Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter, bunnies!!!

I hope that everyone had a wonderful day with their family! I sure did. I have taken over Easter hostess-ing, and so the royal family made the trek to my little condo today. I couldn't decide on a menu, and then one day it hit me... Easter Brunch... for Dinner! (which I later named "Brinner")

We had a wonderful meal (special thanks to my sister for all the help she provided, especially with arts and crafts!), good company and conversation, and even better- I got to debut my new sandals!!

Because it's late, and I'm fighting off a food coma, I'm going to make it quick. Instead of a "Recipe of the day" you're going to get five. The four amazingly easy brunch items I served, and dessert. Enjoy chickadees!

*WARNING* The following recipes are NOT diet friendly. 

Laugh much, cook often, and always wear stilettos
xoXO ~ Coleen

Monday, March 25, 2013

Review: Morton's

Food: «««««
Ambiance: «««
Price: $$$$

First of all, I'd like to begin by saying the last two years have been amazing.  3/20/13 marked me and tt's two year anniversary. Not to go all water works on you, but he really is the ying to my yang. We are two peas in the proverbial pod. And he is the quiet, shy, tall dark and handsome, quick witted and amazingly sincere Prince Charming I have been looking for. Ok, that's enough of that.

This year, he actually spent our anniversary in Germany. I was so sad we were apart on such a special day, but he did manage to have these delivered to me. I suppose that makes up for it.

And then there is the dinner he took me to. Maybe it's to make up for the fact he was away. Maybe it's because he really is that good to me (which obviously he is)- either way, the dinner I had a Morton's last night was hands-down one of the best I have ever had. (And I like to think that I have had a few decent steaks... Ruth's Chris, Flemings, Mike Ditka's Steakhouse in Chicago). 

Lets discuss the meal, shall we:

To drink:
  • I went with my usual.. An extra dirty Kettle One martini, and it was made to perfection. Only thing I didn't love about the first one was that it had ice chips floating in it. #2 didn't. 
  • tt started with The Crush which was a delightful combination of Absolut Grape and Prosecco. Not sure what else was in it, I can't find it  online. It was delicious but a headache waiting to happen because it was so sweet. #2 was a Grey Goose and tonic. Gotta go with what you know, as I always say. (I don't actually always say that, I am not sure why I just said that... Oy)

To start:
  • While the options were all taste bud tempting, I chose to go with the Ahi Tuna Tower: a stack of tuna tartar, avocado, wasabi, wonton crisps. The flavors went together swimmingly (no pun intended) and it was served with extra little wonton chips for eating. While it was not the BEST tuna tartar I have ever had, I would rate it #3 of all time. (#1 goes to the restaurant at the W Hotel in Boston, #2 goes to Mistral in Boston). 
  • tt went with the prosciutto wrapped mozzarella, which was served on a bed of balsamic dressed watercress. I don't think I like watercress, but I definitely like prosciutto wrapped mozz. (this would be great on an antipast' ...)
  • We actually both went with the filet (I had 8 oz and tt had 12 oz) - I ordered medium rare, he ordered medium, however there seemed to have been some confusion in the kitchen because they flip flopped our temperatures. No worries, I offered to switch with tt but he said no. Oh, and also, added the truffle butter. THAT is what made this the best steak in life. Ohhhh Nelly. 
  • Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes: ehhhh, nothing special. Everyone said that the mashed potatoes were to die for (perhaps we should have gone with the horseradish ones...) - I actually make my mashed potatoes with sour cream, so honestly they didn't taste much different than home. Still tasty, but nothing necessarily worth the money. 
  • Sauteed Spinach and Button Mushrooms: delicious. Just the right amount of butter. Perfect spinach to mushroom ratio. Delightful. 
  • The dessert tray came around - and I had a hard time. I was torn because I almost always get Creme Brulee - but I decided to go a different route and go with the chocolate mousse, and my God was I happy I did. That concluded my meal, and I left feeling satisfied. Full, yes. Stuffed, luckily no. 
  • tt chose the carrot cake. I wish that I had my camera out for this one, it was HUGE. He probably made it through half before he was done. And by done, I mean ready to pop. Stuffed to the brim, he was. But pretty happy I think. 
All in all, I give Morton's a solid 4 stars. The inside was a little off, kind of old looking. We also sat right outside the doors to one of their separate rooms, where there was a birthday party happening (with a lot of kids) and then towards the end of the night, some sort of bachelorette party or twenty-something birthday party came in and it was very distracting. That and it is uber expensive. (steaks were $50 each - but worth every stinkin' penny). 

And that is that. No recipe of the day, chickadees. Although just WAIT til you hear what the Easter Bunny has up her sleeves for Sunday! ;)

Laugh much, cook often, and always wear stilettos
xoXO ~ Coleen

Monday, March 18, 2013

A wee lesson in history

Let's have a little history lesson, shall we? I recently was made aware that corned beef and cabbage is not something that they traditionally eat in Ireland. -- Say whaaat? 

This boiled dinner was a delicacy back in the olden days - beef was hard to come by. It was super expensive, so it was typically exported to the rich and famous due to the poverty in Ireland. Back then, a boiled meal would have had either bacon or ham instead of the corned beef. That luck of the Irish all changed when they came to the United States. 

When the Irish got here to the US (where they were so readily welcomed), they found that beef was more readily available (and affordable) - and so began the love affair that makes me such a happy little Irish lass one day a year. 

St. Patrick's Day 2013 celebrations included:
Friday- fish and chips, Guinness, and Irish Car Bombs and "Pedro O'Leary" shots at McLadden's with my CFS chicks
Saturday- micro-brews and good food at the Van Dyke with my dipsy doodle and favorite sister
Sunday- Guinness, corned beef and cabbage with the fam, and parfaits with Bailey's. Mm.

They didn't call me Coleen McPhee for nothin'
Until next year........

"Recipe" of the day:
Corned Beef and Cabbage

Laugh much, cook often, and always wear stilettos
xoXO ~ Coleen

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Fashion forward... or backward?

I have a dilemma. Well, not so much a dilemma, as a fashion crisis/question/concern. 

I own this absolutely gorgeous Marc Jacobs handbag. It is one of my most prized designer possessions. Really, it would be my all time favorite if it wasn't for those pesky Louboutins that always find their way to the top of my list. This bag is beautiful. The leather is the softest imaginable, the color of it is so unique. The perfect shade of pink, reminds me of that color I love most about a stargazer lily. The black stripe down the middle, and the gold lock accent make it just amazing. 

The scene was New York City, circa Septemeber 2008. We were in the Big Apple for Amy's Bachelorette party - Sex and the City bus tour around the city. Cupcakes at Magnolias? Check. Cosmopolitans at Scout? Check. Shopping in the city? Check check. We breezed into the MJ store like we owned the place, and really I was just there for the show of it. But then I spotted this beauty. It was on the bottom shelf, with this light shining down on it like it was sent directly from heaven for me to lay my eyes on it. 

Look at it. Just look at it. Does that not make you want to rub your face on it?!! I'm telling you- it was seriously the fastest I've ever fallen in love. $500 later, I was the proud owner of a bona fide MJ creation. Sigh. 

Since then, I have had my fair share of Coach bags and I have a Michael Kors. But nothing, not one single, solitary bag has ever come close to this one. tt and I are in saving mode, so I am trying to curb my spending habits. Spring is on it's way, and I am itching for a new bag to send this winter out like a lamb. I had a thought, that maybe I could go back to wearing this one. I pulled it out of hiding, and was reminded of just how special it really is.

Another fun tidbit- it really has been a super long time since I wore this bag. I know this, because inside, I found an empty box... A) I quit smoking like 2 years ago. B) I don't even know when they stopped selling Camel No.9's. C) Looking at the carton, you can easily tell why I smoked this particular flavor... a pink camel? Let's be real here. 

Ok back to the issue at hand. My question to the world wide web of fashionistas (and I truly hope that the true fashionista in my life reads this blog as often as I read hers..) is can I do it? Can I really bust out a 5 year old designer bag and not feel guilty about it? Not feel that I'm holding on to trends past? 


and while you're discussing, enjoy a little music ala my boyfriend Billy. 

No recipe today, bebes

Laugh much, cook often, and always wear stilettos
xoXO ~ Coleen

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Pizza Wars

There is an ongoing rivalry in New Haven, CT - who makes the best pizza ?!!! The two top players are the ever famous Pepe's and Sally's Apizza.. but the third, and not so much of a runner up, is Modern Pizza. I have a different feeling about each of these establishments, and I truly think that each one has their own flair that makes them great. If I had to choose a favorite, I would say Sally's.. but I think this is more because they have a potato pizza on the menu than anything else.

Pepe's Pizzeria | You get there and if you're lucky you can park in the little parking lot on the side, otherwise you're parking on Wooster St. You see "The Spot" which was the original, and Pepe's is to your right. You stand in line, and as you get closer, you hear the hostess shouting table numbers at people. Fast forward to the pizza. They bring it out on a huge sheet that fills almost your entire table. Pizza is great - it is pretty classic - they have all your favorite toppings available. We visited yesterday and it was actually slightly less greasy than I remembered which was even better. 

Sally's Apizza | What I remember about Sally's, was walking in and being confused. In a good way- overwhelmed by the smell, the hustle and bustle, and that moment when you realize the restaurant is "cash only". They deliver the pizzas on a big sheet as well. What I remember the most was 'Flo' sitting at the register, ringing everyone up. Flo unfortunately passed away recently, and it was a sad day in CT. 

These two are the actual two that go head to head in this "pizza war" - but tt and I have been made aware of another pizza place in New Haven called Modern. He has a friend who lives there and loves it, and one of my coworkers drives the 35 minutes for it regularly, because it is that good. 

Modern Apizza | I have not physically been to Modern, just got take out. I will say it was great pizza, but I will also say it was just plain old pizza. Other than that, I unfortunately don't have an opinion, but again I will go off of the recommendations - and hope that we make our way back down there to visit and eat in. 

If you live in CT, or have ever been to New Haven.... do you have a favorite? 

Recipe of the day:
(and my top 5 favorite pizzas)
Make your own | Pizza Pie

Laugh much, cook often, and always wear stilettos
xoXO ~ Coleen

Monday, March 4, 2013

NOLA wedding weekend!

I have returned from the Dirty South, and let me tell you something. This was a fantastic trip. This was by far the coolest wedding I have ever been to (come on- a second line parade of the wedding following a brass band down the streets of New Orleans?!) and not to mention, Jen was the most beautiful bride ever!

And it's actually great that I tend to document places I go through food and beverage, seeing as I literally ate and drank my way through the city of New Orleans. And with that, I want to share these wonderful things with all of my faithful readers. 

Mother’s restaurant | We came into town and after pulling an all nighter, me and tt were in desperate need of nourishment. What we came upon, was a good old fashioned Louisiana breakfast, complete with grits and a homemade biscuit with raspberry preserves. I went with a build your own egg white omelet, while tt went with one of the house specials. We found our first glimpse at Nawlins to be a very interesting place, but the food was really satisfying. 

Cue: nap.

Bacchanal | Buy a bottle of wine, in this little shack of a store and then head outside for some amazing food and a really cool and different ambiance. We met up with everyone who was in town Thursday night at this really awesome (and hidden gem of a) spot. To eat, we totally stole some of the table's house marinated olives (castelvetrano, bella cerignola, arbequinas, citrus, herbs), and then I started with the bacon wrapped dates (with chorizo, pequillo peppers, and roasted tomatoes) and I ordered the short ribs (with polenta, horseradish, kale, cream, and tempranillo wine-oh how I love a good polenta). I shared seared scallops (with mushroom, sweet corn, and chorizo), and this amazing Thai green curry (with shrimp, coconut milk, jasmine rice, mirliton, cilantro). Not to mention, I drank a bottle of Pinot Blanc all before 9:00 pm and got quite silly.

Then came Bourbon Street. No more food, just lots more drinks. 

Cue: Hangover.

Acme Oyster House | When I finally was able to leave the hotel after Vomitfest 2013, we made our way out for lunch. Poor tt had to wait practically all day. I had to have a po'boy in my life, and so we landed at Acme, upon recommendation from a friend. I figure, what better way to cure a hangover than to drink more, so I ordered a “Voodoo Mary” (Grey Goose, Merlot, Zing Zang BM mix, Tabasco and Worcestershire). TT and I shared the soup of the day which was a hearty corn and crab bisque, and I ordered a half of a fried shrimp po’boy and hush puppies as my side. Ummm, yea. 

K Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen | For dinner on Friday night, we first met up with my RWU peeps at the Green Bar at the Westin hotel and had a few TABs, and then headed to K Paul's for dinner. Quite the restaurant. The menu was amazing, and while I wanted to try the rabbit entree, I chose to play it safe and had veal (I can't find the entree on the online menu but it was pan fried veal with pasta dressed in Louisiana red sauce that had shrimp and scallops in it- aka heaven), I tried some of the jumbalaya (YUM) and the table shared Custard Marie (Crème Brûlée - with a Praline Bottom) and the dessert special that was a double chocolate bread pudding. Holy Mackerel. Plus, our waitress was hilarious. 

Café du Monde | Had had HAD to get there for their world famous beignets and cafe au lait and hot chocolate and chocolate milk. (and yes, they are actually famous for all of these things, but particularly the beignets of course). The three of us left with full bellies, and covered in powdered sugar. 

Did some touristy shopping, went to a flea market, ordered some bloodies, and it was almost lunchtime. 

Central Grocery | Mind you, I had no idea what a Muffuletta was, I just knew that I had to get one. And if I was going to get one, it was going to be from this place - tt found online that this sandwich is rated in the top sandwiches in the USA. Central Grocery's claim to fame is indeed this sandwich (a pile of Salami, Mortadella, Ham, Mozzarella, and Provolone on a round Italian loaf that is covered in sesame seeds. On top of the meat is a garlicky, chunky, delicious Olive Salad made with crushed olives, pickled veggies like carrots and cauliflower, a ton of olive oil and spices). We did take them to go, and save it for a little later. I am 100% positive that I am going to figure out how the heck to make this and make it every time I have a hankering for a good sammie. 

Cue: another Bloody Mary...

Evangeline | walking down the street, we were stopped dead in our tracks by a sign outside this bar: Bacon Bloody. Hello... heaven. (bacon infused vodka, Zing Zang BM mix, and spices, topped with bacon, pickled Cajun green beans, olives, and okra.) It really doesn't taste like bacon- it just gives the drink this salty and smoky flavor. This was hands down the best bloody I have ever had in my life, and, I need to get my hands on this bacon infused vodka. 

Cheers from cm and tt ~ Laissez les bon temps rouler!! 

Recipe of the day: