Friday Favorites

Some food-related (mostly) things we enjoyed this past week:

Steelers al fresco

We enjoyed Monday night football on our patio with a nice dinner and a sad Steeler loss.  We will miss this spot when we move.  And if the Steelers don’t start playing better, apparently we are going to miss a winning season as well.

Big job, small hose

In case you wondered, it takes a really, really long time to drain a pool for repairs in the lining, then to fix said lining (in an unfortunate, not-even-close-to-matching way), then refill said pool with a single garden hose.  Thank goodness Dan got the brilliant idea to hook up the world’s longest hose to the spigot in the front yard, so we had two garden hoses working at the same time to speed up the re-filling process by approximately half as excruciatingly long.

Korean pork belly

We cooked amazing Korean pork belly BBQ at home this week, made possible by the awesome Asian supermarket (H Mart) that we will sorely miss once we move.  Dan marinated the paper-thinly sliced pork in a spicy/sweet mixture:  gochu jang (spicy Korean pepper paste), soy, mirin (rice wine), brown sugar, sesame oil and pear juice (from a mashed up pear.)  Following the protocol of the (few) Korean restaurants we’ve been to, we served the pork taco-style in Bibb lettuce leaves with green onion tops and a little extra marinade (set aside before we added the pork to the marinade.)  So good.  We’re going to have to find an Asian market in the Chicago area for sure.

Garage progress

Also on the moving front, Holy Clean Garage Batman!  We made really good progress on the de-cluttering this week, while Dan is between jobs.  That pile in the front of the photo is our eleventy-billionth load to donate to Goodwill, and if you squint a bit you can see a couple of sweet, sweet empty shelves in the back.  Special thanks to our suckers friends who are taking some of our old like-new tools off our hands to clutter up their own garages put to good use!

My, we had a lot of coins

Who knew we had a treasure chest in our garage?!  We found a small bucket of coins from who-remembers-where, added it to the coin receptacle we keep in our closet and carted them (literally — both containers were really heavy so we put them in a shopping cart) to our local coin exchange at the grocery store.  We each estimated the amount of dollars we might receive (I said $87, Dan said $125) before we started the coin loading process, and boy, did we under-estimate.  After about half an hour, dirty coin fingers and a really patient customer service representative who cleaned out the machine for us, we left with a little more than $350!  De-cluttering for the win!

Eggplant “Meatballs”

The eggplant we put in our garden this year has done really well.  So well, in fact, that we’ve realized we don’t even really like eggplant that much!  It’s good every once in a while, when we’re in the mood for a vegetarian meal, like this pasta dish.  But our garden has produced enough eggplant this summer, that we’ve tried in enough different recipes (mostly side dishes) to discover that it’s not our favorite.  Among the dishes we’ve tried, however, this recipe is one that we probably liked the best.  The roasted eggplant has a rich, meaty flavor and the texture is very similar to “real” meatballs (made with meat.)  They likely wouldn’t beat the real thing in a blind taste-test, but eggplant “meatballs” are a good vegetarian alternative and a great way to use up an abundance of eggplant from the garden.

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Friday Favorites

Some food-related (mostly) things we enjoyed this past week:

First and foremost, we have to say thank you to everyone for all the kind and encouraging comments about our big move.  Having so much support from family, friends and people we’ve never even met in real life makes this adventure exponentially more exciting for us.  Thank you!

Farmer's Market

While condo-hunting in Evanston last weekend, we also made time to tour the local farmer’s market, which was quite impressive.  We’re thrilled that every Saturday from May 4 through November 2, we’ll be able to walk a few blocks to the market where we can get locally-grown fruits and vegetables, farm-fresh eggs (including duck eggs!), artisan breads, homemade desserts, fresh-cut flowers, etc., etc.


We took a break from looking at condos (spoiler-alert, we found one!) to refuel and recharge with a couple glasses of wine and some appetizers at Bar Louie.  The bacon cheeseburger sliders (with fried onion strings) and the tempura shrimp were both amazing.  It’s a really good thing that Evanston is a walkable city, because with so many great restaurants there, we’re going to do a lot of eating.  So we better do a lot of walking too.

Go Steelers!

Just in time for us to move away, we finally went to a local Steeler bar very close to our current house.  Longtime family friends of Dan’s have been going there (and inviting us) to watch Steeler games for years, but we never got around to it until last Monday night.  Better late than never, we had a great time (thanks, Gallaghers!) and definitely hope to catch another game or two there before we leave Dallas.

Chef Fearing

Speaking of leaving (not every blog post these days is going to be about us moving, I promise), Dan’s work friends took him to a farewell lunch at Fearing’s Restaurant, and as a special surprise arranged for him to meet Chef Dean Fearing himself!  They’ve actually met before, since Chef Fearing judges the chili cook-off we have participated in for the last three years.  He might remember Dan because we won in 2011 (but probably not.)  There’s a better chance that Chef Fearing remembers Dan from last year, when we won the “burnt spoon” prize, after we accidentally set our table on fire.  Who knew our final chili cook-off in Dallas would be such a memorable one!  (And, ironically, we took a trip to Chicago during that same week last year, which I also wrote about in that Friday Favorites post.  At the time, I actually said “We love the Windy City, but not enough to brave it in January.”  Hmm.  Guess I better pack some courage into our moving boxes!)


Crafting a New Adventure

Friday Favorites

Some food-related (mostly) things we enjoyed this past week:

Coal Vines

We are pleased to report that the new location of one of our favorite pizza places has opened up in the complex that includes our favorite local movie theater.  Coal Vines is a “pizza wine bar” that specializes in New York-style pizza and has a high-quality, yet reasonably priced wine list.  Theirs is among the best pizza we’ve had in Dallas, and we’re happy to have the new location close to home.


In the same complex as Coal Vines is another favorite, Nick & Sam’s Grill, which offers unique bistro-type dishes and upscale comfort food, as well as sushi and several Asian-style appetizers.  We recently fell in love with their crispy Asian calamari, with fried calamari, tiny chunks of pineapple and wilted arugula tossed in a black bean chili garlic sauce.  It has just the right amount of spicy and sweet.  We heard they are re-vamping their menu in the next few weeks, so we hope they don’t get rid of our favorite calamari!


When we’re not hanging out at our favorite theater and accompanying restaurants (which apparently isn’t very often), we manage to branch out to other great local eateries.  Princi Italia is one of those places we tend to forget about, but always enjoy so much that we leave saying “we really should come here more often.”  We’ve never had a bad meal there — from interesting pasta dishes, to pizza cooked in their wood-burning oven, to flavorful panini sandwiches.  And they have the skinniest shoestring fries ever.


We bid farewell to summer and welcome fall (in spite of temperatures in the high 90s still, with no end in sight) by making our final batch of refrigerator pickles for the season.  We’ve had a good summer, but fall is a time of change, and we are particularly excited to see what this transitional season has in store for us this year.

Rib Eye w/ Goat Cheese & Lemon-Honey Mustard

Goat cheese on a steak?  We too were a little skeptical, at first.  But the recipe comes from Bobby Flay’s latest cookbook, “Barbecue Addiction,” so we felt confident that the combination would be more delicious than disaster.  We own several of Bobby’s cookbooks (we’re on a first-name basis because we met him once, for 25 whole seconds at a book signing) and we’ve learned that he has a great knack for pairing rather unusual flavor profiles, as well as creating unique sauces and garnishes to perfectly accompany various grilled meats.  And this rib eye recipe is no exception.  Don’t just take our word for it, take it from Bobby himself:  “This dish may sound like a crazy combination, but I have to tell you, it works.”  Chef Flay is absolutely correct that the tangy goat cheese and bright lemon-honey-mustard sauce come together to complement the rich beefiness of the marbled rib eye.  It’s a match made in steak heaven.

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Weekly Menu (Sept. 7)



  • Grilled Ribeye  w/ Goat Cheese & Lemon-Honey Mustard, Tomato & Onion Bibb Lettuce Salad


  • Grilled Lamb Chops, Tzatziki, Tabouli


  • Penne w/ Roasted Tomatoes, Chicken & Mushrooms


  • Ponzu Fish, Sauteed Baby Bok Choy & Snow Peas


  • Take-Out


  • Pork Carnitas w/ Homemade Tortillas, Avocado and Tomatillo Salsa


  • Dinner Out