Chapman House

Chapman House

It seems we are starting a tradition with some of our friends to meet on Memorial Day weekend.  And it’s a good one.  This year we headed to Rochester for dinner al fresco at Chapman House.  We don’t venture to Rochester too often because it is rather far from our house, but with the Hello Kitty food truck in town not too far away, it worked out well.

Though I had heard some mixed things about Chapman House, I wanted to sit outside and try it because it looked so nice.

Chapman House

Chapman House

The setting is nice, almost perfect.  Even sitting in the front by the street, it felt peaceful and secluded on the perfect late May day with clouds and sun and a light breeze.  The interior of the restaurant is equally as beautiful and would make a great setting for dinner.

Being Memorial Day weekend, I thought it might be rather quiet with everyone up north, but that was not the case.  By the end of the evening the restaurant was packed.

Chapman House Chicken Wings

The food is the real star at Chapman House.  Though some may deem the portions a little small, they were just right for me, particularly when paired with a salad or appetizer.  Everything we ate was delicious.

From the confit chicken wings cooked in duck fat to the bosc pear salad to the perfect crispy and piping hot French fries, the food was particularly good.  The beets in the baby beet salad were a bit al dente for my taste, but it was still a beautiful, balanced dish.

Chapman House Beet Salad

The entrees of the ribeye steak and the lamb shoulder were great, as was the crispy skin red snapper, though the skin wasn’t quite as crispy as advertised.  Even the sides, glazed baby carrots with pistachios and maybe the best potato gratin ever, were excellent, cravable even.

Chapman House Glazed Carrots

I’m nitpicking on anything that may be wrong on the food.  It was the service that was an issue so glaring it made me vow never to go back.  This may sound harsh, but our food came out so slowly, we were there a whopping three hours without ever seeing a dessert menu.  We requested the bill multiple times, including from the manager who appeared about fifteen minutes later with dessert menus instead of the bill.

Chapman House Red Snapper

The food at Chapman House is excellent.  It is fresh, flavorful, mostly locally sourced, beautifully presented, and incredibly tasty.  I want to want to go back there, but unless they solve the issue of the never ending dinner, I won’t.  And that’s a shame.

Chapman House

Voyager Ferndale

Voyager Ferndale

The weather is nice outside, which means it’s time to venture out and try all the new restaurants.  Ferndale is becoming one of my favorite places to head with Mom for an impromptu dinner.  Voyager is located in a slightly off the beaten path warehouse style building and is one of the newest additions to the dining scene.

The restaurant is lively, noisy, and bright.  I loved the brightness of it.  So many restaurants are dark, so dark sometimes you can barely see your food, but not Voyager.  I felt happy just being in there.

Voyager Ferndale

Voyager Ferndale

The waitress was nice and brought my fun, colorful mai tai quickly.  It was a good drink, but maybe a little strong for my taste, and not quite as refreshing as I anticipated.  This was my first experience with a mai tai, though, so maybe I just didn’t know what to expect.

After ordering, we were warned that food would come out as it was ready and in any order.  This is my pet peeve about restaurants.  It’s not hip and cool.  It’s annoying and signifies a lack of the ability of the kitchen to coordinate.  Basically, it’s an excuse, and I don’t like it.

Whitefish Sandwich

The crispy whitefish sandwich was the best thing we ate, certainly the best fish sandwich we’ve ever had, and one of the best things I’ve had in a restaurant.  First, it was steaming hot.  Then there was the perfect bread to fish to topping ratio with super crispy fish, bright slaw, and an intoxicating spice that was almost too much but really just enough.  The pickle didn’t hurt either.

After that the house salad was delivered.  I’m a salad girl and this one was really nice.  Beautifully presented it featured super fresh greens, tons of cheese, bright lemon zest, and a lovely green goddess style dressing.  My favorite part may have been the breadcrumbs, something I’ve never had on a salad but added great crunch.

Salad with Parmesan and Breadcrumbs

I tried the sweetbreads and scallops for my entrée.  I’d never had sweetbreads before and always wanted to try them, so this was my chance.  Again, the plate came out super hot, and the crispy on the outside, succulent on the inside sweetbreads were perfection.  I loved the scallops too; they almost melted in my mouth save for a few chewy bits which made me think they forgot to remove the foot.  The hollandaise was a bit of a disappointment since it really seemed more like mayonnaise.

The spring vegetable soup arrived last.  Again, it was so hot, the steam poured off of it, and it stayed hot quite awhile.  I’m guessing they warmed the bowl.  The cod dumplings weren’t our favorite, but the vegetables weren’t overcooked and the broth.  Oh, man, let’s talk about the broth.  It was rich and flavorful and supremely comforting.  All broth should taste like that forever and ever.

Spring Vegetable Soup

They only have one dessert, pineapple upside down cake, which has never been a favorite of ours, so we headed to Dairy Deluxe in Birmingham, a place I’ve been dying to try for a soft serve ice cream fix.  I can’t wait to go back.  I had vanilla with blueberry and Mom had vanilla with butterscotch and pecans.  Need I say more?

It was a super fun night and Voyager is a good restaurant with the potential to be a great one.  I’m sure they’re still getting their footing and tightening up a few things would go a long way.

Soft Serve Ice Cream

One Pan Mustard Crusted Halibut and Vegetables #SundaySupper

One Pan Mustard Crusted Halibut and Vegetables

I’ve changed a lot over the past few years.  One of those changes has to do with my insatiable desire to do things, particularly in nice weather.  Until, I move to California (dear universe, can we make that happen soon???), I hibernate in winter.

But give me a nice day, even a reasonably nice day, and I want to be out and about, doing things, experiencing things.

My favorite thing may be concerts.

One Pan Mustard Crusted Halibut and Vegetables

I’d enjoyed concerts as a kid.  I remember standing in line at Hudson’s (yep, I’m throwing it back with that one!) or sending Dad to stand in line when the tickets went on sale.  The lady in the Ticketmaster booth would pull out her big book of seating charts and point to the usually terrible place where our seats would be located.

But then I got scared.  I’m still scared of a lot of things.  I didn’t want to go to concerts.  Crowds!  Germs!  Late nights!

After skipping lots of shows I wanted to see, when Justin Timberlake and Jay Z announced they were coming to town, I knew I needed to be brave and go.

One Pan Mustard Crusted Halibut and Vegetables

I’m not going to tell you I didn’t have a meltdown the day before and day of, because I don’t like lying.  But I did have a great time and began, slowly, to go to more shows.

Flashforward to now, and I saw one show already (Bon Jovi – I’m posting about it later this week) and have tickets for four more with hopes to add OneRepublic and an open mind to any new tours that might be announced.

I realized something the other day.  Concerts are my Prozac.  Music is a powerful thing in and of itself.  But there’s something about being there in person, an anonymous face in a crowd of twenty thousand or more people.  The music so loud your body vibrates.

One Pan Oven Roasted Halibut and Vegetables

No one looks at you funny for dancing and jumping up and down and singing louder than you thought was possible.  In fact, sometimes they look at you funny if you don’t do those things.

It’s cathartic, a healing experience that makes my problems fall away.  You can’t worry when you’re screaming and taking pictures and waving your hands in the air.  You can’t.  you just can’t.

There’s no experience like it.  Not watching a movie or seeing a play or shopping.  All those things have fissures, quiet moments when bad, negative thoughts creep in and bring you down and out of the moment.

If you don’t believe me or say concerts aren’t your jam, that’s cool.  You’re not alone, I asked twelve, yes twelve people to see Bon Jovi and ended up going with Mom.  Which really, was a blessing in disguise, because she’s my person.  And we should experience transcendental experiences with our person.  But I’ll be over here working out my demons and searching for more concerts to attend.

One Pan Oven Roasted Halibut and Vegetables

Also making One Pan Mustard Crusted Halibut and Vegetables because concerts require serious sustenance.  This meal is healthy, gluten free, and Whole30.  It celebrates spring with some of the first of the season Alaskan halibut and ramps.  Once it’s in the oven, you are free to catch up on chores or Netflix and then dinner is served.

One Pan Mustard Crusted Halibut and Vegetables #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 3 servings

Ingredients

1 ½ pounds wild Alaskan halibut
¼ cup yellow mustard (I love Raye’s)
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon kosher salt, optional
1 large red onion, cut into wedges
1 pound cremini mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed
1 pound ramps, cleaned
Lemon, for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Arrange onion and mushrooms around the edges of a large, rimmed, nonstick baking tray. Season with pepper, red pepper flakes, and salt. Drizzle oil over the vegetables and the center of the tray. Make sure the entire tray is coated in oil.
  3. Place the halibut in the center of the tray and spread evenly with mustard. Bake for 20 minutes.
  4. Add the ramps to the tray and bake an additional approximately 15 minutes until halibut is cooked through and flaky. Cooking time will depend on how thick your fish is.
  5. Serve immediately. Leftovers may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
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http://piesandplots.net/one-pan-mustard-crusted-halibut-and-vegetables-sundaysupper/

Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper recipes!  Thanks to Claire McEwen of Sprinkles and Sprouts for hosting!

25+ Best Sunday Supper Seafood Recipes

Appetizers

Main Dishes

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Chartreuse Kitchen and Cocktails

Chartreuse Kitchen and Cocktails

Rainbow Trout

Over the past few years a plethora of trendy restaurants have popped up throughout Detroit.  With the buzz and rave reviews many of them have received, I have been trying to check as many as possible out, especially over the summer months.  Some are better than others.

Chartreuse Kitchen and Cocktails located near the Detroit Institute of Arts is by far the best.  By far.

Though Mom was hesitant to try it worried not everyone would find something to eat or be satisfied at the end of the meal, a hesitation that was only intensified by the need to put down a credit card at the time of making the reservation, we all left thrilled and eager to go back.

Burrata with cucumbers, tomatoes, balsamic, and prosciutto

Burrata

It was recently my parents’ thirtieth wedding anniversary (congratulations!), so we met up with some friends to celebrate.  It was a yucky rainy night, but we didn’t let that get us down.

The brightness of Chartreuse with the green painted walls is welcome amid the often dark dining destinations.  It is not very large and has high ceilings, so the noise is a factor but mostly adds to the fun vibe.  We were seated at a large, nice table, perfect for all the food we were about to order.

The only, literally only, bad thing I can say about the entire evening is that I ordered the Good Fortune cocktail.  It’s a great drink and I just loved the spiced infused Saint Germain along with the sake and lemon.  Even better, it came with a fortune attached to the drink with a tiny clothespin that I took home as a souvenir along with the menus printed with Happy Anniversary.  But the fortune was so dumb and had a grammar error.  Again this is the only bad thing I can say, but seriously, Chartreuse, up your fortune game.

Melon Salad

Melon Salad

We requested the complementary bread (be sure to do so), and though I am not a big bread eater anymore, I can tell you this bread with the homemade basil butter was outstanding.  I would put that butter on anything and everything.

Before long the appetizers arrived.  Burrata with cucumbers, tomatoes, prosciutto, and balsamic.  A salad with cornbread croutons and vegetables from Recovery Park, a farm not too far from the restaurant.  Melon salad with stone fruit, peppers, bee pollen, and the best dressing ever.  We devoured them unable to say which was better.

We were debating ordering the eggplant hummus, so the waitress, Tricia, who was fabulous sent it out for the anniversary.  It was to die for!  The peppers on top added the perfect spice and the pesto rubbed naan bread is something I haven’t stopped thinking about for the past eleven days.

Short Ribs with Eggplant

Short Ribs

Also one of the food runners noticed me struggling to get at the dressing left in the melon salad with my fork.  He presented me with a spoon without even having to ask.  Now that is service!

The entrees arrived not too soon after.  The meal, in general, was paced incredibly well.  Dad and one of our guests both ordered the short ribs with eggplant and chicken and dumplings.  they enjoyed both, but Dad said the short ribs were his favorite.

Mom had the steak, a tender cut from the sirloin that melted in your mouth.  The onions, leeks, and green beans that accompanied it were tender and delightful.  Our other guest had the rainbow trout, golden and crispy on the outside and served with a Dijon cream that was to die for.

Steak with Onions and Leeks

Steak

I had the tomatoes with an egg yolk cream, corn, green beans, pesto, and little flowers on top.  I devoured it.  Though I tend to order salads and lighter dishes, this felt entrée worthy to me with the plate full of vegetables.  Just to round things out and because we seemed unable to stop ourselves from ordering anything, we tried the potatoes, which were red skinned, blue, and sweet, accompanied by cubes of crispy ham and colorful sauces whose flavor was as vibrant as their appearance.

Before dessert came (yes we made room for dessert), Tricia brought out a little tasting of chartreuse for each of us.  We really appreciated this.  It is something I have been curious about but would never order on my own.  It was super strong and had an anise flavor, but we all really enjoyed it.

Tomatoes with corn and egg yolk puree

Tomatoes

Then dessert came.  OMG!  Just thinking about it has my mouth watering all over again.  We had the vanilla pudding with basil gel on top, blueberries, and rosemary cookies.  It is the pudding dreams are made of, and though I don’t always love herbal desserts, the herbs here were used in moderation and didn’t overpower anything.

The tart cherry and nectarine cobbler came steaming hot out of the oven with whipped cream melting all over it.  The filling was fab, but it was that topping, softened just enough by the fruit and cream that kept me going back for bite after bite long after I was full.

Vanilla pudding with basil and blueberries

Vanilla pudding

If you are ever anywhere near Detroit, do yourself a favor and head to Chartreuse.  I promise you will not be disappointed.

Fish Taco Burgers #SundaySupper

Fish Taco Burgers

What do you do when you can’t sleep?  The other night I had a bit of trouble and tossed and turned and moaned and groaned until I finally passed out into a light sleep which left me waking up every other hour or so.

But it was a night about a month ago that left me completely and totally unable to sleep.  We had gone to dinner and were out rather late.  I also had one alcoholic drink and a couple cups of coffee.  I was wound up from an exciting night and stressed about other things on my mind.  It was the perfect storm to leave me unable to drift off to dreamland no matter how tightly I closed my eyes.

Fish Taco Burgers

Coincidentally Mom couldn’t sleep either.  This is a more normal circumstance for her, while for me it is an anomaly that leaves me feeling totally off my game.

After awhile we both gave up and watched TV.  First we finished Bloodline.  Have you watched it?  SOOOOOO good!  In fact when episode ten ended and there were no more, I kind of had a meltdown.  Only ten episodes?  Complete torture!

Then we finished a movie and started in on the OJ Simpson documentary as the sun rose and began pouring in the windows, striking just perfectly so it hit and warmed me gently.

While I definitely don’t want to make this whole no sleep thing a regular occurrence in our house, I have to admit that it wasn’t bad.  In fact, it was almost, kind of, sort of enjoyable.

Fish Taco Burgers

I don’t know how that is possible, but there’s something about being up when most of the rest of the country is asleep and just enjoying life for a bit with no responsibilities or to do lists weighing on you.  Seeing the sky go from dark to lighter and lighter was something pretty special too.

You know what else is special?  These Fish Taco Burgers.  I worked with Trident Seafoods a bit ago and discovered these Pollock burgers.  They are so easy to prepare, gluten free, and one of my favorite quick dinners.

I really enjoy jazzing them up and adding my own flavors.  So before cooking the burgers in the oven, I seasoned them with my homemade taco spice.  After cooking, I served them with corn chips on a big piece of Bibb lettuce with onion, fennel, avocado, and tons of fresh herbs.

I really love anything taco or taco inspired with a quick chimichurri too.  It adds moisture and tons of vibrant flavor.  Together, all the flavors and textures work great and make this light, healthy, gluten free meal, perfect for those busy summer weeknights.

Fish Taco Burgers

Fish Taco Burgers #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 4 burgers

Ingredients

4 Pollock burgers

1 head Bibb lettuce, washed

1 sweet onion, thinly sliced

1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced

1 large haas avocado, thinly sliced

1 bunch cilantro, washed, large stems removed

1 bunch parsley, washed, large stems removed

Hot sauce, for serving

Spice mix

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

1 teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Chimichurri

5 garlic cloves, finely minced

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Make the spice mix. In a small bowl, stir together chili powder, cumin, turmeric, coriander, pepper, and pepper flakes. Generously season both sides of the Pollock burgers with the mix.

Place the seasoned burgers on aluminum foil and cook in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Flip and cook for 10 additional minutes. Then increase the oven to broil and cook for 1-2 minutes, keeping a close eye, just to brown the tops of the burgers slightly.

While the burgers cook, make the chimichurri. In a medium bowl, combine garlic, vinegar, oil, and pepper. Allow flavors to blend while burgers cook. Add herbs, onion, and fennel if desired.

Serve the burgers on the Bibb lettuce with the onion, fennel, avocado, and herbs. Drizzle with hot sauce if desired and use chimichurri for dipping.

Serve immediately.

Notes

Recipe is easily doubled or tripled

http://piesandplots.net/fish-taco-burgers-sundaysupper/

Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper dishes!

All American Burgers & Dogs

Cluck Burgers

Worldly Burgers & Dogs

Where’s the Beef Burgers

Where’s the Bun Burger

Dessert Burger

How to

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Glazed Salmon with Strawberry Salsa

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SpreadTheHeat #CollectiveBias

Glazed Salmon with Strawberry Salsa

I eat a ton of salmon, especially in the summer when wild salmon is plentiful whether king or sockeye.  I only eat wild salmon because I know it is better for you than farmed salmon and the flavor cannot be beat.

But with eating so much salmon, it is easy to get bored, so I am always looking for new and exciting ways to jazz it up.  Luckily, Smucker’s is here with a new product that just like wild salmon, is better for you.  I checked out the new Smucker’s Fruit & Honey Strawberry Jalapeno Fruit Spread.  There are other fun flavors to check out as well, and I can’t wait to do so.

Smucker's Fruit and Honey Spread

The Strawberry Jalapeno has a wonderful balance of flavor with the sweet yet tart strawberries and the punch of spice from the jalapeno.  Plus, it is made with honey instead of sugar.  I love using honey as a sweetener because it brings flavor instead of just sweetness.

Shopping at Walmart

Even better, right now you can earn $1.00 off Smucker’s Fruit and Honey Spread.  Woo hoo!  I am going to pick up another jar on my next trip to Walmart.

Glazed Salmon wit Strawberry Salsa

When paired with the salmon the spread gets slightly caramelized and really complements the flavor of the salmon without overshadowing it with too much sweetness or spice.  I think it also added extra moisture, making the fish super tender.

I wanted a light summer side that would echo the flavors in the spread so I made a strawberry salsa.  This salsa is full of fresh ingredients: strawberries, onion, cucumber, tomatoes, and jalapeno, a lot of which I picked up at the farmers’ market.

The salsa, which is really like a spicy salad, is so refreshing. The weather has been really hot here, so it is the perfect addition to the salmon to keep the dish from feeling heavy.

Glazed Salmon with Strawberry Salsa

Whether you are making this for family or serving it for a dinner party, Smucker’s Fruit & Honey Strawberry Jalapeno Fruit Spread  as well as this salmon and salsa, is sure to be a huge hit.  Plus, it is easy to prepare and gluten free so all your guests will be able to enjoy it.

Glazed Salmon with Strawberry Salsa

Glazed Salmon with Strawberry Salsa

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

2 pounds wild salmon, king or sockeye

½ cup Smucker’s Fruit & Honey Strawberry Jalapeno Fruit Spread

1 large sweet onion, such as Vidalia, diced

1 cucumber, peeled and diced

1 cup strawberries, hulled and diced

1 cup tomatoes chopped

1 large jalapeno, finely minced

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and parchment.

Once the oven is hot, place the salmon on the lined baking sheet and smear the spread evenly on it. Bake for about 30 minutes, until fish is just cooked through.

While the fish cooks, make the salsa. In a large bowl, stir together onion, cucumber, strawberries, tomatoes, jalapeno, and salt and pepper. The salsa may also be made up to 2 days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to marry.

Once salmon is cooked, serve immediately with salsa. If you want to crisp the skin, return it to the oven for about ten minutes, but keep an eye on it to be sure it doesn’t burn. I absolutely love the skin this way.

Notes

Recipe is easily doubled or tripled.

http://piesandplots.net/glazed-salmon-with-strawberry-salsa/

Halibut en Papillote

Halibut en Papillote

You know I love pretty much all the things about summer.  You may not know that hummingbirds are one of my absolute favorite parts.

They defy nature with the ability to hover and fly backward and forward.  These tiny, scrawny looking birds are really super strong and fly all the way to Michigan and further north from their winter homes in South America.  Hey maybe they can bring me along this winter 🙂

Hummingbird

Their feathers almost glisten in shades of green.  Some have a bright red patch on their throats, but most I have seen do not.  I love watching their little feet perch on the feeder and their almost invisible tongues quickly zoom in an out of their mouths grabbing the food we provide for them.

We even have a swing that they love sitting on, sometimes for twenty minutes or more.  They feel safe on our secluded deck surrounded by flowers and trees.

Hummingbird

I wish they would stay all year because every time I see one fly past, eat, or just hang out, it brings a smile to my face no matter how my day is going.

Hummingbird

While I don’t think the hummingbirds would enjoy this Halibut en Papillote, it is one of my favorite dinners no matter the time of year.  It is easy to make and so fresh, flavorful and healthy.  I don’t add any fat to this dish and it is gluten free.

Halibut en Papillote

Halibut en Papillote

You can add whatever vegetables you love and have on hand – it’s a great clean out the refrigerator dinner.  I used sugar snap peas, zucchini, cauliflower, and onion, but mushrooms, peppers, thinly sliced carrots, English peas, fennel, and even oranges make a great addition.

Herbs are a great thing to add too.  I’m obsessed with dill, but thyme and parsley are wonderful swaps.

I can’t wait to eat this again while I look out the window waiting for a hummingbird to come visit.

Halibut en Papillote

Halibut en Papillote

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients

2 8 ounce pieces wild halibut

1 large onion, sliced

2 small zucchini or yellow squash, sliced

1 pint sugar snap peas, ends and strings removed

1 cup cauliflower florets

1 bunch fresh dill

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place two large pieces of parchment on the tray, about 18 inches in length.

Divide the onion and zucchini evenly between the pieces of parchment. Lay one piece of fish in each piece of parchment. Arrange the peas and cauliflower around the fish. Place the dill on top of the fish.

Take the long ends of the parchment, bring them together and fold/crinkle all the way to seal the pouch as tightly as possible. Repeat with the other packet.

Roast in the oven for 30-35 minutes until the fish is just cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Serve immediately. Open the packet carefully because the steam will be very hot.

http://piesandplots.net/halibut-en-papillote/

 

Pollock Guacamole Burgers

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #Swapyourburger #CollectiveBias

Guacamole Pollock Burgers

We all have preconceived notions about somethings, and when it comes to food, I think fish is often subject to a bunch of erroneous thoughts.  It’s smelly.  It’s fishy.  It’s slimy.  It’s just gross.

But that’s not true, not in the slightest.  Fish is none of those things when it is high quality and prepared well.  It’s full of nutrition, delicious, and a blank canvas for other flavors.  Plus, in the summer it is a light protein that really suits the season.  Fish is my main protein for dinner at least five nights a week.

Trident Seafoods Burgers

You know what other food we like in the summer?  Burgers.  That’s why I am in love with Trident Seafoods® Wild Alaskan Pollock Burgers.  I picked some up on my last trip to Costco, and if you know anything about me, you know I love Costco as much as I love fish for dinner.

Shopping at Costco

These burgers are awesome because they are gluten free, have less fat, calories, and cholesterol than traditional beef burgers, and are loaded with Omega-3s that help us in many ways, including keeping our heart healthy and maybe even fighting off cancer.

Guacamole Toppings

If the health benefits aren’t enough to convince you, how about the fact that these burgers are super easy to prepare.  I cooked mine in the oven according to the package instructions and then broiled them for a minute to get the edges a little crispy.  And they don’t taste fishy at all.  Because they are full of spices, I promise even someone who thinks they don’t like fish, will really enjoy Pollock Burgers.

Plus, we’re talking about Wild Alaskan Pollock here.  No farmed fish, no questionable mystery meat, no chemicals.  Just real food.  I love that you can see the pieces of fish in the burgers and there are plenty of them.

Making the burgers

Be sure to enter the #swapyourburger contest using the widget below.  You’ll be so glad you swapped your burger for one of these Wild Alaskan Pollock Burgers.

Dare To #Swapyourburger #Contest

I know you’re wondering how I swapped my burger.  I turned it into a Guacamole Pollock Burger.  Not only is this burger gluten free since I served it on a tender bib lettuce bun, but it is full of some super healthy ingredients that also happen to be some of my favorite foods.

Guacamole Pollock Burgers

We’re talking about avocado, Sriracha, onion, tomatoes, and parsley. I ran out of cilantro, but it would be an awesome addition here as well.  All those classic flavors of guacamole are on this burger and complement the flavor of the fish so well.  The textures – creamy, crispy, crunchy – and the flavors – spicy, refreshing, acidic, salty – complement each other so well and make this a burger I can’t wait to eat again.

So how are you going to #swapyourburger with a Trident Seafoods® Wild Alaskan Pollock Burger?

Guacamole Pollock Burgers

Pollock Guacamole Burgers

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 2 burgers

Ingredients

2 Trident Seafoods® Wild Alaskan Pollock Burgers

1 avocado, sliced thinly

1 large tomato, sliced thinly

1 Vidalia onion, sliced thinly

½ bunch parsley, washed well, leaves torn off stems

2 teaspoons Sriracha

4 pieces bib lettuce

Instructions

Cook burgers according to package instructions. I cooked mine for 20 minutes in a 400 degree F oven, flipping halfway through, and then broiling for 1-2 minutes.

Once burgers are cooked, place on 2 pieces of lettuce for a sturdy “bun.” Spread 1 teaspoon of Sriracha on top of each burger and then top with avocado, tomato, onion, and parsley.

Serve immediately.

Notes

Recipe is easily multiplied.

http://piesandplots.net/pollock-guacamole-burgers/

Tallulah Wine Bar

Tallulah

When it comes to special people in my life, it mostly boils down to Mom and Dad.  The few friends I have are really their friends, and I’ve weaseled my way into the relationships over the years.  There isn’t much more when it comes to family.  All of my grandparents are gone and the only aunt I’m close to lives out of town.  She doesn’t visit as much as either of us would like, I imagine, and travelling is too high on my fear list right now to head to her city.  But recently, Mom, Dad, and I reconnected with my cousin, Kim, and her daughters, Jillian and Katelyn.  Perhaps the most unlikely of friendships, I’ve enjoyed following them on Twitter and chatting with them there on occasion.  It has made me feel more connected than I have in over a decade.  Kim and Jillian joined us on our latest restaurant adventure a couple weeks ago; Katelyn unfortunately had to work.

Tallulah

We headed to Tallulah Wine Bar in downtown Birmingham, a place I’d heard many good things about and wanted to visit for quite some time now.  We finally got around to it.  The outside of the restaurant is beautiful with the patio open for the summer and flower planters surrounding it.  I couldn’t wait to go inside, where the décor did not disappoint.  The restaurant was bright white with white table cloths and wood chairs.  The sun shined through the front windows.  Though quite tiny, I was just really happy to be there.  It also smelled amazing inside, always a good sign when walking into a new restaurant.

Our server, Brandon, was well informed about the menu, friendly, and prompt.  He was a great server.  Everyone in the restaurant was friendly.

Mom ordered the Sanguinello Blood Orange cocktail, which I tasted, and both of us really enjoyed.  It had a fresh flavor and really did taste like blood orange.  One of the better cocktails in recent memory.

Sliders

Meatballs

Lobster Roll

The bread brought to the table was excellent.  It seemed like some kind of Italian bread with a crusty exterior and a soft white interior.  My only problem: they didn’t bring enough to the table.  Dad and I had to share one since there were five of us and only four pieces.  I didn’t mind as I try not to eat too much of the bread, but it was strange.  The appetizers were huge hits.  Dad ordered the Detroit Wagyu Sliders, which he really enjoyed.  Jillian ordered the meatballs, huge hits with Jillian and Kim, while Dad didn’t love one of the herbs or spices in the sauce, but thought the meatball itself was pretty great.  The presentation was so cute, too, and like all the food was so hot it was steaming.  Mom and I shared the lobster roll slider.  Amazing.  The lobster meat was tender and dressed in a celery aioli, and while celery isn’t my favorite flavor, it was great, but it was the bun that I will be thinking about for the rest of my life.  White, warm, toasted, buttery; it was simply perfection.  But it was house made, so that makes sense.  Kim ordered the BLT salad.  The bacon on it was really thick, and also quite fatty and not very crispy.  After sending it back once and it still wasn’t crispy, she decided just to take it home where perhaps she could crisp it up more.  She loved the rest of the salad, cleaning her plate.

Steak Frites

Lake Trout

Moving on to entrees, Mom, Dad, and Kim all had the Steak Frites: a Kobe bistro filet with French fries and a small green salad.  I also ordered fries, and we all really enjoyed them.  They weren’t the best I’ve had, but they came quite close, as they were not too thick, not too thin, crunchy, and very hot.  Can’t complain about a fry with those attributes.  The steaks, however, were pretty chewy.  They were not the traditional shape one would expect when ordering a filet.  The chewiness and flavor was not what one would expect either; the lack of fat and marbling certainly not indicative of a Kobe steak of any kind.  The steak was really the only disappointment of the entire meal.  Jillian ordered the Ricotta Stuffed Agnolotti, which she enjoyed.  And I ordered the Lake Trout special.  I wasn’t sure what to order, but went with this because I liked everything it came with, something I’m pretty sure has never happened in a restaurant.  I’m always the girl saying “sauce on the side,” or “could you substitute this with that.”  It appealed to me to eat a dish in its entirety as the chef intended.  It was pan roasted lake trout with a stone fruit and greens salad with hazelnuts, dressed with lime juice, with a cherry coolie on the plate.  It was fantastic, possibly the best entrée I’ve ever had in a restaurant.  The fish was cooked perfectly, and the flavor of the plums and peaches matched amazingly with it and the crunch of the hazelnuts.  I would eat this every day if I could.

Olive Oil Cake

Peach Crostada

But that doesn’t mean I didn’t have room for dessert.  Jillian ordered the hot chocolate cake, which took a really long time to prepare (perhaps that should be ordered at the time the meal is like in other restaurants?), but looked amazing.  She enjoyed it but wasn’t a fan of the mint ice cream it was served with.  I couldn’t taste it since it had been contaminated by chocolate but was curious what it tasted like.  Mom and I ordered the Lemon Olive Oil Cake and the Peach Rosemary Crostada, the pie of the day.  The cake was served in this adorable cast iron skillet and had plums baked in it.  I thought the cake was good, but Mom loved it.  The crème fraiche ice cream and dulce de leche served with it?  Now those were great!  But it was the crostada that impressed me the most and left me wanting to order another one.  An individual little crostada just for me, the crust was thick, flaky, and amazing, and the vanilla ice cream on top was a bonus.  The peaches inside were tender and juicy.  Caramel sauce on the plate brought everything together.  The rosemary flavor was only present in a couple of bites, a welcome surprise when I tasted it.  It was there in the perfect amount, as more may have been overpowering.  It was the perfect ending to a pretty great meal, with all of us saying we’d happily return.

Whether you head out with family or friends, someone you see all the time or a new connection, go out and try a new restaurant to have fun with whoever accompanies you.  If you live in the metro Detroit area, give Tallulah Wine Bar a try; I think you’ll enjoy it as much as we did.

Jill and Me

Jillian and Me

 

 

Joe Muer Seafood

Sign

Often times when new restaurants open, they receive a great deal of praise and hype.  Most of the time when I visit them, I realize very quickly the praise and hype were for nothing.  Whether it’s the service, food, or general ambiance that are lackluster, the experience tends to either not be memorable or only be memorable because it was so bad, leaving me never returning.

This was not the case with Joe Muer Seafood.  I feared it would be, with positivity being heaped on the restaurant before it was even open based on the owners’ previous eateries.  But I, along with my dining guests, my parents and another couple, found the entire experience to be very close to perfect.

The restaurant, located in the Renassiance Center, Downtown Detroit, right along the Detroit River is stunning.  Lots of wood, even more glass, and a black and white tile floor make the feel of the restaurant very cool and modern, unlike many in the Detroit area.  It feels hip.  More like Miami than Detroit; of course this is thanks in large part to the wall of windows showcasing the River outside.  We had the opportunity to see numerous barges travel up and down the River, along with a dinner cruise, making for great entertainment while enjoying our meal.

View

Our waitress, Vanessa, was prompt, knowledgeable, friendly, and best of all promised to keep an eye out for any potential allergens for me, something I always appreciate because it allows me to have a relaxing dinner, not having to worry that everything I am putting in my mouth has potential allergens in it.

It’s a loud restaurant, all of us felt like we were yelling at each other, but that’s to be expected in a restaurant where every seat is taken, and when a table leaves, it is cleaned, reset, and has a new group sitting at it in under five minutes.  It was impressive, unlike anything I’ve seen before, and made me fall in love with the noise level because it meant success for a great restaurant.

Bread

The drinks, an appletini for Mom and The Elderflower for me, were good, but it was clearly the food that was the star.  A bread basket with sourdough, pumpernickel, and crackers arrived at our table just after ordering, along with smoked bluefish pate and white bean relish.  The breads were excellent, I favored the pumpernickel, but the crackers were the best.  I love when restaurants have those crackers that taste better than any cracker from the grocery store, though not many do anymore.  The pate and relish were amazing as well.

One of our guests had the lobster bisque, which she enjoyed.  Then came the entrees.  Three people ordered the surf and turf special, an Austrailian lobster tail with a filet mignon.  All three diners really enjoyed it, noting the tenderness of both the steak and lobster.  Mom’s filet, ordered medium, was served almost well done.  She still liked it, but that was the only real disappointment the entire meal.  The same guest that had the bisque had the restaurant’s surf and turf that always appears on the menu: sea scallops with braised short ribs.  It lived up to her high expectations, always having wanted to try short ribs.  I had the Florida Red Grouper.  It was fantastic, one of the best fish I’ve ever had, cooked to perfection.  I had the mango sweet chili glaze served on the side as I was unsure if I would like it, but it was one of the highlights of the meal with a wonderful spicy sweet flavor.

Surf and Turf

Grouper

Sides are a must.  Dad and our guests had the black truffle macaroni and cheese.  It looked very good, and our guests liked it, but Dad wasn’t a huge fan of the truffle flavor.  None of us really like the flavor of truffle oil, though I have had fresh truffles once and loved them.  The roasted mushrooms were excellent, but my French fry obsession had to be quelled.  Much like Morton’s they come with both parmesan and truffle oil, so we ordered two sets of plain fries.  They were a tremendous hit with everyone at the table.  Shoestring style, they were fried to absolute perfection.  Not a bit greasy with incredible flavor and texture.  Dare I say they just might be my new favorite fries?  I can’t stop thinking about them and the next time I’m going to get more.

Macaroni and Cheese

Rest assured I ordered dessert.  I’d heard many good things about their coconut cake, which I was assured was allergen free for me.  It lived up to my incredibly high expectations.  Light chiffon cake (my favorite) with dense filling and frosting and tons of coconut pressed on the outside, each bite was a delectable experience.  We also had the key lime pie, which may be the best I’ve ever had, and I’ve had many, as it is one of my favorite restaurant desserts.  The whipped cream was so smooth and creamy, with some lime zest grated on top; the custard underneath rich and dense, with a tart but not remotely bitter flavor, something very hard to achieve; the graham cracker crust bringing the whole thing together, with that sandy graham cracker texture and a hint of sweetness, held together perfectly with what I’m sure was a great deal of butter.  Little lime candies adorned the top of the pie, and you know how I love my candy.  The sauces on both of the desserts were equally fantastic, almost my favorite part.  I’m not sure, but I suspect they might have been mango and key lime.  I’d love to know how to make those.  Perhaps my favorite part about the desserts was the generous portion size.  No skimpy restaurant portions here, both were huge slices that even satisfied my sweet tooth.  Chocolate desserts ordered by Dad and our guests teased me; they enjoyed them as well.

Coconut Cake

Key Lime Pie

I can’t wait for my next visit to Joe Muer Seafood.  I loved pretty much every moment of my experience.  I hope they continue to impress when it comes time for my next visit.

My Parents and Me

By the way, here’s a photo of my parents and me.  I wanted to introduce you to them!

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