Archive for February, 2010

Brunch in the Windy City

I had the good fortune of spending the last four days in Chicago, one of my favorite cities.  Among other things, I managed to fit in two (2!) trips to the Handlebar Cafe, my favorite of the Chicagoland vegetarian restaurants.  I wrote about it last time I was in Chicago, in case you want to get caught up.  I got a buffalo “chicken” wrap and it was everything I could have dreamed of, and more!  The more was a side of aged cheddar grits that were, in quite un-grit-like fashion, super fluffy and light, and delicious.

On Sunday morning, Claudia and I went in search of brunch (my favorite meal of the week).   Continue reading ‘Brunch in the Windy City’

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A Lazy Breakfast: Potatoes & Refried Beans

As I confessed previously, I like potatoes.  I also like beans.  Specifically, refried black beans (other beans also find their way into my stomach from time to time).  Anyway, over the weekend I wanted a hearty and warm breakfast, but didn’t have oatmeal or eggs, and had no intention of going to the store for either.  So I improvised, and made a breakfast that is a little on the starchy side, but is filling and satisfying on a cold winter morning.

Continue reading ‘A Lazy Breakfast: Potatoes & Refried Beans’

The Good, The Bad, and The Garlic: Sette Luna

Many local food bloggers (or general purpose bloggers) have previously sung the praises of Sette Luna, and I myself have enjoyed some delicious meals here previously, but this weekend a unique opportunity presented itself, and I decided to use the opportunity to blog about my experience.  I’ll provide links to other blog posts on Sette Luna (that I’m aware of) at the end of this post, so you can feel free to get several opinions, if you are thinking of making dinner plans.

Continue reading ‘The Good, The Bad, and The Garlic: Sette Luna’

A post of local annoyances

This post will not mean much to readers who don’t live in the Lehigh Valley, but to those of you who do, maybe you can relate.

The first annoyance is also the reason I am making this post.  I had big plans this weekend, they included a yoga workshop, a school function, and a number of other outings around town.  As of 1 o’clock today – all but one had been cancelled.  Mind you, as of 1 o’clock, there was no snow anywhere within 50 miles of me or any of my plans, just a forecast for snow and a bunch of bored newscasters with nothing better to do than predict the apocalypse in what CNN is calling a “deadly, epic storm.”  Its currently 9:37, and my Friday plans would have, in fact, been over by now, had they not been cancelled – and I have yet to see a single snowflake coming down outside my window. Instead, with nothing to do, I have been reading online news… never a good way to start the weekend.

I’m also annoyed that local animal-torturer and major polluter of North Whitehall Township David Jaindl successfully blackmailed Lower Macungie Township into letting him develop his agricultural-preservation land near Alburtis.  This is a prime example of how regional planning could benefit municipalities, so that they wouldn’t be open to blackmail attempts by jerks like this who exploit the poorly-thought-out land-use laws so often found within growing municipalities.

I’m also annoyed that the City of Allentown went through a rebranding process recently.  I’m late on this, I know.  Its not that the logo bothers me (though I don’t love it), or that the theme “City Without Limits” bothers me (though I am not on board for that either), it bothers me that there was a) nothing wrong with the old logo & theme of “Rediscover Allentown”, which uh, wasn’t that old and b) of ALL THE THINGS for the Mayor or City Council or any City employee to spend even 5 minutes on, I can think of at least 3000 things I would rather they spend their time on.  I know that City Without Limits is supposed to inspire me to think about endless possibility, but it conjures to me a very immediate and visceral image of endless sprawl.  Maybe its just me.  (Sorry Mike!).

I’m annoyed that I still watch LOST even though this show is not clever, interesting, well-written, or really enjoyable.

It really bothers me that North Whitehall Township Supervisor Jerry Joseph was elected in November, with full disclosure that he is a sane person and opposes Wal-Mart’s attempt to put in a new store on 309, a congested and overwhelmed local road connecting Allentown to points north, and approximately 6 miles away from the 7th street location, and now his fellow supervisors, all idiots IMO, want him to recuse himself from dealing with the issue.  Good government, folks.

My last annoyance is a non-local annoyance.  I am annoyed by congress. What good  is government if it is, by nature, corrupt and filled with corrupt people?  Lawrence Lessig has a more thoughtful essay on the matter.

I guess that’s enough of what annoys me for the moment.  At least its off my chest.  The good news is that my Sunday night plans include dinner at my new favorite restaurant in the LV and I expect to blog extensively about it early next week.  Can you guess which restaurant it is?

Butternut Squash Gnocchi

I really enjoy making pastas by hand, and have a fondness in my heart for gnocchi in particular.  Gnocchi isn’t for everyone.  BD hates it and thinks it has the texture of slugs.  Having never eaten slugs, I can’t imagine why he picked this, but… more for me!  Gnocchi are essentially little dumplings, and most typically, they are made with potatoes.  I have also made or eaten gnocchi made with ricotta cheese, red beets, pumpkin, and plums.  I’m sure there are many more varieties that I have yet to try, and I’m always looking out for new gnocchi opportunities.

Last week, I had butternut squash leftover from when I made the winter vegetable soup and one night I started to roast it, thinking I’d just eat it with some sunflower seeds and spices.  But once I started roasting it, I decided I was really in the mood for something a little more substantial.  Luckily, gnocchi comes together very easily. Continue reading ‘Butternut Squash Gnocchi’