Where is home base for the Busy Foodie anyway? Everywhere! Kidding. I love to travel, so you’ve seen posts of restaurants all over the continent, with a few reviews of restaurants from further abroad too. But up until now, you might have noticed that a large portion of restaurant reviews have been of establishments in New England. I’ve also been a little MIA lately – that’s because I’ve been busy with my relocation to the MidWest. I hope you’ll continue reading though – perhaps you’ll come across a gem to keep in mind in case you find you find yourself in the area. And of course I’ll continue sharing favourite recipes and other food- and drink-related finds I discover.
How about let’s kick off the warmer weather with some ice cream tasting? I stumbled upon an Oberweis Ice Cream and Dairy Store in Chicago (3055 N. Sheffield Avenue, and several other locations) and just had to try their limited edition Pistachio ice cream. It was absolutely delicious, creamy, and full pistachios. And, all natural pistachio flavoured things aren’t bright green… this ice cream is a tan/yellow kind of colour.
For added fun, some of the tables at Oberweis are printed with chess boards, and the chess pieces are neatly lined up, and ready for you to play!
From the outside, Bern’s Steak House is a plain white building with few windows, marked by a plain sign. However, its size hints at the gastronomic adventure to come. Inside, the many dining rooms of the Steak House are bustling; we sat at the end of the long Rhone Room.
We kicked off our meal with steak tartare and heart-shaped toasts. The regular portion is large enough for 2-3 people to share.
Perfectly grilled butterflied shrimp served with two slices of garlic crostini.
Unlike most steakhouses of this caliber, steak entrees at Bern’s come with appetizers and sides: French onion soup and a simple garden salad.
I ordered a 7 oz Chateaubriand, which arrived a perfect medium-rare as I had requested. The steak had a great crust and a melt-in-your-mouth red interior. It was accompanied by the best fried onion strings I’ve ever had – delicately battered, and not greasy at all. Shredded carrots and sauteed kale were the vegetables of the day – probably not something I would have chosen on my own, but alright.
At the center of downtown Asheville, North Carolina, is a great place for brunch – Tupelo Honey. There’s a nice enclosed patio area, but it was intensely heated, so we chose to eat inside.
My husband built his own omelette – stuffed with roasted red peppers, asparagus, caramelized onions, and goat cheese.
This plate-sized sweet potato pancake with pecans is a signature dish. Definitely large enough to share!
I was a bit disappointed that the egg white frittata was no longer on the menu, so I ordered the Eggs Betty instead: two medium poached eggs on a buttermilk biscuit. I really liked that Tupelo Honey let me choose asparagus instead of ham on the side, and sliced tomatoes instead of hash.
The Final Word: Tupelo Honey serves up a solid breakfast with Southern flair.
Info: Tupelo Honey Cafe, 12 College Street Asheville, NC, 28801 USA, and several other locations
It can still be nippy outside in the Spring….let’s keep making soup! A few weeks ago, I dined at a Nepalese restaurant and had a delicious yellow lentil soup. I was inspired to make my own. But I couldn’t find yellow lentils at the store, only red ones. What’s the difference anyway? It turns out that red lentils are really just a split and hulled version of yellow lentils, and they will turn golden once cooked. So I guess I’m making red-slash-yellow lentil soup. And then I had some trouble finding a Nepalese recipe, so let’s just go with a Moroccan recipe. (Adapted from culinate.com)
- 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp. ground coriander
- 1 ½ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. ground turmeric
- ½ tsp. paprika
- ½ tsp. ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
- 7 cups vegetable broth
- 1 can crushed tomatoes
- 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
- 2 cups dried red lentils, washed and rinsed
- juice of 1 lemon
- 3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
- Wash and rinse lentils until the water runs clear. Unlike larger beans, lentils do not have to be soaked prior to cooking – they cook quite quickly. However, you can soak them for about 1 hour if you wish.
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook onions until tender, about 3 minutes.
- Add garlic, coriander, salt, cumin, turmeric, paprika, black pepper, and cinnamon. Cook for another minute.
- Add vegetable broth and crushed tomatoes and bring to a boil.
- Pour the mixture into a slow cooker (5- or 6-quart). Add lentils and celery. Cook 4-5 hours on HIGH or 8-10 hours on LOW. If you do not have a slow cooker, finish cooking this soup on the stovetop – it will only take an hour or so. This Moroccan lentil soup smells amazing as it cooks!
- Add in lemon juice, parsley, and cilantro and cook on HIGH for 10 minutes.This Moroccan lentil soup smells amazing as it cooks!
I like this lentil soup served with crusty bread and garnished with a bit of parsley.