Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Food Fight! Coming this Saturday to Aggieland

This isn't really a post, it's an announcement of something awesome coming to College Station this weekend.

Image source.
The Bryan/College Station area food trucks are having a food fight at New Republic Brewery on Saturday, April 11 from noon to 4 pm.  They each have to make $5 dishes featuring the theme ingredient: ginger.

Image source.

The following food trucks will be participating:


Perrine Winery and Rio Brazos Distillery are not food trucks, but will also be there.

I would expect to find crowds so get there early and be patient. Don't forget your umbrella!  Wunderground is calling for rain. No surprise there, given how wet this Spring has been.

For more information, like and follow Aggieland Food Fight on facebook or follow them on twitter.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Cocoamoda Pictures

Now that Chocolate: Impossible has aired I can finally post my picts of the renovations at Cocoamoda. I was there the day after the shoot wrapped to check on Ken and Jackie and have been holding on to these because everyone else involved had to abide by an NDA. For the record, they announced today they'll be serving lunch Thursday through Sunday. You can find the before pictures with my first post on the chocolatier.

I couldn't just pick one....

The event space with about a gazillion LED candles.

I kind of love the fireplace. 

This particular designer has a thing for opaque mirrors. The event space has a bar now, which it needed.

The event space is one of the prettiest storefronts in Calvert.

Cocoamoda has a distinctive storefront.

At first covering the bookshelves seemed weird. Now it seems like something less to dust. And, again, an opaque mirror.

Chocolate is the main event.

Chef Ken and Julie behind the counter. 
I encourage all readers who visit Calvert to also visit the other shops in town.  Cowboy Up has unique apparel and things like the "Good Sh**" spice mixtures. There are also antique stores, art galleries, and artist spaces.  Not to mention other places to eat and drink. Make a day trip out of it and visit them all. 

Answers to frequently asked questions:

1. Yes, you can have their chocolates shipped to your door. Go to their website and order them. The chocolates are typically $3-4 each at the store. Expect to pay additional shipping costs.

2. They now have lunch available (soup and sandwich of the day) on a first-come, first-serve basis Thursday through Sunday at the chocolate boutique.

3. Their dinners are awesome. The menu changes weekly and is posted to facebook.  Call to make reservations. Bring your own beverage. Coffee, tea, sipping chocolate, and water are available. Don't be a no-show as they make exactly as much as is needed for the people who make reservations.

4.  ALL of the chocolates are delicious.  My personal favorites are the key lime and milk and honey.

5. Yes, they cater special events and weddings. Talk with Chef Ken regarding the details.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Grand Presentation for Junk Food

This isn't really a post, it's a link to something awesome on the internet. 

Chef Jacques LaMerde (very likely a pseudonym, given the name means Jack the Sh**) has an Instagram so awesome I almost want to subscribe to Instagram. Almost. Using tweezers, liquid nitrogen, and (likely) professional chef know-how he (or she?) spectacularly plates and photographs American junk food.  The results are fantastic. Don't forget to read the hilarious commentary.

The most beautiful Hot Pocket I've ever seen.  

A screen capture of one creation involving Dunkin Munchkins and Oreo birthday cake soil.   

Go here to check out the fun for yourself.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Reminder! Restaurant: Impossible at Cocoamoda Airs on April 1!

This isn't really a post. It's a reminder.

Watch Cocoamoda on Restaurant: Impossible on April 1, 2015. Check your local listings for Food Network channel and time.  I won't live blog it because I'm terrible at live blogging.   

A beautiful variety of decadent chocolates at Cocoamoda.

What I do know, is that regardless of how the TV folks edit and portray the folks at Cocoamoda, they (Ken, Jackie, and Julie) are all awesome people who pour their hearts and souls into running the business and producing a quality product.  We should all make the trip to Calvert to congratulate them on a job well done and to purchase their wonderful chocolates. For an extra treat, follow them on facebook to find out about their weekend fine dining. The menu changes weekly.

Delicious, rich sipping chocolate.  Only available at Cocoamoda.
Follow Cocoamoda on facebook and twitter. If you're not able to make the trip to Calvert, order their awesome chocolates on their webpage and have them delivered to your door.


Friday, March 27, 2015

Recipe: Smoky Chipotle Hummus

Most years I don't bother with a New Year's resolution.  This year, however, I resolved to eat more fruit and veggies.  Not exactly an earth-shattering resolution, but it's one that I figured would help me and would be reasonable to stick to.

One of the easier ways to accomplish this has been to keep homemade hummus in the house for snacking.  Why homemade?  Store-bought is fine, but I have to keep garlic and onions to a minimum, so I make my own.  It's easy and surprisingly inexpensive. The addition of chipotles in adobo makes this recipe irresistible and it pairs beautifully with carrots, sliced peppers, and as a schmear on bread or toast.


This recipe is also adaptable and works well with a number of veggies that might just be taking up room in your fridge.  I've added cherry tomatoes, kale, and spinach before and they have all worked well.  Make sure to adjust salt, pepper, chipotles, and water levels to taste to accommodate the addition(s).

Smoky Chipotle Hummus

Ingredients:

2 cans         chickpeas (15.5 oz cans, may also be called garbanzo beans)
1/2 cup       peanut butter* (I use the kind you have to mix the oil with the ground nuts)
1/4 cup       lemon juice
1/4 cup       olive oil
1 teaspoon  salt
1/2 teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
2-5              chipotle peppers packed in adobo** (more or less depending on your heat tolerance***)
1/2 cup       water

Instructions:

1. Empty the chickpeas into a colander and rinse them under cold water until they no longer foam.

2. Place the chickpeas and all of the above ingredients into a food processor or blender.  Pulse to start, then blend until smooth.  If the mixture is still lumpy, add an additional few teaspoons of olive oil and a quarter cup of water and blend until smooth.

3. Decant the mixture into a sealable container and store in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 weeks.


Footnotes:

* Peanut butter sounds odd, I know.  Tahini is traditionally used but is difficult to find, inconsistently stocked, and quite expensive here.  Peanut butter has a similar flavor profile to tahini.  If you are allergic to peanut butter, substitute any nut butter or tahini, if it's available where you are.

** Chipotle peppers in adobo can only be found in the international section of the grocery stores here. If you are not using the entire can (this recipe would be firey hot if you did), reseal the can with aluminum foil and store it in your refrigerator.  The peppers will keep for a few months.  I typically make 3 separate batches with one small (7 oz) can of the peppers.

*** If you over-do it with the heat, you can "rescue" yourself by drinking full-fat milk, half and half, or cream.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Eatcetera in Galveston

Eatcetera is a lovely bistro we found quite by accident in Galveston.  Located within walking distance to The Strand, it's a nice alternative to Strand food and crowds during the various festivals.




The menu features a number of different sandwiches, soups, and salads, all freshly prepared. They also have a delicious prickly pear iced tea.



African peanut soup. Absolutely delicious.

Indonesian peanut soup served with toast points as croutons.

Bread and pimento spread served before meals.

The Cuban panino served with kettle chips. A nicely made sandwich.

A salmon sandwich with caper mayo, served with a house salad.
Make sure to save room for their awesome desserts. 

An upside down pinapple cake. Moist and delicious and served with rich vanilla ice cream.

Flourless chocolate torte served with a raspberry gelee.  Absolutely divine.

We will absolutely be back to Eatcetera the next time we are in Galveston. Great location, wonderful food, and reasonable prices.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Sherwood Forest Fair

Renaissance Festivals seem to be becoming nearly a year-round thing in Texas. Texas Ren Fest runs from September or October through November and Scarborough Faire runs from April through May.  Now, and for the last few years, Sherwood Forest Fair runs from February through much of March of each year and has regular meet-ups throughout the year.


This fair has wifi.
Sherwood Forest is located between College Station and Austin along highway 290 close to the intersection with highway 21.  The closest town is McDade.

On a cold day a coffee shop is exactly what I wanted.

I got the spicy ginger chai and it was exactly what I wanted. Delicious. Spicy. Gingery.  Awesome.  And warm.

Lovely seating for those wishing to relax with their drinks or hookahs.

I don't smoke anything of any sort but hookahs are very pretty.

There's a stage next to the coffee shop. It's a great place to relax in and take in the sites.

Of the 3 festivals mentioned here, Sherwood is the newest and currently the smallest.  The day we went this year it was also the coldest and rainiest.  This year's Spring has been cold, wet and rainy. And very, very muddy.

Interesting chainmaille lamp.

Archery

This shop has good Mediterranean food...for when it's not quite so cold out.

Juggling fire!

Salads and healthier fare are available.

A blacksmith shows some of their lovely works.
There are a number of food and drink options at the festival, as well as entertainment (shows), and shopping.

The Washerwomen are always fun.

Watch out for audience participation.

There's a daily parade.

Flaming acrobatics.

Grilled things.  On a stick!

Fried things. Including the very interesting fried olives. A nice combination of briny and fried.


You can get a carriage ride around the festival.
Really cool birdhouses.

All kinds of shopping.
Italian food. I particularly like the arancini, because I like risotto and deep fried makes everything better.

And, of course, jousting.
The festival runs now through March 22, 2015 and will be open on Friday, March 20.  Parking is free.