First Day in Lake Tahoe!

Well after typing a nice 700 word entry, WordPress decided to sign me out and not save my draft. So now I’m starting all over and since I’m lazy I’m going to make this brief(er). I am in South Lake Tahoe for a family vacation with my parents, sister, Aunt Chris, Uncle Mark, and cousin Beron.

It is beautiful! Mountains in the background, no humidity, lots of trees and the air smells fresh like pine. It really is so gorgeous and we have rented a huge/beautiful house to live in for the week.

 

It was kind of a terrible day of traveling to get here mostly because I was so sleep deprived from last week. Despite sucking down as much espresso as possible, I still passed out on the Phoenix airport floor. Once we finally landed in Reno we hit the slots right off the plane (they’re everywhere) and then got our sweet Chevy Traverse rental car to drive the 90 minutes up to our house on Heavenly Mountain.

After settling in we ordered the biggest pizza I’ve ever seen and had a few drinks in our hot tub before crashing for the night.

Sunday morning we had breakfast at  The Driftwood Cafe in Heavenly Village. We found it on Yelp and it was exactly what we wanted. Fresh food, big menu, and great service.

I ordered the make-your-own omelet with egg white, bacon, parm, green peppers, and 2 slices of avocado. My side was a little fruit cup with scooped out melon balls. I also had some really good sourdough bread. We all thought we were putting butter and jelly on our toast but at the very end my mom realized the butter was hidden on the other side of the table and we had actually all been eating mayonnaise with our jelly. So that was weird. My dad and uncle thought it was hilarious and renamed it “butt-naise.” Mature, I know.

I just made everyone snap a pic of their meals.

My dad also had an omelet

Mom had a really good fried egg sandwhich

My aunt had egg whites & toast

Sis had a veggie breakfast burrito with guac

Ber had the pancakes that actually came with hash browns sandwiched between

and Mark ordered the Ranchos del Driftwood with a black bean chicken chili sauce that he said was “Muy delicioso.”

After breakfast we grocery shopped and I convinced my mom to get a can of illy coffee which everyone loves.

Then we went to an art fair and a flea market. Theres a lot of western, Native American influence here and the art fair was a lot of dreamcatchers, jewelry (I got a cute pair of turquoise earrings) as well as tapestries and natural stones.

This picture is a man who looked like he was living out of a truck complete with a tv and satellite dish. There was also a guy selling stuff in the flea market and when I picked up a glass he said, “If you like it, its $7, if not $10 and if you have any weed to trade you’ll get a long way with me.” O Tahoe, how I love you.

Later I ran on the hills around our house. It kicked my butt but felt great and even to my surprise I managed 3 miles!

We ended he night at the movies while our parents went to the casino. They didn’t win anything (so we wont be moving here anytime soon.) But, we saw “Crazy, Stupid, Love” which was so cute and sweet.

All in all, it was a great day and I’m excited for today!

Richard Blais!

As you may have read on my Columbus (Restaurant) To-Do List, I am a big fan of Richard Blais, chef and current winner of Top Chef All-Stars. His food is creative, innovative, and I think Caroline put it best when she said “His passion for food is just infectious.” Needless to say watching him is very intense and entertaining. He’s like TV’s Bear Grylls of food.

So last week Caro saw on Twitter that he would be coming to the Giant Eagle Market District right near us, and of course we had to go! We registered online and made sure our schedules were clear. Once Sunday morning came around I wasnt feeling so good and Caro (and Tiff who tagged along as well ;)) wanted to fit in a trip to the gym, which put us back about a half hour.

20110717-021253.jpg20110717-021243.jpg

We ended up making it there just as it started at noon, but apparently (I swear the website didn’t mention this) we had to be there at 11:45 to get our tickets to meet him. Obviously we were pretty disappointed but we still were able to walk over to the kitchen and watch him cooking. He was making Fat Scallops with a mango puree and white truffle sauce. It looked delicious. He was just as fun and enthusiastic in person as he seems on TV. He was also very nice and encouraged the audience to ask questions.

Since we couldn’t sit down or get in line for an autograph, we decided to leave after about 45 minutes and get some breakfast. Of course, where did we go but none other than our fave,  Tasi cafe. Tiff had never been and Caro and I seem to be struggling with branching out. I think she’s trying to cram it in as much as possible before she leaves and I of course cannot blame her!

 

20110717-021223.jpg

20110717-021232.jpg20110717-021204.jpg

I wanted to try something new so I had the Toasted croissant with fried egg, rosemary ham, and Swiss. I was a bit leery of the Rosemary ham bc not im not really a fan of rosemary (or swiss actually,) but the flavors were all very mild. I knew I could trust Tasi’s pairing of foods and a fried egg is always delicious on a sandwich. I also ordered a double cappuccino, which they make with Italian illy espresso. It’s Caro’s favorite and I’ve tried it whenever she gets a latte but in a cappuccino it had a very strong, bold flavor. It was delish and exactly what I was craving. Actually now I’m craving it again thinking about it ;). Also being a true cappuccino, it had a really thick layer of foam!

Tiff and Caro split the Greek scrambled eggs and the Challah bread French Toast. Both were amazing of course and Tiff is now just as obsessed as we are with Tasi!

I’m so impressed with myself…

So this time I decided to do the cooking! My mom has had some time off work recovering from surgery so I’ve been hanging out at her house a lot. On Thursday we decided to make some cut out sugar cookies. During a trip to Amish country a few summers ago I bought some really cute cookie cutters at Lehman’s that I had not used in forever.

We used this great recipe I found on allrecipes.com (my favorite.) I wanted them to be just like Cheryl’s sugar cookies so after reading a few different recipes I chose this cookie mix and another for the buttercream icing. And made a few other alterations. I don’t follow directions well. ;)

First we mixed up the dough (we changed the measurements only because we accidentally started with too much butter, and I added almond because I always add it to any dessert that I make- it’s just so good and adds that extra sweet flavor. We attempted to be impatient and start cutting out the cookies immediately after mixing the dough but it was way too soft and impossible to work with so we broke down and put it in the fridge for an hour.

While making the icing my mom decided to use the smallest bowl possible which I don’t recommend because as you can see she was spraying little balls of icing all over us and the counters. We decided to dye it blue because its my favorite color, and we added almond to it of course.

After cutting out the shapes and baking them for 9 minutes, they were perfectly golden and ready to be iced. We had 6 shapes- an ice cream cone, a music note, a letter “B”, a flower, a heart, and this adorable heart of Ohio cutter I bought at the fair last year. All of my favorite things!

note: the icing knife at the top was apparently my grandma Joann’s favorite and my mom still always uses it on desserts. As sweet as that is, especially since my mom usually has no sentiment, it was way too big for these cookies and I had to switch to a smaller knife but I snapped a pic of it anyway.

As you can see they turned out great and are SO good! better than Cheryl’s and needless to say im quite proud!

…In addition to these yummy cookies, I impressed myself again this morning with this awesome breakfast sandwich I made. I went to Rife’s Market in Grandview yesterday and bought a bunch of fresh fruits and veggies as well as Amish butter and Pumpernickel bread (two of my faves.) I grew up going to Carfagna’s which is basically the same thing and I’ve driven past there a million times and never gone in. It was great, well priced, and now I’ll never buy produce at Giant eagle again.

Anyway I made a sandwich this morning with the pumpernickel bread, eggs, avocado, cream cheese, and fresh tomato that I bought there yesterday. I also added a few strips of bacon I stole from my roommate. It was Ah-may-zing. Like so so good. The combo of cream cheese and avocado (which I always get in sushi) is just so creamy and compatible. I will definitely be thinking/talking about it all day!

Tasi: yet again

Last week I was at Creal’s and Caroline came home from class at Pure Barre (her new obsession) and wanted to get Tasi. Of course I couldn’t say no, and after our failed attempt the day before Creal was down to try again. This time we were smarter and called ahead though to see how busy they were. They told us there was no line and a few seats at the bar open so we were off!20110704-010816.jpg

They were definitely busy, but it was Sunday and there were some open seats. Regardless of the crowd our food came out quickly as usual. I hadn’t had their French toast since my first visit in ’08 (the whole reason I went after reading about it in a review) so I decided to order it again. It was even better than I remember. Challah bread makes the best french toast, the bananas were warm with a strong Frangelico taste,and it had just the right amount of syrup. Honestly my descriptions just can’t do it justice- EVERYONE needs to go try this french toast- it’s just out of this world. I also had some of their good Crimson Cup Armando’s blend coffee.

20110704-010520.jpg

Caroline ordered the poached eggs over black bean cakes with tomato and toast. I thought it sounded questionable, I mean what is a black bean cake exactly? I’m still not entirely sure how it’s made but I loved it. The eggs were perfect, left a little runny, the cake was flavorful but not too strong and then putting on the toast with some tomato was just and awesome combo. Kudos to Caro for trying something new and it being so good.

,We did end up sitting at the bar which was a nice change. I always like when you can see your food being made, and we were fascinated with how fast they were working. As expected, it was definitely another great meal at my beloved Tasi cafe!

20110704-010508.jpg

Press Grill

So for breakfast/lunch this morning I went down to the Short North with some friends. Apparently, so did everyone else. I’m not sure if it’s always like that on Saturday or maybe just because of Red, White, & Boom last night but everywhere was packed. We really wanted breakfast food but when I saw the Press Grill “open” sign I tried convincing everyone it was good stuff and they agreed to try it. It’s located just north of Lincoln on the West side of High St, opens at 11:30 for lunch, and the kitchen stays open until 1:00 am (bars open until 2:30.)

The atmosphere is very low-key. It’s dimly lit (which is why my pics kind of suck) and there’s a big bar that takes up most of the space. They also have some high-top tables and smaller short tables with an open kitchen in the back where you can see them making the food. I had been there once before blogging and had been wanting to go back. The owner is also always there working which shows he really cares and I think its evident by the good experience he’s created.

I also have to mention how good the music was- while we were there they played 2 Death Cab for Cutie songs including “Such Great Heights,” 2 No Doubt songs from their “Return of Saturn” album which is one of my favorites, and Dashboard Confessional’s “Screaming Infidelities” and “The Best Deceptions.” Basically if I had a restaurant, there’s not much I would do different from what you can find at The Press Grill.

20110702-021125.jpg

The menu is mostly sandwiches and pizza with a decent amount of a la carte sides. They also have daily specials including Thanksgiving dinner every Thursday, and Steak dinner on Sundays. The sides include mac and cheese (that I haven’t tried but saw on the way out and I couldn’t stop staring it looked so yummy) as well buttered corn, coleslaw, etc. Separating the side makes the prices really great too for the quality and size.

Joelynn ended up getting the Loaded Cottage fries as a side/starter. They were thin-cut potato rounds that had been fried and topped with tomato, sour cream, cheese, scallions and bacon. Kind of like a deconstructed loaded baked potato and needless to say they were de-lish!

20110702-021100.jpgSince we had originally been going out for breakfast food most of us ordered the Fried Egg Sandwich. Thick cut toasted bread with nice warm eggs was the perfect way to start the day. It was made with 2 fried eggs, bacon, tomato, lettuce, american cheese, and mayo. I ordered mine with light mayo because it’s not my favorite thing, but it has been growing on me lately, and it went really well with this sandwich.

The portions were perfect, I don’t like sandwiches that are just loaded with layers of the same ingredient but this had just the right amount of egg, cheese, & veggies. All of this came on 2 thick slices of Texas Toast that perfectly balanced all of the layers and I was even still able to bite into it. It was a big sandwich. I didn’t think I’d eat both halves. But I did. And so did everyone else- it was just too good too put down!

20110702-021137.jpg

Katalina’s :breakfast:

Umm I had a breakfast sandwich at Katalina’s Cafe Corner and I still can’t stop thinking about it. Nothing I’ve had for breakfast since then has been adequate. Not even a trip to my beloved iHop this weekend.

Cafe Corner serves breakfast all day which is awesome in itself and I always try to remember to go somewhere besides the usually suggested Bob Evan’s (bleh), so Katalina’s sounded perfieto!

After thoroughly studying the menu I decided I needed to try the Slow-Roasted Pork & Egg sandwich. It includes with House-made pork slow roasted in secret sauce (not barbecue-y, thank god), a fried egg, avocado, roasted red pepper, and mayo (which I don’t even care for, but I think it was made for this sandwich) all on 2 thick toasted/buttered slices of sourdough bread. Seriously incredible. I swear I can literally taste it as I type. Like I’ve said before, you know something was good not just when you taste it, but when your still thinking about it later and just want to tell everyone you know about how great it was.

It was pretty big so I only ate half but even the cold leftovers later that night were delicious. I want to try some of thier other breakfast items, but I honestly don’t know if I can go back there and actually resist this sandwich.

Joelynn and Shilling were also with me, and both ordered the breakfast tacos. They are supposedly award winning but none of us were really thrilled with them to be honest. I mean they were good and all but kind of bland, especially for having chorizo in them. They came on corn tortillas with egg, chorizo, avocado, salsa, sour cream, hot sauce, and cheese. Jo loves spicy food and strong flavors so she expected a lot, but I don’t, and even I didn’t think these were hot at all. Not bad, but kind of boring. Maybe it was just an off day…

They did look pretty though and came with some yummy hash browns on the side!

As I said before, the menu at Cafe Corner is extensive and I can’t wait to go back and try more!