The Jealous Crumpet

A sweet little blog


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Kona Grill

1Huntsville has a new, ultra cool place to enjoy an upscale cocktail, a pint of local craft beer, and a truly amazing array of culinary delights.  It’s hard to say what the restaurants food genre is other than an eclectic spectrum of deliciousness.  Usually when I got to a restaurant opening I do a little research on the place, but I was pressed for time so as we were driving to the Kona Grill I looked the restaurant up on my phone (don’t worry, my husband was driving).1y2b9304The menu had  lots of different types of food: Japanese, Italian, good old American and even some New England fare.  Mmm Clam Chowder. (It gives me flashbacks to my childhood).

“How can this be good?” I asked by husband while looking at my phone. “There are too many different styles of food.”

Thirty minutes later I would be eating my words, while sipping on a heavenly strawberry basil cocktail and eating a numerous styles of food that were consistently good.1y2b9311The interior is sleek, yet comfortable.  The restaurant is divided into different atmospheres, but all of them were equally enjoyable.  It is a great place to grab a meal before a Saturday out on the town or settle in on a weeknight for numerous dishes, drinks and causal conversation. We opted to sit on the patio in the unseasonably warm weather with blogging superstar SweetTMakesThree and our hubbies.  1y2b9323The staff was lovely, well-informed and so helpful. They brought us lots of different dishes to sample and offered to get anything we needed from their skilled chefs and bar staff. 1y2b9333I started with the flatbread pizza. It was delicious, which is going to sound very redundant soon, but seriously everything tasted amazing.untitled-12After a while I noticed people sipping on fruity cocktails, and being a person that doesn’t want to miss out, I went and located a few for the table.untitled-15Mmm. Just looking at the pictures again makes me want another.  They were fresh and fruit the with right amount of kick.

I LOVE food presentation, so I was all about the ice sculpture in the sushi room.untitled-13All of the sushi is made fresh in-house. It went so fast that I was barely able to get a photo before it was gone, but I snagged a couple of pieces.  Once again delicious. 1y2b93341y2b9343We then enjoyed well-cooked burgers (American-style) and pork dumplings (Chinese-style). My absolute favorite was the tuna sashimi (Japanese-style) and we finished up with passion fruit creme brûlée (French-style).  It was like visiting Epcot Center without all the crying children and overpriced Mickey merchandise. untitled-14I highly recommend visiting Kona Grill! The husband and I have already made plans to be back. Make sure you visit it at Bridge Street Town Centre in Huntsville. 1y2b9421

 


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Green Bus Brewing

1Huntsville has a new brewery!!! Let’s all toast Green Bus Brewery with a pint of Hop Bus IPA!!1y2b7819Back in 2009 craft beer in Huntsville was in its infancy. Prior to this beer with an alcohol content of more than 6% was banned from the state. Other prohibition era laws remained of the books and essentially stifled an industry that was thriving and benefiting other states throughout the country. In 2005, a group of passionate beer lovers started the Free the Hops movement to change the laws and bring more sophisticated beer drinking habits to the state.  And once change started there was no stopping it.  Throughout Alabama craft breweries started expanding, but no place took to it like Huntsville.  Maybe it’s all of our out-of-state brew drinking transplants, maybe it’s our high populations of beer-loving engineers, but whatever the reason, Huntsville loves craft beer!2Now that we’ve hit 2016 Green Bus will be the 8th brewery in Madison County.  I had the pleasure of dropping into the Grand Opening.1y2b7808The Grand Opening lasted all day and I picked a time that I thought would be dead, but I would be wrong.  There were tons of people, lots of beer, food, games, live music, raffles, and a guy in lederhosen. ‘Tis the season I suppose.  1y2b7833They even had the infamous green bus! It was covered with stickers from all the other local breweries. I love how the craft beer industry in Alabama is so supportive of each other. I can’t tell you how many times brewers have told me ‘when one of us succeeds we all do’.1y2b7839I’d loved to have tasted the beer, but unfortunately I am currently under a strict gluten-free diet (doctor’s orders) so alas I could only photograph it.  I will say it was quite pretty and the drinkers around me seemed immensely happy.3


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Theo’s Cafe

cThere is a new coffee shop in Madison County! Be still my caffeinated heart. Theo’s Cafe recently opened their doors in the Hampton Cove area of Madison.  1Y2B6129Of course, like any good cafe, they offers a wide array of coffees, teas, and pastries. Most of the pasties are house or locally made.  In fact the shop offers a variety of local products including Piper & Leaf teas, artisan soaps and art from Lowe Mill.1Y2B6124In the hot Alabama sun you can enjoy a fresh smoothie, a Suzy Ice Pop or ice cream.  Or maybe an iced coffee with cream in more your speed. 1Y2B6144There is a variety of sandwiches and salads. I took the staff’s recommendations (thanks Cayla!) and went with Theo’s Chicken Salad.  I’m very particular about my chicken salad and I can honestly say this was delicious!! I loved it. 10 I also had the Strawberry Pecan Salad. Don’t worry, I had help eating everything.  It was also really nice, fresh and fruity. bIt was super gloomy/rainy out and a creamy, hot latte with dark chocolate on top was required. It was superb and hit the spot. 1Y2B6179Cayla made my coffee perfectly.  It was pretty strong, which is alright by me! rShe even showed off her latte foam art skills by making a little heart for me.  Awww. tNext time I’m asking for her to create Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man with the foam.  7We finished with Peach Cheese cake that was created by owner, Josh.  It was everything a dessert should be, sweet (but not too sweet), creamy, rich, and decadent. Delicious!!   aThe restaurant itself was really fun.  As I said, there is a rotating display of local art which sets off the clean, hip feel of the cafe.  1Y2B6096There are also many personal photos which gives the place a more intimate feel.  The cafe is named after owner Josh’s mentor and grandfather James Theodore Martin and he is very present in the place.1Y2B6100

1Y2B6111There are also many events at Theo’s including: local bands and pottery glazing classes. The cafe is a great place to socialize, learn something new, or just spend some quite time by yourself to enjoy a cup of joe and slice a cheesecake. 1Y2B6326


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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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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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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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