Sunday, February 7, 2016

Lolli and Pops

I felt like a kid in a candy store at Lolli and Pops, the new shop at Westfield Southcenter.  I was walking through the mall last week and just came upon it.  Of course, I had to wander in and check it out.  The salesgirl even took me on a tour.  It's a large space with many different variations of sweets to choose from.  They have a large glass case with chocolates and French Macarons, holiday candy, a whole wall of lollipops, imported chocolates, bins with candy and chocolate, themed candy, candy made locally, and old school candy that's hard to find.  I liked the giant gold gummy bear in the back and the huge lollipops everywhere.  It's an eye-popping place with something for everyone. 

I decided to get a selection of the French Macarons.  I chose six and they came in an adorable pink box.  I got a red velvet one, a birthday cake flavor, cereal flavor, a peanut butter and jelly, a pear and goat cheese, and a s'more Macaron.  They were like little bites of heaven.  The pear and goat cheese one stood out to me and I loved every little bite of it.  The peanut butter and jelly one was divine, too.  The cereal Macaron tasted like Captain Crunch, it was so good.  And the s'more one was also fabulous with the rich chocolate buttercream on half and marshmallow buttercream on the other side.  All I know is, this is going to be dangerous.  A sweets shop this good at the mall could be too tempting....

I couldn't resist taking a ton of Macaron shots.  I just had to post them here to show the six different flavors.  I also took some photos with my phone at the store to post to Instagram.  Enjoy!

The red velvet macaron.

The birthday cake macaron.

The cereal one that tasted like what I think is Captain Crunch. 

The pear and goat cheese macaron.

The peanut butter and jelly macaroon which I really liked because I've never eaten one like it before.

The s'more macaron with the marshmallow buttercream side.  

The s'more macaroon on top, with the chocolate buttercream side out. 

The innards of the pear and goat cheese macaron.  I love goat cheese so I really enjoyed the unique flavor of this one.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Big Mario's Pizza in Queen Anne

Big Mario's Pizza recently opened a second location in Queen Anne recently.  I visited their other place on Capital Hill years ago and remembered the huge slices of pizza, served up fresh, to fill you up and satisfy.  It sounded like the new Big Mario's was going to be more family friendly so I went with my husband and kids to try it out.  They have a full bar in the back and the front is more for families with long, red booths and lots of light from the windows.  It smelled so good when we walked in and I liked seeing them tossing dough in the air.  Nothing like a little ambiance and anticipation to whet the pallet.  We ended up getting four slices, they are huge, so I got one and my little boys shared one.  My husband got two, the Tomato Basil and the Gorgonzola and Pear.  Mine was a slice with pineapple, jalapeƱo, and pepperoni and a slice of pepperoni pizza for my boys.  I loved my slice.  It was hot and fresh and perfectly spicy.  Plus I love the flavor combination of pineapple and jalapeno.  If you've never tried that, you should.  The thing about getting slices, pretty much anywhere, is that it's only really good fresh.  Once pizza that's been sitting out a minute gets reheated, you better eat it quick.  I tried a little of my sons pepperoni slice and it didn't even compare to mine just because it had hardened a little.  My husband's Gorgonzola and Pear slice was awesome, too. That's also a great flavor combo.  Plus you can't beat finding something unique in a pizza topping you've never had before.  Trust me, I've had a lot of pizza!

Big Mario's Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, January 29, 2016

Ugly Duckling Cake for a Mid-Week Brunch

There's something special and comforting about using recipes from one's childhood.  Especially baking cakes.  Ugly Duckling Cake was a favorite of my family when I was growing up.  I've made it a few times for my husband and he loves it, too.  The ingredients and the name are unsophisticated, it uses a yellow cake mix, a can of fruit cocktail and coconut for the cake part, but the flavors blend deliciously together.  I decided to do a mid-week brunch and have the cake as the sweet element.  I also made scrambled eggs with cheese, turkey sausage, Hawaiian sweet rolls, yogurt and granola parfaits with strawberries, and Pineapple Mimosas.   I kind of planned the brunch around the cake and played up the tropical element a little.  The flavors all went well together and now my sons like the cake, too. 

Ugly Duckling Cake

1 package yellow cake mix
1 can fruit cocktail
2 1/3 c. coconut
2 eggs
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. evaporated milk

Combine cake mix, fruit cocktail with juice, 1 cup of the coconut and the eggs in large mixing bowl.  Blend; beat at medium speed 2 minutes.  Pour into greased 13x9 inch pan.  Sprinkle with brown sugar.  Bake at 325 degrees  for 45 minutes.  Bring butter, sugar, milk to a boil in small saucepan.  Boil 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and add remaining coconut.  Spoon over hot cake in pan. 
The cake mix, fruit cocktail, and coconut look so pretty together and taste good, too.

The cake is sprinkled with brown sugar and ready to go in the oven.

The cake is all baked and it is time for brunch. 

A cork from a bottle of Cava for our mimosas.

My slice of Ugly Duckling Cake.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Brunch at Ma'ono

I had been awhile since we'd done brunch.  Luckily, Seattle is filled to the brim with brunch options.  It was a rainy Saturday and we were feeling a little bored and house bound.  So it seemed like a good time to eat out and grab some brunch from a restaurant we've never been to.  Sometimes just experiencing a new place, like a restaurant, can help you beat the winter blues by mixing up your routine a little.  We decided on Ma'ono in West Seattle because their menu looked good and there were several dishes we wanted to try.  It was a packed house when we arrived and I didn't think to make a reservation.  Good thing for us several tables were getting up so we only had to wait fifteen minutes.  Our children were acting up and continued to the whole meal.  The servers were gracious though and nobody seemed too upset by their behavior. 

The food at Ma'ono is Hawaiian style with a large whiskey menu.  They also have fried chicken, which you have to make a reservation for ahead of time.   We started with some Apple Malasadas (doughnuts) which were covered in cinnamon and sugar and arrived with a small pot of vanilla cream for dipping.  We also had the Warm Portuguese Sweet Rolls with Nutella.  I loved both starters and I think brunch should have its share of sweet to match the savory.  Brunch should also have cocktails, so my husband and I also got a drink.  He had a Bloody Mary and I had "The Crush" a cocktail with brandy, pressed apple cider-honey syrup, sparkling wine and frozen grapes. 

Then for our main dishes he had the Tostadas which had fried eggs, crispy corn tortillas, black beans, iceberg lettuce, coconut chutney, cotija, and sriracha sour cream.  Our boys shared a small bowl of rice and the helped me eat my Coconut-Fruit French Toast, my main dish.  I'm still thinking about that French toast because it was so delicious and unique.  There's a reason some restaurants are always packed, because the flavors are original and just plain tasty.  I really liked the pineapple on top with the coconut shavings.  The coconut butter, served on the side to pour over the top, was also memorable and really good.  Ma'ono means flavor and they live up to their name. 

Ma'ono Fried Chicken & Whisky Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, January 22, 2016

How to make a Cuban Sidecar

If you feel like drinking something different in the new year and you've never had a Cuban Sidecar, then I recommend making one at home or ordering one the next time you go out.  This cocktail is simple to make and very refreshing.  A Cuban Sidecar is different from a regular Sidecar because it contains rum, triple sec, and either lime or lemon juice.  A Sidecar has cognac, Cointreau, and lemon juice.  The Cuban Sidecar reminds me of a Lemon drop Martini but with lime, which I love.  You can have it with a sugared rim or without, depending on what you're in the mood for.  Some of us are so sweet already, we don't need any more sugar, am I right? If you wish to make a Cuban Sidecar, grab a martini glass and chill it.  Then, fill a shaker with ice cubes.  Next, pour one shot of light rum, one shot of lime juice, and one shot of triple sec into your shaker.  Shake it up and strain into your glass.  Cheers!
My Cuban Sidecar, made at home, for a night in.

We used Bacardi light rum and triple sec.  Silly me, I forgot to put the lime in the background, too!