Friday, October 31, 2008

Hot Dog!

What makes a runner? Is it the rush of adrenalin when the final lap is in sight? The cool air on your face? The feeling of accomplishment when it is over? The anticipation to do it all over again the next day? What is it that makes runners hungry for more?

For me, you can say all of the above … on occasion. But this past weekend, when I ran in the Robert P. Giamo 5 K race in Fairfield, what kept our little foursome going (besides the story telling) were the bagels and hot dogs immediately following the race!

SEE - There it is - delicious hot dog right in my hand!!! Mmmm – I can still remember its good taste – especially at 11 a.m. Makes it all that running worth it.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Going Green

It isn’t uncommon to find companies “going green” these days. But one specific dinning establishment is soooo green, even its delivery service pickup truck is environmentally friendly.

Enter Tito’s Burritos, a small “shack” in Summit, N.J. (Motto: "It's all good!") -- a local favorite of mine and hands down maker of the best Mexican food. (Remember the mystery meet fear I mentioned earlier? – none of that at Tito’s – all fresh!) Since I am not heading south of the boarder anytime soon, I frequent this place at least once a month – Taco Salad is my fav and I love to mix in all sorts of hot sauces.

Back to going green -- Tito’s actually turned its delivery truck over from diesel gas to ... get this ... used cooking oil! And sales of their logo'd bumper stickers go to benefit cause-related organizations.

Good food, good place.

P.S. – Look for a Tito’s heading to Morristown, opening soon near "The Green"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Southern Eats

Beef from where?
My boyfriend has a slight obsession with burgers. Everywhere we go, if burgers are on the menu, he must order. So in the spirit of him not along for the NC trip, I tried the Montana beef burger at Spanky’s Restaurant. The Montana Ranch fresh ground beef, “vegetarian fed, antibiotic and hormone free burger” sounded intriguing to say the least. So I gave it a shot – what’s the worst that could happen? Seriously, it was by far the best I have ever had. I immediately text the boy to share my enthusiasm of such a burger. It was very light in taste. Incredible, really. I would even describe it as gourmet. His response – “send me a pic!” Again – too late, plate was clean.

Not sure if this is the norm down here, but I like it!

Pig pickin’ good
That evening, we attend an authentic southern pig roast at a barn. Pulled pork was the featured dish and to prove it – a giant pig head right placed right there on the grill. Nice.
This isn’t an actual pic but you get the idea:

It was different than I expected – this pulled pork was plain shreds of meat with a very light vinegar sauce . It was interesting.

I really liked the cherry cobbler.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A ‘tasteful’ weekend

This past weekend I headed to North Carolina for a family friend’s wedding in Chapel Hill. Native to New Jersey, there are plenty of meals that I found that out of my norm but nevertheless always looking to try something new.

So of course, a stop for lunch at Spanky’s Restaurant & Bar on Franklin Street (the main drag for students at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) prompted a new order. Right there on the menu under This Week’s Specials were fried pickles! Sounds odd right? Never heard of them but apparently they are pretty big in the south.

Served in a basket similar to a side of fries, out came these deep fried slices of dill pickles covered in a tasty batter with a side of creamy dressing. The tangy taste and fried deliciousness didn’t even overwhelm the pickle flavor. Fabulous. Seriously! I never would have guesses fried pickles would be so tasty! They served hot – just out of the deep fryer. They were warm on the inside and yes, taste exactly like what you would think – like pickles! By far, the icing on the cake was the chipotle dressing to dip. We finished them all – only to realize I didn’t get a picture of these pickles. (who knows when I will be in the south again!) No worries – the restaurant manager was kind enough to email me a pic – yes, folks, this is what fried pickles look like.

Amazing. So next time you are riding down Franklin Street, I highly recommend you try these pickles. (And of course I have plans to break out the deep fryer in NJ an try making these myself!)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Good Taste

I love food. I always have. Probably because I was born into a family of fabulous cooks – with very Italian grandparents, an aunt who recreates dishes found in a high-end restaurant for fun and of course a mother who cooked full meals seven days a week while growing up, I really had no choice – I was forced into this.

My qualifications are simple – ingredients must be fresh and I have to know exactly what I am eating (read – no “mystery meat”). I don’t like frozen meals.

Now, you would probably think I cook all the time – truth is I don’t. (But not without immense encouragement.) With a family of cooks (a sister who watches the Food Network as some college students watched MTV) there is plenty of action in the kitchen and we have all heard what they say about too many cooks…

It’s not that I don’t like to – just that I never have to.

Pretty much, I just enjoy eating and trying new things. There are plenty of times I am at a restaurant and think, "This dish couldn’t be too hard to recreate," or have a dish at a friend’s place that I really enjoy and leave telling others about it, right down to the strawberry garnish!

So, with you I share my experiences in the world of food …after all, you just need to have good taste...