Pod Philadelphia.

If you live near Philadelphia or have ever visited, you most likely know who Stephen Starr is.  And if you don’t or live nowhere near here, well let me tell you.  He is the creator and mastermind behind a slew of amazing themed restaurants in the city.  Starr restaurants are not only amazing places to dine, but are so aesthetically pleasing and make dining out feel like an experience.
Or you could just say he is my hero.
I have dined at many Starr restaurants and it seems like every month more pop up! ( I told you this guy was awesome.)  But so far, my all time favorite is POD!!!

Pod is described as a Contempory Pan Asian themed restaurant that serves a wide variety of dishes from main courses to sushi.  Most of the food is served family style, which I love!  And the food is brought out as it is ready.  The restaurant is decorated very eclectically and is futuristic looking.  Even the bathroom is funky!  And if you’re really lucky and happen to snag an actual pod, you and your party can sit inside the pod where you have the ability to change the lighting and have an intimate dining experience.

I went to Pod with some friends for lunch because we all have such different schedules and knew that we would be able to spend less money than at dinner.  We all started off with some martinis, which are described by color.  I had a red martini which is Soho Lychee Liqueur, Smirnoff Vodka and White Peach Puree.

Because I had been here before I suggested we start off with the Tempura Rock Shrimp which is battered shrimp in a delicious sauce with pineapple and walnuts.  The combination is unlike anything you’ve ever tried!!

The crispiness of the shrimp, the creaminess  of the sauce, the tart bite of  the pineapple and the nutty crunch of the walnuts… I think this dish is simply amazing.
Our entrees varied widely!  I made sure to capture what everyone had because it was all so interesting.

Rockin Spicy Tuna: 8pc. spicy tuna roll topped with tempura rock shrimp and spicy aioli

Maki Combination: 6 pc. each spicy tuna roll, eel-avocado roll and California roll
Lettuce Wraps: Wok Charred Beef, Chicken or Tofu Lettuce Wraps Thai peanut sauce
My friend Nichole and I both got the lunch special which came with miso soup, pickled vegetable salad and white or brown rice.
Macadamia Chicken Stir-fry.

And I had…Miso Glazed Chilean Sea Bass. Oh the sea bass.  This is actually the first place I ever tried sea bass and where I fell in love.  While this version does not compare to the dinner version which is served over mashed sweet potatoes and mushrooms, it was delicious, buttery and melt-in-your-mouth good.
I also had some green tea after my martini.

As if we didn’t eat enough amazing food, we all decided that dessert was necessary.  At a place like this where everything is fabulous, it is the kind of thing you just can’t miss.

Mocha Brownie: cappuccino ice cream, dark chocolate sauce, toasted macadamia nuts
Fluffernutter Spring Rolls: spring rolls with warm chocolate peanut butter dipping sauce
Creme Fraiche Cheesecake: black sesame brittle

Butterscotch Brown Sugar Cake: crumbled gingersnaps, butterscotch panna cotta
My dessert was the Ice Sculpture Sorbets: chef’s selection of assorted flavors.  I thought it was the perfect ending to a delicious meal.  I’ll do my best to remember what the flavors were… black berry, mango, coconut and some kind of mint.  The coconut was definitely my favorite!  And it was served on a really cool block of blue ice!!
But I will admit my absolute favorite dessert was the brown sugar cake!!! It was definitely a memorable dessert and quite possibly the best dessert I’ve ever had.  I will definitely be ordering this next time I return!
I really can’t say enough good things about this place.  From the food to the atmosphere, you’ll quickly want to become a regular at Pod.  And maybe Stephen Starr’s BFF…or maybe that’s just me.

Easter Lemon Pastel Pound Cake

Happy Easter!  If you’re anything like my family, you’ve already begun preparing.  In my family, each family member brings a different dish and then everything comes together perfectly as we sit down to dinner together.  When I was at the grocery store on Wednesday people were already buzzing around buying things in preparation!  I think everyone just likes the thought of it finally being nice outside and everything becoming so beautiful during spring.
So in honor of Easter I decided to make a colorful pastel pound cake.  This recipe is pretty easy and will have everyone asking how you made it look so pretty!  It is the same technique used for the  rainbow cake but it can be whipped up a lot faster.
Easter Lemon Pastel Pound Cake
Preheat oven to 350°
You will need:
∙1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
∙1 1/2 cups white sugar
∙1/2 cup butter
∙1/2 cup sour cream
∙3 eggs
∙1 pinch baking soda
∙1 lemon, you need zest and juice
∙food coloring
1.)    Begin by creaming the butter and sugar together until fluffy.  Next, mix in sour cream, lemon zest and eggs until well blended.

2.)    Meanwhile, mix flour and a pinch of baking soda together, then slowly mix this into wet mixture.

3.)    Next, divide the mixture into 4 bowls, or however many colors you will be making.  You can use whatever colors you like but I used 4 colors: pink, green, yellow and purple.  I used the new gel food coloring which made things even easier!  I love these so much because the colors are so vibrant.

4.)    Then you grease and flour a pound cake pan.  I also found this awesome spray that has the oil and flour in the can!! How cool is that!?  It is a lot faster and worked SO well.  Then layer the batter one at a time, smoothing the layers out but making sure not to mix them.  Bake for 1 hour.

5.)    As the cake is baking mix the juice of the lemon and 1 cup of confectioners sugar for the glaze.
6.)    Remove cake, allow to cool and glaze!  Don’t worry if it doesn’t look exactly like my cake because it will obviously vary greatly due to how it bakes and how you layered the batter.

I hope you enjoyed this fun recipe and share it with your family!  Can’t wait to see how everyone is going to celebrate :)
P.S. Be sure to check out other Easter treats at Sweet As Sugar Cookies.

Kitchen Consigliere

I often am asked if I like blogging and what it is about blogging that keeps me going.  The answer is quite simple and I can answer in one word.  Sharing.  I love sharing everything from my experience at restaurants and recipes to my photos of my friends and family eating something delicious.  Food is something more than just fuel; it is something I am passionate about.  And why not share something that you love?
So when others recommend recipes or restaurants, I usually take the advice pretty seriously.  Which is why when I was recently in Collingswood, NJ (one of my favorite little towns!) in my favorite little jewelry store (Aenigma) and an employee recommended Kitchen Consigliere , I had to go.
Jay and I had attempted to bring friends here one night and when we decided to call last minute, there was no available space!  It made me want to visit even more.  If it was so loved that we could not even get in for dinner…this place had to be good.

When we first walked in on an unusually cold night in April, the temperature in the room was not the only thing that felt warm.  We were greeted with open arms and sat a perfect table where I knew I’d be able to get some great photos.

Collingswood is a dry town which I think is a great thing for those dining. It helps to lower the bill and you can bring that favorite bottle of wine.  But at Kitchen Consigliere you don’t even need to BYO (unless you’re really thirsty that is) because a complimentary glass is served with dinner.  And a really good glass at that!

After browsing over the menu for a few minutes we realized that the menu was rather simple but included all of the Italian favorites.  Little did we know, the list of specials was incredible.  So for those who desire something more unique than a classic Italian dish, listen carefully because you might just miss what you’re craving.

At this point in the meal Jay went to the bathroom and came back giving me a weird look.  You see, the most research I do about a restaurant is checking out their menu.  But little did we know, the executive chef and owner, Angelo Lutz, is a former criminal who was involved with the mob.  There is an article posted on the wall inside the restaurant that further explains Angelo’s story, or you can check out his cooking show, where he talks about his experiences in each episode.  Since serving time, Angelo has proven now more than ever that he really is a “cook, not a crook”.
Most meals included the house salad which is dressed with an olive oil and vinegar dressing.  I was really excited to see that there were chickpeas on the salad.  I always feel like they had an extra meaty flavor that just makes the salad come together.   I thought it was the perfect size and everything was very fresh and crisp.   A perfect start to the meal.

And what kind of Italian meal would it be if there wasn’t bread?  A basket was served along with olive oil and vinegar, as well as butter.

I wound up choosing one of the specials which included tortellini, shrimp and sundried tomatoes in a creamy sauce.  The pasta was cooked perfectly and the creaminess of both the cheese in the pasta and the sauce melded flawlessly with the bite of the sundried tomato.  And texture of the shrimp was just right, firm but not chewy, which is especially important.

Jay had chicken parmesan which was served with a side of pasta.

As we were eating we kept watching other tables eat ginormous slices of cake so once the idea was planted in our head, we knew that dessert was most definitely on the menu for us that night.  I started with a cup of coffee while we talked and digested a bit.

Then we had a piece of homemade chocolate cake.  Holy delicious.  It was rich, moist, chocolate cake with a melty chocolate middle and garnished with white chocolate chips and a chocolate candy.  It was mouth watering and big enough to feed a family of 5, or maybe the mob.

There was even some left over.

Coming from an Italian family, I would say that I am a bit judgmental when it comes to good Italian food.  But Kitchen Consigliere really exceeded my expectations with not only the food, but the hospitable atmosphere.  It is a place where I feel like I could come back week after week, try something new and really feel at home.  And I wasn’t even threatened by the mob to say that.

Let’s Celebrate!

So what exactly are we celebrating?!  National grilled cheese month of course!  What, you haven’t celebrated yet?  Well good thing there is still half of the month left!

Jay and I actually had this meal planned before we realized it was a glorious cheesy month, but why not go with it and call it a celebration!

This potato was the size of my head!  And I have a big noggin.
We started off by making two different kinds of fries.  Old bay fries and parmesan fries.

In case you don’t know what Old Bay fries are, (I realized this was a regional in a previous post!)  it is simply fries with Old Bay seasoning, which is a common mixture put on seafood, especially crab legs.  And we love parmesan truffle fries, but we were lacking truffle oil so we just made them parmesan fries by adding some parmesan cheese, olive oil and parsley.

The potatoes took quite some time to cook, which is why they were the first priority.  They actually wound up shrinking quite a bit in the oven!
And while the fries cooked I worked on a salad for myself.  I chopped some cucumber, red pepper, carrot and tomato over some spinach.  This salad was quite similar to one that Kath would prepare, including her honey and olive oil dressing.

Then it was time to make the grilled cheese!  I left this up to Jay, who is a great sandwich maker.

I had cheese, tomato and a slice of ham on my sandwich.

Jay had just cheese and ham on his.

Oh, and to go with the Old Bay fries we made a quick American cheese dip, which is usually served with these fries when you have them in a restaurant.

We had quite the spread!  Jay said he liked the Old Bay fries best but I was undecided because they were both so good!

I love making these kinds of meals, where we can recreate ideas we have tried when we go out to eat.  It is definitely less expensive and healthier, especially when you know exactly what you are eating.  The only problem?  I wish it could be Grilled Cheese Month 12 times a year!

Salami-Mozzarella Calzone

First, I want to announce the winners of the POM juice coupons!

1.) Ellie from fitforthesoul.wordpress.com

2.) Christina from dessertfortwo.com

3.) Katie from ktbwood.wordpress.com

Please email me (allieatfood@gmail.com) and give me your address and I’ll send the coupon out ASAP!
Thank you to everyone who entered :) I always love giving things away and I can’t wait until I have another opportunity to do so!
I’m also really excited to share another delicious recipe with you.  I found this recipe while browsing through the latest Food Network magazine.
Salami-Mozzarella Calzone is a pretty simple recipe that definitely got my wheels turning.  Prior to making this calzone I never attempted to make one before.  And while I’m sure it is even tastier when you make your own dough, using premade pizza dough made it more even more quick-and-easy-foodie friendly.
Preheat oven to 400°
You will need:
•2 eggs
•1/4 cup chopped parsley
•1 tsp lemon zest
•1/4 pound shredded part skim mozarella
•1/4 pound salami
•1/4 pound provolone
•1 13.8 oz. refrigerated pizza dough
•1 small jar giardiniera vegetables, drained
1.) Begin by putting a baking sheet in the oven while it preheats.  This will make sure that it becomes nice and crispy on the bottom.  Next, mix eggs, parsley and lemon zest in a bowl.
2.) Split the egg mixture in two and add the mozzarella to one bowl.  The other bowl with the egg mixture will be used to brush the calzone.

3.) Line another baking sheet with foil  (or parchment paper) and brush with olive oil.  Unroll the dough and spread over baking sheet.

4.) Spread the mozzarella on half of the dough, leaving about an inch around all sides so that you can fold the dough without the cheese escaping.  Then top with salami, followed by veggies, then provolone.

5.) Fold dough over and crimp edges. Pierce the dough in some places along the top so heat can be released.

6.) Slide calzone onto heated baking sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove and brush with remaining egg mixture.

7.) Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes. Cool for at least 5 minutes.

Now what kind of calzone do I make next?!  Hawaiian, Cuban, grilled chicken, veggie….

POM Fro Yo + Giveaway

The recent outbreak of  self serve frozen yogurt shops makes me ecstatic!  They are so much fun… choose your own cup size, flavor (s), toppings and spoon color.  Not only are they really fun but you get to chose how much, or little you want and then pay by the oz.  I think this is a great way to pay!  It just makes sense that the more you eat, the more you pay.
Now the only bad part is that I’m craving frozen yogurt more often.  But I decided  that since I’ve got a great ice cream maker and some creative foodie-ness…why not make my own.
This recipe is easy, adaptable, healthy, inexpensive and goes a long way.
Blueberry Pomegranate Frozen Yogurt


You will need:
•An ice cream machine
•2 cups plain greek yogurt
•2 cups plain regular yogurt
•1 cup Blueberry POM juice
•2 TBS splenda
I just wanted to briefly talk about my CuisinArt ice cream maker.
It comes in 4 pieces:

The base.
Stirrer/scraper and lid.

And of course the frozen ice bucket.
All you have to do is put the ice bucket in the freezer (I always do it overnight to make sure it is nice and frozen solid) and then put the bucket on the base, the stirrer in the bucket, followed by the lid.  It is that easy and the results are always great.

1.) Begin by mixing the yogurt in a bowl.

2.) Next, add the juice and stir.

3.) All that is left to do is pour the mixture in the ice cream maker and let it do its thing!  I had it on for a half hour.  Depending on what kind of consistency you like you can freeze before eating or just eat right rom the maker!

This was a sneak peak in the mixer.

I served my yogurt with fresh strawberries.  I can’t wait for strawberry season (late May!) so we can pick our own sweet berries.
Giveaway
So now that you’re craving some POM frozen yogurt, you need a nice bottle of POM juice, right?  Well, you’re in luck because I’m giving away 3 coupons for a  bottle of POM juice! All you have to do is leave a comment saying what your favorite POM juice flavor is (original, cranberry, blueberry, kiwi, nectarine, cherry, mango) or what kind you’d like to try or what you’d do with the juice!
I will pick the 3 winners using random.org on Monday night at 11:59 EST and then email you asking for your address.  Good luck!

The Cheesecake Factory…It’s What’s For Brunch

If you haven’t noticed by now…Jay and I like going out to eat.  It’s something that I don’t really pay attention to, because we do it so often.  And while this may seems extravagant to some, we usually only see each other on the weekends so we like to go all out.
And like I said to Jay today, I like to live life on the edge.  He laughed at this because while “living on the edge” might mean doing crazy things for some people, for me it means going out to eat and buying the fancy groceries I like.  :)
We usually do our dining out on the weekends.  This past weekend we decided to go  to The Cheesecake Factory!  But not just to eat any meal… we were having brunch!

I’m not much of a morning person, I’m not going to lie.  But getting up for brunch?  I can definitely wake up for that.  And I’m not normally a breakfast person, but I do like restaurant breakfast.  If you aren’t feeling breakfast though, not to worry.

Because The Cheesecake Factory has a big book as their menu and you can order anything on it, brunch or not.

Oh, and there was coffee involved.  I never thought I’d be one of those people that needed coffee to function…but slowly it is happening.
I had a latte and I loved how it came out in this glass.  I think it’s fun to see the layers :)

Light fluffy foam

Dark Foam

Coffee

Jay had a cup of hot tea.

They start you off with some fresh bread, which I think is kind of pointless at a restaurant like this. (Portions are so huge!)  Especially at breakfast/brunch time.
I tried a few nibbles but bread baskets never really impress me.
I’m a very indecisive person so making restaurant choices can be quite difficult.  I finally came to the conclusion that I had to try the California Omlette.  I’ve had a bit of an obsession with CA ever since I left in the fall.  Plus, it had avocados!!!

California Omelette:

Avocado, Mushrooms, Green Onion, Tomato, Garlic and Shallots, Sour Cream, Jack Cheddar and Swiss Cheese.
Oh, and I also had a choice of potatoes or tomatoes. Ummm both please?  But that wasn’t a problem because your choice of bread also came with it so I naturally knocked out the bread for what I felt was two perfect breakfast sides.
Jay had some awesome french toast!  Of course I tried a bite ;)

We had a great time at brunch.  It was something different, we used a gift card, the food was delish and our server was awesome! (Her name was Gail if you’re ever at the Cherry Hill location.)
And not to worry, I have been cooking and intend to share some recipes!!!