The Jealous Crumpet

A sweet little blog


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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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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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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

 


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Chantenay Heirloom Carrot and Ginger Soup

Heirloom Carrot and Ginger SoupOn this gloomy, rainy Autumn day nothing is more perfect than a lunch of warm heirloom carrot and ginger soup. It is especially perfect when paired with fresh rolls and garnished with chives and dill.  Fresh RollsAnother great recipe for Chef Chris at The Bottle!fresh ginger

HEIRLOOM CARROT AND GINGER SOUP

(Serves 8 people)

2 tbs. whole butter

1 medium Vidalia onion

1 small clove of garlic

2 fresh bay leaves

1 tsp. salt and fresh ground pepper.

2 lbs. Chantenay carrots (any good sweet heirloom variety)

1 small piece of peeled fresh ginger (2 oz.)

6 cups vegetable stock (carrots, onions and celery)

1 cup heavy cream

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, sauté the roughly chopped vegetables in whole butter for five minutes. Add the vegetable stock, salt, pepper and bay leaf. Simmer for five minutes or until the carrots are tender. Puree and strain the mixture into another sauce pot and add the heavy cream. Bring to a light simmer and check seasoning. A few drops of lemon juice will help to bring out the flavor of the carrots. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, your favorite crusty bread and fresh herbs.

Carrot and Ginger Soup

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Old Wise Man Bourbon Cocktail

Old Wise Man Bourbon CocktailHere’s another exceptional cocktail from Chef Ryan Stone at The Bottle in Huntsville. I am a huge fan of bourbon cocktails, so I definitely recommend this libation. Make sure you also check out Chef Ryan’s Lily, My Love Gin Cocktail.

Old Wise Man

Recipe by Ryan Stone

2oz Sage-infused Old Forester Bourbon

0.5oz Peach Syrup

0.5oz Fresh Lemon Juice

2 dashes Peach Bitters

2 blackberries

In a mixing tin, add blackberries, peach syrup, and lemon juice. Muddle gently for 10 seconds. Add sage-infused Old Forester and peach bitters into the mixing tin, add ice to about the 3/4’s full line, and shake vigorously. Strain twice over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with a speared blackberry and a sage leaf.

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Blog Tour Hildegard’s Biergarten #dineHSV

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Our second stop of the Food Tour for Restaurant Week brought me and my fellow bloggers to Hildegard’s Biergarten.  This was the one restaurant I hadn’t yet visited so I was especially excited to dine here.

Hildegard’s was voted the Best International Restaurant in the Valley, the Best German Restaurant in The Valley AND the Best German Restaurant in Alabama, so I went into the restaurant with high expectations and I’m happy to report that I wasn’t disappointed.

Hildegard’s has two locations: one on Whitesburg Drive and the other on Heathland Drive, which is across the street from the Madison Square Mall. We visited Hildegard’s on Heathland and it was a little bit difficult to find, so I used my GPS to get there. Once you know where it is, it is easy. feature1

The restaurant is large, which makes it ideal for big parties, but I saw plenty of couples there as well.  The decor is cute with, appropriately enough, lots of garden (or should I say “garten”) paraphilia. As you walk into the restaurant, you are greeted by bundles of flowers, gardening accessories and even a bird bath. feature8They have very comfortable patio and picnic tables, and booths decorated with floral themes.
feature6Though the decor is lovely, the star of the restaurant is definitely the food. We met the owners Sabina and her husband Jeff, and they were happy to talk to us about the restaurant’s history and cuisine.feature9Then Sabina brought out dish after dish for us to try. In fact, there were so many different things that I started to lose track and didn’t even photograph the pork schnitzel, which was to die for! Everything we ate was perfectly cooked, amazingly seasoned, and most importantly delicious (even the stuffed cabbage, which I was never a fan of before now). feature3 copyBeing a biergarten, they also had an extensive selection of beer (my kind of place!) and I had an Amber Ale with my meal.feature2When we were so full we doubted we would be able to walk out of the restaurant without assistance, Sabina brought the desserts.  I actually lost count of how many I tasted, but my favorites were the Black Forest Cake and the Blueberry Cheesecake. Her mother makes all the desserts in-house and she is a culinary artist. Everything was wonderful.feature7As an added bonus, I made my first TasteMade Video about Hildegard’s Biergarten. Check it out at the link below. Note: Be kind, this is my first video! Also, I don’t know why it is so hard to say “Hildegard’s Biergarten”. 

Hildegard’s Biergarten

We also had a new blogger with us on this leg of the journey, Bo Williams, who blogs for Rocket City Mom.

Make sure you check out all of the bloggers’ wonderful posts.

Clint Cantwell with Grillocracy

Phillip Fryman with Southern FATTY

Bo Williams with Rocket City Mom

Constance Smith with Cosmopolitan Cornbread

Katie Wright with Katie Actually

Website:

http://www.hildegardsgermancuisine.com

Location:

1010 Heathland Dr Huntsville, AL 35816

Phone:

256 – 513 – 8260

Hours:

11: 00 am to 9:00 pm Mon-Sat

Closed Sunday