So I'm running just a wee bit short on the original name front. Sue me. I gotta keep the smoked salmon thing going because it really was the primary ingredient here.
I made breakfast this morning because dad's cell broke and he had to run up to the Verizon store. Due to that fact, Meena had to eat more smoked salmon so we could burn through the remnants. Our little sandwiches featured:
- smoked salmon (obviously)
- whole wheat english muffins
- swiss cheese
- black pepper
We tossed on a slab of cantaloupe and called it a breakfast. Off to the beach for our last full day of fun in the sun!
Lilly's is one of those great places that just makes you feel a little better when you're there. Like Tartine in New York or Lucali in Brooklyn, you just really know life is good when you sit down and place an order.
Lilly's also will do WHATEVER you want. Many places are too pompous to allow such a practice. But they don't care there. They want you to be happy. They want you to like what you're eating. So you get what you want. No matter if it's not on the menu.
I did order off the menu, but most of the family didn't. Here's how it went:
- Alec: tortellini caprese with fresh basil
- Meena: pink sauce with whole wheat fettuccine and shrimp
- Allison: butternut squash ravioli with pink sauce
- Dad: pink sauce with black pepper fettuccine sausage, sun-dried tomato and mushroom
- Mom: spinach ravioli
The food was fantastic. Excellent dining experience (I even got to watch a little football because my seat looked into the bar). I mean, what a perfect vacation dinner, right?
We'd picked up some smoked salmon at the store the other night and hadn't had a chance to get into any of it. Facing a rapid decay rate down here in this humidity and salty air, we figured it'd be best to just break it out and make some appetizers before our light lunch yesterday.
So we did.
I made two types of bites. One had a potato chip base and the other a whole wheat toast. The consensus of opinion seemed to favor the chips. I agreed. At any rate, the first option included:
- wasabi mustard potato chips
- goat cheese
- smoked salmon
And the second was nearly the same ... only on a wheat toast.
Something about the wasabi chip gave the first option a little kick that made it better than the other. Creamy cheese, smoky salmon and just a bit of wasabi bite. Perfect.
Lunch was more from the sandwich stable. Meena and I split a wrap filled with roast beef, cheese, lettuce, mustard and mayo. Couple of carrots and that's what we called lunch.
Dinner last night was in a word, HUGE. We did some shopping duty at Town Centre and after we'd worked up a sufficient appetite, we stopped off at one of the mall's eateries, The Grand Lux Cafe. It's a derivative of the Cheesecake Factory and it shows in nearly every aspect of the operation. From the MASSIVE space to the GIGANTIC proportions and EPIC menu, they seemed focused on size from square one. And they've achieved. Because the place truly is massive in every way.
Even the booth we were assigned proved to be one of the largest I'd ever occupied. It swallowed the five of us.
Anyway, not that any of this is really bad. I'm just trying to set the stage.
Once we'd finally finished reading the lengthy menu, we decided on a few things. We ordered as follows:
- Mom: pasta with balsamic chicken and cherry tomatoes
- Meena: pasta with chicken, sun-dried tomatoes and mushrooms
- Allison: salmon three ways (miso, ginger and something else ...)
- Dad: that massive southwestern salad you're seeing up there
- Alec: pizza bianca with prosciutto and balsamic glaze
It was all good but decidedly WAY too big. We all had leftovers. And lots of them. I don't think my prosciutto was really that. It was just ham, really.
But everything was good and after all that shopping, it was nice to be full and content. On home to hope and pray for a Patriots loss (to no avail ... evil is on quite a tear these days).
The beach was lovely yesterday and the winds that brought big waves and lots of jellyfish subsided and gave us a few hours of glorious sunshine and lovely heat.
After we had our fill, we brushed off the salt and sand and came to the kitchen for a bit more lunch. Nothing spectacular. Just some turkey, ham and roast beef with some swiss, pepper jack and cheddar to go along with our pilfered Panera mustards.
We threw in some carrots and chips for good measure. Excellent additions, both.
Dad is always good to make us tasty little breakfasts when we're in Florida and yesterday was no different. With the working fridge, he had a whole host of lovely ingredients to work with and we wound up with some nice little treats when the plates were served had and the pans removed from flame.
I only took a photo of Meena's, but mine was largely the same. I think mine just had some turkey. But in addition to those lovely strawberries, we had:
- fresh salsa
- english muffin
- black pepper
Delicious. I fully expect to consume bunches more of these before we head out of here.
Florida has many things. Lovely weather. Beaches. The ocean. But delicious independent restaurants seem to be the minority around these parts. Lots of chains are around, though. And more often than not, we hit them up. And one in particular that Meena and I can't get in NYC is the storied P.F. Changs.
It was loud and noisy and I could hardly hear Mom and Dad on the other side of the booth, but once they brought us some chicken lettuce wraps, nobody had much to say anyway!
After that lovely starter, we got down to business with the main course. The table received brown rice and the rest of the orders shook out as follows:
- Mom had some sort of lemon chicken
- Allison had mongolian beef
- Meena had chang's spicy chicken
- Dad and I both had the kung po chicken
It was a ton of food, but as always, pretty darn delicious. I ate my weight in spicy red peppers. Dad parted with his so I could indulge in one of my favorite tastes.
I ended up WAY full. INSANE full. I'm not sure if it's because the portions were bigger than I'm accustomed to navigating or if I just ate too fast because I was so excited to be having it, but it matters not - it was good and we all enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.
We typically keep it strictly sandwich style down here for lunch and yesterday was no different. We were having the fridge replaced (they don't hold up over time when you keep them on for two weeks at a time twice a year!) so everything was still coming out of coolers. No problem. We had turkey pastrami and all the fixings. Dad was smart enough to lift some mustard from Panera and with that, our sandwiches were complete. Add some chips, a nectarine and some of Uncle Donnie's venison jerky and you've got yourself another lunch in paradise.
I wasn't feelin' 100% when dinner time rolled around last night but it was high time I ate and to Panera we went. Again, the lingering illness kept me from snapping shots and stuff, but if you've been to Panera before, you know how it went. Soups, sandwiches and salads. Finally. I could handle food again.
Sorry for the lack of updates friends. We spent the first half of the holiday in Milwaukee and we were treated to all sorts of delicious foods.
Let's do a quick rundown, shall we?
- Emma, Alaina and Mr. Roell share a birthday so the whole family came by for dinner. We got down with everything from meatloaf and Waldorf salad to roasted potatoes and an inviting snowman cake.
- Mr. and Mrs. Roell took Meena and I to the Milwaukee Repertory Theater for one of the three rotating Norman Conquests shows. We showed up a little early and ended up having some sandwiches at the dinner theater next door. The food wasn't spectacular, but given our time crunch, it was really what we needed. Couple chicken sandwiches and we were on our way.
- Sunday night was game night at Brian and Nikki's, but before we braved the snow and cold to reach Pabst Farms, we were treated to Mrs. Roell's beef stroganoff. A Wisconsin favorite. And one of mine as well.
- Christmas Eve is the big night in the Roell house so before we hit midnight mass, the whole family came over for all the favorites: ham, green bean casserole, fruit salad, corn pudding/casserole, mashed potatoes, rolls ... delicious. Heavenly Ham - I've known you all my life ... yet each time we reunite it's just as amazing as the first time.
- With most of the hoopla out of the way, Christmas was 100% relaxation at the Roell house. We had some leftover sandwiches and then headed out for a drive around town. To our surprise, we found the Mason Street Grill open for business and stopped in for quick bite. It's apparently a big day for them, so we ended up at the bar near the kitchen. It was actually a lot of fun to see all the commotion in the line. I had a wonderful burger and a bitter Czech beer. Meena had a lobster roll. Merry Christmas indeed.
- I unfortunately got sick on the flight to Florida and food once we arrived wasn't too appealing. I went straight to sleep and Meena stayed up with my family for some sandwiches and conversation.
I'm pleased to report I'm feeling much better now and will be updating as long as the internet holds out.
I just have to say ... flickr.com is amazing. You can find anything there. I steal from it a lot (sorry, dudes) to make this site work. I'm especially sorry to whoever this guy is in the photo. But if he ever sees this, I hope he understands how much he's helping me to share with the world my culinary adventures.
Last night we went out to the old LGA to catch a flight back to Milwaukee. And because it's become a weird tradition at all of the world's airports, we hit the cheap Chinese joint before we got on the plane.
I don't know how it started. I don't know why. But we always get the cheapest of Chinese before we board a flight. Last night was no different.
Meena had some mix of noodles, orange chicken and beef with onions. I had the bourbon chicken and some spicy chicken joint.
It's salty and not very good when you get right down to it, but we love it. VERY MUCH. And this tradition shows no signs of going away any time soon. It's just what we do. And it's fun.
Stay tuned for more adventures from the greater Milwaukee metropolitan area very soon!
Failure is a harsh title, but it's true. I didn't cook last night. I gave into the mounting pressure at work and simply couldn't come through when the going got tough. Sorry, dudes, but I just had to go with the flow and call in Cube 63 after the day I had. Historically, my business slows to a snail's pace this close the the holiday, but this year has proven very different. We're busier than we've been in months.
Anyway, Dan and Steve came by for a little food, wine and fun with the Wii before we all hit the road for the holidays.
I'd attempt to describe all the sushi that entered our lives last night but it was just too much. From lovely jewel toned bits of tuna to steamy and succulent shrimp shumai, we were treated to the Japanese equivalent of a slam dunk. Or a touchdown. Choose your sport. What do you call it when you win in curling? I don't know, but I'm sure the feeling you get is equal to the feelings we had when we consumed all of Cube 63's amazing creations. Awesome.
I failed in the cooking realm, but maybe I can change that when I get to Wisconsin. I doubt Florida will see much cooking. But Mrs. Roell has a great kitchen. Maybe I'll get to work a little in the great white north.
I had one of those sinister, unnecessarily long nights at the office last night so Meena was kind enough to put in a call to the boys and girls at Zaytoons while I was making my subterranean transit home.
If I'm being honest, this whole non cooking thing is driving me nuts. I know I'm going to get minimal time behind the burners when the holiday ramps into full gear so I need to act now. I need to enjoy this new knife and chop a few onions before we hop back on a plane Thursday night! Basically what I'm say is this: I need to cook tonight.
Anyway, I didn't last night and here's a breakdown of our orders, Alec first:
- shish kebab platter with hummus
- shawarma sandwich with hummus
There's hardly anything I can say about Zaytoons delivery that hasn't already been said. It's a mazing. The kebabs are perfect. The shawarma is succulent. The hummus nutty, rich and creamy all at the same time. Other than some seriously under ripe tomato in the salad, not on thing could have been better.
With any luck, we'll get a little home cookin' in here by tomorrow morning. Fingers crossed.
Couple things to mention here. First and foremost, Meena got a new job! She's still a nasty, but she'll be a few floors up at Glamour from now on. Pretty awesome, Meena. Pretty awesome indeed.
Second, she had a SELF department dinner tonight so I was all on my own for feeding time. I was able to resist the temptation to take my leftover skirt steak for lunch tonight because I anticipated not wanting to really get down with an elaborate dinner.
So I just threw together a quick sandwich. Nothing fancy, just leftovers:
- skirt steak
- whole grain flat bread
I wasn't expecting much, but that combination of steak and some garlic heavy cilantro paste? Yeesh, man. That's some good stuff. And the cheese just made it even more rich and delicious. I'm sure it was bad for me, but you know what they say ... live a little, right?
Yesterday was cold. It was one of those days when I didn't even want to go outside. Not even for a minute. Meena had the right idea and slept in until very late. I don't possess that ability so I spent most of the morning working on some homework, reading cookbooks and writing some thank you notes.
But once the hunger pangs kicked in and I realized I had a brand new chef's knife I wanted to use, I figured if I bundled up in enough down and denim, I'd probably be OK to hit the butcher and Pacific Green.
It was still pretty miserable, but I made it out long enough to find some skirt steak and a few other supplies. Once everything was chopped and prepped, the steak sandwiches went a little like this:
- skirt steak
- whole grain flat bread
- chimichurri (cilantro, garlic, green onion, olive oil and salt)
I forgot the vinegar. I'm sorry about that. I'm sure it would have made the condiment better, but oh well. Next time.
I also threw together some nice big oven fries. Nothing elaborate:
- idaho potatoes
- dried basil
I served the fries with ketchup and a dijon mustard aoli. Not bad. I think Meena really enjoyed everything. I think we both finished up totally fat and totally full.
Saturday was James and D's highly anticipated holiday party. They'd distributed the e-vite weeks ago and honestly, I'd really been looking forward to the evening since they sent that sucker around.
I was excited for a couple reasons and I'll list them for you right now:
1. Seeing all of our friends and James and D's friends in the same place at the same time
2. D's food
Like most of the times we've been to their house for dinner and discussion, I don't really remember what went into all these lovely dishes you're seeing up there. But I'll list a quick overview of them for you:
- orzo and dill salad
- vegan bruschetta with garlic and chickpeas
- vegan stuffed mushrooms
- pigs ON a blanket
- cold asian noodle salad with peanuts
- sausage bread
- curried scallop cakes
- pumpkin bread pudding
Everything was outstanding. I loved everything I sunk my teeth into but I do remember the bruschetta, scallop cakes and bread pudding totally blowing me away. But like I said, it was all good and I can't thank James and D enough for having us over such a wonderful time.
I know I always say this, but man, it was a long week. We had lots of stuff to do and it was cold and just ... long. But fortunately we live right around the corner from one of the neighborhood's best restaurants and all we needed to do run half a block to get the goodness.
We did four wonderful little plates:
- roasted beet salad with goat cheese and pine nuts
- veal and porcini meatballs
- sausage and broccoli rabe panini
- penne pasta with arrabiata sauce
Everything was wonderful. Meena thinks that beets taste like earth so she didn't help much with that one. But I loved it.
We finished the whole thing off with a banana and nutella panini.
It was probably too much food (even though they're all tiny plates) but it was just so so so so so good.
Last night was the Wenner Media holiday party. I had planned to eat some of the massive spread we had ordered but after working the first couple hours, I sorta missed the food and went straight to the drink.
After taking in some karaoke and having quite a few Irish whiskeys, I retired back to Brooklyn. I was hungry, but honestly, after all that whiskey, I didn't really care!
Meena had her holiday part last night so I waited until she got back to call in some Joya. It was another cold night and cooking just wasn't in the cards. I wanted warm, delicious food and some Project Runway. Is that too much to ask? I didn't think so.
We did things a little differently last night. Meena had:
- beef pad thai
- moo kratiam
It was delicious in both cases. I'm not sure I'd order mine again just because it wasn't spicy enough. But honestly, it was good. And Meena's, despite the addition of beef instead of chicken, also rad.
Tonight's my office holiday party so dinner won't be very cohesive. I'll try to document, though!
I'm not sure what brought on the quesadilla idea last night but when I got to the grocery, it just felt right. It was a cold night. Why not some warm tex-mex?
The real struggle was finding some sort of green vegetable that worked with the theme. I was at a loss. I realize it's going to sound horribly unsophisticated, but seriously ... my plate at EVERY Mexican joint has like ... beans. And rice. I couldn't think of anything else. So I went with swiss chard and corn. That'll work, right?
So the veggies went like this:
- swiss chard
- cajun spice
- worcestershire sauce
The worcestershire was a little strong. I would pull back on that a little next time. Probably just a touch of olive oil, but I was out last night.
The main course went like this:
- smoked mozzarella
- poblano pepper
- roasted red pepper
- flour tortilla
- sour cream
Not bad. I used those low carb tortillas because it's all they had at the store. They're not as good. Sadly. They're sticky and they just don't want to get a crispy as the normal ones. But they were fine and the quesadillas were fine. It ended up being a ton of food and I will most definitely have them for lunch today.
I thought dinner might be in jeopardy because of my late arrival last night but Meena had been kind enough to hit the butcher for us earlier in the evening. So all was well with the world when I rolled up on some fresh ground lamb.
It's sad, but we were both blown away when she told me that rather than some random ground meat sitting in a deli case, when she ordered, they grabbed a hunk of meat and ground it fresh. I mean ... that's impressive, right? We thought so. That's bad right? It should always be that way! But it's not. So .. we thought it was cool. Whatever.
Anyway, while I was cooking, Meena warmed up some little shrimp tarts she picked up at the butcher. They were kinda nice! And I love little bites when I'm cooking. Glass of wine and a snackie? That's livin'.
The Moroccan spiced meatballs went like this:
- dried cranberries
- red onion
- red pepper flakes
I also included a yogurt sauce:
- plain yogurt
Meena whipped up some boxed rice to go along with everything and we had a meal. I didn't remember to throw the cinnamon in the meatballs, but I still think they were fine. We both liked them. Had two helpings actually. I guess that means success, right? Or just insatiable hunger. One of the two.
Anyway, it was a nice meal. I'll make these again.
Yesterday was my birthday and it was awesome.
We started out the day in Milwaukee with some lovely lounging on couches at the Roell home while the Packer game played. We called in some delivery pizza and yeah - perfect Sunday birthday afternoon.
Later on, with the whole realization that we had to fly back home to NY becoming more and more clear, we set out for the airport and hoped and prayed for a New England defeat as we boarded the plane.
Once we got off, we realized it did not happen. But we made it to NY safe and sound and after a quick cab back to Cobble Hill, we had the Colts game on and the Cube 63 folks on their way here with some Japanese.
- shrimp shumai
- volcano roll
- spicy tuna roll
- miso soup
- sushi plate (8 pieces + california roll)
Per usual, the food was awesome. Perfect birthday meal to accompany a total Colts blowout. They must have known it was my birthday, right?
Polish off the whole thing with a couple rounds of Wii Tennis and you've got yourself a lovely birthday weekend.