Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Waiting Waitress

You'd think working at a restaurant would be a dream come true for a gal like me.

I get to be surrounded by food all day? Sounds good.

I get to see the behind the scenes goings-on from pan to plate? Too neat!

I don't get to make or eat any of said food? Wha?!?!

Now, don't get me wrong - I love my job. I am a pretty darn good waitress if I do say so myself (a table actually gave me a round of applause last week. I was floored. I gave an awkward little bow and then scuttled away). And when people compliment the food I get a little puffed up too - even if I didn't get to make it. Plus,  there's the major perk of taking home all my tips (good or bad) the same night I work. No waiting on a paycheck? I'm game.

But there are downsides too. Obviously not getting to eat the food is one. Thinking about the smells alone is enough to make my mouth water. Having to set down plate after plate and pan after pan for people who may not appreciate the food as much as me...well...it hurts sometimes.

The worst thing though, is that all the time spent at work means a lot of time spent out of my own kitchen. It is a sad thing. I have all these ideas and recipes I want to try but don't always have the time with my schedule. By the time I get home I'm so beat that I usually just put together a quick dinner of leftovers and veggies - tasty, but not necessarily blog worthy. I've got a few double shifts this week so I won't be in the kitchen too much, please bear with me.

The great thing about being away from my ever lovin' oven is that no matter how long I am gone, it will always be there. Ready and waiting.

So glad we had this talk :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

From New Mexico to Maryland


I am so so excited! In just one week's time I will be on the East Coast! (Do people capitalize "coasts" anymore? Yes? No? Well, I'm from the Midwest, that's what we do here.) I am going to visit my friend Megan who I haven't seen since school got out. It is going to be such a great time! We've already been trading links of what we're going to do, where we're going to go, and, of course, where we're going to eat!  I've already found a place that has an all you can eat dessert buffet on Monday nights. I'm flying in on a Monday. Coincidence? I think not!

I firmly intend to catalog all of our stops and give my personal reviews upon my return. In the meantime though, here are some pictures from a trip I took to New Mexico a few months ago with my dad and sister. My sister was there to look at gradschools. I was there to look at tortillas.

While my sister decided to forgo school in NM, I fell in love with the food. The flavors, the textures, the ingredients - so fresh and crisp. I've never been much of a spicy food person - but this trip changed all of that. I now carry around a bottle of hot sauce with me, just in case ;)

On our first day in Albuquerque we went to Old Town and had breakfast at the Church Street Cafe. The restaurant itself was beautiful and is in the oldest home in Albuquerque. I got the carne adovada al horno, a delicious pork roasted in red chile. It came with eggs over easy, potatoes and a homemade tortilla. The pork had heat, but wasn't overly spicy. My favorite thing was to wrap some pork, egg, and a little bit of potato in the tortilla before taking a HUGE bite. So yummy.

On our second day in New Mexico we had breakfast at Sophia's Place as seen on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. 

My sister got a breakfast quesadilla. Meaty and cheesy do not even begin to describe this dish.

I had the breakfast tacos with
eggs, bacon, and shredded cheese.
The coffee there was fantastic and
the bowl sized mug they gave  me
was much appreciated.

I liked having a salad with my breakfast; it made me feel less bad about buying one of their homemade red velvet cakes to eat later that day.

And Dad, ever the go-getter, ordered and ate this entire burrito that was the size of a football. The red salsa that came on the side of his meal was enough to put me off spicy food - but we persevered!

We did more than eat breakfast sure, but, it is fair to say that breakfast was my favorite part of our days in Albuquerque. I am now a convert of homemade tortillas. I found a recipe that I adore and intend to recreate my carne adovada in a few weeks!

A few of the other highlights from our trip included dinner at Monte Carlo Steak House.

A late lunch at the Whole Hog Cafe.   
These guys know what they're doing
with BBQ! They have six different
sauces and I loved all of them, but
couldn't take much of the hottest sauce.
And the portion sizes were crazy big! My sister and I split the ribs and pulled pork which were both some of the best I've ever had. The bark on the pulled pork was too good. 
And lunch at a local drive in that was simply glorious.

We only stayed for three days but it was 72 hours of the best eating I've had in the past year, that is for certain. I firmly intend to get back there one day if only to explore the places I didn't get to check off of my list. 

I cannot wait for next week. I've got a B-more bucket list and can't wait to see what gastronomic adventures Megan and I find ourselves in.

What are some of your favorite vacation eats?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Three Layer Cakes and Perfection

Three layer cakes are the bane of my existence. I don’t know what it is about my oven or pans or sweatpants that make only two-and-a-half of the layers turn out. Ever. 
Today for instance, I tried my hand at a German Chocolate Cake by request of a work friend. The batter came together great (and easily) and it was all fluffy and beautiful and I even separated it evenly among all the pans (a first!). I rotated the cakes halfway through and everything seemed hunky-dory. Until I opened the oven again when the cakes were finished baking. One of the cakes had partially sunk while baking!

So…what to do, what to do? I figured a two layer cake would still suffice for my coworker (he wouldn’t know the difference anyways) so I frosted and decorated it and it is one of the best looking (two layer) cakes I've ever made. But that still left one lopsided layer to deal with. That’s when it hit me – CAKEBALLS! 

I love me some cakeballs, or cakepops, depending on what part of the country you’re from. I imagine this is much like the great soda vs. pop debate that rears its ugly head whenever I meet someone from out east.

Anywho – I took the scraps from my attempt at a cake, crumpled them up all nice and threw in the leftover coconut pecan frosting. After a quick chill and dip in melted dark chocolate (to counteract the intense sweetness from the German Sweet Chocolate) and another trip back into my fridge – voila! I had cakeballs!

That’s when it dawned on me. First, I really like coconut pecan frosting. Second, I wondered if athletic shorts could shrink while you’re wearing them? My elastic waistband definitely got a bit tighter. Hmm…odd (refer to number 1). Third, and probably most importantly, I was able to take an imperfect outcome and turn it into something pretty and tasty! Which made me realize, even if something isn’t perfect it can still be wonderful in its imperfectness. 

I have wanted to start this blog for a long time now, I have even written a few posts (though I haven’t actually gotten around to posting majority of them) but something keeps stopping me from continuing. I have ideas and pictures and thoughts written down. Yet, I keep finding excuses to put it off. I don’t want to be imperfect. I don’t want to misspell something or not be funny. I don’t want to mess up. I don’t want to fail.

I have been waiting for the perfect time to publish a post for weeks now, but I realized there will be no perfect time! I just had to bite the bullet and do it! I made a really delicious treat out of a pile of crumbs today – if I can do that I sure as heck can write on my blog! Enough waiting and panicking and worrying about if it was going to be read or if it was going to be right! And so, I’m doing it (duh, you’re reading it right now) and will keep doing it. Today, tomorrow, next month – it’s happening. I want to write and read and learn and grow – and I hope you’ll do that with me. Who knows what delicious things might come of it.