Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Luxe Burger again? You got it!

My husband & I went to Luxe burger again this past weekend and had yet another delicious meal. Why did we go to the same place we went to last time? Well, we had a gift certificate, of course...ha…and we always enjoy the atmosphere and the food.

Whenever Charles & I go out to eat we love to sit at the bar where things are more exciting, and there is always someone interesting to talk with, like Ben & Neil, the bartenders. In my quandary of what to drink, I settled on a Harpoon I.P.A., and as I sip my beer I see the Goslings rum behind the bar…if only they had ginger beer I’d order a Dark & Stormy. If you like ginger, this is a great drink to try. When the spiciness from the ginger beer (it's actually soda) combines with the sweetness from the dark spiced rum you get the intense Dark & Stormy. I didn’t even ask if they had ginger beer because not too many bars serve it. Well, don’t you know when the bartender opened the cooler, my husband happens to see ginger beer!!!! Aawww yea! One Dark & Stormy please!!

Now onto the food…Charles & I usually plan on getting something we haven’t had before or something we haven’t had in a long time. Right off the bat, we wanted to try their Buffalo Calamari because we saw it the last time we were at Luxe Burger and it smelled soooo good. I LOVE buffalo anything, I love it so much I could drink the sauce. When the calamari was delivered to us, the tang from the hot sauce made my nose tingle…zip zip zippyyyy! With the first bite, I knew right away that this wasn’t a store bought sauce, it was very unique. The sauce had a good, spicy zip to it, but it offered an unusual sweetness at the same time. Hmmm, a sweet and spicy buffalo sauce…who knew?!? It was something that I had never experienced before, and I just absolutely loved it! Now if I could figure out how to make it…I’ll let you know when I do!!

For some reason, the menu and atmosphere at Luxe Burger just makes you want a burger (yea, hence the name…Luxe Burger). With that, I had all intentions of trying something different, but the burger menu just called to me. Then I saw the Umami sandwich. It is a tuna steak with a soy glaze, julienne cucumbers, and wasabi dressing. When I asked Ben about the sandwich, he said “It is my favorite, if you like tuna you gotta try it!” It is unique because many people will grind the tuna to make a burger out of it, but they left it as a steak. So I decided to give it a whirl. When Ben asked me how I want it cooked I said “rare, of course!” Then it dawned on me, I was ordering sushi at a burger joint…this could be bad. I very rarely order sushi from a place other than a well established sushi bar, it’s too risky. Too late now, the order is in and I decide to go with the flow and hope for the best while sipping on my most refreshing Dark & Stormy. Well, the best came to me on a plate. The tuna was cooked perfectly. The soy glaze added a sweet and saltiness while the cucumbers added crunch and a dash of freshness. All-in-all, the sandwich had the perfect balance of flavors. I’m happy to report that ordering sushi here worked out just fine!!

What did Charles have? He ordered a burger topped with goat cheese and roasted red peppers with a side of Gorgonzola Tater Tots. The burger arrives and the amount of goat cheese on top was insane! There was a very generous chunk-o-cheese and it was tangy, creamy and delicious. With the goat cheese on top of the perfectly cooked burger, and the roasted red peppers on the bottom, a delectable burger was born. As for the “Tater Tots…” oh heavenly potato, how I love thee! These aren’t you average tater tots. In fact, they aren’t tater tots at all! They are potato croquettes filled with Gorgonzola cheese!!! Eating one of these bad boys is like eating a piece of heaven. The potato is crunchy on the outside, and the Gorgonzola cheese is creamy and smooth on the inside making this a rich, delectable, little ball of goodness. This is a MUST try when you go to Luxe burger!!!! I actually suggested they change the name because “Gorgonzola Tater Tots” does NOT do this side dish any service.

Have you played with your food today? Well, what are you waiting for...go!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Looking for a quick and delicious meal? Check out this recipe!

Charles & I went to our friend’s Anne & Dave’s house for dinner, and Anne served an awesome sandwich that was like pulled pork, but it was chicken instead. This sandwich has the perfect balance of sweet, savory and spice and with the right roll…super delicious!!! The recipe came from Rachel Ray, and it is quick, easy and very tasty…I highly recommend it! First I’ll give you the recipe and then some suggestions to follow.

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
1 cup chicken stock
1 bottle of beer
4 pcs. boneless chicken breast
2 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs Tabasco
1 ½ Tbs grill seasoning (use store bought or see recipe to follow)
3 Tbs dark brown sugar
¼ c tomato paste

6 Sweet Rolls

1. In a medium skillet, bring chicken stock & beer to a simmer and poach chicken for around 
    5 minutes on each side.
2. In a separate skillet, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil on medium-low heat.
3. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a separate bowl.
4. When chicken is cooked through, remove from poaching liquid and slice.
5. Take 2 ladles of the poaching liquid and add to ingredients in bowl and mix well.
6. Add chicken to mixture and combine using 2 forks, shredding the chicken as you mix.
7. Add chicken to the skillet with the garlic & onions and simmer for 10 minutes adding more
    poaching liquid as you need to reach your desired sauciness.
8. Put in a sweet roll and enjoy!!

OK, as you may have figured out, I always enjoy changing things up a bit, and I also like to try to make things as natural as I can. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about making things difficult for anyone; but if I can make it from scratch instead of buying it already made, I will. Why? I like to know exactly what is going into the product and my belly, and I like to be able to control the amount and quality of ingredients.

Here are a few options for the BBQ Chicken Sandwich recipe:
• Anne saved some time by using a roasted chicken that she bought at the market. Very smart
• If you use the roasted chicken, just add beer at step 5 instead of poaching liquid.
• If you don’t have any beer on hand, don’t panic! There is no need to go out and buy beer just
   for this recipe; you can simply use chicken stock whenever beer is called for. White  
   wine would be tasty too!
• I love Tabasco and think it runs in my veins; but Anne used an Asian hot sauce called
   Sriracha, and I highly recommend it!! It is a bit hotter and thicker than Tabasco and has more
   garlic in it…KAPOW! You can find it in the Asian section of the market.
• If you don’t have dark brown sugar, you can use light brown sugar. If you don’t have light 
   brown sugar, you can use white sugar with about 2 tsp of molasses added to the mix. If you 
   don’t have molasses…go get some brown sugar! Ha ha ha…no really, brown sugar of some
   type rocks it!
• Now as far as the roll goes…definitely go for the sweet roll!! The slight sweetness of the roll 
   with the spiciness of chicken was revelry in my mouth! Anne found “Sweet Rolls” from Stop &
   Shop in their bakery section. They are so light, delicate and airy and are a must have for this  
   bold and spicy sandwich. The top of the roll must have been lightly brushed with a light sugar
   syrup right after it came out of the oven, mmmmmmmmm...
• There is another Portuguese sweet roll out there called the Bolo Levedo. It looks like an
   English Muffin, but it has a delicate, sweet flavor and is a bit more dense.
· Avoiding carbs? This chicken would be excellent on it’s own too!
• Coleslaw would make a great side dish, but I think it may be even better on it!!! You know I’m 
   going to include a recipe for this now, right? Ha ha ha…

If you don’t have Grill Seasoning on hand, here is a recipe with ingredients that you may already have in your pantry. I recommend making your own because, again, you are in control of the ingredients and there are no preservatives, artificial ingredients or ingredients that you can’t pronounce.

Grill Seasoning
3 Tbs fresh coarse ground pepper
1 Tbs kosher salt
1 Tbs onion powder
1 Tbs garlic powder
1 Tbs ground coriander (Did you know that coriander seed is the seed of the cilantro plant?)
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1. Place ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
2. Store in an airtight container in a cool dark space.

Simple Slaw
1 bag shredded coleslaw mix
½ cup Mayonaise
3 Tbs rice vinegar (or cider vinegar, or wine vinegar)
3 Tbs sugar
¼ tsp celery salt (no celery salt? Feel free to use Kosher instead)

1. Mix mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar and celery salt together.
2. Pour over coleslaw and toss well.
3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 

Don't forget to play with your food today!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I will follow youuuuuu…..

Hello there! Are you enjoying this blog as much as I enjoy writing it? It’s kind of funny…I never was a writer growing up because I didn’t know how to express myself on paper. If a teacher asked me to write about an apple, I’d say: “it is red and round.” While both are true, I never fully understood what my teachers were asking of me. Now, as an adult, I’ve finally figured it out. It took a while, but I can appreciate an apple as being red and round, and also as crisp, sweet and juicy. The apple reminds me of the smell of fall as the leaves change while the temperature in the air dips low enough to wear a light sweater and no jacket.

Anyway, I digress…

If you are enjoying my blog, please feel free to “Follow” me. Just click on the “Follow” button on the right and sign in. It is kind of like being a friend on Facebook. You’ll have to join Google, but it only takes a minute and is free. Also, If you’d like to get a notice each time I post a new entry, you can “subscribe via email” by clicking the link.

Thank you for your support, and I hope you all continue to enjoy my posts!!

Did you play with your food today? I did!!!