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Levon The Foodie

A gal whose obsessions lie within fat, sugar, carbs, caffeine, and beverages that could strengthen the heart or seal up a womb.

Archive for the tag “restaurants”

Potatopia – NYC

A co-worker and I ran into this high carbohydrate gem when prospecting downtown in the city a few months ago.  Potatopia is a baked potato lover’s euphoria.  The menu names alone speak the language.  Curly Sue, Frequent Friers, I Think Before I Yam, The Comatoser, and my choice – the Smashed Hit.

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It’s a unique concept that is a dieter’s nemesis.  Unlike me, if you are an obsessive calorie counter, don’t even look in the direction of this food joint.  It is loaded (no pun) with potato ideas and creations that are reminiscent of me in my late night, inebriated chef moments. Come to think of it, that may have been the driving force behind the creator’s inspiration..

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Addams Family Meets Old West Bordello – Cowboy Ciao, Phoenix

Someone at Cowboy Ciao in Phoenix must have a hook-up with Amy Farges -aka- Aux Delices Des Bois and therefore went absolutely bananas with the grocery list when they concocted this mushroom infested dish.  None-the-less my psychologically-induced decision to beeline to their take-out counter from my terminal inevitably cost me $26 as opposed to what should’ve been $3 for a bottle of water.  I had every intention of grabbing a Fiji or Pellegrino from a nearby newsstand and heading straight to the gate since I still harbored all the shame and guilt from Thanksgiving.  Unfortunately my food obsession clouded all airport judgement and rationale, and therefore my sound reasoning was destroyed within seconds.

Minutes later I found myself drawn to this “Addams Family Meets Old West Bordello” restaurant and was completely engulfed in their menu.  Or at least that’s how one of their guests described it.  Interestingly enough, out of all the considerably decent menu selections, yours truly landed on the one menu item that had about a hundred different types of mushrooms in it.  The Exotic Mushroom Pan Fry…Image

It consisted of a perfect blend (or entirely overwhelming, depending on your level of obsession) of cremini, button, oyster, cepe, lobster, black trumpet, shiitake, morel, and yellow foot mushrooms in ancho cream over double-cooked polenta, topped with grilled portabellini, avocado, Roma tomato and cotija cheese.  Lucky for me, I have a vast appreciation for mushrooms.  Seriously.  I do.

The words that I would use to describe the sauteed mushrooms would probably segue into a link to another type of site where you would probably be forced to click on your birthdate… I’ll just play it safe and say it was Napa Valley on a plate for mushroom lovers and enthusiasts.  It was truly a mushroom lover’s fairytale.

Initially my unwillingness to negotiate the pairing of anything else with this fungi extravaganza made me skeptical.  Tomatoes, avocado and cheese? Will it be loose polenta or formed?  And exactly how much of this triangular polenta will be swimming at the bottom of this sea of caps?  These are the questions that bounced around in my head as I looked once and then twice over the menu, ultimately knowing in the back of my mind that it would boomerang directly back to the shroom dish.

So approximately 2.5 minutes later I placed my order.  Within 7 minutes my Exotic Mushroom Pan Fry came out, in addition to the bottle of Fiji water that was supposed to be my meal. And just to keep the “why stop here” caloric party going I had the lovely cashier throw in a slice of their famous Birthday Cake cake to satisfy an imaginary sweet tooth that I somehow developed in the midst of my mushroom excitement.  The exotic mushroom dish was expectedly bold in flavor due to all the various shrooms, the garnishes were surprisingly complimenting, and the polenta definitely added a bit of texture for a fitting balance overall to the entree.  The Birthday Cake left me feeling shameful and guilty, however stimulated in all the right foodie areas.  I quickly washed down all the evidence with my bottle of Fiji water and headed to my gate for my next adventure.

So there you have it folks, Old West Bordello and an exotic mushroom carnival at an airport terminal near you (Terminal B of Phoenix Sky Harbor Int’l Airport more specifically). If you are a lover of mushrooms and all things unexpected yet good, you should probably come here.

Happy Hour Obsession of The Week – Pele’s, Jacksonville FL

With entrees like slow roasted kaluah pig, salted duck pizza, and broken meatballs I knew I’d be foolish enough to try this place. A spectacular fool’s choice it turned out to be as well as wallet-friendly, but foolish-sounding initially.

Whether you’re going on Magnifico Mondays, Ladies Night Wednesdays, or any day between 3-6:30pm, Pele’s Wood Fire has a pretty awesome happy hour amongst other things.  The biggest treat of all being the Wood-Fired Limoncello Wings.
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Wood-Fired Limoncello Wings with shaved parmesan, crushed red pepper, oregano, and orange zest $3.95, Chardonnay $4.00

The wings were incredible, the sauce was amazing, and the shaved parmesan did more justice than damage.  The human element of the dining experience consisted of an “at home, in your favorite cousin’s living room” personal element, with a “I have been serving patrons for years and could do this with my eyes closed” level of customer service.  The service was impeccable, and the place was cozy with a really familiar vibe.

The food was actually in-house, and as one would imagine, local produce made for some really fresh ingredients being both refreshing and delightful.

I actually enjoyed,  and was so much impressed with the happy hour offerings that I stayed long enough for dinner.  I got another glass of white wine and ordered the Croxetti Pesto.
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Pesto Croxetti with spinach, caramelized onions, pine nuts and pecorino romano in a white wine reduction

It had a great presentation, the portion wasn’t massive which really allowed you to carefully consider all of the ingredients, the sauce was flavorful but not overpowering, and the pasta was fresh.  It was incredible.

All in all, I would unquestionably list this experience at Pele’s Wood Fire as the Happy Hour Obsession of The Week, not-to-mention one of my Top Obsessions.  If you have an uncompromising palate for fresh pasta for dinner, or if it’s after work and you have $10 to spare, this modern Italian-American spot would be an excellent choice in the Riverside neighborhood of Jacksonville.

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