Lemony Chickpea Pasta

This is a super simple dish that comes together very quickly. I like to make it on nights when I work late and don't have much energy, but still want to make something yummy and homemade. I love how the heat of the pasta warms up the chickpeas so they get nice and creamy. If you want to be fussy you can remove the skin from the chickpeas. It just makes the dish a bit more elegant. I usually run a knife through a tablespoon of the capers then leave the rest whole. This would also be great with some artichokes or kalamata olives. If the capers aren't briny-salty enough for you!


Roasted Cabbage with Lemon

For years I thought I hated cabbage. I think it was one of those irrational childhood food things, I was kind of a picky eater when I was little. Or at least, I had very specific ideas about what I liked and what I would not eat. There are definitely still ingredients I'm not fond of, mostly cilantro and another staple vegetable that I am too embarrassed to admit. But, luckily, I have overcome my fear of cabbage and now I pretty much love it.


Lentil Soup

My mom makes a really delicious lentil soup. Hers is a little rustic, with a thick broth and chunky vegetables. This is a bit fancier (but not really fancy at all...) It can be served as an appetizer, dressed up with some parsley and parmesan. But I like it best on a chilly night in front of the tv. Just add a little garlic bread and some grated cheese and you're in business!


Another Lunch @ Noodles & Company

So Noodles is my go to lunch spot these days. It's quick and sorta cheap and I don't feel uncomfortable eating there by myself. With my hour lunch/dinner break I have plenty of time to eat and usually some extra minutes for errands. I posted about Noodles & Company back in '08 but since I still eat there pretty much once a week, I figure a recap wouldn't hurt. Plus I've got some pictures to post!


Spicy Peanut Noodles

These yummy noodles are a bit addictive. My mom used to make them for our family when I was younger. Then in high school it was one of the first (and only!) recipes I cooked myself. The noodles are based on a recipe from one of my mom's old Moosewood cookbooks. I tried to find the exact recipe online, but the one I found on the Moosewood website was a little different than I remembered, it doesn't have garlic or ginger. So I improvised a little, adding the minced garlic and ginger as well as some honey to balance out the salty/spicy flavors.


Pumpkin Bread with Bittersweet Chocolate Chips

It's fall, my favorite time of year! And Fall means pumpkin in all forms. A few weeks ago I made Molly's Banana Bread from "A Homemade Life" and liked it a lot. I couldn't help but wonder how a pumpkin version would taste. So I modified the recipe, substituting pumpkin for banana, removing the crystallized ginger but adding a bit of powdered ground ginger, as well as cinnamon and nutmeg. I also stole a bit from another of Molly's Banana Bread recipes from Orangette, and added a bit of cinnamon sugar on top of the bread.


Molly Wizenberg's Banana Bread

I have very limited kitchen space and even less cooking equipment, so I don't cook or bake that often. But lately I've been really trying to make more of my meals from scratch. I've had some success so far, with various soups and pasta dishes. But this weekend I got the urge to bake! I'm reading A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg, creator of Orangette, and basically all of the recipes in the book sound amazing and delicious.


Blu Boy

Blu Boy Chocolate Cafe and Cakery popped up a year or so ago right downtown, next to the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. It's a cute little shop with friendly employees and delicious desserts. The location is really great, right in the middle of downtown. Perfect for an after dinner treat on the weekend or a sugary snack during the day.

Blu Boy is one of the few places in Bloomington to find cupcakes. They use a very rich, creamy buttercream which, while delicious, can get a little overwhelming. In the past they swirled the buttercream super-high, but have recently downsized, in my opinion, to a more manageable and proportional amount of frosting. See these cupcakes; Blueberry vs Cinnamon Hazelnut Chocolate. My favorite cupcake ever at Blu Boy was the Banana Chocolate. The cake was a light, moist white cake flavored with banana. And the addition of shaved chocolate to the buttercream was melt-in-your-mouth amazing. I also recently had a Cinnamon Hazelnut Chocolate that was fabulous. I've had a few underwhelming cupcakes at Blu Boy, with dry, crumbly cake, but overall they've been quite good. The flavors rotate so you never know exactly what will be available, usually there are 2-3 options.


Sweet Grass

Sweet Grass is a brand new Bloomington restaurant with a focus on Southern, Carolina cuisine. I tried it out last Wednesday evening with my friends Chris and Katy. The restaurant wasn't packed by any means, but it seemed like a nice crowd for the middle of the week. The waitstaff were very friendly and attentive. Although our waiter was a little slow to bring the check (he was busy closing up the outside dining area) he made up for it by splitting the check with no problem.


Chicago : Topo Gigio

My family took a long weekend vacay to Chicago recently and ate some delicious food. On Sunday we had tickets for the Second City Etc show "Not Working" (hilarious!) and decided to eat nearby before the show. I yelped a few restaurants in the Old Town area before we left but we really picked Topo Gigio because of the lovely patio. It was an excellent choice, the food was fantastic!



There are now three Indian Restaurants in Bloomington, Bombay House, Taste of India, and Shanti. I've only tried the lunch buffet at Taste of India once so I'm not quite ready to give it a thumbs up yet. But if I had to pick a winner between Shanti and Bombay House, Shanti would come out on top. Christine would argue the opposite I think, she lurves Bombay House. At dinner time both restaurants are a bit more expensive than other ethnic restaurants in Bloomington. Entrees in the $9.99 to $14.99 range. Shanti wins at lunch though with cheap and filling lunch specials while Bombay House has a, ridiculously expensive, lunch buffet.


Chicago : More Cupcakes Redux

Last October I blogged about Chicago's More Cupcakes, and how I wasn't super impressed. Well, my friend Mariann got me a gift card to More for Christmas, so we decided to give it another go. And I'm glad we did! Not only was I much happier with the cupcakes we tasted this time, but the employees at the storefront seemed a lot friendlier (less pretentious!). The shop's owner, Patty Rothman, was there giving out samples and talking about all the daily flavors. She was super nice, enthusiastic and definitely made the experience that much better.


Chicago : Hot Doug's

I've been trying to get to Hot Doug's (The Sausage Superstore and Encased Meat Emporium) since last summer! I saw some special about hot dogs on the Travel Channel featuring the restaurant and was like 'Mariann, we must go!' But then we didn't and she went without me then bragged about how awesome it was. Well the stars finally aligned last Friday and it was awesome. My friends Katy, Ella, Ginny and I waited in line for over an hour and a half for our sausages but it was definitely worth it!


The Naughty Dog

A brand new hot dog restaurant just opened up in Bloomington called the Naughty Dog. Pretty cute name I think, and the food was pretty good too! Extra awesome were the coupons distributed with the weekly grocery circulars. Apparently there are also coupons in the local newspaper as well. An important thing to note is that The Naughty Dog is cash only (*** Anon commenter just reported that they are now accepting credit cards, but I have not confirmed***)! We popped in then right back out to make an atm run.


Runcible Spoon

Runcible Spoon is a very Bloomington institution. The Spoon's been around since the 70s but came under new ownership in 2001. The new owner, Matt O'Neill, added an Irish twist to the menu but preserved the unique atmosphere. I have a vivid memory of visiting the restaurant with my mom when I was very young. I have no idea if we even had food, all I remember is the crazy bathtub filled with giant fish! Well now that I'm a bit older the bathtub is still kinda cool, but mostly it's just a murky tub in a dim bathroom with a few random fish. But I bet if I was six I'd still think it was awesome.


Esan Thai

Esan Thai is one of Bloomington's many Thai restaurants. It doesn't measure up to the awesomeness of Little Tibet, but Esan Thai has several dishes I really like. Esan is a bit expensive, in an overpriced kind of way. I think I would be more enthusiastic with it if the prices were lower, it would feel like a better deal.


Chicago : Swirlz

For my last birthday my bff Mariann bought me a gift card for Swirlz Cupcakes in Chicago. We used it back in October and I'm finally blogging about it now. When I first read about Swirlz at Food in Mouth ages ago I got super excited about checking them out. My excitement waned a bit after visiting the super awesome Molly's Cupcakes, I figured Swirlz just wouldn't be able to measure up. Well Swirlz definitely exceeded my expectations. Where Molly's Cupcakes are decadent and rich, cupcakes from Swirlz are delicate and well-balanced.


Little Tibet

I wrote in an earlier post that Samira is the best restaurant in Bloomington. Well, I love Samira but my favorite restaurant in Bloomington is Little Tibet. They serve mostly Tibetan and Thai food, with a little Indian thrown in. Like many of the ethnic restaurants on 4th street, Little Tibet is located in the first floor of a house. It's a bit cramped inside, but still cozy and inviting. In the summer you can also sit outside on the porch or patio.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...