Friday, August 27, 2010

Summer Staple

For me, a summer staple is an avocado sandwich. The bread I prefer to get is from Trader Joe's. They stock two varieties I really like - Organic Multi-Grain Bread and Organic Multi-Grain Oat Bread. Hmmm, not sure about the second kind. Anyway, both of them sit in the bread section. Another kind I like to get is the Multi-Grain variety from Harry's Farmers Market, Marietta. I am not a big fan of the bread that Publix stocks. I have tried different varieties (7-grain, 9-grain, whole wheat, etc.) but they lack the heft of what I get from Trader Joe's and Harry's. They taste too squishy to me. Which means that I always have to plan my grocery route to include Trader Joe's or Harry's, both of which are a good 15-minute drive away. Well, the price we pay for taste... :)

Avocados are heavenly. I get them from anywhere and everywhere. Recently, I tried the giant green skinned one (not sure what it's called). Both P and I found that it lacked the richness of both taste and texture that the regular Hass ones possess. The mozzarella you see here probably came from Harry's too. What I love is that they clearly mark the cheese as 'VEGETARIAN'. No animal rennet in there, yay!

Ok, let's talk about tomatoes. Most of the tomatoes we buy from grocery stores are huge, pale red, and lack any juice or flavor. I like the heirloom kind but they're fairly expensive. Lucky for me, I have been getting tomatoes from Dekalb Farmers Market since a few weeks now. They come from North Carolina and I think that has a lot to do with the taste! Juicy, plump and loaded with flavor, I have been adding them to almost everything I cook! Well, the fact that it's summer (the right season to harvest tomatoes) also has much to do with the gorgeous taste, I guess.

Throw on some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and you have a heavenly snack.

Here are a couple of pictures from a while back.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

California Pizza Kitchen

In a nice little coincidence, while shopping at Trader Joe's a couple of days back, I passed California Pizza Kitchen and wondered, "Haven't been here in a long while! Wonder how that happened..." This evening, P remarked that he felt like a pizza for dinner. And so it happened that we drove there for dinner tonight.


So we ordered an appetizer from the newly titled 'Small Cravings' section on the menu. We went for White Corn Guacamole and Chips. Essentially a platter of blue and white corn tortilla chips served with a guacamole dip of corn, avocado, red peppers and black beans, it was pretty nice. Well, the menu also mentioned that the guacamole contained serrano peppers, green onions and jicama but I couldn't get those flavors. I am sure they were in there, though!

We also ordered the Greek Pizza and it so happened that it came to the table before the appetizer did. Our server girl went to find out what happened. Soon enough, an older gentleman came to our table, apologized for the delay in sending the appetizer across, and told us that he'd take it off the tab. Would you believe, that was EXACTLY what crossed my mind when we got the appetizer late. I thought - they should take the appetizer off the bill; now that's good customer service. And that's what happened!


The Greek Pizza usually has a cold topping of Greek salad made of cucumbers, tomatoes, feta cheese, red onions, fresh tomatoes and olives. Oh, it also has a topping of tzatziki sauce and chopped Italian parsley. Generally, the topping also contains Mediterranean spiced grilled chicken. Since we asked for the vegetarian option, they substituted avocados instead. Pure yumminess!

Since I hardly ever leave a place without dessert, we ordered the Key Lime Pie.

It was P's decision since he felt that it would be very summery and light. That I agree with. Frankly, I have never been a big fan of this dessert. It is too tart for my taste. And it was too tart. But P liked it. Since he is the kinda guy who hardly ever orders dessert, I let him do it this time. By the way, there is a new addition to the dessert menu - Butter Cake. Hmmm, maybe next time.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cool stuff

In the midst of this sweltering heat, sip some delicious ice-cold relief in the form of


Rooh Afza is a sweet syrup made of rose juice. Add milk/water, thrown in some ice-cubes and gulp it down! I have seen another brand (possibly Dabur) that also contained cucumber juice extract among other juices. Need to see where I can get hold of that.

Rita's Ice has a branch close to our place. After a swim, it was a short walk away to indulge in Mango Italian Ice. Icy cold and delicious!

Btw, if you are interested (I am!), here's a recipe from NPR's Kitchen Window that combines Rooh Afza and a basic Italian Ice recipe. Read about the Soulful Granita here. Scroll to the bottom of the page.