Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Sterling Experience: The Silver Diner

A couple of weeks ago, I had to take my truck to the shop.  The shop manager said it would be two or three hours before they would be finished.  No problem.  I was in an area with lots of shops.  I'd just go eat some breakfast, do a little shopping, and chill.  Chilling is good for the soul.  I started off towards Silver Diner near what used to be Springfield Mall.  After carefully traversing the parking lot, I was about 20 or so yards from the restaurant when the tantalizing smells of waffles and pancakes filled my nose.  It was more like the scent of fresh funnel cakes.  And who doesn't love a good funnel cake.   I thought to myself that a nice fluffy Belgian waffle would be so satisfying along with a hot cup of coffee.  I'm going to tell you right now that isn't what I had once I hit the door of Silver Diner.

It was a little past ten-thirty in the morning.  Traditionally, bacon and eggs or pancakes are standard breakfast fare.  And I was heading there.  Then, I saw it!  This gloss poster of their Pesto Burger.  I was mesmerized.  The picture was so enticing.  It looked real enough to eat.  I don't know how long I'd stood there looking at the poster, but the manager cleared his throat twice to get my attention.  I inquired as to whether I could have that burger beauty.  He told I could have anything on their menu I wanted anytime I wanted it.  JACKPOT!!!!!  I was going to have a burger for breakfast.  WOOHOO!!!!!  I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I have a love affair with burgers.  From fat juicy patties to cute little sliders, I love the all as long as they are cooked well.

The manager seated me and gave me a menu.  For a few seconds, I vacillated on a traditional meal or being a rebel.  Rebellion won out and I ordered the Pesto Burger which came with a side of sweet potato fries.  As I waited for my 'breakfast', I was a little anxious.  That burger on the poster was downright sexy with a hint of roasted red pepper peaking out, topped with a creamy goat cheese.  Would that be the burger I received?  We have all been seduced by pictures of towering well put together sandwiches of ground meat, cheese, and veggies only to be confronted by a jumbled stack of ingredients leaving us with nothing but lead in our stomachs and regret on our lips. 

Imagine my surprise and delight when what arrived in front of me was a very realistic rendition of that delicious poster.  Even better was that first bite.  The bun was sweet and soft.  The burger was cooked perfectly, warm pink center and dripping with juice.  The pesto was subtle and mixed wonderfully with the roasted red peppers and that fresh goat cheese.  I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.  The accompanying sweet potato fries were good, but I didn't do them any justice.  Maybe next time. 

This has to be in my top ten burger experiences.  I am looking forward to trying it again. If you're in the Springfield, VA area and looking for a tasty treat, drop by the Silver Diner.  They'll take good care of you.

Friday, April 26, 2013

A Light Lunch

Don't these look cute!  This is a trio of pot roast sliders served at Houlihan's in Springfield.  TY and I went there last week.  You get this triple shot of deliciousness for $9.50.  There is something about pot roast that I cannot resist.  Is it the slow cooking?  Is it that tangy, tasty gravy so silky smooth coatig each bite?  Could it possibly be the unexpected bite of fried onions?  I won't fail to mention that glistening sweet brioche bun.  I have to be honest it isn't any one thing.  It is the harmonious blend of each component culminating in a delectably satisfying midday snack. 

To accompany that pot roast platter, I added the mini cheeseburger and the trucker fries.  The cheeseburger was overcooked.  That's all that needs to be said about that.  Now, those fries are a different story.  They were hot and tasty.  And you can see these are no wimpy potatoes.  The chipotle cheese sauce was a slightly spicy delight.  The only thing that could have made them better would have been crispy bacon bits. 

What's a delicious lunch without something cool to wash it down?  Again, Houlihan's did not disappoint.  These wonderful concoctions are their mango (top) and pomeganate (bottom) iced teas.  I'm not usually one for flavored teas.  Iced tea should be sweet.  Period.  However, I didn't want soda and an adult beverage was out of the question.  They were cold and sweet without being cloying.  We were able to taste the fruit in our respective choices. 

I must say that I'll be going back to Houlihan's again!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Birthday Celebrations

April is an incredibly busy month in my world for birthdays.   And the month started off with this joker right here on April 1st.  I find that my family and friends are very important to my cooking/baking process.  My friend, DR, has been a faithful recipe tester and taster.  His feedback has been invaluable as has his friendship.  Normally, I would make him a rum cake for his birthday, but this year I did something a little different.  I gave him a gift that he can share with his children.  You see, DR is a really good cook and a decent baker.  So, I gave him one of my favorite blondie mixes and my homemade cocoa.  He'll use them as a fun activity with his cute kids. 
But DR's bday is just the tip of the iceberg, one of my best buddies from college will be another year older come this Saturday.  He's really chill though and doesn't get really excited about his born day like I do.  His favorite cake of choice is coconut.  This is one of the reasons I love him so much.  He's the only person I know besides myself that would choose this.   I have made him one or two over the years.  It's a great feeling to do something to make someone else happy.
PT's birthday is followed by my sis and husband, TY on the 7th and MJ on the 8th.  These are the hardest birthday celebrations ever.  Neither one of them can agree on what they'd like to do.  As I get older and life gets more hectic, I just cannot do the separate dinner and cake thing anymore.  We've asked and asked what they want.  If they are not careful, they'll be having a birthday dinner at Chuck E. Cheeses.  No, seriously though, I beginning to think a nice steak dinner, a bottle or two of our favorite beverages, and some cupcakes. 
See, I've got to get a better handle on my budget as well as what we eat.  April is a great month to do it.  Spring hasn't quite sprung, but it's coming.  Many of my favorite people were born in this month.  Being around longer to bug, love, and make them smile is powerful motivation to start doing what's right for this body.  So, if you have an April birthday, best wishes from me to you!!!! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Time to Blow the Dust Off!

Well, I really am a slacker.  I haven't checked in here in nearly two years.  Quite a few things have happened.  One thing that hasn't is my love of baking.  I haven't given up my dream of having my own baking spot.  And I spend as many hours as time and money allows working on recipes.  Sometimes, I even get to collaborate with some really cool people.  My other passion is getting the most bang for my grocery buck.  I love a good deal!   This is enough for the day.  I have to pace myself. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

What Are You Afraid Of?

A good friend asked me this question Tuesday night.  Well, a couple of things put fear in my heart to include failure, lack of employment (money), ridicule and some other things I can't name now.  However, there is something I want and it's not just want.  I need it.  I need the freedom to be the baker I want to be.  Baking, creating flavor combinations, and feeding/serving people are a part of me.  It's time I looked to it instead of running from it. 

On Wednesday, I spoke with one of the most centered people that I know.    We spoke of my fear how it is the stick jamming up the wheel of life.  And that is what I have let it do to my life.  Fear has kept me paralyzed and stunted my creativity and freedom.  For the first time in my life, I felt like I was seeing it clearly.  

Yesterday, I also spoke to someone who had been where I am.  Her advice was to keep working, but not to give up my dream.  Be patient, have a plan, and start making my fledgling business grow.   She encouraged me to stay focused and offered her support.

Being successful is about having the right tools, good motivation/motivators, and passion.  I now have some of the components that I know I was lacking.  Now, I'm not going out and quitting my job, but I am going to mine my potential and make my dreams come true.  I will keep the channels of communication open with those who help feed my passion for cookies, cakes, pies and assorted baked goodies.  I want to one day in the near future bring the tastiest products to all of my family, friends and fans!

What are you afraid of?  What is your dream?  Where does your passion lie?  What are you doing to make it a reality?  Have  you gotten complacent and caught up like I did?  Let's talk about it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dang, It's June! I've Let Half the Year Go By!

Really, where does the time go?  Most of it is spent at work.  Another chunk goes to commuting. That's ten to 15 hours a week I'll never get back.  The next portion is sleep.  I try to manage a good fifty hours, but it is probably less with all the trips to the bathroom, drinks of water and searches for food.  No, I don't actually eat in the middle of the night.  I just look to make sure there's something in there if I were so inclined.  I haven't mentioned cooking in there.  Well, who really has time to cook anymore?  What's my motivation?  Where's the inspiration?  After all, who really appreciates the work that goes into a good meal?  Your family scarfs it down, mumbles something incoherent, then races off to the next time eater. It's almost enough to put a girl off her feed.  Almost, nothing's quite that bad. 

So, this brings me to a crossroad.  I like the stability of a job, but I need the freedom of my kitchen.  I long to be covered in flour surrounded by the scents of cinnamon, vanilla, lemon and that oh so intoxicating aroma of brown sugar melting with butter.  In my lonely cubicle, I feel as if I am dying a slow agonizing death one order record at a time.  There is no passion here, no fire, no satisfaction.  There is no joy here.  I know where my joy lives.  It lives in my kitchen.  Baking dwells in my heart.  When the two are together, we produce a love unlike anything you've ever tasted before. 

I'll keep you posted on when my joy and I can be together permanently.  If all goes right, it will be soon.  Get your wish lists ready.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snowed In Again!

What do you do when the weather witches and warlocks, oops I mean meteorologists, predict massive amounts of snow and ice?  Do you head out to the store and buy up all of the milk, eggs, bread and toilet paper that will fit in your Hummer?  I'll admit that I am not one of those.  I think about it then realize that I have enough rations in the house that will sustain MJ, TY and myself. About the only thing that I think that I should probably pick up is some bottled water.  Of course, I have enough pitchers in the house that water really isn't a problem either.

I don't know where the whole idea of rushing to the grocery store came from. Where I grew up, that really wasn't an option. Mom could make homemade bread. My aunt had chickens so eggs weren't a problem. And these women were country folk so there was always some evaporated milk in the cupboard when fresh wasn't available.  You just made do with what you had.  I miss those ladies.

I actually miss being snowed in with them.  My mom used to make us something called snow cream.  She's collect fresh snow (never the first falling though).  Then, she'd make a custard and let it cool. She's mix the snow into that then freeze the mixture.  It was so good.  Of course, I loved anything sweet, but I'd like to think that the snow cream was better than ice cream.  It was special because you couldn't have it all of the time.

What did you do as a kid when you got snowed in?  What do you do now?