Archive for June, 2010

Tuesday Field Trip: Ali Babba’s

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

This week’s Tuesday field trip was to Ali Babba’s Time Out Deli. It had been a while since I’d been there and I don’t think I’ve ever actually gotten food to stay. I love the combo restaurant/grocery store. There is fresh produce and frozen products and about 7 different kinds of pita bread. I was really tempted to by the Halaal marshmallows but didn’t.

We ordered Falafel, Kibbeh in a sack (grossest name for something ever), fries, and fresh fried cauliflower. The fried cauliflower reaffirmed my opinion that it is the most underutilized/appreciated vegetable ever. It was amazing. No batter, just fried straight with seasoning and it seems like they squeezed lemon juice over it after it had been fried. It was so, so good and unique. The Falafel, as always, was really good. I get these period cravings for Falafel, I’m not sure what it is, but it always hits to spot.

The Kibbeh was not good. The bulgar outside was mushy and not cooked and you could barely taste the lamb. Holy Land has AMAZING Kibbeh, they are smaller and more appetizer size. The sack it was in was just pita bread. The pita on both were pretty typical. Nothing amazing but not bad either.

As I was paying the very happy man behind the counter offered us some cheese baklava. It was amazing. The cheese was a custard of sort, vanilla, and then it was in the traditional baklava puff pastry. It was cut into squares and was resting on one of his sandwich grills so it was still warm when we got it. He also talked me into an Angel’s Kiss. He said to just try it and if I didn’t like it he would pay for it. It was totally delicious. My favorite kind of sweet, not too sweet and not heavy. It was a poof of Halaal marshmallow covered in a thin layer of dark chocolate with a very thin wafer at the bottom. It was in the shape of a large Hershey’s Kiss.

The other awesome thing about Ali Babba’s, besides the fact it exists in Knoxville, it is open till 2AM. Now the chances of driving out there after a night on the town are slim, but it is comforting to know.

Bonnaroo Graffiti

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Finally getting through my pictures to post a few. This guy was one of my favorites:

Wedding Shot

Monday, June 28th, 2010

I think the peacock had a bit of a stressful weekend when it’s barn was invaded with 200 wedding guests which included small children that chased the regal bird…

Bonnaroo Eating

Friday, June 25th, 2010

One of the most challenging things about Bonnaroo is eating in Manchester for 2-weeks. Between staff catering and the virtual lack of a grocery store besides Walmart and no kitchen in the majority of our rooms, it is, well sometimes not fun.

There are a couple major standouts though. Manchester has some things Knoxville does not, most importantly and hamburger joint owned by the Mayor. Now sure our Mayor’s family owns Pilot which owns lots and lots of other things but I’d rather have a Jiffy Burger…


Jiffy Burger is what places like the Shake Shack are based on. This is the real deal with curb side service, patty melts (which they call something else and I can’t remember right now), a number of options for your burger and now the menu features a Bonnaroo Burger! The burgers are served on a white bread bun. We ordered a bacon burger at one point and there was so much bacon on it Mary Beth had to take a few pieces off. On the fries front they have crinkle and battered. For my taste, I like crispy fries better, the battered are the best. However if you want to go whole hog get the onion rings. One onion ring is practically enough for an entire meal.

So much bacon...

This is what I call a Patty Melt

I was on Thursday for an interview. I timed it so we will finish right at dinner time!

Summer Wedding Cocktails

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Cocktail Station at Brian's Wedding

My brother and now official sister in law got married last weekend. I helped with the cocktails which were executed pretty well by the caterer.

First the Lavender Fizz:

Put a handful of dried lavender into 1, 750 ML of a Vodka. Let it seep for 1-2 weeks.
To make the drink:
2 oz of lavender Vodka
1 Tbs of simple syrup
Pour over ice in an 8 oz glass and top with an extra dry Champagne

Next we served a Basil Gin Mojito:
muddle basil in the glass (pour a tiny bit of gin in to release flavors as you muddle)
2 oz gin
pour over ice in an 8 oz glass
top with
3-4 oz limeade

Finally the Blackberry Margarita
recipe makes 4 drinks from Gourmet Magazine’s website
this entire drink can be mixed ahead of time
2 cups (about 11 ounces) blackberries
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup triple sec
3/4 cup white tequila
Purée blackberries in a blender. Force purée through a fine sieve into a small bowl and discard solids. In a cocktail shaker, combine 1/2 cup purée and remaining ingredients and shake well. Strain drink into 4 stemmed glasses.

Johnson City Farmer’s Market

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

I got wind of donuts early in the week of my brother’s wedding. I kind of couldn’t believe it, my now official sister in law’s mother said there was an Amish family who had a booth making donuts at the Johnson City Farmer’s Market. Fresh and glazed. Word spread quickly among the wedding party and soon we had a contingent, enough to share time in the line at least.

Start to finish in this line: 1-hour

We probably should have guessed there would be a line but somehow I thought our team of donut eaters would be able to cruise in and out. After taking turns in the line, checking out the other booths, getting some Bubba’s iced tea (there were 25 flavor choices among them, jalepeno sweet tea), buying 2 cakes for my birthday (strawberry and a spice cake with caramel icing), and then making the rounds again we reached the front of this hour long line.

So there were a lot of things happening once we got up close. There were 2 ladies managing the actual dough, which seemed to be pre-mixed, but the actual donut shapes were cut there in the booth. Once the shapes were cut, they had a proofer where I imagine the second rising was taking place. They were then dropped into the fryer about 6 at a time, turned with what looked like a long chop stick. After the donuts were browned and fried to crispy perfection they were dipped in a glaze and then cooled for a minute or two on drying racks.

The result: perhaps the best $1.50 I’ve ever spent. They were crisp on the outside and light as air on the inside. It was well worth the hour spent in line…

I wish I had one right now!

Tuesday Field Trip

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Today’s Tuesday field was out to the Riverplains Dairy Farm. Mockingbird Events is partnering with Riverplains for what is sure to be an amazing farm to table dinner on August 14. Today was our menu planning session. It was a hot day here in Tennessee but beautiful. The sky was blue and the land around green. I drove out in the hottest part of the day, a good time to be inside instead of weeding or milking.

Anna and Jennifer are amazing. Anna made spelt crackers. The spelt was soaked in yogurt Jennifer made and then cooked into a cracker with coconut oil. We also sampled a lovely gazpacho with a 24-hour beef stock as a base that we will serve. In addition to planning the menu we talked about the loss of farmland and ways to get that message out. They told me about soaking grains, seeds, and legumes before cooking or eating because it is easier for your body to digest. That is the way these food items have been eaten for centuries. It is only in the last 100 years the way prepare or process these foods have changed.

This dinner is going to be fun, beautiful, and engaging. I am so excited. Stay tuned to Mockingbird for more details. Tickets will go on sale next week.