I know what you’re thinking. You looked at the title of this post and thought, ‘umm did Kelly forget the strawberry to go along with the rhubarb in these Rhubarb Vanilla Yogurt Parfaits?’ The answer, dear reader, is no. Rhubarb is delightfully tart on its own, so I’d like to introduce you to its flavor without berries getting in the way. [Read more...]
Hello. My name is Kelly and I suffer from chronic empathy. Okay, so maybe ‘suffer’ is a bit harsh, but it is fair to say that sometimes my overwhelming desire to relate to others has caused me a bit of pain. My earliest empathetic memory stems from third grade: I would lie to my friends about the A’s I got on tests and say that I got far lower marks so that they wouldn’t feel so bad about their own exams. It continued well into adulthood, as I made friends by sharing embarrassing stories to put new friends at ease. I’m self-deprecating because I like you. I overshare because I’m excited to have something in common with you. Take it as a compliment! [Read more...]
When I come home to Connecticut, a few things are certain… [Read more...]
I have a tendency to get ahead of myself. I get an idea. I get excited. My brain rushes ahead. The rest of me moves twice as fast to try to keep up. Then, suddenly, the world seems to stop and I realize that I’m done with whatever task I started. At this point, I need to take a quick look around and make sure I haven’t missed anything. Most often, nothing is amiss. Other times, I’m not so lucky… like the time I attempted to make dobos torte and in the sponge cake-making process, spooned the batter out before realizing I forgot to fold in the egg whites. Chewy cake ensued. No bueno.
Something similar happened last week. I had challah on the brain. I made a honey apple loaf for Rosh Hashanah, got a seriously addictive cinnamon swirl loaf at the Philly Swappers event, and, as I sat bereft of bready goodness, I went in search of variations to make more. My pal Isabelle made pumpkin and tempted me with pics on instagram. As I imagined the fallish flavor combined with the slightly sweet bread, my mind jumped ahead to sticky buns. [Read more...]
The other day, I made a batch of yogurt cardamom donuts with strawberry glaze. I had tried to make them several times, but thanks to a lack of cake flour and a bad encounter with a shower of broken lightbulb shards, it didn’t happen. I adapted the Top Pot old-fashioned sour cream donut recipe to make them, but the finished product wasn’t what I was hoping for… [Read more...]
“Would you like some patriotic vegan pancakes?” I asked my roommate this morning. I was standing in my favorite spot in our kitchen, at the stove, with my hand on a frying pan waiting for her to reply.
“That has to be the strangest, but best question I’ve ever been asked on the 4th of July,” D answered.
Well, yes. It was a little strange to be celebrating this great nation with pancakes made from coconut milk that were most likely not American coconuts. In an ideal world where Ron Swanson is president, I’d be eating ALL the eggs and bacon I have. But, today is shaping up to be a strange day. [Read more...]
Sometimes the best things in life are right under our noses. I worked right around the corner from O’Rourkes Diner for two years and never once stepped through the door. Big. Mistake.
Over Thanksgiving break, my dear friend Emily of AChangeofEatery and I planned to get together to catch up. When she suggested O’Rourkes, I was thrilled. I had heard so much about it from my time working in Middletown, and the thought of eating Irish-inspired food with my favorite Ireland traveling pal was too good to pass up!
I got there a few minutes after Emily and when I joined her, she was already cozied up to a huge mug of mulled cider. Laden with sweet apples and whole cloves, the first sip made me think of curling up under a blanket with a good book while fluffy snowflakes fall past the window.
Picking a drink was a no-brainer, but choosing my meal was a dilemma. O’Rourkes specializes in Irish-inspired dishes, but they have an extensive list of creative takes on breakfast, lunch and diner classics. Take their fried oatmeal (fried and topped with jam) or their babka french toast, or the Omelette of My Dreams (caramelized onion pesto, provolone cheese, topped with hollandaise and served with brown bread). After years of being a strictly scrambled girl, I recently discovered that I like eggs benedict. O’Rourkes has over 14 different variations on the classic dish, so it was tough to narrow down my choices. Ultimately, I let a name win me over: Irish Ecstasy.
The dish was just that–grilled colcannon topped with eggs & hollandaise sauce, served with corned beef hash and (my favorite) brown bread. The eggs were perfectly cooked, the colcannon was buttery and delicious. The brown bread took me back to my summer in Galway.
I left, stuffed to the brim, kicking myself for not taking advantage of this delicious diner while it was down the street. Luckily for me, I had the opportunity to come back over Christmas break. I brought my friend Elizabeth with me and raved to her about the menu outside in line as we waited to get in. (It’s always a good sign when there’s a line out the door!)
This time, I went for a sweeter breakfast–the banana bread french toast. Oh. My. Goodness. Freshly baked banana bread, dipped in an egg batter, cooked and then topped with Bananas O’Rourke (think Bananas Foster but with Irish Whiskey) and served with clotted cream and a slice of watermelon. I was afraid the banana bread would be dry, but it was moist and rich with a touch of cinnamon. The clotted cream balanced out the banana perfectly. I am drooling just thinking about it.
I should also mention that O’Rourke’s was featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. If you watch this video below, you can actually watch Brian O’Rourke, the owner, make banana bread french toast. Watching it makes me want to hop in my car and drive the 200 miles it would take to get there.
So, if you find yourself in Middletown, CT, I implore you, GO TO O’ROURKE’S! The menu is incredible, the food is top-notch, the service is stellar. Take one bite of Irish Ecstasy or the banana bread french toast and you might agree…
Cafe Estelle doesn’t look like much from the outside, so I was skeptical walking in for brunch. My friend Susie was in Philly for the weekend and she suggested Cafe Estelle from a pretty extensive list of Philly’s Best Brunches. The restaurant is below a residential complex, so I was fully expecting bad hotel restaurant food. Boy was I wrong!
The food is impeccable. Once we shed our coats at the table, I began my normal routine of eyeing up everyone else’s food as it arrived. The dishes were artfully arranged on the plate, with plenty of colors and textures to keep the diner’s eyes interested.
I had a tough time deciding what to get. I’ve recently got on board the eggs benedict bandwagon, but I thought it too common a dish when I was faced with Estelle’s choices like sweet potato and bacon pancakes or apple crisp stuffed french toast. I had scoped out the menu before hand and was between those two choices. Luckily, Susie went for the former, promising me a bite so I could order the latter.
444 N. 4th St. btwn Callowhill and Spring Garden
It pays to have friends all over the place. It’s even better when they’re foodies. Two weeks ago, I ventured to NYC with my friend Chelsea. We had a vague idea of what we wanted to do when we booked our bus tickets, but nothing was set in stone. A few days before we left, I messaged my friend Michael who lives in Brooklyn asking if he’d be around and if he had any suggestions of places to eat. I expected a quick reply with a semi-famous restaurant to try or a local bakery or two. What I got back was a detailed, organized list of places to try, spanning different courses and cuisines from cupcakes to Milkshakes to Venezuelan and menu suggestions and specialties for each establishment. Had we been blessed with more time and super-rapid metabolisms, we would have tried them all. Instead, we picked a few and centered our day around eating. (Welcome to traveling with Kelly…)
Our first stop was Shopsin’s, a tiny eatery located within the Essex Street market.
Don’t let the size fool you. Even though they only have a few tables, their menu is EXTENSIVE.
Oh my goodness! We spent a good ten minutes reading through it and trying to narrow our possible picks down to five choices instead of ten. Ultimately, Chelsea went for the mac-n-cheese pancakes.
I went with pistachio.
Our last stop of the day was Grand Central Station. By the time we got out of the MoMA, it was pouring rain and we were tired, cold and wet. We headed into the food court for some chili and cornbread.