Dock & Roll

Last week I was craving the oddest thing – a delicious lobster roll. Could I seriously crave anything more costly? Well, I could actually, but wow, lobster rolls are not cheap. Thankfully, David is from the East Coast and when I exclaimed my hankering, he was totally in. We thought we would give Dock & Roll a try having driven by it so many times and promising that one day we would stop. Well we did, and it’s good, damn good.

David got the Maine Event (lobster meat served chilled with Dock & Roll‘s special house mayo, old bay lemon butter, and chive on a freshly baked roll) and I got the Long Island (celery and onion added to the Maine Event – this girl has to have crunch) plus Lobster Mac ‘n’ Cheese (because why wouldn’t you?) and tater tots (once again, why wouldn’t you?). We brought them home and I snarfed mine in about eight minutes and this is a good size lobster roll y’all. Everything was absolutely delicious. That mac ‘n’ cheese was so good I’m glad we didn’t have a bigger serving because we would have just kept eating and eating and eating. Even the tater tots were delicious. The only complaint, and this is coming from my aforementioned East Coast husband, but they didn’t serve it on a split top roll. Now, no one in the city serves lobster rolls on a split top roll, and, you can’t get them anywhere here. When David goes to Central Market or Whole Foods Market, he will ask the bakery if they have split top rolls and every time he gets a no and sad face. David shakes his fist in the air and makes his own sad face. I guess it’s kind of a big deal actually because when he mentions it to other East Coast friends the complaints are strong and loud. Maybe this is the equivalent of not having decent Tex-Mex on the West Coast? I felt that way when I lived in Los Angeles!

One final note was the price. For two lobster rolls, tater tots and the mac ‘n’ cheese it was $37.00. To put that into perspective, there is another lobster roll in the city that is $28.00 and not as big as this one. It’s a good bang for your buck considering you are eating delicious and decadent lobster.

Get thee to Dock & Roll today!



Tomato Ricotta Tart

It’s no secret that I loathe ricotta cheese. Seriously, give me a gallon of gasoline and a match and I will torch a batch at a time. So why, oh why, did I choose to make this Tomato Ricotta Tart from Cooking Light that has 3/4 cup of the yucky stuff in it? Because I’m a ricotta martyr? Because I’m a glutton for punishment? Because I like to prove myself wrong? Ding, ding, ding!

I was proved very wrong indeed lambs and I’m grateful that I tried this because we out-of-this world loved this dish. The crust was perfect, a little crumbly but in a good way and the tomatoes with the ricotta filling were so perfectly balanced, we were slap your knee happy. Also, it was so easy to put together and with a simple spinach side salad, dinner was done in no time. As an added bonus, we ate the leftovers for the next two days for breakfast. I told David the next time we hosted a brunch I was going to be make sure this stunner was at the table. Yum!

Photo by Becky Luigart Stayner


Josephine House

I’ve been talking to my friend Kari about trying Josephine House and lo and behold the day we decided to go it was touted as one of the best restaurants in America along with its big sister restaurant Jeffrey’s in Bon Appetit magazine. “Great,” I thought in my head, “now it’s going to be swimming with people.”

But alas, when we got there for happy hour it was filled with a few ladies, but wasn’t too bad.  Close your eyes however and think for a moment about “ladies who lunch” and that’s exactly type of clientele that was there. If you know me at all, I’m really not that type, so I felt a little bit out of place from the get go. We quickly scurried to a spot outside by the fireplace (that’s got to be THE spot during the fall let me tell you) and asked about the Happy Hour specials. So, don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t expecting huge discounts but still,  it was $2 off drinks and 25% off food. I remember giving Kari this look when our very nice waiter mentioned the specials and thinking, “so your $15 glass of overpriced wine is now $12? What a deal!” Trying to not get too snarky, we glanced over the menu and ordered a spinach salad with peaches, these awesome deep fried rice cakes called calas, the Nicoise Salad and Ratatouille Empanadas.

Let me be clear here that I owned a food company so I know it’s painful when someone reviews your food in a negative light, but I’m most certainly not trying to be negative because I did think the food was good, not knock your socks off great, but good. I think the other issue was that I was walking in with high expectations with “the best restaurant in the U.S.” blitz, and the prices for the size of plates you are getting felt, well, a little like a very ritzy, overpriced place in Dallas. Two bright stars were the calas and empanadas. Whoever did that dough for the emapadas needs a medal or award or something as I thought it was perfect.

The other great thing about Josephine House is that place is downright impeccable. Every detail is pitch perfect and no stone is left unturned. From the thick, expensive feeling, personally imprinted napkins in the bathroom, perfectly chilled white wine, awesome and perfectly balanced Paloma, to the unfussy and effortless service –  everything about the look and feel was phenomenal. Like I said, the food was good, but I think it just wasn’t up to par with the impeccable surroundings, service and drinks. We will definitely go back in the fall, sit by the amazing fire place and give her another try!


What a difference an egg makes…

One little egg and it’s yoooolk! Ha, sorry, I was singing this in my head as I was writing the title. You might recall my Delicious Failure post that I had with the Crabless Cakes from Food & Wine magazine. Well, let me tell you, I went back and did it all over again, this time adding one little egg and then placing the formed patties (I hate that word for some reason, ugh and the word moist, bleh) in the fridge and VOILA! perfect little crabless crabcakes. Just one egg and they turned out perfect and still so, so, so delicious. Neat huh?

That’s really it guys. Have a gentle crabless cake day.

Southwestern Cobb Salad with Sweet Onion Dressing

A conversation about this amazing Southwestern Cobb Salad with Sweet Onion Dressing.


Emily: “It’s defnitely the toasted pecans that make this salad awesome, definitely.” Chomp, chomp, chomp.

David: “Oh really? See, I think it’s the eggs and bacon.”  Chomp, chomp, chomp.

Emily: “Maybe the pecans with dressing? That dressing is manna from heaven.” Chomp, chomp, chomp.

David: “My favorite dressing you ever made for sure. But I still think it’s the eggs and bacon. And maybe the bleu cheese.”  Chomp, chomp, chomp.

Emily: “Don’t even get me started on the sprouts, such a great addition. And I love the tomatoes and corn.”  Chomp, chomp, chomp.

David: “Wow, I just figured out why this salad took you so long to make! There’s so much to it! Are you going to check this under ‘lengthy recipe but worth the whisking, sweat and tears?'”  Chomp, chomp, chomp.

Emily: “Yes honey…I still say it’s the pecans.”  Chomp, chomp, chomp.

Seriously, this salad did take a while since there are so many components but, this was one of the top five favorite salads that I’ve ever made in this house. Definitely give it a try and don’t leave out the pecans.  Chomp, chomp, chomp.

A Delicious Failure

It’s rare that I review a dish that doesn’t work out perfectly, since (obviously) I test recipes that work to ensure you have a great experience at home. Alas, last night we had a real conundrum on our hands. I made this Crabless Cakes with Hearts of Palm & Corn from Food & Wine and while they maintained their shape when formed, boy did they fall apart once they hit the pan. It was so bad it looked like I was making a hash instead of crabcakes. I kept reviewing all of the steps and ingredients to make sure I hadn’t missed something glaring, but I didn’t. At first I thought it was my pan, so I moved to another non-stick pan and the same thing happened with the remaining cakes. Oooh, I was not happy lambs. I was about to scrap it but then decided to give it a taste. It was GREAT! So great in fact that I had seconds, which I rarely ever do. Granted,  I was eating a veggie/breadcrumb hash instead of crabcakes, but the flavors were outstanding.

Photo by Con Poulos
How the Crabless Cakes are Supposed to Look…Photo by Con Poulos

I am somewhat comforted that another fellow cooker tried this recipe and had the same outcome. Her idea was to add a bit of mashed sweet potato as binder, and it worked. Or, if you are OK with it, you could use two slightly beaten eggs. I would also suggest placing them in the fridge once formed to let them set up. I’m going to go back and try a few of these steps and report back to you on what works. These were awesome in flavor and pretty easy in assembly, so I definitely want to give them another try to make them perfect. I’ll keep you posted!

Pure Gratitude

I remember very vividly my first Pure Barre class. It was at the Westlake studio and I was super excited. Having been a dancer for most of my teens and early twenties, I walked in thinking “I’ve so got this.” The cocky Emily swiftly exited stage left in about the first five minutes of class and I was served a big slice of humble, butt-kicking pie. I was sweating bullets and my legs were shaking like a leaf in a category five hurricane. But, I am not one to shy away from a challenge and I went back the next day, and the next and the next. After three weeks, I could start to see a difference. My tushie was lifted, arms were toned, my stomach felt like it had a girdle (in a good way) and my legs had not been this toned since I had danced.  Those ladies really do mean it when they say “Lift. Tone. Burn.”

Pure Barre Thigh Workout (photo courtesy of Pure Barre)
Pure Barre Thigh Workout (photo courtesy of Pure Barre)

I did Pure Barre before our wedding and did the new mom bounce back after I had Lila. Cue some current job/financial issues, us having to put our dear, dear dog Cricket down (oh sweet girl, we miss you so) and Lila having an issue with her kidney that we hope will turn out OK, but medical bills have been piling up. Unfortunately, Pure Barre was the first  on a list of items to get cut. While saddened that I wouldn’t get to see the lovely ladies everyday, I was just thankful that we still had our amazing family and friends, a roof over our head and food on the table – which is more than some have, so I can’t complain. Fortunately, like most of the ladies at Pure Barre, I’ve gotten to know the instructors pretty well and when I slightly mentioned to Kathryn, a supremely sweet instructor, about my current situation she mentioned getting together for coffee. I’ve always thought she was awesome so of course said “sure!”

We met up a few days ago and she mentioned that a client had given them funds to support one person who was a Pure Barre enthusiast but might be going through a tough time and couldn’t afford it. Kathryn informed me that I had been chosen as the lucky recipient. I was speechless. In fact, I cried all the way back to my car. The client’s reason? She believed in Pure Barre so much that she wanted to make sure that someone else who loved it too didn’t lose out on the experience. That’s so awesome! She’s paying forward exercise! I don’t need to list the myriad of reasons to exercise, but I do Pure Barre specifically because I love what it does for my body and my mental clarity, but also, my enthusiasm for the other women and instructors is equally as strong. Can you really name another workout place where an instructor would take the time to get to you know you like that? Can you name another place that a person would willingly pay for another person’s exercise because they believed in so much? I know I can’t think of any.

I started back at class yesterday and I could not be more grateful for this woman’s charity, kindness and thoughtfulness – not to mention Kathryn, the amazing instructor with a heart of gold. I only hope someday that I can return the favor for someone else and help them feel as great as I do now. It’s a little thing, but during trying times, it really is the little things that count the most. Thank you my Pure Barre angel!

The Strangest Dish I’ve Made Yet

If I told you that you were about to eat a dish with marjoram, eggs, almonds, cauliflower and tomatoes, you might think you were in an episode of Chopped. To me, when I first saw this Smothered Cauliflower with Eggs recipe from Food & Wine I thought it sounded weird and a little bit gross. So, with that positive intro let’s see how it turned out shall we?

I told David what I was making and he gave me this inquisitive look like he wanted to take my temperature to ensure I was feeling OK. I mentioned that I just had to make it because it sounded so odd, and when I promised we would order a pizza if it sucked, he shrugged his shoulders and ran off to play with Lila. When he puts her on his shoulders and dances around, she gets the biggest smile on her face. I swear at that moment I’m the happiest person on the planet. Love.


Back to the odd dish. First, this was a pretty simple to put together and second, it didn’t take much time at all, except for coring all those cursed tomatoes. I did add about a tablespoon of minced garlic when I added the tomatoes, but otherwise I followed it to the letter.

I was plating it up and thought, “I am about to call Domino’s” but then, we sat down to eat and slurped it up. It was really, really good! As I said at the dinner table, “this isn’t good because I thought it was going to be so bad that it surprised me good, but actually, I’ll make this again good!” I will say it was pretty hearty and given the unbearable heat outside, I will probably wait until October or so to give this another try.

Photo by Con Poulos

Speaking of weird, I have been having the yummiest and I think is somewhat strange breakfast each morning. I do a ½ cup of low-fat vanilla yogurt, tablespoon of granola, teaspoon of agave nectar, one chopped, ripe banana, tablespoon of ground flax seed and two tablespoons of smooth peanut butter. Talk about slurping this up. Yum! Give it a try! It’s like a healthy “Elvis” sandwich without the bread.