Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Spicy Broccolini Fettuccine, eh!

I've been trying to make less pasta recently; I realized that we have a whole lot of it. It's such an easy fall back, and really it's comfort food. I say that, with the follow up of, but I found this great new recipe and The Husband and I both love it.

I was on the hunt for some new soup recipes and I came across a Food and Wine recipe for a Spicy Broccoli Rabe pasta. Of course I went to the store and could not for the life of me find any broccoli rabe. So I did what I do best, and improvised. I picked up some broccolini and made adjustments. My final dish wasn't really much like the original recipe, other than a few basic ingredients. But it turned out really spectacularly. To the point where The Husband requested it again, soon. It's really easy and just involves a lot of chopping more than anything else. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sugar High

The Husband and I are staying in PGH for Christmas. He has to work in the Cardio-Thorasic ICU and our families have too many moving parts to be able to get out to us. So, since we weren't celebrating with family and we were in a totally new place, I decided that I was going to make this the most Christmasy-Christmas yet.

Living in a one bedroom loft in Chicago, we didn't have space for a Christmas Tree. However, now that we live in a house, we do. So while The Husband was working one of his many, many, many long days, I went out and picked us a tree. Our car isn't the most reliable, so he requested no farms out in the country since he worried that the combination of the tree of top of the car and the mountains in this weather wouldn't be the safest for me. Begrudgingly, I agreed. And as it turns out, I got lucky and while I went to a place in the city, it did snow a fair amount while I was picking the tree. So that made up for the lack of farms and hot chocolate.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Naughty and Nice

I am terrible. I realized that it's been nearly two months since my last post. It's not for lack of food stuffs, we had a fantastic trip to Chicago, another trip to New Orleans and I've been baking and cooking up a storm. I have about 5 posts started, but haven't been able to find time to finish them.

However, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought I would post a recipe that I just made for an Apple Cake covered in Salted Caramel. I made it for Thanksgiving and our guests couldn't get enough. You can add raisins, walnuts, dried cranberries, you can top with with caramel sauce or powdered sugar or leave it plain. We served it alongside Tiahetian Vanilla Bean gelato, and covered it with some additional Salted Caramel because, why not?!

And as a side note, this cake is kosher. I found the cake recipe on  Food 52 and made a few modifications.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Check Out These Mussels!

My First Attempt!

So, growing up, I dislike seafood. As a matter of fact, I hated it. It drove The Parents insane. They couldn't understand it. Which says something, since each of my siblings and I have issues with what many people would consider "normal" foods. I LOATHE ham, as in the stuff you eat on Christmas, with the spiral and the cherries and the pineapple...not the expensive stuff like prosciutto, which drives The Husband insane (obviously) and smoked turkey. I hate smoked turkey so much that if I get a sandwich and it's on there, I'll pull off all of the turkey and eat the bread and the toppings. It's disgusting to me.  

My middle sister, The Lawyer, hates tomatoes and sausage. My youngest sister, The Dental Student hates beans and sausage and had a phase growing up where she put yellow mustard on everything. And I mean everything (corn, green  beans, salads) and my brother The Beer Geek had a phase where no one was allowed to touch his food. If it happened, he would pitch a fit and wouldn't eat it.

Monday, October 7, 2013

A Cure For our Wednesday Evening.

Guys, I have been TERRIBLE. And I'm so sorry. The month of September was a bit of a mad house. I was gone 15 of the 30 days for either work of personal travel. And when I was home, I was working like a maniac. BUT I have tons of great recipes that I've been working on and food that I've been eating.

The Husband had his first of two vacations this past week and we made it a point to go play in our new city. And boy, did we play.

On Wednesday evening we went to Cure, a restaurant in our new neighborhood that has been getting rave reviews since it opened in 2011.  The Chef/Owner Justin Severino was in a New York Times piece about reviving the Rust Belt, Bon Appetit nominated him for one of the 50 Best New Restaurant in 2012 and he won the Pittsburgh Magazine's 2013 Star Chef award.  And from eating at his restaurant, he deserves it.

The restaurant is small, it only seats about 44 or so people at a time on the floor, with an additional four seats up by the kitchen. The menu changes regularly, depending on what meats and vegetables they are able to locally source and the charcuterie is no joke. Everything but the bread is made in house and everything was awesome.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Spicy and Smokey Mac

So as you can tell from previous posts (Mac Attack!) , The Husband has a thing for Mac and Cheese. And as this past week has been rather challenging for him, he took his Internal Medicine Boards (he has spent all of his free time since starting Fellowship studying) and is on call for the fourth weekend in a row. So, when I came across this recipe I thought "Self, you should do it for The Husband!".

It also helped that there was some Habanero up in here; and we all know how much I love me some spice. When I told The Husband about it, he was a little worried at first, but I assured him that it would all work out well and that he would not have a five alarm fire in his mouth.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Hotspacho!

Last summer there was this hilarious iPhone commercial with Samuel L. Jackson. He was having a lady friend over that evening for dinner and was making a list of things he needed to do for his date night.  One line item was to have Siri set a reminder to put the gazpacho in the refrigerator, unless she liked Hotspacho. I found this hilarious, I’m fairly confident I must have walked around for months telling The Husband we didn't want Hotspacho! See the commercial here, maybe you’ll find it as amusing as I did…maybe not.

I’m also the person who goes into a fit of giggles when I hear this joke “Two peanuts were walking through a park; one was assaulted!” Seriously, I’m laughing as I write this.  For those of you who are disappointed, I never said I had a highbrow sense of humor, just a taste for delicious food and drink.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

One of My Many Addictions

As many of you may have seen from my wildly excited Facebook postings, I recently won an Ice Cream recipe contest.  I’ve only won one other competition in my life and that was for paper I wrote in college on the history of 19th century English Church bands (entitled “Wake Up and Hear the Music” I was so cleaver, even back then).  So with this excitement,  a few people had requested that I post a recipe I had alluded to in my Cinnamon Ice Cream post about making a Deconstructed S’more.

I’ve mentioned that I’ve made this in passing and people always look at me a little strange. It’s a mixture of “That sounds DELICIOUS” and “How the heck did you think of that?” So, I’ll tell you. 

This had nothing to do with camping, or nights by the fire roasting marshmallows; this was purely a practical decision.   I’m pretty good a most cooking and baking related things, however  I am actually a really terrible S’mores maker.  I never get the chocolate soft enough; I always break the damn cracker, ALWAYS. The only thing I can do right is toast the heck out of the marshmallow.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Ours For The Taking

Three days into our stay here in PGH, The Husband and I went to the grocery store. First, I must say how amazed I am at some of the produce we get here. We purchased zucchini, squash and cucumbers that were the size (both length AND width) of The Husband's forearms for nothing--ninety-nine cents! Beautiful tomatoes and peppers for a song. They have a whole mushroom section, literally bins of Wild Mushrooms for the taking.  I forgot that Pennsylvania has the Mushroom capital of the country within it's boarders; lucky for us. And so, on our first trip to the store, we took.

We ended up purchasing a beautiful Hen of the Woods to do something with.  A week later, I found myself back in the grocery store, standing in front of this mushroom wall and thinking, I need more. So I grabbed a bunch of Oysters, some Chanterelles, another Hen of the Woods, some Trumpet Mushrooms and a few other wild varieties.

Friday, July 5, 2013

From The Horse's Mouth

There are some restaurants that people are shell-shocked that The Husband and I haven't been to.  Some places we get a loud "Are you SERIOUS?" Au Cheval is one of those places.

The Husband and I had tried two other times to have dinner at Au Cheval, both times we were told the wait would be over two hours. We knew the food was good, we knew we wanted to go, but we were too hungry to wait.

For our last week in Chicago, we were fortunate enough to have dinner with two friends who didn't mind a possible wait and were happy to join us in our Farewell Tour.  We went at 630 on a Sunday and were able to get a table for four without an issue. Thank goodness, although I was ready to wait this time around.

And we were fortunate enough to go with a couple who were more than willing to dive deep into the menu. And we went really really deep (don't laugh!).

We tried to order the 32oz Porterhouse with Foie Gras and Roasted Apples, our friend had been before and said it was amazing. Unfortunately, we were told they only have two or so of the Porterhouses a night and both had already been ordered. We've got something else to go back for next time, not that it would take us much to go back after this dinner).

Okay, We Get The Point!

After much fan fair, a fantastic going-away party, more than a few tears, a night to forever remember at The Aviary, and what can only be described as the worst move in history, The Husband and I have made it safely to Pittsburgh.

How was this the worst move you ask? Here are some bullet points:

  • Black mold in our storage unit covering nearly everything, we had to clean, repack and throw away a ton of stuff
  • Moving company called to confirm the truck the day before and only had a 14 foot, we reserved a 17 foot  (that we were worried would be tight). After being on the phone with the company for over an hour and being told they had nothing, we then started scrambling trying to find another truck (we found a 16 foot one for ONLY double the price)
  • Our movers came and got stuck between two floors in our freight elevator along with all of our boxes
  • The building management company never sent the elevator repairman (by the way, it's been a week and they've still not called me back. For all they know, our movers are still stuck)
  • Our movers then shimmied out of our elevator and we had to help move all of our boxes out from a 3 foot gap and up a flight of stairs
  • It torrentially down-poured for an hour as they were loading all of our stuff into the truck
  • They were worried they couldn't get everything into the truck, so I began triaging our things and planning times to make trips back to get our stuff (the movers were amazing and got everything in)
  • We weren't able to leave Chicago until 9pm, where we then hit traffic
  • We hit three rain storms during our 3 hour drive
  • I drove the moving truck and was sideswiped by a flatbed semi
So our last week in Chicago was a little rough, especially the final 18 hours. It was so bad and we were running so behind at the end that we considered spending Friday night in Chicago and leaving really really early Saturday, but The Husband felt like if we stayed any longer, some other bad thing was going to happen. Neither he, nor I, am superstitious, but I agreed. Chicago was telling us to get the heck out. Even so, there were also some amazing highlights; our dinner at Au Cheval and our night at Aviary will be two separate posts.


We've had a few people ask us where we were on our Farewell Tour. We did a good portion of it, but weren't able to hit everything. Especially since we had some issues along the way.

The bonus, I'm back for sure in September and The Husband and I are back in November, so we're going to do it up upon our triumphant return.

Encased Meat and Duck Fat Fries at Hot Doug's: CHECK!
Old Grand Pappy Vertical Flight at Aviary: CHECK!
Au Cheval: CHECK! 
A Hen Fruit and Frites at Watershed: (It's off the menu, but they made it for me anyway!) CHECK
Fat Rice: UMMM CHECK and we may need to go one more time.
Grace (another time, my friends)
Alinea (another time again....)
El Ideas (adding this to the "November" List)
3 Happiness Dim Sum
Big Star: CHECK
PQM sandwich: CHECK
Bari's Italian Hoagies:CHECK

BadHappy for Poutine and Shakes
Wasabi: CHECK
Pint at Revolution's Tap Room: CHECK
Doughnut Vault 
Bernard's Bar- Blood of Dillinger
Hoosier Mama's Pie
Big Jones
Xoco: CHECK
Falafal Sandwich from Sultan's Market: CHECK
Telegraph
Longman and Eagle
Cumin

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Our Messy, Messy Break-up

I apologize for not posting this last month; I actually have a ton to share and of course, not much time to share it in.We leave Chicago in nine days, NINE DAYS! So between work and packing and getting one last hang out with friends, my postings have fallen short.

However, I can promise you such things as Next's Vegan menu, a Whiskey Flight at Aviary (happening next week), the time we nearly had all of Hot Doug's menu, our dinner at Fat Rice and more will be on the way!

In the mean time, here's the updated list on where we've hit and what we have left on our Farewell Tour:

Encased Meat and Duck Fat Fries at Hot Doug's: CHECK!
Old Grand Pappy Vertical Flight at Aviary
Au Cheval
A Hen Fruit and Frites at Watershed: (It's off the menu, but they made it for me anyway!) CHECK
Fat Rice: UMMM CHECK and we may need to go one more time.
Grace (another time, my friends)
Alinea (another time again....)
El Ideas (adding this to the "November" List)
3 Happiness Dim Sum
Big Star: CHECK
PQM sandwich
Bari's Italian Hoagies
BadHappy for Poutine and Shakes
Wasabi: CHECK
Pint at Revolution's Tap Room: CHECK
Doughnut Vault 
Bernard's Bar- Blood of Dillinger
Hoosier Mama's Pie
Big Jones
Xoco: CHECK
Falafal Sandwich from Sultan's Market
Telegraph
Longman and Eagle
Cumin

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Meyer Lemony Snicket!

Growing up on the East Coast, I was privy to some really wonderful foods, however because of our climate and because it was the 80's and 90's, the local/organic food craze hadn't yet started. Back in the late 90's Vine Ripe Tomatoes were still new in the grocery stores and Heirloom Tomatoes weren't in the state (or at least any of the grocery stores); even the Farmers Market didn't have "fancy" stuff like that.

When I started dating The Husband, he told me about living out in The Bay Area, and how his family had several Meyer Lemon trees in their yard. I had never ever heard of a Meyer Lemon! He tried to explain it, but back in 2003, there were no Meyer Lemons to be found in North Carolina. It wasn't until we went to San Francisco for our Honeymoon in 2008 and spent a morning wandering through the Farmers Market at the Ferry Building that I was finally able to see and taste a Meyer Lemon. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

The End of the Affair....

So for those of you who aren't aware, The Husband and I are leaving Chicago. After four years of medical school, five years of residency, The Husband will be starting a two (possibly three year) Critical Care Fellowship at The University of Pittsburgh. This is a HUGE deal, as UPMC is one of the best (if not THE best) Critical Care programs in the country.  I'm so insanely proud of him and all of the hard work he's done, and I'm really excited to start this next phase of our lives. But of course, I am going to miss Chicago so much.

The Husband and I have lived in this amazing city for nine years. We became adults (or as close to adults as we possibly can be) here,  we discovered our love of food and drink and we made amazing friends here.

As we have just signed a lease for a new home and are looking into moving companies, the realization that we are leaving Chicago has hit hard.  And as July 1st is approaching much, much sooner than any of us anticipated, we must begin to tie up lose ends and start packing.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Hunt


As season ticket holders for Next in the 2012 year, back in December we were offered the ability to “re-up” our tickets for the 2013 dining year (I know, I know, how pretentious does THAT sound). Obviously, I couldn't say no.

And so, The Husband and I have been waiting since December for our table at The Hunt. I can tell you without a doubt that it was most definitely worth the three months of waiting.

Normally before we go into our dinners at Next, we end up making a reservation at The Office, either before or after dinner. We decided for the sake of being “fiscally responsible” that wasn't a smart idea this time. Readers be warned, we did not follow through with our attempts at “fiscal responsibility,” but you’ll have to continue reading to see where we ended up (and what we had!).

Our reservation was at 8:30 on a bitter cold Wednesday night (yes, I had the choice to pick Friday or Saturday evening, but went with Wednesday because our next Next menu falls on The Husband’s 32nd birthday. You can’t argue with that!). We walked into the restaurant and were enveloped by a comforting aroma or rosemary.

Our Table

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Yeah, I Made Cadbury Creme Eggs


The Husband has always loved Cadbury Creme Eggs; along with Reese's mini-eggs, they are his springtime candy  favorites. However, since Cadbury was acquired by Hershey, the Creme Egg recipe hasn't been the same.

Per The Husband, the insides are grittier than they used to be. Instead of a smooth creamy "egg" center, he claims he can feel the sugar.  And it appears that he is not alone in this, Facebook pages have popped up, articles have been written, people are very very emotionally attached to the Cadbury Eggs.  Take a few seconds and Google "Cadbury Creme Egg Change Complaints" and you'll see page after page of people writing about this particular subject.

So when I came across a recipe on the Food52 Blog for DIY Cadbury Creme Eggs, I thought I'd try it. I changed the chocolate mixture, but otherwise kept it pretty close to the original. The most challenging thing for me was to find Golden Syrup. I could have ordered it on Amazon, but I work in The Merchandise Mart in downtown Chicago and we have a gourmet cooking shop in the building. So during a much needed break from work on Friday, I wandered down the way to The Chopping Block and inquired about Golden Syrup.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Lie to Me: Chocolate Shortbread

I love baking. I think it's a lot of fun.  However (and I know this will shock most of you....ha) I somehow manage to pick rather complicated recipes whenever I bake (or cook). I can't just buy a frozen crust, I have to make my own, I can't just use a box mix, I have to make a triple layer Devils Food Cookie Dough Peanut Cutter Cup Cake. I some how manage to make a One-Pot Meal into a Three-Pot Meal and have the four dirty spoons and spatulas to boot.

So it's always hard for me to be able to temper myself, especially when I'm having people over for dinner. I have a tendency to do three too much. It always turns out well, but I end up getting all harried right before everyone shows up.

On these occasions   I do have a few quick dessert fall-backs  one of which  is a super delicious Chocolate Shortbread Recipe. Everyone thinks I spent AGES on it, but it's super fast and incredibly delicious. And honestly, I know I should lie and say "Yes, it took hours" but I don't....maybe next time.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Put Andouille On It!


As it is Wintertime, I do enjoy a good soup. I have a tendency to fall back on favorites, Tomato Soup and Open Face Veggie Sandwiches, Italian Wedding Soup ,some deliciously comforting Ribollita, or just a hardy bowl of The Big G’s Lentil Soup, however The Husband does get tired of this list. And well he should, most people don’t have the same love of soup and sandwiches that I do. Honestly, I would probably eat either a bowl of good soup or a great sandwich for every meal if I could. I’ve always been like that.

So I try to change it up once in a while, so The Husband doesn’t grow that weary of my obsession. When I came across this recipe in the Food52 blog, I thought it was something we both could enjoy. I changed a few things, simply because I didn’t have some of them when I made this, or because I thought that three tablespoons of ketchup is just really unappealing.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Cheddar Biscuits and Waygu Beef

Growing up, I never had a casserole, I never had a potpie, I'm pretty sure I also never had Jell-o salad or any of those super "American" foods that you see at All American barbecues. I'm sure there's a laundry list of typical foods that most families grow up eating in some variation that my family didn't have. Honestly, I don't feel like I've missed anything and I've never really had the desire to eat them.  Again, maybe it's because I just didn't ever have them growing up, but I lack any form of nostalgia for them. A nostalgic dinner to me is The Dad's gravy (meatballs and sausage in a red sauce served over ravioli) or The Mom's comforting shredded beef (beef round that's flambĂ©ed and then slow cooked in beef broth and served on kaiser rolls with provolone cheese).

On the other hand, The Husband grew up with more of these traditional foods.  So when I come across a recipe that seems like it would be in his wheelhouse (but also goes with things I enjoy) I try to make them. This potpie recipe stood out because it doesn't use the typical cream or milk that many other recipes call for.  I decided to use Waygu beef instead of the typical ground chuck because I thought it would add a nice flavor and also it fancies up the dish a little.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Three Milks

When it comes to picking a dessert when we are out at a restaurant, The Husband is a good man. His palate leans towards fruit desserts, one of his favorites is Key Lime Pie.  I, on the other hand, am a hard core chocolate lover. If the dessert is called Death By Chocolate, I will take that challenge and be happy if the outcome is what the dessert is called. More often than not, The Husband will forgo his fruit dessert in order to share some chocolaty deliciousness with me. Whenever we come to this dessert conundrum and The Husband selects the chocolate, I'm reminded of why I love him so much.  

I came across this recipe for Tres Leches and thought that it would be a good way to split our difference.  Part of why Th Husband  enjoys fruit desserts is because they're light, part of why I enjoy chocolate desserts is the sweetness (and obviously the chocolate....). I wanted to try something a little different that played to some of the things that we enjoy. Also, it has strawberries, so The Husband gets his fruit too.

This dessert is great. You make it, throw it in the refrigerator and eat it the next day or the day after, or the day after. The longer it soaks, the better for you.  

Monday, February 18, 2013

Sprouted!


Last week I learned some fascinating information about every child’s least favorite food (and what has now become my most favorite) Brussels Sprouts. According to Now I Know, a daily fact email that I highly recommend subscribing to if you’re the type of person who want to have super random cocktail party conversations,  the reason children don’t like sprouts is biological!

Brussels sprouts contain a chemical compound in them which triggers a response from the bitter-detecting taste buds on our tongues. And as Popular Science notes, we lose taste buds as we age, and the bitter taste therefore isn't as strong as we get older. But children take the full brunt of the bitterness. Further, PopSci argues, children's aversion to bitter foods isn't just stubbornness, but perhaps evolutionary -- the overwhelming taste signaling, perhaps, a toxin in the food being eaten. 

And for those grown-ups who still don’t like them, well, they’re just genetically messed up.

As reported by the BBC, a typical person has "25 types of bitter receptors" on their tongues. But some people -- "due to their genetic make-up," as stated by Dr. Lisa Methven, a food and nutritional services professor quoted by the BBC -- have more. Dr. Methven estimates that these people are super-sensitive to bitter foods -- "they experience the bitter tasted up to 60 times higher than someone with an average number of taste buds."  Understandably, these people typically hate Brussels sprouts.

Fortunately for both The Husband and myself, our genetics are normal…at least regarding our bitter receptors.  

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sausage and Pepper Perfection

Growing up in an Italian household, there were some staples; spaghetti with meatballs (my family calls it gravy...the stuff you put on turkey is brown gravy), chicken or eggplant Parmesan and of course, sausage and peppers. My dad would always put in both the Sweet Italian and the Hot Italian sausage and let it cook down for hours. When dinner came around, we would eat it in a bowl, on top of rice. I realize that the rice thing throws some of you off. I grew up eating rice with a fair amount of things that The Husband doesn't agree with, lentils with rice, chili with rice, ect, but I love it.

But I digress. As we're working on cooking from home more, I decided that on a cold snowy Sunday, I was going to make some comfort foods. So two pounds of sausage, 6 peppers, and a bunch of tomato sauce later, I was able to  bring some of my childhood into our kitchen. This recipe is really easy, more than anything it just takes time. You can even do it in your slow cooker! But since I was home, I figured I'd make it in my stock pot. We had leftovers for 3 days, which was lovely because The Husband is back working in the ER and so he could have something substantial to eat before his shifts. You could also freeze it, but that would mean you have room in your freezer....which I don't.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Not So Vanilla Vodka


When I tell people that I have a food blog, I generally get asked if I prefer baking or cooking.  And while a fair number of the recipes I post generally lean towards the savory, I do enjoy making the sweet. About five years ago, a very good friend gave me an amazing birthday present, a gift that has continued to give. He made me home-made vanilla extract.

It was so simple and so perfect that I’ve used it ever since. 

For those of you who bake, you know how expensive good vanilla extract can be. A small bottle, one fluid ounce of the pure stuff (not the imitation), can cost around seven to nine dollar at the grocery store. If you bake more than three different items, you’ve gone through you little bottle of extract and have to buy some more. 

Initially when I received the home-made extract, I was a little wary. I mean, it was literally a vanilla bean inside a bottle of vodka. How was this going to compare to the stuff I buy at the store?  But because my friend took the time to make this for me, I decided to use it when I was baking some cookies. I figured I’d make a batch, if they tasted like vodka, I’d just toss them out and remake it.

New Years Resolutions and What Not

I've been rather remiss lately. Work has been pretty busy and our dining out has been drastically reduced. We're attempting to....gasp....budget. I don't handle things like budgeting well, especially when every other email I get to my personal account is about a new restaurant opening or the best dish/cocktail/bite that's out right now. The list of restaurants and bars that I want to go to grows daily. And it doesn't help that we DVR The Mind of a Chef  and Check, Please! and get Lucky Peach in the mail. Seriously, I recommend doing all of these things, but only if you have self control. I do not, but The Husband is a fountain of steely control, thank goodness for that. Otherwise we would probably be the most well fed, destitute people in Chicago.

 I can't totally complain about our budgeting, because it does involve another round of Season Tickets to Next. So you will be seeing postings about The Hunt, Vegan and Bocuse D'Or as well as maybe another trip to El Ideas or Grace or Elizabeth's or something exciting like that  over the next year, but I've also decided to try and post a little more about the dishes I make at home.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Talula's Kitchen Table

I have a list of hard to get reservations that I posted on my Challenge Accepted post.  According to this list, Talula's Table in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania was made ineligible because it is considered “an exclusive experience” and because it is technically not a restaurant.  Talula’s is a gourmet market by day and a farm to table, BYO restaurant by night.  Talula’s has one Farm Table that seats 10-12 people per night and requires dinners to make a reservation one year, that is correct, I said it, ONE YEAR in advance. You have to be incredibly dedicated to Sparkle Motion in order to get in. Reservations start one year to the day before and the phone lines open at 7am or you could be one of the lucky few and get an invitation to sit at their 8 person Kitchen Table.

So based upon the above statement, Talula’s Table is most definitely a hard to get reservation. And it should be, the food is amazing and worth the wait. It recently received Philadelphia’s coveted Four Bells, basically Philadelphia’s version of stars.

So when my adoptive brother, The Kern, called back in September and informed me that he had gotten a reservation for his girlfriend’s birthday at the invite only Kitchen Table on December 29th and asked The Husband and I to join, I immediately said yes.  Of course I said this without thinking about The Husband’s rather hectic work schedule, so we spent a good part of September, October and November wondering if he would be able to join in on the fun. As it turned out, he was placed on the Nice List this year and was able to fly in the night before.

As I said, Talula’s is a BYO and they are kind enough to send an email out with a rough approximation of the menu, along with recommended pairings. As The Brother is a beer geek, he was placed in charge of that. The Husband and I were charged with wine. Once the menu was received, I promptly printed it, along with the pairings and headed over to Perman's  for his expert opinion.  As we were going with my siblings, many of which are in school or about to head to school, or alcohol budget wasn’t huge. He did an amazing job of finding really fantastic wines, which paired perfectly with the dishes for a reasonable price. 

Kennett Square is a beautiful historic town outside Philadelphia, it's also the mushroom capital of the United States. With that being said, it’s surrounded by a fair amount of countryside and not exactly close to where The Parent’s live, also it had snowed a fair amount that day and the roads weren’t exactly plowed. The Kern’s Family was kind enough to not only be our designated drivers (I’m so used to Chicago, that I forget cabs aren’t plentiful outside of our bubble) but also gave us all bedrooms to sleep in for the night. The Husband and I are eternally grateful for that. I mean, who wants to pull the short straw on a meal like this and be the designated driver?!