Sunday, August 30, 2009

Wild Eggs part deux and dinner at home

I warned you I loved Wild when hubby came home today from a business trip, I once again dragged him there. This time we visited the Dutchman's Lane location rather than Westport Village. As usual, a somewhat lengthy wait, but well worth it, as always.

I decided to continue my culinary excursion around the menu rather than going to my fave Border Benedict. I toyed with the idea of partaking of one of the sweet treats, such as stuffed french toast or Bananas Foster waffles, but my final choice was between the Breakfast Burrito, $8.95 for a flour tortilla stuffed with scrambled eggs, chorizo, cheddar jack cheese, poblano pepper and onion, topped with queso fundido, sour cream, pico de gallo, avocado and green onion, served with skillet potatoes and black beans; or the Mexico City Maria's Chilaquiles, $7.95 for a Mexican-style breakfast casserole with corn tortillas, refried beans, salsa verde, queso blanco and a sunny side up egg, served shot of jugo de limon y chile. The chilaquiles won, but I chose to get a poached egg rather than the sunny side up simply due to personal preference.

When it came out, it looked absolutely delicious. It didn't disappoint. The corn tortillas were layered with beans and salsa verde and the queso and poached egg were perched on top. I liked that they didn't overdo it with the cheese, the beans were perfectly creamy, and the salsa verde had a nice crisp bite to cut through it all. As ususal, the poached egg was perfectly done and I only used a bit of the "jugo de limon y chile," translation-lemon juice and chiles, which is exactly what it tastes like! :-) It gave even more of a bite than the salsa verde, as well as a serious kick in the spice level. The menu fails to state that you also get a decent serving of skillet potatoes with this dish and today's were spot on!

My husband had his usual Farmers Market Skillet, ($9.95) a skillet full of bell pepper, onion, zucchini, yellow squash, wild mushrooms, skillet potatoes, broccoli and oven roasted tomato, melted cheddar jack cheese, topped with two basted eggs. Of course, him being him, he got it minus the bell peppers and tomatoes, but he loves it and, I have to admit, every time I take a nibble I think it's delicious. Overall, yet another perfect trip to Wild Eggs and the only reason I don't rate it "Out of this world" is nothing beats the Border Benedict...yet!

After leaving my heaven on earth, we ran errands and shopped at various stores throughout the day and decided to have a nice, quiet dinner at home. Being the chicken lover he is, my husband requested my chicken stroganoff, which is unbelievably easy. Take one large chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces, and sautee in butter-flavored cooking spray over medium-high heat until golden brown. While it's cooking, cook one full bag of extra-wide egg noodles in a pot of boiling water, open and drain two small cans of sliced mushrooms, and mix two packages of McCormick stroganoff mix into 2 cups of water. When the chicken is almost done, add all the mushrooms and allow to cook with the chicken until they are sizzling well. Dump the stroganoff mixture into the chicken and stir. As it cooks, the sauce will start to thicken. When the chicken is thoroughly cooked, turn down the heat and add 1-2 cups of sour cream (I use light.) After mixing well, pour the mixture into the cooked, drained noodles. This is good comfort food and it took less than 30 minutes! If I were to fix this for company, I would use fresh mushrooms instead of canned and rather than pouring all the stroganoff into the noodles before serving, I would place the egg noodles onto dinner plates and spoon the sauce and meat on the top, or, alternately, cook one chicken breast for each person and keep it intact, finishing off with a little chopped fresh parsley on top of the sauce. Sure to be a tasty hit with just about anyone. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wild Eggs

After a meeting downtown last Friday, I was able to meet my husband for a bite to eat before going into the office. Being the wonderful man he is, he let me choose the place. I chose Wild Eggs. If you haven't heard of Wild Eggs, you're living under a rock and I invite you to venture into the sun. Wild Eggs is billed as serving breakfast, brunch, and lunch. I have to say, breakfast or brunch highly appeals to me. Which is odd since I hated eggs when I was little. The only way I would eat them was deviled. I'm glad my tastes have changed.

I have been to Wild Eggs multiple times and usually have Kalamity Katie's Border Benedict ($9.95), a mind-blowing take on your typical Eggs Benedict with a chili-corn cake, chopped chorizo, poached eggs (the only restaurant in town who can get them right), queso fundido, and a wonderfully fresh pico de gallo and avacado garnish served with skillet potatoes. Out of this world. I dream about this dish, it tops the list when people ask me what they should have.

However, the Surfer Girl Omelette has been on my mind and I finally gave in. The Surfer Girl ($8.95) has fresh spinach, wild mushrooms, tomato, cream cheese, and onion, topped with diced fresh avocado, pico de gallo, sour cream, and fresh alfalfa sprouts. The eggs were just a bit overdone for my taste, but still tasty, and the toppings made it yummy (excepting the sprouts, which I usually love, but these tasted a bit old). Not as decadent as the Border Benedict, but a worthy dish served with either grits, grits of the day, or skillet potatoes, as well as an Everything Muffin. I chose the grits of the day, sausage and cream cheese. I didn't much care for them. The sausage seemed like either a sliced link sausage or small smoked sausage pieces, and while the grits between the sausage were tasty, the sausage just seemed off. It would have been much better if it had been a basic breakfast sausage cooked and crumbled. Honestly, I've usually been disappointed with their grits of the day, and that comes from their seeming need to pack the grits of the day with meat, be it bacon or sausage, which just overwhelms the delicate flavor of the grits. I am far from a vegetarian, but I think keeping the grits more simple would improve them overall. While the omelet was good, the highlight of the meal was the Everything Muffin. Tender, crumbly, moist, savory...there aren't enough adjectives in the world.

To sum up, if I could eat at Wild Eggs every day of the week, I would be a VERY happy girl. 200 pounds heavier, but happy!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Cafe Lou Lou

Last night I met up with a bunch of girlfriends who have started the "Tuesday Night Supper Club." Where was I when my friends started this??? The group is working its way through the alphabet and each member picks a restaurant corresponding with their assigned letter. We are meeting once a month, so it prevents any huge issues with scheduling. I missed A in June and B in July, but thankfully I was there for C this month...Cafe Lou Lou! (St. Matthews location.) Sad to say, I had never been there, but had always wanted to experience it, so I was thrilled with the choice.

As I do every time I plan to visit a new restaurant (and sometimes to dream about old ones) I looked up the menu online to plan my attack! I had it on my agenda to feast on the shrimp and grits to start with, but their special appetizer trumped my plans. Baked brie with pineapple compote, green apples, golden raisins, and garlic bread. Absolutely sumptuous! There was enough that most of the girls joined in and we all got to have a good nosh without getting too filled up. We also ordered a bottle of Shoofly Shiraz 2004 to split amongst us. I have to say, it tops the list as my new favorite wine. Full and fruity, great body, started out a little woody but it mellowed and was absolute heaven. It would be perfect on a cold winter's day in front of a fire, but regardless of temp, I would never turn it down!

When it got around to ordering entrees, where do I start? Everything sounded decadent and perfect that there seemed no way to choose. I was leaning towards the Mediterranean pizza, but the cheese tortellini with shrimp in pesto cream sauce won out. Yes, I was aiming to be just a little bit "bad." :-) I did order the smaller size dish, and when it came out, it was still a hefty serving. The tortellini was perfect, if unsurprising (as most cheese tortellini is) but there was good pesto flavor in the sauce. I was disappointed in the amount of shrimp that came in the dish...three. Just three. I thought that was a little skimpy, although they were perfectly cooked and had that right "pop" in my mouth that all shrimp should have.

One of my girlfriends ordered the seared scallops and orzo pasta. The scallops were perfection, buttery and smooth, but I wasn't blown away by the orzo. The texture was perfect, it was just a little bland for me, my friend was raving about it though--it's all subjective!

I definitely have Cafe Lou Lou on my radar to hit again, as soon as possible, and continue down the menu. I plan to make the shrimp and grits my meal next time 'round and if I have an adventurous friend along with me, a go at the Mediterranean pizza might be in order. Also want to say thanks again to Seth, our server, who was knowledgeable, polite, funny, and all-around great guy. :-)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Marikka's Restaurant

Obviously, given this blog's name, I love food. But some types of food hold a special place in my heart and, as my family is from Germany, German would be at the top of the list. So when my husband and I decided to visit my parents yesterday to take advantage of their pool with the wonderful 90 degree weather and 90% humidity (don't we all LOVE Kentucky?) I decided to sweet-talk him into hitting a Lexington German restaurant, Marikka's. My parents have been there multiple times and my father raves about it, so my hopes were high.

Maybe too high.

First of all, I have to say I was impressed with their beer selection. They had an extensive draft list and a lasciviously long bottled list to choose from, that I won't begin to try to describe. The draft list, besides the basics like Budweiser and other national and local American brews, there were also authentic German tastes, such as Hoegaarden and Franziskaner, along with other nationalities, such as Kirin Ichiban! Odd, but a good beer nonetheless. Besides the normal 12 ounce serving, you can have a half liter or liter draft of your choice served in a stein you can take home for $10 or $16, respectively.

We started with their soft Bavarian pretzel ($6.99) and beer cheese (additional $3). The pretzel was huge (the size of a dinner plate), deliciously toasty, and without salt, which it didn't need with all the flavor from the perfectly browned exterior. The beer cheese, while good, was obviously just scooped from a tub, cold as ice, and the ¼ cup serving did not deserve the $3 price tag. I ordered their Goulasch mit Spaetzle und Rotkraut ($10.95), described as "paprika seasoned beef tips in gravy with German noodles and red cabbage." Hardly. The meat pretty much tasted like Armour beef stew. The spaetzle was done well, but I got green beans instead of the red cabbage I was expecting. I'm sure they would have remedied that, but I didn't realize the mistake until after the meal was over due to the overwhelming disappointment with the goulasch. My husband ordered the Huehnerschnitzel mit Kartoffelbrei und Gruenen Bohnen (also $10.95), described as "breaded chicken with mashed potatoes and green beans." If you've read my other posts, you're not surprised by this. :-) However, it must be said, his was much better than mine. The breading on the pounded chicken breast was light and crisp with well-balanced seasoning and the whole thing was tender and not over cooked. The mashed potatoes were basic, as were the green beans. Nothing extraordinary, but good, filling food. We did order a side of sauerkraut for him to top his potatoes, but were disappointed in that as well since it was obviously straight from a can. Once again, not at all worth the $4.49 price tag. Talking to my mom later, she commented that my dad usually gets one of the sausage platters and seems to enjoy that, so other choices might have been better.

Their decor was also woefully underdone. Plain white walls with a few scattered prints and a turned-spindle divider painted as the German flag. There were tablecloths, albeit plastic, and an attempt to have centerpieces consisting of cheap glass vases with artificial flowers and marbles holding them in place. Very Chinese-buffet.

Overall, I would go to Marikka's again to get Hoegaarden on tap and enjoy a soft pretzel, with the complimentary mustard rather than beer cheese, but if I want a true German dish, I'll stick to Gasthaus in Louisville or, better yet, Hofbrauhaus at Newport on the Levee. Either one is well worth a trip just to feel true German atmosphere.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Weekend Cooking

Still enjoying my culinary exploits sans husband. Last night I fixed myself a beef tenderloin from Kroger's. Just one of those pre-packaged ones, with au jus flavoring. Simple, but good. With that, I made roasted vegetables (squash, zucchini, mushrooms, and red onions) and roasted red potatoes with rosemary. I opened a bottle of Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel to have with it, absolutely yummy and inexpensive at less than $10 a bottle! Because the tenderloins are so large, I have some wonderful cold steak salads and sandwiches in my future!

This morning, I put some fresh basil a coworker brought to me to use. Three eggs, beaten well and poured into a small skillet, topped with basil chiffonade, diced cherry tomatoes, a dash of salt and a sprinkling of mozzarella. Let it cook on med-high heat, WITHOUT STIRRING, and when the edges are set, put it in the oven on the low broil setting until the top is set as well. Congrats, you just made a frittata! This is enough to serve two people if you include a breakfast meat and hashbrowns or another side with it. Or, it could be just for you on its own...keeping it all for yourself is perfectly understandable. :-)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Simple Decadence

Sometimes it's the simple things in life that make you happy. This is the time of year all the tomatoes start getting ripe...mmmmm...nothing like home-grown from my mama's garden. I just had a dinner of a HUGE bowl of said tomatoes, dressed with nothing but salt, and a bowl of chicken tortilla soup from Qdoba. Simple, but yummy.

However, I titled this "Simple Decadence" and while my dinner was yummy, it wasn't decadent...but my lunch was! I was in northern Kentucky this morning for a meeting and on my way back, decided to take a little detour through Owenton. If you are a true foodie, you already know what's coming. Elk Creek vineyard. Their cafe menu is heaven on earth. My boss was with me, so we decided to each order a different sandwich and split. She ordered the "Chardonnay Gourmet Grilled Cheese" and I had the "Tuscan Meat Combo." Oh...My...Lord. The grilled cheese has layers of swiss, smoked gouda, and havarti with fresh basil and tomato on grilled flatbread and the combo has salami, capicolla, prosciutto, mozzarella, lettuce, tomato, red onion, olives, sliced pepperoncinis, and drizzled with chateau dressing on baguette. Seeing the decadence yet? The only way the meal could possibly be improved was if I hadn't had to head back to work and could have had a glass of their Syrah. The hubby will be dragged up there soon to have a nice, simple dinner and enjoy the live music they have every Friday and Saturday. If you haven't been there...GO! Enjoy a wine tasting and sample their cheese plate. That's next on my agenda!