Archive for June, 2011

Making Whoopie at True Confections.

After a long walk in downtown Asheville we needed a place to cool down and grab a snack.  We took the long route to the The Grove Arcade and found a small bakery called “True Confections.”  Dozens of sweet treats filled the display cases and as usual, I had difficulty making a selection.    While I was checking out the goods, I noticed an item labeled “P.B.&J. Whoopie PieI’ve never had a whoopie pie or wasn’t aware of having one in the past.   Also, any item called Whoopie would be perfect for a food porn website.

A whoopie pie is like a sandwich, but made with two soft cookies with  filling. Traditional whoopies pies are made with vegetable shortening, not butter.

Whoopie pies are considered a New England phenomenon and a Pennsylvania Amish tradition. Whoopie Pies have also been known as a “gobs.” in Western Pennsylvania.They are one of Maine’s best known and most loved comfort foods. Mainers will even claim that they were weaned on whoopie pies.  In Maine, these treats are more like a cake than a pie or a cookie, as they are very generously sized (about hamburger size). they’re so hug that you’ll want to share one with a friend.    According to the web, a big glass of milk is almost mandatory when eating a whoopie pie.

Carole Miller,owner of True Confections, has 20 years of professional baking experience and a degree from the Culinary Institute of America.   She uses only the finest and freshest natural ingredients for all her baked goods.

Fact – In 2011, The Maine State Legislature considered making the Whoopie Pie the official state’s dessert.

True Confections – Grove Arcade
One Page Avenue
Suite 147
Asheville, NC  28801
828-350-9480

Source: What’s Cooking America

Hey Ya’ll. I ate a boat load of food from Paula Deen’s Kitchen.

Several years ago during a trip to Savannah, we decided not to stand in line for a chance to eat at Paula Deen’s  “The Lady & Sons” restaurant.   At the time this didn’t seem lie a good idea and we went elsewhere.     I recently had the opportunity to visit “Paula Deen’s Kitchen” and did not pass this time.

“Paula Deen’s Buffet” is located within the Harrah’s Cherokee location that has built an impressive complex in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.   Upon entering the building we found ourselves at the Casino entrance.  I expected to be rushed by security since I had a camera around my neck and two minors tagging along.  Instead, I had to approach  a little lady with a badge to ask for directions.  In true southern style she proceeded to give me very detailed directions and also told me that since it was after 4:00 we would probably need a reservation to get a seat.  Well, this is not what I wanted to hear since I had my mind set on trying out the restaurant.  We turned around and began the journey from the casino to the restaurant.  The directions carried us up to the second floor where we could see the casino area below.  Lots of flashing, lights noise and senior citizens occupied nearly every seat.  I almost forgot about eating.  The attraction below us was very fascinating.   However, I had a mission and soon remembered that I needed to continue my hike through the large building.  We found our way to the front desk and was immediately asked, “Do ya’ll have  a reservation”?  After I said, “No, but I’m looking for a table for four”, the hostess marked a square on her note pad and instructed us to follow the young man with the menus.  I was a bit surprised, but happily stepped forward with a smile.  There were plenty of tables available.  I suppose that it was either because everyone was in the casino or we beat the rush.  Regardless, I was happy to be seated beside the buffet to keep the walking time between plates to a minimum.

As shown in the pic above, the buffet had the usual southern style selection.  I focused on the green items located to the opposite end of the plate to show that I had chosen some collards.  I am not a big veggie fan, but could not resist.  They looked delicious and they were.   I also added mashed potatoes and gravy, mac and cheese and delicious cheesy meatloaf.   This was just the beginning.    We were seated close to the gentleman working the prime rib area and every cut looked to good to resist.  I tried a rare and well done cut.  Both were very good, but I preferred the taste of the rare.  This is also unusually for me since I do not like bloody meat on my plate.  I would eat it again and again because the flavor was wonderful.

The buffet had a good selection and the menu wasn’t lacking either.  I could visit this place at least a dozen times and try something different during each trip.

“Harrah’s Cherokee welcomes Paula Deen’s Kitchen, the first restaurant to be unveiled as part of a more than $630 million expansion.

The “Queen of Southern Cuisine” will launch a full-service, 404-seat restaurant featuring an á la carte breakfast, lunch and dinner, and will be reminiscent of the décor and ambiance of Paula Deen’s home and kitchen in Savannah.

At the entrance to the restaurant shop in the unique 1,800-square-foot Paula Deen retail shop that offers her popular cookbooks, spices and food items, cookware, logo wear and gifts.

Enjoy Paula Deen’s special style of cooking and Southern hospitality, a perfect fit with our guests here in the Great Smoky Mountains!”

Reservations: 1-877-811-0777
Hours: Sunday – Thursday: 7am-10pm
Friday – Saturday: 7am-11pm

Cajun Burgers in Bryson City N.C.

When I read an article about Jimmy Macs in a previous edition of Our State Magazine, I knew that I had to plan a visit.  The menu offering 20 different variety of hamburger made me want to be there to sample several.

We arrived just before the lunch crowd and the place filled up soon after we took our seats.  I was tempted to try a pasta meal, although I had my mind set on a hamburger.

There were plenty of styles of burgers listed on the menu. The article Our State mentioned a cajun burger that I was certain to order. I did!  It was delicious as expected.  I enjoy spicy foods and could not wait to see how much of a kick the burger would provide.  It was just right.  Not too much to take away from the flavor of the burger.  I think that I made the correct choice.

cajun burger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jimmy Mac’s Restaurant

121 Main Street
Bryson City, NC 28713

(828) 488-4700

Offering both lunch and dinner in a casual and inviting atmosphere on Main Street, Jimmy Mac’s features a full menu including soups,salads, appetizers,burgers,steak, seafood and more.

We excavated some fabulous items from The Quarry.

I did some online research before heading toward Brevard, N.C. during a recent family trip and noticed The Quarry Restaurant & Piano Bar on several websites.  Food wasn’t on the top of my list during  the brief visit to the busy mountain town, but we just happened to be hungry for a good lunch when we arrived.   I had forgotten about the restaurant until I saw the sign while we were driving around deciding where to eat.  The available parking across the street made it a no brainer for us to choose The Quarry.

As I walked into the dining area I suddenly mellowed and felt very relaxed.  The atmosphere was very nice and inviting.  This was a great location to settle for a while after a long drive.

The decor and murals by a local artist kept my eyes occupied as we  made our way to a table.   Fortunately there was the same amount of thought put into the menu and food preparation as with the restaurant.

Grilled Chicken Quesadilla

 

The lunch menu offered an attractive selection of soups, salads, sandwiches, wraps and a few additional items.  Being a big fan of just about anything with chicken I chose to try the Grilled Chicken Quesadilla.  The flavor was satisfying and the quantity was just enough.  I really enjoyed the cheese blend and salsa with the chicken.  All of the dishes were very well prepared and were enjoyed by all.

 

From their website:

“With enough swank to make Miles feel at home, The Quarry brings casual fine dining and elegance to Brevard. With a menu comprised of American cuisine, with a flare, from the kitchen of Executive Chef Craig Gosnell, the stage is set for you to enjoy the sound of local musicians massaging the keys of the baby grand piano. The wine list and after dinner drink menu speak for themselves, so for those of you who enjoy sipping on the rich flavor of a cognac, accompanied by the smooth sounds of live music, sit back and relax because The Quarry is the place to be.”

14 S. Gaston Street. Brevard, NC 28712
Reservations: Are recommended, not required

In Season April thru October

Lunch

Monday, Wednesday thru Saturday 11:00-4:00

Dinner

Sunday thru Thursday 4:00-9:00

Friday & Saturday 4:00-10:00

Tapas & Bar Menu (at Bar Only)

5:00-6:30 &9:00-10:00

Piano Music

Daily starting @ 6pm

Off Season: October thru April

Lunch

Closed

Dinner

Monday thru Thursday 5:00-9:00

Friday & Saturday 5:00-10:00

Tapas & Bar Menu

5:00-9:00

Piano Music

Thursday thru Saturday starting @ 6pm

www.thequarryrestaurant.com

 

 

 

We make EVERY event delicious!

 

36th Street Bakery, Cafe & Catering

I had the pleasure of visiting 36th Street Bakery, Cafe & Catering in Lincolnton, N.C. while driving to the  Blue Ridge Mountains.  As soon as I opened the door the aroma of fresh baked items attacked my senses.  I was immediately drawn to the pastry case.  I checked out every item like I was visiting a museum of sweetness.   It was obvious to me that I was going to enjoy this visit although it wasn’t easy choosing just one item.  There are several items on the menu that I would have enjoyed if it had been lunch time.  This was an early morning visit and the scent of the baked items required me to enjoy something sweet.  I finally decided on a cinnamon twist and enjoyed every bite.    I am rarely in the area and am not sure when I can visit again, but going out of my way on the next trip to western NC would be worth the time.  Linconlton is lucky to have this bakery and cafe in it’s beautiful downtown area.

Besides bakery items and catering, 36th Street also offers Murder Mystery Nights and Wine tastings.

Open Monday-Saturday from 7am until 9pm.

Weekly Entree Specials are W, Th, F, Sat from 5pm until 9pm.
E-mail us if you want to be included on the list (rick@36thstreetbakery.com)

web – www.36thstreetbakery.com

view a pdf file of their menu here

 

 

Poundcake, creamcheese icing and strawberries = sugar high!

I love pound cake.  I enjoy cream cheese icing.  I can’t enough of strawberries when available.   Put all three together and OMG!!  Strawberries are just one of many reminders of Spring and I try to take advantage of this wonderful fruit when avilable.

I took a moment to search the internet to check out recipes for this wonderful combination of sweetness.  I was overwelmed by strawberry recipes.   There are a large amount of ideas on the web for anyone to try.

This is not a dessert for anyone on a diet, but who cares?  When something tastes this good, it doesn’t matter if it’s healthy.   Good food should not be avoided!

Strawberry Poundcake

A Kool Kake!

I am a big fan of Bambi Provenzano’s art work and business called Kool Kakes.   I’ve seen photos of cakes in the form of guitars, beer coolers, disney characters and farm animals.  I would feel confident in saying that there is not a theme that Bambi cannot produce in cake form.  I recently ordered a cupcake cake for my wife’s birthday and was surprised at the size of the final product.  It weighed atleast 15 lbs and one could probably gain 30lb if they were able to eat all of it.  The most difficult part of the order was deciding on the flavors.  A partial list provided include the following:

Vanilla
Chocolate
Funfetti
Strawberry
Red velvet
Vanilla rainbow
Carrot
Brownie
Peanut butter cheesecake brownie
Raspberry filled brownie
Jalapeno
Chocolate coffee stout
Campfire kakes (s’mores)
Vanilla peppermint
Chocolate mint
Red hot red velvet
Bailey’s and cream
Mountain Dew
Chocolate covered strawberry
Root beer float
Key lime
Italian butter cookie
Banana walnut
Butterscotch schnapps
Strawberry shortcake
Pina colada
Coffee
Butter pecan
Lemon

 

 

 

Bambi also make other goodies.  A favorite of mine is the Lollicake that is a brownie on a stick with various decorations on top.  This is a great treat!

From the website:

Hours
Mon – Sun: 9:00 am - 9:00 pm
About
Kool Kakes is a home based business that I started over four years ago. I love making kids 3-D cakes, but also enjoy making wedding cakes! My fondant is handmade, fresh for every cake. Each cake is made to order, every detail is up to you!
Email
koolkakes@gmail.com
Phone
910-461-243