Culinary Weekend Getaway

November 6, 2009

I am excited to report that today at noon is the start of a much-needed weekend getaway.  About 4 years back, while traveling to various wineries in the area, my mom happened upon a little artist community (they dub  themselves “The Art Coast of Michigan), Saugatuck.  Upon her return, she told the husband and I that we had to make a trip up there.   In researching various places to stay in the area, we found a B&B called The Kirby House, booked a stay and had the best time there!  The owners, Jim and Ray, are excellent hosts who create a warm and comforting atmosphere.  Ray is an amazing chef who provides delicious breakfasts each morning of your stay and I’m pretty sure Jim does the baking. The town of Saugatuck, itself had much to offer in the way of cuisine, wine and lots of unique shopping. 

What exactly is the culinary aspect of the getaway you ask? Well, The Kirby House offers a cooking class package twice a year.  My mom and I attended last year and had a fabulous time. Some of the dishes we prepared were stuffed pasta shells and (my favorite) butternut squash risotto.  My sister is joining us for this trip and I am looking forward to a relaxing weekend of food, wine and spending time with some of my favorite ladies.  I am certain I will have much to report back on (pictures too, promise)!  Hope everyone has a great weekend!

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I’m back.

October 13, 2009

My apologies for the hiatus.  I figure since I don’t have too many (if any) foodie followers yet, that my absence is forgiven, if even noticed.  So, two big pieces of news to catch everyone up on.

1. I didn’t end up making the lobster mac-and-cheese for the anniversary dinner, after all.  Turns out in the lovely state of Indiana, we don’t get the greatest selection of lobster and when we can get our hands on some, it’ll cost ya a whopping 45 bucks a pound.  Pair the cost of the lobster with the cost of the gruyere and aged white cheddar and I was looking at a pretty pricey “night-in” without even picking up the wine yet.  I have been known to splurge when it comes to cooking but while pondering the cost of the lobster, my eye wandered into my grocery cart and onto the jumbo package of Huggies…and I knew what I had to do.  I went with our ole standby, crabcakes.  We love crab and I actually have recipe that we really enjoy memorized from our days back in the restaurant biz, so it was a no-brainer! We had them alongside some baby greens with shaved parmasean and balsamic vinegarette and an appetizer of crostinis topped with the aged white cheddar (I had already picked it up from the farmer’s market) and sliced galas.  Pretty tasty indeed.

2. The second thing I have to report on is that I was able to go on a bit of a “foodie trip” to a place called Jungle Jim’s in Cincinnati, OH.  Some of you may have heard of it but I never had until I learned of a group of people from a cooking class that I sometimes attend were going to trek on over there.  After hearing a little about it and feeling like it would be a great “me” thing to do, I decided to take part and I am glad I did.  One piece of advice, prepare to be overwhelmed.  This. Place. Has. Everything.  Serioulsy, it can take up to 8 hours, easy to make it through the entire store but it’s a fun place.  Some of the highlights for me, personally included:

The Wine Department – Nothing else really needs to be said here, right?
The Cigar Shoppe – More for the hubster but a serious selection to choose from and super reasonable!
The Bakery – I’ll say it again, THE BAKERY.  Everything from cakes, cookies, teacakes, homemade granola, fresh breads (including my personal favorite, the jalapeno cheddar) to gourmet baked goods for your dogs, this bakery is like Grandma’s kitchen on steriods.
The International Market – The teas, chutneys and marmalades imported from England, olive oils imported from everywhere and a wide range of spices imported from India topped the list of what impressed me within the International Market.

Sure, the store had it’s fair share of tackiness including large “amusement park”-type characters that sing and dance but hey, with the selection they offered, it was worth subjecting myself to such tackiness.  And besides, if I would have had the little buddy with me, the takiness would have served as a great distraction to allow Mommy more browsing time.