A Breakfast Fit for a Chef

A Cute Cafe, A Breakfast to Brag About

A Cute Cafe, A Breakfast to Brag About

Innovation and creativity are two things that make a restaurant desirable, interesting, and newsworthy. The Pfunky Griddle has it all!

On the first Sunday of our trip to the South, our family and some friends went out for a unique breakfast. The Pfunky Griddle in the Berry Hill area of Nashville is a breakfast and lunch venue that is located in a place that was once a home. What makes this so different from a typical restaurant is that they give you batter, toppings, and a spatula…and you get to make the pancakes on your own! We’ve been to fondue and teppan grills but never a make-your-own breakfast cafe. This was right up my alley, and it was all-you-can-eat, so we decided to try it.

The decor of The Pfunky Griddle was perky and cute, and while we did have to wait, the employees were friendly and patient.  Once we were seated inside this cozy joint, I enjoyed the two toppings that I ordered with my batter: peanut butter and banana slices, and the bacon and homemade syrup were both great. They served white, wheat, and gluten-free batter and the toppings to choose from read on and on.

Little Bakers at Work

Little Bakers at Work

The immense griddle in the middle of the table was hot and cooked the pancakes quickly, but it was safe for everyone and we saw toddlers in there cooking away with their parents. I cooked the bananas into my pancakes and spread the peanut butter on top afterward, and I had at least five mini pancakes. They were yummy and all eight of us enjoyed our meals. I thought it was a cool idea and my dad labeled it as “one of the best breakfasts out we’ve had”. So, if you’re in Nashville, please go ahead and try it. It may not be the most Southern breakfast I’m going to have, but it was a lot of fun and I would definitely suggest it!

A Different Kind of Stadium

Dream Team Photo

Dream Team Photo

It was dark outside when we woke up, but I’m used to that. I’m definitely an early bird and I love the mornings, but today I awoke with the feelings of someone who had stayed up late last night. To tell you the truth, one thought and one thought only occupied my head: I don’t want to get out of bed! Nevertheless, I got up, packed my bag, and jumped in the car, excited for the day ahead of me. I couldn’t wait to see the stadium and the stars, to eat, and to write. This would be spectacular.

But today, we were not tailgating at the Rose Bowl or the Coliseum. This was a different kind of stadium… what I might call a “food stadium”. The first annual All Star Chefs Classic was hosted on Sunday, March 23, from noon to 2:30 at the new “Restaurant Stadium” at LA Live, and both local chefs and nation-wide foodies came to cook at an event not to be challenged.

The All Star Chefs Classic

The All Star Chefs Classic

A bar lit up the center of the large room, and around it sat tables surrounded by ten food booths. At each station, one fantastic chef or another would whip up an amazing sample, and you would be able to try it without a wait. The decor was classy and prestigious, and it made me nervous even to be in this foodie’s paradise. At the same time, however, it was almost laid-back and an awesome DJ kept us all on our toes.  Everyone was trying to balance a plate, a cup, and a camera, and yet I didn’t feel that it was touristy at all.  You were close to the chefs, but there weren’t too many people and we never had to wait more than two minutes for anything. Oh, here I go. I won’t be able to find anything wrong with an event featuring spectacular food AND Han Solo’s grandson.

Chef David LeFevre and His Creation

Chef David LeFevre and His Creation

First up, Chef David LeFevre. If you’ve followed my blog site before, you’ll recognize him as the genius behind the restaurant I spent my eleventh birthday at: MB Post. (http://www.southbayfood.com/?p=1795).  At his booth, creamy mashed potatoes were complimented by grilled asparagus, speck, mushrooms, and a delicious potato puree on top. It was adorned by crispy leeks, and I wouldn’t have changed anything about it. The flavors melded together perfectly but were still distinct in the best ways, and each thought back to it made my mouth water for more. Overall, it was an astounding first dish and I was extremely happy with Chef LeFevre’s creation.

 

Then, we slid over next door to Chef Vinny Dotolo’s station, where beef tendon with kolrabi salad was being presented. The beef tendon had a really nice texture, and it was soft but chewy. A perfect amount of what seemed to be a peanut sauce was drizzled over the top, and it was subtle but noticeable and definitely sweet. Overall, it might not have been my favorite dish of the night, but it was extremely impressive nonetheless.

By Wylie Dufresne

By Wylie Dufresne

Next, we walked to Chef Wylie Dufresne’s booth, which revealed a creative new idea: edamame gazpacho. I loved the textures with the milky gazpacho and the crunchy chunks to top it off. It tasted fresh and you could tell that a lot of effort was put into the making of it.

 

 

Lamb Sweetbreads, there's nothing better

Lamb Sweetbreads, there’s nothing better

Chef Alex Seidel’s dish blew me away. It was lamb sweetbread confit (otherwise known as lamb organs :)) but it was fantastic! The lamb had a beautiful texture and a great flavor, and it was overall very impressive. I’m so glad I got the chance to meet him, because this was the spectacular outcome of the work of a man who knows what he’s doing. The dish had an amazing “mushroom marmalade” and the mushrooms paired outstandingly with the creamy sheep’s milk ricotta. Also, Chef Seidel let us try his cheese, which was aged for two years in his home of Denver. Overall, Chef Seidel came and left us all awaiting the next time he can come to LA to cook us some more of his delicious food.

Let’s travel over to Chef David Myers’ dish: tuna with sesame tofu and a kumquat fava bean salad. Chef Myers prepared this cool dish for us in the booth right next to Chef David LeFevre’s. Although I didn’t enjoy the tofu very much, that’s probably just because I’ve been a carnivore since birth. The kumquat fava bean salad was strongly flavored and very citrusy, but in the best way because it was a great match with the tuna. I’m glad that Chef Myers included it. The tuna was the bomb; pink, silky, and impeccably prepared. I can’t say I’ve ever had such perfected,  melt-in-your-mouth tuna, and I only have one thing to say to that… yum.

Chef Ben Ford

Chef Ben Ford

Scrumptious Sea Bass Crudo

Scrumptious Sea Bass Crudo

And guess who I met next? One of the friendliest chefs ever, good in the kitchen, and he has a famous history. Chef Ben Ford, son of Harrison Ford and father of Indiana Jones’ grandson, happens to be madly talented, as I figured out as I practically inhaled my serving of sea bass crudo. The fish itself was smooth and tasty and it disintegrated in my mouth with a lingering taste of lime. The chilies on top added a nice spicy kick at the end and the avocado, which was also enriched by citrus, I think, was fantastic paired with the sea bass. It just overall showed a great knowledge of food and I’m really glad Chef Ford made it. I also got to see his son, an adorable little blond boy that seemed to be all smiles. (The Force is strong with that one.)

Chef Josiah Citrin: A Legend

Chef Josiah Citrin: A Legend

A legend held up the next station with a focused expression and hardworking hands. I could tell that Chef Josiah Citrin took his job seriously, and it definitely paid off. The wild monkfish cheek reminded me a bit of scallops, and monkfish might be known as the “poor man’s lobster”, but this was anything but insufficient. I hadn’t tried very much monkfish before this event, but I really enjoyed it and I look forward to trying it again soon. Though I didn’t know exactly how it was supposed to be cooked, I thought that it tasted great. The fish wasn’t too tough but it wouldn’t fall apart, with a great texture, and the herbs, like fennel, paired nicely with the monkfish. I was very happy with what I tried from Chef Josiah Citrin’s booth and I hope to eat more of his food soon!

My mother’s dentist, local foodie Dr. Gary Warburton, had suggested this event to us in the first place, and all throughout it, we had stopped around to talk to him and his wife Terry. What was really cool was that he knew a lot of the chefs, so I met a lot of them and I was so thankful that Dr. Warburton included us. Thank you!

Chef Ludo!

Chef Ludo!

I also met Chef Ludo Lefebvre, the famous chef who stars in TV show “Ludo Bites”. And although his persona on TV is definitely intimidating, he was really patient and friendly in person and I am very grateful for him for letting me waste his time. 🙂

Dr. Warburton, Chef David LeFevre, and a few others were having a conversation as we walked up. Chef LeFevre raved about the event, its great kitchens, its reserved parking, and just its atmosphere in general. It was nice to know that not only did the guests love the event, but the chefs enjoyed it as well.

 

Chef Elliot:  Salad Pro

Chef Elliot: Salad Pro

After a quick break, my dad and I returned back to our food

Deconstruction Site

Deconstruction Site

sampling. Next up was Chef Graham Elliot’s twist on a classic Cesear salad, otherwise known as his “deconstructed Cesear salad”. It was a lettuce wedge with a fantastic crunch and doused in crumbled parmesan cheese. On the side came a crispy toasted bread slice with a white dollop of soft spread on top, which was almost buttery, and I’m not sure exactly what it was but it was addictive. It was a fresh spin on a classic dish, I really enjoyed it, and I was very glad to try it. Nice job, Chef Elliot!

Pork Belly Not To Be Forgotten

Pork Belly Not To Be Forgotten

Two words could be used to describe this next station, and that’s all you need to know that it was a positive review: PORK. BELLY. The cardamom brined meat had a great texture and really stood out for its creativity with spices and flavors. A creamy coconut asparagus veloute topped it off and the flavors matched each other very well. I enjoyed this dish, and I thought that it was a great way to prepare pork belly.

 

Chef Silverton and Me

Chef Silverton and Me

Lastly, Chef Nancy Silverton’s booth stood next door with a black sign sporting kale salad. Being a meat-lover, I thought I would be disappointed to end on this, but boy was I wrong! The kale salad was served with ricotta salata, pine nuts, and an anchovy on top, and although I was not a fan of the anchovy, the nuts and cheese went well together and the kale was perfection. In all, it was a great way to end the event and the salad definitely left you craving more.

In all, this amazing culinary event was a great way to spend my Sunday, and not only was the food delicious, but the chefs were friendly, welcoming, and, above all, inspiring. I have been slow to post recently because I’ve been very busy and I had been putting other activities before this (mainly soccer). This spectacular day reminded me how important it is to continue my blog and put in that extra effort, and I am so glad that I got to experience such an extraordinary event.

Thank you especially to Gary Warburton for encouraging me, showing us around, and keeping us laughing all day. Also, thank you so much to the chefs that I met: Ben Ford, Josiah Citrin, David LeFevre, Nancy Silverton, Wylie Dufresne, Alex Seidel, Graham Elliot, and Jennifer Jasinski. They were all so inspiring, kind, and, of course, spectacularly talented!

And, last of all, thank you Dad for a memorable opportunity and an experience I will never forget.

Day 3…

ENTIRE EXCELLENCE

Today, on Father’s Day, we went to brunch at a Cajun kitchen, attended a Portland Sea Dogs home game, and bought our own live lobster to cook for dinner!

First of all, it was Father’s Day, so Tabitha and I enjoyed giving our dad cards and showing him his gifts. For a Father’s Day brunch, we tried out Bayou Kitchen. My dad loves the Cajun cuisine, and it looked like everyone could find something in the custom pancake shop/cajun cafe and diner.

Bright and Bold

Bright and Bold

Yellows, purples, and greens lit up the rooms, and the Mardi-Gras decor was definitely eye-catching! As we scanned the menu, many items looked suitable, and I had a difficult time choosing my meal. Bayou Kitchen’s custom pancake shop was extremely creative, offering many unique pancakes. On this section of the menu, there were many pancakes, from pecan pancakes to ginger pancakes to coffee pancakes!

 

Alongside a custom pancake menu, a Cajun section gave us many more selections. Jambalaya, gumbo, and Cajun omelets were some items on the Cajun addition.

Mom ordered a blueberry banana pancake breakfast, and Tabs got chocolate chip pancakes. Dad received a Cajun scramble, and I decided on the jambalaya. Also, we ordered gumbo for the table!

Blueberry Banana Bliss!

Blueberry Banana Bliss!

Mom loved her pancake, a sweet breakfast that started off the day with a smile! The texture of the pancake was perfect: filling and doughy, but moist. The blueberries were local and fresh, and the banana added a wet component to the dish. Splendid and healthy, this was an attractive dish and definitely a favorite!

Tabitha’s chocolate chip pancakes were filling and YUMMY! But as luscious as they were, they were a bit dry, and they could have used more chocolate to keep it running smoothly through your mouth. Overall, the chocolate chip pancakes were not flawless, yet still memorable, and I would try them again!

Bayou Kitchen’s jambalaya was utterly disappointing. I didn’t care for the tomato base, and it was served cold. The sauce was redder, where as our family prefers thicker, browner sauces. In addition, it had more veggies, and less meat, which I wish was NOT  the case. However, the seafood was fresh, and there was a decent amount of jambalaya on a serving. Overall, as good jambalayas go, this wasn’t one of them. I hate to say that I would not suggest Bayou Kitchen’s jambalaya.

Gumbo to be Reckoned With

Gumbo to be Reckoned With

But I must say, the gumbo almost made up for it… This was by far the best dish on the table! The whole family hogged the perfect concoction, and I much preferred it over my meal! It was moderately spicy, thinner than usual, and different than any gumbo I’d ever had (probably because we were in Maine…:)). I’ve been to New Orleans, and while this obviously was no real, authentic gumbo, it was impressive!

 

Overall, our brunch had ups and downs, but in the end it earned a thumbs-up!

* * * * *

Across the street from Bayou Kitchen was a fresh bread factory, store, and cafe. As we entered this perfection of a business, The Big Sky Bread Company was immediately on my good side! I walked in and a fresh, doughy smell drifted through the air. Stacked on shelves, unique bread sat, waiting to be devoured by local customers. Some unusual breads were the Cinnamon Walnut Raisin, the Deep South Cornbread, and the Black Forest Pumpernickel. The locals obviously stopped in often, just to buy everyday bread, but my dad and I were fascinated! There was even a sample of their bread with butter, and it was yummy, warm, and it definitely tasted homemade (the good kind)!

I also loved that the bakery was right in front of you, so you could see them baking the bread in action! It was also a good idea to have a restaurant too. On the menu there were panini sandwiches, soups, and salads. I thought it was a really interesting experience to be able to visit the Big Sky Bread Conpany!

* * * * *

Next, we attended a Portland Sea Dogs Game. There is not much food to write about from this baseball game, except for our third lobster roll contestant: the baseball roll.

"The Ball Park Roll"

“The Ball Park Roll”

For baseball park food, it was great! For a lobster roll… Not so much. Not that it was terrible, but there was way too much mayonnaise, and the lobster was ice cold, which is maybe a little too cold for a lobster roll in my preference. It was creamy, but inconsistent, and the lobster was nothing memorable. Unfortunately, my dad rated it:

 

Two shells

shell-harbour-removals

shell-harbour-removals

 

 

 

 

That’s all I have to say about the Sea Dogs game (they won!), but I can’t wait to tell you about our incredible lobster dinner experience!

* * * * *

Oyster Alert!

Shellfish Alert!

Somewhere along our drive from Portland back to Camden, we entered the coolest road-side stand I have EVER encountered. Advertised on roadside signs, Glidden Point Oyster Company is a live lobster and oyster shack. The owner and operator, Barb Scully, dives for the oysters herself, which is rare these days. “She says the technique is less disruptive for the shellfish and ensures superior taste,” I read from an article on The New York Times website. They are freshly farmed in the Damariscotta River, along with the lobster the Glidden Point Oyster Company sold.

 

 

The Three Not-So-Little Lobsters

The Three Not-So-Little Lobsters!

What my dad thought made this cool shack one THOUSAND times cooler is the “Honor System”. If the Scullys were out oyster diving, they would trust you to take the seafood, and leave the money. Luckily, Mrs. Scully was available when we came on Father’s Day, because we had no idea what we were doing! I loved the business so much, I bought a shirt from the Glidden Point Oyster Co. On the back, it says their slogan, which is: “You don’t win friends with salad“. A quote from Homer Simpson, I immediately loved the shirt, the slogan, and its meaning!

In the end, we bought 3 lobsters (totaling 5 lbs) and 12 oysters, all live on the way home!

* * * * *

When we got home, my dad immediately opened the cooler and tried to grab the lobsters. Big mistake! Though we had done this before, we had not expected the feisty lobsters! They were fighting and flailing against my dad, and, boy, did it surprise us!

Ruby Red and Looking Good!

Ruby Red and Looking Good!

But once they were boiled and shelled, they just couldn’t have been better! Dipped in warm, dripping-down-your-chin, heavenly butter, this lobster was succulent, juicy, and fresh. My dad, mom, and I all have the same favorite lobster part: the tail! However, my sister preferred the legs, from which you got practically no meat… But everyone has their preferences, I guess.

 

The splendid meat practically melted in your mouth, and the butter was a fantastic addition! I found myself wishing that it wasn’t gone when the plate was cleared. But I guess that’s how good food works.

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The Bayou Kitchen

543 Deering Ave.

Portland, Maine 

Tel: (207) 774-4935

http://www.bayoukitchenmaine.com

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Big Sky Bread Company

536 Deering Ave.

Portland, Maine

Tel: (207) 761-5623

http:/www.mainebread.com

 

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Glidden Point Oyster Sea Farm

707 River Road

Edgecomb, Maine 04556

Tel: (207) 633-3599

http://www.oysterfarm.com

 

 

Day 2…

Part 1: TERRIFIC TRAVEL

I awoke this morning and we immediately jumped into our rental car and started our road trip journey to Maine. Soon, we encountered a small town fit for breakfast: Portsmouth, New Hampshire. This cute town has been a part of New Hampshire since 1623! We were eager to explore, and we took many pictures along the drive.

Portsmouth is made of simple, Victorian-style homes and small shops. spending much of my time in super-modern Los Angeles, I was intrigued by the older, but attractive, architecture.

DSC03913Somewhere along Sagamore Avenue, my parents found “The Golden Egg”, an old-fashioned, red-checkered curtained cafe. Tabitha and I were hungry, and so we were glad to stop in!

“The Golden Egg” was exactly as you would imagine a small-town, local’s cafe. The sweet smell of real, fresh syrup filled the air, and the servers were friendly and courteous.

As a drink, Tabs and I both received hot cocoas. They were rich and yummy, and they tasted like chocolate cookies were crumbled into the warm milk. It was a pleasant treat and probably my favorite hot cocoa in a long time! Yum!

I ordered a combo, with French toast, a scrambled egg, and bacon. I immediately asked for hot sauce for my egg, and they gave me an incredible homemade hot sauce. I tried it and was surprised to find it was spicier than I expected! It had a tangy kick that I very much enjoyed! If you ever venture to the Golden Egg, I would suggest their homemade hot sauce!

C&C: Citrusy Clams

C&C: Citrus and Clams

Tabitha ordered New England clam chowder– yes, again! But unlike Connolly’s clam chowder, this one was outstanding and unlike any clam chowder I had ever tried! It was thin and broth, and full of spices and bacon. It also had a powerful, addictive citrus flavor that we could not identify. This citrus really made it fantastic, and we were impressed by this unique flavor. It was much better than FishBar’s, which says something, and I finished off Tabitha’s big bowl! That clam chowder was–no exaggeration– probably my favorite clam chowder ever! Then again, we are on the East Coast, and I will probably try many more clam chowders. I look forward to those!

A Mouthwatering Masterpiece

A Mouthwatering Masterpiece

Dad ordered the “Eggs Sagamore”, which was English muffins, two poached eggs, and lobster in a creamy remoulade sauce. Though I am not a fan of runny eggs, I tried a bite of lobster in the remoulade sauce and fell in love! Delicious, juicy, addictive, fresh! My family was undoubtedly happy with a fantastic brunch at “The Golden Egg”!

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The Golden Egg

960 Sagamore Avenue

Portsmouth, NH 03801

Tel: (603) 436-0519 

Website: http://www.goldeneggrestaurant.com

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Part 2: DISCOVERY DAY

After brunch, we continued along our route to Camden, Maine. Still on Sagamore, we stopped at Seaport Fish, a small seafood market. Dad and I got out of the car and decided to explore!

Splendid Seafood, Marvelous Market

Splendid Seafood, Marvelous Market!

Seaport fish was an incredible stop! The seafood was fresh, inexpensive, and ice cold. Raw fish slabs lined the refrigerated counter, and ice boxes were over-flowing with lobster, clams, oyster, and more! Prices were great: you could buy an entire lobster for $6.00! It was super cool and I was impressed by their many varieties!

In addition to a wide-range seafood selection, Seaport Fish offered cheese, meat, cocktail sauce, and fish rubs. Menus were posted on the walls and the decor was natural and nautically-themed. Cards were piled in baskets with interesting seafood recipes and inspirational ideas, and the workers were friendly and helpful. Overall, Seaport Fish was a great stop and a lucky opportunity!

* * * * *

After exploring the seafood market, we decided to stop in a cute bookstore in Kennebunk, Maine called Kennebooks. It was cute at first sight, and we stopped in without hesitation!

Kennebooks was brimming with books of all kinds, genres, shapes, and sizes! It was a reader’s heaven, and they even played P!nk, who is one of my favorite artists! Two young women worked at the counter, and they seemed fun and friendly. They were obviously locals, and I loved their casual, soothing bookstore. Tabitha was fully entranced in the Mad Libs rack, and she would NOT stop pleading for them! Mom was looking at books that took place in Maine, and Dad was looking at New England cookbooks. Everyone found their picks at Kennebooks, and my dad loved it so much that he bought a Kennebooks t-shirt!

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Seaport Fish                                                     

13 Sagamore Road

Rye, NH 03870

Tel: (603) 436-7286

Twitter: @SeaportFish

Website: http://www.seaportfish.com

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 KenneBooks

149 Port Road

Lower Village Kennebunk, ME 04043

Tel: (207) 967-6136

Website: http://www.kennebooks.com

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Part 3: EVENING EVENTS 

At last, we checked into our rental home and settled down. We decided to walk into town and pick a restaurant that looked good to eat at. Camden is a wonderful town, and the magnificent main street was full of shops, restaurants, and other businesses. We were sure we would find something to eat, so we explored!

The neighborhood we stayed in was very nice, safe, and not at all like LA. Pebbly roads, a calm harbor, and Victorian design everywhere distinguished Camden from what I was used to: a busy city life. Everyone knew each other, people walked the streets smiling, and you could always stop in and say hi in the cute shops. I realized the benefits of living in a relaxing small town, as opposed to a busy, frightening city. The bottom line: I loved it there!

After walking along the main street for a few minutes, we found Cappy’s Chowder House, a seafood restaurant that caught our eye. I must admit, Cappy’s was a bit touristy, but the ingredients were fresh and authentic all the same.

After our waiter, Cassady, seated us, we scanned the menu and found our interests: Dad and I shared Cappy’s three course, market price meal. The “Maine Seafood Bliss” consisted of three components: a starter, a main course/ entree, and a “sweet ending”. The starter was a cup of Cappy’s clam chowder. On the menu, it said, “Maine chowder law says white! … never red!” I liked this, and I knew that this would be one knock-your-socks-off chowder!

The entree, or main course, was a pot full of fresh steamed Maine shellfish: mussels, clams, and lobster. Lastly, for dessert, homemade blueberry pie was served, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. In addition to our seafood dinner, we ordered a clam roll to share. Fresh Maine whole-belly clams, fried to perfection and stuffed into a roll, sounded pretty darn good to me!

Outstanding Oysters

Outstanding Oysters

First, we ate an appetizer of fried oysters. These reminded me of the good old days of Ragin’ Cajun! They were served with a mild horseradish sauce, which was quickly gobbled up! With a kick, but not overpowering, the horseradish sauce was greatly appreciated at our table, along with the crispy, plump, fresh oysters.

 

Next, our clam chowder arrived. Boy, was I right about it being magnificent! Fresh, rich, and balanced, it was almost as impressive as The Golden Egg’s chowdah’. I was struck by it’s incredible spice, unique flavor, and flawless viscosity. My dad and I loved Cappy’s clam chowder!

 

Third, our second “New England Lobster Roll Challenge” contestant stepped up to the plate. “Cappy’s Maine Lobster Roll” was overflowing and delicious! My mom enjoyed the fact the it was meaty and just barely doused with mayo. I would rate this lobster roll:

four seashells

Four Shells!

 

 

 

Why? Because it was better than Connolly’s lobster roll, but it was still not the heaven I’m searching for. It was still very appealing, though, and I would suggest it!

Chewy Clams

Chewy Clams

Then, our clam roll arrived at the table. Placed directly in front of me, I could smell a satisfying aroma waft through the air. It was tempting, so… WE DUG IN! My dad loved them, and I will tell you right now that these were his favorite fried clams of the trip! The clams were huge and the roll was bursting with them, and they weren’t too fishy, which I liked. Unfortunately, they were a little too stringy and a bit hard to chew. However, they were crispy and juicy, so although not my favorite dish of the night, still passable.

A Perfect Way to End a Day!

A Perfect Way to End a Day!

Finally, our main course arrived: the shellfish pot! Steam rose from the pungent pot, and fresh seafood filled it up to the top. Dad handed me a clam, two mussels, and a humongous lobster claw. I tore off the pincher and sucked the juice from the shell. I cracked the claw in half, then I wolfed down the succulent meat. I remember thinking, “This is too good to be true!” But it wasn’t . It was juicy, fresh, and absolutely real!

The clams and mussels were terrific, not at all gritty, but locally caught and fresh as can be! I liked the clams, regardless of the bit of shell I had to pull out of it, because it was large and plump! Though the mussels were smaller and less moist, they had a great flavor! I found myself wanting more, but they were already gone! Delish! I guess the clams and mussels were a big hit in our family!

In addition to the lobster claw, I got part of the tail meat. The tail is probably my favorite part of the entire lobster, but it still couldn’t surpass the juiciness of the claw! Still, the delectable meat was tender, and I overall loved the buttery, scrumptious Camden lobster!

Our “sweet ending” was shared by Mom and Dad. I tried a bite, however, I am not a cooked blueberry person. I am sure that if you love blueberry pie you would really enjoy this! The ice cream was regular, nothing special, but still a yummy classic with the warm pie!

I received a chocolate bread pudding for my dessert. This luscious delicacy was served warm and quite perfect, and drizzled over it was a heavenly raspberry sauce. A mountain of whipped cream towered above the pudding, which I didn’t love, but once I got down to the rich, chocolaty goodness it was all worth it. Overall, I loved my dessert from Cappy’s!

In all, I would definitely suggest Cappy’s as a yummy place to eat! The servers are nice, the decor is bright, the food is great, and overall a wonderful atmosphere. Cappy’s was a great experience and an even better memory!

See you tomorrow on Day 3 of my East Coast extravaganza!

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Go Cappy's! Cappy’s Chowder House

1 Main Street, Camden ME 04843

Tel: (207) 236-2254

Website: http://cappyschowder.com

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Marvelous Maine!

DSC04247Where are you going this summer?  This year, we traveled to a place we have never been before:  Maine!  Lobster heaven and blueberry-mania, this place was made for me!  But was it made for you?  Read the upcoming diary entries to form your own opinion of Camden, Maine.  (Plus, if you haven’t already, please read my diary entries on St. John from last summer.)

So, watch out, Maine!  Southbayfood.com is coming to town.  Check into Megan’s World of Food ASAP for an update of our trip to Camden, Maine.  Please follow my blog for stories of our exciting adventure!

And, if you are traveling this summer to camp, a vacation spot, or even a cruise, I suggest that you write a diary of your adventures.  Both food-related and not, please send them in, and I might post them here as guest posts!

DSC04187Enjoy as my family records yet another culinary journey!  Stay tuned to read about Day One, two long plane rides and our first dinner in New England …

 

A Fantastic Week!

Go Southbayfood.com!

Go Southbayfood.com!

This week has been crazy, but rewarding!  Today is Easter, and this week was my Spring Break, not to mention three articles were published about our own southbayfood.com!  Talented reporter Stephanie Cary (@stephiecary) interviewed me about my blog and wrote an astounding article about my culinary love and my likes and dislikes in the kitchen.  Congratulations to Stephanie on her article being printed in both The Daily Breeze and The Beach Reporter (as well as online with several newspapers partnered with The Daily Breeze)!

Thanks to The Daily Breeze for the great picture!

Thanks to The Daily Breeze for the great picture!

Also, Grub Street LA’s blog posted a piece about young chefs elevating, and southbayfood.com was a big part of it.  They were very supportive of kids’ talents, but just so you know, I’m no professional chef.  I’m just a girl who is still learning and following her interests.  Thank you, Grub Street Los Angeles!

I haven’t done much for Spring Break, but here is the news flash on Easter 2013 …

 

 

Happy Easter!

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Our Creative Creation

Our Creative Creation

“Perfect!” my dad smiled proudly, as I placed the last decoration upon our watermelon Easter egg basket.  We had just hauled every last bit of watermelon from the rind.  We filled the watermelon three-fourths the way full with fake grass, and then I carefully placed our polychromatic Easter eggs in the basket.

What you need:

  • One watermelon (pick a size that will fit your contents), or other melon
  • A melon baller or a scoop
  • Paper towels or fake grass to cushion the eggs (or whatever your basket will contain)
  • Easter eggs, refreshments or whatever else you will stash in your basket
The delightful by-product of our creation was a boatload of melon balls.  We might do something artistic with them before devouring the sweetness, but most likely, they will just end up in our mouths in about 2.5 seconds!
Merry Easter! ;)

Merry Easter! 😉

 

Happy Easter and Spring, and have a great day!

How Does This Birthday Dinner Sound to You?

“Food is our common ground, a universal experience.”  -James Beard

Just Getting Started

On January 21, my 11th birthday, I decided to go to MB Post for dinner.  As my early readers remember, I toured this restaurant at cooking camp, and I have been inspired to eat there ever since.  There was only one way to make it better, and it happened:  My grandma flew out to our house and surprised me on my birthday!  So, she joined my friend Angie, Dad and I on my birthday dinner experience.

MB Post is a unique restaurant in many ways, including seasonal harvest changes to the menu, the chef’s instinct of the day, and its family-style seating.  But something that stood out to me was the one-of-a-kind decor.  The entire restaurant is themed like a post office, because that is what MB Post’s building used to hold.

I think it is important to write about MB Post because it is “all the hype” in the South Bay right now.  As my dad said, “David LaFevre (MB Post’s chef) is practically a legend.”  So stay tuned for an extra special birthday post.  Let the culinary adventure begin…

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I walked into MB Post with high expectations.  I knew this place was great.  Legendary.  Unbelievable.  But what I didn’t know was that I would leave far more satisfied than I expected.

Thank You!

Our server hand-delivered an envelope addressed to us, containing the evening’s menu, which had “Happy Birthday” written across the top.  As we scanned through a menu like I have never seen before, they were already on my good side.  MB Post serves only small plates, so we could order many different dishes to try.

Yum, yum, yum!

 

 

First Parcel of the Night:  Bacon Biscuits.  I saw it on the menu and it screamed out my name!  Angie was with me – we just had to get them, so we did.  Our bacon biscuits were obviously concocted by an accomplished baker.  The biscuits were crunchy but flaky, melting but solid, with a perfect balance of all pastry textures.  The bacon was cooked to a crispy, dissolving state, and worked in unison with the crunchy dough to create what was probably the best biscuit I have ever had.

Heaven Times A Million

Next on the list was the Salumi Cutting Board.  A wooden cutting board supporting piles of cheese and cured meats, this was perhaps the most impressive selection of meats I have ever laid eyes on.  Cabacero, also known as “Literally The World’s Best Pork!”, was “literally” unbelievable.  Served like salami, it surprised me the way it was prepared, but I loved it anyway.  It was not too fatty, but was still moist and well-loved at our table.

We also ordered Speck on our Salumi Cutting Board, which was prepared with a little bit more fat than some other cured meats.  In my opinion, it truly tasted like heaven.  Cold and smooth, it melted in my mouth and brought immense joy to my taste buds.  I would definitely suggest the Speck — and the entire cutting board — from MB Post.

Also for our cutting board, I chose a delicious cheese called Challerhocker.  It was on verge of SHARP, but that is how I like it!  It wasn’t too firm, but it wasn’t creamy either.  I enjoyed it, and it was a good choice.  Also, on the side of the cutting board was a cup of pickled grapes and selection of luscious honey.  I wasn’t so sure about the pickled  grapes, but I tried them and fell in love.  I guess it was an acquired taste, one that I enjoyed though.  I was so sad when the cup was through, and I would suggest to you to try the pickled grapes if you order a cutting board.

The honey assortment was excellent.  There was chestnut honey, truffle honey, and honeycomb, and it ALL blew me away.  Who knew honey could be so darn delicious?

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Shrimp Starter

Next we drifted into the real dinner course.  We started by ordering Thai Marinated Shrimp Ceviche.  The shrimp were, unfortunately, lacking much flavor, but the acidity of the limes made up for most of that.  It was not the best ceviche I have ever had, but it was not bad either.  I cannot say I would order this item again, but I would not disapprove of it either.

Scrumptious Scallops

 

The Diver Scallops, on the other hand, were incredible.  The seared goodness was placed directly in front of me, as if they were intentionally meant to be.  The scallops had a perfect crust, and they were moist and well-seasoned.  I hate scallops that are seared to perfection, but tasteless or fishy inside.  This, however, was not the case at MB Post.  They were rather large, but I ate my share gladly.  The cabbage and bacon butter on the side were tasty and approved of.

Our Veggie Delight

Next, Romanesco took flight to our table, or “Broccoflower,” as they called it.  I practically shoveled it in my mouth, savoring each splendid bite.  The Broccoflower was perfectly cooked, well-seasoned, and about as good as veggies can get!  Yum, yum.  The Broccoflower definitely earned our stamp of approval!

 

Luscious Linguini

 

Then we had the sausage linguini.  it was delicious in every way possible, and the sausages’ kick flavored the entire concoction.  It was not unbelievable, but nonetheless enjoyable and always welcome in my stomach!

Ready for some mussels?  Angie and I ordered the steamed mussels, with green curry, Chinese sausage, and coriander rice.  They were perfectly cooked and the chef who created these obviously had some good taste and contrasting flavors.  The mussels were exceptional in combination with the bacon, and I would definitely order it again.

Saucy! Saucy!

Last for the dinner course were the pork ribs, smothered in a pungent mahogany sauce.  These were pretty good ribs, but could definitely be beaten.  I was not head-over-heels for this entree, but it was not bad.

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NOW … for dessert!  We ordered panna cotta and “The Elvis”.   “The Elvis” is “a wonderful mess of chocolate pudding, peanut butter mousse, and bacon brittle,” as described on the menu.  It was wonderful, yet it was a bit too rich for me.  Me, can you believe it?!?  (Thank you to MB Post, for making this dessert their birthday present to me.)

Music in My Mouth

The chocolate pudding was like taking a bite out of heaven.  Just perfect.  But the heavenly chocolate, luscious thick peanut butter mousse, and crunchy bacon brittle were a little too much.  Individually, they were all amazing flavors, but together they overpowered each other.  Overall, it was a so-so dessert, but filled with spectacular flavors.

The panna cotta was really good.  It was the first time I had ever tried panna cotta.  The fruit was sweet, and the cream was a bit tart.  They matched together, and it was a unique flavor that my taste buds had not yet been introduced to.  When they finally met, my taste buds were pleased, but I don’t think they will be meeting again very soon.

Our Destination

Overall, my experience at MB Post was exceptional, fantastic, and very memorable.  Thank you so much to Angie, Dad, and Grandma for such a great night!

Go MB Post!

 

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MB Post

1142 Manhattan Avenue

Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Tel:  (310) 545-5405

www.eatmbpost.com

Twitter:  @eatMBPost

 

 

Slurpy Summer Surprise!

Fresh At Home

Fresh At Home

One hot summer day, my dad (surprise, surprise) found a smoothie recipe.  He knocked on my bedroom door while I was reading.  “What do you think about making fresh fruit smoothies for breakfast?”  He said, “We could freeze our smoothies into popsicles, and drink the leftovers as a tasty morning snack.”

And I replied, “I’d love to!”  Here is the recipe we used:

 

 

Before It Is Mixed

Before it is Mixed

Fruit Smoothie Popsicles

1 large banana, peeled and sliced

8 ripe strawberries, stems removed and quartered

4 black plums, pitted and halved or quartered

1/2 cup frozen blueberries (from our fruit picking trip!)

1 cup yogurt (fruit flavored yogurt suggested)

1/4 cup fresh pulp-free orange juice

2 teaspoons honey (we used fresh blueberry honey from our fruit picking trip)

Squeeze It, Tabs!

Squeeze It, Tabs!

Shaved/crushed ice

Materials:  Popsicle molds and a blender.

Put everything in the blender except the crushed ice.  Blend until the texture is of your liking, adding ice until you find it the way you like it.  When you are done mixing, pour into popsicle molds, and freeze.

Drink and enjoy your extra smoothie as a morning snack!

Makes 4 popsicles and 2 smoothies.

*******

Pouring Into the Molds

Pouring Into the Molds

It was a lot of fun to work with such fresh ingredients and make such a sweet, soothing morning refresher.   I cut up the farm-to-table black plums and strawberries, and Tabs cut up the banana all by herself.  Great job!  After adding my self-picked frozen blueberries, we eyeballed yogurt, orange juice, and honey, not to mention lots of crushed ice. And the best part?  Enjoying my “chef’s privileges” as we prepared it:  I ate an exceptionally juicy plum and lots of delicious frozen blueberries!

Family Matters

Family Matters

As I pressed the Start/Stop button on our blender multiple times, I realized it wasn’t what I was doing that was important, but who I was with that brightened my day.  Thanks for a great morning, Tabs and Dad!

That night, Tabs and I shared our delicious popsicles with our friends Luke and Tyler.  We had a great night, and they were both pleased with our creation!

What's the Verdict, Tyler?

What’s the Verdict, Tyler?

Tabs, Luke, and I Had a Blast!
Tabs, Luke, and I Had a Blast!

Berry-Picking! Diary Entry

Blueberry Buckets - Yum!Dear Diary:

Today (June 30), I went with Mom, Dad, and Tabs on a drive through Central California to pick blueberries and have a fun family day.  Here is a little bit of writing I did.

Part I:

“Mmmm.”  I inhaled the sweet smell of fresh blueberries.  We had just started picking.  We came in just the right season, where almost all of the blueberries were ripe and juicy. But every once in a while, Mom and I would find old, shriveled ones.  They made my mom sad, but I just found it a bummer we couldn’t eat them!

Beautiful PALE Blueberries“Ahh, Barb, look at this midnight blue one.  It’s small, tart, and a nice color!” my dad exclaimed.

“Ah, no way!” My mom shouted back, “The blueberries should be light blue, with a pale white sheen.  Those are the best.  And I say, the bigger, the better.”

“White sheen?!  What in the world are you talking about?  The small dark blue ones are the most flavorful and delicate in your mouth!” My dad disagreed, his wide, joking grin gleaming under hard-earned sweat.

“The white sheen so PLAINLY SEEN on the pretty and delicious blueberries!” my mom called back.

My dad made a face under his hat.  We giggled heartily, but it slowly eased as we got back to work.

Girls With a Beautiful ViewYou know, the whole homey experience of picking your own fresh fruit is great and everything, but your morale drops from like 9 blueberries to 1 blueberry.  Out on the boiling border of Santa Barbara, beads of sweat were traveling down my face faster than a stone sinks in water!  Also, the luscious smell, beautiful weather, and the action itself attracted bugs.  LOTS AND LOTS OF BUGS.   So if you are allergic to bees, spiders, flies, moths, and occasionally wasps, it would be best to stay out of the fruit-picking business.  Every time I turned around, bees were swarming.  At every bush I picked from, spider webs were strung across several otherwise perfect blueberries. In all, let me just tell you, the bugs really tried my patience.

In the end, I had a full bucket, ready to be gobbled up.  I’m so glad my family got to share such an inspirational experience.

Part II:

Gorgeous Scenery and a Delightful Taste Too!We made our way toward the sweet-smelling produce stand.  “May we pick raspberries and blackberries, please?” my dad asked.

“Sure thing!” the woman at the front desk said.  “You can also do strawberries.  But may I warn you, those blackberries have got thorns … and I’m not even kidding when I tell you those will hurt.”

“OK, I’ll pick the blackberries, and you three ladies pick raspberries,” Dad reasoned with Mom, Tabs, and I.

“But –” I began to protest.  Then I realized that I’d be better safe than sorry.  “Okay.”

Me and Tabs Walk Through the ArchwayMom, Tabs, and I headed down the beautiful archway tunnel and around the bushes.  “Here’s a nice ripe one!” Mom said as she turned the corner to another row of bushes.  Soon we were snacking and picking like raspberry LUNATICS.  But naturally, as my basket got more full, my energy got lower and lower.  Needless to say, I was tired after my long day in the fields.

***

I sat in the back seat of the car with three delicious baskets of raspberries.  I would never ever forget this fun day.  All the jokes our family made together, the strawberries red as roses, and the beautiful, calm sun.  Overall, picking fruit with my family was an experience to remember (especially because there were way less bugs than at the blueberry farm).  I really hope we can do it again!  But don’t let me waste your time.  Go to the website below to find a time to go picking yourself.  So many of those blueberries wouldn’t have been shriveled if you had come!

Ripe Berries By the BasketNOTE:  Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries are all still ripe.

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A special thanks to the rest of the family for giving me such a nice day!

Restoration Oaks Ranch

1980 US Highway 101

Gaviota, CA 93117

www.restorationoaksranch.com

Telephone:  (805) 845-4949

Facebook:  Santa Barbara Blueberries

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Summerset Farm

Highway 154 & Edison Street

Santa Ynez Valley, CA 93463

Telephone:  (805) 682-7800

Email:  summersetfarm@gmail.com