I am a foodie thru and thru. My dream has always been to be a personal Chef, but right now I'll have to be satisfied with being a personal Chef to my DH and two beautiful children. I love to read, be by the ocean, and of course eat!!!

  • Location: Atlanta, GA (in flesh) Boston, MA (in spirit)
  • Favorite foods: Lobster and steamers with butter; seared scallops; artichokes; steak; good italian bread with cheese and fruit; figs; cherries; eggplant parm; a good italian sub made the Massachusetts hole-in-the-wall mom n'pop sub shop way, with extra "hots";
  • Last bite on earth: a perfectly steamed lobster tail with melted butter.

Videos: McD's Quarter Pounder for Men, Burgers = Heroin, and Pineapple Madness

Maaaan, that PSA about childhood obesity was just a bit melodramatic. Yikes.

The Burger Lab: How to Make the Ultimate Patty Melt

When I was growing up, heading to Friendly's or Brigham's for a patty melt and a cup of chowdah was a delightful outing my Dad and I would share together. I loved those patty melts, and this one looks like it would satisfy that nostalgic craving.

Cook the Book: 'Planet Barbecue!'

Pork chops with maple glaze and corn on the cob with chili/lime/butter

Cook the Book: 'The Heirloom Tomato'

Sliced with fresh mozzarella, basil chiffonade and a drizzle of good olive oil and balsamic vinegar, with just a few grains of sea salt on top.

what a great site!

Welcome, Jane. And hey to all my peeps -- I've missed you. Been away for a few weeks, but I'm back and ready to eat!

Chocolate and Blue Cheese

That's a migraine in a mouthful.

Unusual BBQ suggestions

I have a delish, easy BBQ sauce that tastes great over any pork or chicken...I mix it up and use half of it to marinate the meat pre-grilling, and then warm the rest of it on the stove-top to pour over the meat post-grilling. So simple and so finger-licking good: 1 bottle of Sweet Baby Ray's Brown Sugar BBQ sauce, 1 cup of pinapple or orange juice, 1/2 cup of bourbon (I like Maker's Mark or Jack Daniels), 1 cup of brown sugar. If you are having a large crowd you may need to double this.
Some may turn up their noses at using a bottled sauce as a base, but I'm telling you, this stuff is good. If you have a few pork tenderloins, and simply season those up and throw them on the grill, and then pour some of this over the slices afterwards, you'll not be disappointed!

Halibut Cheeks?!

I love 'em fried! do a nice beer batter or cornmeal batter and serve them with a chunky homemade tarter sauce. YUMMMM

Poll: How Long Would You Wait In Line?

It depends -- if I'm just having lunch in the middle of my work day then it has to be quick. But if I'm on vacay, I've been known to wait a loooong time for a good lobster roll.

Cook the Book: 'Farm to Fork'

We had a huge blackberry thicket in our backyard when I was younger. I'd go out with a big colander and fill it with plump, juicy blackberries. Once I forgot to wash them before bringing my bounty to work with me, and we had red ants in the office for days...but nobody complained...they all loved the berries!

Foodie game

Foodie game

Cook the Book: 'Pig: King of the Southern Table'

marinated grilled pork chops on the bone -- the cheap cuts....especially when the fatty pieces get crispy and the bones get all smokey and flavorful and once you tear all of meat off them, you just keep gnawing the bones. YUM

Cook the Book: 'Seasonal Fruit Desserts'

Fresh mixed berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries) served over lemon pound cake with fresh whipped cream.

The Return of Ben & Jerry's Limited Batch Key Lime Pie

For those of you within any distance of a Publix (i'm talking primarily to my Southern fellow foodies here) they have a GREAT version of this Key Lime Pie ice cream in their premium flavors -- it has a great carton too....emblazoned with a hawaiian-shirt bedecked parrot and the whole box just screams "Jimmy Buffett down in Florida on a hot summer day" to me -- which is what originally prompted me to pick up the carton and try it. I fell in love, and -- dare I say it -- it blows B&J's out of the water! Trust me!! It comes with the graham cracker crust pieces you all seem to be craving, and is tangy and sweet and definitely worth the trip.

Childhood memories

My grandpa intoduced me to my love of lobster, steamers and butter...and big steaks cooked over a charcoal fire and smothered with A1 sauce. My summers were spent splashing in my little kiddie pool in their backyard while Grandpa stood over the coals with his apron on, getting the perfect sear on those thick, delicious steaks -- or we'd eat our New England "clambake" of steamers, lobster and corn on the cob on the back porch of our house on the Cape, so that we could get as messy as we wanted. He also always had a nightly gin martini with extra vermouth. I cannot smell any of those very distinct aromas without thinking of Grandpa.

Spring rolls

I love them both ways!

Is there one thing you *must* order if you see it on a menu?

My husband MUST order shrimp from the menu wherever we go. He's even been known to order the grilled shrimp bruscetta as a starter and then the shrimp linguine, which will have the same exact shrimp he just had as a starter, only this time over pasta. It drives me sort of crazy.

I always order steamers if they are on the menu, and will generally order any type of bread pudding if they are offering it.

Comforting Pizza Toppings

my favorite "comfort food pizza" is the Nolio -- which has is a lemon cream sauce over the wood fired crust, then topped with caramelized onions and prosciutto. The sweetness of the caramelized onions plays off the saltiness of the prosciutto and the decadence of that lemony cream sauce is, well...heaven. That being said, I'm also just as happy with a good old fashioned 'New York Slice' of cheese....when it's so hot and gooey that the oil has collected on top just a bit, and the cheese is like molten lava so that you burn the layer of skin off the roof of your mouth. :o) (though that might sound like the opposite of comfort, I know there are people out there that would agree with me!)

Family recipe you're glad to have

Definintely my Nanny's meatballs and gravy. When I squish the meat and bread and milk and egg and cheese in between my fingers, and when my little girl's hands are right there in the bowl with mine, and we're rolling those lovely balls of meat together, I can't help but think of Nanny and be greatful for all the moments in the kitchen I was able to spend with her, doing the same exact thing. Then to smell them cooking with that delicious sauce with lots of garlic and basil...mmmm...the house smells fantastic. It is the best recipe ever and most treasured by my family.

Win Tickets to the Los Angeles Vendy Awards

I have to say my hometown of Boston -- between all the vendy trucks in and around MIT and Harvard which cater to the myriad of students, to the good ol' sausage n' pepper guys outside of Fenway Park -- you just can't get better eats than that!

Brooklyn Man Attempts to Eat Nothing But Pizza in Month of April

Wait, this guy gets his 15 minutes of fame over eating pizza for only a month? My son spent his entire 8th year of life doing the exact same thing.

affordable food

@Amandarama -- I know what jakey's talking about -- by the time you buy the pasta and the cheese (which not everyone is going to have on-hand, and even if you do, it cost you something to begin with) and the milk and butter it will cost considerably more than a box of Kraft mac n' cheese. I've long lamented that to eat healthyand homemade often costs more up-front than eating things which are pre-packaged. Just look at the cost difference between canned veggies and fresh. It costs more to make a simple salad than to eat cans of veggies which can be purchased for under a dollar. This can be very challenging for a large family in a tough economy. I feel jakey's pain, and encourage people to keep sharing ideas on how to eat cheaply and fresh/homemade. Obviously eating fresh/homemade is better for you, better for the environment and tastes MUCH better....but it does cost more.

Bedtime Hunger

I always get the munchies right before bed, and find it really hard to quiet my "hungry" when I try to sleep without eating something. I found keeping a baggie of roasted unsalted nuts near my bed really helps. Just a small handful usually quiets my stomach and satisfies the hunger pain, and it's still healthy.

Roasted Leftover Pork - Ideas?

Go Greek! Make a tzaziki and put some sliced up pork in a flat bread with the yogurt sauce, cukes, onions and tomatoes.

My Hubby Ran Over My Crockpot...

I let a friend of mine borrow my brand new, extra large crockpot. I had only used it a couple of times, as it had been given to me as a gift about two months ago. She had her teenage boys return it to my house while my husband was sleeping and I was at work. Instead of putting it on my front or back porch, these brilliant boys placed it directly in front of our closed garage door. When my darling husband, who was none the wiser, hopped into our Jeep, remotely opened the garage door and backed out, he heard an ungodly scraping underneath the back of the car. He got out to see my brand new crockpot lodged underneath the back wheel-well. Amazingly, this tough cookie of a small appliance managed to stay almost completely intact, save for the feet on the bottom of it. Sheared 'em clean off. So now, the crockpot sits flush on the counter, with nothing elevating it at all -- however it still works. My question to you all is, do you think it's still usable? Should I elevate it before using it? Do you think it matters?

goat cheese tartlette advice

I am having a big family reunion dinner this coming Sunday, and with an Aunt whom I'd very much like to impress coming (think Ina Garten meets Martha Stewart meets Julia Child) I've been driving myself batty trying to prepare the menu for the perfect meal. I have decided to make little tartlettes with goat cheese, caramelized onion and prosciutto, but can't decide if I should partially pre-bake the puff pastry before adding the toppings and then putting under the broiler for a quick "warm n' melt" or bake it fully once assembled. I was going to take puff pastry and cut it into squares, brush with egg wash, poke with a fork to keep from puffing too high, then pre-bake just for a few minutes....then take them out, layer some caramelized onion, a thin, short slice of prosciutto, and some crumbled goat cheese, and then put it back in the oven under the broiler to crisp the prosciutto a bit and get the cheese melty. What do you think? Will the prebaking be necessary or improve the end result do you think? Or could I just assemble the whole thing (on unbaked squares of puff pastry) and bake until I get the desired result? Help!!

Ground Lamb help

I really wanted a nice roasted piece of lamb, but the only roasts available at Kroger were too big for my needs. I then saw a package of ground lamb which I thought might work. My intention for dinner last night was a moist, flavorful little lamb patty, nestled in my warm flatbread with fresh tzatziki sauce and thinly sliced onions. What I ended up with was a dry, unappealing puck of meat, which could not be saved even by the glorious tzatziki I had covered it with. I hadn't thought I over-cooked the patty, but I must have. Or is the nature of ground lamb such that it does not translate well into patties? I seasoned it with coriander, cinnamon, onion, garlic, and cumin -- the seasoning tasted right -- I just was unimpressed with the texture of the meat. Is ground lamb alright to be eaten on the rare side? BecauseI had little to no pink in the middle of those patties. Should I have cooked them less? Seems like an obvious question, but I don't have much experience with ground lamb. Does anybody have a good recipe for lamb-burgers they'd care to share?

Changing E-Mail address

Pardon me for the silly question, but I must be missing something here...I'm trying to change the e-mail address where the newsletters go to, and I can't seem to find where to change it when I "view/edit my account." Help?

Has anyone tried making fried goat cheese?

Just got back from a fabulous trip to London and Paris, and while at a pub in London (The Clarence) had a wonderful roasted beet, goat cheese and arugula salad which I would love to duplicate. The thing that made it 'extra special' was that the rounds of goat cheese were fried -- perfectly crunchy outside, creamy inside -- I'm thinking they might have used panko bread crumbs. Has anyone tried frying goat cheese rounds, and if so, were you successful? I'm wanting to do it without having the cheese inside get too soft and not hold together properly...I'd hate to waste good goat cheese in a frying fiasco. Any suggestions?

Unduly influenced by Hollywood?

Has anyone ever gone to a restaurant based on the fact that it was showcased, highlighted or even played a small part in one of your favorites movies? For instance, Rumplemeyer's in NYC, because you loved the movie "Serendipity" starring John Cusack? Or perhaps you've gone to Le Grand Colbert because Diane Keaton, Keanu Reeves and Jack Nicholson dined there in "Somethings Gotta Give"?

I worry that I am being unduly influenced by Hollywood in my choice to try the latter...I will be in Paris for my anniversary night next month, and the idea of going to that restaurant seems so romantic to me, partially because I really love that movie.

Has anyone actually been there? Is it really as good as the movie portrays?

One word answer only, please...Coke or Pepsi?

I'm not shilling (neither of these mega-giants need my advertising) -- I am merely truly curious. Which really is the preferred cola? I know we foodies and serious eaters like to pontificate, clarify, converse, compare and extol the virtues of our various favorites...but for this one, let's just do a ONE WORD answer to the question, Coke or Pepsi? Given those as your ONLY two choices, AND YOU HAD TO CHOOSE ONE OF THOSE TWO, which would you prefer? Diets are off the are all other fizzy drinks, sodas, pops, imbibable liquids of any sort.
Just -- simply -- Coke or Pepsi?
I'll start:

Just to clarify...

How do you all feel about clarified unsalted butter v. melted salted butter? I went to Chops Lobster Bar last night with my husband for a "special treat" dinner and we had stuffed Lobster, which was served with a pretty little chafing ramekin of clarified butter. Now, I'm a huge Lobster lover, growing up in NE...and have eaten my fair share, served in every way possible. I've always loved a good boiled lobster with plain old melted salted butter the best. For me, the milk solids and salt in the plain ol'butter pairs best with the delicate flavor of the lobster. I have to say, my $45 lobster fest last night was, at best, "Meh"...due in large part I believe to the sad absence of that simple melted butter. The clarified butter had NO FLAVOR whatsoever...sure, it looked all pretty and golden in that little ramekin, but it was flavorless oil to me. A big disappointment. I almost was tempted to just ask for some melted regular butter. But didn't. I regret not doing so.
Now, maybe I'm in the minority here....I know "clarified" butter is fancier and perhaps more pleasing to the eye...but for me it lacks passion and flavor...I have to admit loving the milk solids and salt in my melted butter.
Who's with me?

Left Bank/Paris Cafes

Hubby and I are celebrating our 15th year of marital bliss in the most romantic city in the world in October. We'll only be there for two days/one night and so need to make every moment count. We're staying at the Le Meridien Montparnasse and will be doing the walking tour thing to the "must see sights" of the Tour d'Eiffel, Arc d'Triomphe and we're going to the Musee d'Orsay. We would love some suggestions on reasonably priced cafes in the area of our hotel, if possible, which would be great for first time "foodie" visitors on a budget. I realize Paris isn't cheap, but we are on a budget and still want to eat well while we're there.

Serious Efforts: Homemade Ice Cream (including Lactose-free)

A friend just gave me her GE electric ice cream maker because she prefers her old-fashioned hand crank one. I've never made homemade ice cream before, and because she no longer had the instruction manual or recipe book for it, I'm in need of a little "Homemade Ice Cream 101", if you will.

In addition to a couple of easy recipes for the basics (vanilla, chocolate, strawberry) I would also really appreciate some tips on making lactose-free ice cream.

I'm logged in but cannot post?

I keep having issues with posting...I appear to be logged in (my name appears up in the upper right-hand corner) but when I submit a post it tells me there is a "submission error" and I need to be logged in. What gives?

My children are bottomless pits!

Ahhhh Summertime...for many this means exotic vacations, relaxing days at the pool, and seaside BBQs. For me, twice-weekly trips to the local supermarket to replenish my constantly dwindling supplies of snacks and juice boxes. I have two little ones at home with Dad this summer while I work fulltime. I won't even discuss the mess that is made daily in the house caused by two dogs, and two whirling dirveshes (read: kids) and a Dad rendered practically useless due to a third-shift job -- that's a post for another site. I'm talking about how in the world to keep these kids fed all summer without breaking the bank! I've tried to stock up on pretzels and cheese crackers and packets of instant oatmeal and popsicles and fruit and peanut butter/jelly, but I'm looking for any other suggestions on somewhat healthy, easy to prepare/serve snacks for a 10 and 8 year old. I love the idea of fresh fruits, but these can get mighty expensive when my kids are going through a pineapple and big bunches of grapes every two days. I hesitate to allow them to cook on their own (aside from microwaving and toaster-ovening) quite yet, but hate processed foods like bagle bites, etc. What types of things do you keep on hand for your kids during the summer? Do you have prepare-ahead foods that are good reheated and fussy-kid-friendly? Tips and tricks appreciated!

Amish Friendship Bread starter

A woman I work with started it a few months ago. I was sitting at my desk, minding my own business, when she comes by with this lovely looking cinnamony moist coffee-cake bread and puts it out for everyone to have a piece. It really was delicious -- rich and moist and comforting. "Mmmmm" I said, "this goes perfect with my coffee!" Five minutes later she returns from her office with a ziploc baggie of batter, a rather intimidating list of dated instructions complete with warnings not to use anything metal, and announces that I should "keep it going..." I did. And about 10 days later I was chasing down my very own unsuspecting friends, pushing baggies of batter on them, convincing them that they would not regret it, and assuaging their fears about leaving a batter bubbling on their countertops. "Really", I said, "It makes a wonderful cake!" I should have known I would once again be on the receiving end. Two weeks ago one of my friends (to whom I had given a bag o' batter) returned the "favor" and gave me another batch...only it was a very busy week for me, and by the time day 10 rolled around when I was supposed to be baking my bread and splitting my batters, I was neck deep in household stuff and kids' field trips and work deadlines, and baking just wasn't on the agenda. I figured I could let the batter sit an extra day or two (after all, it had been sitting on my counter for almost 2 weeks!) and bake it when I had time; only I never got around to it...and when I finally opened the bag my nostrils were assailed with the pungent odor of overripe batter & sour milk. I just couldn't bring myself to use it. So now here I sit, with my cup of coffee sadly cake-less, wondering how to start over...yes...I actually want to start the circle of batter life all over again. Is it possible? How does one "start" an Amish Friendship Bread starter? (be glad we're just cyber-friends, or I'd happily give you a baggie!)

Serious Efforts: Planting a Deck Veggie Garden

I have decided to do a very modest veggie/herb garden on my deck this year. I am thinking of starting really small, with perhaps 2 tomato plants, 1 jalepeno pepper plant, and a window/deck box with some herbs (cilantro and basil).

I have a huge yard which would be perfect for a big garden, but I know I won't get out there to weed it, and we have LOTS of deer, so I don't want to have to built all sorts of fencing, etc., I just want to start with a deck garden this year, and see how I do.

I found some really nice deck boxes which are wrought iron and have that lining of stuff that looks like a bird's nest/burlap sack. Would I just fill that up with potting soil and plant my baby herb plants or seeds? Would that work? Or is there a better way?

Also, I was thinking of planting the tomato plants and pepper plant in barrel planters. Any suggestions on how best to make sure they do well? My deck gets direct morning sunlight (until around 2 pm) and I live south of Atlanta. Thanks for your suggestions!

[Serious Efforts guidelines »]

"...and the chicken tastes like wood."

Channelling my inner Sugarhill Gang, guys, sorry...
But seriously, SErs, I have an issue with my husband's love of boneless, skinless, grilled chicken breast. It seems no matter how much I season it or marinate it, I end up with charred blocks of chicken-wood. Incidentally, he does not seem to mind this so much, but I find it hard to choke down. I myself prefer a nice, juicy thigh or leg on the grill, complete with skin and fat and all the DH is adamant -- for him: no skin, no bones, white meat only. So, in order to keep everyone happy, I'm asking for some interesting suggestions on sauces or gravies or salsas or anything that can be put on top of his grilled chicken-wood pieces. Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

The "Perfect" Food

I'm trying to eat healthier and bring good snacks with me to work. I've decided that the "perfect" foods for me are bananas and avocados. Both are filling, and tasty, full of vitamins and give me a boost of good energy. I love that bananas are a self-contained bagging, no prepping, no refrigeration needed or cooler packs...just peel and eat. The avocado requires a knife, and a spoon to spoon out the creamy, delicious flesh, but other than that it's a no brainer. I like mine with just a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and I'm good to go. These two foods are my go-to snacks now.
What is your "perfect" food?

Speaking of wings ... how are you making yours for game day?

I am lightly flouring mine, then tossing them in a mixture of honey, brown sugar, soy sauce, lime juice & lime zest and baking them covered. Then about 10 minutes before they are totally finished, I pour a bit more glaze over them, sprinkle some of that Turbinado sugar over them (just a bit, for crunch) and broil them uncovered to crisp them up a bit.
So what are you all doing? Traditional Buffalo style? Fried? Terriyaki? or do you have a special secret glaze you'd like to share?
For the record: My grandmother used to use that bright pink "Ah-So" sauce from the jar for, those were good.

Are CSAs Cost Effective for Your Family?

I am continuously looking for ways to cut my grocery bill for my family of four. We love fresh fruits and veggies, which as a rule, can be pretty expensive. I love the idea of a CSA, primarily because I think supporting local farms is so important, and secondarily because the idea of getting the freshest, locally grown produce is intoxicating to me...however, I'm wondering if it makes sense for my wallet, which has felt the ever-increasing squeeze of this horrible economy. If you are part of a CSA, what has been your experience? Do you find that it saves you money in the long or short run? Is it expensive? Do you end up with more wasted, unused produce? Has it cut your grocery bill?

Excellent Restaurant in HHI, SC?

DH, my two kids and I are treating ourselves to a special night away on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, this coming Sunday. We will be staying near Palmetto Dunes area. We have one dinner out and want to make it count...we all love excellent seafood and would appreciate some good recommendations.

Food Foraging

Last night, I stood in the dark kitchen my stocking feet, hair mussed, bathrobe askew, wild-eyed...with only the light of the refigerator coloring my skin a ghastly shade of pale...foraging furiously through the fridge...combining bits and bites of food and eating what can only be described as a poorly orchestrated mish-mosh of leftovers, with no thought to how things would taste in combination, or what the end result would be gastronomically or intestinally. I believe in my half-asleep and strangely ravenous frenzy I consumed the following: three slices of left-over mozzarella cheese ...a pickle....a handfull of shelled pistachios....the end piece of a loaf of slightly stale white bread....a slice of ham....two oatmeal raisin cookies....some salsa....3 spears of roasted asparagus....a sleeve of fig newtons...all washed down with a glass of sangria.
My husband came home from a late meeting and saw the destruction on the kitchen counter and looked at me strangely. I can't say I blame him.
Have you done this???

Assam Laksa recipe, please?

I have been trolling the database and boards and websites looking for a good Assam Laksa (Malaysian curried seafood & noodle soup, with coconut milk in it) and I'm having some trouble finding one that fits the bill. Has anyone tried successfully to make this at home? If so, would you care to share your recipe? I would prefer a seafood based one, as opposed to just chicken or veg.

You learn something new every day....

Okay, in the past 24 hours I have learned two new things, which, to me, were like "Eureka" moments...but apparently are pretty common knowledge:

1) Flour can go rancid.
2) If you leave the pit of your avocado in the prepared guacomole, it will help prevent it from turning brown.

I have been cooking since I was 10 and never knew these two very simple, yet helpful things.

What have been your "Eureka" cooking moments?

Kale - My New Obsession

Kale hasn't ever been something I would normally put in my shopping cart, but in my recent attempts at healthier (and more frugal) eating, I have been trying to expand my family's "veggie vocabulary", as it were...introducing different things into our weekly menus....sneaking in different veggies or greens or ingredients to make meals pop; to add some healthful element; to get us out of the doldroms and out of our routines....
Well, Kale has become my new obsession. I cannot seem to get enough of it. Ever since I braised some in a bit of red wine and chicken stock and served it alongside some chicken cutlets, I have not been able to get enough. I find myself actually craving it. I dream about it. I think about what recipes I can add it to next. Unfortunately, my DH and two beautiful babies don't share my love affair with the stuff, so now I'm making it just for myself...and I eat plate after plate. Is there something in Kale that my body is craving, do you think? Why can I not seem to get enough of this stuff?? Do you all have a veggie or specific food item that you find yourself craving in the middle of the night?? Something that you will make for yourself even if nobody in the house will eat it with you, no matter how time intensive it is to cook?


Trying to avoid another mid-week boring dinner. HELP! I've got these basics for dinner:

6 boneless skinless chix breasts
baby spinach

What interesting meal would you make out of all of this? (You can use "normal" spices--nothing too fancy that I'd have to make a trip to a specialty store for-- and of course olive oil, garlic, onions...)

Bourbon Pumpkin Pie

This is my dream pumpkin pie, smooth and creamy, with a double booze infusion. There's a hint of bourbon in the filling, but since booze that is baked loses its edge, I've incorporated it into the maple bourbon mascarpone topping as well. The combination of the creamy filling and topping and a light layer of toasted pecans makes this pie the winner for adults this holiday season. More

Lime Meltways

Meltaways were one of the first cookies I made when I began my professional baking career. They're incredibly easy and their delicate, crumbly texture makes them terribly addictive. In this version, I made them with lime zest. But if you'd prefer another flavor—like lemon, vanilla bean or even black pepper—go for it. More

Dining in Paris

We're going to Paris in June! Staying in the 8th Arrondissement near the Champs Elysees. We want good local fare that won't postopone our future retirement. Pas de hamburgers, s'il vous plais! Any recommendations from some of you more seasoned... More

Cook the Book: Pumpkin Walnut Cranberry Quickbread

The last restaurant where I had the (dis)pleasure of working brunch shifts was happily located in close proximity to Amy's Bread. Each weekend morning I made a point to stop there and buy a big bag filled with a variety of Amy's goodies to share with my grumpy co-workers. It worked like a charm. Moods improved almost instantly with a few bites of the pastries. This Pumpkin Walnut Cranberry Quickbread was a particular favorite at the restaurant. More

Paula Deen's Food Lover's Cruise Set for January 2010

Heeeey y'all!! It's time for midnight buffets at sea with Paula Deen, her husband Michael and two sons, Bobby and Jamie. Yes, you can travel with the whole darn family to the Western Caribbean from January 24 to 31, 2010. According to the Alice Travel website: Life doesn't come with guarantees but holidays should. This winter-busting cruise with Paula Deen is sure to be a Wow of a trip...Celebrity's brand-new Solstice is the perfect ship for this culinary adventure; bright and spacious, fabulous entertainment, and multiple restaurant venues to choose from. To stay alone in the "Sky Suite," it's $6338, but don't worry, everyone gets an individual photo with Paula (you know those priceless ones before everyone boards and is... More

A First Look at the Friendly Toast, Part Deux, Now Open in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Opening a restaurant’s second location is like making a movie sequel. It should capture the feel, the look, and the ambience of the original—faithfully recreating everything that made it a hit in the first place. But it should also bring something else to the table. Move the story along. The Friendly Toast, just opened on Sunday (May 17) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, does so admirably. It’s hard to replicate the success of a local institution. Up in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the original Friendly Toast has earned lines out the door since 1994 for its mammoth pancakes, crazy egg dishes, and over-the-top kitschy décor. But from an airy space in Kendall Square, the owners have crafted a second Crayola-hued temple of... More

'Georgia On My Thighs' Cooks Along with Paula Deen

Most food-blog readers are familiar with the cookbook cook-along blog genre. Julie Powell invented it with her Julie/Julia Project, eventually garnering a book and movie deal from it. Then came Carol Blymire, with a seemingly more improbable cook-along, working through a Thomas Keller book on French Laundry at Home, followed by dizzying new heights with Alinea at Home. And let's not forget Nose to Tail at Home, cooking through Fergus Henderson's Whole Beast. But Thomas Keller is exacting and demanding. Cooking from Alinea practically mandates that you buy a chemistry lab. And some folks might be squeamish about a pig's head staring up at them from their stock pot. Heck, even the comparatively more accessible Julia Child recipes are beyond... More

Openings: Varasano's Pizzeria, Atlanta

Jeff Varasano hosting a pizza party at home. He moves from his own kitchen to the kitchen of his own pizzeria, Varasano's, tomorrow. There are more notable pizzeria openings this week than you can shake a stick at. Next up: Varasano's Pizzeria in Atlanta. Some sources reported it as opening today, but according to owner Jeff Varasano's Facebook profile, his new and highly anticipated pizzeria opens tomorrow, Wednesday, March 25. Pull out your viral-web microscopes and take a walk with me down memory lane. Prior to August 2006, Jeff Varasano was just going about his business in relative obscurity,... More

Blogwatch: Ricotta Pancakes with Figs

With her first figs of the season, Marion of The Hedonistic Hostess wanted to make a dish that would complement their fresh flavor. One batch of ricotta pancakes later, she was there. Topped with fresh figs and a drizzle of honey butter, this sounds like a simple yet elegant breakfast I would love to have any day of the week. I've also been on a big pancake kick lately; pancakes for breakfast, as a snack, for dessert. It's crazy! Now I just have to find someone willing to cook them for me.... More