Showing posts with label Guy Fieri. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Guy Fieri. Show all posts

Friday, April 6, 2018

In the Home of Purdue

It had been a few years since I had been to Lafayette,Indiana. I visited a few times when I was covering tennis.

I was looking to make a quick trip not too far away, and Lafayette kept coming up. 

Once I contacted the tourism board at Home of Purdue, I could easily see why. This little college town had a lot to offer.

My friend Jaimee was visiting and we headed out for the two-hour drive with a full itinerary. 

Our first stop was at Wolf Park. Anything to do with animals is always fun for me and I was surprised to hear this place had been here for 46 years.

Wolf Park was opened by a former Purdue professor. 

He not only wanted a refuge for these animals, but he wanted to promote the conservation of wolves and help people understand more about them.

Thanks to generous donations, the park now has its own medical center and they don’t need to go back to Purdue every time an animal needs treatment.

While the wolves are the primary focus, the 75 acres here houses more than the current 12 wolves, which includes one set of six-year-old siblings. It’s not safe to actually touch the wolves, but you can watch them interact, especially during the weekend Howl Nights.

In addition to the wolves, the park has bison, foxes, and coyotes, who will howl for you any time of day. A beautiful bridge makes a great spot for weddings and other events at Wolf Park.  

We were really hungry from walking among the wolves and we headed straight to Triple XXX Family Restaurant. This place originally opened in 1929, making it the first and oldest drive-in restaurant in Indiana.

They are known for serving Triple XXX Root beer, which dates back even further, to 1895.

The diner was a lot smaller than I expected and I’m glad they saved us a table. 

It’s popularity with out-of-towners exploded after being featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

I had to obviously start with a Triple XXX Frost, a cross between and ice cream soda and a milkshake. 

We decided to both get burgers. I went for the one featured on the Food Network, the Duane Purvis All-American. It’s ground sirloin, topped with American cheese, peanut butter, pickles, lettuce and onions.

I liked the burger, but I loved the sweet potato fries when I discovered they came with a mouthwatering cinnamon marshmallow dipping sauce. How did no one think of this before?!

They brought us a hot fudge sundae and their famous Triple XXX Root Beer Cake to taste for dessert. I wasn’t overly excited about the later, until I tasted it. It was moist and delicious.

We were running late to the Haan Mansion, where Ellie Haan was graciously waiting for us beyond closing time. 

This beautiful building, filled with treasures (many priceless) was her home for 31 years before she and her husband donated the mansion to the city as a museum.

Originally the Connecticut Building during the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, it was moved by railroad to Lafayette, Indiana, after being purchased for $31,0000. 

The art, including one of the best collections of Indiana art around, is spectacular, as are other rarities, such as a Tiffany Grandfather clock, a one of a kind music box, and treasures too numerous to list. 

Haan Mansion Museum is definitely worth a trip.

We made a quick stop at McCord Candies downtown. It is a soda fountain with handmade chocolates, but that’s not their only claim to fame: they are only one of five stores in the whole country that make candy canes, right in the little shop upstairs.

Owner Chris Johnson met us at People's Brewing Company to tell us about the company he started in 2009. 

He took us through the expanding operation and back to the bar for Jaimee to do some tasting. 

She picked six of the dozen beers they have available for customers.

The favorites here are the obvious Boiler Gold, and the Farmer’s Daughter, a citrusy local specialty.

We didn’t make it to the nearby restaurant that People’s Brewing has because we had dinner scheduled at another popular local spot, Bruno's Pizza.

This family-friendly sports bar has been around for 60 years and I really enjoyed their twists on some old favorites.

We started with Bruno Dough. This deep-fried pizza dough looked like a zeppole, but it’s brushed with garlic butter and sprinkled with parmesan. 

It was served with a cheese sauce and a marinara sauce we dipped the dough in.

No matter how long I live in the Midwest, I’ll never get used to people cutting squares out of round pizzas, but that didn’t make us enjoy a spinach mushroom any less. 

We were pretty stuffed when the waitress came over to tell us about the dessert pizzas. I was too intrigued not to order one.

Bruno’s dessert pizza is covered in peanut butter, mozzarella, and chocolate chips. 

I certainly love the idea of peanut butter and chocolate in anything, but I wasn’t sure about adding cheese to the mix. 
She suggested we do half with and half without the cheese.

Well, it was so good both ways that we had to take it with us when we couldn’t finish more than a few bites. I can tell you it also makes an amazing breakfast cold!

By the time we got back to the TownePlace Suites in Lafayette we were stuffed and exhausted from a very full day. It was time to get some sleep before an equally busy one to come.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Grand Marketplace at Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival

I've attended many food festivals around the country and the Grand Market is almost always my favorite event. It's a chance to sample many different foods, wines, and spirits, as well as watch cooking demonstrations and meet personalities.

This year, the Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival, hosted by Caesar's Resort, moved their Grand Market outside for the first time. It was held in the park of Bally's Resort in Atlantic City. The weather cooperated and the outside location allowed some food trucks to join in the fun.

With the help of my daughter, Sam, I was able to enjoy lots of finds -- some new and some old favorites.

Guy Fieri's Fish Taco, from his new Bally's Restaurant, was a fan favorite.

14 Hands brought a fruit-filled Unoaked Chardonnay

Bay Shore served a delicious Lobster Bisque.

I was surprised that I hadn't previously sampled Absolut Texas, a limited edition worth trying.

Goodway Gourmet Cafe had scrumptious coconut macaroons.

Barefoot Wines has done it again, this time producing a must-try Tropical Fusion.

Sam loved Rigatoni's Famous Crab Cake

Delaware Spirits Spice Infused Rum with vanilla bean was smooth and tasty.

Sammy D's Philly Cheesesteak Dumplings was my favorite food.

I love my New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and won't forget Dryland. 

Waffatopia brought along yummy Caramelized Waffles. 

SKYY Vodka poured some great cocktails, including a Pear Vanilla. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Burgers, Cocktails, Wine and Banderas in South Beach

I have been known to schedule some pretty busy days, but I think I outdid myself for the first full day of the Food Network South Beach Wine and Food Festival (and I got the blisters to prove it).

I started bright and early at The National Hotel, where I ordered a fruit and yogurt plate from room service to get me going for the day. It gave me a sense that the day would have at least something low cal and healthy in it!

First on my schedule for the day was an interview with David Burke. I had loved everything about my visit to David Burke Primehouse at The James in Chicago and have been looking forward to trying his new restaurant in Chicago. We had a fun talk about his Dining In the Dark event (look for my story at Cocktails & Joints for more) before I took off to the beach for the Food Festival’s Trade Tasting.

Originally, this tasting was a chance for the trade and the press to check out the booths before the big crowds arrived on the weekend. Unfortunately, the number of tickets increased and it seemed to be as crowded as the regular tastings got. Still, armed with my welcome glass of Simply Naked Unoaked Chardonnay (light and fruity), I headed into the Barilla tent for some great pasta before grabbing a Skinny Girl White Cranberry Cosmo (a new low cal go to for me).

The Cosmopolitan of Vegas once again created a modern building to give out treats, drinks and even a stay at their hotel, which I really need to get to in the near future.  From there, I made a stop taste taste Diageo’s new Q Dream, a deliciously creamy liqueur that is also low in calories, but I gained them all back at the Fiji Water booth where they were making fresh donuts and giving out water  with fortunes.

I put my aching feet into a cab to the Perry Hotel (formerly the Gansevoort) where the event to sell out the quickest was located --- Matador! An Introduction to Anta Banderas Winery with Antonio Banderas. I have to admit it was probably the thing I was most excited for and an assignment for Los Angeles Confidential Magazine enabled me to stay as one of the few members of the press in the room. Banderas was as charming offscreen as he is on and was quite candid when talking about his career and his wine.

The Anta Banderas Chardonnay is not yet available in the U.S., but I urge you to check it out if you do make it to the winery in Spain. In the meantime, you can purchase the Anta Banderas a10, a fruit-filled blend of temparillo, merlot and cabernet sauvignon as well as some of his other reds.

I didn’t have long to change for the evening and get to the Amstel Light Burger Bash presented by Allen Brothers Steaks and Diet Pepsi hosted by Rachael Ray. It’s hard to describe this event to anyone who hasn’t been there, but it’s a fine line between comfort food heaven and gluttony! I tried to tackle as many as possible by eliminating burgers that were too rare or on bacon overload and going for a few special ones. Even then, I couldn’t take more than a bite of each.

A few of my favorites stops were…

Good Stuff Eatery Blue Cheese Burger with French Fries and Bernaise sauce, served with a Crème de Casis Milk Shake;

The Meatball Shop Chili Flavored Meat Patty smothered in Grafton cheddar cheese sauce and topped with caramelized onions with a sweet and sour taste;

NoMI Kitchen '800' Burger made of  Ground waygu mixed with Nueske bacon and onion,  topped with smoked tomato aioli, comte cheese, watercress, pickled shallots and garlic, and tomato confit on a rosemary ciabatta bun and served with VodkaNInfused Watermellon (my favorite overall);
Rachael Ray’s BBQ Burger with Sweet 'n Spicy Pickles And Smokey barbeque sauce, a simple, but appealing combo;

And the fairly healthy and tasty South Beach Diet Feta Stuffed Sirloin Burger with Smokey SunNDried Tomato Aioli served on pita.

I also loved the Jack Daniels Milkshake served by Guy’s Burger Joint and the Truffle French Fries Abe and Arthurs was giving out.

Michael Symon, whose B Spot served a Pork and bacon burger topped with pulled pork and slaw (I was not really a fan), won the contest for the third year in a row. It should also be noted that all the burgers tasted fantastic when eaten with the Frozen Hot Chocolate Serendipity 3 was pouring!

After the Burger Bash, I went to 1111 Lincoln Avenue for Robert Irvine’s Party Impossible. This rooftop soiree and a ton of food, from seafood to meat to decadent desserts. I was starting to regret the burgers as I couldn’t get more than a few bites of an out of this world Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar from Ready, Set, Cupcake! with a few crumbs of scrumptious cookies.
I walked back to The National Hotel at about 1:00 am, I walked back to hoping to do some digesting before catching some much needed sleep. There was still a lot more of the South Beach Food Network Wine and Food Festival to come. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Food, Wine and Family Fun in Santa Rosa

It was my last day at Camellia Inn in Healdsburg, an adorable Bed & Breakfast in the heart of town. I had some time this morning so I was able to enjoy the breakfast spread – Chocolate Chip Scones, Egg Casserole, Mango Smoothies, Cereals, Breads – and chat a bit with owner Lucy Lewand. Soon it was time to hit the road for Santa Rosa to finish up my Sonoma adventure there.

I made a stop at D’Argenzio Winery to meet with owner Raymond D’Argenzio. We had met on my last trip here and I loved his Italian style wines. He’s also been instrumental in putting together Vintner’s Square in Santa Rosa, a terrific spot with wineries and shops that has food and wine events each week.

As usual, there was plenty to taste here. I had raved about  their 2008 Sangiovese and the 2009 was just as good, full of fruit and very pasta friendly (a necessary food group in my household). The 2008 D’Amarone, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Petite Syrah, is also a great find, full of plum and dark fruits.

I bid Raymond farewell and headed into the mountains of Santa Rosa. I was set to spend the next few days up in the exclusive community of Mayacama, checking out the house that Inspirato will soon have available to its members.

The place is magnificent, 3600 square feet with four bedrooms, four and a half baths, a huge modern kitchen, living room, and den. The deck is unbelievable, complete with lounges, couches, a fireplace and hot tub, and it offers sweeping views of Sonoma Valley.

With such a large house it was only natural that I had room to share the space. While it is a wildly romantic setting, I thought it would also be a great place for the family so I invited my brother, sister-in-law, nieces and nephews to spend the weekend with me. Before they arrived, however, I was sure to claim the biggest bedroom, which had the best bathroom! The Jacuzzi was one of the largest I’ve seen and there was also a steam room.

Before I knew it, the place was alive with activity and I was excited to have an evening with the kids to myself. I knew immediately where I wanted to take them. I have done numerous stories on chef extraordinaire Guy Fieri (a Sonoma resident) and I knew his restaurant Johnny Garlic's had to be kid-friendly (Guy has two boys), interesting and a bit eclectic. It was a perfect mix for Moriah, Jake and Aleas they loved trying different foods.

Guy was out of town, but his general manager Art Robinson greeted us like we were long lost friends. Before I knew it the food was covering the table and it was all amazing.

We started with appetizers and the Brick Wings are dry rubbed and just amazing. I couldn’t eat the award-winning Sashimi Won Tacos with raw Ahi, mango jicama salsa and Wasabi Soy, but the kids raved about them.

For a main course, I had the delicious Penne Pesto with Vegetables and my oldest niece, Alea, went for the Cajun Chicken Fettuccine and loved the spice. Moriah and Jake had kids meals, with more than enough food to satisfy someone twice their size.

Just when I thought we were sufficiently stuff (and had bags of leftovers), Art came over with some desserts for us to try. We had to sample the Breath Mint Pie, with chocolate cookie crust and ice cream filled with Junior Mints; the Chocolate Lava Cake, a fudgy concoction topped with vanilla ice cream; and the New York Cheesecake with chocolate sauce. I quickly decided that I had to save more room for dessert next time I was here.

We went back to the house and I enjoyed a glass of wine with my brother and Claire, just back from their 15th anniversary dinner celebration. As is usually the case, the kids outlasted me, but I would have plenty of time to spend with them the rest of the weekend. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Food Network Chefs and Parties in Atlantic City

I spent the morning interviewing some of the Food Network’s best before the activities of their Atlantic City Food & Wine Festival began. It was casual and fun, and I had a chance to get to know Pat and Gina Nelly; Robert Irvine; and Sunny Anderson, as well as catch up with Guy Fieri, who I’ve done stories on for a number of publications in the past year*. (You can see my Los Angeles Confidential piece here.) I have to say there wasn’t an overinflated ego in the room as everyone talked about the importance of getting kids to make healthier food choices.

After the interviews, my daughter Sam and I headed over to the Robert Mondavi Grand Market. This year they added an Italian Village section (not all Italian, but certainly full of tasty booths) to spread it out a bit more. As always, there is more food and drinks than you can possibly enjoy, so I suggest everyone allow for at least two trips there.

This was my first visit during the 2011 festival and I navigated my way over to the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc from The Beach House, which is a wonderful and inexpensive find. Sam, who loves to cook for her friends, was fascinated with the Roasted Garlic Express, and it produces well. She also discovered some delicious food at the booth for Harry’s Oyster Bar & Seafood, and we enjoyed dipping and trying the Balsamic Vinegars and Olive Oils at City 2 Shore. The Pecan Pie from Potito’s was just the way I like it – buttery and not too sweet -- but the sugar in Pecan Jacks nuts was from Caribbean Rum, Amaretto (my favorite) and Bourbon.

At last year’s Guy Fieri Cheesesteak Challenge, I discovered 2 Chicks with Chocolate. The company has grown, but the quality has remained the same. There was plenty more to satisfy my sweet tooth. Fortunately, I’ve learned to just take tasting bites of: Sand Dollar Crumb Cake, moist and rich; Daisy Cakes, the carrot was incredible; and Brix Chocolate for Wine, good with or without the vino. I finished Saturday’s Grand Market experience with a taste of Thatcher’s Organic Artisan Elderflower Liqueur, flavorful and not full of sugar, and spoke with Rocky Fino, who gave me copies of his books Will Cook For Sex: A Guy's Guide to Cooking and Will Mix for Sex: Twenty-One Classic Cocktails to Set the Mood, both of which I’m anxious to read.

We headed out to the Boardwalk and ran into the Cooking Channel Ice Cream Truck, giving out cool treats in celebration of the channel’s one year anniversary. Then it was on to Fire and Ice in the Courtyard just outside of Caesar’s. It was one of my favorite events, with music playing as we enjoyed tastes of Latin food and plenty of wine and spirits. Everything was great, but I especially loved the Mango Habanero Guacamole from Chef Ivy Stark of Dos Caminos.

Unfortunately, I was unable to get tickets to two great events with Sunny Anderson, Sunset Sliders and Sweet & Stylish, but I used the opportunity to chill for awhile in the House of Blues Studio Suite at Showboat before the Chef’s Party at The Foundation Room. It was rather crowded and the chefs just made brief appearances with body guards. As much as I love The Foundation Room at the House of Blues (don’t go to Atlantic City without stopping by for a drink or dinner), I think this event would have been better in a larger location. By about 1:30 am, 2e headed back to our suite (which was just down the hall) to get some rest before the final day of the Food Network’s Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival.

*I will be doing feature stories on all the chefs for a great new website I am working for, Travel, Food & Drink.

(Sorry for the delay between Atlantic City blog posts, I was on assignment for two weeks and it made blogging difficult. It’s something I know to plan for in advance in the future.)

Photos by Samantha Frost