Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Moving and Running

Posts have been few and far between around here, a wicked combo of packing, moving, proposal writing, and training for the Broad Street Run has really put a serious pinch on my food writing time. I apologize, but it's going to be another week or so before the moving and un-packing are finished and I've acclimated to my running schedule enough that I can get around to posting about the yummy things I've been eating or cooking. I'm excited about all the changes though, while I'm sad to leave my roommate and the wonderful house she's let me occupy in the Art Museum area, I'm moving to my next favorite neighborhood, Northern Liberties. It doesn't hurt that the new place we're moving in to has two ovens. Two!

In the meantime, if you're interested in following my progress for the run in May, you can check out the video blog my friend Jess, from Fries With That Shake is undertaking to record our journey from couch to 10 miles.

from couch to 10 miles pt.1 from burgerbaroness on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Cafe de Laos

I'm a loyal person. When I love something, I love it hard. You don't see many reviews of Thai restaurants on Foodaphilia, because I'm loyal to Erawan Thai Cuisine. This year, however, my resolution is to expand my comfort zone within Philadelphia, so I ventured closer to Broad street down Washington Avenue where I discovered a new Thai-Laotian love: Cafe de Laos.
Cafe de Laos (5)
Located just south of Washington Avenue on 11th street, Cafe de Laos is hard to miss with the neon sign and lavish front window display. The moment you enter you leave Philadelphia and travel to a land where the elephant reigns supreme. Seriously, the decor contains a high volume of elephant art, wall hangings, carved sculptures, candle holders. You name it, Cafe de Laos has it with an elephant on it. When I finished my dinner, and fought the urge to lick my plate, I half expected to see an elephant image on the bottom of the bowl.
Cafe de Laos (1)
I'm going to start with the one downside I could find at here at Cafe de Laos. Most starters are just okay, and the one picture above, the corn cakes with cilantro, may look impressive, but I found them really bland. The sauce served along side was overly sweet, which helped with the bland factor, but I wouldn't say it was an improvement. Worst of all, they stuck to my teeth and felt terrible in my mouth. I would never order these again and would advise you to avoid them too. Good appetizer choices include the Laos sausage, Tom Yum soup and the cabbage salad with spicy dressing.
Cafe de Laos (2)
Cafe de Laos completely redeems itself in the entree category. A decent selection of classic Thai dishes and curries round of the predominantly Laotian menu. Penang curry was rich with coconut milk and chilies as well as generous portions of tender chicken, carrots, green beans and peppers.
Cafe de Laos (3)
Massaman curry was also a hit. It had the exact consistency I look for in a curry, not too thick, or too thin, but just right. The way Goldilocks would want it if she were me.
Cafe de Laos (4)
When I think back on the food at Cafe de Laos and inevitably compare it to Erawan, the reigning champion of Thai food on my radar, I think what truly wins me over is the coconut ice cream at Cafe de Laos. Thick pieces of fresh young coconut are spiked throughout the super creamy and smooth frozen treat. I couldn't stop talking about how much I loved it the entire time I was eating it, and that's just about the best endorsement I can give anything.

If you like Thai or Laotian food and even have a tiny place in your hear for coconut desserts, you should venture to Cafe de Laos with a friend or sweetheart, a bottle of wine, and a big appetite.

Cafe de Laos

1117 S. 11th Street
Cafe de Laos on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 09, 2009

See's Candy

When I was a kid and lived in California See's Candies lollypops were one of my most beloved treats. The California based chocolate and candy company has retail stores in most Western states, but if you live east of the Mississippi like I do, you can take advantage of their online ordering system and still enjoy the delicious variety of goodies See's has to offer.
see's candy 004
All of See's chocolates are made with quality Guittard Chocolate and homemade fillings and centers that literally melt in your mouth. Pictured below is my favorite chocolate variety that See's Candies puts together, the Dark Chocolate Bordeaux, a brown sugar buttercream filling enrobed in dark chocolate and covered in chocolate sprinkles. I was sad there was only one in the whole box!
see's candy 007
See's chocolates are addictive and the brand is so well-known for its quality that See's chocolates are an excellent way to make a fundraiser just a little sweeter. If I saw any organization holding a See's candy fundraiser by offering me candy bar or lollypops I wouldn't be able to pass buy without buying something. I know I'm not alone.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Quaker True Delights

Amongst the many cool features of Foodbuzz, I've recently signed up as a Tastemaker, receiving products in the mail for review before they hit the market. Recently, Foodbuzz and Quaker partnered up and I was able to sample their new line of True Delights bars. Quaker thinks these stand apart from other granola bars on the market because they're made with a 'luxuriously delicious' mix of real fruit, whole nuts, and dark chocolate. For the most part, I have to agree, these bars are different and better than most granola bars on the market. I sampled all three varieties and would consider buying at least two of them in the store if I were to see them.
Quaker True Delights Bars
Each bar contains 140 calories and gets 40% of it's calories from fat, but with the high proportion of nuts to grains in the bars, a substantial amount of fat should be expected. They have significant protein and fiber content and can easily be toted to work as part of breakfast on the go or for a snack in the afternoon.
Quaker True Delights Banana Coconut
My favorite variety was the Toasted Coconut Banana Macadamia Nut. It was loaded with macadamia nuts, real banana chips and huge slivers of tender coconut. I definitely fall into the camp of coconut lovers, but those who don't probably won't enjoy this bar because the flavor of coconut is pronounced.
Quaker True Delights Cashew & Mixed Berry
I also enjoyed the Honey Roasted Cashew and Mixed Berry bar. Cranberries and cherries grace this nutty bar with a necessary sweet-tartness. The bars come in a third variety, Dark Chocolate Raspberry Almond, but I was less impressed with this variety because of the lack of chocolate on my bars. Only 2 chips for an entire granola bar is not enough. I'm sure this is within a reasonable realm of variation for mass production, so if you love the idea of this variety, you may have more luck with the chocolate ratio.

You can also try a Free Sample of Quaker True Delights granola bars by visiting the Quaker True Delights website.