Thursday, June 21, 2012

Review: Pompilio's

My friend has been raving about Pompilio's in Newport for a couple months now.  She said she loved the small local feel of the restaurant and really enjoyed her meals that she has had here.  I do love Italian, so when my husband was recently craving Italian, I suggested we give it a try.

Pompilio's is located in the small neighborhood of Newport, KY and there is a location in Independence too.  It is well-known for having a scene from Rain Man filmed here.  There was plenty of parking options located on the neighboring streets.  I loved the location, making it definitely feel like a neighborhood gem.

Upon walking in, I was a little taken aback.  The bar area was packed with people...and smoke.  I forgot that Kentucky still allows smoking in restaurants.  I am not one who typically is bothered by smoke actually, but this was pretty intense.  We were led to the hostess stand in another room who asked if we wanted smoking or non-smoking.  We chose the latter.  We were immediately seated to a cozy booth in the back of the restaurant.

As we got comfortable I was able to take a minute to soak in the ambiance and patrons of Pompilio's.  I liked how the interior had a feeling of being in a family restaurant.  There was a variety of patrons, including families, children, and couples.  It wasn't too loud and had some great eccentric pieces adorning the walls.

Ross and I took some time looking over the menu after ordering our drinks.  The menu is huge.  It offers specialty dishes, pastas, chicken, salads, appetizers, and more.  It really is pretty extensive.  I asked our matter-of-fact waitress what she recommended, and she suggested the chicken tortellini which was one of the dishes I was debating, so I went for it.  This was served with a side salad.  Ross decided to order the Cannelloni.  He has never ordered this before, so I was surprised, but it sounded good! He wanted a Caesar salad with his meal.

As we waited, a server brought us some bread to snack on.  This was pretty boring.  It really just was white bread.  It seemed to me like bread that I could get from a bag at the store.

Next, came our salads.  These salads were too a bit disappointing.  It was a portion of iceberg lettuce topped with two cucumbers and two tomatoes.  I had the Italian dressing, which was just okay. Ross didn't really care for his salad either.  It was over-dressed making it taste a bit soggy.  Not terrible, but not that great either.

At this point, we were excited for our entrees to come.  We finished our drinks and chatted while we waited....and waited...and noticed that the table who was sat 10-15 minutes after us received their entrees.  We weren't terribly bothered by this, but we did notice it.  Our waitress did stop by a bit later and apologized for the food taking longer than normal, which was nice to acknowledge.  Finally, our food arrived.

The chicken tortellini is sauteed with garlic, basil, onions, and sun-dried tomatoes and served in a Parmesan cream sauce.  This overall was just okay.  I thought there was way too much cream sauce making it a little too rich for me.  Other than that, I really liked the sun-dried tomatoes and the chicken was pretty good too.  This was a big portion and had about half to take home.  I think this was a decent dish, but just too much cream/cheese, in my opinion.

Ross' dish was not good.  I really can't even try to make it sound good.  I thought it was terrible.  The cannelloni tasted rubbery to me.  It was stuffed with beef and Italian sausage, which really had no flavor.  Ross chose Alfredo sauce on top of it, and I didn't think that had any flavor either.  It really needed some salt and pepper at least.  This was a very bland dish.  I also thought for Italian food it was a small portion. Ross didn't mind though because he didn't like this either.

I was so disappointed in Pompilio's!  I really wanted to like this place.  I thought the interior and exterior is really unique and a lot of people seem to enjoy it.  It was busy, but not on a wait, and prices are pretty fair.  My friend who recommended it said that she has only had the red sauce and really likes that, so if I ever do go back, I guess I will have to try that.  The food and service was just mediocre in my opinion. I don't need a server who is overly friendly or anything like that, but ours was really just down-to-business.  Let me know what you think! I'd love to hear other thoughts on this place.

Food: 2
Overall Experience: 2.5

Pompilio's on Urbanspoon

Friday, May 25, 2012

Recipe: Chipotle Chicken Salad

Once again, I was inspired by Pinterest for this recipe.  I love anything with corn and black beans, so I knew I would like this salad. It's great for this time of year with tomatoes, corn, and some chicken from the grill.  I have made salad very similar to this before; however, I tried  a new dressing recipe that I got from the Nutmeg Notebook website.

Romaine lettuce
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can of corn, drained (you could easily use frozen or fresh corn too)
Cherry tomatoes
Red onion
Grilled chicken

All of these ingredients are pretty much optional.  I didn't use avocado, but if you like it, go ahead.  You could also add some cheese or strips of corn tortillas that you can get by the croutons.

1/3 cup chopped cilantro
2/3 cup light sour cream
1 tbsp. minced chipotle chile, canned in adobe sauce
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
4 tsp. lime juice
1/4 tsp. salt

Mix all these ingredients together and chill.  I used 2 tbsp. of chipotle chiles because I like spicy food and I didn't use quite as much cilantro because I think a little bit goes a long way for me.

So, all you have to do is prepare your salad and mix with the dressing.  I had spiced up my chicken with some of the similar spices, cumin, cajun, chili powder, salt and pepper.  I grilled it on the grill, and sliced it up for the salad.

I thought this turned out pretty good!  I thought the dressing was a nice change from the traditional ranch or lime dressing that would be used for this type of salad. I would have liked a little crunch, so next time I might have some tortilla strips on top.  Enjoy!


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Recipe: White Wedding Cupcakes

It was my turn at work to bring the birthday treats this week, and I was glad to do so for my good friend Linda.  I wanted to make something that people could just pick up and eat and something new.  I immediately turned to the new favorite, Pinterest, for some inspiration.

I have to say, I was pretty impressed with these overall.  They turned out fantastic!  Everyone at work seemed to enjoy them, and I got a lot of compliments on them overall for how moist and delicious they were!  SUCCESS!  So a big thanks to Recipe Girl for this great recipe.

1 18.75 oz. box of white cake mix
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1 cup of granulated sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1 1/3 cup water
2 tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla abstract
1 cup of sour cream
4 large egg whites

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Put cupcake liners in cupcake pans.
2. Mix the first four ingredients together with a whisk.  Add the rest of the ingredients in the large mixing bowl and mix with a hand mixer for 2-3 minutes or until well-blended.
3. Use an ice cream scoop to fill the liners about 3/4 full.  Bake in the oven for 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

These were so simple and easy.  I decided to also get a recipe for butter cream frosting to top these off with.  I also got this from a link at the bottom of Recipe Girl's comments that is also from her website.  She has a ton of great recipes on here, so please check them out!

Wedding Cupcake Buttercream

3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
1-2 tbsp. whipping cream

First mix the sugar and butter together on low speed with a hand mixer.  Mix until well-blended then mix on medium speed for about 2 more minutes.  Next, add the other ingredients and continue to beat for 1-2 more minutes until desired consistency.  You can add more whipping cream if you want it to be thinner.

Overall, I these were some of the best cupcakes I think I have ever made.  The cake was extremely soft and were sweet without feeling like you're eating a ton of sugar.  I liked the butter cream frosting, but I have made other frostings that I liked a little bit more.
I will definitely be making these again, and a very Happy Birthday to Linda!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Recipe: Spinach Salad with Apple Chicken Sausage

About a week or two ago, I came across this recipe in a Taste of Home magazine and thought it looked delicious.  I made it on a week night and immediately after making it, I had gone to my computer to write up this post, but it somehow got deleted, so I'm writing it again!

This recipe was actually in an ad for Al Fresco Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage.  I couldn't find this brand at the grocery, but Johnsonville had similar sausages that were on sale, so I decided to give these a try.  This salad was delicious! I loved it and will definitely be making this again soon.

1 package of Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage
2 tsp. EVOO
1/2 cup pecan halves
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
2 cups radicchio, thinly sliced
6-8 oz. spinach
1/2 pear, very thinly sliced
1/2 cup light blush wine vinaigrette
2 oz. goat cheese
pepper to taste
lemon zest for top

1. Coat saute pan with EVOO over medium high heat.  Add pecans and saute for 2-3 minutes.  Add sugar and cinnamon and toss to coat.  Remove from heat.

2. Coat another saute pan with cooking spray and heat the sausage until browned.  Turn as needed.

3. Place the spinach in a bowl with red onion, radicchio, and pear slices.  Toss with blush wine vinaigrette.

4. Top with pecans, goat cheese, and sausage.  Add pepper and lemon zest to taste.

This was such an easy and delicious recipe!  After my first bite I was really impressed!  I loved the mix of sweetness from the pecans with the creaminess of the goat cheese.  The apple flavor from the sausage really stood out and paired nicely with the pears, pecans, and onion.  I didn't really care for the radicchio.  I hadn't really had it before, and it was a very strong earthy, pungent taste that I didn't care for.  I didn't have lemon, so I didn't add that, but it's up to you.
I really liked this dressing too, it was light and sweet but not too overpowering. It was great!

If you haven't had these chicken sausages, they are great.  I have used them in pasta dishes or you could grill them and serve on a bun or with peppers and onions.  They are lower in fat and calories, so they are a nice substitute for regular sausage.

This was a great summer salad recipe!  Hope you enjoy!


Monday, April 30, 2012

Guest Blog: Buckeye Pretzels

Big thanks to my sister, Kelley, today for sharing her great recipe for Pretzel Buckeyes.  She was nice enough to give one to me yesterday and it was delicious! I loved the mix of chocolate, peanut butter, and salt.  These are definitely a crowd pleaser :)  

So I’ve become completely obsessed with Pinterest.  I love all of the creative ideas for DIY crafts, home projects, and especially…wait for it…new recipes!  Every day I come across a new food idea that I just can’t wait to try.  The one that got me this week was Pretzel Buckeyes.  If you’re from Ohio, you’re no stranger to the traditional buckeye candy.…a peanut butter sugar mix dipped in chocolate.  So the idea of adding the salty pretzel to the mix sounded like pure genius to me!

I have some very fantastic friends who watch my pups when I have to travel out of town for work.  Jen and Beth keep my two with their three, so I’m selling them short by saying they have their hands full when they have all five dogs at once.  So to show my appreciation, I decided to make them a batch of the Pretzel Buckeyes.  They are super easy to make and from experience with the traditional buckeyes, I knew they were sure to be a crowd pleaser.

To make these delicious treats, you need the following ingredients:
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons softened butter
½ cup powdered sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
1 bag of regular pretzels
1 large bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

The Pinterest recipe says you need to use a standing mixer, but I don’t have one, so I use a hand mixer.  Works just as good.  Mix together the peanut butter and butter until combined.  Add sugars and mix again until combined.  Roll the mixture into balls, about a ½ inch in diameter and sandwich between two pretzels.  You want them small but they need to big enough that when sandwiched, it fills the pretzel gaps.  Place the pretzel sandwiches on a wax paper-covered baking sheet and freeze for 30 minutes. 

While the sandwiches are in the freezer, bring a pan of water to a simmer and cover with a metal bowl (a double-boiler works best).  Melt the chocolate in the metal bowl and stir until smooth.  I recommend melting about 1/3 of the bag at a time to prevent the chocolate from burning.  Dip each pretzel halfway into the melted chocolate and replace onto the baking sheet.  After each pretzel is covered place back in the fridge until the chocolate is set, roughly another 30 minutes. 

They are that simple to create and make a wonderful gift idea or party treat.  My friends were over the moon about them, and I have had numerous requests for the recipe.  So give them a try and surprise the ones you love.  Enjoy!