The Jealous Crumpet

A sweet little blog


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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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Stay Warm with Chicory

ChicorySee how happy I am to be about to drink my chicory. Sadly moments after this photo was taken I slipped and dumped the entire contents on the ground. I should have taken a photo of that, but I was too busy cursing and my husband was too busy laughing, so alas, there is no photographic evidence.

Though Alabama didn’t get the massive piles of snow that the rest of the of the East Coast received, it get enough to make winter official.snowI lived much of my childhood in New England, so any bit of snow makes me nostalgic and wistful for a simpler time. I love bundling up in heavy socks and sweaters that I almost never get to wear and crunching through the fresh snow, savoring the moment and knowing that tomorrow it will most likely be gone and year before I see it again.8After fun in the snow I like to drink a hot cup of coffee, but as part of my 2016 initiative to be healthier I have been trying to cut my caffeine intake down. Happily I discovered the delights of chicory, which is caffeine free and quite delicious. chicoryChicory is a blue flowered plant whose root has a similar flavor to roasted coffee beans.  There are lots of claims of medicinal uses, such as improving calcium absorption and bone mineral density, as well as helping with weight loss. I just started drinking it, but I let you know if I increase bones and decrease fat.  It is also used in flavoring beers, especially stouts, which is probably another reason I like it.4I started drinking Pero, which has barley (containing important dietary fibers), rye (with several markers of blood sugar control) and chicory. I can’t really say if I’m feeling healthier, but I enjoy it nevertheless.1I also got to break in my new tea-cup, which I’ve been dying to use. The cup and saucer were my souvenir from a recent trip to Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. It’s a gruesome homage to Romeo and Juliet, depicting a pierced heart and the quote, “For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.” So dark, I love it!6So stay warm everyone and enjoy a cup of Pero. 2

 

 


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Big Oh’s Event

1Y2B1759Yay! Huntsville has a new Korean Fusion Restaurant and it’s wonderful! Last night I had the pleasure of visiting a tasting event at a brand new restaurant: Big Oh’s.

One of the perks of having a food blog, you get invited to cool gigs and people feed you. Seriously, if you have a food blog you know what I’m talking about and if you don’t have one you should, so you’ll know what I’m talking about.Untitled-12My husband has recently become a workaholic so I went to the tasting with my dear friend Deidre. I couldn’t have asked for a better date: good conversation, excellent food, a lively atmosphere, and a compassionate ear for when I complained about my workaholic husband. Untitled-1We sat at a small two person table (it’s more intimate that way), but a short time later I saw two friends I knew: Aska and Nico. Big Oh’s was packed and there were no tables left, so I invited Aska and Nico to join our little table.  We crammed around the 2 person table, our elbows knocking into our neighbors and kicking each other every time we shifted, but we were cozy.1Y2B1787Then a mutual friend Amanda comes in and we thought, What the hell, and crammed her into the mix. As the evening wound down plenty of seats and tables opened up, but we stayed in our tight formation enjoying the food and company.  At the end the owners even jointed the mix and our table for two became of table of 7!1Y2B1766It was wonderfully fun and I can honestly say that Big Oh’s was great, with excellent food (the Bacon Kimchi was to die for) and pleasant ambience.  Everyone from the staff and owners to the invitees and guests were happy and friendly.  I’m looking forward to going back.1Y2B1752This time my photos did not do the food justice.  I was woefully unprepared, (no flash, no tripod, no reflector, etc.) but I can say that there were piles upon piles of food when we started and as we were leaving I noticed there was almost nothing left, aside from a platter of veggies and who’s going to pick vegetables over bacon kimchi.  1Y2B1774

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Asparagus Soup

Asparagus SoupIt is rainy and gloomy today, but as I’ve been under the weather for the last couple of weeks it is a perfect day for me to stay home, watch vintage movies (I’m in the mood for something creepy and Vincent Pricey) and eat warm homemade soup.

I photographed this wonderful recipe for Event Magazine‘s current issue and not only is it delicious it is insanely easy to make. Puree ingredients, warm, eat; it doesn’t get much simpler  than that unless it is from a can, in which case it is usually rife with preservatives and sodium.Asparagus SoupThis recipe was created by the chefs at D & L Bistro. It is a wonderful location, with lots of nice nooks and crannies for me to photograph in and a lovely patio for pleasant weather dinning. Asparagus SoupAsparagus Soup

1 bunch of asparagus

1 medium yellow onion

2 garlic cloves

1 large Yukon gold potato

1-quart chicken stock (vegetable stock may be used as a vegetarian option)

¼ cup heavy cream

1-tablespoon canola oil

¼ teaspoon allspice

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all of the ingredients and purée in a blender. Heat the mixture in a pan and serve immediately. Garnish with asparagus tips and olive oil.Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 2.55.02 PM