Monthly Archives: January 2013

Philly Restaurant Week: Tequila’s

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Delicious homemade chips and I really enjoyed the charred jalapeños. Matt found them a bit too spicy, but I loved them

It seems as though I have been doing more reviewing of restaurants lately then cooking. I promise that’s only half true but I wanted to share our final restaurant week experience with you! I’ll be back in the kitchen sharing new recipes in no time. Restaurant week will be continuing until February 1st for lunch and dinner and I really encourage you, if you are in the Philly area, to check out what one of many restaurants has to offer! Seriously, it’s one of my favorite things the city participates in because you’re able to try a variety of places and not kill your budget.

Anyhow, as promised Matt and I checked out Tequila’s for lunch for restaurant week. We were able to pick from their restaurant week menu a choice of appetizer, lunch, and dessert all for 20 bucks. It was our first time dining in and I was super impressed with the wait staffs attentiveness. I think that it has a great opportunity to be a lovely place to dine, but unfortunately for lunch they only seat in the bar area and we were the unlucky ones that got seated right by the door. The very, very, very drafty door. I think this really took away from the experience for me. I’m not one that enjoys shivering during a meal. I would definitely give dinner a try and would love to sample a margarita the next time we drop in.

Chicken Taquitos

Chicken Taquitos

Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas

The Breakdown:

I ordered the chicken tortilla soup, the chicken enchiladas, and chocolate mousse cake. Matt ordered the chorizo omelet, chicken taquitos, and tres leche cake.

The Review:

Overall, we both enjoyed the authenticity of the dishes we ordered. I think that we have been spoiled with restaurants constantly offering innovative and creative food however. I found the food almost generic in a sense that I could have sampled similar tasting, authentic food at many of the restaurants in our old stopping ground of Indianapolis of all places. I wasn’t blown away by any means, but do think the food tasted good.

Appetizers:  I was quite disappointed in the chicken tortilla soup because it was mostly tortilla strips and nothing else. I literally had two pieces of small chicken in the some what oily broth. Matt however enjoyed the chicken taquitos, they were just okay to me. Perhaps I was too distracted by the cold to appreciate them?

Main Dishes: I ordered the chicken enchiladas and really enjoyed the corn tortillas. The food was severed very hot which I always appreciate. The red sauce was quite tasty and I enjoyed the queso fresco on the beans. Matt had the chorizo omelet which he said was quite good. I’m not a huge fan of omelets so I didn’t snag a bite, but he did say he’d order it again.

Dessert: This was by far the best part of the meal for us. I will be very, very disappointed if they don’t make all their desserts in house. We rarely, if ever order dessert, but since it was included in the price gave it a shot. Look how humongous this piece of cake is! It was so good in fact we ended up devouring the whole thing instead of bring it home as were our original intentions. The tres leche cake was equally as fantastic and has inspired me to start figuring out a recipe because I couldn’t get enough of it.

All in all it was a good experience. No new or innovative flavors that I’ve never tasted but solid authentic cuisine. I would love to check out their dinner menu and dining experience. We’d definitely go back because the food is tasty.

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The show stealer, Chocolate Mousse Cake

Philly Restaurant Week: Amada

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Restaurant week is a glorious time here in Philadelphia. It gives you an opportunity to sample the finest restaurants the city has to offer at a decent, prefixed price. Lunch starts at 20 dollars per person and dinner at 35 per person. Most include your choice of an appetizer, entree, and dessert. It’s a fantastic way to spend a date night and it’s currently going on here in Philly until February 1st. If you live here or have the chance to visit in the next few days, I’d highly recommend dining at as many places as you can.

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Aged Manchego with Truffled Lavender Honey Cheese Board

We had the opportunity to dine at Amada on Friday night for the first time and it was amazing. Amada serves “authentic Spanish tapas based on the earthy Mediterranean flavors that have long been the passion and expertise of founder and executive chef, Jose Garces – but Chef Garces goes beyond tradition, interpreting centuries-old  tapas recipes.” That’s right, Iron Chef Garces. It was absolutely fantastic. I started off with a cocktail called the Matador that was made with ginger, Bourbon, and elderflower. It was probably one of my favorite cocktails I’ve had in the city.

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Shrimp, Chorizo, Garbanzo Bean Purée Flatbread

The Breakdown

  • For the prefixed menu you were able to select two appetizer sized tapas, a larger entree sized tapas, and a dessert. There were a total of four of us, so we each chose different things to maximize our sampling from the menu. It was a ton of food and we each left more than happy and full. The highlight of the meal for me was the Serrano Ham and Melon. The cantaloupe was perfectly candied and served with a micro green salad on top. It was the show stealer for me. We also enjoyed the Ham Croquettes and the Braised Beef Short ribs flatbread. I apologize that there are not more photos, but food was being served and dishes removed from our table at a rapid pace. For dessert we sampled the Arroz con Leche and the Crema Catalana (Spanish Custard, Pistachio, Pumpkin Semifreddo, and Cranberry).

The Review

  • I was very happy with this dining experience. We all left satiated and happy with our selections. The highlight of the meal, like I pointed out, was the Serrano ham and Cantaloupe as well as the cocktail. We also sampled the Tinto Sangria (Spiced red wine, orange, apple, and cinnamon) that was very delicious. The Arroz con Leche was the only thing that I wouldn’t order again. All of our other tastings were fantastic and I look forward to a return visit soon. 

You still have a few more days to get out and try restaurants! Be sure to take advantage of the great deals if you are in close proximity to the city. We are trying Tequila’s for lunch, I’ll be sure to update you on our dining experience. Enjoy!

Things I Love: Decor

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I spend so much time pinning projects and recipes onto Pinterest, but like I imagine many of you, never actually get around to doing half of the things I get excited about. I thought that it was really time that I start documenting the Things I Love, so I can not only share some amazing things I’ve found with all of you, but to also perhaps get motivated to try them. I’d love to see some of the things you love as well! We are planning on moving in September, so it would be great to start brainstorming the new decor in our new place!

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How amazing is this accent wall? Not only would it be a quick project, but if I ever decided to change it up it’d be a quick and easy project to transform.

  1. One of my favorite blogs is a beautiful messIt is a great mix of new recipes, DIY projects, fashion, and overall style. Many of my study (procrastination) breaks are spent on this website. I have a confession to make and that is that I love all things nautical. I think maybe it’s my inner Mainer trying to maintain some of her roots in the big city of Philadelphia? I actually have this iPhone case…I think a small accent wall like this would be amazing (and would perfectly feed into my obsession).
  2. I adore this piece, it is from West Elm. I would love to figure out a way to turn it into a DIY for less at home. I imagine it’s totally possible, and probably should look into figuring out the details. Any tips from anyone that’s made their own ottoman?
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Anything that even resembles the chevron pattern is immediately something I drool over. Love this, not the price.

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Yes please. I love this look.

3. I can’t get enough of this look. I think that it’d be amazing in a nursery (some day!).

I hope you enjoyed a few of the things I’m loving this minute. What are some of the things you are crushing on?

Our Favorite Sushi in the City: Doma

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Yum. That’s all I can really say for an introduction. I’ll try harder for you though, because yum isn’t enough to describe how amazing this sushi actually is. We go once a week and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Hi, I’m Meggan and I am a Doma fanatic. They may or may not even know us by name, place our order without talking to us first, and bring us out piping hot edamame. Free edamame I may add because we have turned into that big of regulars. Doma is without our favorite place to dine in the city and though it is a quaint space because we have become such addicts, they always manage to squeeze us into a table with a minimal wait. It can get pretty busy though and I highly recommend making a reservation. Their Tuna Flatbread is to die for. So much in fact, I didn’t even get an opportunity to take a picture. I promise you won’t be disappointed and that it is without a doubt worth every penny.

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This iPhone picture just doesn’t give their rolls justice…

The Breakdown

  • Triple Double Spicy Tuna Roll:  tuna, spicy sauce, siracha, tempura crunch, scallion, seared albacore tuna on top with a  sichimi pepper sweet glaze
  • Naked Salmon: spicy salmon & avocado, over crispy sticky rice, masago and jalapeño slices on top
  • Spicy Tuna Crunch Roll 
Additional Recommendations 
  • Stuffed jalapeño tempura: tuna, cream cheese, scallion, lightly battered topped with eel sauce
  • Tuna Flatbread: tortilla flatbread topped with sliced tuna, fresh guacamole, garnished with jalapeno, red onion, cilantro, sweet glaze and spicy mayo

The Review

We eat here weekly, what more is there to say? It’s amazing! If we caved into our cravings we’d probably eat there more like three times a week…but that would be embarrassing. Another bonus? If you pay in cash, you get 10% of your bill. Enjoy!

Maple Sausage, Pepper, & Potato Breakfast Casserole

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Husbands ask for a lot of things…and some requests are harder to grant than others. Like when they try to convince you that entertaining the idea of them growing a mustache for a month will make them look cool or when they think its a good idea to watch television in place of folding laundry. Thankfully, one for a breakfast casserole was something I could happily oblige to. Not only does it make husband happy (and possibly more inclined to fold laundry while watching football) it’s easy to throw together and tastes amazing.

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mmmm cheese and sausage, what more could you ask for?

Here’s a little story for all of you, we’re friends now right? It seems as though we’ve had a pretty steady friendship for the past 6 months and I feel ready to open up to all of you. Anyhow, now that we’ve established our virtual relationship, here’s the story. This one time, my very sweet husband, thought it would be a great idea to cook me breakfast. He actually surprised me while I was still sleeping. I woke up to a very proud husband. Matt announced, “I made you eggs!” I smiled and was excited about his very thoughtful gesture. He poured me a glass of orange juice and said “Not only did I make you breakfast, but there is a secret ingredient!” Yeah, I was worried too. So I smiled, picked up a forkful of the mystery eggs. I couldn’t even chew it….it tasted that bad! I gulped it down. Care to guess what was in them? Maple syrup, hot peppers, and feta cheese. Don’t get me wrong, these are actually a few of my favorite things. Mixed into eggs together however, not so great. I politely ate my whole plate but I’ll tell you I sure didn’t ask for seconds…

The Ingredients: 

Makes an 8 x 8 pan

  • 8 0z frozen of potatoes  
  • 5 eggs scrambled
  • 1 lb of breakfast sausage
  • 1/2 red pepper & 1/2 yellow pepper, diced
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup of freshly grated cheese, I used pepperjack (I actually roughly chopped a block of cheese and put it in my food processor to grate it; great time saving tip!)
  • Salt and pepper

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Pomegranate and White Chocolate Scones

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I can’t even begin to explain how much I love a good pastry in the morning with my coffee. My brain sometimes tells me that it’s a bad idea, but look how delicious these scones look. How bad could they be? Thankfully I figured out a way to make them taste fantastic but not be a huge calorie bomb like many of the purchased baked goods (for example a blueberry scone from Starbucks is almost 500 calories per serving; gasp! but they’re so good!). Now you can have your cake (scone) and eat it too. This recipe only has a few tablespoons of sugar and absolutely no butter. Seems too good to be true doesn’t it? Seriously though, you won’t believe how good they taste until you give them a try.

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Feeling less guilty about drooling over them yet?

The flavor combination may seem a little weird to some, but it’s actually pretty amazing. I found myself with about 4 cups of pomegranate seeds after buying two gigantic softball sized pomegranates and needed to find a creative way to use them. I started reminiscing about some chocolate covered pomegranate candies I’ve had in the past and voila a new recipe was created. If you’re not sold on the flavor paring feel free to add blueberries, strawberries, diced apples etc. instead. Hope you enjoy them! They are a fantastic treat and ridiculously easy to make.

The Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 3 tbs of sugar
  • 3 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • zest of one small orange
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 1/4 cup  half and half (or substitute half regular milk if heavy cream now makes this recipe horrifying to you)

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Corn Chowder and Parmesan Crisps

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It has been a lovely few weeks off from school but tomorrow classes resume. I look forward to the new challenges ahead but know that it does mean that my free time is about to be non-exsistent again. In order to prepare, I wanted to cook a few big meals which I could store in the freezer for Matt and I while we get back into the swing of things and our ever crazy schedules. Since corn chowder is probably one of my favorite parts of my New England heritage and because I was deeply craving some comfort food before all the stressors in my life return, I thought tonight would be the perfect night for it. Not only does this recipe take less than 20 minutes to throw together, it also feeds a crowd.  I had never made it in the crock pot before but I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to make and also how delicious the results were. I think you’ll love it and your family will too. It also freezes great and can be reheated in the crock pot without trouble. The parmesan crisps are also super simple to make and taste fantastic. Matt really enjoyed them because if you layer them on top of your soup it actually melts into the soup. Creamy soup and salty cheese? You can’t go wrong. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did! I’m planning on reheating a big bowl of corn chowder tomorrow for lunch.

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Corn Chowder

The Ingredients:

  • 1 48 oz box of Chicken Stock
  • 16 oz bag of frozen sweet yellow corn
  • 1.5-2 lbs of new potatoes, cut into similar size pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 pieces of bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup half and half, heavy cream, or milk of your choosing
  • 2 heaping tbs of flour
  • Salt & fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Parsley for garnish

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Herbed Ricotta, Pistachio, & Lavender Bruschetta

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Happy New Year all! I hope that everyone was able to celebrate 2012 and welcome the beginning of a new year. Matt and I are looking forward to all that 2013 brings and welcome any new adventures that may arise. We are grateful for a wonderful family and for our quite amazing group of friends. We also look forward to celebrating our second wedding anniversary early next week! I can’t believe that two years have already passed! Time flies when you’re married to your best friend! I look forward to the new opportunities and challenges that will arise this year. I hope that everyone had a wonderful NYE and has a prosperous, healthy year ahead!

Anyhow, onto one of my favorite appetizers! We frequent a wine bar in Philadelphia called Tria that not only has fantastic wine, but delicious small plates. We are obsessed with their herbed ricotta and pistachio bruschetta. It is fantastic! We honestly order 3 small plates of the amazingness every time go in. Since our obsession seems to be insatiable, I thought that it was important that I figured out how to make an as delectable version at home. I think the true secret is the addition of the pistachios and since I’m a honey addict, it also makes the plate for me too. It’s so easy to make and is sure to please your family or any guests!

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It may not look like a lot, but boy is it amazing!

This recipe is very variable, you can either prepare a little or a lot depending on what you are planning on serving it for. I often make a small batch and eat it in place of a sandwich for lunch. So there are no specific measurements but require you to go more on taste and the amount you want to prepare.

The Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf of french bread, sliced on the bias into half inch thick slices 
  • 1 jar of fresh or store prepared ricotta
  • Pistachios, shelled and roughly chopped
  • Fresh basil, chiffonade (aka small strips; it’s easiest to roll on bunch of leaves and then cut them into small strips)
  • Dried lavender
  • Honey
  • Salt & fresh cracked black pepper

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