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Meat the Vegetarian

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Category Archives: Food

The Courtyard

My mom and I took a girls weekend to the Fancy Fancy city of Newport, RI.  Normally, I don’t comment on the hotels I stay in, because, generally, a hotel is a hotel.  Well, The Francis Malbone House is a HUGE exception to this rule.  I LOVE this B&B.

For starters, the location is FABULOUS.  It is a little far from the Mansions or the beach, but it is smack in the middle of downtown, and a very short walk from the Wharf.  Parking downtown in horrible, expensive, and generally unavailable.  The Francis Malbone House has a parking spot for each room, right in the downtown area.  This alone would make it worth it.

Secondly, the rooms are quaint, quiet, and comfortable.  There is also a beautiful courtyard – perfect for reading, breakfast, afternoon tea, or a glass of wine after dinner.  But, this is only a small part of what makes this place special…

The real standouts are the breakfast and the staff.  This breakfast is included in the room charge, and seriously, DO NOT skip breakfast.  Or Afternoon Tea.  The food here is AMAZING.  There are two made to order dishes a morning – a sweet and a savory.  My mom and I ordered one of each and shared.  Waffles with fruit compote, perfect omelets, pancakes… you name it, it was delicious.  OUTRAGEOUS.  Not to mention the pastries, fruit, oatmeal, and everything else that was left out to nibble on.  I was so stuffed with breakfast that I only needed a snack for lunch… which was great, because I stuffed myself at dinner.

Not only was the staff friendly and attentive, Will had the BEST dinner recommendations.  It was surprisingly tough being a vegetarian in Newport, but the dinner recommendations were fabulous, for both my mom and I.  We were sent to places that locals go, not just the run of the mill tourist restaurants.  Being a self-proclaimed foodie, I was very happy to get the true flavor of Newport.  Believe me, I will be posting about all my dinners…

When you go to Newport, make reservations at the Francis Malbone House.  Call up- the staff is super friendly, and will give you amazing advice.  I am normally an online gal, but this staff is worth talking to…

http://www.malbone.com/

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FnB is one of the best restaurants I have ever been to.  EVER.  And I have been to some fantastic restaurants.  Let me tell you – it was awesome.

I loved the relaxed atmosphere.  There is an open kitchen in the center of the restaurant with a bar set up around it.  Max and I ate at the “bar”; we loved it so much, we made reservations for the next night too!    Max also is a little mad I am letting this secret out – because with the way the food tastes and the friendly service, I could see this place booking up months in advance.

1) You have to get the Braised Leeks.  This dish has won awards – and may be the best thing I have ever ate.  Braised Leeks, Mozzarella, Mustard Bread Crumbs, and  a Fried Egg.  Max got this as an appetizer the first night, and I got it as my main dish the second night.  (The portions outside of NYC are usually HUGE for me.  I left stuffed even though I ordered two appetizers instead of an appetizer and an entre.)  Long story short – you MUST get this dish.

2)  Fried Green Tomatoes.  I had these as my main dish the first night, and Max had them as an appetizer the second night. They were served with greens and feta.  They knocked my socks off.

3) Falafel… Some of the best I’ve had…

4) Cheese and Nut Bread.  It came with dates and apricot compote.  The apricot compote was fantastic – I don’t even like apricots.  This is the dish I had as an appetizer the second night.  It was really yummy, and probably the smallest (still not small) dish on the menu – which meant I wasn’t too full for the leeks!

5) Roast Jidori Chicken – served with spaetzle.  Max said this was AWESOME.  It looked and smelled yummy.  But, I have no concept.

6) The Steak.  It was really big and it looked good.  But, Max had this the second night, and I was way too into my leeks to remember anything else about it.

7) The first night we were too full for dessert.  The second night we saved room (as best we could), because we kept watching the butterscotch pudding being made and then served.  It looked WAY TOO GOOD to pass up.  Butterscotch pudding, whipped cream, and a little nutmeg sprinkled on top.  Perfect ending to a perfect meal.

We paired all of this with a local wine, called Dos Cabezas.   Umm, FANTASTIC.  The winery is further south than we were, so we couldn’t make it there this time…  Next time, we HAVE to go there.  It was pretty cheap too – especially compared to NYC prices!

Bottom Line:  Get your ass to FnB.  I don’t care if you have to fly there.  If you have no other reason to go to Scottsdale, go just for FnB.

(PS – it TOTALLY makes sense that the Chef had a restaurant in NYC before moving to AZ – just sayin’.)

Interesting Links:

http://fnbrestaurant.com/

http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/10-best-restaurant-dishes-of-2010

http://www.doscabezaswinery.com/tasting-room.html

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This past weekend, Max and I went to Arizona!  We had 4 days, and the first stop was the Grand Canyon.  We flew from NYC to Phoenix, rented a car, and drove a very scenic 4 hours to the Canyon.  The drive wasn’t that bad, especially because they upgraded us to a Camaro!

Well after sunset, we arrived at our hotel, the historic El Tovar.  Built in 1905, its visitors have included: Theodore Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, and now, Max and Lindsay.  We stayed in the Fred Harvey suite – one of the only rooms in the hotel with a balcony overlooking the Canyon, which was absolutely gorgeous at sunrise. (More on that later.)  We dropped our bags and headed down to dinner in the El Tovar dining room.  This room probably hasn’t changed since 1905.  It was a HUGE room with fire places at either end, and we were cozy sitting next to one during dinner.  You are probably thinking, why would you need a fire place in Arizona?  Let me tell you, it was cold.  And that is coming from some one that can stand the NYC winters.  But, cold is nothing a fire and a bottle of wine can’t fix.  Max had an awesome steak with a side a fingerling potatoes.  I had a sad excuse for pasta – it was the only thing I could eat on the menu, besides a vegan stuffed mushroom.  I wasn’t bothered by it though– places like that don’t usually have any choices for me.

We woke up early for sunrise – about 7:30 am.  I thought it was going to be earlier, but hey – with the time difference, it was like waking up at 9:30 am.  Except, there was the two hours before the time of rise, where both Max and I woke up in a panic every 5 minutes thinking we missed it.  We took a short hike and a lot of pictures.  At about 9:30, we headed in for breakfast, in the El Tovar dining room, again.  Breakfast was AWESOME.  I had the pancake trio – which was way too big – the trio included a blue corn, a buckwheat, and a buttermilk pancake served with the most DELICIOUS prickly pear syrup.  Max had some beef hash thing with scrambled eggs and peppers.  I wasn’t really paying attention, because the pancakes were way too delicous to focus on anything else.

After breakfast, we set out on a hike.  We were going to hike down into the Canyon, but the trails were ice impacted.  The safest bet was to hike around the Rim of the Canyon, following the trail that I have dubbed the Rim Job.  If you stayed on the path, it was an easy hike – it was also paved most of the way.  But, for the more adventurous view gazers, you could get EXTREMELY close to the Rim on the trail-ish area next to the designated Rim Job Path.  The views blew us away; we couldn’t stop taking pictures.  We hiked about 6 miles before returning to El Tovar to have a MUCH needed beer.  We each had a local beer, which were fine. I think they tasted really great, but only because we had been hiking for hours.

By then, it was about 4 pm, so we had to load up our gear and say goodbye.  We had a few more stops before we decided where to watch the sunset.  We drove out to Hopi Point, which was an over look, and then to Hermit’s Rest.  Hermit’s Rest (I forgot the name while we were driving there, so I just started calling it Hermit Crabs) had a couple of short hiking type trails, so we meandered around there for about an hour.  We headed back to Hopi Point, because the views were spectacular there.

Along the way, we came across some wildlife… Literally, we almost ran into it.  These things look like something out of Buck Hunter.  Seriously – does anyone know what they are?  I am open to sending a prize to someone who can tell me what these are…

Anyway, sunset was lovely.  We then popped in the car and headed to Scottsdale… More on that tomorrow!

Interesting Links:
http://www.grandcanyonlodges.com/el-tovar-409.html
http://www.nps.gov/grca/parknews/upload/2011SRwinter-guide1103.pdf

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If you can’t tell, I LOVE Indian food.  Max introduced me to it – I was very hesitant, at first.  As a vegetarian, it is so easy to fall in love with Indian food.  I love that I can go to a restaurant and I have choices.  I can order off the menu!!  I was nervous when I first tried Indian, though.  I was nervous because I have a very sensitive stomach.  Indian cuisine is the only cuisine that has NEVER bothered my stomach!!  Myth Busted.

So, for Max’s parents’ anniversary, he decided to take them to a fancy Indian restaurant, called Tamrind.  Spoiler Alert:  the food blew my mind.  Because it was such an upscale place, I decided to deviate from my normal Paneer Tika Masala (cheese cubes, like tofu almost, in tomato sauce) and I went with Pudine Wala Paneer, which was cheese marinated in yogurt, fresh mint, coriander, garam masala, and green chilies.  I couldn’t even pay attention to what anyone else had (it was all meat, all done perfectly, and everyone loved their’s), mine was so good.  It was a little pricey, though – it as priced like a good Italian restaurant.

Tamrind is easily in my top 5 favorite Indian Restaurants…. it might even be number 1.

http://www.tamarinde22.com/flatiron/home.html

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After Christmas, I was lucky enough to have my mom drive me in to the City.  After last year, I wasn’t going to try to take the train, again.  Last year, I decided I was only going to suffer once, and I was going to load up all my crap and bring it in at once on the train.  Well, I suffered.  I had a bazillion bags, and almost immediately, one of the handles broke.  The train was so packed, the conductor had to help me find a seat… which happened to be right across the aisle from a kid who made high school horrible for me.  (I pretended I didn’t see him.) When I got to NYC, it was SNOWING.  I had to wait in a cab line, which I NEVER do.  My bags got so filled with snow, the bottoms blew out.  I got home and I felt like crying.  So, this year, mom felt bad and drove me in.

When we go in to the City, and got all my wonderful presents up stairs, we felt like a snack.  It was too early to call it dinner and too late to call it lunch.  We went to Kati Roll (more formally called “The Kati Roll Company”), and got 3 rolls.  They are pretty small.  Generally, when I go I get two rolls for dinner (each roll is $5.50 or 2 for $10), but for a man appetite I would suggest starting with two, you always have the option of getting a third.  No matter how many rolls you get, it is still a good value for your money.

It was packed.  We were surprised at how many Indian families were in the restaurant.  For me, it is always a good sign when people of that ethnicity are eating at an ethnic restaurant.  I thought Kati Roll was delicious, but I was glad to see my thought validated by the crowd!  I had an Achari Paneer Roll and Mom had a Chana Masala Roll.  We split another paneer roll.  It was so yummy!

Check out their site: http://www.thekatirollcompany.com/

Thank God Mom drove me in and fed me!!  She is the best.

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Oh my Goodness, this past Christmas Day was the best Christmas Day I have had in a very long time.  Previous years, the day had been filled with the stress of a changing family, but this year everything settled down.

Santa came to my mom’s house.  My brother’s girlfriend was a little confused.  She asked when we all had found out the truth about Santa; we all asked her what she was talking about.  Santa is real, he lives in your heart and in the North Pole.  Santa’s magic comes from a place of giving without the expectation of receiving.  Santa is a reminder that good deeds live on forever in the memories of the people touched by kindness.  How could you ever question that reality?

Anyway, I ate and ate and ate.  It was all sugar.  I started the morning with cinnamon rolls and cookies.  My mom makes the best cookies.  My favorite are a more recent recipe given to me by a fellow blogger.  (Check her out!  http://whitneyandjared.com/)  The are chocolate cookies with a pinch of pepper and then they are dipped in white chocolate.  Holy Moly.  Mom just knows how to make them perfectly!  She also makes peanut butter balls, chocolate chip cookies, and layer cookies.  She makes other kinds too, but those are the staples.  This year,  I helped make some.  I am slowly learning the secrets– including how to make the best candied pecans EVER.

After breakfast, we went to my Nanny’s house.  It is also her birthday on Christmas, so we get together as a birthday party for her, too!  Nan’s house was crazy.  There are cousins of all ages.  I mean all ages- from 33 years to 3 months old.  I caught a cold because I was wrestling with a 2 year old and a 4 year old, and drool ended up in my eye.  It is pure, excited, wild chaos.  Santa was at Nan’s, too.  There were presents and toys every where.  Kids never cease to amaze me, out of all the expensive presents, the easy favorite was a grabber!  It grabbed wrapping paper, small boxes, and even some noses.

My Pile of Presents

After presents, we had a feast, which filled everyone’s bellies.  Even if I only ate mashed potatoes, peas, rolls, cranberry sauce, and beets.  Everyone else had smoked turkey, ham, stuffing, and a bunch of casseroles I really don’t like.  I’m sorry, but string bean casserole looks/smells/tastes like vomit.  Sitting in the car with it for a half hour to Nan’s house made me sick to my stomach.   Any way, I had room for dessert, which meant…. MORE COOKIES!!!!  There was birthday cake too, but all I wanted were COOKIES!!!!

Merry Christmas to All! May this year be filled with delicious treats– like cookies!

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Happy Start of the Holiday Season!! 

Before we jump into Christmas with both feet… we have to pay SOME attention to Max’s favorite holiday, Thanksgiving.  As I’ve said, Thanksgiving used to be one of the WORST holidays for being veggie, until the best ever chef-boyfriend hybrid took it over.  Max created a Thanksgiving that would blow your hair back.

A Set Empty Table, Ready for the Feast

A lot of the dishes were similar to the fakesgiving party, with a few upgrades.  The marscapone-leek mashies reappeared, as did the truffle butter turkey.  Another returning favorite was the butternut squash puree– deeeeelish!!  I have to say, I am very, VERY spoiled.  Due to popular demand (mostly mine), the mustard onion monkey bread and maple thyme biscuits were always on the main table.  (Max makes SOOO much food, some of it stays on the table, and some of it is placed on the buffet behind the table.)  Also on the two tables were: stuffing (veggie and non), cranberry sauce (homemade, of course), green beans, and mac ‘n’ cheese. 

The Back Buffet Table

Max’s mom also made a few of my favorites, including golden beets and over-sized apple pie!!  There was no way to have a small piece of that pie– due to both the height and wonderful taste!!  To supplement his mom’s pie, Max also made a classic pumpkin pie and homemade whipped cream with a hint of vanilla.  Like I said, I am so spoiled.

A "Small" Slice of the Apple Pie

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