Sampling Raw Horse on Jeju Island

Sampling Raw Horse on Jeju Island

Nov 04

While the Western world would likely wince at the thought of ingesting horse meat, the fare is common in many Asian cultures. Before we took off for a recent long weekend on Jeju Island, our Korean friends insisted that we try this notorious horse meat during our trip. After overcoming my initial aversion to indulging in the seemingly taboo dish, Alex and I heeded our friends’ advice and sought out Jeju Mawon, a restaurant in the Seogwipo area of Jeju Island known for its horse meat. The restaurant is situated on a well-kept plot of land with a traditional Korean garden and a large outdoor space for banquets and events. We made our way into the restaurant, and in typical Korean fashion, removed our shoes and found a seat on the floor surrounding a low table inlaid with a charcoal grill top. After fumbling through Google translator to decipher the Korean menu, we settled on ordering the raw horse carpaccio and two servings of horse meat to BBQ on our personal grill. Horse meat, known as malgogi (말고기) in Hangul, is not common in most of South Korea with the exception of Jeju Island, where it is considered a delicacy. When the horse carpaccio arrived, I was surprised to find the meat served in thick 1/2 inch slices and not the pounded thin meat carpaccio I’m accustomed to. I worried the thick slices would be unpleasantly tough to chew on, but to my delight, I was most certainly wrong.  The horse meat proved incredibly tender, lean and almost sweet. While highly enjoyable on its own, the raw meat was accentuated by dipping it in the sesame oil or fermented bean paste (doenjang or 된장) provided. The grilled meat was equally enjoyable after searing for just a few seconds each side and consuming rare, but became increasingly tough as it approached medium-rare temperature – a true case of the rarer the better. While the concept of dining on horse meat is still a bit foreign to me, I must admit our friends were right – when in Jeju, go for the horse! Jeju Mawon Restaurant 88, Jungmungwangwang-ro72beon-gil Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do Tel: +82-64-738-1000 Share this post:Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share...

We’re Back and Live from South Korea!

We’re Back and Live from South Korea!

Nov 02

The last few months have been very hectic as we moved halfway across the world for work. After moving from Texas to Arizona and finally to South Korea we are finally back up and running at Good/Bad/Ugly Eats! We will start posting new recipes and reviews of our culinary excursions here in Korea shortly. For the time being, please follow our adventures through social media: Instagram: @GoodBadUglyEats Twitter: @GoodBadUglyEats Facebook: www.facebook.com/goodbaduglyeats Buon Appetito! – Annie Share this post:Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new...

Anson 11 – El Paso, Texas

Anson 11 – El Paso, Texas

Mar 03

With downtown El Paso experiencing a much-needed reinvigoration with recent openings of craft bars, trendy restaurants, boutiques and not to mention a massive, newly constructed AAA baseball stadium, Anson 11 represents the type of fine dining establishment setting the tone for the “new downtown.” After hearing several rave reviews from friends, I was very anxious to see for myself what the swanky new spot downtown was all about. Aptly named for the celebrated El Paso figure Anson Mills and located on the ground floor of the – you guessed it – Anson Mills Building, the restaurant will surely be an anchor for development in the San Jacinto Plaza area of downtown. From the sleek logos on the large glass windows to the interior design, they really nailed the posh bistro feel inspired Anson Mills himself. The impressively inviting, sophisticated atmosphere made it that much more disappointing when the cocktails and food failed to match expectations. Enjoying a classic cocktail seemed like a must once seated in the retro, high ceilinged bistro, but both the Manhattan and Cosmopolitan proved syrupy and face puckeringly sweet. The menu, which I had anticipated for weeks, proved incredibly predictable with a unimpressible selection of tired bistro dishes: Corn Soup, Mussels and Frites, Steak Frites and Creme Brûlée… ZzzzzZzzzzz. We ordered a sampling of dishes which proved as lackluster as the menu’s variety. The Corn Soup was bland, the Fried Oysters easily forgettable, the Mussels so shriveled and tiny I am still not convinced there actually were any real mussels in there, the Flatbread unpleasantly tasteless, the Gnocchi prepared so incorrectly my Italian ancestors are rolling in their graves, and the Flat Iron steak so over-the-top leathery we thought it may be a sick joke. I can only hope that because our visit was shortly after opening that someone has since taken control of the kitchen and made some serious changes. If the menu and kitchen output (not to mention the cocktails) can join the ranks of the restaurant’s swanky interior and vivacious atmosphere, Anson 11 may just become a downtown El Paso mainstay. If not, Mr. Anson Mills may just be shaking his head in disappointment. Anson 11 www.anson11.com 303 North Oregon Street El Paso, Texas 915-504-6403 Share this post:Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest...

WTF Pizza Truck – Apple Valley, California

WTF Pizza Truck – Apple Valley, California

Nov 20

Should you find yourself in Apple Valley, California (yes, I had to search for it on a map as well), or like me, have the pleasure of completing a rotation or three at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, then you just might have the opportunity to indulge in a freshly baked pizza from Where’s the Fire (WTF) Pizza Truck. WTF takes the mobile kitchen concept to a new level with its custom wood-fire brick oven built right inside the truck, churning out fresh, handmade 10 inch Neapolitan style pies while customers salivate with anticipation. With their crispy wood fired crusts, fresh ingredients and energetic staff, WTF turns “fast food” pizza into a memorable experience – a shocking revelation for the hungry Soldier at the National Training Center. Try a traditional favorite like the Margherita with San Marzano tomatoes, sea salt, mozzarella fior di latte, fresh basil and EVOO ($8) and Spaca Napoli with sliced mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, basil, EVOO and fresh ricotta ($9), or opt for one of their quirky speciality pies like the BBQ Pulled Chicken Pizza with fresh cilantro, BBQ sauce and crumbled BBQ potato chips ($9). WTF Pizza Truck travels throughout Southern California and Las Vegas so hunt them down using their website’s calendar or give them a call for your next catered event, you’ll be more than happy you did. Where’s the Fire Gourmet Pizza www.wtfpza.com Apple Valley, California 760-983-1414 Share this post:Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new...

Red Mountain Bistro – El Paso, Texas

Red Mountain Bistro – El Paso, Texas

Nov 13

If you have yet to head over to Resler Drive in West El Paso for an evening spent at Red Mountain Bistro then you have surely been missing out. From the salvaged retro “El Paso” sign and live music on the patio, to the efficiently laid out open kitchen, dining room and full bar, Red Mountain transforms a small strip mall unit into an intimate upscale American bistro serving up some of El Paso’s finest dishes with a commendable attention to detail. Named one of the 10 best Texas restaurants by Texas Monthly last January, the bistro’s signature cocktails and seafood flown in daily from Honolulu set the establishment apart in this landlocked city. Red Mountain is the perfect spot for a romantic evening, a group dinner before a night out on the town, or an upscale Sunday brunch, just be sure to bring your appetite. With an eclectic range of appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, pastas, entrees and the newly added “gastro bistro” menu, it is difficult to go wrong at Red Mountain, but their seafood, which may just be the freshest in the Sun City, is the route to take. For starters I highly recommend the Crab Wonton Tacos ($12) with its perfect combination of complimentary textures and flavors or the Woodley’s Tuna($14) featuring fresh Hawaiian ultra-big eye tuna. For the more carnivorous of diners I recommend the intensely flavored skewers of filet tips, homemade Spanish chorizo, fried manchego cheese with chili oil and lemon zest ($12). Seafood also shines on the entree list, particularly when compared to the lackluster cuts of steak. Highlights include the Mero Sea Bass with shiitake mushrooms, black rice, baby bok choy and a sweet chile glaze ($37) and the perfectly cooked Ora King Salmon with sautéed spinach, risotto arancini (slightly on the dry side) and chile burre blanc ($28). The homemade pastas are also worth trying for their savory flavor combinations, although the fettuccine in my Shrimp Pesto was cooked beyond al dente and contributed to a less than preferable melding of textures (redemption came in the form of four oversized, perfectly cooked shrimp). Even if you lack an appetite, Red Mountain’s hand-made cocktails are worthy of a trip to the bistro themselves.  Mixology must run in the family for the two brothers who serve up Red Mountain’s signature drinks; the cocktails are well thought out, fresh, complex and described as multi-sensory experiences (hence the intense aroma of the still smoking piece of lit rosemary acting as a stirrer in the Rosemary Pomegranate Martini). My favorites include the muddled to...

The Rustic Olive – Mesilla, New Mexico

The Rustic Olive – Mesilla, New Mexico

Oct 30

Should you find yourself in Southern New Mexico, whether on a day trip from El Paso or just driving through, take an hour or two and detour to the town of Old Mesilla, just outside of Las Cruces. Named a National Historic Landmark in 1961 for its relevance in the civil war, its notoriety as a hangout for figures like Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett and Pancho Villa, and its significance on the Sante Fe Trail, Mesilla is a charming small town, rich in history and the perfect place to spend an afternoon. While in Mesilla, stop by The Rustic Olive for olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting and to pick up a gift or treat for yourself. A family owned and run business from Phoenix, The Rustic Olive opened in Mesilla in 2010 and offers domestic and imported extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars, gourmet spices, pastas, olives and gifts. The oils and vinegars range from $11.99 to $14.99 and come in a variety of types and flavors including Gourmet Arbequina EVOO, habenero flavored oil, fig flavored balsamic, and Cask 10 Vinegar. After a few samplings, you won’t be able to leave empty-handed. Follow up your visit to The Rustic Olive with lunch and a margarita from nearby La Posta and enjoy! The Rustic Olive www.therusticolivedemesilla.com 1937 Calle de Parian Mesilla, New Mexico 575-525-3100 Old Mesilla www.oldmesilla.org Share this post:Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new...

Independent Burger – El Paso, Texas

Independent Burger – El Paso, Texas

Oct 28

Let me begin by confessing that I may or may not have eaten at Independent Burger three times in the last week. Yet whether it is a case of indecision or my subconscious wanting to return for more “testing,” I honestly have not quite made up my mind about the new establishment. Indy Burg, as I now affectionately call it, opened in early October at The Venue at Montecillo on North Mesa by members of the same ownership teams that brought El Paso Crave, The Garden and 1914. In keeping with the “Smart Growth” development theme of the Montecillo community, Independent Burger serves grass-fed beef ground daily in-house, hormone-, antibiotic- and cage-free poultry, bread baked daily from the local Belle Sucre Bakery, vegetables from nearby Deming, New Mexico and made-from-scratch ice creams. The ambient 3,500 square foot space has a trendy yet vintage, unfussy yet upscale Americana theme that helps Indy Burg achieve both the dining destination as well as nightlife hangout environment. Perplexing, however, is the ordering/seating process during which diners must wait in line at a counter in the foyer of the restaurant, place their order, wait to be seated, and then wait for their food to be delivered to their table. While on paper this “boutique fast-food” style system may seem original and works fairly well during a sparse weekday meal, it means chaos during the busy weekend. On a Friday night we waited over 45 minutes in the chilly foyer to place our order, another 10-15 minutes to be seated, and then almost 30 more for our food that only arrived once we chased down a seemingly lost waitress searching for our order number sign among the sea of anxious diners. While frustrating, hopefully these delays will simply be worked out over time as the establishment gains experience. After the initial distaste from the lengthy wait, IB redeemed itself with its thoroughly pleasing food and atmosphere (thus my multiple visits in one week). The burgers, while on the petite side, literally melt in your mouth and are only elevated by the soft, freshly baked bread and variety of expertly paired topping combinations. My favorites include the Iberica Burger with smoked tomatoes, crispy Serrano ham, Manchego cheese, quince, and Indy sauce ($14) and B+B Burger with caramelized onions, Maytag blue cheese, maple glazed slab bacon and smokey mayo ($13.5). For non-meat fans, substitute the beef patty...

Homemade Quick Pickles Recipe

Homemade Quick Pickles Recipe

Oct 22

As much as I enjoy good jarred pickles, there is something satisfying and refreshing about making your own from some fresh pickling cucumbers. While pickling may sound like a time intensive process, this recipe uses thinly sliced cucumbers and vinegar to “quick pickle” in as little as 20 minutes. I love making these pickles to use as toppings on homemade burgers and sandwiches, or just as a crisp, tart snack for a picnic. You can modify the recipe for what you have on hand – trade the apple cider vinegar for red wine vinegar, or change up the spices and seasonings. Try out your own version and let us know what worked for you! Homemade Quick Pickles Ingredients 2 large pickling cucumbers 1 bottle apple cider vinegar 1 tbsp lemon juice 2 tbsp of mustard seeds 1 tbsp of dried dill 1 tbsp white sugar 2 tsps sea salt 1 large shallot, minced 3 cloves garlic, minced Directions 1. Using a mandoline or knife, slice cucumbers into very thin discs. The thicker the slice, the longer it will take to pickle, so I recommend slicing as thin as possible. 2. Place the cucumber slices in a large glass bowl and toss with lemon juice, mustard seeds, dill, sugar, salt, shallot and garlic. 3. Using the ratio 2 parts vinegar to 1 part water, add enough liquid to cover the cucumber slices in the bowl. Stir, cover with plastic wrap and set in refrigerator. Allow cucumbers to pickle 30 minutes up to 24 hours depending on their thickness and time available. Buon Appetito! These may help! Share this post:Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new...

Tabla/El Paso Beer Snob Dinner – March 28, 2013

Tabla/El Paso Beer Snob Dinner – March 28, 2013

Oct 07

Well this article is literally months overdue but during a recent review of past posts I realized I had been inadvertently sitting on a never published draft and did not want it to go to waste – better late than never, right? So here goes…Just when I thought Tabla was on their A-game, they had to go and make a good thing even better by pairing up with El Paso Beer Snob to put together a meeting of wonderful worlds – tapas and beer – for us El Paso indulgers to enjoy. For a well worth it $60 ticket, us beer snobs-to-be enjoyed six liberally portioned courses served with six equally enjoyable beer pairings. Our hosts for the evening, Albert and Norbert, of El Paso Beer Snob and Tabla, respectively, put on an entertaining and informative event and more importantly left us more than happily full and perhaps even with a pleasant craft beer buzz. The highlights of the evening were the surprisingly appealing Chicken Fried Oyster with Saffron Aioli and Apple Cabbage Slaw and the memorable Chai Tea French Toast with Candied Nuts, both of which, to my pleasure, showed up on Tabla’s brunch menu a few weeks later. The El Paso Beer Snob, whose mantra is “to share the passion for craft beer with El Paso,” did an excellent job playing off the flavor profile’s of Norbert’s plates, featuring craft brews from No Label Brewing Company in Katy, Texas and Clown Shoes Brewery out of Massachusetts. The evening was surely a hit with all those in attendance and I greatly look forward to grooming my beer pomposity at the next El Paso Beer Snob dinner. Tabla www.tabla-ep.com 115 Durango Street El Paso, Texas El Paso Beer Snob EP Beer Snob Facebook Albert Salinas adrian.perez@lnfdist.com Share this post:Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new...

Cuartito Azul – El Paso’s Hidden Argentinean Gem

Cuartito Azul – El Paso’s Hidden Argentinean Gem

Oct 01

Sitting humbly on a quiet block of Thorn Avenue on El Paso’s West Side, Cuartito Azul may just be the Sun City’s hidden gem. Run by the Brandi Family of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Cuartito Azul and its sister restaurant of the same name across the border in Juarez, Mexico, offer bold, authentic Argentinean cuisine at incredibly reasonable prices. The El Paso location of El Cuartito Azul, or “The Little Blue Room,” is quaint, cozy and unassuming, putting all the attention on its best feature – its food. The menu’s star is surely the Argentinean style steaks, but they have recently added several pasta dishes to their list of poultry and seafood entrees. The highly attentive and knowledgeable staff seal the deal, ensuring you have a truly enjoyable night out. Each meal starts with warm baked bread, fresh black olives and marinated white beans, but I absolutely recommend also ordering one of the traditional appetizers like the flaky homemade empanadas served with homemade chimichurri ($2.75 each or $9 for 4), Chorizo Argentino served with marinated tomatoes ($5.50), or the rich Provoleta, a thick slice of provolone cheese marinated in olive oil and oregano and grilled Napolitana style with tomato sauce and sweet basil ($6.50), and of course a bottle of Argentinean wine.  The recently added pasta courses shy are more Italian than Argentinean, but are equally enjoyable. The homemade gnocchi has a distinctly bright and fresh pesto made from walnuts and basil and is a hefty portion for a modest $9.50. As entrees go, I have yet to sample one of the poultry or seafood selections because the Argentinean steaks are just too tempting. I recommend the traditional Argentinean Churrasco, a 12 ounce top sirloin served with potato salad ($15.50), or Grilled Filet Mignon ($17.50), and don’t forget to ask for some more homemade chimichurri to enjoy with both! While some elements of the dishes were a bit heavy handed on the vinegar (the salad dressing, chimichurri), the ingredients are noticeably fresh and are allowed to shine in the simplicity of the dishes. Our meal ended with a much appreciated complimentary surprise Tres Leches Cake from the kitchen (mmm…delicious!) and I couldn’t have been more satisfied. I know I just gushed about my affinity for Cuartito Azul, but as El Paso’s “hidden gem,” let’s just keep this our little secret, ok? El Cuartito Azul www.elcuartitoazul.com 500 Thorn Avenue El Paso, Texas 915-581-6419 Share this post:Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens...

Unrulis Pizza + Pints Grand Opening – El Paso, Texas

Unrulis Pizza + Pints Grand Opening – El Paso, Texas

Sep 20

Last Friday a few friends and I stopped in the newly opened Unrulis Pizza + Pints for their “Grand Opening” to see what the latest El Paso brick oven pizza installation had in store. Unrulis’ is the sister restaurant to Chef Rulis’ Rulis’ International Kitchen, also on North Mesa Street in El Paso, Texas. Their menu is a compilation of salads, sandwiches and of course brick oven pizza with a variety of vegetarian and vegan options, all well complimented by local Texas and New Mexico craft brews. We were short on time but ordered two pizzas to sample and a bottle of wine. I was a fan of the pizza crusts’ texture and flavor but a little put off by the toppings. For one, the pizzas are advertised as ten inch pies, but with a two to three inch crust, the toppings are left unevenly distributed in the center of the pie, and therefore consumed in the first two to three bites. I enjoyed the Spinach Pizza, because let’s face it, everything is good with goat cheese and some garlic, but may have preferred the apple slices sautéed rather than served up raw. The Kale Pizza was a bit less appetizing, lacking any variety of textures or flavors but merely one mass of well oiled sautéed vegetables of one texture and flavor. While the atmosphere inside is bright and inviting, Unrulis’ seems best suited for families wishing to entertain their children with arcade games and toys while the adults enjoy a pie and a few beers. I am a big supporter of Rulis’ International Kitchen and hope that Unrulis’ continues to develop their concept and menu. I look forward to giving Unrulis’ another shot soon and will surely post an update when I do!   Unrulis Pizza + Pints www.unrulis.com 4176 North Mesa Street El Paso, TX 915-831-0227 Share this post:Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new...

Lemon Feta Orzo Salad Recipe

Lemon Feta Orzo Salad Recipe

Sep 12

I have a penchant for anything that utilizes fresh lemon juice and savory flavors, so this orzo salad was an obvious recipe I put together using some of my favorite simple ingredients. The fresh lemon vinaigrette brings the punch, the feta some salty richness, the cabbage offers some crunch, the onion some zip and the orzo is the starch that binds it all together. I enjoy it served either cold or room temperature, but it is a perfect dish to make ahead of time and bring to a cookout or pot luck. If you do not have cabbage or green onions around, you really can use any of your favorite veggies to add color, texture and flavor, and can replace the lemon vinaigrette with your favorite dressing. Try some of your favorite combos and let us know how they work out! Lemon Feta Orzo Salad Makes 6 servings Ingredients 1 box of orzo 1 head of red cabbage, or 1 bag shredded 1 package grape tomatoes, quartered 1 small bundle of green onions, chopped 1 package of feta cheese, typically 8 oz. 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil 6 tbsp. fresh lemon juice 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar 1 large shallot, quartered 3 cloves garlic 6 sprigs lemon thyme, leaves only 4 sprigs marjoram, leaves only (or 1 tbsp. dried) 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, plus 1 tbsp. chopped 1/2 tsp. sea salt 1/2 tsp. pepper Directions 1. Start with making the vinaigrette; in a food processor, blend the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, shallot, garlic, lemon thyme, marjoram and 1/4 cup parsley leaves until smooth. Set aside. 2. Prepare the orzo according to the package’s directions; run the orzo under cold water and put into a large glass bowl; season with salt and pepper. 3. Toss the orzo with the vinaigrette, crumbled feta, tomatoes, shredded cabbage and green onions and serve room temperature or cold. May be made up to 24 hours in advance. Buon Appetito! [print_link] These may help! Share this post:Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new...

Taverna – Austin, Texas

Taverna – Austin, Texas

Sep 11

The Lombardi Family implements a winning formula in their restaurant brands – supply customers with fresh, contemporary European cuisine and warm hospitality in a space they can relax and enjoy with friends and family. While that sounds like an incredibly obvious and simple strategy, they just do it well. At the Austin, Texas location of Taverna, the Lombardi’s “Pizzeria and Risotteria” brand, the lofted ceilings and bright, traditionally rustic decor complement the modern take on a traditional Italian menu well. Located in downtown Austin on West 2nd Avenue, Taverna attracts young professionals and college students looking for an after work happy hour deal or a more refined fix for their insatiable pizza cravings. The weekly dinner menu is a bit predictable for a “hip” neighborhood Italian joint but is a nice place to take a date or visiting family member for an approachable but upscale experience. However, Taverna’s greatest appeal is certainly their popular weekend brunch, where a packed house comes for the $1 mimosas and frozen peach Bellinis and stays for an enjoyable meal shared with friends. On a Sunday the wait may cost you 30 to 40 minutes, but with $1 champagne cocktails, belly up to the bar with the rest of the young, well-dressed crowd and you may just be able to reclassify your “wait” as a brunch “pregame.” At brunch last weekend I learned that while the mimosas have a surprisingly satisfying  champagne to orange juice ratio (read: they do not skimp on the champs), the food is a bit hit or miss. Some of the dishes are just delightful like the incredibly fresh and light Buffalo Mozzarella Caprese ($12.50) and must-try Carpaccio di Manzo ($10.50), while others were mediocre like the slightly overcooked Frittata of the Day. The Pizza California ($13.50) had a pleasing arrangement of fresh toppings that elevated the lackluster crust, but was overall less than memorable. Although I appreciated that Taverna only uses carnaroli rice (a.k.a. “The King of Rice”) in their risottos, I was sadly disappointed in the Risotto con Gamberi e Prosecco ($17.50). While the dish was flavored nicely with truffle oil and pesto, the texture lacked the signature risotto density and creaminess I adore so much and I was shocked at the soggy, flavorless miniature shrimp that seemed more fitting for a low-budget chinese buffet than a signature dish at a self-proclaimed risotteria! Perhaps I had set myself up for disappointment having envisioned a few plump, wild caught seared or grilled shrimp perched upon my lovely mound of risotto, but I digress. Despite just a few shortcomings with the meals, the service was pleasant and the atmosphere jovial, making for a thoroughly enjoyable...

Homemade Potato Gnocchi Recipe

Homemade Potato Gnocchi Recipe

Jul 27

Simply put, gnocchi are one of the greatest creations on Earth. Admittedly that statement may be a bit overstated, but my penchant for the delicate, pillowy potato dumplings borders on ineffable. After making my own gnocchi from scratch, my appreciation for these subtle yet rich morsels has only grown. While making gnocchi has the reputation as easily going awry, use the recipe below as a guideline for making a simple, classic gnocco. When prepared well, fresh gnocchi can be dressed with only a quality olive oil and be fantastic, or as we did with homemade ricotta to add to the creaminess of the potato. I look forward to expounding upon this recipe in the near future as I incorporate other elements like fresh cheese, basil or spinach into the potato base, so stay tuned for the next gnocchi edition… Until then, let us know how your own gnocchi making venture fairs! Potato Gnocchi Makes 6 servings, adapted from 101 Cookbooks Ingredients 2 pounds of russet potatoes, cleaned (keep skin on), and halved ¼ cup of egg, lightly beaten 1 cup of all-purpose flour Sea salt Directions 1. Place halved potatoes in large pot of cold, salted water and bring to a boil. Cook potatoes under tender, about 45-55 minutes. 2. One at a time, remove a potato half from the water with a slotted spoon and peel off the skin with a paring knife. Run the potato through a potato ricer, allowing the mashed potato mixture to pile on a large cutting board. If you do not have a potato ricer, mash each potato half with a fork. Be careful not to over mash; simply work the potato into a fluffy lump free consistency. Repeat step 2 with the remaining potato halves, saving the rest of the starchy potato water. 3. Spread the riced or mashed potato mixture out across the cutting board and allow to cool about 15 minutes. Once cooled, gather the potato mixture into a mound and drizzle it with the egg and ¾ cup of flour. Fold the mixture gently, reaching from the bottom of the mound with a pastry scraper or spatula, until the mixture lightly crumbles. 4. Gently knead the dough that has formed, adding a sprinkle of the remaining flour as necessary if the mixture is too tacky and sticking to your fingers. At this point the dough should be moist and fluffy but not tacky. 5. Using a...

Dreamcatcher Cafe and Coffee House – Ruidoso, New Mexico

Dreamcatcher Cafe and Coffee House – Ruidoso, New Mexico

Jul 27

Whether as a skiing destination in the winter, the venue for a summer escape or the cure for your gambler’s itch, the village of Ruidoso, tucked into the Sierra Blanca mountain range in south-central New Mexico, is a charming getaway. If you have the opportunity, rent a cabin from a local homeowner and make your way to Sudderth Drive for a day of walking, browsing and dining along the village’s humble thoroughfare of local boutiques, specialty shops, bars and restaurants. As you traverse Sudderth, I recommend dipping into the Dreamcatcher Cafe and Coffee House to rest your feet and enjoy a fresh pint, or three. When the weather is warm, the eclectic Dreamcatcher Cafe opens up their patio as a gathering place for locals and visitors alike to indulge in a cold brew, good food and a guaranteed enjoyable experience (and even a game of outdoor ping pong). According to their history, the menu at Dreamcatcher has evolved from a standard coffee shop with a single sandwich – the gyro – into a sampling of appetizers, salads and sandwiches shaped by the requests of their loyal customers and accompanied by a list of 30+ beer options. On a recent visit, my friend Thea and I ordered the simple but irresistible “hot bread” appetizer with olive oil and balsamic for dipping ($5), the Thai peanut chicken appetizer served with pita bread and lettuce wraps ($8), and the classic gyro with lamb, feta, tomato, lettuce and tzatziki, all worthwhile selections. The house favorite, however, is reportedly the Cubano sandwich ($8), which I will surely try on my next visit. We washed our meal down with a crisp hefeweizen and some banter with a few locals, the perfect end to a pleasant afternoon in Ruidoso. Ultimately, Dreamcatcher’s appeal does not lie in its kitchen’s output, but in its quirky, amicable staff and ability to create a sanctuary of relaxation and good feelings, and of course, ping pong. The Dreamcatcher Cafe and Coffee House 2629 Sudderth Drive Ruidoso, New Mexico 88345 575-802-2222 http://dreamcatchercafe.com Share this post:Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new...