The Jealous Crumpet

A sweet little blog


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Uncle Maddio’s Pizza

Uncle Maddio's

Madison Alabama has a new pizza place, Uncle Maddio’s Pizza, and it’s pretty awesome! I had the pleasure of attending Maddio’s Ribbon Cutting and VIP event (somehow I’ve tricked people into thinking I’m a VIP, he he he) and got a first taste of the pizza and restaurant.
Uncle Maddio'sMaddio’s specializes in fresh pizza made with local ingredients. There are 3 types of crust (traditional, whole wheat and gluten-free), 6 types of sauce (tomato basil, BBQ, buttermilk ranch, buffalo, herb pesto and garlic olive oil) and 45 toppings!!
10At the event I met up with fellow bloggers C.C. Fridlan, Bo Williams, and Constance Smith. Make sure you check out their blog posts as well.   9 The restaurant is a family-friendly, casual restaurant with an emphasis on fresh, local ingredients.
16The way it works is, you select your crust and sauce and then comes the hardest part, you have to pick your ingredients, which seems easy until you realize that you have 45 to choose from.
18So many options!14I went with the gluten-free, Peachy Keen summer pizza, which had fresh peaches, basil, onions, prosciutto, and balsamic vinegar. It was de-licious!
15The staff was friendly and lovely. The employee (pizza artist, pizzista, I don’t know the official title)  making my pizza even happily tolerated my manic picture-taking and posed to let me get a photo right as it was about to go into the oven.
13After the pizza is assembled it goes into the oven and you go to your table to wait.
12We all received our meals promptly, which was impressive considering the throngs of people who were there.  As us bloggers enjoyed our pizzas we were brought cookies and cannolis (though I think this was only because it was a VIP event).  I am absolutely not supposed to have wheat or sugar (that’s a blog post for the future) but I did partake in one cannoli.
7I’m such a sucker for tiny desserts!5Everyone’s pizza looked delectable and I’m looking forward to bringing my husband and trying Maddio’s again. They had so many local beers on tap for the adults and a children’s menu for the kiddies.  There really is something for everyone!68Patrons can order online and avoid the line. The employees were fast, so the line wasn’t a problem for me, but if you have small children this could be a life saver.
20Check out Uncle Maddio’s in Madison and let me know what you think!4


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New Menu at BRAVO Cucina Italiana

2To be honest, blogging can be a lot of work and often I wonder if it is worth the effort. And just when I decide maybe I don’t want to do it anymore I get invited to a dinner or tasting and I decide I like it again.

My latest food-venture was at Bravo! Cucina Italiana with fellow food blogger C.C. Fridlin. We attended a tasting of the restaurant’s new menu, which included a wine pairing.
4We started with Zucchini & Eggplant Fritti with lemon aioli and pomodoro sauce. Yum! I’m sort of allergic to eggplant, my throat and mouth itches, but dang I love it, so I ate some anyways. I actually preferred the zucchini with this dish, so I minimized the allergic reaction. The first wine of the evening was 19 Crimes, which paired nicely with the appetizers.
11I had the pleasure of dinning with Maddie, a spunky 5 year-old with a yen for lemons. Seriously, this girl loves raw lemons, she ate them by the bowl full and still wanted more! She is also very adventurous, tasting a bit from each dish. I know a lot of adults that could learn eating lessons from this young lady.BravoOur second appetizer, Ricotta & Ciabatta, was heavenly. I’m a huge fan of dishes that you assemble at the table. I know it’s weird, but I love it!5Next came the Antipasti Salad, which had a nice, tangy red wine vinaigrette. It is also gluten free, which can be hard to find sometimes.
6Next came the wine wines and Spicy Shrimp & Clam Linguine. I honestly feel terrible for people that can’t eat seafood because this dish was divine. It had a nice slow burn that crept up on you at the end of the bite.
7Next came the Linguine Carbonara! It was perfect for summer, creamy with hints of white wine. You can also add a sunny side up egg to it for a dollar. What a deal!
9Haricot vert (green beens) framed the Grilled Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomato Goat Cheese. The chicken was tender and cooked to perfection, but the veggie-holic in me especially liked the green beans.
8At this point I was pretty full, but the food was so good that I kept on eating. I really enjoyed Decoy’s Cabernet Sauvignon. It was a nice pairing with the Bravo! Ribeye. The steak was wonderful, but I went crazy for the polenta and balsamic roasted mushrooms. I’m salivating just remembering it.
10The last entree of the evening was Citrus Marinated Chicken, which was skewered thighs on a bed of orzo and vegetables.  Since it was thigh meat it was especially rich and flavorful.
12Maddie was quite excited when dessert came. See her patiently waiting with her spooned posed for attack! I don’t blame her as it was a delicious: a warm butter blondie, topped with vanilla bean gelato, cookie butter caramel and sugared pretzels. There were but a few crumbs left by the time we were finished.
13Everything was nice and it is good to know that Bravo’s talented team is always working to update their menu. It is worth mentioning that the staff was truly spectacular. They were prompt, friendly and very informed about every dish.
15There was very little food left by the time we were finished. It was all very good. Thank-you Huntsville Bravo and Tiffany Jordan for inviting me!! Thank-you also to C.C. Fridln for keeping up with all of the plate names. You are so much more organized than I am! Please visit C.C.s post here.
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Aussie Night at Outback Steakhouse

1Y2B4084Outback Steakhouse is upping their steak game by unveiling a new center-cut sirloin.  I got invited to a VIP tasting event at Outback on Whitesburg to sample the new steak and east some of their tried and true fare (a blooming onion).  1Y2B4060I very rarely feel like a VIP, but I had a cool super-star moment at this event. Being Outback at dinnertime, there were many, many people waiting for tables. My husband and I walked up to the event (late as usual) and I was mentally preparing myself to wait. I told the host that I was there for the VIP Tasting and she ushered me to the back, no wait at all! The servers immediately started bringing us cocktails, appetizers, steaks, etc. I felt so much more important than I am.1Y2B4023There were also fellow ‘VIPs’ in attendance, including the illustrious Christy Jordan, super-star blogger and creator of Southern Plate, (sorry I didn’t get a photograph) and the amazing Bo Williams, duel blogger for Rocket City Mom and BoWilliams.com. 6 3I tried to pay attention to the names of all the dishes but I wasn’t as good as I should have been.  If I have messed up a dish please let me know.

We started with drinks and bread. I like how Outback violently stabs their bread through the middle when they bring it to you. I’m not sure what that says about me, but when the bread isn’t stabbed I feel really let down.  1Then came shareable cocktails, which was a weird concept for me. Why would you share your cocktail. They were delicious though, despite the shareable issue.  I tried the strawberry peach sangria and my hubby went for a fresh fruit gin cocktail. Both were great, but I loved mine. I’d totally get it again.1Y2B4027Of course there were some blooming onions (did you know the blooming onion has its own wikipedia page #goals) and Aussie cheese fries.

We then got two types of steak: Center Cut Sirloin and Slow Roasted Steak. Both were lovely.4They also served Bacon Bourbon Salmon, which was to die for. 1Y2B4062We ended with Oreo Mousse, which unfortunately I couldn’t partake in because of current allergy issues, but it seemed like a hit.5Thank-you Outback for the invite! See you again soon!


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Prohibition Tunnel and Pecans Galore

Untitled-1Several weeks ago, I read a newspaper article about a prohibition-era hidden tunnel underneath a pecan shop in Decatur, AL. I knew as soon as I read the article I knew I had to investigate. I trekked out the Tennessee Valley Pecan Co. and popped into the shop.5The shop itself it well worth the trip, even without the secret booze den. The pecan company sells a large variety of the most delicious pecans, coffee, and Piper & Leaf teas.  1Y2B2875The shop is adorable with many squirrel themed products. I also learned that there are numerous types of pecans.  Who knew?! 2I ordered a coffee and some dark chocolate pecans and asked to see the secret tunnel.  3Owner David Armistead was very obliging and explained to me how they found the tunnel, a bit of its history and what was down there. 7He showed me to the tunnel which they left exposed with a piece of plexiglass over the top.  Through the hole you can see the scary rickety ladder, whiskey crates, and remaining prohibition debris. 10David kindly invited me to come back on a different day to go down into the tunnel.  I’ll admit it was a pretty scary hole to go into.  I was glad I had been working out because if I was any wider I would not have fit in.  6It was super thrilling and a bit scary.  We found old beer bottles, whiskey boxes and even pecan shells.8It was also an adventure to get myself, camera, and tripod down this very steep ladder. 9

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Strawberry Pickin’ at Brown’s Farm

Brown's Farm‘Tis the season to pick strawberries. Last week I went headed to New Market with my friend and her almost three-year old to have a berry picking adventure. We went to North Alabama icon Brown’s Farm and it lived up to my high expectations. 1Y2B3362It had a restroom, very important when traveling with a toddler. That was our first stop.  Our second stop was a cute, little cabin to buy jams, honey and to get our strawberry picking buckets.  1Buckets in hand and hats on head we headed to the fields and started eating… I mean gathering strawberries.  Some of us were a bit better at collecting strawberries than others, but there was a particular member of our picking party that ate far more than he put in the bucket.4Please note the very emptiness of his bucket!  5Eventually he realized that strawberry picking was very similar to Easter Egg hunting and got onboard.  1Y2B3319The fields were nice, accessible and the attendant pointed us the best section to pick berries.1Y2B3355After buying store-bought berries I sometimes I forget how strawberries are supposed to taste: sweet and juicy with a hint of tartness at the very end. In other words perfection.  2We picked for about an hour and had three very full buckets of nature’s candy, but as it approach noon it got hot and we started to wither.  1Y2B3372We didn’t bring lunch with us, but the farm had a lovely covered picnic area.7I fully planned to come up with a recipe for the strawberries but we ate them all before I had a chance.  Sometimes it’s just best to eat them as is.6


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Violet Sake and Vending Machines

2While I was visiting Kyoto I had the pleasure of staying at the Sakura Terrace.  There were many great amenities at the hotel, not the least was a free happy hour where guests got a free cocktail of choice each evening.

My plan was to try a different cocktail on each of our 4 nights at the hotel and on the very first night I got a violet sake cocktail. I LOVED it!! I’d never even thought of making a cocktail with sake, but it was delicious, perfectly balanced, refreshing and beautiful (I am a sucker for pretty libations).  123On the second night I got the violet sake again.  By the third night both my husband and I got the violet sake and by the end of the trip I had never branched out.  When we got back to the states I make it my mission to create my own violet sake.  4For months I played with various sakes, syrups and sodas to create the best possible drink.  It was a fun project and my husband especially enjoyed the position of official cocktail tester.  So here is the recipe!1Y2B2228 copy1 oz Monin Violet Syrup

2 oz Nigori Sake

3 oz La  Croix Lime flavored sparkling water

Mix syrup and sake. Add  water and ice and stir. Enjoy simple perfection!

You may have noticed the uniformed little ladies gripping the rim of the glass.  They were vending machine purchases.  One of the many things that I loved about Japan was the large amount of toy machines that contained the most bizarre little toys.  For 1 or 2 yen you could buy the craziest figurines and I bought many of them.  Far more than is acceptable for a full grown adult, but they were so interesting!! They had machines that sold nothing but old men sitting on benches, peeing dogs and even cute animals made into foods, such as a puppy made into a hamburger.  You can see what I’m talking about on the far right below. Untitled-11 I bough my flexible little ladies, a squat toilet, a woman serving sake, but the weirdest machine I bought is below!Untitled-1How weird is that!!! It is a baby head with an alien inside.  I didn’t have any coins when I spotted it so I dragged my husband into a cafe to get change so I could buy it! The best 2 yen I’ve ever spent!1


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Eating In London:Westminster Arms

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Mary Poppins has been digitally added to this photograph in order to create a more accurate view of the London skyline.

Over the Christmas holidays my husband, my sister-in-law and I jetted away for a whirlwind, two day trip to London. We were going to spend several days in the city, but (London Fun Fact) the trains shut down on Christmas Eve Eve (Dec. 23rd) so we shortened the trip.

Since we only had two days we hit the highlights and stuck to the most stereotypically touristy parts of London: Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, fish and chips, tea, etc., but it was still immensely fun.

Now let’s be honest, Great Britain isn’t exactly known for their culinary prowess. True they have tea, scones, and fish and chips, all of which are lovely, but they also have a mysterious, slightly scary, tar-like substance called Marmite, which I’ve gathered you eat on toast (Is it like jam or closer to peanut butter?) and Stargazy Pie, which maybe delicious, but honestly just looks terrifying. (Are you supposed to eat the fish heads?) My point being, I had very mixed expectations when it came to English cuisine.

Baked_stargazy_pie

By Krista – Baked Stargazy Pie Uploaded by Diadoco, CC by 2.0

I am happy to report that most of the dishes were wonderfully delicious and I would eat them again.  That being said, I played it pretty safe and avoided the fish head pies and jellied eels (look it up).

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A view of what my husband was convinced was London Bridge, but was in fact not London Bridge. It was London Bridge adjacent.

In the morning went sightseeing, shot the obligatory photo at Big Ben, toured Westminster Abbey with an audio recording by Jeremy Irons (fancy), complained about the pesky tourists (Wow, Americans are SO loud! Sorry rest of the world), and in general enjoyed this wonderful, exciting city.

When we finally decided to stop for lunch we had no plan, so we picked the first interesting place we across: Westminster Arms. Apparently we picked well because in addition to being frequented by politicians and journalists, it has also been visited by Desmond Tutu, Angelina Jolie and Bill Clinton. All of this I learned after I got back to the States.Untitled-1We walked downstairs to the crowded restaurant portion of the pub and I fully expected to be turned away or a long wait.

“Are you here to eat?” asked a man brusquely.  He definitely seemed like the owner, so from henceforth I will refer to him as such.

“Yes” I answered.  I reined in my Americanness and said it with polite, deference rather than the exuberant, enthusiasm I’m used to in the States. Polite, deference would never fly at T.G.I.Fridays. They waitstaff would harass you until you faked absolute bliss to be eating artichoke dip. Being an American can be exhausting, who wants to be that upbeat and energetic all the time.

The owner walked up to a table filled with pint sipping patrons and said to the people “These people are eating, you need to leave.”

My husband and I were shocked, but the people seemed to take it in stride, got up and headed upstairs so we could take their table.  I guess it is tavern protocol.

I ordered the most tourist dish possible, fish and chips, which was more for the mashed peas than the fish and chips. I’ve tasted canned Mushy, which I wasn’t a fan off, but it made me want to try the real stuff. As I suspected, real mushy peas are delicious! Of course the fish and chips were also wonderful. 9My husband went for the second most touristy dish, bangers and mash, which was also quite good. I’d like to visit again and try something less obvious, but overall everything was well-cooked and plated.   Untitled-1a The tavern itself was nice with booths, tables and a bar at the front. Everything was covered in wood and complimented with appropriate art and decor.

The ladies’ toilets were also an adventure.  There was a sink with two facets: one for hot water and one for cold water, but none for comfortable temperature water.  I’ve been told this is fairly common in Great Britain, but this was the only sink I encountered like this, granted I was only there for 2 days.IMG_2737The restroom also had charming wall art to keep you entertained during your visit. IMG_2736I’m not sure what ‘cor scrummy’ means but I take it to mean something good.  ‘Sexy’ maybe, ‘tasty’, it’s possible.  If anyone knows please feel free to educate me.

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