Tag Archives: Brunch

Sunday Brunch: Blue Halo

Since brunch is pretty much my favorite meal EVER, I knew I was going to have to try the one at Blu Halo a restaurant that opened practically five minutes from our front door. We’ve been twice now, once with a group and once just the two of us, and I have to say we were pretty pleased both times we went.

Now I am going to go ahead and throw out the small handful of negatives I have before we get to the much more plentiful “good stuff” . 1-price, the menu is on the higher side for brunch here in town, and many of the items are worth the investment, but there are a few things that I personally felt missed the mark a bit. 2- menu options. I am a pescetarian which is a bit odd when dining out anyway, but the menu options were very limited for someone like me.  Now on to the good stuff. This place is by far the “fanciest” restaurant in the area, and the hostesses and wait staff go above and beyond to give you the best dining experience possible. Also, the place is spotless, and the staff is fantastic at keeping things cleared away and wiped down, a strange thing to note I know, but I always consider extra attention to cleanliness a plus.  To the food!Apple Jacks French Toast – this was one of the meh, menu items for me. It was super sweet, and I ended up giving most of it to Andy in return for some of his waffle.  Chicken & Waffles – Now obviously I didn’t try the chicken part of this, but Andy said it was some of the best fried chicken he’s had, and the waffles were crispy, fluffy, vanilla-y amazingness.  Shrimp & Grits – a southern staple and one of the things I was most disappointed about not being able to eat (the sauce has ham & sausage in it), but my friend ordered it and she said it was good. A little bit of heat, the shrimp were well spiced, and the grits were creamy and perfect. Steak & Eggs – This is Andy’s favorite thing he has had there yet. Flavorful chimmichuri sauce, tender steak, crispy potatoes, and peppery micro greens. I stole a few of the potatoes, and I can honestly say that they were awesome and the sauce was herbaceous; I could see how it would help balance the richness of the steak and the fried egg.  

So there you have it, a great local place, and for us, it is perfect for those weekend mornings where you don’t really want to stray too far from the house, but you don’t feel like cooking either.


Cranberry Maple Muffins

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in the kitchen these days. To be completely honest, I don’t usually put a whole lot of effort when it come to dinner during the week. A lot of open this bag and reheat this frozen entree type of thing. However, a couple friends of ours have recently become parents, and we’ve been taking meals to them a few times a week. Where I am unwilling to make the effort just for us, it’s a completely different story when it comes to someone else. Mostly I make dinner items that are easily microwaveable, but I’ve also been trying to throw in hand-sized baked goods that are easily consumed in between feedings and diaper changing. This weekend I decided to whip up some Cranberry Maple Muffins.

Notes:

  • After making the Apple Cider Muffins last month, I knew I’d have to overfill the cups to get the generously sized muffins (I think) most of us prefer. With that in mind, this recipe yielded 8 muffins instead of 12.
  • I used real maple syrup (from Canada, no less), and if “maple” wasn’t in the title, no one would be able to tell it was an ingredient. It brought the needed sweetness, but if you want straight up awesome maple flavor? This is not the recipe for you.
  • This is a personal preference, but without the maple flavor being noticeable, I thought these muffins needed something extra to round out the flavor. My vote would be for some sort of citrus.

Monkey Bread: Modified Recipe

Monkey bread is one of my favorite things to make for holiday guests. I have yet to find someone who isn’t drawn in by the gloriously rich sugary morsels.  This year I decided to modify version of this recipe I posted a few years ago. Here’s how things turned out.

a1 a2

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • Bundt Cake Pan
  • 4 Tablespoons of Cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 cans of Southern Style or Buttermilk Biscuits (the non-flaky ones)
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup of chopped pecans
  • 1 medium granny smith apple diced

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Remove biscuits from their tubes, and cut each biscuit into four pieces. (I baked off the rest of the unused tube and gave them to the husband to munch on while I was baking)
  3. Combine the cinnamon and white sugar in a large ziplock bag, and shake to combine.
  4. Next drop the biscuit pieces 5 or 6 at a time, into the bag, seal and shake.
  5. Spray bundt pan with nonstick spray.
  6. Place all of the coated biscuit pieces into your bundt pan, sprinkling in pecans and apples as you go.
  7. In a medium sauce pan melt butter over medium heat, stir in brown sugar. Keep stirring until the two are completely combined.
  8. Pour the liquid over the biscuit pieces and place in the preheated oven.
  9. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until it looks like this.  Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes then turn out onto a plate. A few taps might be required to get everything to shake loose.

Notes:

  • I added the apples to this recipe because I like the bits of tart fruitiness that they impart to what can sometimes be a cloyingly sweet dish.
  • If you have a deep bundt pan you can attempt to use three full cans of biscuits, just be wary of overfilling because you do not want that stuff to overflow into the bottom of your oven. I’d even recommend placing a cookie sheet on the rack underneath, just in case.
  • Keep an eye on your bottom biscuits through out the baking time, if your oven is a little temperamental, as mine is, the exposed biscuits at the bottom may start to get excessively brown before the ones in the center are baked. If this happens, loosely wrap tin foil across the pan and shift the bundt pan to a lower rack in the oven.

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Gnome Cafe: Charleston

Driving around a city you’ve never visited before can be a little daunting; throw in an out of date GPS map and an epic crap-ton of construction, and you have the makings for a truly frustrating adventure. Our journey to track down Gnome Cafe was probably the worst part of our time in Charleston. Finally, we broke down and called the cafe, and the owner, who is such a sweet person, helped us make sense of all of the detours and construction and guided us safely to their parking lot.

G10G14 G9 G13I felt so optimistic just standing outside of this place. Everything was clean and crisp, inviting, and a touch whimsical. I knew it was going to make all of the driving drama worth it. G12 G15 Something you have to understand about people with dietary restrictions is that we don’t often have more than two or three options to choose from when dining out. So when you find a place that has a menu where you can eat anything you want, your brain short circuits a bit. This was the glorious situation we found ourselves in at The Gnome.G16
Everything on the menu was vegan, and let me tell you it felt down right decadent to leisurely peruse and decide how we wanted to start our day.G17 G18On our way to the table, we were distracted by the baked goods. After a very short discussion, we decided that we would in fact be getting dessert to go and quickly purchased a Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oreo Cookie and a piece of their Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake. *Spoiler Alert* They were AMAZING!!!! G7 G8 G1While sipping my London Fog (Earl Grey Latte with Almond Milk), I took mental stock of the decor, loving the contrasting black and white theme that continued inside the restaurant and appreciating how they softened what could have been a very cold color combo with tons of green plants and bowls of fresh produce.  G6 G2When our food arrived… man, it was so difficult to remember that we needed to take picutres before diving in.  G3We both went for an Everything Bagel Sandwich with scrambled tofu, shitake bacon, and the most delicious melty vegan cheese I have ever encountered. The potato hash was awesome, cheddar grits were some of the best I’ve ever had. We cleaned our plates and thanked God that we’d had the foresight to wear yoga pants.  G5 G4I didn’t want to over do it with the pictures, but we also went back the next morning just to try the Southern Grit Bowl and the house made Sausage Biscuit. Just as delicious as what we’d had the day before. The other thing I thought was cool was that the place wasn’t just full of vegans: the gentlemen behind us in line were discussing meat lover’s pizza, and the couple at the next table were talking about getting BarBQ later. It’s a true testament to the quality of the food. I would hit this place for breakfast every morning if I lived in Charleston.


Sunday Brunch: Prime Time

In an effort to continue trying new places trend, this weekend Andy and I headed over to the college side of town to get our brunch on. For those of you who don’t know, Tallahassee has two very different parts: the areas around the university where bars and fast food abound and then the rest of the city that is less “GO NOLES!” and more farmers markets, funky restaurants, and places to shop. There is a ton of great food to be had on either side, but this week we decided to try out a place that has received great reviews, Prime Time.

PT1When we pulled in to the parking lot, I had to laugh a bit. When I was in college, Prime Time was Buffalo Wild Wings, or B-Dubs as my roommate’s boyfriend affectionately referred to it. It was a nice little nostalgic moment.  PT2 PT3 PT4The inside was a little strange, a sort of swanky sports bar theme that was neither swanky nor sports bar-y enough for things to really work, but it was dim, cool, and the seats were comfy, which I realized was perfect for a large portion of the customers stumbling in – hungover college students. PT5The food was solidly okay; the sweet potato fries and the home fries were amazing, but everything else was just good. Nothing wrong with it, but nothing to make the drive across town worth it either.  PT7 PT8 PT6

We did have a bit of an issue with our waiter (although the rest of the staff was wonderful); he was not really interested in waiting on our table. He screwed up our order and brought us three full meals instead of the two meals and an appetizer we ordered. He begrudgingly stopped by a couple times to give us refills, but most of the time he was hovering around the table of hung over girls next to us. Dude was getting his flirt on hard core, sliding into the booth to explain the complexities of the menu and keeping their bottomless mimosas topped off. Part of me found the whole thing pretty funny, and I kept a running commentary going since Andy’s back was to the table and he couldn’t see everything that was happening, but the other part of me was a little annoyed. Pouring alcohol into four young girls that were hungover, one of which kept excusing herself to the bathroom to throw up, was messed up. All that being said, I don’t think we’ll be heading back for brunch anytime soon. I think this means I am getting old.