Wednesday, July 5, 2017

It's been too long

I forgot this place even existed until today. Oops. I never finished my last post (Turks and Caicos) so I have to get around to that. Enough about that, let's move on

Turks and Caicos 2016

That Time We Went to Turks and Caicos

 Of course we were doing an island vacay for our honeymoon. Joe chose Turks and Caicos in October. Sounds awesome...Then a hurricane rolled through. 

The good news - the hurricane passed through the week before we went. The bad news - all that snorkeling gear we bought for this trip didn't quite get used as much as we had hoped. The sand was still a bit kicked up and the winds from Hurricane Nicole were not making for optimum snorkel days.

Day 1 (October 8/9)

It took us a long time to get to Providenciales. LAX - JFK - Miami - Providenciales.

over providenciales

we got to the airbnb we rented on long bay and immediately walked to our beachfront

truly long, deserted and calm

So of course, we hop in the car and drive to grace bay for dinner

We stopped at The Infinity Bar to eat. Now, it wasn't on my list - it wasn't in my binder, and after going, I know why it didn't make the cut

They weren't quite ready for dinner service yet, so we had a conch salad appetizer and some drinks. So far so good. The service was great, and the conch salad, our first introduction to conch was delicious. For dinner they led us over to the restaurant area.

i had the veal  - maybe i'm just not familiar with veal, but it was so fatty it was tough to eat. The tortellini was more delicious than the meat

conch 4 ways

conch chowder

The whole meal was just ok. I wouldn't go back. We spent around $200 on that dinner (not including the drinks and appetizer in the bar beforehand) and none of it was impressive.  There are much better places to eat on the island so its just not worth the stop. I will say, the service was great throughout so it was of no fault to the front staff.

We stopped at one on the 2 main markets on the island for a beer...

yes. that's the real price. $69.99 for a case (24) coronas. And no, it's not just because it is corona. Beer is just expensive!! 

We spoke to the owner of one of the bars and he basically said they aren't making any money on beer. The bars sell them for around $6 a bottle

jimmys dive bar

It had been a long day, but joe wasn't going to let a day go by without swimming. Luckily our airbnb had a private pool in addition to the ocean

Day 2 (October 10)

on day 2 we went out exploring all ends of the island, really trying to figure out where we want to go again so we don't miss out on anything in our few days in the caribean

 of course, it wouldn't be a trip if someone didn't get stuck in the sand. Luckily it wasn't us this time :) Joe and some fishermen helped this family dig out their car from the sand and sent them on their way.

Dinner tonight (and what ended up, a few nights while we were on the island) was on my list. Somewhere Cafe

We sat at the Queen's Table for sunset.

chicken sandwich

rib eye

so, this basically ended up being joe's favorite place to eat on the island. Rib eye, rice and vegetables, cooked properly at a good price. Right on the beach. Outside with a bar. basically perfect. 

Our bartender (Joel) was awesome. Somewhere is easily a place to have a good meal and meet some decent people. Every night that we went there we met interesting folks. One couple we had a few drinks with were also going to Grand Turk so we ran into them a few times over our vacation.

From there we head back over to the dive bar for a drink on our way home

Day 3 (October 11)

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Persimmon Cake

my dad's persimmon tree is blowing up! i can't eat enough to catch up, so i thought i could experiment with some recipes.

In my hunt for a persimmon recipe, everywhere I looked referred to the david lebovitz persimmon bread recipe.

I decided on this one. simple and I have all of the ingredients

well...I'm still getting used to this convection toaster oven. At an hour, i checked the cake with a toothpick and removed it. yes...its a little darker on top than i expected. After 15 minutes it fell a little, but it still looked like things were gonna turn out okay.

i was worried it was overdone. boy howdy was i wrong. Although the toothpick came out clean, the inside was like a bread pudding. Like a delicious persimmon pudding cake

The flavor was awesome. i don't think i'd want it coming out "right".

I did change the recipe a bit. i hand mixed things so that may change how things mixed together. I also used less nutmeg than the recipe called for. The persimmons are really over much that i just scooped out the meat and smooshed it between my latex gloved hands instead of actually pureeing them. And probably the biggest deal - i forgot to add the baking soda. I had so many recipes open on my surface that i think i just looked at another page, forgot, and never looked back.

here's the recipe as I made it, adapted from

1 Stick (8 Tbsp) Butter at room temperature
1 3/4 Cup baking sugar
2 Cups Persimmon Puree  - or in my case, just over two cups of persimmons smooshed between my fingers.
1 1/2 Cup whole Milk
2 Cups Flour 
1 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/8tsp Nutmeg
To Make the Persimmon Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F, grease and flour an 8 inch baking dish
  2. mix butter and sugar with a wooden spoon and well as possible.
  3. Add in eggs, milk, and persimmon puree, and gently combine until smooth and creamy
  4. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg)
  5. Gradually blend the dry mixture into the persimmon mixture
  6. Spoon into the prepared cake pan and bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
  7. Allow to cool slightly, and serve warm or cold.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

City Cafe

Owned by the same person that owns Lucky Boy, we had to try City Cafe even though its a completely different restaurant. More upscale, seemingly nice dining. They have a HUGE long bar the runs the length of the restaurant and a decent outside back patio protected by small trees to help you forget that you're basically sitting in the parking lot.

The one thing that this place has going for it - good priced pitchers of beer. A pitcher of Stella Artois is $16.50!

Those prices are not reflected in the food though. Although tasty so far, everything is about $2 more than it should be. That doesn't seem like much, but it will keep some people from coming here regularly.

At the table they give you house chips - yum. house made lightly seasoned kettle style chips. Delicious and begging for a dip (they have a carmelized onion and a blue cheese dip. We've tried the onion - good but portion is pretty small. Probably okay if you're not sharing.

This time I ordered the grilled chicken sandwich with wedge fries. It was good. Easy to eat, the ciabatta wasn't hard so it didn't tear up my mouth and the pesto sauce on it was yummy. 

But service was an issue. When our server took our order we got a pitcher of stella, two mugs, and a black iced tea. Out come the beers, but no tea for me. I had to remind him after the food arrived. When the food was delivered the girl asked if i wanted some ranch or ketchup with my fries, I said both and she said good choice. I never got either. I ate my dinner and a few fries, which i probably would have been fine with if she didn't offer or suggest a dipping sauce. 

These little things need to get tighted up.  If you're gonna charge top dollar, you better give me top service.

Congregation Ale House - Azusa Chapter

In all of our time in Altadena, we never went to the Congregation in Pasadena. It just never seemed like a place I would want to go.

 A little further east there are less choices to we finally made our way to Congregation Azusa chapter.

The first time we stopped by we didn't stay. It was actually just like what we thought it would be. LOUD and CROWDED. It was a tuesday night, and I wasn't feeling all that great, so we left and tried a small chinese place that is now one of our favorites Tasty BBQ Kitchen . That place deserves its own post!

I went to the Congregation websites a few times afterward and we decided to try again for a happy hour. Drinks are still on the pricier end, and they don't have any beers we like, and the ones that are on the border of being okay might be removed from the menu -- they're taking away lagers.  Sorry folks. I just hate the hops.

But I digress. The food there is actually really good.

duck and bacon sausage. Meaty and delicious. Joe's staple order here now and possibly the best sausage he's ever had.

Carnitas Pizza - good, but needs something...some kind of dipping sauce - it was actually really good dipped in the garlic rosemary mayo i got to accompany my onion strings

Onion Strings with Garlic Rosemary Mayo and Sweet Chili Sour Cream - these were good, but i wouldn't order them again. Too difficult to eat. Too difficult to dip.  Tater tots and chips still win the side battle here.

Chips with Sweet Chili Sour Cream and Pesto Ranch dips.  There's just something about crispy chips and sweet chili sour cream

Braised short rip sandwich - it was good. Nice flavor and horseradish sauce, but I would be mad if i paid full price for it. Its definitely too small.

One mark down - the service has been REALLY SLOW!!! At times I think there was one person both running food and taking orders at the counter.  We were going to order another beer, but there was no staff on the floor and the line at the counter was atleast 3 deep, of which we had to wait in line anyway to close out.  Hopefully management will adjust schedules or hire more staff.

We'll be coming here for happy hours to eat, but you won't be seeing me here on Tuesday nights (trivia night) or anytime its crowded and loud.

PS - they also have a really good jukebox that is not priced all crazy.