Monday, February 28, 2011

Review: Trio Bistro

When trying to figure out where to go to dinner on a Friday night with all the girls in my family, we quickly decided on Trio Bistro in Kenwood after remembering they have half price wine nights on Fridays! After a long week, I can think of nothing better!
Jen, my sister-in-law, and I decided to split a bottle of Zinfandel – regularly $40, so it was only $10 a person with the discount ($20 total) – my kind of price!
Everyone I was dining with ordered a flatbread or a pizza, so unfortunately, I won’t be able to provide a very diverse review of the menu. No one ordered an entree, appetizer or dessert, but I can give you a great review of the flatbread and pizza portion of the menu!

Jen and I decided to split our meal as well. We ordered a prosciutto flatbread (the server recommended it) and margherita pizza. The prosciutto flatbread is baked with buffalo mozzarella, pesto, roasted tomatoes, asiago and parmesan cheese. It’s topped with field greens, 10 year balsamic, cantaloupe, prosciutto and manchego cheese. That’s quite a lot of ingredients, but they all paired perfectly together. The flatbread was crispy and delicious! The sweetness of the cantaloupe really balanced out the saltiness of the prosciutto. We loved it!  

The margherita pizza was also excellent. There’s nothing complicated about a margherita pizza – not like the prosciutto flatbread – but I love the simplicity of the basil, tomatoes and cheese. They use a roasted garlic olive oil, which was delicious and definitely added to the dish; however it might not be the best thing to order on a first date! J

My cousin Jamie ordered the Mexican Pizza and was nice enough to share a slice with me. The bottom layer of the pizza was refried beans, which was then topped with blackened chicken, salsa and cheddar-jack cheese. The pizza itself tasted great but it was a little bit dry, which I’m sure is why it’s served with guacamole and sour cream on the side.  (Not the greatest picture...) 
The other two girls, Erin and Tori, both ordered the Thai Chicken pizza. This comes with chicken, peanuts, sesame, chives, bean sprouts, shredded carrots and provolone cheese. I didn’t try it this time, but I’ve had this before and really liked it; and Erin and Tori both seemed to enjoy it.

The service at Trio was great, and the food was excellent. I’d highly recommend the pizzas and flatbreads (particularly the prosciutto flatbread), but I wouldn’t doubt that the rest of their menu is equally as good. And definitely go on a Friday to enjoy the half price wine!

Trio on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 25, 2011

Recipe: Ancho-Glazed Salmon With Sweet Potato Fries

This is one of my husband and mine’s favorite recipes.  It’s pretty quick, easy, and low in calories.  I got this recipe from Ladies Home Journal (May ’09) about a year or two ago and am still making it pretty regularly.  Here are the ingredients:
2 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cumin                                                                          
1 tsp. ground ancho chile or chili powder
4 (5 oz. each) skinless salmon fillets
1 tbsp olive oil
Cilantro sprigs

I have never made this for four people before, so I just get two salmon fillets and two smaller sweet potatoes.  I also have never put the cilantro sprigs on it because I rarely have it on hand, and I’m not one to buy a whole thing of cilantro just for garnish!  So here is what you do:

1.       Heat broiler to high and cut potatoes lengthwise into ¼ inch-thick slices. Combine sugar, salt, cumin, and ancho chile. Place sweet potatoes on the greased rack of an unheated broiler pan. Coat both sides of potato slices with cooking spray; sprinkle both sides with about half the sugar mixture. Broil for about 10 minutes or until tender, turning once.  (If you don’t have a broiler pan, I have baked sweet potatoes on 450 degrees for about 20 minutes and they are just as good). 
2.       Rinse salmon and pat dry.  Sprinkle with the remaining sugar mixture.  In large skillet, cook salmon in hot oil over medium heat turning once halfway through cooking, 8-12 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. 

You don’t have to get the salmon skinless, but if you ask the butcher they will take the skin off for you, and that way, you can season both sides of the salmon.  I ordered it this way the other day, and this older lady looked at me like I was crazy and said, “SKINLESS?  Why would you do that, it just comes off after you cook it!”  But I told her that I like to have the seasoning on both sides of the salmon….she proceeded to tell me all about this cleansing diet she is doing with her husband and how they are eating fish every night……
Anyways, I also like to serve some sautéed or grilled asparagus with this meal.  This time, I just sautéed asparagus in a pan over medium heat with EVOO, salt, pepper and garlic.  (I swear, every time I cook asparagus, it turns out different! I still need to figure out the best way, but this turned out pretty good!)

All in all, this is a really quick (about 20 min) and easy meal, especially if you have never cooked salmon before.   Plus, there is only 363 calories, but watch out, there is a lot of sodium! (710 mg). 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

New Jeff Ruby's Restaurant Opening

Are you a fan of Jeff Ruby restaurants?  I know we are; however, they aren’t one of those restaurants you can afford to go to all the time.  Walnut Street Grill will be opening on February 28 and is offering a different kind of menu than the regular Ruby’s restaurants.  It will be in Bootsy’s old location (631 Walnut Street) and will offer a range of items.  Walnut Street Grille is specializing in Handcrafted Steak Burgers, ranging from $10.95 to $14.95.  More welcoming prices!  

With some unique burgers (like a Green Chile Burger), the menu will also contain appetizers, fish, salads, and chicken pot pie to name a few.  With a more comfortable, casual feel and nothing on the menu over $25, this is definitely a Ruby’s restaurant I am anxious to try. 
(information gathered from the Business Courier, Wednesday, Feb. 23).

Review: Mekong Thai

On nights when I’m pressed for time or don’t feel like cooking, Mekong Thai is my go-to place. It’s in a small strip mall located on Montgomery Road (just down the road from the Kenwood Towne Center), which is located less than five minutes from my house. They are quick and convenient, which is a huge appeal, but even more than that…their food is great! They have a small, casual dining room as well as the option to carry-out.
They have a pretty standard Thai menu – the typical appetizers (spring rolls, crab ragoon, potstickers, etc.), soups, salads, stir fry dishes, fried rice, noodle dishes, etc. They have some unique sauces and flavors for their entrée dishes. I’ve had several family members and friends try Mekong, and they’re always pleased with their meals. Also, there are a ton of vegetarian options on the menu, which I’ve started appreciating more since one of my best friends is a vegetarian.
My regular order is the crab ragoon and Thai Spicy with chicken:

They have a spice scale of 1 – 3. One is mild, two is medium and three is hot. I’ve been ordering a 2; however I think I could handle the 3. The 2 is hot but I wouldn’t describe it as spicy, and I like spicy. The crab ragoons are great. What’s not to like about fried wontons with cream cheese and crab? However, I’m not crazy about the sauce they serve with them. They come with a strawberry sauce, and it’s a little too sweet and fruity for my liking.
The one downfall at Mekong Thai is that they don’t serve alcohol. From what I gather, I think they are waiting on a liquor license. They used to let you BYOB, but they said that was too expensive because of insurance costs. I usually get carry-out, so that’s not an issue for me but I know it may be for some of you who like to get a beer, glass of wine, etc. with your dinner. I can definitely understand that!   
If you’re in the area (or even if you’re not), I would definitely recommend Mekong Thai! I love supporting local, family owned businesses, especially when they’re as good and consistent as Mekong!

Mekong Thai Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Spring Restaurant Week

Restaurant Week is coming soon! It will be held March 11 - 20, 2011, and we are already counting down the days! Restaurant Week is a great opportunity to try out some of the pricier restaurants in the city at a discounted price. Participating restaurants offer 3-course meals for $26.11.

Several of the menus are already posted on the Greater Cincinnati Independent Restaurants website: Check it out!

....and let us know where you'll be making your reservations! We want to know what sounds good to you! 

~ Kate and Kris

Monday, February 21, 2011

Review: Brio Tuscan Grille

My husband and I have a few places that we both love and know that we will have a good meal and time at…Brio is one of them. I don’t know exactly what it is about Brio, but every time we go there, we have a good time!  The only Brio around here is at Newport on the Levee. The only annoying thing about this is the parking. They do have valet though, or the garage underneath the Levee is only $2 on weekdays. 

We have gone to Brio with another couple before, and we all had a great time (could have been the two bottles of wine, but the food and service helped too). This night my husband and I went together.  He had made a reservation, but a reservation wasn’t needed on a Thursday night.  On a side note: (this is a really great tip that I got from Kris, if there is a wait, you can sit at the little bar by the grill where they make the flatbread pizzas and bruschetta and a server will wait on you there, first come , first serve. Just ask the hostess.   It’s actually a lot of fun!  We have sat there at least two or three times, and the cooks will sometimes give you free “samples” of the food!)

This night, my husband and I ordered a bottle of wine and took our time perusing the menu.  We ordered the Zinfandel, our wine that we can typically never go wrong with.  Here is the other thing we almost always do when we go to this restaurant: we share an order of bruschetta, share a salad, and share an entrée.  The portions are pretty big, so it’s plenty for two people.  We knew that we wanted to get the Bruschetta Quattro.  This is awesome! It’s four different types of bruschetta: Roasted Red Pepper and Fresh Mozzarella, Smoked Chicken & Portobello, Sliced Steak Bruschetta, and the fourth one changes.  We pretty much liked ALL of them, but we both love the roasted red pepper and fresh mozzarella.  It has a balsamic drizzle for a touch of sweetness that both of us love, but really all of them are great!  The bread is toasted but not too crunchy, I loved this dish!

Next we shared the Field Greens Salad which has gorgonzola, pine nuts, roma tomatoes and a balsamic dressing. This is really good too.  It’s definitely big enough to share, and they will portion it out for you if you tell them you are sharing.  I like this salad because it’s a little different than your typical salad but not TOO different. (The picture is half of the salad).

Last, we decided we wanted to share a pasta dish.  We have tried many dishes here, so we decided to ask the server for a recommendation.  He said his favorite pasta dish was the Penne Mediterranean.  This has mushrooms, spinach, sundried tomatoes, caramelized onions, feta and pine nuts. We ended up adding chicken, which was definitely a good idea.  My husband loved the chicken, it was cooked perfectly.   They split this dish for us as well. This dish was good.  All the ingredients went well together and it wasn’t too heavy. Sometimes when I get pasta dishes, I can barely eat much of it because of the heavy sauce, but this sauce was very light.  Would I get this again? I’m not 100% sure. It was good, but it wasn’t memorable (again, this is just half of the order).

All in all, I really like Brio. You can get a good meal for under $50, especially if you share like we did (excluding wine).  Most of their dishes are $15-$20 but check out their menu for more details. It does get really crowded on the weekends too, but they have a large bar area you can wait, or even walk around the Levee for a bit.
~~Posted by Kate

Brio Tuscan Grille on Urbanspoon

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Recipe: Chicken with Mushroom Sauce

One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2011 is to try at least one new recipe each week. It has actually been a lot of fun and makes me step outside my cooking comfort zone. I’ll be sure to blog about any of the good ones along the way, so stay tuned!

For Christmas, I conveniently got a subscription to Cooking Light magazine from my aunt, which has been great for my New Year’s resolution. I absolutely love this magazine and would definitely recommend getting a subscription to this magazine to anyone who likes to cook. It’s full of great recipes that are healthy, easy to make and delicious!

When I received my Jan/Feb issue, I knew I wanted to try the Chicken with Mushroom Sauce. It turned out really well and was incredibly easy, and the best part was that I already had most of the ingredients on hand. I only had to purchase the fresh thyme.
4 (6 oz) boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 tsp canola oil
½ tsp salt, divided
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup chopped shallots
1 (8 oz) package presliced mushrooms (I used baby bellas)
2 minced garlic cloves
½ cup dry white wine
1 ½ tsp all-purpose flour
¾ cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp minced fresh thyme

1.      Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap, and pound to ½ inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet.
2.      Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add canola oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle chicken with ¼ tsp salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Transfer chicken to serving platter; keep warm.
3.      Add shallots and mushrooms to pan; sauté for 4 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; sauté for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in wine, scraping pan to loosen brown bits; bring to a boil. Cook until liquid almost evaporates. Sprinkle mushroom mixture with remaining ¼ tsp salt and flour, cook 30 seconds, stirring frequently. Cook 2 minutes or until slightly thick. Remove pan from heat; add butter and thyme, stirring until butter melts. Serve with chicken. Yield: 4 servings (1 serving= 1 chicken breast half and 1/3 cup of sauce).
Sorry the picture isn't great!

If you like mushrooms, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed by this recipe. And one serving is only 290 calories and 10.5g fat! Enjoy!  

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Review: Lavomatic Cafe

I have heard a lot of mixed reviews about Lavomatic Cafe in the past year or two, so I’ve been anxious to try it myself and form my own opinion. Most of the positive reviews I’ve heard have been about brunch (versus dinner), so Kate and I decided to go there for brunch one Saturday morning.  
The eclectic atmosphere of Lavomatic is cute and inviting. Throughout the restaurant, there is exposed brick, unique, modern chandeliers and bright artwork of Cincinnati landmarks. Unfortunately, the atmosphere was deceiving and the food did not stand up to it.
I ordered The Whistling Dixie, which consists of two biscuits topped with poached eggs (not cooked properly), chorizo goetta, hollandaise sauce, asparagus and tomatoes. I was really disappointed that the food came out cold. It really ruined the whole meal for me. The chorizo goetta was without a doubt the best thing on the plate. It was very crispy, which is the only way to eat goetta in my opinion. The asparagus and goetta gave the dish a nice crunch, but overall I was not impressed. It may have been better if it was served hot.

Kate ordered the Eggs Lavo – poached eggs and bacon served over toast with hollandaise sauce. Unfortunately, Kate was even more disappointed by her meal than I was by mine. Her dish was served cold as well. On top of that, the toast was burnt, there was little to no hollandaise sauce on the plate, and there were two different types of eggs. One was a poached egg (which was what it was supposed to come with) and the other one, well we aren't even sure exactly, it was like a hard-boiled egg.  We were both very confused by this. Kate ordered a side of hollandaise sauce after tasting how dry it was, and that helped it a little but didn’t make up for all the other things that were wrong with it.

Kate and I also split a side of potatoes. These were a letdown as well. They were undercooked and hard. I think they may have tasted okay if they were cooked properly, but it was hard to tell.
I rarely treat myself to brunch, so this was a major letdown and turned out not to be a treat at all. At least I was with good company! That was the only saving grace for this meal.


Lavomatic on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Review: The Palace

My friend Lauren and I have made it a tradition to splurge and treat ourselves to a “fancy dinner” every couple of months. We always pick a restaurant that neither of us has tried before and one that gets a lot of buzz. For our February dinner, we decided to try The Palace at the Cincinnatian Hotel. I should mention that we had a Groupon to use, so that contributed to our decision.

We started the evening at The Cricket Lounge – the hotel bar – for a glass of wine before our dinner reservations. Cricket Lounge has some great happy hour specials…including ½ price house wines and $5 martinis. We helped ourselves to a glass of Spanish temparnillo before heading to dinner.
From the second we were greeted by the Maitre' d, the service at The Palace was impeccable. Even though this should be expected at a restaurant of this caliber, I was still incredibly appreciative and impressed. They pulled out our chairs, took our coats, folded our napkin when we went to the restroom, etc. I never felt like they were being pretentious or snobby, like you can often feel in fine dining establishments.  
Now on to the food…it was equally as impressive as the service! We first received an amuse bouche from the chef. It was an edamame salad with finely chopped cucumbers and carrots in miso oil and sesame oil. Very flavorful with just the right amount of crunch! It was such a refreshing way to start the meal.  

Next we split the Herbed Gnocchi. We both agreed that the gnocchi could have been a little crispier but the overall dish and flavor was excellent. The gnocchi was served with roasted brocollini, carrots, butternut squash and red peppers and was served in a butternut squash sauce.    

Lauren tried the Braised Lamb Shank for her entrée and was not disappointed! The meat was so tender it was falling off the bone without any effort on her part. It came with a creamy orzo (the only thing I didn’t try but it looked good), pistachio crusted salsify and a sausage stuffed pequillo pepper. I have never had (or heard of) salsify, but it was very good; however my favorite thing on her plate was the stuffed pepper – hands down. The sausage was spicy and flavorful and paired well with the sweet pepper.

I was incredibly pleased with my entrée as well. I went with the fluke (a mild white fish) that came with butternut squash, fingerling potatoes, mustard granola and lentils in an aged balsamic sauce. That description doesn’t even begin to describe how flavorful and delicious the dish was. The fish was cooked perfectly. It was crispy on the outside and flaky on the inside. Paired with the lentils, squash, mustard granola and potatoes, it was a great combination.

Last, but certainly not least, was the dessert. After all the great things I’ve heard about Summer Genetti, their pastry chef, I knew I was in for a real treat. Lauren and I split the milk chocolate crème brulee and the flourless chocolate cake with beet parfait. They were both out of this world! The crème brulee was topped with rice krispies, which was fun and playful and offered a great crunch (on top of the crunchiness of the caramelized sugar).

The flourless chocolate cake was served with a beet parfait and beet chip, Nutella ice cream, tangerine emulsion, and candied hazelnuts. The mixture of all of them in one bite was so decadent and rich, while still being light enough to eat the whole thing! The crunch of the hazelnuts and beet chip went perfectly with the other elements. We practically licked our plates!

On top of these desserts, each table received a small tray of 4 mini desserts. This included a mini cherry gelee (unimpressive), a chocolate whoopie pie (just okay), a key lime pie (wonderful), and my absolute favorite – a buckeye topped with salt. Stupendous! I’m a sucker for anything that has peanut butter and chocolate, but the salt on top really made this stand out.

The service, the food and all the little extras at The Palace made for a phenomenal dining experience – one of the best I’ve ever had. Our overall bill came to $97 (before tip and without the Groupon), which I would say was a bargain for the experience we had. I’d highly recommend The Palace for a special occasion or just a “fancy” night out!


The Palace on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 14, 2011

Just Call Me Martha!

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! This year, all the single girls at my work decided to do a potluck lunch, and I was put in charge of dessert. I’ve been dabbling in baking recently, and they were all curious to try out one of my creations. I decided to go with red velvet cake pops.
According to some people, cake pops are the new cupcakes. They are super cute and are easily customizable for different parties, holidays and special occasions. Bakerella has a great website with lots of ideas and inspiration. I followed this recipe, and used red velvet cake with cream cheese icing. And, of course, I customized them with pink and red sprinkles that I found at Target.
Here they are! Tah dah!

Delicious, easy and cute! You can use different colored sprinkles or candy melts for different occasions.
Hope everyone has a great Valentine's Day!  

Saturday, February 12, 2011

inspiring kind Boutique Bakery

My friend Linda from work brought me in cupcakes for my birthday from inspiring kind Boutique Bakery, and all I could say was AMAZING!! These cupcakes were probably the best cupcakes I have ever had!  She frequents this bakery, so she was pretty familiar with what is good.  She brought in 4 to share (well, we all tried them all, then she “forced” me to take the rest home).  There was a pistachio flavor (which I wasn’t so sure about at first), Organic Banana, Lemon Drop, and a chocolate cupcake with what we think was strawberry frosting.   The Organic Banana had a buttercream frosting as well as the Lemon Drop and the Chocolate cupcake. We weren’t exactly sure about the frosting on the Pistachio cupcake, but we all thought it was a cream cheese frosting…but who cares! They were all fantastic!!   I don’t’ even like banana flavored things normally (hate banana laffy taffys, and does anyone really ever eat the candy banana Runt!??)   but the Organic Banana might have been my favorite! It was really moist and wasn’t too bananaie.  My two friends’ favorites were both the Pistachio!  This was such a treat during the work day, and I absolutely loved them, I even had some to take home for later!  Thanks to Linda J 


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Review: The Rookwood Bar & Restaurant

restaurant website

So my friend Kenzie called me up last weekend wanting to know if my husband and I wanted to go to dinner….of course, I agreed.  Going to dinner with another couple is one of my favorite things to do on the weekend . I love to have a cocktail beforehand, enjoy a  good meal, and maybe even a glass of wine or two. Kenzie called three places that day and could not get a reservation anywhere, I guess it was last minute, but we were surprised that none of them were available!  Sooo, we just decided to have a couple cocktails before we ventured out for a later dinner at the Rookwood in Mt. Adams.  I love going up to Mt. Adams, but hate dealing with the parking, so it’s nice to go here because they have a parking lot.

We walked in and waited a couple minutes for the hostess to greet us.  She told us there would be a 15 minute wait, which was fine (although, it was pretty empty being 8:15 or so).   The bar had plenty of room for all four of us, so we took a seat and ordered a glass of wine. They have a decent wine menubut I was especially excited because they have one of my favorite wines, Paso o Paso Tempranillo ( Although, I do hate when you know how much a bottle costs in the store and have to pay WAY over for the glass, but hey, it’s a night out!) While we were waiting, we decided to get some info from the bartenders.  They were both friendly and shared with us some of their favorite menu items. They both agreed their favorite was the pork belly sandwich, hands down, even when I asked for a second choice, they both said “pork belly sandwich.”  One of the bartenders was fun and shared with us how he has been to 48 out of the 50 states! Very interesting….although, he said his favorite city in ALL of these states is Columbus, a die hard Buckeye fan I guess.  I am an OSU alum, but I find it hard to believe it is the BEST city in the country…….

Not much later, we were taken to our table which had a nice view of the restaurant and were greeted quickly by our server.  She shared the special pasta of the day and also some of her favorite items.  They have quite a few appetizers that are unique to the restaurant like deviled eggs, hanky panky’s, fried bacon and a cheese board to name a few.  We didn’t order an appetizer, but the bartenders had told us the hanky panky’s are good (I asked Kris, who has had them, and she disagreed.  She doesn’t like them and was really disappointed actually).  I decided I had to try the recommendation of the pork belly sandwich.  I don’t even know what pork belly is and never had it before, so I thought it’d be good to try; although I have to admit, I was a bit nervous!  It comes with an order of fries, or you can substitute a side salad or grippo’s fries for $2.  The server said the grippo’s fries are really good, so I decided to try those.  My husband ordered the pasta special of the day,  Kenzie ordered the reuben sandwich, and Kyle ordered a cup of chili and a Caesar salad.

The pork belly sandwich had pickled onions, fontina cheese, applewood bacon, and fried egg on it.  It was served on a fococcia-type bread that was nice and soft.  The sandwich was really messy, mostly from the fried egg.  The sandwich was really good, but the egg flavor took over some of the other ingredients.  I couldn’t really taste the pickled onions or the cheese.  The bacon had a nice smoky taste which added to the sandwich.  For my first time having roasted pork belly, I thought it was tasty.  Not too crispy or chewy.  Kenzie tried the sandwich and agreed it was very good!  The boys refused to try it! I think the word “belly” turned them off, if I had told them it was a pork tenderloin or something, they probably would have been game.  The grippo fries were delicious. The barbecue seasoning added a little zest without being overly strong.

The reuben looked really good.  It was a really big sandwich with plenty of toppings.  My friend said it was great!  I have had the reuben in the past, and thought it was a really good too.  I love reubens, and it is one of the better ones I’ve had!  She was overall pleased with her order.  The chili was just okay.  We all tasted it and agreed that it tasted like something we had before; Kyle initially thought Skyline because he tasted some cinnamon, but I thought it tasted more like Goldstar chili, so really, it was nothing special.  The Caesar salad was pretty typical but overdressed.  Kyle wished he would have gotten the dressing on the side.  Since he had the chili and salad, he wasn’t that impressed with his meal; he probably wished he would have ordered something different.   My husband had the pasta of the day and wasn’t that excited about his either.  It was a fettuccine with some sort of cream based sauce, but there wasn’t very much sauce on it.  It had sausage and parmesan in it, as well as sautéed kale.  My husband was confused about the kale, he thought it was kind of weird, chewy, and his response was “this doesn’t taste good at all” (as you can see, we are very technical with our reviews). 

We stayed around for a bit longer and had another drink.  The ambiance of the Rookwood is so interesting and unique.  The restaurant is basically wrapped around a big kiln in the middle, and you can even eat in there, which is pretty cool.  I unintentionally had my own tour of the restaurant trying to find the bathroom and realized I was just walking in a circle.

 We all loved the ambiance of the restaurant and thought the service was overall good too!  Even though 2 of the dishes were less than impressive, I would definitely go back to the Rookwood.  Depending on what you get, it can be a little pricey though.  Their sandwiches range from $12-$14 which isn’t too bad, but their entrées range from $23-$26 (menu).  From my experience, the sandwiches seem to be the best bet!


The Rookwood Bar & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 7, 2011

Super Bowl Sunday

There's nothing I love more than an excuse for a party with excessive amounts of food (and drinks!), and Super Bowl Sunday is no exception! I threw a small get together at my house this year, and of course, had to have a huge spread of food. My white chicken chili always gets RAVE reviews and it actually won a chili contest at my work, so I figured I couldn't go wrong with that one. Several people asked for the recipe throughout the evening, so I think it's safe to say this was a crowd pleaser yet again. It's soooo easy and can be made ahead of time, which is a huge plus in my book because I'm always running around like a chicken with my head cut off whenever I throw a party. 

White Chicken Chili ("brown" chicken chili would probably be a more fitting name but doesn't sound very appetizing)
1 can diced green chiles
1/2 cup diced onions
2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
1/2 tsp cumin
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts shredded or cubed (I prefer shredded)
1 can corn drained
1 can black beans rinsed and drained
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cup chicken broth
1 cup salsa (I use medium or hot for a little extra "kick")
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp chili powder
Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
(See what I mean by easy? All you have to do is open a bunch of cans!)

I'll first start out by saying that I absolutely despise onions. Very unfortunate, I know, because they are in just about everything. So needless to say, I omit the onions from this recipe, but I included them here since most people like onions. To make the chili, you start by sauting the green chiles, onions and cumin in the EVOO. Once that's finished (just a few minutes), you add the next 9 ingredients (up to chili powder) and let it cook for at least 30 minutes. I add a little Frank's Red Hot and red pepper flakes to mine for a little added spice. Serve with fresh chopped cilantro and shredded cheddar cheese, and you've got a winner! How easy is that??  

Of course, Kate and her husband made an appearance at my Super Bowl party and brought an awesome homemade salsa to share. Well, I should clarify and say that I heard from the other party-goers that it was awesome. I didn't actually try it because it had lots of fresh, diced red onions (the worst kind for onion-haters!). I'll let Kate tell you about that...

I completely agree with what Kris said...her white chicken chili was awesome!  It really was one of the best ones I have ever had.  I really liked the corn and had just enough spice!  Now, I love all salsas.  I like spicy salsa, fresh salsa, fruit salsa, you name it.  I thought it might be nice for something a little fresher for a super bowl party.  I have made it in the past and have always gotten compliments.  This too is a pretty easy recipe, as long as you don't mind doing a little chopping!  I got this recipe from one of those little pocket magazines at the check-out lines in Kroger, I love those!

Creamy Black Bean Salsa

1 can of black beans rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cup of frozen corn thawed
1 cup of sweet red pepper chopped small
3/4 cup green pepper chopped small
3/4 cup red onion chopped
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayo
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

All you do is chop everything up, make sure you rinse and drain the corn and black beans, and toss it together.  Serve with any tortillia chips you want!  It's so easy and has a little kick to it.  It's also a great summer time appetizer or you could even pack a little to take for lunch!  If you want to make it a bit healthier, you could take out the mayo and sour cream and add a tablespoon of lime juice or even open up a can of diced tomatoes (I like the ones with green chiles).

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Welcome to Girls Who Grub! As first time bloggers, we’re still getting our feet wet with all of this, but we’re very excited to start sharing our love for food! We are avid readers of food blogs and thought we’d give it a try ourselves, and since we’re always talking about food anyways, we should have a lot to blog about!
Here’s what you can expect from this blog… from home, recipes from others, restaurant reviews, and the occasional food news from around the city. Our love for red wine might pop in from time to time too.
This is a work in progress, so we’d love any feedback or suggestions. Please feel free to leave comments or email us.
~Kate & Kris