The Jealous Crumpet

A sweet little blog


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Behind the Scene of a Blog Tour #dinehsv

1Y2B57721Last weekend I participated in my 4th food blog tour to celebrate a Restaurant Week.  They are always fun and interesting, so I thought I’d give an inside look of this year’s tour. behind the scenes

The tours actually start out kind of awkward, especially if you don’t know anyone. You’re just eating with a bunch of strangers and though you’ve read their profiles you don’t really know much them. I’m always worried that I’ll do something stupid, because I usually do, this year I misplaced my shoes and may or may not have accidentally mooned someone when a gust of wind caught my skirt. I was fulling immersed in photographing a beautifully plated dish and didn’t pay attention to how windy it was getting. To that person walking by on the sidewalk I’m sorry..  or you’re welcome.

But in the end the bloggers all become fast friends, because we are brought together by food and the experience of eating 3 meals together. In the beginning we are so polite and proper, but by end we are sharing food off each other dishes, recommending places to get good photographs, and laughing and joking with each other.

And it always nice to read each other’s experiences on the blogs afterwards and I recommend you do the same.

Katherine photographing some amazing sides at the Toybox Bistro. Photo on the left courtesy of KatieActually.com

Katherine photographing some amazing sides at the Toybox Bistro. Photo on the left courtesy of KatieActually.com

We also risk life and limb to get a shot. As a photographer you get yourself worked up about ‘finding the right light’ and ‘making sure you captured the ambiance of a place’.  You know that friend that is SO annoying Instagraming every piece of food that goes in their mouth, and then your food, and then the food of the people at the table next to you, well that is child’s play when it comes to a food blogger. I come to a restaurant with a full camera bag, I shoot with a reflector and sometimes a tripod. I climb up on chairs to ‘get the shot’. So obnoxious. The nice things is I am not alone on a food blog tour!

Jennifer photographing at Beignet Cafe. She's a shorty like me so Charles kindly steadied her chair so she didn't die. Worth it though! Her photo is on the left courtesy of SweetTMakesThree.com.

Jennifer photographing at Beignet Cafe. She’s a shorty like me so Charles kindly steadied her chair so she didn’t die. Worth it though! Her photo is on the left courtesy of SweetTMakesThree.com.

It is also nice because you have people who help aka egg you on to do something crazy.

Thank-you to the Huntsville/Madison County Visitor’s Bureau for hosting us and thanking to all the restaurants and bloggers for making it a great experience.

Make sure you check out their blogs!

Katie Actually: http://www.katieactually.com

Charles Hunter III: https://thesaltedtable.com

Jennifer Garvens: http://www.sweettmakesthree.com

Bo Williams: http://bowilliams.com

Stephenie Walker: http://www.rocketcitymom.comsarahDid I get the shot? Yes I did! Thank-you to Charles from TheSaltedTable.com for making sure I didn’t break my neck or really embarrass myself by getting stuck in a chair and having to have firefighters cut me out or some nonsense like that.

Thank-you to Katie for letting me use your shot from KatieActually.com.

Me shooting over the years at blog tours! Thank-you Constance, Sarah and New Market BBQ for taking pics of me.  12


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Day 3: Beignet Cafe #dinehsv

Beignet CafeThis week I’ve been participating in a food blog tour to kick off Huntsville’s Restaurant Week. Fellow bloggers and I visited three restaurants and got the inside scoop about what specials they would be offering from August 12th until the 21st.

Alas, all good things must come to an end, but what a sweet end it was. The last day of the food tour found us at Beignet Cafe. I recently went on a trip to New Orleans, so I came into Beignet Cafe wondering if they could match the culinary delights I’d experience in The Big Easy and boy did they ever. The food was equal, if not superior, to the Cajun cuisine I’d experienced several weeks earlier.12The restaurant itself is really cute, with simple, but cheery decor. Live flowers adorn every table and french signage gives the cafe an authentic NOLA feel. 9Of course, we started the proper way with sugar laden, warm and oh so wonderful beignets and full cups of Café du Monde, chicory coffee. At this point it had started raining, but that only added to the comforting effect of our soft pastry starter.

I did not made a good wardrobe choice that morning and was wear a black shirt, which was covered in sugar after my first bite. It was worth it! 2All of the bloggers order different dishes so we could try lots of items. I started with a cup of gumbo. It was excellent, with pieces of chicken, seafood, vegetables and the perfect level of spices.1For my entrée I had the Dirty Grits, which were covered in chunks of andouille sausage and chicken, cooked in Cajun seasoning. It was a perfect comfort food, spicy, but pleasant with creamy grits and savory toppings.5There was also a gorgeous Strawberry Feta Salad topped with blackened chicken and balsamic vinaigrette.6The Egg Bake with fresh fruits looked delicious, but I forgot to sample that. It seemed like a hit though. You could get three varieties of Egg Bakes: Veggie, Classic or Meat.

I might not have eaten the Egg Bake, but I did get a photograph of it. You know you have your priorities out of order when it is more important for you to photograph you meal than eat it. #photographerproblems

I might not have eaten the Egg Bake, but I did get a photograph of it. You know you have your priorities out of order when it is more important to photograph of a meal than eat it. (eye roll) #photographerproblems

We were all quite content, but owner Denise had one more surprise for us: Tres Leche Bread Pudding. One word: Heavenly.

I always wondered why Southerners loved bread pudding so much, because honestly bread pudding kind of sounds unappetizing. The first time I heard about it I envisioned chocolate Jello on top of Wonder bread. Yuck! But this Yankee admits she was wrong (again) and that Tres Leche Bread Pudding is delicious and decadent. Bread PuddingThank-you to Denise and the wonderful staff at Beignet Cafe for hosting us bloggers on this last day of the blog tour!!7And thank-you to the CBV for inviting me to the 2016 Food Blog Tour. As usually it was a great experience.8Make sure you check out my fellow bloggers posts about Beignet Cafe.

Katie Actually: http://www.katieactually.com/beignet-cafe/

Sweet T Makes Three: http://www.sweettmakesthree.com/places-to-eat-in-huntsville-alabama/

Rocket City Mom: http://www.rocketcitymom.com/huntsvilles-beignet-cafe/
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Day 2: Toybox Bistro #dinehsv

Toybox BistroAs celebration of a growing food community in North Alabama the Huntsville/Madison County Visitor’s Bureau will host Huntsville Restaurant Week. From August 12th until the 21st restaurants across Madison County offer specials that range from $5 to $30, allowing patrons to dine in wide variety of eateries over this 10 day period.

To kick off the event several top-notch bloggers (and myself) get to sample the special deals and blog about it. 

Fun(free food + blog idea) + A=(happy food bloggers)5  Solve for A (Show your work)

Day 2 of the blog tour found us at the Toybox Bistro and I’ll admit I was really excited about this one. I’ve been hearing great things about the Bistro, but I haven’t tried yet and this was a great excuse to visit (not that you need an excuse).Toybox Bistro

I’m going to get to the food, which was exceptional, but let me start with the ambiance, which was surprisingly fun and exciting.

As the story goes owner Michelle was married to Steve, who was a big collector of all things nerdy. He had a huge stash of geeky toys from just about every genre and when he passed away Michelle wasn’t really sure what to do with it all. At around the same time her BFF Bill, who has extensive experience in the restaurant industry wanted to “build a place where he can cook some funky food and serve some cool beers and just let people hang out.” Out of this came the funky, geeky amalgamation of nerd meets foodie, The Toybox Bistro.Foodie meets nerdThe decor is epic. No matter what your fandom is, you will probably find a corner in the Bistro that represents your love. There is Pokemon, Mario, Star Trek, Star Wars, Magic, UNO, Voltron, Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer, Hungry Hungry Hippo, etc, etc, etc.6

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I forgot to look if they had a cricket bat for Shawn of the Dead.

9There are canisters of legos to bring to your table, but honestly it is so exciting to just look around that you won’t have time to build anything.7Each table and corner is unique, so you’re bound to have a favorite nook or cranny. Even the ceiling is covered with model space ships, nostalgic board games and over 150 Pez dispensers.  17It is hard to not feel nostalgic in this place. For a photographer it is a dream restaurant to get pictures. 11And we haven’t even gotten to the food!! After you have marveled at the toys and games, had childhood flashbacks, pointed out nerdy things to the other people at your table, you start to realize that you actually came to eat, so you peruse the menu.

I forgot to see if they had a cricket bat for a Zombie Apocalypse.

I forgot to see if they had a cricket bat for a Zombie Apocalypse.

The menu is as nerdy as you’d hope, with dishes such as the Redneck Luigi, The Sonic Gut Buster and Fires of Mt. Doom Chili.15They also have cool culinary dishes that explore the joys of comfort food, such as Waffled Mac & Cheese, Lobster Rolls, Fried Wickles and the northern favorite, way northern (like Canada north) Poutine (fries, with gravy and cheese curd).

Because food bloggers are great at sharing we all ordered a bunch of specials and had a little of everything!

See all of the bloggers working together!!4Our first dish was the PB & Yay Burger with the poutine that I just mentioned. The burger was a fresh (never frozen) 6 oz patty with tomatoes, red onions, tons of bacon, pepper jack cheese and peanut butter. Yep, you read that right, peanut butter. It was surprisingly awesome. 12The next sandwich was the C3PO, which is a hand breaded chicken breast with bacon bescemel sauce, more bacon, tomato, ham and crisp lettuce.  I liked both sandwiches, but this one was my favorite.  It also came with a side of fried wickels. Oh so yum!13Then came Mac and Cheese Waffles. I know, right! The best part of Mac and Cheese the is crispy, melted bits and this entire dish was covered in it.  Yum!!2At this point I was post-Thanksgiving dinner stuffed, but just like with Thanksgiving there is always room for dessert. And this dessert was spectacular: Cherry Cheese Cake Rangoons.
1Warning: the portions are generous is an understatement, so make sure you come hungry or at least with loose-fitting clothes.
16Make sure you check out my fellow bloggers posts. There was so much to see and talk about that I know they all covered a lot of stuff that I didn’t even touch on.

Katie Actually http://www.katieactually.com/toybox-bistro/

Rocket City Mom (with a Kid Reporter!!) http://www.rocketcitymom.com/kid-report-toybox-bistro/

Bo Williams http://bowilliams.com/2016/07/visiting-toy-box-bistro-for-huntsville-restaurant-week-2016/

Sweet T Makes Three http://www.sweettmakesthree.com/places-to-eat-in-huntsville-alabama/
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Day 1: Grille 29 #dinehsv

Grille 29 #dinehsv‘Tis the time of year that North Alabama foodies rejoice and get their taste buds ready: Huntsville Restaurant Week! This is the 5th year of Huntsville Restaurant Week and from August 12th until the 21st patrons can enjoy speciality menu items at great prices from numerous restaurants across Madison County.

As part of the kickoff to Restaurant Week several fellow bloggers and I visited three eateries to get a first look at their specials. I’ve had the pleasure of participating in this Blog Tour for 3 years running. I love it, so please feel free to keep inviting me back! (Not so subtle hint)

This year’s talented bloggers included:

Charles Hunter III with The Salted Table

Jennifer Gervens with Sweet T Makes Three

Katie Wright with Katie Actually

Bo Williams and Stephenie Walker with Rocket City Mom

I’ll include a link to each of their posts at the end, so make sure you give them almost as much love as you give me!

Grille 29Our first stop was Grille 29.  Last year the blog tour had brunch here (the shrimp and grits were to die for!) so I had very high expectations, which were surpassed yet again. You can check out last years post here.

We started with Roasted Cauliflower Soup, which was garnished with crispy prosciutto and greens. I’m a huge veggie-aholic, so I found this dish completely addictive. I seriously dreamed about it that night.Cauliflower SoupNext we sampled a Southern classic, fried green tomatoes, topped with pork belly and blue pimento cheese. It was also scrumptious! Fried Green TomatoesNext came the main course Flat Iron Steak, enhanced with a roasted shallot reduction, topped with house-made Pico de Gallo and sweet potato straws, over cheese grits. Are you hungry yet, because just writing this post is making me drool.Flat Iron SteakWhen we knew we couldn’t possibly eat anymore, dessert came out and we mustered the courage to go on.

We started with a Lemon Lava Cake, which was stunning. It was a delicious dessert, but it was also a beautiful dessert, which really warms a food photographers heart.Lemon Lava CakeThen came a Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffle, which I’ve had before and loved before. From what I could tell it was a fan favorite. Peanut Butter TruffleAnd last, but certainly not least, was the Cheesecake of the Day, Turtle Cheesecake.Turtle CheesecakeEverything was delicious! While we were photographing food on the patio a jealous lizard kept on eyeing the Lemon Lava Cake.  Sadly for the lizard, we didn’t have any leftovers.lizard and cheesecakeAll of the food was created under the watchful eye of Executive Chef Cara Thompson. Make sure you attend Rocket Chef at the Merrimack Hall on August 8th and cheer for Chef Cara as she competes against other culinary geniuses for the title of Rocket Chef. All proceeds from the event go to the Food Bank of North Alabama, so it feeds your soul as well as your belly.11More about Grille 29 please visit:

Katie Actually: http://www.katieactually.com/grille-29-2/

Sweet T Makes Three: http://www.sweettmakesthree.com/places-to-eat-in-huntsville-alabama/

Rocket City Mom: http://www.rocketcitymom.com/grille-29/

Bo Williams: http://bowilliams.com/2016/07/huntsville-restaurant-week-2016/

Grille 29

 


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Harry Potter Inspired Acid Pops

1As any true Harry Potter fan knows July 31st is Harry’s birthday. He’ll be 36 years old this year. Now don’t you feel older.

Harry and his buddies were frequenters of the candy shop Honeyduke’s, where they would by Chocolate Frogs, Fizzing Whizzbees, Cockroach Clusters and Acid Pops. To celebrate Harry’s birthday I created my version of Acid Pops.

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Acid Pops

1/2 cup Light Corn Syrup

1 cup Sugar

1/2 cup Water

5 drops Lemon Extract

5 drops Green Food Coloring

3 packs Pop Rocks 

Step one: Take your wand, flick and clearly state “Accio Acid Pop ingredients”.  For muggles just collect your ingredients. 

Step two: In a medium sauce pan combine sugar, corn syrup, and water. Heat on high, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.

Step three: Prep your lollipop mold by spraying a small amount of oil in the area they candy will touch.

Step four: Boil the ingredients until the temperature reaches 300°F and remove from heat.

Step five: Add extract and food coloring and stir.

Step six: Carefully spoon the melted sugar mixture in the mold, immediately place the sticks in the candy and pour Pop Rocks onto the hardening lolli. Beware they Pop Rocks may shoot wildly around the room when they hit the hot sugar.  Don’t put your face near the candy to hear the snapping of the Pop Rocks as you could lose any eye. I learned this one the hard way.

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After 20 minutes the candy should be cool enough to enjoy.  The Pop Rocks do lose there snap after time, so you want to enjoy them the same day.

Happy Birthday Harry!!2

 

 


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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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