Michael Symon's B Spot

Dan and I went to the B Spot in Woodmere, OH yesterday to celebrate my new job. This is the newest restaurant opened by Iron Chef Michael Symon.

The B Spot serves Burgers and Brats, hence the B. Dan ordered a bacon cheddar burger and I ordered the Lola burger. The Lola burger has bacon, cheddar cheese, a fried egg and pickled onions on it. It was a great combination of flavors and I think I want to try pickled onions on my future burgers! We got a side of onions rings and a side of Lola fries with sea salt and rosemary. Everything was cooked perfectly and the ingredients were top quality; Two things we knew we were getting before we walked in the door. We also ordered two shakes. Dan got the chocolate banana marshmallow shake and I got the Vanilla Bean Apple pie Bacon shake. Dan's shake didn't have much banana flavor but it was a great tasty shake and it was fun to suck up the marshmallows through the BIG straw. My milkshake initially tasted like a vanilla shake and then you could taste the hints of cinnamon and apple. You really only tasted the bacon when you crunched down on a bit, but it just added a salty slightly smokey flavor. I had a hard time finishing my shake because the bacon bits added a texture to the shake that I was having a hard time enjoying after a while. It was not because it was bacon, it was definitely a texture thing.

Overall, Dan and I ate delicious food, however, we're not so sure we'll be back. Besides the fact that it's almost 45 minutes away from us and we had to wait 40 minutes for a table at 7 pm on a Wednesday, the food itself was on par with our still favorite Tremont Taphouse and well, you don't have to pay extra to get great sides with your burger at the taphouse.

Dan and I still intend to eat at Lolita and Bar Symon and someday, we might make it back to Lola, because his food is incredibly delicious and unique and I definitely recommend trying the B Spot at least once in your life, because it is worth it and Dan and I have no regrets going!



I love Nutella. I love Nutella so much that when I eat it, I tend to close my eyes and eat slowly.

The first time I had Nutella was around 5th or 6th grade when my sister came back from France during an exchange trip. She brought a jar back and told us all we had to try it. It was amazing. If you've never had Nutella before, it's slightly creamier than frosting and has a rich chocolate and hazelnut flavor. You may have eaten a Ferrero Rocher; those little gold covered chocolate balls with the hazelnut in the middle surrounded by creamy chocolate and covered in a wafer? That creamy chocolate is Nutella and they're made by the same company. Erin, my sister, told us to put it on toast. Are you crazy?! Chocolate spread for breakfast?! But we did, and that was the beginning of my love affair.

Back then, it was difficult to find Nutella anywhere. Luckily, we had a store in our little town that sold foreign candy, jams, and other items and they sold Nutella. Now, you can go to any grocery store and find it sitting next to the peanut butter and jellies.

Here are a few suggestions for eating Nutella besides spreading it on toast:
- filling wonton wrappers with Nutella and strawberries. After deep frying the wontons, dust with powdered sugar.
- Nutella and fruit (bananas, raspberries, strawberries) empanadas
- Nutella and frut chimichangas
- Nutella as frosting on cookies or cupcakes or doughnuts
- Nutella and cherry pie filling in a hobo pie
- Nutella drizzled on ice cream
- Nutella in a crepe, on waffles or pancakes
- Nutella on a spoon... this is how I usually eat it...

Another really tasty treat is substituting chocolate in a smores for Nutella. I like the fact that the Nutella is already creamy and melty. I once took a brand new jar with me camping and was able to eat one smore and one hobo pie before a Raccoon stole my ENTIRE jar of Nutella that night. This was a very upsetting moment to know that a Raccoon had taken and probably decimated my delicious Nutella...

I hope you go out and try this amazing treat, and I hope you fall in love with it as I have. And if you already love Nutella, I hope you get some good ideas on new ways to use it! Please share any ideas you might have with this post as I would love to hear them!


cheddar guinness dip/fondue

There is a restaurant in Lakewood, Ohio called Sullivan's Irish Pub. It has an Irish pub interior/decor and some really excellent menu items. Their corned beef and cabbage is to die for, and their fish and chips are quite tasty as well. But there is one thing on the menu that stands above all else and this is their cheddar Guinness dip with potato boxty wedges. The wedges are like a potato dough and scoop quite well and the dip is creamy and delicious. Honestly, there isn't much better in this world than melty beer cheese!

So, tonight, I made my delicious pretzel chicken strips (which turned out better than previous times making this) and to go along side it, roasted broccoli and potato pancakes. Then I thought, you know what this dinner really needs? cheese dip =) I had Guinness on hand, due to the fact that Wednesday is St. Patrick's day, which means corned beef and cabbage. Side note: Cooking the corned beef in Guinness is AMAZING.

The dip was so easy to make too! About 8 oz of sharp cheddar cheese (grated), 1/2 cup Guinness, salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic and about 2 tablespoons of roux. If, you don't want to make a roux, you can put the grated cheese and flour together and dump it into the Guiness to melt, or if you don't know how to make a roux, follow these easy steps.
1. Melt 2 Tbs butter in a pan on medium heat.
2. Add 2 Tbs flour and stir together. The flour and fat are always equal.
2. Stir for about 3 or 4 minutes or until the flour is "cooked" Basically, you don't want it smelling like raw flour and want it more nutty in smell. After this point, the longer you cook it (the darker it gets), the less thickening power the roux will have.
Note: Adding the flour directly to the melty cheese and Guinness will clump up and not thicken as well, which is why I recommend either mixing it with the cheese first, or making the roux.

Cook ingredients for the dip on the stove on low until it is creamy and thick... and then enjoy! It was VERY tasty, which makes me happy because we don't live in Lakewood anymore and sometimes you just want a little beer cheese dip!

P.S. My chicken strips are easy too. Dip the strips in egg, roll in ground pretzel (make sure the pieces aren't too big or they won't stick) and then fry in a pan, then transfer to a 350 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes to finish cooking. Eat with honey mustard and a loved one ;)


Arugula aka Rocket

I just needed to post about how much I love arugula!

I first tasted Arugula in Scotland when I was 16, on a pizza. They called it Rocket on the menu, which made it hard for me to find when I came back to the States.

Finally, I discovered what Americans call it and during this time, it wasn't easy to find the grocery stores. Now, however, you can get it at pretty much any grocery store in a nice big plastic box of green peppery goodness.

If you've never had arugula, here is my "tv host" discription. Arugula looks like a dandylion weed, but tastes like a slightly bitter, nutty, peppery green. I really can not compare the flavor to any other green, so all I can say is, go out to the store and buy some.

I currently add it to everything I eat... The other night I added it to a burger, along with fried salami and herbed goat cheese. It tastes amazing wilted on pizza or mixed in with pasta and right now I'm eating it in my salad with almonds and balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil (extra virgin really is the only choice on a salad).

Please, do yourself a favor and buy some, you won't be disappointed!


Almond Joy Cheesecake and Martha Stewart Cookies

I decided about a month ago to make my first cheesecake. I thought that having an almond joy cheesecake would taste quite yummy and found few recipes to kind of merge together.

First, the crust was made with chocolate graham crackers and ground toasted almonds. The filling was made with toasted coconut and coconut extract (as I could not find cream of coconut). And if that wasn't sinful enough, I put a layer of chocolate ganoche with toasted almonds on top. I have to say, besides the fact that it took a little extra time to cook, it was delicious!

My family really loved it and my mother took the following picture for me. The next cheesecake I want to try is a dutch apple pie cheesecake.

Last weekend, I really wanted to make chocolate chip cookies and decided to find another recipe besides tollhouse. I found Martha Stewarts "Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies" online and decided that Martha has only lead me down the right path for cupcakes, so her cookies have to be good! This recipe is probably the best chocolate chip cookie recipe EVER! The cookies stayed soft and chewy for a week (which is as long as they lasted in our household). Tollhouse cookies seems to get pretty hard after a day or so. I tend to have trouble with my tollhouse cookies and they usually end up hard (though still tasty). These, of course, were easy to make and baked in about 10 minutes. Mine were puffy looking, but I think that's why they stay soft. I highly recommend the linked recipe =)



the perfect ice cream

I went to the grocery store to buy my husband some vanilla ice cream and while I was walking down the grocery aisle, I saw it... Homemade brand Cherry Cordial ice cream.
As a kid, my parents use to get this brand, and I'm assuming because it was cheaper than Edy's or Breyers. This was my absolute favorite ice cream. I have to describe the ice cream in order for you to understand. First, the ice cream itself is cherry flavored and a perfect pink color. Second, they use maraschino cherries and have chocolate shavings that melt in your mouth, not chocolate chips or chunks. So, when we could no longer find it in the grocery stores near us, I just about died.
Since then, I have tried a dozen other "cherry cordial" type ice creams. Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia, Breyer's Cherry Vanilla and Edy's Cherry Chocolate Chip. None of these were right. None had the perfect combination of chocolate shavings, pink ice cream and sugary red maraschino cherries. When someone would ask me what my favorite ice cream was, I had to explain "cherry cordial, only... a specific kind." Because let's face it, when you've had the best, you can't be satisfied with anything else.
My husband and I once took a trip to Sagautak on the West Coast of Michigan. We weren't married then, but it was a nice trip and while there, got ice cream at a local store. That cherry cordial ice cream was the closest I had gotten to my Homemade brand in years... and since it was homemade at the store, was incredibly good. However, I only got the luxury of having this ice cream twice in 5 years.
So, I'm back in the grocery store, going for the cheap brand of vanilla ice cream and I see it... My heart stops. I purchase both ice creams and rush home to tell my husband, and my family, the amazing news, because they all know how much I love this specific brand of cherry cordial ice cream.
After getting excited and telling Dan my story, I grab a spoon and take a taste of my heavenly ice cream... and it was, heavenly.

I'm not saying that any of the other brands mentioned do not have good ice cream. This is specifically about the cherry cordial... and of course none of those brands call theirs "cherry cordial." But the happiness of finding an ice cream that I can't even remember the last time I ate, was quite a wonderful feeling.
As so ends my obsession with finding my Homemade brand cherry cordial ice cream.


Graydon's Crossing

Dan and I have gone to Graydon's Crossing twice since we've moved up here. It was recommend by a friend and described as "Colonial Indian food."

Their menu is unbelievable. There are so many things to choose from and they also have seasonal items as well. They have a wide variety of beers, liquors and wines as well. They also have a unique part to their menu where they pair beer with food. Which, I think, is a really great idea if you aren't sure what to order or want help pairing your beer with your food.

Probably the most memorable item we ordered were the Ganjam fritters, which comes with three different sauces. A mustardy one, a typical cucumber yogurt one, and a curry flavored one. The curry sauce was the best. The second time we went, we got popudums with a mango salsa, which is such a good combination.

I loved the atmosphere and the food was excellent. I would recommend this restaurant to anyone.