch daily."

When dining out with new people, I find that it's helpful to explain up front that there will be excess ordering (to make sure to try everything) and picture taking before eating. My dining companion was understanding and I snapped a shot of her food first so she could eat a hot meal. After deciding on our orders, we approached a cashier calling out "What'll ya have? What'll ya have", and ordered up what we thought was a reasonable amount of food.

I picked out a chili slaw dog, a grilled pimento cheese sandwich on white bread, and a frosted Varsity Orange to wash it all down.

When I went back up to order a fried apple pie, I found out that we ordered a lot less food than everyone else. The man in front of me (clearly alone) ordered 5 chili dogs, fries and rings. The family to my right ordered almost two register screens worth of food.  Even though we didn't sample as much as them we still had a great time. I picked up two cans of chili to take home along with some magnets and postcards.  

We took a walk past the GA Tech Football Stadium and tried to burn off a few calories from our meal.

The next night we had an opportunity to try another Atlanta hot spot after a long day of conference sessions. If you are a Top Chef watcher, you'll know that Richard Blais is the culinary director for Flip Burger Boutique in Atlanta. Since I've been on a streak of visiting Top Chef related restaurants on vacation, I knew I needed to try this out.

The menu offered a variety of burgers, sides, drinks, and liquid nitrogen milkshakes. We all picked a shake (that's frappe if you are a native New Englander) flavor pretty immediately. No one was adventurous enough to order the foie gras shake, but we were all very happy with our choices.

Strawberry short shake, Krispy Kreme,
Turtle, and Toasted Marshmallow Nutella.

I ordered the toasted marshmallow, of course!
There were a lot of great burger choices for dinner. My dining companions were nice enough to let me snap a shot of their burgers before digging in. We each ordered a different side dish to be able to taste them all.  All of the burgers were 5.5 ounces of brisket, short rib, and hanger steak. The burger was cooked perfectly and juicy and flavorful.

On the top left below is the Butcher's Cut, blue cheese and caramelized onions, with fries. Top right, the bacon cheeseburger with vodka onion rings and beer honey mustard. Bottom right (my choice), the Local with smoked mayo, grilled onions, house made pickles and yellow tomato. You can see the fried bread & butter pickles in the background. Bottom left is the d'Lux burger. This all out treat was 2 patties, truffle butter, roasted mushrooms, French onions, and cheese). On the side are deliciously crispy fried zucchini.

My favorite side dish was the fried pickles and the fried zucchini. Hard to go wrong with either of those!

One of the more adventurous in our group ordered up buffalo sweetbreads (definition here). Yep, buffalo flavored sweetbreads served with blue cheese and ranch foam. I was a little hesitant, but decided to go for it. You could still taste the sweetbreads through the buffalo sauce and the foam was a nice creamy contrast to the tang of the sauce. I can't say I'd order these again, but they were fun to try!

After dinner, we decided to take a scenic ride down Peachtree through Buckhead and back to Midtown. One of the women had been telling us about a great cupcake shop and even though we were completely stuffed we made a stop. CamiCakes offers a huge case of creative cupcakes. Everything from classic vanilla to sweet potato to my choice, The Elvis. The Elvis is a rich chocolate cupcake topped with banana frosting, peanut butter, and a sprinkle of sea salt. It was delightful. Rich, sweet, salty, and wonderful.  With cupcakes in hand we headed back to the hotel to sleep off our food comas.

Thanks to the women who joined me in the dining fun! I'm looking forward to another trip to Atlanta to sample more Southern delights.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Time to Celebrate 31!

Last year we celebrated my birthday in the beautiful city of Seville, Spain. We had a wonderful trip and ate a lot of delicious food. 

For today's 31st birthday post, I'm sharing some of my favorite food pictures that I took during our trip. Enjoy! And don't view on an empty stomach. 

Churros con chocolate y cafe con leche

Plato variados por tres euros

Al dia siguiente, plato variados por cuatro euros.
Te gusta mucho aceitunas.

Cervaceria 100 Montaditos

Cheers to another great year! 


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