When some friends came over for an impromptu dinner last night, I took inventory of our freezer and was happy to uncover that Caw Caw Creek kielbasa. Caw Caw's kielbasa is unassuming at first glance, pale in color, flecked with a few dots of seasoning, like a Polish white kielbasa. You could almost call it unappetizing, but that would be a grave mistake. A comment from DeFelice reflects both the homely looks and hidden charm of this sausage, "kielbasa - our worst selling sausage just might be the best."
Other notable vegetarian dishes on rotation? The vegan rib sandwich at 97 Estoria. It's like the environmentally friendly version of the McDonald's McRib. You don't want to jump off a bridge after eating it.
Breakfast is easy. The simple grit bowl from Stone Soup Kitchen, with cheese, tomatoes, jalapeños, and an egg.
I've heard amazing things about the grain bowl at Cakes & Ale.
There have to be more great finds like these waiting for a meat eater like me to stumble onto them. Or, you could just put us on to some of your faves in the comments...
I had a hard time picking out one thing to try at Swit - but the chocolate-topped donuts were calling my name. Swit uses a brioche dough for these pillowy babies (yes, more pillow), which gives them a nice balance between dense and airy. But what separates this particular donut from the pack is the chocolate topping. Swit makes a ganache from 64% cacao dark chocolate from Valrhona. It's dark and bitter and messy and just about perfect on top of a donut. A dash of chocolate sprinkles adds a touch of crunch against the soft, fudge-like ganache. The slightly sour bite of the chocolate also balances out the typical glazed donut sweetness. Perfection.
On the way out, we picked up a loaf of crusty sourdough bread, which also turned out to be quite good. I'm eager to try more from Swit - maybe someday soon they'll whip out some Swit-y Balls.
So in an attempt to fix something that wasn't necessarily broken to begin with, "fruit entrepreneur" Greg Berndt came up with these individually packaged apples in three new EXCITING flavors: Pomegranate Grape, Tropical Blast, and Bubble Gum. (Ingredients: whole apple, natural flavorings, with no added sugars or preservatives.)
On this particular day, Crazy Apples were on sale at Publix for $1 each, (Grāpples, you may recall cost $4.99/four-pack). So was it worth paying double the price of a regular apple for one that reeked of old-school Bazooka Bubble Gum? In a bizarre turn of events, it kinda was.
Unlike Grāpples, the flavor of Crazy Apples is subtle, and light. The aromas foreshadow powerful, synthetic flavors, but as it turns out, true apple flavor is what comes through most. According to the product's slogan, "Kids love them!" it would seem that Crazy Apples are just some ploy meant to trick kids into eating evil, healthy snacks. But let's be honest, what kids don't like eating apples? Even the pickiest, hamburger-and-hot-dog-only ones are pretty much pro-apple.
It's hard to argue that bubble gum apples are at all necessary, and not entirely ridiculous, but can we forgive the adulteration of apples just because they're ::gasp:: fun?
Now comes some good news.
Ticha Krinsky, chef and co-owner of Tierra with her husband Dan, has started a new catering venture, Tierra's Dancing Fork. I received this email today:
Hi! I think I've rested enough! Anything we had to do with Tierra is taken care of and I had a great time in Mexico City and Acapulco with my family.
So now I'm back and ready to take your orders for Tres Leches, Pionono Pie or anything your heart desires. You can check the website or our Facebook page. You can call my cell at 678-665-6979 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I miss you all!
God knows, I miss the city's best tres leches — a thing of sweet dreams.
Dan Krinsky, by the way, is teaching at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts here.
Luckily, the Spotted Trotter has set up shop quite close to me, in Kirkwood. The Trotter's owner Kevin Outz has been a familiar sight at the Peachtree Road Farmer's Market for the past couple of years, and his retail location opened in November. Our former freelancer Jennifer Zyman was one of the first to discover Outz at the farmer's market, and she wrote a Food Finds column about the Spotted Trotter back in 2010.
So we went to the Spotted Trotter and composed our own meat and cheese plate: Toscano salami, pate campagne, chicken liver pate, and two huge chunks of cheese. We grabbed an H&F baguette, as well as six pork belly and rabbit crepinettes for dinner later in the week.
I have to say, the charcuterie is some of the best I've had, particularly the salami. The Toscano is made with a coarser grind on the meats, and as a result there are pretty big hunks of fat in there, but they melt away into the chewy, tangy jumble of the thing, leaving a pleasant coating on the tongue. I also loved both pates, particularly the campagne, which tasted hearty and foresty. The cheeses were both great as well - I'm now officially obsessed with the Ellington from Looking Glass Creamery in Asheville, a goat cheese with an ash rind that has a dense, smooth interior with a flavor that lasts and lasts on the palate.
Spotted Trotter's meats are not cheap - the picnic pictured cost about $60. But we did have enough left over to have pre-dinner cheese one night, as well as a couple of breakfasts of chicken liver pate on toast (possibly my favorite breakfast of all time), plus salami to snack on throughout the week.
It's noon on a Monday and your week is already off to a bad start: It's wet out. You have a cold. And your boss is having another ego trip.
Staring at the slow-moving clock, all you want more than anything right now is a stiff drink to help you forget the nonsense life throws your way. But you can't go to the bar now! It's too early! Your co-workers will think you have a drinking problem!
But what if you could fix that cold with some hot soup and get your drink on at the same time?
Now Grāpples have been on the market since 2009, but no one in our office had ever heard of them, so hopefully this is news to you as well. So what the hell is a Grāpple anyway? Other than completely unnecessary, a Grāpple is either a Fuji or Gala apple that has gone through a "relaxing bathing process" that involves soaking the fruit in Concord grape flavoring.
The process is pretty high-tech. After the apples are hand-selected based on size and richness of color, infrared cameras measure the density of each apple to ascertain its sweetness, or brix level. Only the sweetest fruit is selected for a dip in the grape pool. Grāpple inventor Todd Snyder says that Fuji apples are the best for "grapification" because their porous skins allow the absorption of the flavoring to extend all the way into the flesh of the apple.
12 million Grāpples are shipped from Wash. every year.
They are not genetically altered in any way.
There is no extra sugar added which means Gr āpples retain the same nutritional content as regular apples.
There is no such thing as a Grāpple tree.
You can find Gr āpples at your local Publix, for gasp, $4.99/four-pack and taste for yourself, but here are some of the tasting notes from the office crew:
Our favorite hometown honky bitch, author Hollis Gillespie, came up with "The 5 Absolute Worst Thanksgiving Day Dishes" for her Shocking Real Life Writing Academy newsletter. Now we all have our own weird little food quirks, but very few sound as unappetizing as Thanksgiving sushi. Thanksgiving sushi? Really? That's just gross.
1. The Bacon Mug.
This is a giant mug made of fried bacon and filled with melted cheddar cheese. Feed this to annoying family members whose arteries have yet to harden to your liking.
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