Category Archives: Food Travel

Michigan Food Blogger Camp

I have been fantasizing about going to food blogger camp ever since I found out about a few months ago.

A few dozen food bloggers get together to in some warm resort during winter to talk food blogs and eat.

The problem for me was the money, and besides, I would rather enjoy some local eats with fellow Michigan bloggers this summer during peak season all things being equal.

Ok. I would rather do both, but I still have not managed to win the lottery yet despite the three times I played this year.

So I am sending out some feelers to see if anyone out there would be game to attend/help organize the 1st Annual Michigan Food Bloggers Camp.

The idea is a weekend get together where we share our blogs, and discuss topics like photography, layout, video, promotion and branding.

And we cook and go out for good eats.

Jewish Deli World Tour: Flakowitz Deli of Boynton Beach Florida

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I like to joke with Emily that I am waiting for someone to come up with the “Jewish Deli” diet for health and weight loss. That would be a diet I could stick too. If such a diet existed, it would be based on the offerings of several iconic NY style delis like Zabars in NY and Flakowitz in Boynton Beach Florida. These places are the real deal.

Flakowitz is located around the corner from my Father’s house in Boynton Beach. The place has lines to get in on most days and their deli counter is the stuff of legends. When my brother Andrew comes to Florida, he calls in his order when he gets off of the plane and picks it up first before going to my father’s house.

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I grew up in NJ and like many NJ/NY Jewish exiles, we all crave good jewish deli food. So when we find it, we attack.

Yes, we do have Zingermans here and they do a good job with many items.

I was kind of at a disadvantage going to Flakowitz this time because I was just getting over a cold and I was trying to eat lighter. With that said, I did manage to get some great offerings.

The first was a cup of Matzoh Ball soup and a half corned beef on rye sandwich. Before you even start your meal, they bring out light marble cinnamon cake pieces cut into small cubes.

Why doesn’t every restaurant do that?

We were so taken by this light cake that we were thinking of making it to sell at the Farmers Market this summer.

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Cake seemed to be a theme in Florida. We noticed that the Whole Foods in Boynton Beach featured a cake/dessert bar along with their hot prep foods.

I have never seen a dessert bar in any other Whole Foods.

We were back a few days later to get bagels and some items for a Deli take out lunch. Emily got a Knish and I got bagels, some white fish salad and a individual chocolate Babka.

Individual Chocolate Babka?

These folks are geniuses.

Other offering were smoked fish, kosher pickles, all sorts of NY style cookies, cakes and pastry, take out soups, Deli Meats and Bread and all manner of NY Jewish Deli-ness.

Tel. (561) 742-4144
7410 W Boynton Beach Blvd,
Boynton Beach, FL 33437-6156

My Visit to Louisville, KY: The Hot Brown Sandwich a Contender for Thanksgiving

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The Hot Brown

LOUISVILLE – Not every town can boast its own sandwich like Kentucky’s Hot Brown, an open-faced turkey sandwich with bacon, tomato and Mornay sauce.

(What is Ann Arbor’s signature sandwich? I cannot think of one. Feel free to comment and vote for possible contenders. Also, for those looking for something different for Thanksgiving, this sandwich might do the trick.)

Many eateries in Louisville offer the Hot Brown, but arguably the best is at J. Graham’s Café, located at the Brown Hotel. It was invented in 1926 by Chef Fred Schmidt at the hotel, from which the sandwich takes its name.

“There are other items on the menu, but most come for the Hot Brown,” said Matt Wilcoxen, sous chef of J. Graham’s Cafe. “On busy days we sell about a hundred.”

A quick view of the tables at J. Graham’s reveals the signature oven-safe plates featuring a bubbling Hot Brown in front of all but a few diners.

For those interested in trying this sandwich, you better bring your appetite. This is not low-calorie fare. The first ingredient in the two-serving recipe is a quart of cream. And we have not even mentioned the cheese, butter, turkey and two pieces of bacon yet.

“It is so rich that many diners split a Hot Brown and finish off the meal with a salad,” said Wilcoxen.

Many visitors to Louisville feel that trying a Hot Brown is an absolute-must experience.

“It would have been a shame not to have it,” said Jeff Beck, a guest of the hotel, who was in town to attend a wedding. “It was very unique. I recommend it.”

You can tell if people like their food by how quiet they get when they are eating. Eating a Hot Brown left one Voice staffer speechless.

The traditional Hot Brown is made with turkey, but you can substitute country ham. J. Graham’s Cafe also features an Egg Florentine version for breakfast.

The Legendary Hot Brown Sandwich Recipe

Recipe courtesy of the Brown Hotel Serves two (or four)

2 ounces whole butter
2 ounces all-purpose flour
1 quart heavy cream
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste
14 ounces sliced roasted turkey breast
2 slices of Texas toast, crust trimmed
4 slices of crispy bacon
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced in half

In a two-quart saucepan, melt butter and slowly whisk in flour until combined and forms a thick paste (roux). Continue to cook roux for two minutes over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Whisk whipping cream into the roux and cook over medium heat until the cream begins to simmer, about two to three minutes. Remove sauce from heat and slowly whisk in Pecorino Romano cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

For each Hot Brown, place one slice of toast in an oven-safe dish and cover with seven ounces of turkey. Take the two halves of Roma tomato and set them alongside the base of turkey and toast. Next, pour one-half of the Mornay sauce to completely cover the dish.

Sprinkle with additional Pecorino Romano cheese. Place entire dish under a broiler until cheese begins to brown and bubble. Remove from broiler, cross two pieces of crispy bacon on top, sprinkle with paprika and parsley and serve immediately.

Ham variation: Substitute equal parts country ham for turkey.

Egg florentine version: Substitute four poached eggs, one bag of frozen spinach (thawed, liquid squeezed out), and six artichoke hearts pieces for the turkey.

Follow the recipe for the turkey version, but instead of turkey, place half the spinach on the Texas toast. Place two poached eggs on top of the spinach and plate three artichoke heart pieces on the plate. Add the rest of the ingredients and broil.

Chicago Zine Fest Trip

This is a quick food tour from my Chicago trip. Why was I in Chicago? I was there for there Chicago Zine Fest. Zines are self published mini books (booklets) that are usually printed via a photocopier or a home printer. Before there were blogs, twitter and facebook, there were zines. I have been creating a zine called Soup which is a four panel a day, diary comic of a seven month span of part of my life in Portland, Oregon. I spent most of my time running around Chicago at the event, but managed to get some good eats, and see a few things. I still have not had a Chicago Pizza in Chicago yet. Here are some pictures, and shout outs about some cool places to check out.

Garrets is a Chicago Institution. It is a popcorn shop, that makes fresh carmel, butter, cheese and chocolate popcorn. I have the Chicago mix which is a combo of carmel and cheese. They hand mix it for yah.

My second food stop was America’s Dog. Chicago is probably the Hotdog capital of the world. America’s dog was great. They feature hotdogs from around the USA. I had the traditional Chicago dog which came with tomatoes, sports pickled hot peppers, relish, and a pickle. It is good, but for a purest NY dog guy, of spicy mustard and kraut, it was different.

America Dog featured a map of the USA with the accompanying hotdog by state/city/region

This is a plush roast beef that I saw at Quiby’s Bookstore. Quimby’s sponsored the Zine Fest, and is a great independent comics, graphic novel, and zine outlet.

A plush Ham. There is a plush, and fabric craft movement around creating cute replicas of food. Check out a future post for pictures and stories about the plush food scene.

Here is a picture of me at the Chicago Zine Fest with some guy I just met who was wearing what I think was a bunny costume.

Other places:

Red Hen Bread: Good bread, pastry and Coffee

Renegade Handmade: Fun craft store

Alabama Trip: Day five

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Shrimp and grits, green green tomatoes, and sweet potato souffle

My last day in the south would not be complete without shrimp and grits. It is more of a South Carolina low country dish, than a traditional Alabama fare. I had it for the first time on a trip last year. I brought home some grits, and since then it has become a celebrated staple, which seems to excite the house in a food frenzy when ever I make it.

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More pics of southern snack foods

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Various Cereal Bars

These gave me a chuckle. I am used to rice crispy treats, but never thought about taking the concept to other cereals. These seems in my opinion as an over the top variations.

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Boiled Peanuts

Boiled peanuts are a southern thing. I have never seen them anywhere else. These were found at a gas station. Unlike other cooked peanut preparations, boiled peanuts are soft, on the salted side, and taste in my opinion more like a starchy pea or bean. They remind me of edamame. Southerner’s eat them as a snack. I like them, but find the ones I have had to be overly salty, so I could only eat a small amount.

Alabama Trip: Day Four

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“This is some of the best BBQ I’ve every chewed on.” I overheard this in the doorway from a guy waiting to be seated. And I have to agree.

The place was Jim ‘N Nick’s, in Birmingham. It s a huge place, and because there was a bowl game in town, UConn vs South Carolina, the place was packed.

Did I eat BBQ (Pork) almost was day in Alabama? I think so. That is why I bring oatmeal and fruit and cut the heavy eating I tend to do down south.

For Dinner: Meal down south come as a meat and two-three sides. Some people go for the Vegetable Plate which is three sides and corn bread. The veggies are so rich from being fried, cooked with bacon, with butter or cream, that the veggies plate is more than enough

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Sweet Tea (popular in the south)

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Corn biscuits

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My Dinner of Pork ribs, ham, creamed spinach, collard greens with BBQ sauce

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Pulled Pork BBQ, with sauce and pickles, Baked beans and collards

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Turkey BBQ

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Chicken BBQ with potato salad and collards

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Tilapia with apples and creamed spinach

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Lemon Pie

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Chocolate Cream pie

Alabama Trip: Day three

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Home cooked Southern meal: Corn bread, fried okra, creamed corn, BBQ, veggies, and cinnamon apples cooked with Jack Daniel’s

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fried okra

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chowder peas

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sock doll I made with Aunt Boots (a hobby of mine) its a rooster cow

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Southern flour brand

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Sweet Summer Squash Pickles

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Grits box with picture of a Southern Breakfast of country ham, grits and eggs

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Sock doll #2, this one is called Lebin

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Old Fashion Butter Press