January 30, 2011

The Comfort Sandwich

For some reason I have always remembered the dinner my mom had waiting for me when I arrived back into town the summer of 2006 when I moved back to go to business school. I pulled up to my newly rented little vintage apartment in Uptown with my Jeep packed to the brim. The apartment was empty, aside from the shag rugs and folding chairs I had gotten from Ikea and plopped in there a few weeks earlier.

I was emotionally on edge. I had just quit my job at American Girl, packed up everything I owned, and decided to give this business school thing a shot. And there she was waiting for me at my new apartment with a delicious little dinner from Lucia’s To Go: a brie & arugula sandwich, a chocolate cookie, and a bottle of Pelegrino.

Flash-forward three years later. I was having a particularly stressful week at work. And one day I came home to a cooler on our porch full of meals for the entire week. There was spaghetti and meatballs. There was meatloaf and mashed potatoes. And there was gazpacho with…brie & arugula sandwiches. (Yes, I do have the best mom ever.)

So now I call this brie & arugula sandwich “the comfort sandwich” because she has given me that sandwich in times when I’ve needed…well, comfort.

We had it for dinner tonight. Not because I’m particularly in need of comfort, but because it’s delicious, too. And it’s easy (and I had to work tonight).

My mom has altered the recipe a bit vs. Lucia’s version. The pretzel breadsticks from Breadsmith add a little something special, I think.

Brie & Arugula Sandwiches (aka The Comfort Sandwich)

2 pretzel breadsticks from Breadsmith
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt & Pepper

Slice breadsticks in half. Smear brie onto one side of bread. Top with mounds of arugula. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Done!

Makes: 2

January 28, 2011

A Sweet Reunion: Me and Brasa

iPhone pics not cutting it--is it wierd to take my camera with me?

Holy happiness.

That is what I feel every time I go to Brasa. Before our stupid “let’s try to only eat out on the weekends” thing, we used to make an appearance every couple of weeks. Lately, our frequency has decreased. And I’ve missed it.

It was good to be home tonight.

Sorry, ridiculously corny, I know, but I feel really strongly about Brasa. The food is fantastic—delicious and comforting. I could eat Brasa every night, and if they had a location that was closer to our house, I probably would.

I had to look up how they describe their food, because I have a hard to summarizing it for people. Southern-style comfort food? Definitely comfort food, but “southern” takes me to Paula Deen. And it's so much better than Paula Deen. Rotisserie? Sounds so limiting. Here’s what they, those Brasa experts, say: “Brasa serves comfort food inspired by the Creole cooking traditions of the Americas & Caribbean.” Okay. Sure. Whatever you want to call it, I love it.

All of it. As demonstrated by what the 2 of us ordered tonight:

¼ lb pulled chicken.
¼ lb pulled slow roasted pork.
¼ lb braised beef.
Small crispy yuca w/ mojo.
Small romaine & fresh mozzarella salad.
Small rustic style grits w/ cheddar.
1 cornbread w/ honey glaze.
1 sangria.
1 retro bottle of Dr. Pepper.

I’m slightly embarrassed. But I have no regrets.

Seriously, folks, everything they make is delicious. I’ve had almost everything on that menu and have never been disappointed. It really just boils down to what you like. The sandwiches are stellar if you’re in the mood for a sandwich. I particularly love the Slow Roasted Pork Sandwich (with ginger mayo, cilantro, and pickled vegetables) and the Braised Beef Sandwich (with fried onions, sharp cheddar, and bbq sauce).

All of the meats are great. I usually find myself deciding between the pork and the beef. As for the sides, the grits are great. The masa corn cakes are great. The black beans and rice are good in a “my palate needs a little break” kind of way. Their chips and guac are very good too. I generally shy away from the creamed spinach and yams, but only because I’m not a creamed spinach or yam kind of gal. They’re both very well-prepared.

And the yuca. Don’t even get me started on the yuca. Because I’ll never stop.

But I’m sorry, you haaaaaaaaaaaaaave to hear about the yuca. I’ll try to keep this short. The yuca is kind of like a potato, but better. They fry them. They drizzle some sort of citrusy oil on them, it seems, that makes your mouth pucker ever so slightly. They serve them with a side of cilantro-y, garlicky, creamy mojo sauce. And you never want to stop eating them. So you don’t. And you promise yourself you will never go there and not order them. And you don’t. They are life changing. I think maybe…just maybe…they are my favorite food.

As for logistics, Brasa has two locations—NE Minneapolis and St. Paul (right on Grand Ave.) I prefer the Minneapolis location. The food is better and the space is cooler (renovated old auto garage). I’ll be honest, they could have more friendly wait staff. But who cares when the food is that good? With the outdoor seating out of commission in the winter, the wait can get kinda crazy on weekend nights. But, if you get there before 6, you’re golden. And I happen to think waiting is worth it if that’s what you get faced with. And be prepared to wait longer than they say it will be. Predicting wait time is not a strength of theirs.

As for prices, we got all of the above tonight for $50 bucks. A steal.

Brasa is great for random Friday nights, random weekday nights, takeout, dining in, lunch, dinner, whenever. But I reco not going with a large group. They’re not set up for that. You’ll surely wait forever.

Go. Run. You’ll love it. Not as much as me (it’s not possible). But you’ll love it. I promise.

Brasa Rotisserie on Urbanspoon

Brasa Rotisserie on Urbanspoon

January 26, 2011

Corner Table: 1 year, 9 months later

1 year and 9 months ago, I went to Corner Table for the second time. That same night Zach and I got engaged. :)

5 nights ago, I went to Corner Table for maybe the fifth or sixth time. And it was -15 degrees out, actual temperature.

But if there is any restaurant in town I’d want to go to during an arctic blast, it would be Corner Table. When I balked at being seated right next to the door, the hostess informed me that they had the heat turned up to 82 degrees. It was true. I think I actually saw steam on the windows. A welcome sight when it’s -15 below out, actual temperature.

The menu is small, but Corner Table is all about doing what they do well. They locally source; they make what’s in season. The menu changes all the time (and their website generally doesn’t keep up with said changes), so you need to go in feeling slightly adventurous.

But the food is always good.

There seemed to be something about the frigid temps that inspired the kitchen the other night. Our dinner was especially good.

Potato gnocchi with pumpkin and browned butter: The big chunks of sautéed pumpkin were delicious and a surprise basis the other pumpkin gnocchi executions I’ve had before. And the gnocchi themselves were the perfect vessel to use to sop up the browned butter. Note to self: browned butter twice in the same week is probably excessive. (Don't know what I'm talking about? Read "A Spontaneous Monday Night Baking Adventure" post.) 

Even better than the gnocchi though was the chicken and funnel cake others at our table had for their first course. Lightly fried mounds of chicken confit nestled with pieces of funnel cake. Funnel cake. All with a side of refreshingly tangy homemade coleslaw. It was unhealthy for sure. But it was delicious. And it was different (in a good way, of course).

For my main I had the blackened rib eye with crispy polenta and balsamic onions. Rib eye good. Balsamic onions a nice complement with their zippiness. The crispy polenta—the star of the dish. Imagine little cubes of perfectly salted pan-fried goodness, oozing with creamy polenta when bitten into. They were quite delicious.
For dessert we all had the carrot cake, although some of us split it and some of us did not. The folks at Corner Table should warn everyone to leave their carrot cake expectations at the door when ordering CT’s version. What came out was not 3 layers of moistness with visible carrots, raisins, and walnuts. Instead, what came out was a little rectangular piece of spice biscuit-ish cake, with an accompanying luxurious blob of cream cheese frosting. The most carrot-y part about the “carrot cake” was the carrot ribbon garnish that was along for the ride. I looked at it and immediately assumed I’d be disappointed. But I wasn’t! They knew better than I did, those folks at Corner Table, what I was truly hungry for. Not as obscene as the usual carrot cake, but still the same flavors somehow. Quite interesting. I’m still mentally processing this.

A few unconfirmed fun facts: I have heard (have not witnessed much to my dismay) that on Friday nights at 10pm the wait staff comes around with platters full of unique $1 sliders. This is genius if true. Have also heard they have a table in the kitchen that can be rented out for the night for a flat per-person fee. And with that comes unlimited plates of food that they slide across the table along with unlimited wine. It’s on my short list of things to do this year.

Corner Table is one of my favorite neighborhood spots in town. Great food, friendly wait staff, full of people cozied up next to each other at the small tables or at the small bar. Full of people who look like they’re regulars and look like they love good food too.

Corner Table on Urbanspoon

January 24, 2011

A Spontaneous Monday Night Baking Adventure

The new Bon Appétit came today, and sure enough (because Valentine’s Day is coming up) on the cover is a picture of brownies. “Best Ever Brownies,” it says, atop a stack of four perfectly walnut studded fudgy brownies.

Zach took one look and promptly asked if I’d make them. On a work night! “If we have walnuts,” I replied. There was some rummaging through the cabinets. And then there was a trip to the grocery store. And then just as they were coming out of the oven there was even a brother who stopped by after seeing a FB post mentioning brownies.

Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts.

I just noticed that the total time listed for the recipe is 4 hours 50 minutes. Yea, right. Like anyone can really wait that long to let brownies cool before digging in. Not in this house.

The best part of these brownies to me was actually making them (gasp, I know). There are very few things I enjoy making more than I enjoy eating. Brownies is one of them, though. I like a good brownie, don’t get me wrong, but I love the shiny batter that brownies produce more. I love hot, melted chocolate. I mixing the batter by hand. I love that you only add in a few really good ingredients. I love pouring out the batter and spreading it evenly in the pan.

And these had an extra kicker because they involved browning butter. Making browned butter is…pretty great. You watch the butter melt slowly, you patiently watch it brown while stirring occasionally, and then it happens—the smell changes. Nuttiness takes over. I actually made Zach come smell the browned butter tonight over the stove.

I think we three waited about 10 minutes tops before we cut into them. First impressions? Good. Ooey, gooey, and I think I could actually taste the browned butter. I’m withholding full critique until I actually taste them after they have cooled. But for now, I’d say they’re a safe bet.

Page 91, if you’re interested.

January 23, 2011


I’m generally not a bread maker. It’s a little too fussy and technical to be enjoyable for me. But since challah was introduced into my life by my Jewish husband and his family a few years ago, I’ve been on a mission to make it myself. And challah-luiah, folks, this weekend I was finally successful!

I can’t resist a beautiful, knotty, shiny loaf of challah. There is something so perfect about it—soft, chewy, and white carb-y. Eggy with a hint of sweetness. It’s addicting.

My first attempt at making challah was well over a year ago. The note I wrote next to the recipe in the cookbook reads: “Need to let knead (in the mixer) for 15 minutes.” I write comments in all of my cookbooks next to the recipes I try. But, I have a real problem writing anything negative in my treasured books, so I generally am not as honest as I should be. The good news is that I always remember how I truly felt about a recipe. “Need to let knead for 15 minutes” really meant “Recipe didn’t work for me…dough didn’t rise…dough so thick it messed up KitchenAid (had to get a new one)…never got whole loaf to be cooked through in the middle without being burned on outside.”

Sad. And yes, it really did mess up my KitchenAid.

So, after two failed attempts with that recipe, I took a hiatus from challah making for a while. But a few weeks ago I decided to give it another go. I decided to move on to a new recipe, this time out of the cookbook Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France. The recipe is called “Rabbi’s Wife’s Challah.” It instilled a sense of confidence in me. Surely, a rabbi’s wife must make great challah.

I actually had a breakthrough in bread making when I tried this recipe for the first time. You know how when you watch professionals making bread, they get that perfectly smooth ball of dough? Well, I didn’t really think regular people like me could achieve the same thing. But, you can! You too can have perfect dough! You just need to knead it long enough!! This achievement was so rewarding that I think I might make bread more often.

But anyway, turns out the rabbi’s wife makes a mean dough. It rose perfectly. It braided wonderfully. It needed to bake for exactly the amount of time the recipe said it would. And it produced a loaf that was HUGE. It was TWO feet long. I’m not joking. Visually and texture-wise, it was a perfect challah.


It wasn’t quite sweet enough for me. Soaked in orange and vanilla scented custard though, it made fantastic French toast! (Ina’s Challah French Toast recipe.)       

So, this weekend I decided to give it one more try and tweak the recipe to make it sweeter. I added quite a bit more sugar. I also halfed the recipe because unless you have some major plans for that challah, it’s a lot of challah. The result: pretty close to perfect. (Might add some honey next time for kicks). But for now, here you go. You knead to make this—if for nothing else than for some stellar French toast.

Rabbi’s Wife’s Challah—adapted from Joan Nathan’s Quiche’s, Kugels, and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France

1 tbsp active dry yeast
2.5 tbsp sugar
Half of 1 large egg, plus 1 egg yolk
1/6 cup canola oil
3.5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
Half tbsp salt

Dissolve yeast and sugar in 1 cup warm water in bowl of standing mixer w/ dough hook attachment. Add the half of 1 egg & oil; mix. (For half of an egg, I whisk 1 whole egg in a separate bowl and then pour in half of it.)

Gradually add flour and salt and continue to mix with mixer until blended well. When all of the flour is incorporated well, knead the dough by hand on a floured surface until you get that perfectly smooth round of dough!

Put dough in well-oiled bowl; cover with clean dish towel; let rise at room temperature for 45 mins.

Punch the dough down and divide into 3 pieces. Roll each piece into a strand about 1.5 inches thick. Braid the 3 strands together, pinching the ends together. Carefully place on greased baking sheet and brush with the egg yolk (whisked with a little splash of water). Let rise in closed oven (that isn’t turned on) for 45 mins.

Brush with egg yolk / water mixture again. Turn oven on to 400 and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until top is golden brown and the challah sounds hollow when you tap it.

Remove from oven and place on cooling rack.

Yield: 1 loaf

January 18, 2011

A Food Therapy Trifecta

I was in a funk this weekend. Was probably still recovering from all of my food disappointments from last week. I was annoying for sure—whining, being lazy, being indecisive, whining some more. I finally got so sick of myself that I gave myself a time-out and went to lay down on our bed. I laid there and pitied myself for a few minutes, then started trying to figure out how I could shake the grumps, when all of a sudden: DING DING DING!

Food therapy.

Yep, I know, most people are all about retail therapy. I’ve been known to indulge on that front, too, when in need of a pick-me-up. And it generally works okay. But not as well as FOOD therapy does!

The prospect of my so-called food therapy trip was compelling enough to get my hair in a ponytail, a hat on my head, and my Hunters on my feet in like 3 minutes flat.

1st stop: Rustica. I love Rustica. Rustica is one of the closest things to Paris that exists in Minneapolis in my opinion. Truly delicious croissants and pastries, made the way they were meant to be made. And delicious coffee that they brew by the cup. You actually watch them weigh out the appropriate amount of beans, put it into the machine (I don’t pretend to have a clue about coffee making beyond that), and voila. A steaming $3.50 cup of delicious coffee. Should be delicious for $3.50, right? I like the Limoncilo blend myself—as the barista there said once, “it’s bright, in a good way.” An accurate assessment.

2nd stop: With a warm cup of coffee between my hands, walked a few doors down to Barnes & Noble for a…drum-roll please…cookbook. I am obsessed with cookbooks. I find ridiculous amounts of joy in looking at them over and over and over and over (and over), flagging new things I want to try, counting how many I have, rearranging them by color / cuisine / title / height / author / how much I like them. Due to a lack of selection at this particular B&N, I ended up with a totally uncharacteristic choice for me—The Essential New York Times Cook Book by Amanda Hesser. I say uncharacteristic because it has no pictures. And it has a thousand recipes. It’s a good 932 pages. With no pictures. Idea is cool: Hesser (food columnist) digs through the archives of the NYT and re-tests / re-writes / compiles the best of the best. What surprised me is how far back some of the recipes date (1940s). So, verdict is still out. I’m partial to the beautiful food photography in Ina’s books.

3rd stop: Sugar Sugar. I love this little candy store. Across the street from one of my favorite breakfast places (Grand Café), what is so interesting about this shop is that it isn’t all about abundance like most candy stores are. Just half-filled glass jars of the really good stuff. A candy shop that definitely skews more fruity than chocolaty, much to my pleasure. I chose my usual little bag of wine gums (photo at end of “Introductions” post)—perfectly chewy, perfectly fruity and sweet. They’re kind of like juju fruits, although I hesitate to make the comparison because they are so much better. I highly recommend them.

And that was it. 3 stops. 1.5 hours. 1 city. 36 dollars. A few sugary calories. A much better mood.

January 16, 2011

My Take on...Barrio

So, we made our third visit to the new Barrio (Cocina del Barrio, if we’re interested in being exact) in Edina on Friday night. With three visits in one month under my belt, I feel ready to comment.

Food: Excellent (best of all of the locations!).

Location: Even more excellent (perfect for stumbling, I mean, walking home this summer).

Drinks: Not quite as good as the other locations.

Noise: Terrible. The Edina location is so freaking loud. I realize I’ve been known to be a party pooper at times, but this location is LOUD. Very, very LOUD. My advice: drink quickly so that you don’t care for very long.

Crowd: It’s an interesting group of folks that this new Edina location is bringing in. Part “dressed like they are going out in NYC bachelorettes,” part “normal, quiet middle-aged couples,” part “I’m super wealthy in my fur coat middle-agers,” and then Zach and I. I guess I’m not sure why any of this surprises me for Edina.

Anyone who knows anything about me knows that I have loved the other two Barrio locations since the early days in which they opened. One of my favorite restaurants in town for sure. A hip tequila bar with a menu mostly comprised of Latin street food (individual pork carnitas tacos, fried mahi mahi tacos, chicken enchiladas, etc.) and excellent margaritas. The quality of ingredients, preparation of the food, and presentation are all excellent—and for what you pay ($3-4 bucks per taco / enchilada), it’s a great value. The owners also own La Grassa, and the chef used to work at La Belle Vie. Enough said.

The must-haves:

The Trinity: My favorite margarita. Ever. For some reason, it hasn’t been as good at the Edina location any of the times I’ve been there. It’s missing something—I think it’s too light on the lime juice. It just doesn’t have the tangy kick it has at the other locations. It’s also slacking on the salt. But it’s still strong. J And at the other locations, it’s perfect.

Chips and Guac: I’d flag these as the best chips in town—they have a hit of cumin, they’re perfectly greasy, and they’re perfectly salted. The bowl always empties itself. The guac is just what guac should be—fresh, cool, and creamy with the perfect amount of cilantro. And I, personally, love the radishes on the top.

Pork Carnitas Taco: I think if I had a top five favorite foods list, this might make it onto it. This taco is perfection. Two soft corn tortillas topped with carnitas, green salsa, and a scattering of chopped onions. The carnitas is delicious—juicy and tasty with crispy edges. It’s meant to be eaten as one taco, but I outsmart the system and eat it as two tacos because there is enough filling to do so. So ha!

Chicken and Black Bean Tostada: I’m always surprised at just how good this is when we get it. Listing the ingredients out just doesn’t do it justice, but here goes. It’s a crispy tostada topped with a thick layer of pureed black beans, sweet and spicy chicken tinga, shredded lettuce, finely grated Mexican cheese, and mango habanero salsa. It’s really refreshing, but super high on flavor. Delish.

My take on the differences between the three locations:

Downtown: A little more bar-like than the other two locations; can be crowded; very dark inside; and I think the food is better at the other locations. But, one of my top recos for a first date place in the Twin Cities.

St. Paul: Easier to get in; has a more relaxed vibe; food and drinks are both great here; and I can’t forget to mention, good people watching late night on the weekends when they clear out room for a dance floor!

Edina: Best food of all locations (and larger menu); interesting assortment of people; very loud; very hard to get in right now; and I think the drinks are better at the other two locations. But because it’s three blocks away, the chances of running into us are high. J

Barrio, I heart you. Please don’t ever leave me.

Cocina Del Barrio on Urbanspoon

Barrio Tequila Bar on Urbanspoon

Barrio on Urbanspoon

January 13, 2011

A sad weekly round-up

It's been a disappointing food week. (Sigh.) And it started out so promising.

Zach and I are on a mission to eat dinner at home more (why exactly, I am not completely sure), but nonetheless, I'm on a mission to stick to my mission.

So, eat dinner at home more. That proves to be a challenge for us. It takes a lot of planning to get dinner on the table after work. And a lot of quick trips to the grocery store. And a lot of clean up.

So, I decided to cook my butt of on Sunday. I made homemade pizza dough (for Sunday night white pizzas with arugula). I made chicken potpie from Ad Hoc at Home. And I made Shrimp and Green Bean Curry from Bon Appetit. Half of the curry to be had over rice. Half to use in quesadillas another night. The pizza was delicious. We ate that fresh Sunday night. Success.

And that's where the success ends. I have been reminded of why leftovers just don't do it for me.

That potpie was a beauty Sunday when it came out of the oven. The crust was perfectly browned and I had taken my time to fold over the excess pie crust edges so that they actually looked nice. The bechamel was bubbling just so slightly under the crust. Beautiful, I tell you.

Same for the curry. It was a pretty, bright creamy green, speckled with freshly chopped cilantro. The green beans were cooked to perfection. And the little shrimps were cutely curled up and pink. 

Fast forward to Monday night. Potpie went into the oven to re-heat. Potpie came out and was served onto plates. So-so. Where was my creamy, comforting bechamel? Soaked into the veggies, I'm afraid.

Fast forward to Tuesday night. Because my brother had joined us for dinner Monday night, we didn't have leftovers to stretch into Tuesday. I was not disappointed about this, I'll be honest. A perfect excuse to go out! And I couldn't say I hadn't tried! Zach easily obliged. Off to one of our favorites, we went. I'm not going to name names here because this favorite of ours is sure to be an upcoming restaurant review on here because it is almost always fantastic, but not their best effort on Tuesday. That is really rare. The food gods were not looking out for me this week.

Wednesday night I learned that curry doesn't freeze well, especially when it contains coconut milk. Things separated, it seemed more oily than creamy. The green color had dulled into more of a split-pea green. The green beans were limp and watery, and I don't know that shrimp was meant to be re-heated. But I powered through. I ate it.

Tonight I followed through and completed the plan by turning the leftover-leftover curry into quesadillas. Not impressive. I'm deflated. Bad food makes me crabby.

January 6, 2011

Smooth, cool, comforting, creamy heavy cream

I have a friend who loves brown sugar. As in loves it so much she eats it by the spoonful (occasionally, not all the time). I feel that way about heavy cream. I love heavy cream. No, I looooove heavy cream.

I was reminded of this just this morning when I spotted the left-over open container of it in the fridge from last night’s dinner. And just like that, the morning was better. I’m not sure which part exactly provided the extreme delight: the heavy cream itself or simply the recollection of how much I love heavy cream.

Smooth, cool, comforting, creamy heavy cream.

I also have been known to eat heavy cream by the spoonful. 3 spoonfuls at a time sometimes. Sometimes straight up. Sometimes with a little bit of sugar sprinkled over the top (my preferred method). It’s truly a guilty pleasure that I do in fact feel guilty about. Sorta.

But this morning, I didn’t eat it by the spoonful. I ate it poured over my oatmeal. I drizzled it over the top and watched it make a shallow pool on the bottom of the bowl. I sprinkled in some brown sugar and blueberries, and took my first bite with a disproportionate amount of heavy cream to oatmeal. Mmm, a treat indeed.

I have seen first-hand on many occasions how heavy cream makes things insanely better. My best friend Jenni has a family apple pie recipe that calls for a cup of heavy cream poured over the top of the apple mixture before the pie is baked, and I’m telling you, that pie is different from the rest of the apple pies out there. Everyone always comments on how good that pie is. And I always tell them that it has a cup of heavy cream in it. And you see them briefly process this, have an a-ha moment, and instantly get it. Once, when I realized midway through making chili that I didn’t have any chili powder, I took my Italian sausage / onion / red pepper / tomato sauce mixture, poured in a lot of heavy cream (and parm), and created a recipe appropriately named “chili pasta” by my husband that he now frequently begs me to make.

Okay, so not surprising, right, that a huge dose of heavy cream does great things. But you know what? A little goes a long way too. A little dash of heavy cream sure makes coffee feel a lot more luxurious. Even in its whipped form, a little bit of heavy cream is just what you need to be able to polish off a rich chocolate pot de crème.

And a little bit on a spoon aint bad either.

January 4, 2011


I don't know why I haven't thought of this sooner.

I find myself frequently stifling myself from updating my Facebook status to something food-related because I'm sure my not-so-foodie friends get pretty sick of hearing about what I ate for dinner, every single particulate that was in the cookies I baked, or how I practiced using my new DSLR by taking hundreds of pictures of beautiful little candies that I bought at Sugar Sugar.

But that's always what I seem to want to talk about!

So, seems so obvious. Start a blog about food. About the sheer delight and comfort I get from going to our local (and quite delicious) pasta bar for dinner in the middle of the week. About my method for reading a new cookbook when I first get it (quick flip through initially to get a lay of the land, followed by a cover to cover thorough reading, generally ignoring the intro). About how deep down I love the kudos garnered from our family's chocolate cupcake recipe.

My mom is partly to thank for this obsession. French-born, she grew up on good food, and fed that good food to me and my brother all of our lives. So generally speaking, my standards are high. But don't get me wrong. I have foods I'm embarrassed to admit I do love as a self-proclaimed foodie. Store-bought cake. Manwich. Chik-fil-a. Cheescurds.

So, here we go. No more stifling...