Rolled Ice Cream is Hot on Butler Street

I’ve been away for awhile.  My friend B said “let’s go to NatuRoll Creamery get rolled ice cream in Lawrenceville. There’s always a line” (which is a good sign).

Turns out it didn’t open until three. So we had a delicious lunch at VANDAL first, waiting for three o’clock to roll around.

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Kaden took our orders and $. Two Spring Specials -Blueberry Lemon on a Vanilla Base.

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Abby made mine.

Then she added them lemon zest

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and a slice of lemon

IMG_2442The focus is on Abby.  Takes 2-5 minutes to create each fancy finished special.

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Truffle Atop Poached Egg and Wild Asparagus Risotto

IMG_5711What an evening of taste bud surprises! WOW.

We took an evening tram to meet my son’s friends at a café.  Because it was the night before the Easter Holiday, every seat was taken. Quite a wait for a table. Everyone celebrating being off the next workday.

Bummer-  BUT  When the friends arrived they had a discussion for an alternate plan.  Wow, did I ever luck out that the café was full.  One went to procure a  bottle of red.

The first delight was I’s Sour Cherry apéritif which he’d made.  At first,  I was worried it might burn but my concerns were totally unfounded.  In fact, the drink defined summer captured in a slim crystal cylinder.  All I can say it the ruby liquid of summer’s sour cherries woke up every taste bud in my mouth.  Delicious.  Not to sweet, not too tart, zero burn. Perfection!

And then the surprise of M’s creation- Poached egg on fresh bread with the fruitiest most fragrant olive oil drizzle AND the unexpected luxurious truffle on top of the gently poached farm egg.  Or “home eggs” as my family refers to them.

I was feeling quite content with all I had eaten. Italian cheese and olives to start and then the Sour Cherry apéritif and the lovely truffle surprise.   And then the Wild Asparagus Risotto was ready to eat.  Freshly Grated Cheese on top. Oh my.  So bold.  It was wild! A flavor I’dd never before experienced,  created by a culinary expert.

I was happy to meet my son’s friends and be invited into a Zagreb home to experience  these tastes and more importantly their friendship and hospitality.

Sretan Uskrs and Hvala for a wonderful evening in Zagreb.

IMG_5711 iPhone photos don’t do justice to this dish.

 

 

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The wild asparagus simmers

 

 

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Words are inadequate to describe this bold Wild Asparagus Risotto. WOW!

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Wisdom and Love at Ritter’s Diner

Meet Sophia and Aphrodite.

Last week I made arrangements to photograph Aphrodite for the People at Work Series.  Steve and I’ve known Aphrodite for more than 23 years now. Sophia asked me if I knew what Sophia meant and I had to admit I didn’t.

But I do now!  Wisdom.  And Aphrodite means Love.

I ordered two eggs over medium, dry wheat toast with butter on the side and potatoes with the well done crispy bits. Coffee and a glass of water.

I asked Sophia if I might photograph her, too, and she graciously agreed.  I forgot to ask Sophia how long she’s worked at Ritter’s Diner but I know Aphrodite has worked there for 39 years!

Chances are if you’re from Pittsburgh, you’ve had the good fortune to meet both of these wonderful women.

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 Sophia and Aphrodite

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SophiaSophia at the cash register

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Ritter’s Diner on Baum Bloulevard-

A Pittsburgh Landmark just a block away from Shadyside Hospital

Tastes Better When Someone Else Prepares and Serves

Classic winter lunch made and served by my daughter Laura. Hit the spot on a gray chilly day.

img_3117Cheddar and Monterey Jack on wheat was the grilled cheese. She used the stovetop cast iron grill I gave her for Christmas. (Which covers two burners)

Hopkins County Stew

My neighbor up the street made a vat of Hopkins County Chicken Stew.(recipe)

She served it at their New Year’s Eve Party Saturday night.

I sent a text to thank her for the nice time and she texted back and invited me to come up around 4, bring an empty container, fill up! I took up a quart jar but she had a couple of gallons.

Yum.

When I got there, I was in awe of the huge pot she made it in. She was in the midst of major clean up from the party.  Steve and I  ate the warm penne and sweet sausage she sent home along with some stew.  Thanks for sharing your leftovers.

I’d never even heard of Hopkins County Stew from Texas.

Turns out there’s a big festival in Sulphur Springs Texas  (the fourth Saturday of October) and here is an excerpt from their webpage

“The cooking competition began in 1969, but the roots of the dish date from the late 1800s, The county had approximately 100 schools back then and it became customary to celebrate the end of each school year with stew suppers that were cooked in iron pots over open hardwood fires. 

There were no recipes.  Families just brought what they had and threw it in the pot.  The meat most likely was squirrel, and typically the most dominant vegetables were potatoes, onions, corn and tomatoes.

There is still no authentic recipe for Hopkins County Stew.  For the annual cook-off, contestants may use chicken or beef (no squirrel) and there are separate prizes for the best stew with each meat.”

Here is another link to a recipe   I will have to ask Susanne which one she used.  The ones listed above (potatoes, onions, corn and tomatoes) are still the dominant ingredients.

 

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A Perfect Dessert

You know how I like dessert. It’s a double guest blog  today.

Necessity! I purposefully left my cell phone home so I could be present in the moment during a special luncheon Wednesday afternoon.

Steve and I were invited next door for a delicious lunch to welcome our new neighbors to the neighborhood.

Dessert was this stunning and  mouthwatering Lemon Tart from the French bakery on Butler Street in Lawrenceville  La Gourmandine

 

The first photo by Madison who said  “The simple things in life are the sweetest.”

 

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img_2377and then when my slice of the delectable tart on the beautiful blue and white china plate was set in front of me, I definitely needed another photo.  (Thank you Joaquin)

No way to adequately describe the simultaneous sweet and tart combination as it glides over your tongue.  Perfection!