We’re just two weeks shy of Super Bowl Sunday and I’m already thinking about game day. I’m not particular if the Patriots, Saints, Chiefs or Rams make it to the big game, but I am particular about what is on the menu! There are lots of statistics about how much guacamole is served up on Super Bowl Sunday and I’m sure there are quite a few chicken wings and hot dogs gobbled up during the game as well. Here is a super easy menu for your Super Bowl Gathering. As you know when I entertain, my goal is always to make one or two really good homemade dishes and fill in the rest with some quality purchased items. The cake in the picture is from Super Bowl XLVIII when the Seattle Seahawks played the Denver Broncos. The game was on Ground Hog’s Day which is also my husband’s birthday, so we celebrated all 3 events with one cake! If you’re not hosting just put together one of these dishes to take to your friend’s place or bring some of this amazing Champagne bottle sized Miller High Life!
SUPER BOWL SUNDAY MENU
French Onion Dip with Potato Chips – Mix a packet of Onion Soup Mix with and 8 oz Tub of Sour Cream and serve with your favorite chips
Baby Carrots, Sliced Cucumber & Grape Tomatoes with Hummus
As many of you know, I worked at Bouchon Bakery in The Time Warner Building in New York City for over three years. It wasn’t always easy working for Thomas Keller but I did learn a lot about food, service and hospitality. Chef Keller is obviously very talented with food and also in the industry of making the guest’s needs come first. To this day, when I am cleaning I often think if he would approve of the appearance of my shop. Some days, I would love for him to walk in and see what I am doing and on other days, I might hide behind the table stacked high with boxes of chocolate. The Thomas Keller ‘Empire’ is based in Yountville, California and during my three years at Bouchon Bakery I tried and tried to get sent out to California to work, but to my disappointment, never got on that plane out west.
This past weekend, my husband surprised me with an early birthday present… a trip to Napa Valley with three friends. This was my opportunity to recharge, drink some wine and eat some amazing food. There was definitely talk of going to The French Laundry for dinner but I decided that is a once in a lifetime meal and I want to experience it with my husband. We did have an amazing meal at Single Thread Farms but I’ll save that for another time. We made a reservation for Sunday Brunch at Ad Hoc. Ad Hoc is likely the most casual of Thomas Keller’s restaurants, serving a single meal, family style for weekend brunch and nightly dinners. I started brunch with a Bloody Mary(a true sign of a vacation without kids!) and it only got better from there. Our meal consisted of a simple spinach salad filled with pickled red onions & grapes and topped with a creamy avocado dressing. The main course was Chicken Fried Steak topped with gravy along with roasted potatoes. We added a Spanglish Sandwich which was the best combination of a fried egg, toasted bread, cheese, tomato and lettuce I’ve had in a long time. Feeling very satisfied, we were presented with a Red Velvet Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting for dessert. It was rich, tangy and sinfully sweet.
After brunch I wanted to explore the rest of Yountville and check out the rest of Thomas Keller’s restaurants. A walk down Washington Street took us past Bouchon Bakery with a line winding down the block for their fresh baked goods and coffee. Next was Bouchon the bistro famous for classic French dishes and finally we stumbled into the garden at The French Laundry. I’m not sure we went in the proper entrance to the property as I never saw the famed Blue Door but the garden was amazing. We passed diners in a small dining room which opened out into the garden and the beautiful fall afternoon. The setting was magical and I look forward to returning one day to experience it for myself. We meandered back down the street to where we started our walk and got in the car to drive back to the airport.
The trip to California was exactly what I needed. It was a chance to catch up with old friends, catch up on my sleep and catch up with dreams of the past. I am so glad I was able to play ‘hooky’ from my life for a few days. I have returned refreshed and ready to take on the busy season ahead.
Fall is officially here and if you’re like me, you’re looking to take advantage of all that the season has to offer. Here is a round up of some great events and places to visit this fall.
New York City Wine & Food Festival: Taking place in multiple venues throughout NYC the weekend of October 11th -14th this food and wine festival is a must see. You can choose from large events featuring television personalities like Giada DeLaurentis to intimate dinners at restaurants like Café Boulud. The festival raises money for Food Bank New York City so you can feel good while you are out enjoying delicious food.
The New York Coffee Festival: From October 12-14th this festival will be held at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea. This event is about sipping and tasting the best coffee around. It is a mix of coffee professionals, coffee aficionados and tired people looking for a pick-me-up! I attended this event a few years ago and have to tell you there are also loads of delicious sweets to pair with the abundance of coffee.
Pumpkin Patch at Demarest Farms: My children love picking out the perfect pumpkin to decorate ahead of Halloween and Demarest Farms makes it super fun. There is a tractor ride out to the pumpkin patch where you’ll also find some farm animals, apple cider, apple cider donuts and some play structures for the kids. You can purchase your tickets online to save time when you get to the farm!
Apple Picking at Ochs Orchard: This Orchard is the perfect place for a quick getaway from NYC and finding delicious apples. Pick Your Own Apples or just go and enjoy the farm life and get your apples from their market. The market is full of fresh produce and some really delicious small batch jams, jellies and food products. Right up our alley!
Whether you head out to one of these destinations or choose to spend your fall afternoons watching football on tv or maybe playing football in the park, I hope you’ll enjoy what this amazing season has to offer indoors and outdoors.