Traveling to a new city makes me feel like a kid in a candy store. I love to explore, wander, and experience all a city has to offer. I haven’t had a chance to see a fraction of the world I’d like to see yet, but a girl can dream. Since I pretty much eat, sleep, and breathe food, when we go on a trip, Adam and I usually eat our way through town. On our first visit to any new place, we try to arm ourselves with information about the community and a list of awesome “hole in the wall” restaurants that we might not find on our own. Part of our adventure becomes trying to seek out those places, and the other part of the adventure is seeing where the wind takes us.
And then, I crave foods from those faraway places on the regular. A burger from Port of Call in New Orleans would be perfect right now. The Oki Diner in Kauai, Hawaii has the best breakfast I’ve ever eaten- fried rice with sausage, bacon, beautiful veggies, and perfectly runny eggs. I would give my right arm for the pot roast at Cottage Cafe in Ocean City, Maryland. Mrs. Brizzle’s Buns in Sea Isle City, New Jersey has cinnamon buns the size of my head. And the Chef Wings at the Blue Fish Cafe in Ft. Lauderdale call my name all too often.
The trick is visiting cities for a second time and balancing the quest for new food experiences with the pressing need to revel in the old favorites. Ah- tough times. And renting a space with a kitchen cuts down on the spending when traveling and gives us opportunities to cook the fresh, local foods. Gotta make time for that too!
This trip was a just little bit different since we were visiting my mom. I couldn’t ask for anything more- sunshine, the beach, and my mama…who has apparently been reading my blog! In planning our weekend, she had some requests for yummy meals I’ve cooked lately and posted on tumblr. She cooked for me every day of my young life, and I am thrilled to be able to cook for her these days. So, I planned a menu based on mom’s cravings, and she had all the supplies ready when we arrived.
Part of the original goal of this blog was to share my culinary adventures with you, so I’m going to show you my weekend through the eyes of my taste buds.
Our first stop. Rocco’s. This place is always hoppin’, and they serve tons of thin crusted, fold-it-in-half kind of pizza slices. Oh, and it is spitting distance from the beach.
Just as I remembered. Falling over the edge of the very classy paper plate, reminiscent of the Jersey Shore. Crisp, hot, garlicky and perfect for lunch before a little relaxation by the water.
That evening, we made Beef Bourguignon. Actually, it started in the morning with searing the short ribs and getting them into the slow cooker with some onions, garlic, bay leaf, and red wine.
When we got back from the beach, we added the carrots and celery to the slow cooker while we created our side dishes.
We paired it with butternut squash risotto and roasted broccoli.
The squash caramelized in no time at all and awaited its marriage to the risotto.
The broccoli was equally as quick to roast.
The risotto dish starts with simple ingredients and ends up tasting like something fit for royalty.
The shallots and garlic cooked down first, and then we toasted the arborio rice. Next, we added hot broth
and white wine. We stirred the rice until it soaked up the liquid, and then repeated that process until the rice was perfectly tender and had released its starches to make a pot of creamy goodness. Then, we added the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and finished by allowing the squash to reach its destiny.
And just like that, it was time to pull it all together.
Holllllahhh! or Challah! This was a delicacy. Every bite was full of bold, beautiful flavors. The textures meshed so perfectly together. The roasty-ness of the broccoli was lovely against the richness of the risotto. The beef and vegetables literally melted in my mouth, while maintaining their character. Such a fabulous way to end a day at the beach. Or any day, really. In a restaurant, this dish would have cost us anywhere from $25 on up. Cooked at home, we paid a little less than $5.00 per plate. I am always amazed by the difference!
Realizing that you don’t have all day to sit and read this blog, I’m going to save day two for a separate post. I hope that you are inspired to cook a dish fit for royalty in your own home this week. Enjoy every bite!
Happy cooking and eating!
Comment w/ Facebook