Tuesday, September 3, 2013

About time I checked this place out...

About a month ago, a few friends and I went up to this restaurant called Food Shack for drinks and food. I had heard about this place for awhile now and despite having spent time in Jupiter, I had never checked it out. We got up there a little before prime dinner time so we put our names on the wait list and checked out the bar/restaurant next to the main Food Shack. It's all part of the same place but it's more of a cozy up to the bar/limited menu kind of place. They have a small number of craft beers but I told the bartender that I like Blue Moon and she recommended a Tequesta Brewery Chancellor, which was pretty good and would totally recommend it. For an app, we ordered their Blue Crab Guacamole which, although the guacamole itself was pretty good, I wouldn't order again. I know that not everyone would feel the same way, but the 5 of us all felt the same way...the crab didn't gel well (flavor wise) with the guacamole. If you want to be a real stickler, the chips also weren't done right. They had too much air inside the chips which made them a hard vessel for the guacamole, but if you don't care too much about any of these critiques, then order away. Just be ready for a dominating crab taste. (Although I did appreciate the freshness of the crab).

When we went over to the main restaurant, we sat at a table along the wall. It's a cute set up and even though you are pretty close to the people next to you, it's not in an annoying kind of way where you feel a part of their intimate conversations. For an appetizer, we ordered their Tuna and Basil rolls which are served with a pineapple and mango salsa and some wasabi cream. They were done spot on and even though I am not a huge mango fan, I would definitely recommend them as an app or even as an entree. For a main dish, I asked for a recommendation from the server, she said that a lot of people order their Hog Snapper dish that's encrusted with sweet potato, but I'm not a huge Hog Snapper fan so I went with the same dish but with Dolphin instead.

They served the Dolphin over a bed of mixed greens with a nice lime dressing. It was a perfect amount of dressing and didn't overpower the fish or the salad. Food and drinks were great and service was good as well.

If you are in the area, definitely give this place a look.


You won't regret it.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Nola's Pizza

 There are a few food items that I have a hard time matching here in FL to that of the same items in NY. Chinese food (or any Asian foods), pizza, bagels, etc. don't taste the same...and FYI, putting 'NY style' on your sign doesn't help the quality of the food. But I continue to try and make little mental notes about particular places and what I ordered there, and sometimes try to give a place the benefit of the doubt and order different items.

Awhile back I went to this pizza place called Nola's Pizza, they let you order by the slice or the whole pie (or pizza if you aren't from NY). It's not the cheapest option and if you really don't care about it being NY style, just go somewhere else like a Pizza Hut where it's probably almost half the price. But as they say, curiosity killed the cat, and I placed an order for an X-Large pepperoni, cheese, and fresh garlic pizza. An X-Large comes with 12 slices and normally you wouldn't think this was a problem, but when the pizza came the slices were very uneven in terms of how they were sliced, some were large (normal size) and some were 1/3 of a normal slice. The garlic was okay but honestly you would probably (actually I know) be more satisfied making the drive to a local Grimaldi's and ordering there, their fresh garlic and fresh cheese is FRESH and they don't skimp on the garlic.

But taking into consideration my laziness that day I went with the easier option. On a scale of 1-10, I would probably give it a 6.7-7 which isn't too bad. I could fold the slices, at least some of them, and there was a little grease to it, and the sauce had decent flavor. Once the price came into it and if you are a real pizza snob, you may want to order elsewhere. But give it a try, I can't say I was disappointed, just not super happy.


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Date Night with the Roommie.

Went out to Tryst (a local Gastropub) a few weeks back to use a Living Social coupon I had. It has a good variety to its menu and its specials are ever changing, so you aren't going to be bored too easily if you enjoy it enough to frequent often. The only thing you will want to take into account is that their menu online doesn't match up with the menu they offer, so if you see something you really want, then you will definitely want to call ahead. And also, take it from me, if you are wanting to get an inside table and it's a Fri/Sat night, then call for a reservation.


They have a good selection of craft beers and if you tell them what beers you typically fancy, the guys/girls at the bar will help you out with a sample or two of whatever they recommend and you can take it from there. I told the guy I liked Blue Moon and he recommended their Funky Buddha, which is a locally brewed beer...so we both ordered it. They come in a few sizes, and naturally, I ordered the larger one. (No jabs here please). I wanted to order some apps with Pork Belly but sadly Pork Belly wasn't even on the menu at all, so you definitely want to call ahead if you are craving something in particular. So we ordered their Bone Marrow that comes with fig jelly and some toasted baguettes, and we also ordered their Chinese Pork Ribs that came with a sauce of hoisin and toasted sesame and cilantro.

The beer was delicious! The Bone Marrow was good as well, I mean, you can't really go wrong with grease and fat and a bone...if you think you can, then you clearly don't know what life is all about (kind of kidding). I'm not one who enjoys figs but the jam was a good compliment to the heaviness of the marrow. The Pork Ribs...a little tough to be honest. I think somewhere in the early cooking process they were cooked to perfection, but then when dinner service rolled around they were cooked too long. The sauce saved the dish in my opinion, without it, the dish would have been rough to finish.

For main entrees, I ordered their Bolognese and the roommie ordered their Sea Bass. I ordered the Bolognese for the pork and beef mixture and because I enjoy a good Bolognese (usually minus the peas, but in this case, they were done perfect). Next time I go, I will probably avoid the Bolognese...let me explain, it had a little too much cream and I don't handle cream well to begin with. It was extremely heavy and even though I am a big eater, I couldn't even get through half. The Sea Bass was great, it was cooked to perfection and was tender yet firm. The Bass sat on a tomato coulis (which is basically a thin tomato pureed sauce) and some greens.

Overall, food was good, and service was great but we did sit at the bar so I can't speak for the service on the floor or outside for that matter. Would definitely recommend it, but like I said, call ahead to confirm any specials or particular dishes, reservations if you want to sit at a table, and if you have a coupon such as a Groupon or Living Social, then use it...it's not the cheapest place but has good food and beers.

Good place to avoid.

Most of the time, I try to look for the silver lining of things and say 'well there were some good things, such as...' but with Cheddar's...you probably want to just avoid altogether. My roommate and I went to grab a mid to late evening dinner on a Sunday night a few weeks back and wanted to stay semi-local. She had been before and said it was okay, so I wanted to give it a whirl. When we got there, it was pretty busy for a Sunday night so we put our names on the list and she proceeded to the bar to grab a drink. She came back in a way that no one likes to see--empty handed! Said that the bartender didn't even look her way and she just left. So me, being the slightly peeved one, went to the bar to check it out. Sure it was slightly busy but still an acknowledgment was what I was looking for. He looked my way and I asked what was on draft, ordered our drinks and wisely closed out the tab pronto.

In terms of food, it's a pretty standard fare of pastas, burgers, some steaks/seafood options, and salads. The server was a little off to start with, but I was just hoping for decent food. Upon looking over the menu, I can't honestly say anything jumped out at me, so I kept looking and looking. I asked her for some recommendations, she said that the Country Fried Steak was good. (Now, mind you I've had homemade country fried steak South Carolina style and even Key West style, and they are amazing!) So I stayed clear of this option. I asked about the burgers, she said they are good but that the cooks tend to overcook everything so she wouldn't necessarily recommend it...(yes, this should have been my cue) and that they have to cook theirs medium well to well done...major party foul in my opinion. But then she mentioned the Ribeye was good, so I asked for it to be done medium-rare with a side of mashed potatoes and corn and without any of their "spicy" house seasoning on the steak. The roommie ordered their Center Cut Sirloin and Shrimp. We also ordered Edamame which came with a side of their house seasoning and soy sauce.

Her Sirloin came out a perfect medium-rare but my Ribeye came out just shy of well done. I tried to eat it but had to send it back. Our server did not appear to be surprised at this turn of events. The mashed potatoes were okay, but in all honesty, they were very runny and way too creamy. We also ordered drinks and my beer came back super fruity and definitely not a Bud Light, the manager had to pour the beer herself to make sure it came back right.

If you're looking for cheap burgers and are looking to avoid the typical McDonalds/Burger King/Wendy's debate, then give it a try I guess. But I can't bring myself to ordering a burger medium-well to well done. If you try it and aren't happy, I will reserve my "I told you so" for future moments.


Food Truck Invasion

Few weeks back we went to the Food Truck Invasion up off of Okeechobee Blvd. It takes place every 1st and 3rd Thurs of the month and alternates with the trucks in Wellington which are every 2nd and 4th Thurs. There are about 10-12 trucks and the options range from Vietnamese to BBQ to various fried options and if you have a sweet tooth there is also a frozen yogurt truck.
We tried the Vietnamese truck and had their Banh Mi with pork (spicy). First of all, I love Banh Mi and this version did not disappoint. They had fresh carrots and daikon and cilantro on top of savory pork and threw in some jalapenos. Nice fresh flavor, a must try.
We then tried the BBQ truck which featured their pulled pork sandwich and a beef brisket. To be honest, I would recommend picking the pulled pork over the brisket. The pork had a nice moistness to it and you could pour whatever sauce on that you like. The brisket was too heavily sauced and was not quite as satisfying. Im not sure if it comes unsauced or not, but if it does, it may be better.
My friend had some frozen yogurt but from all accounts, she was not overly thrilled. So I guess try it if you are craving some but if not, keep it moving.
Overall, we had a good 1st time but my main criticism is that a majority of the trucks shut down with over an hr to go. Im not sure if this is a common occurrence or just a fluke. Will try it again and see what happens.



Friday, August 2, 2013

"Bolognese" Kimmie Style

Almost always, whenever Publix has a sale on Morningstar products (such as a Buy 1, Get 1), I jump on it. In this case, I went and purchased a few Morningstar Crumbles packages, mainly because if I am feeling froggy, I mix it up with some sauce and Quinoa or use it in stuffed peppers, etc. But in this instance, I wanted to make a Bolognese of sorts.

As you can see, I have a Mirepoix of sorts. I guess you can say it was more Louisiana style because I substituted a bell pepper for the celery. I'm not a huge fan of celery, only when making chicken stock. So I have a white onion, bell pepper, carrot, and half of a Hungarian Wax Pepper (seeds included). I also have Gluten Free/Wheat Free pasta (which, surprisingly, I found at Walmart for $2 and change) and a package of crumbles.

I did cook the Mirepoix in some extra virgin olive oil in a large saute pan and set aside, and then cooked the crumbles for a bit. Seasoning wise, I usually add rosemary, cumin, salt (not much), pepper, and oregano to the crumbles. It usually gives it a breakfast sausage like smell. I then combined the ingredients together, cooked for a bit and added some spaghetti sauce. I used the Heart Healthy sauce by Prego, I did not make my own sauce this time. I cooked the "bolognese" for a little over an hour, if you cook it too long the crumbles tend to break down and become a little mushy.

Ingredients (added while the mixture was cooking):
 - Soy Sauce
 - Fried Garlic
 - Worcestershire Sauce
 - Tomato Paste
 - Sriracha

 - I did enjoy the Gluten Free/Wheat Free pasta. It cooks rather fast, but you do need to watch it and stir frequently because the pasta does stick together. It's a lot healthier for you too, if you are craving pasta but not wanting to dive off the deep end.
 - Overall it was good, obviously you can tinker with the ingredients used, but for a quick "meat" sauce, not bad.

Pulled Pork (Kimmie style)

Awhile back I decided to make some good old fashioned pulled pork but wanted to change things up a bit. I'm a believer in that some things don't work and others do, and sometimes you just need to do a lot of mixing things up to find whatever makes you content. Pulled pork is one of those things that I don't know if I will ever be truly happy with but that I may like a variety of methods.

That being said, I attempted to go to Publix and find a Boston Butt but they had none so I ventured off to Whole Foods. Let me say that if you are looking for something cheap, then disregard the Whole Foods trip and maybe wait for a local butcher or somewhere else. But I wanted the Butt bone-in so Whole Foods it was, they cut it to your liking if they don't have it in the window. I went with a 6 lb Boston Butt, but you may want to go with something larger if you want a lot of leftovers.

I went with a dry rub, kind of Korean style, with a Korean chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, paprika, pepper, salt. The Korean chili powder is a little more on the sweet side but do be careful if you use it, the spice can creep up on you. I didn't want to do any sauce in the crock pot because I wanted to use the leftover pork for other things so I only sauced the portions I was eating for the pulled pork sandwiches (and I did use a Korean bbq sauce for this). I did add a little bit of water into the pot so it wouldn't burn or dry out. I also cooked it for about 10 hours, maybe a little less.

 I am always critical of myself, first and foremost, so some notes I would take into consideration for next time would be:
   - Perhaps get a larger pork portion, I do like leftovers and this type of food you can use in so many ways.
   - Do a little heavier rub on it, the flavor was good but I may like a little more seasoning.
   - Add a little heat to it. I do love me some spicy food.
   - The next time, I may sear the pork and put it in the oven low temp for the entire cooking process. I liked the crock pot because I did step out of the house for the majority of the cooking time, and it allows you to not babysit it...but I may try the oven option later. Although, I am tempted to grill it...will keep you posted.