Posts Tagged ‘Eggs’

Plantation Cafe & Deli – Hilton Head, SC

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 by virginia

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After lamenting the lack of good she crab soup over the course of our week in Hilton Head, we asked around whenever we had the opportunity to talk with locals, and the general consensus seemed to be that the best she crab soup on the island could be found at the Plantation Cafe & Deli. It’s a diner-like cafe that’s only open for breakfast and lunch, and there are two locations on the island – one on the north end and one on the south. We wound up going to the northern location on the morning that we were heading home from Hilton Head.

The menu is huge, as you would expect at any diner. There were lots of eggs and assorted breakfast items available, as well as numerous sandwiches and salads. We started with a bowl of the famous she crab soup.

She crab soup

She crab soup

Chock full of crab, thick, creamy, and rich, this really was the she crab soup of our dreams. The crab flavor was very pronounced, and it had a bit of a pepper kick to it that wasn’t overwhelming. A bowl was pretty filling though, so we were glad to have shared it, though I was craving more when we finished.

I don’t usually go for breakfast items at a diner, but a few of the breakfast dishes were calling out to me. I ended up sharing the crab cakes benedict and Elle’s southern breakfast with Josh. The crab cakes benedict featured poached eggs stacked on top of two decent-sized crab cakes and a toasted english muffin. The crab cakes had a good amount of meat in them, not a lot of filler, though they were on the mushy side rather than light and crisp. Still, it was a nice combination in terms of a runny egg on top of flavorful crab and a crunchy english muffin. We got the hollandaise sauce on the side and dipped lightly (I hate it when my eggs benedict are drowning in sauce). We had a choice of home fries or grits, and since the southern breakfast came with grits, we opted for home fries. They were shredded potatoes that were nicely browned and well seasoned on the outside, soft in the middle. We also had a choice of fresh fruit or hot cinnamon apples, and of course we went with the apples. They were like apple pie filling, though not as soft, but warm and comforting.

Crab cakes benedict with homes fries and hot cinnamon apples

Crab cakes benedict with hot cinnamon apples and home fries

Elle’s southern breakfast featured a big bowl of grits topped with three fried green tomatoes, two eggs any style (we opted for over easy), two sausage patties, and a choice of a buttermilk biscuit or toast (biscuit, of course). The fried green tomatoes were crispy on the outside and juicy and tart on the inside, but they seemed to be lacking something – more seasoning, some sauce, anything. It seemed odd that they were in the bowl of grits, so we just moved them off to the plate and doused them in salt and hot sauce, which made a big difference. The grits were buttery and creamy, and we tossed a little hot sauce in there as well for a nice kick. I’m not a fan of sausage patties in general (too many bad fast food breakfasts growing up!) but these had a nice browned crust on the outside and were milder in the flavor, which I preferred. The biscuit was fluffy and just plain yummy.

Elle's southern breakfast - fried green tomatoes, grits, eggs, biscuit, sausage

Elle’s southern breakfast – fried green tomatoes, grits, eggs, biscuit, sausage

Overall, we were pretty impressed with the food at the Plantation Cafe & Deli. It’s a cute diner that serves large portions at reasonable prices. The she crab soup was amazing (I would go back just to eat another bowl of it), and the ambiance is casual and friendly. It’s a great spot to grab a filling breakfast or lunch, and I hope that we can find the time to make it there again this year.

Plantation Cafe & Deli
96 Mathews Dr.
Hilton Head, SC

Dye’s Gullah Fixin’s – Hilton Head, SC

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014 by virginia

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Dye’s Gullah Fixin’s is a restaurant in Hilton Head that I’ve wanted to try for years, but it’s got a reputation for being hard to get into. The daily hours vary depending on whether Dye is catering a party elsewhere. We were finally able to snag a reservation last year and I was thrilled to be able to taste home-style Gullah cuisine for the first time. Per wikipedia, the Gullah are descendents of African slaves who reside in the Lowcountry region of South Carolina and Georgia. The cuisine reflects a blend of these African and Southern roots, and so it is a bit different from the usual Lowcountry fare we’ve eaten before in terms of flavors.

The menu isn’t very long and is pretty straightforward. We ordered a few appetizers to share, and we indulged on the complimentary cornbread with sugar cane syrup on the side. The cornbread was deliciously moist and didn’t even need the syrup or extra butter that came with it.

Cornbread with cane syrup

Cornbread with cane syrup

We got a few orders of the shrimp devil eggs, which were deviled eggs with shrimp mixed into the mashed yolks. These were well seasoned, not too heavy or mayo-y, and made for a nice bite to start.

Shrimp devil eggs

Shrimp devil eggs

The seafood hush puppies were fantastic. They were served to us piping hot, and had a delicately crisp outer shell. There was a mixture of crab and shrimp on the inside, and these were surprisingly light, not too dense. The hush puppies came with a homemade tartar sauce, and they were one of our favorite dishes of the night.

Seafood hush puppies

Seafood hush puppies

We also got steamed shrimp, which were bathed in a garlic butter and served with cocktail sauce. The shrimp were cooked just right so that they were tender and plump. Simple, yet tasty.

Steamed shrimp

Steamed shrimp

Lastly, we all shared a crab cake plate as part of our appetizers. The crab cakes were two big patties bursting with blue crab meat and very little filler, aside from a few veggies and seasonings. Since this was technically a dinner plate, it came with our choice of two sides. We opted for collard greens, which were more rustic in flavor than the typical collard greens we’ve tasted before, allowing the slight bitterness of the greens to shine through. We also chose the mac n’ cheese, which was baked and on the dry side, though had decent cheese flavor.

Crab cakes with collard greens and macaroni and cheese

Crab cakes with collard greens and mac n’ cheese

For our main course, Josh and I split the country fried chicken and the smothered shrimp and grits. The fried chicken came with a breast, thigh, drumstick, and wing (half a chicken) and was nicely crisp on the outside, not the least bit greasy. The meat was tender and juicy, and everything was well seasoned. We had a choice of two sides and opted for more collard greens, plus lima beans, which were savory in flavor and buttery in texture.

Country fried chicken with collard greens and butter beans

Fried chicken with collard greens and lima beans

The smothered shrimp and grits were covered in a rich brown gravy and came with bacon and smoked sausage on the side. While I liked that you could crumble in the bacon yourself, thus ensuring that it stayed crispy, there was too much gravy on the plate. I get that it’s supposed to be smothered, but the grits were totally lost in the sea of thick gravy. The shrimp were also overcooked, rendering them tough and chewy. It was too bad, because I like the flavors of the dish, but it got to be overwhelming very quickly.

Smothered shrimp and grits

Smothered shrimp and grits

Overall, we were generally pleased with our meal at Dye’s Gullah Fixin’s. Everything is homemade, and you can see the thought and care put in every dish. The only miss of the evening for us was the smothered shrimp and grits, but everything else was fantastic, especially the appetizers. The hush puppies, the crab cakes, and the fried chicken were our favorites f the evening. The food and the ambiance are nothing fancy, but that’s part of the charm. Dye herself was in the kitchen and came out to speak with us several times. She’s pretty straightforward and no nonsense, but you can tell she’s passionate about her cooking and about sharing Gullah food with newbies like us. Her niece, who was about 12, was our server for the evening, and she was extremely polite and efficient. J took a particular liking to her and wouldn’t eat unless she was around, which we all thought was pretty adorable. It’s definitely a place worth checking out, if you can get a reservation!

Dye’s Gullah Fixin’s
840 William Hilton Pkwy.
Hilton Head Island, SC

The NoMad

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013 by virginia

Josh and I recently celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary and to honor the occasion, we had a rare night out in the city by ourselves. With Josh’s parents watching J for us, we were finally able to have a nice meal without worrying about diaper bags, teethers, toys, baby food, or imminent meltdowns. We didn’t have much debate on where to eat for our anniversary dinner. Josh and I are both big fans of Eleven Madison Park, where we celebrated our second anniversary, and so making a reservation at The NoMad, Chef Daniel Humm and Restaurateur Will Guidara’s newish restaurant (they’re the team behind EMP), was a no-brainer.

When Josh called the restaurant earlier in the week to confirm our reservation, he let them know that we were celebrating our anniversary, and requested a “romantic” table. While they said there’s really no table more romantic than others, they did seat us at a nice table in the center of the Parlour room, next to a pillar so that we had a little privacy, with not many other tables so close by. We were also wished a happy anniversary by several people before we were even seated, which I thought was very nice, and they poured us complimentary glasses of sparkling wine to toast with.

Bread was served first, and it was pretty fantastic. It was a whole loaf of flatbread, similar to foccacia but slightly crustier, that was topped with rosemary and garlic and filled with chickpeas. The bread was served warm, and the aroma coming off of it was heavenly. It was light, not dense, and had just the perfect amount of salt on the outside. I’ve read that the toppings change depending on the season, but I really enjoyed the combination we received. I think we showed a lot of restraint by pacing ourselves and not polishing the bread off immediately, and we refrained from asking for a second loaf when it was finished (although I was really tempted to!).

Flatbread with garlic, rosemary, and chickpeas

Flatbread with garlic, rosemary, and chickpeas

The menu is split into three sections – snacks, appetizers, and entrees. As The NoMad is known for its cocktails, I can see ordering a few of the snacks if you are just stopping by for a few drinks and a little nosh. While some of the snack items did seem tempting, like the sweetbreads croustillant and the beef tartare, too many things on the appetizer/entree menu were calling out to us instead. We decided to put together a mini tasting menu of our own, selecting four appetizers and two entrees to share. We asked the waiter to bring the dishes two at a time, in whatever order the kitchen deemed appropriate. Josh also asked the sommelier to put together a wine pairing for each of the dishes.

For our first course, they brought us the spring garlic veloute and the fluke. The fluke was sliced thin and served raw, though it was marinated with acid so it had a ceviche-like quality. The fish was still fresh, it just had a nice pop of brightness to it that permeated the flesh. It was served with a sorrel puree, amaranth, and royal trumpet mushrooms. The sorrel and the baby lettuce on the plate added a refreshing aspect to the dish, and the mushrooms a bit of earthiness. The amaranth provided a nice textural crunch.

Fluke with ...

Fluke marinated with sorrel, amaranth, and royal trumpet mushrooms

The spring garlic veloute was not what I expected. First, it was cold. That was fine, it was just surprising at first taste when you’re expecting something to be hot. Second, it was sour, in a vinegary sort of way. Not unpleasantly so, but it also didn’t taste much like garlic to me. We had some experience with spring garlic when we were part of a CSA, and I found it to be intensely garlicky in flavor, but not pungent. This veloute was sort of the opposite, in that it was pungent, but not garlicky. I didn’t love the veloute by itself, but when eaten with the accompanying fresh fava beans, ricotta, ham (which I think was prosciutto), and toasted crouton, it was more balanced; the other ingredients helped to mellow out the tanginess. It was also good when sopped up with the above mentioned flatbread. I just wonder if the acidity of veloute was intentional.

Spring garlic veloute with fava beans, ricotta, and ham

Spring garlic veloute with fava beans, ricotta,
and ham

For our second course, we had the tagliatelle and the egg. I think it’s probably hard to convince people to pay $17 (not including tax and tip) for an egg, but I cannot emphasize enough that if you go to The NoMad, you must order this dish. It’s a perfectly poached egg with asparagus, brown butter, and quinoa. Breaking the egg released the runny yolk that was rich and creamy, and mixed with the brown butter and quinoa, it was like the best breakfast cereal combination I could ever imagine. The toasted quinoa was nutty and crunchy, and the brown butter added a wonderful savoriness to the dish. I could eat bowl after bowl of this. The asparagus added a taste of spring to the dish and lightened it up a little, cutting through the richness of the yolk and butter just a bit. It was definitely one of our favorite dishes of the night.

egg

Egg poached with asparagus, brown butter, and quinoa

The tagliatelle was served with king crab, meyer lemon, and black pepper. There was lots of crab meat on top that was sweet and fresh. The lemon flavor was kind of subtle – there was a brightness to the dish but I kind of wish there was a bit more punch. The pasta also needed more of a sauce to bind it together, as it was a bit dry texturally. I liked the black pepper though, which added a pop to the dish.

Tagliatelle with king crab, meyer lemon, and black pepper

Tagliatelle with king crab, meyer lemon, and
black pepper

For our main course, we shared the suckling pig and the duck. We discussed the famous roast chicken for two before our meal, ultimately deciding against ordering it for fear that it wouldn’t live up to the hype. The reviews have been very mixed, although the consensus has been that it’s not as good as EMP’s famed lavender duck, which we’ve tried and didn’t blow us away. I didn’t want to mar our dinner by regretting spending $79 on roast chicken, even if it did come with foie gras and black truffle, two ingredients I constantly crave.

We enjoyed The NoMad’s duck, which was roasted and served with beets, pistachio, and coriander. The duck was pink, tender, and well seasoned. The beets were pickled and extremely tangy; I might have preferred them to be in their natural state, as I love the earthy sweetness of beets, but I appreciated the acidity they brought to the dish. The pistachios added a nice crunch.

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Duck roasted with beets, pistachio, and coriander

The suckling pig confit was a wonderful mix of textures and tastes. The meat itself was incredibly tender, practically falling apart with a gentle twist of the fork, while the skin was crackly and crispy. The pork flavor was intense, and it was covered with mustard seeds that add little bursts of tanginess. The sweet dried plums, onions, and fresh wild greens complemented the meat very well.

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Suckling pig confit with dried plums, onions, and wild greens

We were pretty full by this point so we decided to share dessert. We had to try the famous milk and honey dessert, which is milk ice cream drizzled with honey and served on top of shortbread, brittle, and dehydrated milk flakes. The ice cream was smooth and light, not overly creamy or rich, and not too sweet. The honey had a caramelized flavor to it, as did the honey the brittle. The shortbread reminded me of graham cracker crumbles, and the milk flakes had the texture of astronaut ice cream, sticking to our tongues and melting in our mouths in an interesting manner. It was refreshing and delicious, a composed yet whimsical dessert, and a great way to finish our meal.

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Milk and honey – shortbread, brittle, and ice cream

Overall, we were incredibly happy with our anniversary meal at The NoMad. We thought the food was pretty fantastic, although there were some individual components of dishes that we didn’t necessarily love. Our favorite dishes of the night were the fluke, the egg, and the suckling pig. Service was mostly wonderful, although there were some minor missteps, like forgetting to bring us a spoon with the veloute and serving our ice cream dessert immediately after I left the table to use the restroom. Fortunately the ice cream held up well. In general, we were pretty pleased with the attentiveness of the staff, and the sommelier was great. Josh gave him a budget to work with for our pairings, and he came in under, which we appreciated. Dinner ended up costing $360 after tax and tip. A splurge for sure, but definitely worth it for the quality and creativeness of the food. It’s also possible to spend far less in the restaurant, as we had three courses each plus a dessert, with wine pairings for three courses. Appetizers are about $15-$20 each, and entrees about $25-$35. If we had gone with two courses, dessert, and a reasonably priced bottle of wine, our bill would have been much less. The NoMad is definitely one of the best restaurants we’ve been to in a while, and I would happily go back again.

The NoMad
1170 Broadway at 28th St.
New York, NY

Breakfast in Bed

Monday, May 13th, 2013 by virginia

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One of the perks of being a mom is getting to partake in a Mother’s Day tradition – breakfast in bed. Josh got up early on Sunday morning and took J downstairs with him, letting me have the rare luxury of sleeping in. The two of them woke me up later and surprised me with breakfast, but because I didn’t want to eat alone or spill anything in our bed, I took the tray back downstairs and ate with them instead. It was a lovely start to my very first Mother’s Day, and it’s definitely a ‘time’ that I will always remember :-)

Sous vide eggs, half an everything bialy, honeydew, and prosciutto, plus coffee and a mimosa

Sous vide eggs, toasted bialy, prosciutto, and honeydew, plus coffee and a mimosa

CSA Week #12

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010 by virginia

After a hectic day at work, I was excited to come home to our CSA share. We got a long message from the farm today that made me feel bad about what the farmers are dealing with this summer, in addition to the extreme heat. Also, we learned that heirloom tomatoes should be picked ripe, which means they’ll often be soft and split. That’s a hard thing for me to reconcile because it makes me feel like I’ll have to eat them right away, but now I understand why so many of the tomatoes are in that particular state.

This week our share contents included:

Mini Bell Peppers – 5 each
Watermelon – 2 small or 1 large
Tomatoes – 4 lbs
Cabbage – 1/2 head
Squash – 2 1/3 lbs
Mixed Greens – 3/4 lb

Ruby chard, heirloom tomatoes, watermelon, cabbage, squash, mini bell peppers in front

The mini bell peppers are super cute, and I think we might just eat these whole since they’re basically bite sized. The watermelons were pretty small so Josh picked out one of the larger ones, which is just enough for 2 people to share. We have lots of heirloom tomatoes now, some of which are really soft and some which are slightly firmer. I foresee lots of caprese salads in our future, which is just fine by me. For the mixed greens, Josh got swiss chard with huge leaves and thick ruby red stems. Gorgeous!

Our fruit share is starting to overwhelm us but James just sent us a delicious-looking peach pie recipe that will help me get through our rapidly ripening peach bounty. This week our fruit share contents included:

Italian Plums – 2 lbs
Peaches – 3 lbs
Nectarines – 2 2/5 lbs

Peaches, Italian plums, nectarines

I have absolutely no complaints about the fruit this week. The peaches are large, ripe, and picture perfect. It took lots of willpower not to dig in before I snapped my photos!

In addition, today is Market Day for our CSA. That means in addition to our regular shares, we had the opportunity to order some extra goodies, such as cheese, yogurt, eggs, organic meats, spices, and more. When Josh and I first decided to purchase a CSA share, we debated whether to get an additional egg or dairy share but decided that we wouldn’t use up those items fast enough. Market Day gives us the opportunity to try out some of these item on a one-off basis (you pay per item you choose). We put in our order a few weeks ago and today we received our goods.

This is what we decided to order from Market Day:

Organic Eggs – 1 dozen
Yogurt – 5 containers (6 oz each)
Cheese – 2 packages (8 oz each)
Honey – 16 oz organic wildflower

Organic eggs, assorted yogurt, horseradish cheddar, wildflower honey, garlic and dill cheddar

For the yogurt, there were four different flavors available, so Josh picked out one of each – blackberry, orange, strawberry, and he doubled up on raspberry. For the cheese, he picked horseradish and garlic/dill flavored cheddars (other options included mild cheddar and smoked cheddar). We’re excited to see if organic eggs taste different from regular supermarket eggs, since we debated for a while whether to get a half dozen weekly egg share. If we like these eggs enough, maybe next year we’ll go for the weekly option. Yes, we love our CSA enough that we’re already thinking about next year!

Country Pancake House and Restaurant

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010 by virginia

We were in NJ one weekend and went for brunch with Alice at the Country Pancake House and Restaurant in Ridgewood. It’s sort of like a homestyle diner, with a massive menu and even more massive portions. There’s a huge list of breakfast options, with many different kinds of eggs, omelettes, waffles, frittatas, etc., and, of course, pancakes. There are also multiple lunch/dinner options, with sandwiches, burgers, chicken, even seafood and steaks. Since it was still early, we decided to stick with the breakfast items, though there were so many choices that it was a bit overwhelming. We finally made our selections and settled in to munch on the basket of chocolate chip cornbread that they brought us.

Chocolate chip cornbread

The cornbread was sweet and fluffy, lightly toasted on the outside, and chock full of chocolate chips. They were a tad on the sweet side but still a pretty tasty way to start off the meal.

The restaurant also has a pretty extensive juice bar, so Josh decided to get a glass of cantaloupe and carrot juice. It was bright orange and a little frothy on top. Taste-wise, I thought the carrot flavor was stronger than the cantaloupe flavor. It was pretty refreshing though, with the natural sweetness of the vegetable and fruit shining through. I felt healthier just drinking a little bit of it.

Cantaloupe and carrot juice

For breakfast, I chose the country corned beef hash platter, which was a huge pile of corned beef hash topped with three poached eggs. It came with a side of home fries, but I substituted french fries, and two giant pancakes (I selected chocolate chip). The amount of food I got was just ridiculous, and there was no way for me to finish it all.

Corned beef hash, three poached eggs, french fries

The eggs were all perfectly poached, soft on the outside and runny on the inside. The corned beef has was nice and meaty, with not too much diced potato filler. It wasn’t overly salty, and when I mixed it with the egg yolks it became rich and velvety. The french fries were crispy and a little seasoned, just the way I like them.

Nicely poached eggs with runny yolks

The chocolate chip pancakes that came with my platter were the size of dinner plates, and there were two of them. They were light and fluffy and studded with lots of chips.

Chocolate chip pancakes

Both Josh and Alice chose the country spirit platter, which came with three eggs any style (they opted for over easy), bacon, sausage, ham, home fries, and pancakes. And no, it wasn’t a choice between bacon, sausage, or ham, the platter came with all three. They both also opted for blueberry pancakes, which were just as large as mine.

Blueberry pancakes, sausage, bacon, eggs, ham, home fries

We barely made a dent in our platters though, and all around us, everyone was getting huge doggy bags to go. After we had eaten our fill, I combined all of our leftovers and ended up taking home four eggs, four pieces of bacon, two pieces of ham, one sausage, about a pound of home fries, a huge pile of corned beef hash, and a huge pile of french fries. On top of that, we had four pancakes left over, three blueberry and one chocolate chip. This amount of food lasted me the entire week. I ended up eating some of it for lunch and some of it for dinner.

Despite the insane amount of food we each received, everything was well prepared and properly cooked. All of our eggs were appropriately runny, the bacon was perfectly crispy, and everything was served hot. To top it off, our platters were under $10 each. How can you beat that?

I feel like there’s some sort of Man vs. Food challenge in here somewhere. Adam Richman – if you’re looking for a place to visit in the northern NJ area, the Country Pancake House and Restaurant definitely fits the bill!

Country Pancake House and Restaurant
140 East Ridgewood Ave.
Ridgewood, NJ

Fun With Leftovers

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009 by virginia

Josh had a work thing for dinner so I was left to my own devices. Usually when he’s not around, I just eat whatever is hanging out in the fridge. This time I found some waffles and smoked salmon left over from our anniversary brunch so I decided to experiment a bit with different flavor combinations. I’ve already mentioned my love for sweet and salty together, so I toasted the waffle in the oven until super crispy, then squeezed a healthy portion of maple syrup over the top. Then I layered on the smoked salmon, and topped it off with an over easy egg (yolk still runny, of course!). Then to add a whole new dimension of flavor, I squirted Sriracha and ketchup over the egg.

Waffle layered with maple syrup, smoked salmon, a sunnyside up egg, ketchup, and sriracha

Waffle layered with maple syrup, smoked salmon, a sunnyside up egg, ketchup, and sriracha

I must admit, it didn’t look so great, and I was a bit nervous about mixing the maple syrup with the Sriracha, but it turned out awesome!! I could taste each layer individually, and the combinations really worked harmoniously. The spice of Sriracha was tempered by the ketchup and syrup, the crunch of the waffle contrasted well with the softness of the salmon, and the whole thing was bound together by the runny egg yolk mixing in with everything. This is definitely something that I will make again.

Looks gross but tastes great!

Looks gross but tastes great!