When we discovered several months ago that some friends of ours were moving to Belgium, we knew right away that there was no question that we would be visiting them as soon as possible. We allowed them just barely enough time to move in and unpack before showing up at their doorstep in a hungry, jet lagged stupor. Between the fries, chocolate, waffles, mussels, and beer that Belgium has to offer, I was pretty much ready to move in before we even arrived. The food lived up to my every expectation and I reveled in the frite and waffle stands dotting about every other square foot of the city, a beer selection that left me speechless, fresh, sweet mussels the size of strawberries, and chocolate shops so luxurious and decadent that I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
My biggest problem with Belgium was time because there is frankly not enough time in the world to eat all of the fries, waffles, chocolate, and Belgian beer that I wanted. Nonetheless, our few days in Brussels and Bruges were a wonderful introduction to the wonderful cuisine and we did our part to familiarize ourselves as much as possible with the gastronomic delights.
Want something a little more grown up for the Super Bowl than brownies? How about chocolate stout cake anyone? Now, this is for the more sophisticated crowd since it does kind of require a fork and plate. I know, we’re just getting highfalutin over here!
But it does seem pretty fitting for a football game, right? I mean, chocolate and beer! Now, I admittedly don’t know a whole lot about football, but I certainly think that beer and chocolate make any football game a heck of a lot more interesting.
The sour cream in the cake makes it delightfully moist and the cake isn’t too sweet. If you’re not a beer person, or even if you are but you’re not a stout person, don’t worry you’ll still be clamoring for more of this cake. The beer makes the chocolate flavor more intense and brings out a bit of nuttiness. Continue reading
We may have just gotten back from our trip to Europe, but we decided it was time for another vacation (if only life could always be like this). We started our trip to Maine right after work on Thursday and worked our way up to Greenville where we were staying the night before heading to West Branch Pond early the next morning. We were eager to start the Maine experience and followed glowing Yelp reviews to Fisherman’s Catch in Wells, ME on the way up. There was a 70 minute wait, but we figured it would be worth it, in part because people people kept telling us just that as they exited the restaurant patting their bellies. A Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale with wild Maine blueberries bobbing about made the wait easy. The beer itself is tasty, but the berries, which explode with fresh blueberry sweetness and the the subtly fruity ale they’d been soaking in, were the real highlight.
The meal itself was less satisfying. So many of the Yelp reviewers raved about the fried clams and the menu alerts readers to the fact that the clams make it into the book 1001 Things to do Before You Die. Or so I thought…. I found out later that it actually said 1001 Things to do Before You Diet. I find this considerably less exciting because the first is not limited to food. Regardless, when we ordered the Captains Platter for 2, which was loaded with fried scallops, clams, shrimp, and haddock on top of french fries and hey, why not throw in some rolls because there’s not enough white/yellow food, we found that it pretty much all tasted the same. Maybe it’s because we don’t eat much fried food? I don’t know. It really all just tasted like the batter, which I would say was only so-so. But maybe it’s just Joseph and me, because everyone else just loved it. Next time I think I’ll just stick to the lobster.
People who know me well have asked what our favorite food finds were on our trip to Budapest, Prague, and Vilnius. Some people go to museums, we go to restaurants. I think Joseph and I agree that the best thing we had on the entire trip was probably the Parmentier de lapin a la moutarde (rabbit with mustard sauce) he ordered at Le Florimond in Paris during our layover to Budapest. We were pretty excited when we asked for sparking wine and the waiter responded with gusto, “Only Champagne!” Yes, please! And of course the chocolate croissant that I got in Paris was also pretty fantastic in way that only pure butter and chocolate can be.
Other highlights (from our main destinations!) included chicken paprika in Budapest; some amazing red cabbage (made with beets), a hunk of pork (I think it was the whole leg…) that Joseph ordered and (my personal favorite!) beef Goulash served in a bread bowl in Prague; and chilled beet soup with a shocking pink color and an amazing chocolate mousse in Lithuania.
The beer in all the cities was amazing, and always cheaper than water. One of my favorite finds was a beer cellar, Bambalyne, in Old Town Vilnius. We bought 3 different varieties and enjoyed them in a nearby park with some yummy, garlicky cheese.