Wednesday, October 30, 2013


A few weeks ago, I went out with my family to celebrate my birthday at a restaurant downtown called Vinology.

I'd heard about this place for years from various friends who all said it was amazing, but I'd never really worked up the strength to pull myself over to Main Street and try it.

When my birthday rolled around, I decided it was finally time to see what it's all about.

I need a fellow food adventurer with me, so I brought Matt along.

The restaurant was surprisingly a lot smaller than I thought it would be. Only twenty or so tables inside, with an enormous bar and some quaint decorations. It was clear from the beginning that this place is focused on creating a small and intimate dining experience.

Of course, a round of appetizers was necessary to start. We went with a white cheddar cheese plate with crackers and an arugula and strawberry salad.

Perfectly smooth cheese, crispy crackers, and a touch of sweetness from the berries. I tried my best to pile everything together, as you can see, to appreciate the blend of flavors.

When it came time to order entrees, I went with something new and adventurous. The bison steak.

Several slices of rare bison steak on a bed of spicy greens with a side of sweet barbecue sauce. Complimented by a few sticks of fried okra and a blackberry blue cheese tart. 

The flavor mix was phenomenal. The bison tasted fairly similar to steak, and the heat from the sauce underneath the meat was instantly complimented by the sweetness of the barbecue sauce. Never having tried okra before, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the taste. And I don't even like blue cheese, but the tart was creamy, tangy, and delicious.

My dad and Matt got the same dish - salmon on a bed of veggies with fried goat cheese balls.

To be honest, the goat cheese alone would have been enough to draw me into this dish.

My mother went for a classic dish revamped - seared ahi tuna with a bed of stewed cherry tomatoes and veggies.

I may be a bit biased, but I think my choice was definitely the best.

Despite going through that huge plate of food, trying dessert was an absolute necessity (particularly considering the occasion). I glanced at the dessert menu, but my mind was made up as soon as I saw the Nutella bread pudding.

Easily one of the best desserts I've ever tasted. Fluffy, yet creamy, chocolatey yet not too rich, swimming in a pool of caramel sauce and sprinkled with peanuts. If dinner at Vinology seems a bit too adventurous for you, I'd recommend coming in for coffee and a slice of this bad boy.

All-in-all, a great dinner and a great birthday. And the next day I made sure to wear my favorite present....

A new pair of Hunter boots to tackle the rain and snow!
Nevermind that it wasn't raining the day that I wore these....

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Pumpkin Butterscotch Scones

Since the leaves are starting to turn and the wind is getting chillier, it's time to unveil the perfect fall recipe.

These delightful beauties are from a recipe that I altered to fit the ingredients I had in my kitchen. Needless to say, waking up on a Sunday morning and whipping up a batch of these will sooth your soul with cinnamon and pumpkin (and make your house/apartment smell phenomenal).

To make a batch of 8, you will need:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup light or dark brownsugar
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup butterscotch baking chips
1/3 - 1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (no spices added)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 largeegg
1 tablespoon milk

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Start by combining all of your dry ingredients into a large bowl and mixing them together. Add your butter pieces.

Next, work the butter into the dry ingredients by mashing the two together with a fork. The effect will look something like this:

Continue doing this until all of your butter has been mixed in and the powdered mixture looks like crumbled pie crust.

Next, stir in your chips.

In a separate bowl, combine your pumpkin, buttermilk, and vanilla. 

When it turns into a smooth orange puree, you're ready to add it to your main bowl.

Stir the pumpkin mixture into your other ingredients until the dough just comes together. Transfer to a floured surface and knead it 4-5 times. Carefully pat your dough down into a circle. Next, turn your hand into a sword and slice your dough circle in half. Then, slice each of the halves in half. Finally, slice each of the quarters in half. This should give you 8 relatively uniform triangles.

Lay these out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. In a separate bowl, mix your egg and milk together. Using a pastry brush (or your fingers), cover the tops of your scones with the egg wash.

Heat for 20 minutes and make yourself a nice big mug of coffee. When your timer dings, take these beautiful golden treats out of the oven.

The proper thing to do would be to let them cool for 10-15 minutes before digging in. But let's be real - they look WAY too good to wait.

Pair with your hot mug of coffee, a thick sweater, and falling leaves.

Happy autumn!

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