Remember about a year ago the Cronut arrived on the scene and what followed was a slew of Dominique Ansel copycat creations? Well look what’s he’s “created” this year for SXSW- cookie shots.
Ahem. For the regular readers of my blog that go back two years, does it even seem the slight bit familiar to something I did back in 2012??
For new readers, that photo went viral two years ago – an idea I came up in and led to me writing The Girl with the Donut Tattoo – and it was profiled in Laughing Squid, Food Beast and several other notable websites. To this day, it continues to have a life on its own. Granted, Ansel’s cookie shots stand on their own and hold milk instead of Kahlua but I find the similarities just a bit too eerie. Am I upset? Maybe, but it’s nothing that a donut can’t solve.
Has the term “flatbread” become interchangeable for pizza? For me, flatbread was always something plain or lightly dressed. Think crackers but not coming from box. But as of late it’s taking on a new look. Fully loaded pieces of flatbread are common on menus. And often times it requires it to be eat with utensils.
I thought it would be fun to compile a bunch of recent photos and have you guess which is which. Unfortunately, I don’t have any nifty prizes to share but the fun is trying to figure it out, right?? Answers follow the photos.
Think you guessed correctly? Everything but the last photo is flatbread.
The first photo is beet flatbread is from downtown’s Urban Bar & Grill. Next is La Jolla Brewing Company’s ”The Pearl” flatbread alongside a taste of Nitro (their stout is delicious BTW). The third photo is Great Maple’s prosciutto di parma flatbread. And lastly, Napizza’s breakfast slice – the only pizza in the group. Did the photos stump you? Let me know what your thoughts are and let’s try to figure this out.
Lately I’ve been fussing over my food photos. I’ve been so unhappy with them. It’s several different issues which I’m convinced is partly due to my camera. The colors are off. Photography in dark restaurants is an issue. And there’s only so much I can do in Photoshop. But recently I found a food blog that’s so refreshing because there’s no staging or post production work. It’s 100% real.
The website is hilariously titled Dimly Lit Meals for One: Heartbreaking tales of one man’s home cooking. Between the photography and humorous writing, it ignited something in me. Are food blogs today the uberphotoshopped models of fashion magazines? Does my food look like that every day? More importantly… does yours? Don’t get me wrong. I love looking at beautiful food but it’s giving my everyday food an inferiority complex. Are my utensils clean? Is it properly lit? etc. etc.
With the exception of what I order in restaurants and blog material, the definitive answer is a strong NO. The food I manage to eat during the day is oft-times eaten over the sink (something I touched upon in The Girl With the Donut Tattoo), a mishmash of leftovers from several days, and food on the brink of expiration that I had no choice but to use because I hate food waste.
An example is the hot link sausage, sliced mushrooms and egg fried up in the same pan a few months ago. (Why I decided to take a photo of it is beyond me.) If I recall, the sausage and mushrooms were beginning to look a big gnarly, so what makes it better? Scrambling it with eggs OF COURSE. This — in essence — is my ideal food on the go: lots of protein.
More recently aka last night, Paul looked at the kale soup I was making and decided to go the leftovers route. Leftovers from previous dinners included half of salmon stuffed with feta cheese and spinach, a slice of Bread & Cie sourdough with cherry jam (the jam was his choice), and steamed broccoli (upon my insistence). Balanced? Maybe. But Paul was satisfied since he didn’t have to eat kale.
Baked chicken is one of those comfort foods I turn to again and again. Depending on what ingredients I have on hand, chicken can take on a number of flavor identities. Squeezed lemon/orange and season with salt and pepper and it has a refreshing quality. Slather oyster sauce before baking (this is something my mom used to do) and it has a bit of a different flavor profile without realizing it comes from oysters. My most recent favorite is chicken baked in milk. It’s a Jamie Oliver creation that I doubted at first (chicken in milk??) but has slowly become in rotation for dinner.
Basically chicken is browned in butter, milk is added with a lemon zest, cinnamon sticks and sage. It bakes for about an hour and it’s done. The lemon zest/milk creates an rich and fragrant gravy that I like to serve over potatoes. It makes my home smell like a rotisserie.
Baked Chicken in Milk
Adapted from Jamie Oliver
1/2 stick butter
Zest of 2 lemons
1/2 cinnamon stick
Handful fresh sage
Handful garlic cloves, skin left on
1 cup milk
Preheat over to 375 degrees F.
Season chicken with salt and butter
In a dutch oven, melt butter and brown chicken turning it on all sides. Add lemon zest, cinnamon stick, sage, garlic and milk to pot. Cover pot with lid and transfer pot to oven to bake for an hour and half. Remove lid last half hour and return to oven.
Serve with mashed potatoes and veggies.
…you read a food catalog at the gym. Specifically, a Zingerman’s holiday catalog. The gym photo was taken at my
chubbiest fattest immediately after our road trip. But I’ve been working out since November and finally happy with myself again.
The V.G. in V.G. Donut & Bakery stands for “very good” and it’s an old standby located in Cardiff by the Sea. I’ve known couples who have ordered their wedding cakes from here and discovered a friend also worked here in his youth. They have other baked goods like cookies, breads and of course, doughnuts. The promise of cronuts led me here one sunny day.
The problem I find with cronuts and cronut-wanna be’s is the the availability. Since I live 20 minutes away from the bakery, my biggest fear is that they sellout before arriving.
Luckily, one phone call secured a few for pickup at noon. It’s a nice, refreshing change from those other places where it can sell out before you arrive.
There three varieties are available at $1.99 each: cinnamon crumb, glazed and chocolate. What immediately struck me what that there was no hole in the middle. Further, a slice into the donut showed no filling; the flavor was determined by what was on the outside.
A cutaway also reveals layers but very subtle and not at all flaky. I enjoyed the doughnuts as much I appreciate any other pastry (my favorite was the plain glazed) but under the cronut name, they were disappointing and far different than what I expected.
V.G.’s offers their version of cronuts on the weekend but call ahead to confirm and reserve a few.
V.G. Donut & Bakery
106 Aberdeen Dr.,
Cardiff By The Sea, CA 92007
With this wrap up comes the realization that Paul and I actually completed one of our life goals: a massive road trip. There were hiccups along the way but we enjoyed every moment of being on the road. So much that we’re already discussing the possibility of one from San Diego to Florida.
I wish I had taken more photos but when compiling the posts it was difficult nailing it down to a few – and even then, there were still a lot of photos. I also wanted to mention funny moments like when a couple in Maine stalked us because of our license plate (they were planning to move to San Diego the following year). But I fear mentioning things one of many moments that will make the others less significant.
Here are some interesting numbers about our 12-day cross country trip.
Number of states visited: 24.
Total put on the rental car: 8,000 miles.
Total hours driven: 120.
Total hours Darlene drove: Less than 6.
Maximum number of time zones crossed in one day: 3.
Most expensive gas: San Diego ($3.59).
Least expensive gas: Oklahoma City ($2.89).
Number of long pants Paul packed: 2.
Number of shorts Paul packed: 8.
Number of toll roads we didn’t pay: 2.
Number of hitchhikers seen: 5.
Number of times the dog barfed: 1.
Number of times someone experienced food poisoning: 1.
Number of hours we went without showering: 36+.
Most frequent roadkill spotted: Raccoons followed by deer.
Thanks for reading about our trip. I hope that if you enjoyed it that you get to go on one soon!
Cross Country Road Trip: Why Maine, Our Budget and Bringing a Dog
Cross Country Road Trip Part I: San Diego to Cleveland
Cross Country Road Trip Part II: Cleveland Pit Stop
Cross Country Road Trip Part III: Cleveland to Maine to San Diego