Monday, September 03, 2012

George's, Cape May, NJ

On our Cape May girls' weekend, we kept seeing lines waiting outside of George's Place, so we figured it had to be good.  We went for brunch on Sunday morning, and started off with fresh fruit smoothies from the next door juice bar (apparently owned by George's son) while waiting in line.  A brilliant business idea to keep the line happy and make some dough off of them while they wait. You could get them with or without yogurt, and with either fruit puree or fresh fruit lightly sweetened with honey. When our name was called, they were super nice to seat us and let us wait for our friends (who were still checking out our of hotel down the street).

The food was worth the wait - I got french toast topped with limoncello greek yogurt and fresh blueberries -- beautiful and surprisingly light. My friends also really liked their breakfasts.

George's Place
301 Beach Drive 
Cape May, NJ 08204

The Blue Pig Tavern, Cape May, NJ

We recently had a girls' weekend in Cape May, and had a nice time at the historic Congress Hall hotel at the Sea Spa, shopping for jewelry, doing yoga on the beach, and dining at their farm-to-table restaurant The Blue Pig Tavern.  We had seen the place (and taken a picture with someone in a Blue Pig costume) on last summer's trip to Cape May, but hadn't eaten there.

We started off with some house-made guac, ceviche, and baked mac and cheese.  I should have known better than to order ceviche (I am spoiled by good Peruvian ceviche back home.)

My friends ordered the lump crabmeat salad with avocado and mango, fresh pappardelle with bolognese, and P.E.I. mussels.

I got one of the day's appetizer specials as my entree -- scallops served atop an eggplant puree (eggplant being one of that week's major crops from the farm).  It was a nice dish.

The Blue Pig Tavern at Congress Hall
200 Congress Place
Cape May, NJ

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Adventures in Cheese Making

I got a deal on a cheese-making kit online -- rennet tablets, citric acid, a cheese thermometer and a cheesecloth -- enough to make over 30 pounds of the either mozzarella or ricotta.

One gallon of milk produces around 1 pound of cheese -- the milk is cooked while reacting with the rennet and/or citric acidMy first attempt at mozzarella didn't go so well. There were 2 things I attributed it to: #1 I think I stirred too vigorously (I'm Chinese, when you tell us to stir, we stir -- an integral part of wok cooking), so that I didn't let my curds set up enough. #2 was I don't think I heated up my curds enough to be able to stretch them properly.  So I ended up with something dense and more the texture of cream cheese (without the cream cheese flavor).    

Attempt #2 was better. my curds definitely separated and got stretchy, and formed a nice ball.  Cutting off warm slices, it was quite tasty.  However, put in the fridge overnight, the texture changed and got dense and lost that great springy chewiness.  

So the 3rd time around, I decided to go with the easier ricotta.  I drained a small batch to eat right away (hung in a cheesecloth like a scrotum over my sink).

We had it with grilled tomatoes on semolina.  And I let the rest of the pot of curds drain a bit longer, leading to a nice batch of rich creamy ricotta.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Red Lulu Tequila Bar, Norwalk, CT

While we were up in Norwalk visiting friends, we walked around at the SoNo (South Norwalk) Arts Festival, and feeling a little peckish, decided to stop in for a drink and a snack at Red Lulu's Cocina and Tequila Bar.  The decor was goth boho meets Studio 54 (all black walls, faded velvet couches, and mirror-top coffee tables) and the waitress uniform seemed to be short black shorts with gauzy see-through tops.

A little incongruous on a sunny late summer afternoon in Connecticut, but a giant pitcher of lime and cranberry sangria seemed to fit.

They had a variety of guacamoles, so we tried two -- one with agave-glazed pork belly, and the other with lump crab meat, lobster, and chili-garlic butter.  Both nice combos, with a bit of kick to them.  We also got crispy chili and masa encrusted oysters with chipotle crema.

Red Lulu
128 Washington Street
Norwalk, CT
(203) 939-1600