Friday, July 6, 2012

Blast From the Past

They say, "Time waits for no man", but have you ever heard of time ceasing to exist? Or better yet, have you ever heard of a town being stuck in time? No? Well neither had I until I stepped into the time warp, also known as Yellow Springs, Ohio. Located in the South-western area of Ohio, and only about one hour away from Columbus is the small town of Yellow Springs. A town ahead of our time while simultaneously being stuck in the age of love,  better known as the 60's. But before venturing to Yellow Springs I wanted to get more acquainted with the town, and what better way to do that than by digging up a little history?! 

Staking its claim in Southwest Ohio during the first decade of the 19th century, Yellow Springs was born and it came booming with dreams of a society where everyone could live peacefully among one another. The first known settlers of Yellow Springs were the Owens family, saddled up with their hopes and dreams of Utopian world. The city grew and grew as settlers filtered in, and soon small shops filled the the main part of town, which is now on Xenia Avenue. Some may deem it impossible for humankind to live peacefully like that, but the inhabitants of Yellow Springs seem to think otherwise. 

For someone who has been called a "flower-child" all of her life, I couldn't have been more ecstatic when my grandma agreed to traveling with me to Yellow Springs. She had been there before with her close friend, who is a regular visitor of the cozy town, so I knew it would be a great experience. With our personal tour guide in place we set off on our adventure Saturday afternoon. 

As we drove the hour long trek excitement kept building and building, and thoughts raced through my head. "What would it look like?", "Would there be older hippies around every corner?", and "Do they actually have trees with knitted cozies on them?" Caught in a twister of thoughts, I gazed out of the window hoping to see any sort of sign that would tell me we were close to our destination, and just like that I saw it. It was just like any other green sign letting you know that you have entered a new town but for some reason it seemed ten times more vibrant than any other I had seen before. This could have been due to my nerves tingling with anticipation, or it could have been the magic that Yellow Springs held inviting us in with open arms. 

As we passed Young's Jersey Dairy, I was reminded of a friend telling me that they served the best ice cream. I was so tempted to ask my grandma to pull over, but remembered that this trip was all about Xenia Avenue. Which is where the vast majority of the shops and restaurants are located. As we drove further into town, I could feel all the emotions that had been bouncing around begin to surge through me. I felt like a kid who had just left the candy store with all their favorite goodies in hand, and was now sitting at the top of the roller coaster, waiting for it to make it over the adrenaline-rushing hill. 

Brightly painted doors, adorned with personal artistic flares of all kinds greeted us as we drove down Xenia Avenue. It was just as I had imagined it would be. There were small shops on both sides of the street, with a cafe or restaurant here and there, and people from all walks of life traversed around cheerfully. We couldn't have planned to come at a better time as well. Not only was the sun shining down on us with blessings of a great trip in each ray but it was also the towns Gay Pride Festival. So everyone was either carrying a rainbow flag or wearing rainbow, tie-dye shirts. 

It almost seemed too perfect, and I had the urge to look around make sure I wasn't on the set for the movie Pleasantville. Though this town was opposite from the movies philosophy of a "perfect town", it still stayed true to the idea of a simple and pleasant life style. Another thing that I love about this town is how together, they fight to keep it that way. If you venture their yourself one day, and I urge you too, you will not find a single fast food chain. Nor will you find any housing developments or an excessive amount of shopping centers. 

Once we located Debbie, our friend and tour guide for the day, we were off to see the stores. La Llama Place being the first one we ventured to.This store had me in its snare once I saw all the hand crafted hats and other clothing items. Though I told myself I wouldn't buy anything I caved in and did. You've got to buy something to get the full experience, right? Whether I'm right or not, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Along with the knitted items they had decorative house pieces. This store had such a wide variety of trinkets that I found myself circling around the store over and over again, just to be sure I saw every single thing they had to offer. For a small store they sure did have a lot to offer, and I'm certain I missed a few things, but that just gives me an excuse to travel there again! As if I really needed one. 

La Llama Place

After that it was on to the Tibet Bazaar, a store filled with handcrafted jewelry, clothing, purses and other novelty items. From talking to several of the store owners I've learned that a lot of them travel to other countries such as Bangkok or India to get the items they showcase in their stores. This makes for an eclectic inventory, and also adds a personal touch since the owner hand picks the items being sold. Seeing new and exciting things, rather than same old items from competing stores was refreshing. 

Tibet Bazaar

I could have stayed in La Llama or Tibet Bazaar for hours, but there were still plenty of other stores to see. Plus the foodie in me was ready to try something new. Before dinner though, we ventured to another store called Asanda Imports, which is run and owned by a very friendly Englishman who travels to Bangkok to gather all the lovely items I saw before me. The most eye catching one being this magnificent bed frame. If memory serves me correctly I believe it was called, a "Chinese Wedding Bed". I fell in love with it once I saw the beautifully carved wood, and imagined how I could drape brightly colored fabrics on the canopy style bed. The store also contained a variety of novelty items and some clothing as well.

Asanda Imports

This is another wonderful store that I will have to visit again, and I wish I could have stayed longer but my stomach was rumbling and The Winds Cafe and Bakery opened at 5:30 p.m. for dinner. So we were on our way. I will be posting a separate review for the restaurant, so be on the look out for that! I must say though their food was full of flavor, extremely fresh, and surprising. Surprising because I never would have thought a cake made out of sourdough bread would be so delicious! It was also a perfect way to end our adventure in Yellow Springs. I hope the magic of Yellow Springs touches you and feeds your inner "flower-child" as it did mine. Safe travels and happy foodie filled adventures!

                                                                                                                                             Yours Truly,

P.S- Here's a sneak peak for The Winds Cafe and Bakery review...

Doesn't that look divine?! Bye for now!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

I'm back  !

Hey everyone ! So sorry for the long absence, had to buckle down and focus on my studies. But now that school is done and summer is here, it is time for some great summer fun ! My schedule has gotten a little out of whack but I will still be posting daily recipes, an easy cuisine, and restaurant reviews. Speaking of restaurant reviews I'll be going downtown to the North Market tomorrow, one of my favorite places, and I'll definitely share everything I try ! Also summer time means travel time, so watch out for some great dining experiences in Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, and many more ! Talk to you soon my fellow food lovers.

                                                                                                                                                  Yours Truly, 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The braces strike again

Hey everyone! So the top portion of my braces has been added, and I'm definitely in no position to eat anything but soup once again. But that doesn't mean I can't live vicariously through my blog! So on to (drum roll please)....The Recipe Of The Day! 

I have been craving chocolate, desserts, and sweet/salty things like crazy lately. But, as stated before, the braces have struck again. Which means I can't eat any of this because it will be too hard to chew. That doesn't mean you can't! And don't forget to share comments on how great it was, what you did differently to the recipe, or anything else. Enjoy!

                                                                                                                                            Yours Truly,

P.S.- Sadly I could not do an Easy Cuisine today, because I have to cover for a coworker. But look out for one next week! Also, I won't be posting again until Monday since I'll be at a 3 day concert. Do not fret my dears, I will return! I'd also like to thank Gojee and Serious Eats for providing these yummy little chubbies. Thanks :)

Chocolate Chubbies

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fu Gu Sushi

I apologize for not posting anything in the last couple of days. Life has been very busy since Friday, and I'm still trying to work on making time for everything. But do not fret! This blog will not get set on the back burner, I love it too much. 

Anyway, this Saturday was my first review and I enjoyed doing it so much! Though there were some minor issues with planning, those little inconveniences led me to this great sushi restaurant. And get this, it's only ten minutes away from my house! I was so very pleased and plan on going back there again. I'm still a little shocked though, because I would have never expected to find a place like that here in Pickerington. I'm so used to seeing billions of pizza shops and fast food restaurants here that it seemed almost impossible for there to be anything else.

I was a tad apprehensive at first when I got there for many reasons; one I was alone on my first review and two, the outside appearance does the restaurant no justice. But once I stepped inside the whole atmosphere changed. The warm hues of orange and red had subdued me into a peaceful state of mind, and the small space felt so inviting. To my left was a bar where you could watch the chef prepare your sushi, and to my right were a few booths. 

The restaurant wasn't crowded when I arrived, but then again I did show up fifteen minutes before their closing time. They were all still very nice despite the fact that I came in so late, I know it's their job to be courteous, but we all know how people can be when you show up right before it's time to close. They were especially nice though, so that really added to my experience. The waitress presented me with a menu, which I attempted to scan hastily but I was overwhelmed by a hungry stomach and lots of yummy things to choose from. Still in a mad pursuit of what I should choose, I remembered I was on a budget and was able to narrow my search down rather quickly. 

I ordered the Shrimp Tempura Roll and a California Roll as well. Despite the fact that I have eaten California Rolls numerous times, they sounded too good to pass up. The Tempura Rolls, on the other hand, I had never tried and couldn't wait to dig in. My sushi only took about ten minutes to make and only cost me $9! I felt like Rachel Ray on $40 A Day, the only thing missing was a camera crew. Sushi in hand, it was time to head back home and chow down. If I could drive and eat with chop sticks at the same time I probably would have devoured everything before I pulled into my driveway, yes I was that hungry. 

After arriving home, speaking with my family, and taking a few pictures of my meal I was ready to dive in. I tasted the California roll first, which was "Oh-so-delicious!". They were fresh and the perfect temperature, which meant a lot to me because I really don't like cold sushi. In my opinion it takes away some of the flavor. I ate a few of those and then it was on to the Shrimp Tempura Rolls. These rolls were amazing, and I really wish I could get some for lunch today. Hmmm, $4.50 for another Shrimp Tempura Roll, yes please! The sauce on the outside of the rolls is what hooked me. It was a dark but sweet sauce, this surprised me since I expected it to have a similar taste to soy sauce. The sweetness of the sauce paired with the soy sauce that I love to dunk my sushi in balanced out perfectly.

I also paired this sushi with some of the ginger provided, and it tasted divine! Maybe that's just because I am a fan of ginger, but I recommend trying it and try out this awesome restaurant! I'm starting to appreciate the beauty in poor planning and minor mishaps now, because if none of that had ever happened I never would have found Fu Gu Sushi. So the next time you're out and craving some quality sushi, stop by Fu Gu Sushi! Maybe you'll even get a 10% off coupon like I did. Ooh! Now I'm definitely stopping by there for lunch. Score! Talk to you soon foodies!

                                                                                                                                             Yours Truly,

FuGu Sushi on Urbanspoon

Friday, May 11, 2012

Spring is in the air

The sun is out, the air feels great, and there is not a dark cloud in sight. This kind of weather always puts me in a fantastic mood, and to make things even better my teeth don't hurt nearly as bad anymore. So bye-bye soup, it was fun while it lasted, and hello salads! As you can tell my teeth and I are feeling more adventurous, and though I had great time finding all of those yummy soup and noodle recipes, I felt like it was time for a change. It's also a tad too warm out for soup, and cold pea soup did not sound appetizing today. The salad I found is very simple to make, like all the other recipes. Plus it's also full of great colors and ingredients that embody spring. Thanks to The Perfect Pantry and Gojee, I now have a new salad to share with all of my family. Also try pairing this salad with baked salmon, or even grill it! Any fish, baked or grilled, would go great with this. So long my fellow foodies, and I hope you enjoy this one!

                                                                                                                                             Yours Truly,

Vegan quinoa salad

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Side note about the "Nummy Noodles"

After making these I noticed my noodles got a bit mushy, for lack of a better word, when they sat for a little while. So if you plan on saving this I recommend that you separate your noodles and broth. I tossed the left over noodles and spinach I had, and saved my broth. You can heat your broth up easily in a pot, then add some more noodles and spinach. I also put my left over tofu in a plastic container. Separating the broth and tofu makes it a lot easier for storage, and then you can eat it any time you want in the week! Good night every one, and I look forward to sharing more with you tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                Yours Truly, 

Easy Cuisine 

Nummy Noodle Soup

Wooh! Today has been a busy day. Busy and very enjoyable. Especially since I got to make the first "Easy Cuisine" of Yours Truly, Foodie. I will do this every Thursday, and soon I will post videos instead of pictures. Kind of like my own mini cooking show to share with all of you! 

Still keeping with the soup theme, I thought it'd be really cool to make something simple and affordable. And what's more affordable than Ramen Noodles?! I came across an awesome recipe on Mommie Cooks, which was brought to my attention through Gojee. The mother who posted this recipe had an awesome idea, and I see why her kids loved it. It's easy, affordable, and only takes 20 minutes! I honestly didn't believe that something so simple could taste so great, and I was a bit apprehensive about making tofu since it would be my first time cooking it. All my worrying was for nothing though, because it turned out great. I only wish I could have posted a video of the process, but I do not have to proper equipment for that yet. So until then I have some lovely pictures to share with all of you, which should help you step by step on your cooking adventures.

                                                First gather all of your ingredients together!

For the broth you will need:
6 cups of vegetable broth
1 inch of fresh ginger, chopped (I measured it against my thumb)
2 green onions, chopped
2 Tbsp of soy sauce
1 tsp of sesame oil
1 pkg of Ramen Noodles (unless you're serving a lot of people, I used 2)
2 cups of fresh spinach

For the tofu you will need:
1 pkg of firm tofu, cubed (try and get cubed, it's a little bit messy when slicing)
1 tsp of soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
Oh! And if you're not a fan of tofu feel free to trade it for chicken, or whatever you'd like.              

So once you have all of those ingredients gathered, get yourself a large pot and heat your stove. I find that it's good to heat your pot a little before adding the broth. Maybe I'm just impatient, actually I am hah, so it makes me feel as if I've cut some time out of the process. Once you feel that it's been heating up long enough add your 6 cups of broth, soy sauce, sesame sauce, ginger and green onions. Let this simmer over medium heat. By the way it smells A-MA-ZING when you add the sesame sauce. I felt like I had just stepped into a fresh market in Asia, with all the authentic smells swirling around me. 

While that lovely mixture is coming to a boil, move on over to a free burner and heat up your remaining soy sauce and sesame sauce. Once the sauces are heated, add the tofu and lightly toss them around until they are coated in the sauce. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until they are a light brown on the outside. (The tofu will still feel a bit spongy, so do not worry.) 

As the tofu finishes cooking add the noodles to your broth.

When the noodles are fully cooked add your spinach, and let that cook for about 2 minutes. 

After that you can add your tofu (or any other meat).

Now it's time to eat!

I hope you all enjoyed the first of many Easy Cuisines! I certainly did, and I can't wait to share more with you! Now time to chow down. Until we meet again, many happy food wishes!

                                                                                                                                          Yours Truly,