Monthly Archives: April 2011

Chick Pea Salad

One of the local design bloggers that I follow posted this chickpea salad a couple of months ago, and I finally got around to trying it and it’s FABULOUS!  I just wish there was a way to find lower sodium chickpeas! 

I nixed the addition of salt and parm since the canned chickpeas had enough sodium to launch me into full blown stay-puff state.  Thanks to Lauren Liess of Pure Style Home for sharing this recipe!


Restaurant Jaunts: Grandale Farm

JB and I ventured out to Grandale Farm last Friday for lunch.  As I headed out towards Purcellville, somewhere along Rt. 9, I realized this was a far hike from home!  We had been dying to try the F2T restaurant (see post here) and had a coupon that was about to expire.

When we arrived, we walked up to the tiny little restaurant, situated between a barn and some greenhouses and welcomed the lovely smell of a wood burning stove on this dreary cold day.

I started with a cup of white bean soup – a choice driven solely by my diet restrictions.  I was less than impressed, in fact, I think I hated it.  No substance, not enough beans and absolutely no flavor (save for an excess of salt).

JB enjoyed a plate of oysters, “casino” style with red and green pepper and cheese.  Man, were those things good… my hope was starting to spark up again.

Main course – grilled salmon salad and pork belly and shrimp (guess who had what!).  My grilled salmon was done to perfection, the low-end of medium, with no hint of stickiness on the molars as you chewed.


The salad was fabulous and hit the spot.  Now JB’s meal was even more grandiose than either of us would’ve imagined.  It was a great play on shrimp and grits, with pork belly renderings versus bacon fat.  It reminded me of a great shrimp and grits plate I had at Emeril’s New Orleans restaurant, NOLA.  Packed with flavor and begging for a roll to sop up any remaining flavor and sauce.

I closed the book with  nice cup of local coffee while JB indulged in a butterscotch bunt cake (TDF….). 

Aside from my lackluster soup, this place was fantastic. Loved the freshness of the F2T fare and the quaintness of the one-room cottage.  Perfect for a rainy April day.

(photos courtesy of Grandale Farm’s website)

ch ch cha changes…

I started out this blog with the intent that I would do something collaborative with my husband, who wanted to document our food travels.  With a few months of writing under my belt (notice the possessive pronoun in use here I realized it was more like verbal collaboration and then my personal discipline to write it and keep it up.

I want to make this blog into something that fulfills me wholly, in addition to our mutual love for food.  I wanted to call this iteration of our family interest blog  ‘Food + Shelter’; dish on food and relish in all things shelter.  BUT… that was taken.  And despite being a popular genre of magazines, I didn’t like the negative connotation of shelter.  I’m not starting a tirade on domestic abuse.

So now it’s down to my two top choices… I just can’t decide!  I can’t wait to start chronicling my home projects and current covets in addition to following our taste-buds all over tarnation (where is Tarnation, btw?).

Question – do all men think Sarah Jessica Parker is ugly??

Ina’s tuna salad

Try this shizzzzz, it’s no joke!

[photo from]

Oh yeah, I’m dieting… so I only added a pinch of salt and low sodium soy sauce (but only a dash because the term LOW sodium is relative…)

when it comes to lobster

I’m a purist.  Through and through, I turn away all condiments, dipping sauces and cooking techniques.  I like my lobster steamed slightly less than done and drenched in butter after I’ve had a bite or two of the real deal.

That said, I have had one impure experience that blew my ever-lobster-loving mind.

[compliments of the awesome photography of Bumatay Studios: ]


The lobster in Puerto Nuevo Mexico.  Ever heard of it?  It’s criminal.  On the Baja peninsula of Mexico, it’s a sleepy little seaside town that serves up the best lobster arguably of all time; and when I say it serves up the best, I mean it as in the whole city, because there are tons of different spots that offer a lobster package.  It’s right next to Rosarito Beach, where they filmed a lot of the scenes from The Titanic movie.

Imagine this:  lobster, butter, ice-cold Sol, refried beans, salsa and soft tortillas right out of the oven.  Mix it all together and make about 6 huge lobster burritos!  I didn’t believe it would be good at first, like I said, I’m a purist.  A few bites in, and $9 later (yep…) I was sold.

It’s their thing down there and it’s amazing.  I gotta get back there one day.

the fish fry

We went on our very first cruise just a couple of weeks ago and loved every moment of the trip.  We sailed to The Bahamas and in our first port-of-call, we decided to take a segway tour of the first island.  To our great surprise, we ended up at the ‘Fish Fry’ for much-needed lunch and libations.

The Fish Fry is an area along Arawak Cay, on the coast of Nassau that is appropriately named after its favorite past-time – frying up the daily catch.

Arawak Cay, Nassau

As we dock our segways, JB recognized a restaurant along the Fish Fry called ‘Twin Brothers’ that hosted one of the battles on Top Chef All Stars in a recent airing.  We were in luck because that was where we were headed to grub on some local fare.

Twin Brothers restaurant at the Fish Fry

First Up – sky juice.  JB was in love.  Comprised of just coconut juice and gin, I decided to pass up on this potential belly ache in a plastic cup .  I stuck to my Miami Vice, thank you very much.

Then came the conch fritters.  TDF.  Truly, to die for, especially with the sweet remoulade sauce for dipping.  Next – conch salad.  JB was ‘meh’ about it.  I loved it – fresh cilantro and onions and conch and lime juice  – sign me up (again).  We rounded third base with some grouper fingers that were fresher than fresh.

JB’s eyes were as big as saucers
It was a tight squeeze in that tiny restaurant, we don’t know how they did it on Top Chef.  But can you imagine getting to cook what you catch daily, talk about sea-to-table.  I would have loved to go back at night to sit under one of the thatched umbrellas outside on the patio, Miami Vice in one hand, the other tapping along to some steel drums.

13 lbs down

Beat that suckas!

The bulldog is back swimming, after a respite while we were away.  ‘Michael Phelps – beat that!’… says Wilma.

In other news, we just finished watching the Top Chef All Stars finale in our DVR queue and I almost cried.

I knew Blais would win!  But more importantly, he DESERVED to win.

And boy, by the end, that guy looked all kinds of drained.

Emotionally drained.  Culinarily drained.  Mind games drained.  I think winning All Stars blew his mind.