Avocado Toast is becoming a popular thing these days. I love avocados and I try to incorporate them into as many meals as possible. Here is a recipe I found for avocado toast. I added a few things for my own spin on it.
One 8-ounce ripe avocado, halved, pitted and peeled
Fine salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 slices whole grain or whole wheat bread
1 clove garlic, peeled and halved
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or unsalted butter, softened
Flaky sea salt, for serving
Crushed red pepper flakes, optional
Mash the avocado with a fork in a shallow bowl until chunky. Season with fine salt and black pepper. * – I also added lemon zest
Toast the bread until browned and crisp. Lightly rub 1 side of each slice with the cut side of the garlic until fragrant; discard the garlic. Lightly brush the toasts with oil, and season with fine salt and pepper. Divide the mashed avocado evenly among the toasts, and top with more flaky sea salt, more black pepper and red pepper flakes if using. * – I added a layer of sliced radishes for more crunch and topped it with scrambles eggs and chives.
I’m really bummed to see another local favorite closing it’s doors. Pizza People Pub has been operating out of this location across the Phoenix Public library since 2013. They have a great story of a family owned business starting out of a food truck and eventually opening their own restaurant. Their menu consists of their signature made-from-scratch 10 inch artisan pizzas and a variety of pub favorites like wings and their always popular mac & cheese. I always got a kick out of some of the pizza creations that they have (and the names) – Date Me, The Hulk, Testosteroni, Popeye, Fun Guy, The Hottie, etc. Even though I love their pizzas, I usually came here to try one of their many mac & cheeses. Some of my favorites have been the Smokey Paprika Mac, the Jalapeño Mac and the Truffle Mac. They load their mac & cheese with lots of cheese so they are nice and gooey. I wish they had a mac & cheese flight so I could sample them all. I stopped in tonight to have a last meal here before they close shop. I enjoyed hearing my bartender share stories of how much he enjoyed working here. It’s always sad to hear of local restaurants going out of business. I wish them the best.
“Where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean!”
Waterman’s Surfside Grille has captured the flavors of Virginia Beach since 1981. Located right off the Virginia Beach boardwalk, this beautiful restaurant has both indoor and outdoor patio seating and a fun vibrant atmosphere. I got the Waterman’s Original Pasta – shrimp, scallops and andouille sausage sautéed with a Cajun cream sauce served over pasta. The portion size was perfect and the pasta was amazing. I didn’t try it, but I hear the Original Waterman’s Orange Crush (orange vodka, triple sec and sprite) is amazing as well. They even hold a festival called the Crush Fest that celebrates the drink. This place was jam-packed, so I ate at the bar and people watched. I highly recommend stopping in for a visit at this local favorite. Waterman’s partners with the Virginia Aquarium and participates in their Sensible Seafood Program (promoting seafood that is plentiful and harvested in environmentally friendly ways). I included a video about it below.
I love peas and found this simple recipe from Mario Batali in Food & Wine magazine of his spring version of a side of peas.
2 pounds peas in the pod, shelled, or 2 cups fresh peas
1 medium red onion, cut into dice about the same size as the peas
1/2 bunch fresh mint, leaves removed and torn into 2-3 pieces each
1/4 cup Red Wine Vinaigrette
Maldon or other flaky sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper
Combine the peas, onion, and mint in a medium bowl and toss with the vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper and serve, or let stand at room temperature for 1 hour to bring out the flavors. (The peas can be refrigerated for up to 1 day; bring to room temperature before serving.)
Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet or 13×9″ shallow baking dish with foil. Soak breadcrumbs in milk in a large bowl until ready to use.
Pulse onion, celery, and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. (Alternatively, you can finely chop by hand.)
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add onion mixture, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in Worcestershire, and scrape into bowl with breadcrumb mixture. Add beef, pork, eggs, 1/4 cup ketchup, and remaining 1 1/4 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper, then mix with your hands to combine.
Form meatloaf mixture into a long, well-packed, approximately 5″-wide loaf shape on prepared baking sheet. Brush top of loaf with 1/4 cup ketchup. Bake meatloaf until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 155°F, 60–75 minutes. Let rest 15 minutes before slicing. Serve with more ketchup alongside.
When I went to ASU back in the day, there was mostly fast food on campus. It’s nice to see some delicious eats coming to campus. Yelp gave us Elites a chance to dine at one of The Crepe Club’s locations. I love the story of this place about three brothers coming from Syria to attend ASU. They got their degrees and then started up a crepe cart on campus. It became so popular that they opened their own restaurant at the Biltmore. Recently they opened up this permanent location right next to Old Main on ASU campus. I got two mini crepes so I could try both a sweet and savory one. The creme de lemon was nice and warm and I enjoyed the delicious lemon aftertaste. The chicken florentine is packed with flavor – grilled chicken, sautéed mushrooms, spinach and mozzarella cheese. Super good! This location has a walk up window with an outdoor patio area with tables and shading. I got a nice visit from Maria the operations manager who offered me a yummy macaroon. The Crepe Club is a nice addition to my old digs.
I grew up in Tempe and remember when Islands was at this location and then it sat empty for some time after it closed. But is looks like Tempe finally found a winner in Pedal Haus. It is a locally owned brewpub that features handcrafted European-style beers along with a Belgian-American gastropub menu. They opened in 2015 and just recently went through a renovation. They have some pretty creative dishes like brisket argue pasta, lobster mac & cheese, tempura-fried cheese curds and moules frites. You can’t miss this place because it is huge. They have three bar areas with an enormous patio (with cornhole) and beer garden. I was first introduced to Pedal Haus on a food tour of Tempe last year and happy to finally make a return visit.
I started my day off with the Bavarian pretzel which comes with sides of beer cheese, stone-ground mustard and a maple butter. The pretzels are shaped liked a baguette and come served warm and soft. The maple butter was a pleasant surprise. Then I got the Green Chili Bacon Burger which is a pretty good-sized burger loaded with all types of flavor. I’m an ale guy and enjoyed their amber ale for my beer choice. One fun fact that I found interesting is that they recycle heat in the brewing process. The steam (which is typically lost) is distributed to a hot water tank that warms up the next batch. They have a killer happy hour that offers reduced prices on their appetizers and beer. Like many of the new breweries opening up, they are pet friendly, so feel free to bring your dog.