Food Rants

Mar 11

Finding the right Cookbook

For my birthday, my sister asked me what I wanted. I said get me anything food related.

She then replied,  well what do you want exactly.  (In our family, sometimes its better to ask exactly what we want, it saves us time from returning).

I said just get me a cookbook.  I guess she felt it easier for me to just pick out a cookbook so I met her at Borders.

Now going into a bookstore not knowing a single thing about which cookbook to get is quite an overwhelming experience.  I can now understand why my sister just wanted me to pick out the cookbook myself.

How does one choose a cookbook? I know I probably should have done my research prior to heading to the bookstore but the trip to the bookstore was last minute. This Border’s location was closing down and everything was 20% off.

As I arrived to Borders, I headed straight to the cooking section.  I felt like their selection was limited, probably due to the fact that it was already rummaged through.

borders bookstore

I could of went for a cookbook that was made by a famous chef, or focused on a region.  I even thought about just getting a baking cookbook for cupcakes and cookies.  As I went through cookbook to cookbook, none had what I was looking for. And at the time, I didn’t know what I was looking for but I figured if I looked through enough cookbooks it would hit me.  Now, I didn’t want to get a cookbook by a famous chef, I personally feel like that its their way of promoting themselves.  Other cookbooks, had recipes that I knew I would never make or even like for that matter. I would have gone for a baking cookbook but I really was set on recipes that I could make for dinner.

When I finally saw the section for All Purpose Cooking. I knew that it was exactly what I was looking for. I’m not ready for the big leagues and I knew I want something that I could cook that everyone can enjoy. Now to find the right cookbook…

The Final Three

Like I mentioned above, the store did not have a large selection. I saw three that peaked my interest.  I really liked the Cooking Light recipe book, but for me to pay (sister pay)  for this book, I might as well just order the magazine and get the recipes that way.

cooking light cookbook

The next book I came across was Better Homes but as soon as I saw Bridal Edition on the front cover I was completely turned off. I almost had a winner but for someone who is recently out of a 3 year relationship buying a Bridal Edition cookbook would just give me more anxiety then I already have. Sigh.

I finally stumbled on the Joy of Cooking. As I heard my mom calling my name from downstairs of the store, she sounds like a loud Jewish New Yorker, I had to quickly make my decision.  I browsed through the book quickly and saw it had recipes that I knew I wanted to cook. The only downfall is there are no pictures. But, hey back in the day, I don’t think there were cookbooks that had pictures. Food Porn did not exist. A world without Food Porn, crazy right?

joys of cooking

Anyways, I grabbed the book went downstairs and showed my mom and sister.  My mom’s first reaction,” isn’t that a very old book”

Does she not know that I just spent the last 30 minutes looking for a cookbook ??? Ugh! Who cares that its an old cookbook, the recipes don’t change that much.

I decided to get it anyways and figured you can’t go wrong with a book that’s been around for decades? Right? Either way I wasn’t about to go back upstairs and spend another 30 minutes looking for a book.

Lesson Learned

Next time, I’m heading to Amazon, virtually that is and doing my research. Don’t worry, I’m still intending on using The Joy of Cooking but I’m just planning for my next cookbook. :)

Plus, with my new outlet of Twitter you can just ask people what their favorite cookbook is. You may even find a cookbook aficionado like I did.

I was  browsing through Twitter and found @SimonCookSays. His description on twitter says

“Obsessive cookbook collector w/ nearly 800 cookbooks who loves to cook & eat. Professionally, by day and by night, I work around food.”

I knew he was the perfect person to ask.

Read Botttom Up

Next cookbook will be Mark Bittman. :) That was easy!

Now that I have your attention, hopefully I didn’t lose it with all my ranting, what cookbook would you recommend for everyday cooking?

Leave me some comment love

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Feb 11

Don’t forget Mom and Pop – Davie’s Subs

Why are we so fixated on going to chain restaurants? Is it because of the millions of dollars of marketing…?  Probably so.  Other than the marketing, the quality of food is just lackluster.  I’m talking about Subway here. For 5 dollars, you can get select* footlongs for 6 slimy pieces of meat. I have to put an asterisk by select because their new campaign Februany, allows you to get ANY footlong for 5. I haven’t been there to confirm if this is true or not, who knows what the little white writing  on the bottom of tv commericals says. Your main ingredient in your healthy so called sandwich is consisting of bread, topped with the extras.  Ok, let me clarify, I’m sure the sandwich is somewhat healthy, but what are we really paying for?  Isn’t a sandwich, a sandwich because of the meat? If  we want extra meat, that costs money. And the quality of meat is a joke.  Now, I didn’t want to spend this much time talking about Subway because that’s not why I’m writing this article. but before I move on to the main point, I wanted to talk about one last component that is missing in chains… customer service.  I believe this is where Subway and most chains fail on.  What happened to the warm greeting and a smile and knowing your name?

A quality sandwich and great customer service goes a long way with me.  In Davie, Fl, off of Davie Rd, there are not many places to go eat except for mainly chains, like McDonalds, Wendys, BurgerKing, this is due to the fact that there are many local colleges down the street. I don’t exactly remember my first time going to Davie’s sub, (it was only a few weeks ago), but I do remember how great the sandwich was and that I wanted to go back. From the outside, I probably would have never gone in there. My colleague said he really liked it there so I was willing to try it out.

Davie Sub

The outside of Davie’s Sub. I think its very busy looking but who I am to say anything to him. I would actually say something but I don’t want to be rude.

Bryan Davie Sub Owner

Meet Bryan, the owner of Davie’s Subs.  We sat outside as it was a nice warm day in sunny South Florida.  Once our food was ready, he came outside to bring it to us. Call that Service!

By the 2nd time, I went to Davie’s Subs, he remembered me from the first visit and wanted to know my name. The 3rd visit, I get a joyful greeting from Bryan plus he remembered my name. I was in shock, who remembers your name these days? At a sub place no less.

He does things a little backwards, he makes you pay after you eat.  He must have a lot of trust these days for people to not eat and run.  I guess that what happens when you become friendly with your customers. He does do the loyal customer thing as well, get 6 subs and get $3 offer.  He doesn’t do the get 1 free sub but hey I’ll take the $3 dollars offer.  Bryan doesn’t offer a card for you to get stamped, but he puts your name in his book, so that you don’t have to remember to bring your flimsy card that you would probably lose.  (side note: do you know how  many times I’ve tried filling out those cards to always end up losing them or never bringing them in with me).

He really tries to keep up with the marketing/promotions for a mom&pop shop.  I’m not quite sure if he can take all the credit in his marketing/promotions.  I’m pretty sure the time he offered free homemade soup for any boar’s head sub probably was his idea.  However, he does partner with Boar’s Head and he started to do a little SMS marketing (mobile marketing0.  You just provide your phone number and he’ll send a text with the sub of the week. If you buy a 6 inch sub that is the special of the week, you’ll get the other 6inch free.  I was impressed with this promotion as I am in online marketing.  I realize this was Boar’s Head marketing to help promote their brand but nonetheless I was impressed.

boars head turkey sub

My Boars Head turkey sub with mayo, lettuce, tomato, sweet peppers and salt and pepper.  Hold the cheese! (not the biggest fan of cheese) It’s a pretty simple sub that you can’t possible mess up but you would be surprised.  Too much mayo or too much salt or pepper could ruin it. Not in this case, this suited my taste buds perfectly.  I love sweet peppers and not ever place has that as add on to your sub.

shih tzu brady

My puppy Brady joined us for lunch.  I’m lucky that I can bring him to the office.  I feel bad leaving him at home by himself. Although having him with me so much, does not help his separation anxiety.

So lesson learned, don’t judge a book by its cover. It may not be the prettiest on the outside but the quality of food I thought far surpassed Subway.  Plus, with the customer service/ friendly greetings that he offers who wouldn’t want to come back.  It’s very hard to find a place that remembers you or even wants to!  Next time you’re thinking of getting a sub, skip Subway and find your local sub shop.  You’ll never look back!

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Feb 11

Happy Belated Birthday to Me!

Well technically I celebrated my birthday on February 11th but in the blog world I’m celebrating it late.  This year I went to lunch with my mom and sisters and my baby niece at Villagio in Mizner Park located in Boca Raton, FL.  This is my 2nd year celebrating my birthday here.  It’s a good central meeting point between where I live and my sisters live plus I love Italian food. Hey – I would love for them to drive all the way down to me but I have to take  into consideration that they both have kids.  We actually did not invite the other kiddies because well try having 3 additional kids under 5 running around while you’re trying to celebrate an occasion.  We actually did it two years ago for my sisters birthday at Villagio and it was the most unpleasant experience for everyone there, even the other patrons. So we learned our lesson the hard way and now we celebrate all of our birthdays with the just the ladies of the family.

The Food

After ordering your meals, the server will bring your pita bread with bruschetta dipping salsa. This is very yummy and if you can handle your garlic, dig in!

bruschetta with flat bread

My mom and sisters ordered on the boring yet healthy side.  I don’t blame them I love salad too but when it comes to your birthday lunch there’s no going healthy here, at least for me that is. :)

Greek Salad with Chicken - they forgot to put the chicken in so with a quick mention to the waiter, he realized the mistake and got a side of chicken to add to the salad.

greek salad with chicken

I believe this was some type of nicoise but probably called something fancier on the menu as I don’ recall it being called Nicoise Salad.

Nicoise Salad

Now, I saved the best for last. My meal.  I ordered stuffed ravioli with porcini mushrooms and chicken.  It was very delicious and I ate every last bite. I made my mom and sister a bit jealous so I did let them have a bite.

stuffed ravioli with porcini mushrooms and chicken

To a great end to a birthday meal is of course the dessert. Tartufo gelato

tartufo gelato

We attempted to get 3 generations of females in the family picture, but its hard to tell a 5  month old to pose especially when she’s hysterical crying and needs a nap. :)

family picture

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Feb 11

I’ve been M.I.A

This is the second time I’ve been M.I.A since starting this blog late November 2010.

The first time being when I headed to NYC over New Years and was not near a kitchen to cook. I did however eat out a lot and eat tons of sweets but I wasn’t near a computer to constantly update everything I ate. I think that was a big mistake. Lesson learned. Not sure I’ll lug a computer with me when I travel but I will sure to try to get access to a computer and upload photos or videos while I’m away.

This time around… ugh. I had to move, my lease was up. So the week or two prior I was packing up my kitchen and this past week… I have just been trying to get settled in and also lack of internet connection. I don’t wish moving on anyone. Its never quick and easy and it didn’t help that I was pennywise dollar foolish. Lesson sorta learned. Since moving is already painful as it is, do it the right way and don’t always try to save money, it could end up costing you in other ways.

I will say that I may have not been updating my blog but I did join twitter. I really never thought I would ever join. I’m in online marketing, so when twitter first started, I kept saying “this is stupid”, “who cares what your doing” “I’m never joining” “I refuse to join”, well you get the point. I really underestimated the power of twitter. While I may have not been posting, I was maintaining good traffic to my blog thanks to twitter and some natural search. Lesson learned: I will say that I never had a reason to join twitter before but once you have a site it definitely is worth joining at least for some extra traffic. It won’t hurt, give it a try. And of course you can follow me on twitter @foodchowdown.

I know everyone who is a foodie loves pictures and I would take a picture of my kitchen but it’s a mess. I will embarrass my little puppy Brady and upload a picture of him for the hell of it. :) He’s turning 1 on the 17th.

Brady Shih Tzu

Stay Tuned… I plan to post about a local mom and pop shop and my adventures at Boca Raton’s Junior League’s 10th Annual Chocolate Decadence Event.

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Jan 11

Back from New York…My return to the blog

I decided to head to New York for the New Year and was not near a computer to constantly update everything I ate and saw but had my camera on hand.  Now its time to play catch up.

(By the way this is my first attempt making an online collage ( how sad I feel so behind the times) but I did it!)

new york food collage

I typically don’t visit New York during the holiday time but wanted to spend the New Year with my girlfriends.  I normally try to avoid tourists at all cost (no offense if you’re one of them).  It really just makes New York an unpleasant experience, at least for me that is. I recommend going during the slower months, so you can really take in the city for what it really is. I also want to give the places that I did not care for the benefit of the doubt and blame it on excessive tourists for the awful experience. :) Ok “awful” is a bit extreme, but you get the point.

Haru- overpriced sushi – stick to your local joint
Limelight Marketplace – love love love
The Standard Grill –  warm atmosphere
The Oak Room -uptight and stuffy
The Plaza Food Hall – avoid if you hate touristy places
Mercat – excellent food styling but lacked flavor on dishes
Stantion Social – New Year’s Dinner – Good Times
Macondo – Yummy New Year’s Day Brunch
Elmo – trendy yet lacked quality in the food
Eataly – overrated, but New Yorkers love it
123 Burger $1 Burgers, $2 Shots, $3 Beers can’t be that!
The Soup Man – Seafood Gumbo, can you say yummy?


I plan on doing a follow up post on my sweet guilty pleasures
Billy’s Bakery
Sweet Revenge
Two Little Red Hens

I realize I listed all the places I went to with a little comment but since I  put in all this effort to take an overabundance of pictures so I should still write about them.  I probably will only pick a few of the favorites and of course talk about all the cupcakes I had.  Stay tuned…

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Dec 10

Late on the food bandwagon

Damn… since I have started this blog, I have been on the Food Blog hunt day and night.  It reminds me of a secret society that I, of course, knew nothing about. I should of done this years ago, what I was thinking procrastinating all these years. There is so much to know to get ramped up and I am so behind. So far from all the food blogs I have visited, I learned I need to do the following:

  • Start Posting on
  • Start Posting on
  • Get on
  • Start a Facebook devoted to my blog
  • Get on – Check
  • Need to hire a graphic designer to design a real website for me
  • Start baking, cooking, and eating!
  • Come up with a direction I want to take this blog.

I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

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Dec 10

The Recipe Exchange

recipe card

I just received the greatest email from my friend. I remember when I was little, we use to do this with socks, underwear or even cash. This time it was for recipes. I had to post this immediately as it was so perfect for my blog.
Dear Friends,

Happy, happy holiday season to each of you!

You are being invited to be a part of a recipe exchange :) Please send a recipe to the person whose name is in position 1 (even if you don’t know them) and it should be something quick, easy and without rare ingredients. Actually, the best one is the one you know in your head and can type right now. Don’t agonize over it – this is the one you make when you are short on time…one that is quick and delicious! (Or complicated and amazing)
After you’ve sent your recipe to the person in position 1 below and only to that person, copy this e-mail into a new e-mail, move my name to the top and put your name in position 2. Only mine and your name should show when you send your e-mail. Send to 20 friends BCC (blind copy). If you cannot do this within 5 days, let me know so it will be fair to those participating. You should receive 36 recipes. It’s fun to see where they come from! Seldom does anyone drop out because we all need new ideas! The turnaround is fast, as there are only 2 names on the list and you only have to do this once.

1. Email #1 (the person who you will send the recipe to)
2. Email #2 (the person who sent the email to you)

(for privacy reasons I did not list the email addresses above)

I’m excited to see what recipes I receive and will be sure to post them on here

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Nov 10

Food in Paris

My First Meal

This summer I went to Paris to visit my friend Holly in Paris. The first thing that I wanted to do was eat of course. Holly brought me to a local cafe/restaurant and I sadly don’t remember the name of it. However, I have to say it was probably the best meal I had while I was there.

It was eggplant with shells.

My BreakFast

My breakfast consisted of croissants with chocolate.  Make sure not to go to any bakery.  It has to have a sign that says “boulangerie.”  This means that they bake everything at the bakery fresh that day.  Of course, if you are in a rush while your travelling, its ok to make some exceptions as I had to do a few times while I was visiting.

I found this website with a list of the best breads in Paris.

Authentic Parisian Food

Holly wanted to bring me to Authentic Parisian Restaurant… and by that she means one where it does not draw in tourists and the menu has no English on it.

A blend of different cured meats.

Onto the 2nd part of the meal.  I believe this was a cocottes.  According the free dictionary, a cocottes is

1. (Cookery) a small fireproof dish in which individual portions of food are cooked and served

2.a prostitute or promiscuous woman

It was like a beef Bouillabaisse; the dish not the prostitute.  There were no prostitutes on the premises.

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Nov 10

Welcome to the food chow down!

I have come a long way from being a youngster who was such a fickle eater. I seriously would only eat pasta and ketchup. pastaketchup I would like to say now my taste buds have grown enormously.  But there are of course so limitations on foods that just don’t sit right with me still.

I know this blog is just one of tens of thousands of food blogs, but this one is different…. its all mine.

I like to dedicate my first blog post to Pasta and Ketchup.  Thank you for all your dedicated years to my stomach.

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