Nov 2006

Flying Monkey Patisserie – Philadelphia

November 4, 2006
Cuisine: Desserts and Bakeries

Reading Terminal Market
12th and Arch Streets, Philadelphia

Phone: 215-928-0340

Raspberry Jam Squares – Buttery shortbread crust and raspberry jam ($2.50)

Astronomer: The Raspberry Jam Square from the Flying Monkey was quite a tasty treat, with a hearty, satisfying texture and just the right amount of sweetness. Best of all, it contained no sinful ingredients (i.e. margarine). I hope to return to the Flying Monkey and try another one of their creations the next time I am in the Reading Terminal Market and hunger strikes.

Gastronomer: I took a few bites of the Astronomer’s square; it was pretty good. Whereas the Astronomer is a big fan of buttery crusts and fruit fillings (fairly mild flavors), I’m more of a ultra-sweet, tooth ache kinda gal when it comes to desserts. I look forward to trying the Flying Monkey’s wide array of cupcakes in the near future.

Flying Monkey Patisserie on Urbanspoon

Nov 2006

Souplantation – San Diego (La Mesa)

October 31, 2006
Cuisine: American

9158 Fletcher Pkwy.
La Mesa, CA 91942

Phone: 619-462-4232

Tossed Salads: Caesar Salad Asiago (Non-Vegetarian), Green Chili Ranch Salad with Cornbread Bites, Won Ton Chicken Happiness

Prepared Salads: German Potato (Low-fat, Vegetarian), Joan’s Broccoli Madness (Non-Vegetarian), Poppyseed Coleslaw (Vegetarian), Tuna Tarragon, Wild Rice & Chicken

Soups: Big Chunk Chicken Noodle (Low-fat), Deep Kettle House Chili (Low-fat), Vegetable Medley (Low-fat, Vegetarian), Yankee Clipper Clam Chowder w/ Bacon

Pastas: Garden Vegetable w/ Meatballs, Macaroni & Cheese (Vegetarian)

Muffins: Apple Cinnamon Bran Muffin (96% Fat-free), Buttermilk Biscuits, Buttermilk Cornbread (Low-fat), Chocolate Brownie Muffin, Garlic Asiago Focaccia, Quattro Formaggio Focaccia, Strawberry Buttermilk Muffin

Desserts: Chocolate Pudding (Low-fat), Raspberry Apple Cobbler, Tapioca Pudding (Low-fat), Seasonal Fresh Fruit, Vanilla Soft Serve, Chocolate Frozen Yogurt

Souplantation is an all-you-can eat buffet featuring a huge salad bar, soup bar, pasta bar, dessert station and breads station. It’s one of my all-time favorite restaurants in San Diego because it’s healthy, fun, and very tasty. I’ve been going here since I was a kid and will continue to return as often as possible when I visit.

During this visit to Souplantation, I was accompanied by mother and cousin Phil. Both of them are just as enthusiastic about the place as I am. Okay, maybe a little less.

I started off my meal (as always) with two salads: one plate full of Won Ton Chicken Happiness and another filled with hodgepodge salad items. My hodgepodge plate included raw spinach, Caesar Salad Asiago, Green Chili Ranch Salad with Cornbread Bites, and extra croutons. Cornbread Bites rock!

My second course was the Big Chunk Chicken Noodle. I added in some fresh green onions intended for the Deep Kettle House Chili. The best part of the soup were the noodles; unusually thick, but awesomely delicious.

My third course was a plethora of breads including a blueberry muffin with maple whipped butter (extra honey) and Quattro Formaggio Focaccia. The Focaccia was excellent. I’ve seen it for years at the breads station, but never tried it until this visit. The bread was crisp in all the right places and the cheese was wonderfully melted. I will definitely eat it on future visits.

I finished off my meal with the Raspberry Apple Cobbler. The topping was delectable and the filling was piping hot. Next time I will have it with some soft-serve!

Oct 2006

Old-Fashioned Potato Gratin

  • 4 large russet potatoes, peeled and sliced about 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Comte cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Put the potato slices in a bowl of water to cover so they don’t discolor while you prepare the dish. Firmly rub the garlic clove all over the bottom and sides of a 10-inch gratin dish to coat the interior with its juices. Allow to dry for a few minutes, and then rub the bottom with the butter.

Arrange a layer of potatoes, drained and patted dry, in a slightly overlapping fashion in the bottom of the gratin dish. Season with a good dash of salt and pepper and a little of the two cheeses. Continue layering the potatoes and cheese in this fashion, seasoning each layer and finishing with the cheese (you should have at least three layers). Drizzle the cream along the sides of the dish, so as not to displace the cheese.

Place the gratin dish, uncovered, on the top oven rack and bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until the cream has been absorbed and the top is crispy and golden. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 6.

Recipe from Frank Stitt’s Southern Table

Substitutions: White cheddar was used in place of the Comte.