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Archive for the ‘desserts’ Tag

Pie in the sky. American as apple pie. A piece of the pie.   1 comment

unbaked pie

Pie makes its way into the vernacular of literature, sports, business and politics, but more importantly into our kitchens and, ultimately, our stomachs.

Thank goodness for Heather Briggs, aka The Pie Lady, owner of Gold Star Pies. To say she’s a pie aficionado is an understatement. She’s such a fan that even after baking pies and selling them around Colorado Springs in her pie truck she still enjoys a slice with her morning coffee or any other time of day. “I love pie,” she exclaims!

Her enthusiasm is contagious, yet it’s her knowledge and ability to share her passion that makes her so engaging. This is done in two primary ways: selling pie slices from her truck and teaching others some of her pie making techniques. A group of friends recently gathered in my kitchen for such a class.

After providing a brief history of pie – who knew it has such ancient roots – Heather demonstrates how to make dough while emphasizing the importance of keeping things chill. Literally. Cold dough is essential.

Most of us expected flour to be flying everywhere while dodging rolling pins. Not so. We each made our own dough to take home for future pie crusts. However, the only rolling was done by Heather who’d arrived with two premade-blueberry lemon verbena pies for us to enjoy.

finished pie

Heather offers classes in your home or in a commercial kitchen. She’s organized, knowledgeable and fun; and she brought ice cream for pie a la mode. Cost is $45 per person.

Gold Star Pies Class
Five plates
https://www.goldstarpies.com/

 

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Bar & Grill is Less & More   Leave a comment

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The Clement Street Bar & Grill in San Francisco’s Richmond District creates an inauspicious initial impression. It’s dark, older and, at first glance, the menu, in a plastic sleeve, features a scattered array of offerings. Thankfully, first impressions aren’t always right.

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We dined at CSB&G to commemorate my oldest son’s graduation for his master’s from the University of San Francisco. The bar made it possible for us to raise our glasses in celebration, and the grill provided entrees to make it special. Our guest of honor selected Salmon glazed in an orange vinaigrette. The grilled-to-perfection fish was showcased by the tanginess of the glaze. I had the Black Truffle Porcine Mushroom Ravioli. The earthy blend in the light pasta pillows was rich and satisfying. Other dishes included the Pasta with Scallops and Shrimp in a rich wine base; a well-grilled New York Steak; Fettucine with Chicken; and Pork Tenderloin with a cranberry chutney. Everyone one at our table was pleased.

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Nonetheless, we wanted dessert — in large part because we couldn’t ignore the tantalizing offerings: Key Lime Pie, Creme Brulee, Banana Cream Pie with Black Bottom Crust and Fresh Blackberry Pie. Unfortunately, the temptations fared better on the menu than they did in reality. The caramel shell over the Creme Brulee was too thick; it overpowered the otherwise well-executed vanilla custard underneath. The pies were fine, but not exceptional.

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Our eyes adjusted to the comfortable setting, we enjoyed our meal, and things weren’t as dark or old as they first appeared. I can only hope the same can be said of me.

Clement Street Bar & Grill
Four Plates
708 Clement St.
San Francisco, Calif

A Subtle Pizza Place   Leave a comment

bakedwall

Among the first things you notice when entering Baked is the absence of tables. Then eyes turn to a turntable playing records, real 33 1/3 LPs. The distressed brick walls also command attention as does a large frame on part of a chalkboard listing the day’s offerings. It’s an eclectic scene which reflects the menu: five types of pizza, a soup, a salad, two types of Angel Food cupcakes (chocolate and vanilla) and (usually) another dessert. The other distinguishing feature is the friendliness of the staff.

They have good reason to be amicable; this is a pretty relaxed place that serves food based on what’s fresh and available locally. In Galesburg, IIL., in late winter you might think that wouldn’t be much, but that would be wrong. Fresh isn’t relegated only to produce. At Baked it also refers to locally-sourced meats and cheeses.

Pizza is available by the slice and by the pie. We tried the “low pork” which was slow roasted and shredded. The crust was thin enough to fold and the pork jumped off the red sauce with a slight kick. Mozzarella was almost superfluous. The Angel Food cupcakes were funky-looking, but airy and frosted with creamy, tangy icing.

bakedfood

Other pizza offerings included pepperoni, tomato, cheese and the intriguing-sounding pistachio and red onion. The pepperoni comes from Walt and Cole, unless you’re a local that doesn’t mean much more than tasty.
Although Baked has no tables, it does have a small counter space with barstools to accommodate as many eight people, if everyone is a close friend – or wants to be.

Baked
Four Plates
57 S. Seminary St.
Galesburg, Ill.

Bar Food and Dessert on Overdrive   2 comments

The Keg Lounge is a bar that’s really a restaurant in disguise. Sure, there’s
lots of beer on tap and liquor bottles filled with every flavor and proof desired.
A jukebox features a range of music genres, TVs placed strategically around the
room are tuned to sports channels. Everything identifies this dark, noisy place
as a drinking establishment; everything, that is, except the food.

Through the years, I’ve ordered burgers, grilled chicken sandwiches and the sig-
nature Keg Berry Salad (greens with an array of colorful, mixed berries dressed
with a creamy raspberry honey vinaigrette). My most recent visit was a special
occasion: to celebrate an anniversary. It was also an opportunity to do our part
to help extinguish the economic burn experienced by Manitou Springs following
the Waldo Canyon Fire. (I encourage everyone to try to shop local where ever
you live.) With this in mind, my husband and I ordered steaks.

When the food arrived, the ambiance somehow changed. It didn’t seem as loud
and the lighting was just right. My perfectly-grilled steak was topped with blue
cheese and walnut oil. Sides of garlic mashers and steamed broccoli were excell-
ent complements to the juicy beef.

After dinner, we wandered down the street to The Cliff House at Pikes Peak.
We sat on the veranda where I enjoyed Crème Brulee, our traditional anniversary
dessert. My husband broke with our marital convention by ordering Raspberry
Souffle with White Chocolate Almond Cream Anglaise. He not only still surprises
me, but he shares.

The Keg Lounge
Nearly Four Plates (dinner)
730 Manitou Ave.
Manitou Springs, CO

The Cliff House at Pikes Peak
Four Plates (dessert)
306 Canon Ave.
Manitou Springs, CO

Small Plates Fill Big Appetites   2 comments

Small plates don’t mean little flavor; and a tapa here a tapa there while din-
ing at Nosh make it impossible to leave hungry. In fact, it’s easy to eat dish
after dish, just because they’re smaller portions and served separately. It’s
also possible my husband and I simply over-ordered.

To start, we selected the tempura Calamari served with tart, spicy dipping
sauce. The menu changes frequently at Nosh, but I was glad to see a long-
standing favorite still available: Roasted Cauliflower with caramelized onions
and cashews, enhanced with fresh basil. We also had the Nosh Burger, Fried
Chicken with Waffle, Housemade Potato Chips, and dessert – I’ll come back
to that.

We overheard our server describe the fried chicken and waffle as a “breakfast-
for-dinner kind of thing,” and then add, “And guys seem to like it more than
women.” Hah! It’s nothing like breakfast, especially since the syrup drizzled
around the plate was flavored with smoked Serrano. As for it being a guy thing,
I’m amazed at sexism in women. I thoroughly enjoyed the combination of an
airy Belgium Waffle with a crispy fried chicken; the honey butter was overkill
though. The burger is a slider on steroids served with wisps of fried onions on
a bun made in-house.

Desserts are exceptionally small: think shot glasses with baby spoons. This is
good and bad. It’s bad because it makes Chocolate Pot de Crème, Crème Brulee,
and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pop seem like controlled substances, and
good because we’d already over-eaten.

“Nosh”
Four-and-a-half Plates
121 S. Tejon St.
Colorado Springs, CO