Sunday, November 4, 2012

Pinnacle Sports Grill

We called a lot of different places in the Boise area, and Pinnacle Sports Grill seems to be one of the only restaurants that carries the Pac 12 network. No, I have not taken a sudden interest in the Pac 12, but my boyfriend's football team (Oregon State) is in the league.  With the Pac 12 not on DirecTV, this is where we go to watch games that aren't airing anywhere else.

We went on Saturday night and this was our second time visiting the place. If I have to be camped out somewhere for 3.5 hours to watch football, I don't mind doing it here.  It is a really cool set up.  A lot of the booths have individual TVs in them, and you can get a portable speaker box, so you can watch and listen to whatever you want.  They also have a bunch of really big TVs in the center of the bar and lounge-y looking seats.

We have had the same waitress both times and she is alright.  I am sure it is pretty tricky waitressing for people who stay for so long, and probably annoying, but she must be used to it by now.  It just seemed like it would take forever for her to stop by (35 minutes one time!)  but I am sure it is frustrating for her when most of the time we say we are fine. 

You get free homemade potato chips when you sit there.  They are pretty good, but a little bland.  I dipped mine in ketchup the first time, and just snacked on them the second time.  I would prefer free french fries or seasoned popcorn or something of the sort, but hard to complain when it is free.

They also have really cool beer towers that have 100 ounces of beer! 

The first time I went, I had an Ahi Seared Salad that was really delicious (about $13). My boyfriend had some sort of sandwich and liked that as well. The second time we went, the food was underwhelming. I had the Albondigas soup and my dining mates had tacos and calamari.  The tacos weren't a big hit and the rice and beans were left uneaten.  The calamari was alright but we would have preferred thinner, crunchier pieces to the thick slabs that were served.

The Albondigas soup was average.  I liked the addition of cilantro and it was much tastier with saltines thrown in, but nothing mind-blowing.  By the way, if you are like me and had no idea what Albondigas is, it is a type of meatball soup with carrots, onions etc.  It just wasn't very interesting, but I am not sure if that is how it is supposed to taste.

I do need to note our food came super fast!  The speedy arrival was much appreciated.

I also got one of the new Winter Drink Specials, the Pinnacle Peppermint Patty.  I thought it was going to be a warm drink, but it was actually a frosty cold martini.  It had whipped vodka, white chocolate, chocolate sauce, mint and Kahlua.  It was a bit pricey for $7, but yummy. After that, I had a New Castle Brown Ale 16 oz for $5.25.

I think this is a great place to be a local at.  We loved some food and hated some food, so over the luxury of a few visits, it would be easy to have a list of favorites and stand-bys to order.  Next time I know what I am going to try - the Huckleberry Salmon Salad featuring grilled salmon, huckleberry viniagrette, blue cheese, fresh pears, candied nuts and dried cranberries for $12.  I have a feeling that will be a winner. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Poor Man's Version of Garganelli with Fennel and Pork Shoulder Ragu

Bon Appetit October 2012 has a recipe for "Garganelli with Fennel and Pork Shoulder Ragu" that is a copy from a dish served at the restaurant, Oenotri, in Napa, California.

I couldn't find the dish on the Oenotri restaurant dinner menu, but I did find it in on the lunch menu as part of an aweosme three course $20 meal.  Mixed lettuce with Meyer lemon viniagrette and parmesan, mostaccioli with Willis Farm pork ragu and parmesan, plus apple granita with argumato.  Not sure what half of those words are, but for $20, it sounds like a can't-miss meal. 

Now, before I go into this particular, let's make it very clear that Oenotri seems to be a good restaurant.  261 yelp reviews have resulted in a 4 star rating, referring to the restaurant as "seriously my favorite restaurant in Napa, hands down."  You can have dinner family style by splitting a few artisanal pizzas, or make a meal for yourself with pasta and "can't miss dessert." 

I decided to try this recipe for myself, with a few of, what I thought was subtle, tweaks.

First - Penne vs. Garganelli
This is garganelli

This is penne
The difference? Penne I can actually find at the grocery store, so penne is what I bought.  However, I have a feeling hand crafted Italian pasta vs. a box of $1 pasta has a bit of a flavor difference.

Second: Fennel vs. Celery

 This is fennel
This is celery
I have never actually purchased fennel, but it seems to be having an "It moment" right now.  I keep seeing it in recipes, but I still can't find it at my local Albertson's.  I have had fennel seeds, so I assume fennel tastes like licorice.  As for celery, well I think we all know what that tastes like.  Searching the internet, I kept finding celery was the best substitute for fennel, so I have been sticking to that until I find some at the store.  I also did this substitute for a chicken recipe that called for fennel, and had no issues. However, I think fennel might be a case of not knowing what I am missing out on.
Third: Spicy Italian Sausage vs. Groud Pork Shoulder
 If we just looked at a picture, these probably look the same - ground meat. However, I have no idea where to purchase ground pork shoulder and sausage was 2 for $6, for it seemed like an obvious choice.  I am going to guess there is a difference.
So, to sum this up, I made three substitution for three ingredients that were actually in the title of the recipe.  It did not turn out very good and was not worth all the time (took me an entire day to actually finish the recipe) it took to cook.  Keep in mind this is coming from a girl who actually enjoys spending inordinate amounts of time cooking.  I also enjoy leftovers and couldn't bring myself to finish this.  It wasn't horrible but definitely something I will never make again.  Maybe if I stuck to the recipe, I would have better luck, but I am not going to find out!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Butternut Squash Tart

I really love appetizers, especially long drawn out ones that take forever to make but result in a simple but delicious snack.  I spent over two hours on Sunday roasting and carmelizing onions to make Caramelized Onion and Shallot Dip.  That dip was amazing, and highly recommended with potato chips.  I bought my personal favorite, Wheat Thins, as a back up, and I couldn't put down the chips.  Go big or go home, I guess.

Bon Appetit October 2012 has a really fun "Guide to Hors D'oeuvres" that I am loving.  There are five main steps:
1) You deserve a shower
2) Never let them see you deep fry
3) Its the economy of scale, silly
4) Fake it and make it
5) Chips and the dip: its the law - see Onion Dip above

Worried I might get on a dip kick similiar to college 2010 (I think sustained myself almost completely on a variety of homemade dips for a period of at least a month), I decided I needed to branch out a bit.

Following Rule #3 - Economy of Scale, I decided to make the Butternut Squash Tart with Fried Burned Sage.

The verdict?  Totally worth it and totally delicious.  If you are serving many people, make a few.  They are actually really easy and impressive looking.  I ate about 1/3 of mine for dinner without even trying, so these can go really fast.

Ingredients - note that even purchasing with one tart in mind, I had enough ingredients to double without having to buy extra

Frozen Puff Pastry - note this is NOT the same as Phyllo dough.  I made that mistake once and never will again.  Look in the freezer section near the cream puffs, whip cream, and eclairs.  The box looks small, but you do want the 17.3 oz version.
1 large egg (I used two of my friends' eggs from their chickens - one would have sufficed).
12 1/8 inch thick rounds of peeled butternut squash from the neck of the squash - I was worried I didn't slice them thin enough to cook through, but the bigger chunks were not a problem.
3 Tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt
1/4 cup honey
1 jalapeno
12 fresh sage leaves
1/4 cup shaved parmesan
Grinds of black pepper
The instructions are pretty self explanatory, so just follow the Bon Appetit recipe.  I do have a few tips though:
1) Realize pastry dough takes 40 minutes to thaw and take out of the fridge and wrapper in time.  Do not try to unroll prematurely or it will probably break.
2) Have all the sage leaves ready and throw in at once.  These fry incredibly quickly and I burned mine. They don't taste like much when burned.
3) Use big flaky sea salt when sprinkling with salt
4) Keep in mind this is surprisingly easy to cut.  I didn't think it would be - you could easily cut into slices, squares, or whatver you desire.
5) Apply jalapeno honey liberally. For those who enjoy spicy, add the jalapenos on top.
6) Eat with friends around.  This is dangerous to keep around the house solo.
7) Don't worry about a super strong tsquash taste for guests who don't like vegetables.  This is really more of a showcase on the tin buttery pastry dough and the spicy sweet honey.



Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Jalapeno Honey

Well I wanted some grand entrance back into the blogging world, but I kept putting it off because there was nothing that seemed quite grand enough.  I do have plans for a brown sugar bourbon ice cream in my new ICE CREAM MAKER (thanks Mom/Grandma!) but I haven't had time for a project like that yet.

I did make time to make a ROAST CHICKEN I am pretty proud of.  Take a look:
Now, I am making some jalapeno honey (boil jalapeno, honey, and some water).  I am hoping to use with with corn bread, biscuits, and a butternut sage tart I want to make this week. 

Also upcoming - adventures in beer brewing.  Our beer should be done any day now.  We were pretty bad  beer parents and haven't been paying it much attention at all, but I are excited to see how it turns out.

So there you have it - short, sweet, spicy and I hope to be back soon!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Kale - Eat more of it!

Kale is one of those super foods we should all be devouring.  It takes a bit getting used to, as it has a "greener" taste than bland iceberg or common romaine, but it is packed with nutrients and can be prepared in super tasty ways.

My absolute favorite way to eat it is to make kale chips.  See my blog post for more information on how to make those.  That post also has tons of information on why kale is so good for you.  If you want the shortened version, you should know it has been dubbed "the queen of greens," and July 2012 Glamour has it listed as one of "5 Goods We Should All Shut Up and Start Eating Already."  The best part?  Kale may help fight cancer and lower cholesterol.

Kale salad is what I like to eat when I want something healthy and fast.  Cut up kale into bite size pieces - I avoid the tough rib down the center.  Wash and dry.

Toss kale with slices of shredded parmesan and dried cherries (or use your favorite fruit/cheese).  Add nuts if they sound good.

Drizzle with red wine vinegar + olive oil and done.  Healthy, delicious, easy.  One of the best things to eat on a Monday night!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Fish Fillets with Tomatoes, Squash and Basil

I have been a busy little bee moving from my apartment to my wonderful new house!  Now I am unpacking and with a little less urgency than a strict move in date, I have some time to breathe.  We went camping lasr weekend, and even though I didn't actually cook anything in a little pouch, it got me really excited about the idea of cooking things in little pouches.

I got this recipe for Fish Fillets with Tomatoes, Squash and Basil from the June 2012 issue of Bon Appetit - they have tons of other pouch recipes perfect for summer! I have already devoured Basil Tomato Sauce with Polenta (polenta is a surprisingly awesome substitue for pasta) and Sausages with Onion and Green Peppers were a big hit at the bar.

I love salmon and usually buy it at Costco (boneless, skinless, individually wrapped amazing fillets).  They cost about $20 for 7, so not the cheapest but also not too expensive.  I didn't want to make the drive all the way to Costco and I found an equally good version at Albertson's.  8 fillets for ~$12, but the fillets are about half the size and have the skin on.  This doesn't bother me and it has been fun to switch it up.  I recommend either for this recipe, but I think the smaller size of the Albertson fillets may cook faster in the pouch.  Note this recipe originally called for "white flaky fish such as Atlantic cod or halibut," but I like it with salmon.  I think you could use just about anything and be fine. 

I also have a giant basil plant, which I call my basil bush, dying to be picked.  I love this recipe because you can use tons of basil.  This dish would be great for having company over, as it looks amazing and the pouches make great individual servings.

Fish Fillets with Tomatoes, Squash and Basil

2 thinly sliced zucchini
1 thinly sliced shallot (shallots usually come in twos stuck together - use both)
1/4 cup thinly sliced basil divided plus 1/4 cup basil leaves
16-20 grape tomatoes sliced in half
4 tablespoons white wine (I usually use Tisdale Chardonnay as it is only $3 a bottle)
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 fish fillets of your choice (as mentioned above, I used salmon)
salt and pepper
Parchment paper (I think the only viable substitute would be aluminum foil)


1) Defrost the fish if not already defrosted.  With salmon, I like to soak in warm water to defrost. Preheat oven to 400*.
2) Get 4 rather large squares of parchment paper and lay out on a work surface.

3) Divide squash among the parchment paper, arranging on one side in thin layers. Evenly divide tomatoes among pouches.

4) Add shallots, basil, and tomatoes.

5) Drizzle each packet with 1 tablespoon of wine and 1/2 tablespoon of oil.  I was worried it would spill everywhere but it doesn't.  Season with salt and pepper.

6) Add a fish fillet to each packet.  Season with salt and pepper and drizzle another half tablespoon of oil. 

7) Fold packet over to close, and crimp edges tightly.  I did a rolling type crimp and flattened the edges.

8) Place packets on a baking sheet and bake, 10-20 minutes.  I baked for 20 because I hate undercooked salmon and you don't have to worry about the food drying out because of the packets.

9) Cut packets open, watching out for the steam.  Serve with garnish of basil. 


Sunday, May 20, 2012


I went home a few weekends ago, and while at home, I found a jewelry box filled with awesome jewelry from my Grandma (thanks Gram!).  My Grandma and I have similiar tastes in jewelry, and there was some amazing stuff in the box.

One of my favorite parts was all the clip-on earrings.  They inspired me to start wearing more earrings because I hadn't worn earrings since our company's Christmas party.  In fact, I momentarily panicked and thought my holes might have closed up, but thankfully they didn't.

The problem I am having now is earring shopping online is really fun.  You don't have to worry about the earrings not fitting, and the box is so small they usually fit in the mail box.  This is good because I don't have to make a trip to the office fit into my schedule.

Here are my favorites.

These bohemian hoops are from Forever 21.  I prefer the style I got - hot pink with gold, but this color pairing is also pretty cute (and the one I got is sold out).  The best part about these earrings is they only cost $7 and they don't look cheap at all.  I have always liked the look of hoops but never thought I could pull them off, so this will be a fun way to try it out.

These are Isabel Marant earrings from Net-A-Porter.  They are pretty expensive, but the sleek design with fun tassles is classy yet unique.  The color is gorgeous and the purple and clear beads are very shiny.  The gold hardware is also a nice burnished color.  Even better - these match a dress I have perfectly!

I got these ones from Mango as my super-adventurous pair.  I wouldn't recommend buying them.  They are super heavy and some of the white strings are starting to fray already.  I knew I was taking a chance on these, but I still think the design is fun.

These earrings are Vanessa Mooney earrings and they are 100% my absolute favorite.  I am in love with Vanessa Mooney.  She is a jewlelry designer based out of California, which means any purchases arrive at the house fairly quickly.  The items are handmade and gorgeous.  These beauties are super light weight and make a quiet tinkling sound when shooken.  They are smaller than I thought - only about three inches long.  The colors are gorgeous and I would recommend these for anyone.  They give a cool Native American type look.  I also love the earrings in green.

There is pink as well, but I don't like the design as much.
In addition to earrings, Vanessa Mooney makes necklaces.  These are my two favorite African inspired necklaces.

As a warning, for some weird reason, Vanessa Mooney always lists her jewelry more expensive on her site than the price at other sites.  I would recommend looking at (trying using VIP20 for 20% off) or

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tropical Nails

I am far from good at painting my nails, but it is fun to try and get creative sometimes.  When I was in middle school, my best friend's new year's resolution was to paint her nails a different color every day, and she actually did it!  I paint them about once a week and then I spend half the week with chipped nails.  It is a bad habit and not cute.

I decided I wanted to paint my nails in my favorite shade of blue - 404 Titanium by Rimmel Lasting Finish.  I have had this nail polish for at least 7 years, so I couldn't even find the shade online.  I am surprised it still works.  I have Revlon nail polishes that seem to get a weird texture almost immediately after purchase.  The Rimmel polish is still as good as new and one of my favorite colors.  However, I decided that because I have had this nail polish for sooooo long, it was also time to splurge on a new shade.

I went down to Walmart to check out the Maybelline Color Show collection.  I LOVE IT!  All the polishes are great colors with four main categories - denim (2 shades), shredded (4 shades), metallics (I think 3 shades) and normal color (about 30 shades).  All the colors are awesome and the best part is the polish only costs $3 a bottle.  It is very hard to find qualiy nail polish at that price.

This is a new line so I had to find it on the end cap of a makeup aisle.  I almost thought it wasn't available, until I turned the last corner.

I decided to buy Denim Dash because A) I had no idea what "denim" nail polish would look like and B) I already love the blue I have so might as well try another shade.

Denim Dash goes on as a really pretty, beautiful sparkly dark blue.  I really liked the shade.  However, I looked down at my toes about five minutes later, and they looked completely different!  As the color dries, it turns into a matte blue that somehow does look strangely like denim.  I have never had a matte nailpolish before, but it is a very cool effect.  I couldn't believe Maybelline actually held up their end of the bargain and created a nail polish that produces an actual denim effect.  I was expecting a blue denim shade, but the nail polish even looks like the texture of denim.

This is a great nailpolish and I can't wait to try out the other shades.  I still haven't bought a shattered/shredded/crackled style nail polish, so I am curious to see how I end up liking those.

Also note that when I paint my nails, I like to experiment with some really fun nail stickers my Mom got me for Christmas (Thanks Mom!).  They are super easy to use and come in fun designs like small flowers, large flowers, decorative lace tips, and rhinestones.  I use tweezers to peel off the stickers and place on my nails.  They stick just fine, but a top coat would help keep them on longer.  They look great and a few people have even asked me if I painted the flowers myself.  I think they run about $3/pack, and a pack holds at least 200 stickers.  If you compare that to the price of a professional nail salon flower (five dollars, just five dollars!) it is a great bargain.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Steel Cut Oats

I love oatmeal.  It becomes a special treat when slow cooked over the stove, rather than prepared in the microwave with the contents of a packet.  Don't get me wrong - I do love packets of instant oatmeal and they have saved my starving belly more times that I can count.  However, slow cooked oatmeal and instant oatmeal are barely even in the same food group.  Slow cooked oatmeal is luscious and satisfying, and sometimes I even eat it for dinner.

My favorite way to make oatmeal is with steel-cut oats.  I buy the Bob's Red Mill brand.  Steel cut oats look different than normal oatmeal - they look kind of like tiny slivered almonds.  I cook them until they are softened but still chewy.  I am honestly not sure if they are always chewy, or if I stop cooking too soon and just prefer it like that.  It seems like the texture I enjoy them at is a texture most people would find odd, so you may want to experiment with cooking longer or adding more liquid.

Ingredients (for one serving)
1/3 cup-1/2 cup nonfat milk, depending on how soft you want the texture
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup steel cut oats
Dried cranberries
Cinnamon, to taste
Heavy cream (optional)


1) Bring milk and water to a boil in a small saucepan.

2) Add oats, cinnamon (as much as you want), and cranberries.  Bring to a simmer and let cook for at least 20 minutes.  Add more liquid as necessary to get the desired texture.

3) Serve with walnuts and a small amount of heavy cream drizzled over top (optional).  You can also try adding coconut, brown sugar, raisins, almonds, etc.  Get creative!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Skillet Eggs and Tomato Sauce

I love eggs, but freaked out temporarily when fried eggs just wasn't hitting the spot for me.  I went from craving eggs (evening snack, dessert, over salads, etc.) to indifference.  It was really sad, so I started looking for egg recipes to reinvigorate my love of eggs.  I think I just may have just ate too many of them.

My search for egg recipes brought me to Skillet Eggs and Tomato Sauce, which is an awesome recipe for a healthy, delicious, indulgent breakfast.  I made it in the morning, but I wake up ridiculously early so I have plenty of time to relax.  My mom does this and I used to think she was crazy for waking up so early, but now I totally get it.  Make this for a Sunday morning brunch or if you have some extra time before work.  It doesn't take a lot of work, but did require some monitoring. 

This is also another awesome egg recipe that makes it almost impossible to overcook your yolks.  I hate when yolks are overcooked!

Ingredients (for 2 servings)
Olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
Crushed red-pepper flakes, to taste
1 anchovy fillet, finely chopped (sold where you buy tuna fish, in a little tin - about $3.00)
14oz whole peeled tomatoes in juice
4 large eggs
Fresh parsley
Crusty bread (I didn't use, but would be delicious)


1) In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium high.  Use however much oil you need to reasonably coat the pan - ~2 teaspoons.  Add onion, garic, red pepper flakes, and anchovy. Note that I was totally terrified to use anchovy because I thought it would taste weird.  To make up for my worry, I made sure to cook the anchovy for a very long time and cut it into very tiny pieces.  I don't like to cook with salt and I think the anchovy did a good job of adding a salty taste to the food (anchovies are very salty) without adding a fishy taste.  It was actually very mild but good.  So use the anchovy!

2) Cook onion/anchovy mixture for about 5 minutes until onions are soft.

3) Break up the tomatoes using kitchen shears, or just tear them apart with your hands like I did.  You want them in little chunks.  Add tomato chunks and their juices to the skillet. Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes. 

4) Reduce heat to a simmer (about a 3 on the scale).  Spread the tomato mixture evenly over the skillet.  Break 4 eggs into the skilletm as you would if you were making a fried egg.  Cover and cook for approximately five minutes, eggs whites are set.  Remove from heat and let set for 5 more minutes.

5) Serve with a parsley garnish, and if desired, with crusty bread.  The bread would be wonderful to sop up the tomato sauce.  YUM.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Salmon with Peas and Mushrooms

Last time I made salmon, I really hated it.  It was so awful - it wasn't cooked through completely, which started to freak me out.  Yes, I know that doesn't make any sense, as I am fine with eating salmon that is completely raw (aka sushi).  Something about the fact that it was supposed to be cooked and it wasn't was quite unsettling.  I also cooked it along with bok choy that turned out incredibly slimy.  All in all, a terrible meal that I couldn't even finish eating. 

This time, I decided if I was going to eat salmon, I would have to ensure it was super delicious so none of the nasty taste from last time got in my head.  And that brings us to Salmon with Pea and Mushroom Sauce courtesy of Bon Appetit May 2012.  DELICIOUS!

1 cup white wine
1 can sweet peas
1 8oz container sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 salmon fillets
2-4 tablespoons butter


1) In a large saucepan with high sides, place salmon fillets.  Add white wine and fill with cold water to cover salmon by about half an inch.  Cover the pan and heat over medium heat until water comes to a simmer.  I heated mine for about 20 minutes because I was so paranoid I would undercook it.  The beauty of poaching is nothing really burns and turns dry, so cook as long as you want.  Then once the water is simmering, remove lid and cook on medium low for about 6 minutes (to be clear, I did the 20 minutes PLUS the six). Reserve some poaching liquid.

2) While the salmon is cooking, you can make the sauce.  Heat some butter in a saucepan.  The recipe called for 4 tablespoons, I used 2 and you could probably get away with a few squirts of cooking spray if that is what you prefer.  After butter melts, add mushrooms and cook for approximately three minutes.

3) Add half a cup of poaching liquid and peas, then simmer for another two or three minutes.  Add heavy cream and bring sauce back to a simmer.  Cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.  The sauce will thicken up a bit more when removed from heat. 
4) Season to taste with salt and pepper.  I used no salt but tons of pepper - pepper, cream and peas go wonderful together.

5) To serve, flip salmon onto a plate, top with sauce, and garnish with chives.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Green Eggs In a Pan

My mom gave me this idea via pinterest - eggs cooked INSIDE avocados! 

I love eggs cooked in holes, like when you cut a circle in toast and cook it.  It is an almost-fool proof way to cook eggs while guaranteeing you won't overcook the yolk.  I absolutely hate when I overcook my yolks, so cooking with holes is my insurance policy.  However, I think bread is a horrible breakfast, so I don't eat bread very often in the morning.

To cook in an avocado hole, your best bet is to grab the very middle of the avocado.  This is the biggest slice, hence the best.  However, if you are making multiple eggs-in-holes, then you can cut smaller slices.  So what I did was essentially cut my avocado into thirds - the middle slice (about an inch thick) and then the bigger two end pieces.

I removed the seed and cut a slice in the peel, so I could peel it.  If you leave the peel on, you won't be able to see it under the egg and run the risk of eating the peel.  Not good!

Toss the avocado slice down on a frying pan sprayed with cooking spray.  Crack your egg so the yolk goes right into the hole.  Don't worry about the white.  It will pretty much cover the whole avocado and that is okay.

Cook for awhile on this side.  I waited until my white was pretty much set, and then I flipped it.  The avocado even made it easier to flip - bonus!  Make sure you cook long enough when you flip it, as the avocado can make it a bit harder to see how well the white is cooking.  Rejoice in the fact that even if you cook the egg for longer than normal, the hole will help protect your yolk.

Then, admire your handiwork and enjoy!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Legends Pub and Grill

For my friend's birthday Sunday, a group of us went to dinner at Legends Pub and Grill.  The restaurant is right next to Edwards 22 Cinema (7609 W. Overland Road Boise 83709), which makes it very convenient if you are hoping to catch dinner and a movie.  They are a full service restaurant, bar, and small event center.  Next door to the eating area, they have an entertainment center with pool tables and darts.

The bar is open until 12:00 am every night and has two happy hours - one from 3 - 6 pm and the other from 9:30 -11 pm.  During happy hour, it is half price on rotating microbrews and all domestic bottles and drafts (16 oz and 22 oz).   Also, we went on a Sunday and she told us it was happy hour all day!  It was totally awesome because happy hour also includes half off well alcohol and special appetizer prices.

They have a $6.95 lunch menu, which I am going to keep in mind for the next time I check out a matinee.  I love a good soup/salad deal for a light lunch.
The dinner menu is what I had to work with, and the picture won't post large enough to be of any use to you. They basically have a little bit of everything - appetizers, salads, burgers, pasta, soups, specialties, steak, salmon, pizza, sandwiches and wraps.  The most expensive menu item is the Rib Eye Steak (12 oz 100% Angus certified rib eye, seasoned and grilled your way) for $18.  The cheapest item is a cup of Soup de Jour for $3.99.  Most items fall in the $9-$12 price range, so this is definitely an affordable restaurant.  
Yelpers rate Legends a solid 3.5.  Positive reviews cite the "friendly staff," with a "quality happy hour menu and a regular menu to suit just about everyone" plus "great food."  Negative reviews seem to disagree with the friendly staff comments, and say, " Waitstaff sucks!" and "the waitresses were incredibly unfriendly," with food that is "poor quality and prepared with average skill and imagination."

Most of the negative reviews are from a year or so ago, and the positive reviews are from more recently, so maybe management or staff has changed recently.  When we were there, our waitress was an absolute DOLL.  She was fabulous, very attentive, split the check perfectly, and got us everything we needed.  I even told her they had poor yelp reviews and she was single-handedly proving yelp wrong!

To eat, I split a California BBQ chicken pizza with my friend.  I think it was $15.50 for a large pizza (good size) which probably had about 8 slices.  I love California BBQ pizza, so it is hard for me to be critical any time I eat such a delicious pizza.  However, there really isn't anything negative to report.  The pizza was great!

I only had to pay $22 (including tip!) for THREE Rose Kennedys (vodka, soda water, splash of cranberry with limes) and half a pizza.  Quite the deal.

Next time I go to the movies on a Sunday, I will make sure to hit up Legends for a happy hour cocktail prior to the film.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Last weekend I also went to see Lockout (not my choice - it was for a friend's birthday and the birthday boy got to decide).

The basic concept of the movie is there is a prison in outer space where prisoners go, are placed under sedation, and sleep for their entire sentence.  Emilie, who happens to be the President's daughter, goes in her role as a psychologist.  She is trying to determine the side effects of the sedation drugs, which are thought to cause aggression.  She begins by interviewing prisoners, and the prisoners get out, wake each other up and all hell breaks loose.

Guy Pearce plays Snow:
 and Maggie Grace plays Emilie Warnock.

Rotten Tomatoes critics give the movie 33% and audience members rated it 53%.
One critic who didn't like the movie put it this way - "It is the kind of movie where someone tumbling in space above the earth's atmosphere opens a parachute and lands gently on earth without even gasping for a breath." Another called it "85 minutes of shoddy plotting, direction, and full on boredom."
Those who liked the movie seemed to see past the predictability, with one critic saying "it is cliched, ridiculous and very entertaining," and another says they did a fine job of "coming up with obstacle after obstacle for our two leads to dodge - not the least of which happens to be good old-fashioned logic." 
So yes, it may not be the most thoughtful, revolutionary, or barrier-breaking movie.  But let's be honest - you can go to The Flicks for that.  Sometimes it is nice to sit down for a good old action movie and let your brain take a break.

I do agree with the critic who said it is the type of movie where the parachute opens and they land gently.  That sums it every very well - everything seems to constantly, magically, work out exactly as it should.  Also, the movie attempts to be smart with "unique" subplots, but I think they were totally confusing and didn't add much to the movie without a more thorough understanding of what was going on.  It was like they decided, "we need to make this more 'intellectual'" so the writers threw in some twists.  The add-ons seemed totally irrelevant to the rest of the movie and were never hanging (in the way where you know they will desperately attempt a sequel).

I would say go see this movie if you want action, explosions and good looking people.  Don't see it if you want thoughtful, intellectual, or deep.  If you go with the right expectations, it can be an enjoyable movie.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

This was quite the weekend because I went to see TWO movies!  One was for a friend's birthday, and the other was because it was Saturday and I didn't want to go out.  Nothing sounded better than a movie.

Saturday I went with my friend Emily to see Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.

The basic premise of the movie is a wealthy sheikh wants to be able to go salmon fishing in the Yemen river.  Money is no obstacle and Emily Blunt plays Harriet, his investment adviser.  She tracks down Ewan McGregor's character, Dr. Frank Jones, who is a salmon expert working for the British fisheries department.  He thinks the idea is preposterous, but due to circumstances beyond his control, he gets involved.  The movie is what unfolds on a mission to bring this idea this life.

The movie has Emily Blunt in it, whom I absolutely love (she is the girl above).
Rotten Tomatoes critics rate the movie 69% and audience members rate it 75%.  

Pleasant reviews say, "this cast, director, and writer, make it all come off as unlikely a delight as the very fishy story is it built on," and call it a "a charming little movie."  Those who didn't like the movie called it a "clunky melodrama" that "half-heartedly tries out wacky comedy, sweet romance, and inspirational drama."

Overall, I loved the movie and would recommend it as something worth watching.  I think charming is a good way to characterize it.  However, I do see where the negative reviews are coming from - it does seem a bit long, and at times seems like it is going for too much.  There were a few developments that seemed to happen very quickly and a little too perfectly.

But, this is a movie about life and you know how I love movies about life!  It isn't a particularly depressing one, and there are a few twists you wouldn't expect.   A perfect Sunday matinee.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Salsa De Chipotle

To be honest, I am not quite sure what I spent the last two weeks so busy doing.  Last weekend was my boyfriend's birthday, so I spent part of the time drinking mimosas and the other part lying on the couch :)  I also haven't been feeling 100% so I think that had something to do with my absence.
I have spent almost the entire week eating quinoa + goat cheese, and tacos (corn tortilla, black beans, cilantro, pico de gallo, red onion, lime juice and avocado = magic).  In my taco frame of mind, I had also purchased the necessary supplies to make Salsa de Chipotle, so I decided to make that today.

For a frame of reference, I LOVE dips, so I decided to make this with the intention of dipping carrots and other crunchy vegetables into it.  I think I went through a month long period a few years ago where I literally only ate dips and the food I could dip into it.

6 Roma tomatoes
1/4 cup sunflower oil or vegetable oil + 1 tsp
1/4 white onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
2 chipotle chiles in adobo (go to the Mexican section of the grocery store; they are in a little can)


1) Preheat oven to 350*.  Cover a baking sheet in aluminum foil.  Cut tomatoes in half and place them on the baking sheet. Roast for 1.5 hours.

2) In a medium pan, heat 1 tsp oil.  Saute onion and garlic until golden brown.

3) When the tomatoes are done, put them into a large blender.  Add onions, garlic, cilantro and chiles.  It will seem like two chiles isn't very much, but it was perfect for me.  Add more if you want more kick.  Blend and gradually add oil.  Keep blending until smooth.

4) Eat with your favorite dipping items, or on tacos.

WARNING: I would suggest making this for a crowd.  If you are home alone, you are going to find it very difficult not to eat the whole thing!  This stuff is incredible.

Big thanks to Glamour May 2012's feature presented by chef Julieta Ballestero, which is where I got this recipe from.  I can't wait to try to recipe for "The Perfect Guacomole."

Monday, April 2, 2012

Jeff, Who Lives At Home

I LOVE going to the movies.  Whenever I have some free time, I like to spend it at the movies.  There is always a huge list of movies that I want to see, so I never have trouble picking something to suit my mood.  The love of movies came from my Dad - we would see movies almost every weekend growing up.  I think it helped that Enumclaw had such a cheap theater, with tickets around $6 and affordable pop/popcorn/candy.

One of my favorite theaters in Boise is The Flicks.  See my blog post all about The Flicks here: #001 Best Place to Catch an Indie Flick in Boise. My favorite snacks are to get the herbed goat cheese with french bread (only $3) and huckleberry italian cream soda. Of course, about half the time I bring my own frozen yogurt, so I don't need to purchase any snacks.

Today I decided to go see a matinee showing of Jeff, Who Lives At Home.  The movie is only 83 minutes and I wanted to watch a fairly short one.  That way, I get the perks of a movie, but I still have time to go grocery shopping, hit up the library, and watch Desperate Housewives and GCB!

Jeff (Jason Segel) is a 30-year-old who lives at home in his mother's (Susan Sarandon) basement.  His brother is Patrick (Ed Holmes) a middle-class husband with a struggling marriage to his wife, Linda (Judy Greer).  Both brothers have very dissimiliar world views - Jeff looks for meaning in signs that the world provides him, while Patrick seems to care only of his own opinion.

The plot centers around Jeff following the signs from a mysterious phone call of a caller looking for "Kevin," and the adventure the two brothers end up on while trying to determine what Patrick's wife is up to wife another man.  There is also a subplot of Sharon (Susan Sarandon) and a secrete admirer (or a prank?) at her workplace.

This movie is genuinely funny, and one of those movies about life that I love (kind of like how The Descendants and Vicky Cristina Barcelona are about life).  Because of that, I thought it would have one of those slightly odd ends where the movie ends, life goes on, and there isn't much resolution.  Where you sit and think, "that's it?!?"

Jeff, Who Lives At Home, is not like one of those movies.  There is a great twist at the end and it has a really wonderful, all wrapped up ending.  They don't spell everything out for you, but I promise you will leave satisfied.  I was almost tearing up with an awwww kind of happiness, but no matter how you react, I completely recommend this movie.

Rotten Tomatoes agrees with me: 74% of critics liked it and 75% of viewers.  Roger Moore say it takes the Duplass brothers' art to a "newer, deeper place" and Rolling Stone says this film "hits you where you live."  Some who didn't enjoy the movie said that it "never quite got around to being funny" and another says, "It's short of that essential added spectacle, the visceral, tumultuous event that really shakes up the characters and creates a journey worth taking."  I disagree, but you should see it and decide for yourself.

Here is the trailer:

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Lentil Spread

Wow! I do not know how I went two weeks without blogging.  Okay, to be honest, I do have somewhat of an idea.  Here is an idea of what my last two weeks looked like: Come home, pour a glass of red wine/7-up, get out a bowl of lentil spread and carrots, and park myself on the couch to reach Catching Fire/Mockingjay (Yes, I have jumped on The Hunger Games bandwagon!).

I finally finished the series, which is bittersweet.  It ended well, but it is always a little sad when you have to say goodbye to characters and a series ends.  I still have the movie to look forward to, which I am hoping to see in the next few weeks.  Today I am going to go to the public library to look for something to read next.  It will probably be something that doesn't capture as much attention (the newest murder mystery, perhaps?) so I can still manage to feed and clothe myself during the week :)

Yes, that is really the Boise Public Library above.  So cute!

Back to the lentil spread that served as my sidekick to reading - the one delicious thing I do want to write about.  This spread would be great on sandwiches, makes a great dip with baby carrots (or any other dipping vegetables) and it awesome with garlic naan or pita bread.  It is very similiar in texture to hummus, but with a slightly different flavor.  I got the recipe from Bon Appetit April 2012 and it is the recreation of a recipe from the Rock Center Cafe in NYC.

The Rock Center Cafe is at Rockefeller Center and is apparently a great place to eat, as it has stunning views of Manhanttan and the Rock Ice Skating Rink.  They are known for their breakfasts and "contemporary American" lunches and dinners.  The restaurant has a cute prix fixe menu to choose from for their skating and dinner combo - one appetizer, entree and dessert per person, plus an ice skating package.  It is $45/person, but I have a feeling that isn't expensive for NYC. 
Sign me up for the Crystal Valley Farm Organic Chicken, Chocolate Blackout Cake, and Roasted Beets with Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese...sounds amazing.

I can't find the lentil dip on their menu, but the point is, I want you to feel like a fancy New Yorker, overlooking the city of Manhanttan, eating your $20 lentil dip, just because you can.

Lentil Spread

1 head of garlic - get the real stuff, not the preminced stuff.  We are going to roast it
1 Tbsp olive oil plus 1/2 cup olive oil (I only used 1/4 cup but that did effect the texture)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 Tbsp chopped carrot
3 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 cup lentils
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp or more fresh lemon juice (I used three tiny little lemons)

How to

Roast the garlic
1) Preheat oven to 375*.  Make a tin foil platter by folding tin foil into a square and making a bit of an edge.  Cut the top half inch off the head of garlic and drizzle and place on the foil sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil, then put into the oven.  Roast for about 50 minutes - garlic will start to brown a bit.  Don't let this concern you too much. When done, let garlic cool, and take out the roasted cloves.  I did this by piercing them with a fork tine then pulling them out of the skin - they pull right out.

Warning: You should probably make a few heads of these if you are going to the trouble of roasting garlic.  Roasted garlic is *amazing* and you are going to wish you had more to add to about anything and everything you eat.  I even eat it straight out of the skin, with nothing else.

Preparing the dip ingredients
2) Heat 1/2 Tbsp olive oil in a lare heavy pot over medium heat.  Add onion, celery, carrot, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf; season with salt and pepper.  Leave herbs in sprig-form. Cook until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Note I was short on rosemary so I just used more thyme.

3) Add lentils, stir for two minutes.

4) Add wine, simmer until almost all is evaporated, about 4-5 minutes.

5) Pour in chicken broth to cover lentils.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer.  Add more brothe every 5 or 10 minutes, as needed.  Cook until lentils are tender - about 30 minutes.

6) Let cool and discard herbs.

7) Put lentil mixture and garlic cloves in a blender.  Add 1/2 cup olive oil (I only added 1/4 cup olive oil, but this made the spread chunkier, so be warned) and lemon juice.  I found the more lemon juice I added, the more delicious, so keep in mind you can add a lot. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with carrots or other dipping vegetables, with pita or naan, or on sandwiches.