Macarons from Flavor Cupcakery (Baltimore, MD)

Let me just begin this post with the most important message: a macaroon is a nasty, coconutty lump of cookie that no one should ever eat; a macaron is a light, slightly chewy French pastry that everyone should have the joy of experiencing at least once in their lives. I have very strong opinions on dessert, particularly French ones because I love them so much. Loving them is a double-edged sword though; it’s fantastic to find a truly amazing treat that can spark your interest in sweets, but once you have a great dessert, attempts that don’t live up to their full potential are more than disappointing.

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With this in mind, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Flavor Cupcakery‘s macarons. Their cupcakes have been generally satisfying whenever I’ve tried them, but being an amazing cupcake shop and producing phenomenal macarons are not two things that necessarily benefit one another. However, after several stops into their Cockeysville location, I couldn’t resist the candy-colored confectionery rounds anymore.

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I never do anything halfway though, so instead of just trying one macaron to see what I thought, I picked out six. I went with flavors that ranged from fruity to decadent, and they all offered me something a little different when satisfying my sweet tooth.

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Pistachio, the first flavor I tried, was light with the perfect amount of chewiness to it. With the touch of real nuts on top, this one had an obvious pistachio flavor without being overpowering. The fluffy, whipped cream center made this the ideal treat for a hot, muggy summer day. As a Persian, I grew up on pistachios, and these brought me right back to nights spent filling plates with empty shells as I reveled in the crunch of a nice pistachio.

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The Chocolate Chocolate macaron on the other hand was much heavier and denser than the subtle beauty that came before it. Instead of having cream on the inside, the two chocolate cookies encased a brownie-like center. It was good, but did not retain any of the delicacy I wanted. Out of all of the flavors I tried, this was the first one I would easily pass on and give up without lamenting the loss.

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After these two very different takes on the macaron, I took a turn for the fruitier and tried the Raspberry. This one had a power behind it with the same lightness of the pistachio and a surprise jelly filling. I could eat this over and over again and still not have enough. It epitomized everything I desire from my macarons: layered flavors that still retain their simplicity and structure without being fussy.

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Vanilla was another traditional macaron flavor that I decided to pick up. It had more chewiness to it than the raspberry, but the flavors were right there. The mildest of the treats I tried, this was another great one for summer as it was enough to curb a craving without being too heavy. It would be a nice choice for anyone who enjoys sweets without having too much loyalty to the sugar gods out there.

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Even though the chocolate chocolate wasn’t what I wanted from a macaron, the Mint Chocolate flavor that I tried was fantastic. I know many people have an aversion to minty chocolate due to memories of toothpaste it can dredge up, but it was not over-the-top at all. The cookies had a depth to them that would satisfy people that enjoy rich, darker chocolates, while the mint cream was subdued enough to just highlight the other elements of this French goodie. I would quickly pick this one up again whenever I stop in to Flavor.

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The last of these surprisingly satisfying treats that I chose was the Cookie Dough. Although ice cream flavors and macarons do not automatically go together in my head, this was prepared was the same thoughtfulness as the others. Flavor did not compromise the integrity of the traditional macaron when it came up with this combo. Instead of including a delicate cream, a creamy cookie dough filling was sandwiched in the middle of this dessert. It might not be a flavor that you could find all over France, but I was more than happy.

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In spite of my initial hesitancy in trying macarons at a cupcake shop, I am definitely ‘Team Flavor’ now. For the most part, these treats were great odes to the macarons of France. The texture and flavor were both there, and I would enthusiastically pick these up anytime I am in the area. Roughly smaller than a silver dollar and coming in a number of flavors, there are more than enough options for people no matter where they fall on the sweets spectrum. If you’re in Maryland, especially around Baltimore, Flavor is worth a stop for both their cupcakes and their macarons, so make sure you add it to your must-eat list and let me know what you think!

Flavor Cupcakery on Urbanspoon

Posted in Baltimore, Chocolate, Dessert, Food, Maryland, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Wines with Club W

My recent entry for the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge covered the first time I really experienced wine and how enthused that experience left me for this rich world. However, as an unemployed ex-college student, my price point and palate do not always meet up in a place which keeps happy. With this in mind and a promo code in hand, I decided to try a month of Club W, an online service that tries to figure out the wines that suit you and subsequently sends three or more right to your doorstep.

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After taking a quick quiz which included questions on my preference for coffee and salt, Club W presented me with three choices of wine that I might like: two reds and a white. In addition to these three selections, there were a number of other wine suggestions that started at thirteen dollars and moved upwards from there. Even though I wanted to try this service out, I was a little hesitant to go through with my purchase, especially when I saw a white blend recommended. Personally, I’ve tried several white blends before and they’ve all just tasted marginally better than the flavorless Pinot Grigios that I have come across. Since I was getting a deal on this first month, I decided to just go through with it and order three wines to check out. In my mind, it could easily turn out to be a train wreck, but what was the fun of wine without trying new things?

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A few days after placing my order, a black and magenta box arrived on my doorstep. If I didn’t think this was a gimmick skewed towards the women who enjoy cuddly animals on their wine, I certainly thought so now. Although wine may be gender neutral, the company itself  seems to have a bit of a slant towards women and the ideas people have about women and wine. While I do have a billion opinions on marketing, wine, and women, that isn’t the purpose of this post today, so I’ll just leave my observation at that and move on.

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The first wine I popped open was the 2013 Grand Vidure Carmenere. The wine wasn’t giving me anything after my initial sip, so I gave it some time to open up and mellow out. After letting it sit for a bit, I poured myself a glass and sat back to dull the pain of the Orioles game my family had on. Unfortunately, this dark cherry colored wine wasn’t quite what I was hoping for when I brought it up from the basement. I tried my first Carmenere when I was in London, and it was such a fantastic wine to pair with a rare grilled steak as it had a lot of spiciness and bell pepper flavor to it. However, this one was much milder than the others I’ve tried and felt a bit dull in comparison.

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There were more red berry notes than pepper ones and it was a bit smoother than I was expecting, but none of these things made it stand out. Coming back to this wine on day two was extremely helpful, though it still wasn’t anywhere near stellar. The peppery notes, particularly those of pimento and jalapeno, were more pronounced on the second day. Coffee grinds also came through strongly with each sniff and sip. There was additionally a tobacco flavor towards the end each mouthful which had been essentially nonexistent when I first popped the cork. This wine certainly was more enticing after it had a while to sit around and develop its flavors for a bit; however, I like my Chileans exciting and ‘in-my-face,’ so it isn’t a bottle I would really bother to pick up again.

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Since the Carmenere was not a champion for Club W, I was even more hesitant to pop open my white blend. However, on a rainy day that was filled with Netflix and would end in a fishy dinner, I decided to pry this cork out of the 2012 So This Happened… White Blend and enjoy. This blend of Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Viognier, and Chenin Blanc came with a Club W information card that featured a recipe that might work well with the wine. I didn’t bother doing this the night I opened the wine, but I appreciated the extra effort Club W took and only wondered why these little cards didn’t come with all three wines.

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Once I actually got around to shoving my nose into my glass, it gave off light, floral aromas that reminded me of lily-of-the-valley, but had fruitier flavors of white peach and apple when I tasted it. With a pale yellow, translucent color, this wine had a fantastic light acidity. Although I usually think that the more acidic wines are the best, this milder selection was a surprisingly good choice. Needless to say, the acid in this wine, though it wasn’t heavy handed, didn’t really pair well with the citrusy fish I was having for dinner. It was much better suited for either drinking on its own or pairing with a great charcuterie board. While this might not be amazing enough to impress wine snobs, I’d imagine it’d be a pretty big crowd-pleaser at a holiday party or get-together. My admittedly low expectations of this wine were more than surpassed and it was my favorite of the three I was sent by far. I didn’t think I’d come out of this experience saying I appreciated a white blend, but this wine wasn’t boring and renewed my interest in exploring more California whites.

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The last wine that I tried was a 2013 Alcalá Monastrell, a jammy Spanish wine from the beach town of Alicante. Given my experience with Spanish wine, this bottle pretty much lived up to everything I’ve come to count on from their reds. With a clear ruby color, a lot of berry flavor came through at the beginning with more earthiness and bitterness towards the end of each sip. Despite a dustiness highlighted within this wine, it was another that would please many. It’s a good one to pour on a summer night during a casual BBQ because it’s not fussy. This was definitely more appealing than the Grand Vidure I initially checked out from Club W and pleased way more than I was expecting; however, it wasn’t that memorable nor did it sway me enough to continue with the service.

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I think Club W is a good service; it just isn’t the service for me. It’s efficient and while that may work for the masses out there who want to drink wine with ease in front of the next episode of Real Housewives, it’s not the relationship I want with my wine or its winemakers. At a minimum of forty-six dollars a month, I would much rather go to my local store and pick out new wines myself. It’s what I find exciting and fun, so it’s not something I’m really willing to give up. I have the time to go searching for great, affordable things, but I understand that others don’t. Therefore, while I won’t be continuing with Club W, I can see the value of a site like this to most people. It’s a service that delivers decent wines at an affordable price and I have more than a few twenty-something friends who would love this; so, think over what I’ve said and if Club W is something you might adore, try a month to figure out your own opinions on this online club!

Posted in Wine | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Memorable Mondays: Becoming Johnny Appleseed

Several months ago, I posted an article entitled “Memorable Mondays: Push Pops.” It was just a quick, fun post about my friend’s desire for push pops and the memories of my childhood that came with that. Well, now that we’re entering a new season, I’m bringing Memorable Mondays to stay. They’ll be posted every second Monday of the month and they’ll all strive to mesh the greatness of food with a dash or two of nostalgia.

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To really kick these posts off, I’m going to start with a pastime that I adore: apple picking. Despite my desire to avoid all things pumpkin spice, I do truly enjoy fall and most of the things that come with it, particularly apples. As a kid, my family never actually took me picking, but during the season we would get dizzily lost in hay mazes as we gulped down crisp, sugary apple cider. While I still enjoy doing these things and can never wait for the cool air that turns everyone’s cheeks rosy, apple picking was one thing I absolutely still needed to do, mostly because I was convinced it would round out the adventure of autumn.

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Since I was so determined to check off all of the important fall experiences with this fruity activity, I wrangled my few Baltimore friends together to come with me to the nearby Weber’s Farm and search through small trees for even smaller apples. One of my friends was especially enthusiastic to do this since she had just started dating an Irish guy and hoped to do some American activities with him. Apple picking might not have been as messy as the farming he was used to, but he was still excited to feel like Johnny Appleseed for a day and partake in some cliche, East Coast fun.

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So, we loaded into a car on one of those mornings that is warm but promises the sharp edge of autumn. The thoughts of childhoods spent crunching into apples as the sweet and sticky juice ran down our forearms ran through all of our minds as we set out on our food journey. By the time we pulled into the lot, we were excited to see everyone meandering through the trees with their bursting bags and only hoped there would be enough left to get our own hands on.

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We ended up walking through an orchard filled with Pink Ladies, a deliciously mouth-puckering apple that shone in the morning light. As we picked our way around, it was clear that we were some of the last people that would be able to grab these beauties, so we all made sure to place as many in our bags as possible. With heavy bags, we waded through until the trees were sparse and we were happy. It was a simple, quick morning, but one that I won’t forget for a while, especially as I sit here digging my teeth in the deep pink side of a tart apple that I took from the earth myself.

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Even though this was my first apple picking experience, I can’t imagine it will be my last. It was fun, filling, and most importantly, cheaper than buying apples in a market or grocery store. The only thing I regret about this adventure was that it didn’t happen sooner. If you haven’t been apple picking before, I wholeheartedly recommend it, and if you have, then I hope it’s something you make the time to do with your friends and family every year. It’s bound to cement a memory in a child’s brain that will lead to years and years of people fondly taking the next generation on this rite of passage. It’s not only a way to get in touch with the season, but it is also a way to teach your family what natural fruit looks and tastes like.

This was such a positive experience and I was able to bring home so many fantastic apples that these goodies will be used in my first ever recipe on the blog. If you’re looking for some new apple recipes then keep up with what I’ll be doing because there will be some exciting expansions coming to this little famished page!

Posted in Baltimore, Farm-to-Table, Food, Maryland, Memorable Monday, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Do as the Romans Do (#MWWC12)

Below is my entry for this month’s Monthly Wine Writing Challenge. As you can probably guess from context clues, these shindigs happen monthly, so keep an eye out for more of these and participate if you are looking for some wine writing inspiration. This month’s theme is “local.” As a special treat, this entry has photos, but be warned: I was an even worse photographer in Rome than I am now. 

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After months of sending out scholarship applications, reading over program manuals, and nervously waiting for my visa to be approved, I finally stepped off of an U.S. Airways flight in Rome. For the next three and a half months, I was going to live like a Roman and seamlessly blend in with the chic Europeans as they sipped red wine and nibbled on cornetti. At the time, I didn’t realize that I was living in la-la land, but I was quickly brought back down to earth when I was shoved in the back of a van with five other people who were all sweating through every pore.

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Balancing on the thighs of people I just met as we zipped down the highway in ninety degree weather wasn’t exactly glamorous, but I didn’t truly realize that Rome would be completely different than I was expecting until I saw the palm trees. In all my Googling, not one page mentioned there would be palm trees littering Rome and it was completely jarring. These trees were meant for Florida and cabanas, not for a city that was supposedly eternal. Do they sound eternal to you? They sure as heck do not pop up in my mind next to the Roman Forum and Villa d’Este.

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Even though the palm trees threw me off, there were a number of other things of which I was certain. One thing I was completely sure about was that Romans did not wear sneakers. This was one rule I was more than happy to uphold as I prided myself on a style that included cute skirts, adorable oxfords, and nothing that could be mistaken for running gear. However, after a week of blisters and a plethora of Romans walking around in rainbow-colored sneakers, I learned that this was one other thing my reading had not prepared me for. Sure, there were beautiful, well-dressed Italians walking around, but there were also ones who looked comfortable in graphic t-shirts that proudly displayed nonsensical, misspelled English words like “Fashion, Cat, Book.” This was one part of being a local that I wanted no part of.

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While there were a plethora of moments where it was clear I was an outsider, some of the highlights within those first few weeks were the maid seeing me naked, a 45-minute midnight walk home from Castel Sant’Angelo, and vomiting during a 13-mile trek around the Aurelian Walls. I clearly knew nothing about being a local, but as I began to explore this city that was new to me, I still had high hopes of reaching the Holy Grail that was mistaken for one by the time I left…even if I did refuse to buy that “Fashion, Cat, Book” shirt.

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Though my Roman adventures were a bit bumpy to begin with, I finally hit my groove around the time when the school advertised a wine tasting class. I signed up before it was even stapled to the bulletin board because I’d be damned if I missed out on the only thing of which I was still confident: Italians loving wine. If it suddenly turned out that Italy was part of Africa, Ancient Rome never existed, and Roman soccer games were a safe experience, I would still hold onto my belief that Romans and wine go together like Americans and pumpkin spice lattes. So, on a warm September night, my roommates and I excitedly crossed the Tiber to attend this wine tasting class.

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As we walked into the room, we were handed a complimentary wine glass to take home and then were allowed to choose our seats. I shot right up to the front row while most of the other people milled around or sat further away from the gorgeous sommelier. With a PowerPoint presentation behind her and a clicker in hand, I’d imagine most of the students who chose to sit in the back were having flashbacks to daunting Physics classes that still give them nightmares. Even the people surrounding me seemed surprised when this presentation began because when they signed up for wine tasting, they were expecting to down some glasses of wine, not actually learn about wine. By the time the background on wine, alcohol content, and varietals hit the hour mark, the buzz around me was filled with a mixture of boredom and impatience, but I was enthralled.

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When the presentation began to wind down, my hand shot up in the air before the refined sommelier could even finish her statement. Like most of my experience in the city, I was unprepared for what happened next. Gianni, the Student Activities Coordinator and all around cool dude, shoved a microphone into my face so everyone could hear my question. A tad nervously, I asked “I know you said Champagne can only be produced in Champagne, but is there a great difference between this type of sparkling wine and others?” She graciously answered my question since I was a novice to wine at this point before asking if there were any other questions. There was a silent beat where I could tell the students around me breathed out in relief at finally having the opportunity to try the wine, and then I raised my hand again. And again. I just wanted to know it all, and I wouldn’t be satisfied until all my pressing questions were out there for this somm to answer.

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Eventually, my questions let up and we finally began trying the wine. Since we were in Italy, we obviously began with a Prosecco. From there we moved onto a Sauvignon Blanc and The Red. This latter wine doesn’t need a name besides The Red because it was the one that really mattered that night. It sparked my future love for bold wines; it was spicy, and exciting, and essentially everything that I was hoping Rome would be. To this day, it remains the most memorable taste of wine I’ve ever had. Whether that’s because it truly opened my eyes up to how great wine could be or because I was beginning to feel like a little more at home in Rome, I’m not sure, but it was probably some combination of the two.

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I didn’t know at that point if I’d ever really live like a local, but I did realize that my time in Rome would be an adventure. I may not have wanted to hang around students who couldn’t wait to spend eight euros on watered down mojitos, but all that meant was that I would have to work harder from then on to find the experience I was looking for. That one sip of wine, as ridiculous as this may sound, really woke me up and showed me that I should appreciate the little moments; that was what it meant to be Roman, and that was what I needed to do to truly feel like a local.

Posted in Event, Italian, Italy, Rome, Wine | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

Dinner at 14 Global (Bethany Beach, DE)

Happy October! Even though the leaves are changing, the apple crisps are being produced in droves, and the pumpkin spice craze has reached a fervor that makes me wish pumpkins were extinct, this post covers a meal I had over the summer. While I promised Fall posts when I discussed my meal at Mother’s Ruin, I was a little bit of a liar since I had one more beach meal waiting in the wings. Before we can finally move into the Fall, I wanted to share my thoughts on 14 Global, a tiny spot located right in the heart of Bethany Beach.

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This restaurant focuses on the flavors of the world and really takes the best elements of each type of cuisine to create cohesive, enjoyable plates. Before I get into the food aspect of the meal though, I have to start with the real stars of the evening: the people sitting outside with us. This older group of four included a woman whose dress was halfway unzipped, a boozed up wife, and a man who kept making a slew of unfunny jokes that touched on everything from his wife to how drunk he was. The waiter was pretty uncomfortable, but I found it hilarious, especially when they had such a hard time getting out of the roped-off outdoor dining area we were all sitting in.

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Though these diners were real champions, I was still concerned about the food we would be having. Since this was one of the last locations that we checked out this season, I was craving some fantastic summery food and drink. To begin with, I ordered the Global Smash while my mom went for the Red Sangria. Both of these cocktails were out of this world and I’m sure my words will do them no justice. My cocktail overflowed with some of the best ingredients, including muddled basil, blueberry puree, blue vodka, Saint Germain, agave nectar, and honeydew-cucumber infused rum. It was full of flavor and incredibly vibrant on the tongue. Instead of all the ingredients getting lost in the drink, the all played off of each other and made a memorable cocktail. The sangria was a bit more appropriate for autumn with a fruity Malbec as the base and loads of cinnamon spice. I am passionate about the world of drink in general, whether that be a big, bold wine or a complex cocktail, and I can assuredly say that these were some of the best cocktails I’ve ever had the pleasure of trying.

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As always, there were a few appetizers that caught our eye. The one we ended up splitting was the Cheese & Charcuterie Board that came with three meats, three cheeses, and a number of flavorful accompaniments. All of the cured meats and cheeses had great flavor to them and each highlighted a number of different flavors, such a nuttiness and creaminess. However, we were only served two meats instead of three, and when the board was placed in front of us, nothing was explained. The blue cheese was obviously easy to pick out, but everything else on the plate was a confusing jumble. To make it all a bit worse, the waiter didn’t come back until we were finished, so there was no way to figure out what was what. It was a bit frustrating, but it is something that could easily be fixed with some better training of the staff.

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We’re never just happy with one appetizer, though, so my mom and I picked out two more small plates to satisfy our need to try it all. I went for the Global Soup Trio which provided a sampling of all three of the soups offered at this restaurant. By far, my favorite of the three was the Wild Boar Chorizo & Sweet Corn Chowder. It had some great smokiness and spiciness from the chorizo and jalapeno, but it was balanced by the sweetness of the corn. This creamier soup might not be what most people would want in August, but it was good enough that I didn’t really care what time of year it was. As far as the other soups go, the Chilled Honeydew-Cucumber & Avocado Soup was pleasing and had a nice tartness to it, but wasn’t quite as memorable as the first while the Sweet Potato & Lump Crab Bisque was incredibly bland and was served cold. If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t waste my time with the latter two and would just go straight for a full-sized serving of that powerful chorizo chowder that impressed me with my first bite.

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The final appetizer we ordered was the Global Street Corn because I come from a long line of corn-lovers. Sprinkled with a healthy dosage of cojita cheese, this street corn was just as good as others that I’ve tried. There wasn’t anything too fancy about this corn, but since it had such simple yet bold flavors, it was one that I’d imagine satisfies consistently. Out of all of the appetizers we tried, this was my favorite and I’d definitely recommend it to others.

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After the appetizers, which were good though not perfect, we ordered our dinners and waited to see if the entrees would better the rest of the meal. I unwittingly participated in Meatless Mondays that evening when I ordered the Roasted Eggplant. This colorful dish came with sweet corn, tomato confit, shaved asparagus, and patty pan squash. All of these veggies were at the peak of their greatness to create a plate that pleased through flavor and texture. With just a bit of cracked bulgar wheat, herbs, and a buttermilk-cilantro sauce, this was a light, layered entree with enough in it to keep it interesting. I was absolutely blown away with every bite, and while I never thought these words would come in reference to a meatless dish, it was one of the best meals I’ve had all year. It was the one dish that I had no complaints about and since it left me so satisfied, I just wished every other element of the meal had been as thoughtfully prepared.

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Despite my desire to constantly try new things and discover exciting ingredients, my mom is a bit more predictable than I am. Like most of her meals throughout the summer, she went for a Grilled Caesar Salad and Filet. As you should probably know by now, romaine is all but toxic to me, so I stayed away from that. Nevertheless, the filet was pretty in pink and was something I wouldn’t mind trying without the lumps of croutons and creamy dressing. It wasn’t the type of entree I would bother ordering, but if salads topped with a protein are your thing, you’d probably enjoy this choice.

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Besides a few missteps and some disappointments, I was generally pleased with my meal at 14 Global. The quality is there, it just needs an extra push in the right direction. The owner and chefs understand what food works well together and seem willing to try fun things, so if they could just perk up the waitstaff and refine some of the problems that I mentioned above, I think this restaurant could be a solid choice for downtown Bethany diners. With their desire to push boundaries, I hope 14 Global will stick around, and I can’t wait to stop by again next season to see what new things this little spot is putting out.

14 Global on Urbanspoon

Posted in Beach, Cocktails, Dessert, Food, Restaurant, Steak, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Brunch at Mother’s Ruin (New York City, NY)

As some of you probably gleaned from my Momofuku post, I recently spent some time in New York City visiting my friend Rachel who works up there. She’s the only friend I can think of that also graduated in 2014 and has a full-time job, so since she’s become a “real” person, I had to visit her on a weekend. This only meant one thing in my mind: brunch. Besides the big names in food, I don’t know a ton about the New York food scene, but through some Googling and asking around, we ended up deciding to try a place called Mother’s Ruin. This low-key location that seemed to bring in the New Yorkers who dressed like hipsters that still wanted the finer things in life, had two tables for outside seating of which we quickly took advantage. It wasn’t the best view in the world, but it was nice to enjoy the weather and people watch.

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In the ideal weather that happens as summer morphs into autumn, I sipped on a chilled 2010 Garnacha from Katas, Spain and looked over the menu. The Tri Tip Hash immediately caught my eye since it seamlessly blended breakfast and lunch together with steak and eggs. The Worcestershire-marinated steak, poached eggs, and red skin potatoes came out in a warm skillet that was begging me to dive in. As I broke open the eggs, the runny yolk oozed out to coat everything in its rich path, only making me more excited to take my first bite. Luckily, it didn’t disappoint and the intense impact of the steak from the Worcestershire sauce paired well with the creaminess of the egg and the earthiness of the potatoes. A few pieces of my steak were just edging on the tough side, but for the most part I was pleased. Like my other experiences in the city, the waitress was nice, but did not hover too much, which is something I don’t mind, though it does make the experience a bit impersonal. By the time we paid our check, Rachel and I had both satiated our hunger and were gearing up to shop a bit. It wasn’t the best meal I’ve ever had, but it was certainly one I wouldn’t mind experiencing again, and one that I would recommend to anyone in the area. I am planning another trip up to New York, though, so if you have any recommendations, I would definitely appreciate it! Until then, I’ll be done with my New York posts and moving back in to Philly and Baltimore ones, which are two areas I’ve neglected a bit this summer.

Mother's Ruin on Urbanspoon

Posted in Food, New York, New York City, Restaurant, Steak, Wine | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Dinner at Ropewalk (Fenwick Island, DE)

It’s taken me forever to get this post out because I have been diligently working on my first article for Superior Spider-Talk, a website I’m newly contributing to. While I don’t imagine there are tons of comic or Spider-Man fans hitting up this food blog, if you are a fan, feel free to check it out! My first article just went live and it’s all about Black Cat.

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Though I am a huge comic book gal, one of the other most exciting things for me is reading new menus and trying new places. As I’ve mentioned about a billion times in the past two months, there has been a lot of great restaurant growth around the Maryland and Delaware beaches over the last few years. One restaurant that I had heard good things about and decided to check out this past season was Ropewalk, a seafood focused location with a particular emphasis on oysters.

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I was basically on board with the idea of checking the place out as soon as I heard the word ‘oyster.’ Frankly, I don’t really buy into this whole ‘r’ rule with them. There admittedly are some oysters you shouldn’t touch in the summer because of how warm the waters are, but there are a number that are fine to eat in July. Nothing is magically going to change between August 31st and September 1st to make them tastier or healthier. Sadly, there is no Oyster Fairy that comes by when the ‘r’ months show up to gift you the best oysters mankind has ever encountered. Sure, the winter is when you’ll find the biggest and best selection, but don’t let the Oyster Purists keep you down.

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As far as my palate goes, I tend to really enjoy briny oysters that taste of the ocean, and some of my favorites that night were the Hollywood’s from Maryland and the Victories. Despite my love of big, in-your-face flavors, I’m not one to laden a raw oyster with cocktail sauce, extra horseradish, or a number of other things that just mask the intensity of my favorite ocean brethren. With a little bit of the accompanying mignonette, these oysters really shone, and they didn’t need anything else to please me.

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Of course, no one’s ever been full from slurping on some half shells, so we did have to order some other food for the evening. While I knocked back elegantly sipped a yummy Kir Royale made with Cupcake Prosecco, my family nibbled on the Bread. These rolls definitely weren’t worth the space they took up on the table and reminded me quite a bit of the lifeless rolls plopped onto school lunches with some generic butter.

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Even worse for me were the Bada Bing Shrimp that we actually paid money for. Tossed in a sweet Thai chili sauce, these shrimp were surprisingly bland and forgettable. My mom and sister enjoyed it, though Roya’s boyfriend was on my side and didn’t eat much more than one shrimp either. After the appetizers, we were really split in our opinions of the place, but still had our entrees to come and sway us in either a positive or negative way.

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Two of us ordered the Nathan Hale Oyster Burger, which sandwiched some of my favorite things between a burger bun. This burger came out topped with bacon, a choice of cheese, chipotle horseradish aioli, tomatoes, and fried oysters. I went with a blue cheese for my meal, and it was certainly the right decision. The powerful, pungent blue added a creaminess to the burger and enhanced everything else on it as well. This perfectly medium-rare meat was exactly what I was hoping for, and the aioli worked well both accompanying the meat and as a dipping sauce for the fries. My only complaint about the plate was that the oysters could have been a bit crispier since their flavor was really lost among everything else. This definitely bumped my view of Ropewalk up a bit more positively, and made me consider coming back next season.

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On the same beef kick that I was on, my sister ordered the Lou Borne NY Strip and my mom went for the Patrick Henry Salad. The salad might not seem like a meaty choice to begin with, but it came with sliced steak, a crab cake, red onion, and tomato, and definitely was not meant for anyone who orders a salad to seem demure. Both the NY strip and the filet on the salad came out cooked to perfection and my sister and mom were both impressed with their choices. I will give the usual warning, though, that my sister still enjoys Chef Boyardee and my mom pretty much raves about every meal we have, so don’t overly trust their food opinions. Given my own highs and lows throughout the evening, I would need to try both meals before I give them my full stamp of approval.

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We ended the evening with some Funnel Fries because they are one of the only desserts we can all agree on. The fries themselves were good and tasted similar to the ones you can find on the boardwalk. However, the biggest disappointment was the cold chocolate syrup served on the side that did absolutely nothing to enhance the dessert. It’s one treat I would order again because it wasn’t awful, but I also wouldn’t mind just going out for a scoop of ice cream after ending a meal here instead.

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Overall, it was an okay dinner, but if you just want to sit at a bar and knock back a dozen oysters, then Ropewalk is a good choice to make. With a sandlot outside for kids to play in, a fairly large number of options, and a nice wait staff, Ropewalk isn’t the worse choice in Fenwick, but there are certainly better restaurants in the area. So, while it’s not a place that would please many food geeks, I would recommend this restaurant to the general hordes that flock to the beach over the summer who are just looking for a relatively satisfying meal that can please kids and adults. And really, since those are the people who tend to keep the restaurants busy around here, I’d imagine Ropewalk will here to stay.
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