So what's on the menu for New Year's Day?
For a bit of background on Hoppin' John and other New Year's culinary traditions, check out this story by Paul Gerald from 2005: Why Is John Hoppin'?
Check out these adorable cupcakes with the vintage deer and holly decorations. Co-worker Bianca Phillips made them.
Bianca is working on a cookbook and frequently brings treats to the office, and these cupcakes are among my favorite. They're mole chocolate with chili — sweet with just a hint of spice.
During the holidays, I type up my menu in a fun font and pass it around to my family a day or two before dinner. Seeing the menu gets everybody pumped and provokes a little help with the cooking (although that last part doesn’t always happen).
Last Friday, some Flyer folks had a Secret Santa exchange.
One coworker got a traveling Scrabble game, while another got one of those FusHiGi "magic gravity" balls (not so magical, fyi).
I received a circa-1978 community cookbook that I have enjoyed very much. A lot of it is the standard cheese grits and apple sauce cake. But, there are some gems, like the recipe for Tostadas that involves melting cheese on Doritos. And then there's this:
Curious about how the closing of Grace in Cooper-Young might (or might not) affect her sister restaurant Au Fond, I stopped by during peak lunchtime Saturday. The place was rocking.
For the hour I was there, lines in the restaurant’s front room stretched from the counter to the door. Customers didn’t seem to mind, although I got a little restless. Here’s the good news: The charming ambience of Au Fond softens the wait, and once you place an order, the food arrives quickly.
Someone in my family is receiving 22 pounds of tamales (6 dozen!) for Christmas. (And clearly this is someone I assume doesn't read this blog. But if I'm wrong ... surprise.)
Au Fond will remain open.
The release reads in part:
I need a creative break. I want to learn, evolve, and recapture my food focus. The demands of this restaurant, at this pace, it is impossible to continue. We have seen incredible support over the last year and half, but with our menu, food standards, service standards and economic problems we didn’t want to slowly phase out. I thought it would be best if we left on a high note.
Restaurant Grace, named after Vaughn's daughter, opened in September 2009.
UPDATED: The Reef has also closed.
From the Reef's phone message: "We ask that you please support your local restaurants."
After three nights in a row of cooking dinner, I was ready for a night out. So Tony and I headed for the Grove Grill, our neighborhood favorite, to check out happy hour and the restaurant’s new tapas menu, served from 3 p.m. to closing.
He's got a mere 8 minutes to sell his ravioli and sauce, but he points out that another QVC vendor sold $70,000 of popcorn in that time.
Today I stopped by Minglewood Hall to check out Cereal Bar.
What fun! For $4, it's all-you-can eat cereal with 20 brands to choose from — among them Cookie Crisps, Raisin Bran, Kashi Go Lean Crunch, Frost Mini-Wheats, Cap'n Crunch.
Mixing is encouraged, and the milks included plain old cow juice as well as soy and chocolate. For toppings, there's a selection of fresh and dried fruits, candies (Skittles!), nuts, and both chocolate and strawberry syrup.
The menu features non-cereal items as well, serving both breakfast and lunch. These items top out at $3.
Lots of love was thrown at this decidedly ugly slice of pizza at Frank's.
It's marinated brisket topping a house-made tomato sauce seasoned with turmeric, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and garlic.
A steal at $1.50.
Nicole Reed launched Cocoa Van Cupcake in July. The business sells cupcakes and whole cakes online, and delivery is free.
In explaining the appeal of the hand-held dessert, Reed says, "Everyone can have their own individual cake in the perfect portion, and it allows me to be creative."
Emphasis on the creative. Among Cocoa Van's cupcakes for the holiday season: Gingerbread with citrus icing, eggnog with nutmeg buttercream, and peppermint candy cane with mint buttercream.
I’ve been a fan of pepper bacon from Newman Farm for sometime, but I moved on to pork shanks this weekend at the urging of Rita Newman. “Make osso buco,” she said, handing me a copy of her simple, one-paragraph recipe. “It’s my favorite.”
Rita and her husband, Mark, raise heritage Berkshire pork at their picturesque farm in Myrtle, Missouri, so they know a thing or two about pork. But since I over-complicate everything, I also consulted The Sopranos Family Cookbook, where I found a more traditional version of osso buco that uses veal.