Calories Be Damned…..Deep-Fried Cookie Dough

Last Saturday I stumbled across a roadside stand in Kimmswick, MO as we were heading back to I-55 from the Blue Owl Restaurant. It was serving all deep-fried foods and Hawaiian ice. Since I had just eaten, I didn’t get to sample anything. However on July 4th, I intentionally stopped at that exit again and found that the stand was still there.

Living in Missouri, we love our deep-fried food. This stand had many things to try: Twinkies, Oreo’s, Kool-aid balls, brownies, and cookie dough. The cookie dough was calling out to me. As you would imagine, it’s simply cookie dough battered and deep-fried. They serve it in a paper basket topped with powdered sugar and glaze. Obviously, this wasn’t decadent enough.

Fresh from the fryer

As I closed the door to my car, it filled the space with the smell of doughnuts.  They were still piping hot when I had the first bite. The batter wasn’t too heavy. The cookie dough had that still somewhat gritty consistency. The chocolate chips melted as if they were cookies fresh from the oven. They were pretty much golf balls of gooey calories with a high dose of vitamin G (grease) and sugar. I loved every bit of them. If you get a chance to try them, don’t pass it up!

Any other fried foods out there people have enjoyed?

 

MEDIAnoche – Half & Half at Twilight

Last Saturday, my wife and I dined at MEDIAnoche. For those that have been to Half & Half, it’s the same location but a completely different style. Half & Half focuses on breakfast and brunch while MEDIAnoche is Mexican. This won’t be your typical Mexican restaurant, but you will find familiar dishes and ingredients used in a new and unique way. Since I have been a fan of Half & Half for several months now, MEDIAnoche has been on my list of places to try.

I love when restaurants offer a prix fixe menu because I usually have a list longer than what one human should consume in one sitting. Their version, called Probando, ensured that I would try an appetizer, a taco, and an entrée. Having my wife there, meant we could double what I would sample 🙂

My appetizer was the biscuit con Puerco. It was a biscuit made using pork fat with BBQ smoked pork belly inside and topped with Brussel sprout slaw. It was served with a side of mango Habanero jam. For those that read my post about Atlanta’s Six Feet Under, you are probably surprised I went for Habanero’s again so soon. I sampled the sauce first to determine how much to use for the biscuit. It started off with the refreshing taste of mangos and then had a nice after-burn from the Habanero. The texture of the biscuit was more soft than your typical flakey variety. The pork belly was a little tougher than what I typically like but still had that extreme pork flavor. I was surprised at how well I liked the Brussel sprout slaw; it provided a nice crunch. Overall this dish was unique but not something I would probably order again. The highlight was the mango Habanero sauce which has endless possibilities for use.

Watch out for the kick of the sauce!

My wife’s appetizer was the atun fresco. It was seared tuna with corn, oyster mushrooms, and jalapeno. It was a typical seared tuna that was cooked perfectly. The slight taste from the corn and jalapeno do give it more of a Mexican flair than you get at most restaurants. A solid appetizer for those that like seared tuna but not too out of the ordinary.

For the 2nd course, I had the de panza de Puerco (pork belly taco). My family has started to wonder about my obsession of pork belly. If there is an option for pork belly I will try it. As you can see it was a part of the 1st two courses! I love that they served the taco in a paper tray. It reminds me of real Mexican style street food tacos. You can tell that the toppings were fresh and that is a key to a good street food taco. If they only had cow’s tongue as an option….

My wife’s 2nd course was the avocado taco. I was hoping she would try the beef cheek or lamb. As all married guys know, there is give and take in a relationship. This was a time to let it slide. I was pleasantly surprised at the flavor. It was as if you took a good guacamole and served it in the taco. It has a peppery kick. In both cases, I really enjoyed the tacos.

For my entrée, I had the pato agridulce. This was seared duck breast with sweet and spicy confit and corn tortilla puree. The duck was tender and had a good flavor. The tortilla contained the sweet and spicy confit. Luckily the server provided the instructions to break that tortilla to mix in those ingredients. My favorite part of the dish was the corn tortilla puree. It always excites me to try familiar flavors in a different way. In this case, it was the mouth feel of eating something that tasted like a tortilla but had the consistency of mashed potatoes. It makes me want to puree things at home to experiment.

Fun presentation. Don’t ignore the corn tortilla puree.

My wife had the special lamb dish for the night. It was three different cuts of Jones Heritage farm lamb. It featured braised belly, shoulder, and leg. It was served over balsamic vinegar and had large fresh blackberries. The presentation was the best so far. She was nice enough to share a taste of the three types. The braised belly was my favorite. It may be too much for some if you aren’t used to that fatty of a cut of meat.

MEDIAnoche provided a unique spin on Mexican cooking. The staff was knowledgeable and friendly. They provided great suggestions for drinks and description of the food as it was served. I do recommend the prix fixe menu for sampling their diverse menu. I prefer the morning version of the restaurant, but this is a solid choice for dinner if you want something different.

 

Gigi’s Cupcakes – Was it Fate? (Atlanta, GA)

Hello again. This is the final blog from my weekend trip to Atlanta. This is a 2nd “quick bite” blog.

While dining at FLiP burger, I noticed this cupcake shop, Gigi’s, on my Foodspotting app. There were some amazing pictures of cupcakes with an intense amount of frosting. I resisted the urge to indulge myself because I knew I had limited time and a long list of places left I wanted to sample. However, when I was in a shopping plaza 5 hours later and saw a 2nd location, I had to wonder if it was fate?

Gigi’s was voted best cupcakes in Atlanta for 2012. Ok, you have my attention. Wait a minute, they have stores in 18 states? I have never seen or heard of them before. I typically stay away from franchised restaurants but since they were voted best in Atlanta…..we picked up four 🙂

Fancy traveling case

They come in a nice box that keeps them safe during the ride home. The four we choose were: Orange Dreamsicle, Scarlett’s Red Velvet, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, and Midnight Magic. The two that I tried were Midnight Magic and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.

The fearsome foursome. The orange dreamsicle isn’t very photogenic

We’ll start with the Midnight Magic. This cupcake was devils food cake with dark chocolate chips topped with a chocolate buttercream frosting and more chocolate chips. First off, look at this frosting. It’s taller than the actual cake! They are very messy to eat and I’ll admit that I worried it would be too much of a good thing. Surprisingly the frosting was rich, but not overpowering. In general a good cupcake but not overwhelming.

More frosting than actual cake!

My 2nd cupcake was the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. It was a chocolate chip cookie cake with cookie dough frosting, chocolate chips, topped with a chocolate chip cookie. The cookie was the chewy kind, which I prefer. The frosting was the best part and there was plenty of it. It was like those amazing bites of cookie dough when baking or from a great cookie dough ice cream.

Gigi’s is a solid choice for grabbing a cupcake that fits that sweet tooth craving. If you aren’t a fan of frosting, I would stay away. The cupcakes were standard size and the cake was moist. They have a great variety to choose from. That being said, I think we have some better cupcake shops in STL. I think it may just inspire a future blog entry….

 

Six Feet Under – It’s Not Funny, My Mouth Was on Fire! (Atlanta, GA)

Hi again. Welcome to the first “quick bite” post. This is just a quick review of a late afternoon snack during last week’s food adventures in Atlanta.

I love to research restaurants before each trip that I take. During my recent research, I stumbled upon Six Feet Under. The menu had two appetizers that caught my eye: spicy rat toes and extra spicy dragon toes. 

Six Feet Under view from the street

The restaurant itself wasn’t in the best neighborhood. Next time I go there I would take advantage of the free valet parking. The inside resembles a sports bar but features seafood. There are great views from the upstairs patios and the bar itself is nice.

Extra spicy dragon toes are a baked Habanero stuffed with scallops and wrapped with crispy bacon. My wife and I both made the same mistake….we tried these first. Now I understand why you can order them individually. I don’t know why you would ever want more than one. I love spicy food. I spent almost 10 years in New Mexico enjoying hot green and red chili. However this was just a little much. Scallops are a favorite of mine but I was not able to enjoy them due to the heat of the Habanero. It took at least half an hour for the burn to go away. They had a side of ranch, but it didn’t do anything to cool the burn.

Yes my wife ate the smaller one and left the other for me

Next we tried the spicy rat toes. They were jalapeños stuffed with shrimp and wrapped with bacon. These were better. The subtle kick from the jalapeno’s was nice (especially after the heat of the previous appetizer). The shrimp was fresh and the bacon was still crispy with a good smokey flavor. These were amazing. I would order them again. They came in an order of 3, but I could have eaten many more.

The less spicy rat toes

Take my advice and stick with the rat toes. Only go for the dragon toes if you are preparing for a spicy food challenge for Man v. Food. I think next time I will have to enjoy one of their seafood steamers.

FLiP Burger Boutique – Raw Steak and a Dangerous Milkshake (Atlanta, GA)

I can’t help but share my unique food experiences. This is from a trip over the weekend to Atlanta, GA. If you are a person who prefers a standard burger or cheeseburger, don’t read any further. However, if you like the chef taking a unique item and putting a new spin on it, read on about FLiP burger.

Entrance to FLiP Burger

FLiP’s chef, Richard Blais, is a unique chef. Did you know that he was the winner of Bravo’s season 8 ‘Top Chef All-Stars?’ To read more about this innovative chef click here.

Once you get inside you are greeted by a young staff, upbeat atmosphere, modern decor, and loud music. I enjoy a vibrant atmosphere when dining out. It helps drown out the sound of my 6 month old for the other patrons when he gets fussy. However, if you don’t like bass that lightly shakes the glasses on the table, this is not your scene.

Very modern on the inside. We were there early so the place was still very empty.

We started with liquid N2 milkshakes. Science making our world better, one milkshake at a time. One of the good things about having a wife / partner in crime on these adventures is that you get to try twice as many things when you go out. Obviously not the only good thing about my wife (in case she is reading this….)

I had my heart set on the Krispy Kreme milkshake. You have to love that when delivered, the liquid N2 is still bubbling. They warn you to wait for it to finish before you start to enjoy. A food with warnings, bring it on! The serving size is perfect for this vanilla based milkshake so you do taste the doughnut flavor. It wasn’t overpowering but was unique. Not the most amazing shake I have ever had, but the presentation and unique flavor will make it one of the most memorable.

Liquid N2 Krispy Kreme Milkshake. You can see the frost on the straw

I had “convinced” my wife to try the nutella + burnt marshmallow shake based on recommendations I found online. The nutella gave the shake a great chocolate like flavor that paired extremely well with marshmallow. It will take you back to that first bite of a marshmallow right off the campfire.

Burnt marshmallows made this shake

On to the main event. I ordered the raw steak tartare burger. It was a hand chopped tenderloin patty topped with a fried egg. It also had garlic, chili, cornichon (pickles), pickled shallot, capers, and smoked mayo. Raw steak really doesn’t have that much flavor on it’s own. Most of the flavor you typically associate with a cooked steak is because of the caramelization. The fried egg was a perfect over easy. Normally I don’t eat pickles on my burger, but I decided to stay true to the chef’s intended combination. I’m glad I did. Based on the subtle flavor of the rest of the ingredients, the pickles actually were the star flavor of the dish. This item was very unique but we did sample a burger that blew this one away. More about that later….

Steak Tartare burger and fries. The egg looks fantastic!

My side was house-made French fries with smoked mayo / ketchup. They were fried in beef tallow (rendered form of beef fat). They were crispy on the outside, and had a nice creamy interior. They smoked mayo was great; it went really well with the fries. I’m wishing I had added some more of this to the tartare burger.

The best burger of the day was a turkey burger. It was all due to the unique marriage of flavor combinations and differences in texture. The avocado was more the consistency of guacamole and had similar seasoning. The sprouts were fresh and added some crunch. The pomegranate ketchup was the key thing to this dish. It had a hint of BBQ flavor. Being a burger fan, it was hard for me to admit that I preferred turkey over steak.

The surprising turkey burger

My wife had sweet potato tater tots. It was served with a coffee bbq sauce with blue cheese foam. These little guys packed a huge punch. They were almost too decadent for the serving size of this side dish. However since this a blog entitled Diet Crashers…it’s right up our alley.

I would definitely visit FLiP burger boutique again. It features innovative renditions of burgers, house made condiments, and unique milkshakes. Go for the turkey burger, french fries (smokey mayo), and a nutella and burnt marshmallow shake. If you do make it to Atlanta, let me know what you think.

FLIP Burger Boutique on Urbanspoon

Entre Undergound – An Adventure Into the Unknown

While doing research on starting my food blog, the best advice I was given was to “just to go for it”. People say you will develop a style along the way and to not worry about how your first blog entries. I decided that to start my blog, I would use the “go big or go home” technique. In doing so, I chose entre underground as my first entry. This is an underground restaurant or supper club right here in St. Louis. You need to sign up for their emails in order to receive the password to make a reservation to their events. Part of what makes this night special is you won’t know the location or the menu until the day of the event. I especially like not knowing the menu because it forces me out of my comfort zone to try new foods, flavors, combinations, etc.

Here was the menu for the night. The theme was a Moroccan BBQ.

The location was amazing! The password for the event was “river view” and now you see why. The dinner took place at Kuh’s farm in Spanish Lake. It has an amazing river view and a beautiful three-tiered stone garden. Before dinner they had a tractor that was taking people around to view the property.

There was a cocktail hour that featured a cocktail of blackberry infused aquavit, Moroccan spiced simply syrup, lemonada and mint. It was a good start to the event. The drink was refreshing but had a nice spicy finish to it.

On to the meal! Part of the experience is the chef describing each course, the ingredients, and the preparation. It’s much more of an interaction with the people that prepare your food than what you will find in a normal restaurant. Their passion for the food and the care in the preparation comes through during these moments.

The first course was a trio of deviled eggs: za’atar, smoke, and vadouvan. I will admit this was one of two courses I was extremely excited about. Deviled eggs are always a favorite. All 3 were amazing, but the smoked duck egg in the middle that was soft-boiled was the bomb. I just drooled a bit on my keyboard looking at the picture of them and remembering that first bite.

The 2nd course was a watermelon salad with harissa and chickpeas. This course was a nice surprise. Who would actually think of grilling watermelon? It was a very unique dish, just watch out for the actual tiny flowers they used as garnish. They pack an intense flavor. I wish I would have broken them up instead of getting them all in one bite. The fried chickpeas added a great contrast in texture. The paste you see under the watermelon is similar to hummus, but is missing the tahini.

The 3rd course was a chilled pea and mint soup, preserved lemon. This was the course that I was least excited about going into dinner. I’m not a huge fan of peas or pea soup. Having it served in a mason jar so you can shake it up was a nice touch. Let’s face it presentation can go a long way when trying new things. Luckily the preserved lemon was the main flavor of this dish.

The 4th course was an orange blossom water push pop with gooseberries. This was the other course that caught my eye when I first saw the menu. After all, where can you get a fancy push up pop? It also doesn’t hurt that I am a huge fan of gooseberries. This had a great balance with the tart gooseberries and the sweet push up pop. The only downside was this was a messy thing to try to eat outside in that heat.

The main course: “BBQ” chicken with red charmoula, grits, and rainbow chard (served family style). Clearly it’s getting dark by this time. I will apologize in advance for the poor picture quality. The chicken was tender and had great flavor. I would have preferred skin to be a little crisper. The chard was great, but the grits were amazing.

Lastly, goat milk panna cotta, allspice candied lemon peel, blueberry and sesame brittle for dessert. This course became a speed round. The clouds were building up in the background and the wind was picking up. It came with a little shot to go with it. I have no idea what was in it (maybe that was effect of the cocktails and wine pairing). It had a very strong flavor but left you with a refreshing flavor after you took it.

Overall, if you are looking for an experience unlike anything you can get in a typical restaurant and are up for the unknown, entre underground is just the ticket. You will meet interesting people, make new connections, and surely impress anyone you take with you. This will be a night I will remember and talk about for a long time guaranteed!