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Over the years, my husband and I have eaten at a lot of restaurants, I hesitate to say hundreds because it makes it sound like I never cook at home, but I would not be surprised if it were true. We love food. From shopping for quality ingredients, to preparation, and execution of a great dish. It is all so fascinating, not to mention delicious if said recipe turns out as it was intended. So in order to share my love or hate for a particular restaurant, I will be reviewing these establishments now and then so that the everyday person can go in knowing what to expect and what to order and what not to order should you walk away in disgust.
Today, I will be writing about one of my favorite restaurants in the Seattle area, La Isla, located in Ballard. It is not the easiest place to get to as far as easy freeway access, but so worth the drive. I love Puerto Rican food, as my husband does, and we don’t have any other restaurants in this area, for that matter anywhere in this region that we have heard of that offers the dishes that one must have to call themselves an authentic Puerto Rican restaurant. Why is that I wonder? I hope many more will open in this area following in the footsteps of La Isla, but they will have big shoes to fill.
Just leave it to Diddy, hip-hop star, fashion mogul, and leader of Bad Boy Records, to bring such a scientific experiment into the forefront of our minds. Why the final word between KFC’s fried chicken and that of Popeye’s has taken so long to be settled is beyond me, but we need to thank the heavens above that Diddy was able to bring this important issue into light.
Now we won’t ruin the results, but we will say that we have to agree with his assessment that says KFC mashed potatoes and gravy beat Popeye’s version, while Popeye’s beans destroy those of KFC. But really, this is all about the chicken, is it not? Hit the video above for the results - we’ve kept you waiting long enough.
As a Foodnetwork addict I am constantly experimenting with great recipes from from my favorite shows. On Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello on an episode entitled “Pot luck challenge”, Jan Birnbaum, chef and restaurateur, caught my eye with an upscale, hearty mac n’ cheese.
The original recipe called for shrimp, which I was all about, but after visiting the seafood counter at Whole Foods, husband and I couldn’t resist the lobster meat (shrimp vs. lobster? no contest). So we splurged justifying that this would be our Superbowl Sunday feast.
Here is my adaptation of Jan’s recipe:
- 1 box medium shell pasta
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup tasso ham or bacon (I used bacon)
- 5 large shallots, minced
- 1 clove garlic, mined
- 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup white wine (see review below)
- 2 cups cream
- 1 cup grated fontina
- 1/2 cup grated Cheddar (I prefer mild but sharp would be great too)
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
- 6-8 oz lobster meat cut up in good bite size chunks (we bought the precooked tub at the seafood counter)
- 2 cups gently packed spinach
- Kosher salt and ground white pepper
- Hot pepper sauce, to taste (recommended: Tabasco)
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs ( I used panko, my new favorite thing)
- 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley leave
Warren Brown’s first foray into cookbook writing, “CakeLove: How to Bake Cakes from Scratch”, was published on May 1st, and like many dessert lovers and home bakers, I could barely contain my enthusiasm when I finally got to plunk down my $27.50 for the oversized tome, full of beautiful photographs by Renee Comet.
If the name Warren Brown sounds vaguely familiar to you, it may be because you’ve seen him on Oprah or Today, or maybe because of his second (third, now) job hosting Sugar Rush on the Food Network. Brown left his law career and opened his first CakeLove bakery in Washington, DC in 2002, which has since branched out to three bakeries and a cafe, with two more bakeries in the works.
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