Friday, July 9, 2010
Reading an old issue of Bon Appetit inspired me to highlight some of my favorite hot weather favorites, so here goes nothing :-)
Although my answer should be water, anyone who knows me well is well versed in
my affinity toward bubbles! Cava, Prosecco, Champagne... A warm summer day is not
complete without an ice cold glass of bubbles.
Other favorites that are close seconds- dry Reisling, cava Sangria, margaritas (always without salt) muddled lemonade on the rooftop of The Surrey and Jessica Slevin will
kill me if I don't say Coors Light.
Ceviche and lobster/ lobster rolls are definitely top contenders. I've had amazing ceviche in a lot of
restaurants, but the best ceviche I've ever experienced was made by my dad- one of the most gourmet people I know.
Another favorite would have to raw oysters and stone crabs.
One last thing makes my summer dining experience complete- water ice from the Margate Dairy Bar by my house in New Jersey. This is and always will be my favorite place to enjoy an ice cold dessert. From the time I was little this little ice cream stand sold me on their pretzel cones and I now return for the best water ice at the Jersey Shore.
I'm sure my list of summer favorites will continue to grow as the "heatpocolipse" continues. Until next time...
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
After an amazing weekend in Sarasota (I'll talk more about this later), I embarked my plane to JFK. Although the weather was bad in Tampa and pretty much everywhere else along the East Coast, my flight took off as scheduled. After two and half hours, the pilots informed us that our plane would be landing ahead of schedule. As someone who loves to travel but HATES to fly, I was beyond excited to be on the ground. Forty minutes later the pilots had a change of heart. A ground stop at JFK due to weather problems was preventing us from landing at the airport. Our plane circled for 30 minutes before our pilots notified us that we would perform this circling exercise one more time before we would have to be rerouted to another airport nearby so the plane could refuel. Thirty minutes later, we were on our way to Richmond, VA. Now I don't know much about Richmond, but I took the liberty of Googling what I could have done there if I hadn't spent my entire time in an airport. Apparently, Richmond is home to beautiful neighborhoods with striking architecture. Richmond is among a handful of mid-sized cities to offer a flourishing cultural community enhanced by several first-class museums and prominent universities, its own symphony, professional ballet and opera, and numerous theater companies and art galleries. While offering easy access to the ocean, mountains and Washington, D.C., Richmond features countless pastimes at home. Trendy boutiques and restaurants, numerous sports and entertainment attractions, outdoor pursuits among one of the nation's largest river park systems, and a treasure trove of historic landmarks provide fun times galore.... I'll just have to take this website's word for it because my experience in Richmond did not include any of these activities.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
After a late night out, Stacy and I woke up at 6:30am to catch a bus to Philly for the remainder of our weekend. The sound of my alarm on a Saturday morning threw me into an automatic tizzy making me feel like I had to go to work. The two hour bus ride went by so quickly and before I knew it we were entering the City of Brotherly Love. After taking an hour to relax, Stacy and I decided to set out on an adventure. So here we are…2 girls, no plan, almost no money…and one goal-for Stacy to eat her first Philly cheesesteak. Being the foodie that I am, I continued to point out different places along the way. But nothing could interfere with our search for the quintessential cheesesteak. With so many amazing options in the city, we knew we would need some help making a choice. We enlisted Ashley, our resident Philly food expert, to narrow down our choices. Since Stacy isn’t very familiar with the city, Ashley and I insisted on venturing over to Reading Terminal. Along the way Ashley and I (with a little assistance from Scott) gave Stacy the low down on what to order. Anyone from Philadelphia knows that a legit cheesesteak is made with whiz-not provolone, American or cheddar-those are for amateurs. We’re talking neon orange goo that comes straight from a can and never expires cheese whiz. For anyone who has ever wondered why Philadelphia is one of the fattest city’s in America…this would be reason number one. We finally found the perfect place for Stacy to lose her cheese steak virginity…Carmen’s Famous Italian Hoagies and Cheesesteaks. While this is not one of the famous places that you often hear about like Geno’s, Pat’s or Tony Luke’s, this place fit the bill. Since there was a long line Stacy was able to rehearse her order for a good 15 minutes. It didn’t matter. As she approached the cashier with a look of nervous excitement she said “Cheese steak with whiz and onions”. Ashley and I looked on with such pride, but it didn’t fool the cashier…she could tell this was Stacy’s first time. As her order came out the white roll was oozing with chopped steak and bright orange melted whiz. Stacy took her first bite and an immediate smile sprawled across her face quickly followed by “This is sooooo good!” Mission accomplished… but now that we broke her in with a traditional cheese steak, it’s time to introduce her to the best that Philly has to offer. Some people say “When in Rome”, but I say “When in Philly.” And one thing’s for sure, this will not be the last time you hear about the whiz.
Feeling full and content we decided to partake in a more cultural activity for the rest of the day. We walked over to The Franklin Institute which is by far one of the most exciting and interactive museums I ever visited as a kid. It was just as awe inspiring as I remember and nothing stopped us from partaking in every activity that no one over the age of 12 should be interested in trying. Have I mentioned I am one of the most easily amused people I know? It doesn’t take much and this museum went above and beyond. Ashley even left saying how she wishes she knew more about Physics and that’s coming from a girl that is not the slightest bit nerdy. Bottom line-this place is cool. If you’re ever in Philly, it is definitely worth checking out.
After a few hours of much needed rest and relaxation the three of us walked over to 18th and Chestnut for dinner at Stephen Starr’s Continental Midtown. As far as I’m concerned, this man is an absolute genius. His restaurant concepts are so creative and the theme of each place is so different and eclectic. The place was packed and we were unable to make a reservation, so we ended up sitting in their rooftop bar area. I was told that during the summer they open up the whole floor and I can only imagine it’s one of the hottest places to be in Philly on a warm summer night or day…depending on when you like to start your cocktail hour. No judgments on my end. I am a firm believer that it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere. This place is fun drink central and has a great selection of martinis and cocktails. I’m always partial to anything with bubbles so I skipped out on the mixed drinks and opted for a glass (or three) of cava, Stacy got a martini with vodka, chocolate milk and an espresso liquor and Ashley had a jolly rancher martini. Besides the amazing drinks, this place also has incredible tapas style food, which is always my favorite choice for going out with girlfriends. It provides you with the perfect opportunity to try a bunch of completely different flavors without getting too full. Between the three of us we ordered a chopped salad, BBQ chicken quesadilla with avocado sour cream, tofu tempura served with edamame, avocado and mustard-miso dressing, and my personal favorite the French onion soup dumplings baked with gruyere cheese. When dining at this restaurant, these dumplings are not to be missed. We concluded our night with a drink at Rum Bar and parted ways around midnight.
Our final day in Philly consisted mostly of Stacy and I wandering around the city aimlessly and spending hours at a time sitting in a coffee shop writing and discussing life and all of its possibilities. Deep I know…we get that way sometimes.
On Sunday night we left Philly with fond memories and maybe a few clogged arteries.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Based on who I spend most of my time with, a few people are bound to make repeat appearances in this blog. When someone tells me a story I like to have a little background on the people I’m hearing about and if possible a picture so I can put a face with a name. Here’s a little breakdown on some of the key players in my life.
Hank Taplinger: This is my wonderful father who is the only man I know who will cook an entire gourmet meal for himself and then describe in detail the exact ingredients he used and what wine or cocktail he paired with it. His love for food exceeds everything other than family and a trip with him means a tour of restaurants and open air markets. Museums are not his thing, but take him to an open market and he will spend hours staring at the fish display… Pike’s Market in Seattle might rank #1 in Hank’s seafood tour of America. He is the happiest person I know and has achieved self actualization like no other person I’ve ever met.
Pam Taplinger: This is my amazing mother who balances my Dad’s love for food with a healthy dose of reality that you can’t eat everything and anything without experiencing some of the consequences. While my mom is a pretty experimental eater, she also is unwilling to try certain delicacies-some examples include raw fish, red meat (most of the time) and she’s been known to reign my Dad and I in when we’re having too much fun trying new things. My Mom seeks balance in everything that she does and pushes me to relax and keep everything in moderation. My Mom is the reason why our family vacations include excursions outside of the culinary realm. Without her I may have never stepped in an actual museum the entire time I was in Europe or gained a strong sense of discipline in my life. She is one of the most motivated women I know and I admire her endlessly for that.
Stacy Tasman: This is my best friend since high school who recently moved in with me in my small New York City apartment. We met on our first day of school Junior year in our first period French class. Despite the early hour, we bonded instantly and our friendship has flourished ever since. Stacy’s ideal meal used to be anything that seemed safe. Grilled chicken was king and anything outside of the box was considered intimidating and unappealing. I am happy to report that 7 years later and after traveling all over the world Stacy is now a much more experimental eater. She’s open to trying new things and realizes that one mushroom won’t kill her. One of the best things about our friendship is that we both have grown apart while growing together so we always bring new things to the table. Our friendship has never been superficial and we’ve always able to bring each other down to earth when necessary.
Montana Ross: Despite the fact that Ross is her last name, Montana is basically a Taplinger. Setting her up with my cousin is one of the best things I’ve ever done. My family knew she was one of us after taking her on her very first trip to Tarpon Springs. As much as we love trying new restaurants together, some of my best memories with her involved our nights when we cook together or when we decided to play mixologist on Memorial Day a few years ago. Who knew M&M’s, coffee creamer and vodka would be great in a cocktail… it sounds crazy I know, but we are on to something. Montana is one of the most enthusiastic people I know and I am so happy to call her part of my family.
Jessica Freeman Henderson: This is my roommate in New York City who’s ideal meal would be macaroni and cheese, cheesesteaks, bagels and cheesecake frozen yogurt with graham cracker crumbs from 16 Handles around the corner from our apartment. When we first moved in together we would make an effort to try new restaurants in our neighborhood on Sunday nights. Our budgets don’t allow us to try as many places as we’d like, but our low cost staples are some of the best in the city.
Maddie Aubuchon: This is one of my best friends from college who shares my love of extended dinners. We share a love for nice restaurants and expensive things which often gets us into trouble. I introduced her to my obsession with Prosecco and she has shared some amazing recipes with me. She’ll be the first person to volunteer to bake for someone’s birthday or invite everyone over for dinner. I look forward to when she lives closer and these dinners can take place more often.
Ashley Orleans: We are each other’s oldest friends and our relationship originated back in the day when getting popsicles at Camp by the Sea in Longport was the most exciting part of our day. Our tastes have evolved along with our friendship and we now get together in Philadelphia and the Jersey Shore whenever possible. When together we often talk about restaurants and frequent some of our favorites in both locations. We have a mutual obsession with every restaurant by Stephen Starr and she always introduces me to the best new places in the city.
Meghan McGuire: Meghan and I met at work and instantly bonded over our obsession with food and wine. She has introduced me to some of my favorite restaurants in the city, and we’ve shared great conversations over a bottle or two of wine. We are constantly sending each other menus to look at and information on restaurant openings and reviews. I know I can always count on her for wanting to try a new place and for giving good advice on what to order. One day we’ll turn our fantasies of gallivanting around Europe together on a culinary tour into reality. In the meantime, New York City is a great place for us to explore.