Sunday, November 14, 2010

Really tasty (and healthy) Carrot Soup

I made this recipe for friends recently (you know them, my tasting "victims" whom I always ask to taste new recipes the first time I make them). Well, this soup is from a very old Gourmet "Best of" volume. It is lovely. And easy. It is a small recipe, serving 2, but I think you could double or triple it without a problem.


1/3 c thinly sliced white part of scallion, plus thinly sliced scallion green for garnish
1 teaspoon olive oil
pinch of mild curry powder
1-1/2 cups thinly sliced peeled carrots, plus finely grated carrot for garnish
1-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

In a saucepan, cook the white part of the scallion in the oil over low heat, stirring, until softened.
Add the curry powder and cook, stirring, about 1 minute.
Add the sliced carrots and broth; bring to a boil, then simmer until the carrots are very tender (15-20 minutes).
Transfer mixture to a blender or food processor; puree mixture.
Return mixture to the pan, heat over moderate heat.
Ladle into two bowls, garnish with scallion green and grated carrot.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Walter's Steakhouse - A must!

Last Saturday, October 2nd, my husband and I celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary with dinner at Walter’s Steakhouse on Union Street in Wilmington. This was not a Diva night out; this Diva was out for dinner with her hubby. It has been years since we last dined at Walters. While our previous visit was pleasant, this time our total dinning experience and the food was outstanding! We especially want to mention our waiter, Andre. We cannot remember when we had a waiter that was so professional, absolutely top notch! He was so on top of everything attentive with out hovering, did not remove the dinner dishes until we were both done eating, and did not rush us through each course. Let me share our experience.
First the décor is very warm and reminded us of a fine dinning restaurant in the early 1900; lots of wood, dark reds and greens, white tablecloths, etc. I recall the décor being similar to what it was the last time we were here but it seemed fresher.
We were seated at a nice sized table, one where you did not have to move all of the table appointments to one side to make room for your dinner plate and bread basket. You know what I am talking about …how often have you had to move that little vase of flower, salt and pepper and candle to one side of the table? Not all of the tables for two were this large but we were lucky enough to get this one.
My hubby and I ordered our before dinner drinks. Fred had a Dewars and water, and I had a Grand Mariner Martini. We made a toast for our Anniversary and within a 30 seconds., so it seemed, Andre was at our table side with two glasses of Champagne and the bus boy walked by and wished us “many more”! We did not realize Andre was near by and overheard us. Impressive! The bread for the table was warm and delicious. We ordered from the $29.95 special menu which included an appetizer, salad, an entrée and a dessert. Fred ordered the Lobster Bisque, filet and crème brulee. I ordered the scallop wrapped bacon, prime rib and bananas foster. Fred’s filet was medium and was perfect to order. I ordered prime rib medium rare, and emphasized “rare” and it also was perfect, full of flavor with little fat or waste. We gave the over all dinner an outstanding rating. The last and final touch for the evening was the coffee. When the Divas go out coffee is one of our pet peeves it is usually just ok or so so. Not a Walters. There coffee was so out standing that we had to ask what is was, and hoped that would not tell us “Maxwell House”. Well, he didn’t. It was a brand we had not heard of I believe it was Casa. It was absolutely the best and a perfect ending to a perfect meal. We are putting Walters on our list of places that we plan to frequent more often. Andre, thank you for making our special evening extra special!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Foxfire: Local and seasonal

The Divas, minus me, went to the Stone Barn recently for brunch. I didn't see mention in the review of a new restaurant which is also located there:

"Speaking of seasonal and local foods, I have just heard about the opening of a new farm to table restaurant in the area called Foxfire at the Stone Barn. Located on the lovely country estate at 550 Upland Road in Kennett Square, PA, the Stone Barn is a family-run restaurant and event setting, nestled in the rolling hills of Chester County.

Foxfire is a BYOB restaurant that serves local foods, featuring a fresh, changing menu throughout the year. Seatings are Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and reservations are required by calling 610-347-2414. For more information, visit: "

Do any Divas, followers, other foodies have experiences of this restaurant to share?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Stone Barn, Kennett, PA

On a beautiful Sunday morning August 29, three of the four Divas once again ventured out for brunch at The Stone Barn. It was a gorgeous day for a ride and The Stone Barn being out in the middle of horse country, made for a lovely way to start the day. One Diva, who is a city gal, got a little lost and after stopping several times to ask for directions finally found the restaurant. The Stone Barn setting is on rolling hills with beautiful landscaping … a perfect place for a wedding or special occasion. As the name states, it is in fact a stone barn which once was a horse stable, now converted into a restaurant. It is charming, with nicely appointed tables with white table clothes, beautiful views out of all of the windows and plenty of natural sunlight in the room where we were seated. There is also an interior room which was darker with a warm and cozy feel. The brunch was served buffet style and a very attractive spread of breakfast and lunch foods. The one other item which is always important to the Divas is the room’s acoustics. How wonderful it was that we could easily carry on a conversation and not notice the conversations of those around you. The Stone Barn gets an A+ in this area.
A spread of fresh fruit was welcoming, the waffles nice and light. Two of the Divas went for these and we both chose blueberry topping which was nice, not too sweet. The breakfast foods were traditional, I always try the eggs benedict and similar to any other brunch buffet, I was disappointed. You can never cut them with a knife because the muffin gets so hard on the bottom from setting in the warming tray. The place that figures out how to solve this problem will get this diner coming back often. The coffee was not to our liking; in fact none of us finished our first cup. On to the next course, the luncheon spread. The hit here was the mussels with the pineapple salsa. Both Nancy and Nanzie really enjoyed them. I, as usual always have a good appetite, and sampled just about everything, from soup to salad and some of the entrees. The other two Divas sampled just a few of items. We agreed that the free range chicken was very good, and I raved about the salmon with crab as being cooked perfectly, and was moist and succulent. However, overall we rated the food good, but not outstanding. The ambiance is outstanding and with the right company, a wonderful experience.

Visit the Stone barn's website at:

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Six Paupers Restaurant

On Thursday, August 12, 2010, three of the four divas went to Six Paupers, located on Lancaster Pike in Hockessin. As you enter Six Paupers, you are in the large and comfortably decorated bar/lounge. The main dining room is beyond the bar and is separated from it by a half partition. Although near the bar, the dining room is quiet; a good job has been done with the acoustics. The décor is warm and cozy with low lighting, but not so low that you cannot read the menu.

We chose to go on a Thursday, which is the night that they have a special of 50% off a bottle of wine. So to start off our meal we selected a bottle of Sterling “Meritage”, a wine that none of us have had before. It was delightful -- a pleasant blend of Cabernet, Merlot, Malbac and Petit Verdot. We all agreed that it was a nice blend and great choice.

We chose for appetizers:

Ahi Tuna Bites Wasabi-panko crusted ahi tuna with soy-ginger dipping sauce.
Steamed Clams In a Chili Tomato Broth. Served with Focaccia Parmesan Crostini.

Both were wonderful and the servings plentiful. The broth of the clams was so delicious that we asked for more bread to sop up the juices. The Ahi Tuna bites were interesting and very tender; but we had ordered them rare and they were served cooked through.

Our entrees were:

Pan Seared Scallops Sherry brown butter, fried leaks & white truffle oil. Served with mashed potatoes & asparagus. Scallops were so nice and tender and how can anything go wrong with mashed potatoes? Asparagus were for the most part tender. I did get one that was rather tough, not bad considering asparagus are a spring vegetable.

Cajun Cornmeal Crusted Chicken Topped with Andouille Sausage, Bell Pepper & Onion in a Spicy Tomato Cream Sauce. Served with Mexican Rice & Broccoli. The sauce is what enhanced the taste of this dish, which was not too spicy.

Pan Seared Salmon Topped with a wasabi coating and roasted vegetables in a balsamic dressing. As always, one Diva is very health conscience, (shouldn’t we all be?) and orders healthy. The salmon was a little dry but the coating seemed to down play that fact. The vegetables were indistinguishable from each other since the balsamic dressing painted everything one color and gave them all the same taste.

We all had coffee and for dessert we chose to share a Chocolate Lava Cake. This was disappointing, it had no taste and we did not finish it.

All in all, Six Paupers is a nice neighborhood place and we agreed that we would come back again. The atmosphere is inviting and the food good.


PS - This was written by Nanzie S, but she is on vacation, so I offered to edit and post it for her.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Kath's Casserole

My friend Kath is gluten-intolerant.  I thought about that when I was looking at one of my old recipes for a Ham & Noodle Casserole.  So I decided to rework it.  I am happy with the results; so were my official tasters.



4 T sweet butter                                                             
1 small onion, chopped fine                                          
Cooked rice with pine nuts (recipe follows)                     
2 eggs, slightly beaten        
8 oz creme fraiche
4 oz grated Gruyere                                                     
1/2 lb chopped cooked deli ham
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2 quart casserole.
  2. Melt the butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft. Set aside.
  3. Cook the rice according to the recipe below.
  4. While the rice cooks, in a large bowl, mix the eggs and crème fraiche, then add the cooled onion, cheese, ham and thyme. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add the cooked rice, mix to combine, and transfer to the casserole.
  6. Bake in middle of oven for 40-45 minutes. Cover if top is getting too dark.

Serves 4.



1/3 c pine nuts                                                              
1 T butter                                                                     
1 large shallot, minced (or about 2 T minced onion)
1 c uncooked rice (not converted rice)
1-1/2 c low-sodium chicken stock


  1. Toast pine nuts in nonstick skillet until lightly browned.  Set aside.
  2. Melt butter in pot.  When melted, add shallot and cook until tender.
  3. Add rice and stir to blend; cook about 1 minute over medium-low heat.
  4. Add the chicken stock, turn up the heat and bring to a full boil.  Stir thoroughly, cover with tight fitting lid, turn burner to lowest setting and cook exactly 17 minutes.  DO NOT OPEN POT AT ANY TIME WHILE COOKING!
  5. Open pot, stir in pine nuts.  If serving as a side dish, also mix in 1 T butter.  For recipe above, omit butter.

Note:  this rice recipe is designed for a gas cooktop, where the heat can be immediately controlled. 

Monday, August 2, 2010

Falling behind, catching up; Ribs at Nanzie's

I truly meant to get my new recipes finalized in the last two weeks, but so much has happened that I have had to let them slide.  But this week, I hope to revisit and refine them to the point that I am satisfied.
In the meantime, I had a great ribs dinner at Nanzie's house this weekend.  Now, I am a Northerner, so ribs are out of my comfort zone.  I enjoy them but don't make them.  Nanzie's are delicious!  Oh, and she makes fried leeks that I find irresistible!  Maybe we can get her to share her recipe?
I had a very good burger tonight.  It was a riff on a recipe in Food & Wine.  I shredded some Pepper Jack and mixed in a diced Pepperoncini.  I stuffed the burger with this mixture, then moistened the outside with olive oil and sprinkled it with salt & pepper.  Cooked it with the grill on "high" for 6 minutes total, turning once (that's for medium rare; cook to your liking).  Toasted a roll, added sliced tomato from my neighbor's garden, and enjoyed it immensely.  Finally, weather that encourages you to cook -- outside or inside.
I have all the ingredients on hand to rework my Rice and Ham Casserole.  In the next few days, I hope to get it done and then give tasting samples to my local tasters (aka, "victims").

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Orchard Restaurant

This restaurant is in Kennett Square, PA, just off Route 1, near Longwood Gardens. My friend Connie recently dined there and enjoyed it a lot. This is the second good review I have heard about this nearby BYOB. I think it has to go on the list of "Diva Destinations" for this fall!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Summer dinner plans

Finally we were able to set the next dinner date! Unfortunately one of the Divas cannot make it so we are going to keep it real local.

Next dinner date: August 12
Destination: Six Paupers in Hockessin, Delaware

We also set a second date in which we hope all four Divas will be together. This is for a brunch at the Stone Barn in PA.

Date: Sunday, August 29
Destination: Stone Barn

Stay tuned!

What a wonderful feeling

Dad and I when out for breakfast yesterday at IHOP and as usual, Dad would not let me pay. So I looked around the restaurant and decided that I would pay for some one's breakfast. So I looked for my victim. Ahhhh, there she is, woman eating all by herself. I overheard her tell another patron that she is heading down to Ocean City for a couple days of R&R, so I figured what a nice way to start her vacation, a free breakfast. Went to the cashier and told her that I wanted to pay for that lady's breakfast and did so. When the cashier asked me my name, I gave it to her and told her that the woman does not know me. You had to see the look on the cashier' face. She was so surprised. This was a "pay it forward" moment, that I think I will try to do again. In keeping with the our blog I think I will keep in the food category.

Who knows maybe you will be my next victim.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

New Recipes in Progress

I've been working on two new recipes; one of them is "almost there" while the other is still in its early stages.

The one that I'm closest to finalizing is a riff on an old-style ham-and-noodle casserole.  One of the major changes I've made is to use rice instead of noodles.  I've also substituted creme fraiche for the sour cream in my old recipe.  I'll give it one more tweak this week and then, if I'm happy with it, I'll share...or I'll keep plugging away at it until I am satisfied!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

"Hoagie Dip"

I recently hosted a wine tasting at my house.  We had lots of different munchies (and of course, lots of different wines).  The hands-down winner for best appetizer:  the "Hoagie Dip" from Andrea's Best of Italy on Ace Memorial Drive. This is the very small strip mall at the top of the hill when you leave Hockessin on Route 41 (just after the road becomes one lane, but before the PA line).  If you try this dip, you will join the fan club.  It is wonderful.  I served it with Andrea's Italian bread but also with Romaine leaves for a friend who is gluten-intolerant.  You know what, it was best with the Romaine leaves; they seemed to really compliment the dip flavor.

I have used Andrea's many times for prepared meals and subs when I have company.  They are always willing to accommodate special requests (eg, vegetarian meals) and just seem happy to help.  What a nice feeling!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Harry's Seafood Grill

On Thursday, June 17th the Divas had a wonderful evening at Harry’s Seafood Grill. ( This restaurant is located on the Wilmington Riverfront and we were lucky enough to score an outside table on a beautiful night with low humidity and light breezes.

The wine: Harry’s Seafood Grill, like its sister restaurant Harry’s Savoy Grill, has an extensive and well-chosen wine list with prices to please every budget. There is also a good selection of wines by the glass (with the exception of the chardonnays). This is perfect for us since it allows us to taste a number of different wines. Our selections were: 
Harry’s Private Label Chardonnay: pleasant and light, and a bargain at $5.95 a glass.
Murphy-Goode Chardonnay: lovely, with reasonable oak.
Alvarinho Vinho Verde: wonderful on a summery evening.
Leth “Steinagrund” Gruner Veltliner: excellent example of Austria’s most famous wine.

The appetizers: As we enjoyed our wine, we struggled with choosing from the appetizer menu; so many items sounded enticing. Our server James was a big help here, and we finally settled on the Grand Seafood Plateau, which included oysters, clams, shrimp and king crab, and the White Tuna and Strawberry Ceviche with Sweet Potato Chips. In addition, we shared a Baby Spinach Salad.

All of the items in the Grand Seafood Plateau were briny, fresh and delicious, although the clams were just a tad sandy. We found the mignonette sauce to be a little astringent for our taste. Linda especially loved one of the oysters, a small one she was not familiar with. Unfortunately, we forgot to ask immediately for its name; it seems the kitchen uses various oysters in the seafood plateaus over the course of the evening. As best we could determine later, it seemed to have been a Point Reyes, CA, oyster. Linda searched online to try to determine the exact type but was unsuccessful; she will just have to return to sample all the oysters until she can nail it down! Our server James had recommended the White Tuna and Strawberry Ceviche. We all loved it! The tuna was so flavorful and tender. The sweetness of the strawberries was cut by the addition of very thinly sliced pieces of jalapeno peppers. The Sweet Potato Chips served with the ceviche could become an addiction, they are so good, and James thoughtfully brought us a second plate of them. Be sure to try this ceviche dish if it is on the menu when you go there. The Baby Spinach Salad was served with spiced pecans, sundried cherries, red onion, Maytag blue cheese and a fig-walnut vinaigrette. It sounds so over-the-top, but it was a great combination and the fig-walnut vinaigrette was just lovely.

The entrees: After much deliberation (and a second glass of wine each), we finally made our selections: Oven Roasted Mahi-Mahi; Grilled Alaskan King Salmon; Rare Seared Big Eye Tuna; and Tangier Island Soft Shell Crabs. Never ones to shy away from going over the top, we added sides of Lobster Mashed Potatoes and Truffled Wild Mushrooms. All the main courses were expertly prepared and it was evident that the seafood was absolutely fresh. Here’s how the individual items stacked up:

Oven Roasted Mahi-Mahi, chosen by Nanzie, was served with applewood smoked bacon, brussels sprouts, broccoli rabe and watermelon pineapple salsa. This was an excellent preparation. The only negative about this dish was the brussel sprouts, which had been roasted and were still quite firm. Some vegetables really do need to be cooked through and brussels sprouts is one of them.

Grilled Alaskan King Salmon was Linda’s selection and it was all salmon should be. It tasted delicious. It was served with wasabi scallion sticky rice, white swiss chard and a yuzu dijon drizzle. Yuzu was new to us; it is a sour Japanese citrus fruit with an aromatic rind. I don’t think any of us could pick out its taste distinct from the other ingredients, but the overall effect was a pleasant one. The wasabi in the rice was not overpowering, it merely gave it a bit of zing, and the sticky rice was a great accompaniment to the salmon.

Rare Seared Big Eye Tuna, Nancy’s entrée, is a species closely related to yellow fin tuna. This entrée, like the King Salmon, had a definite Asian flare. It included a yuzu glaze, pea shoots, soba noodles, scallion, shiitake mushrooms and a grilled lime emulsion. This got the vote for best entrée of the evening. Each of us thought it was outstanding.

Tangier Island Soft Shell Crabs, my choice, were somewhat of a disappointment. Since I am not fond of fried food, I asked that they be sautéed. The soft shells were served with mirliton slaw (mirliton, sometimes called chayote, is a member of the gourd family, like squash) and a horseradish-lemon aioli. We all felt the crabs were a little on the mushy side and lacking flavor. Perhaps they would have been better with the buttermilk batter called for on the menu.

Lobster Mashed Potatoes and Truffled Wild Mushrooms were our outrageously good side dishes. The potatoes had nice sized chunks of lobster meat and the mushrooms were wonderfully meaty and flavorful. Needless to say, we cleaned these plates. Of course, we didn’t leave any of the other items on our plates, either.

Dessert and Coffee: Since we had pretty much stuffed ourselves by this point (must have been the lobster mashed that did us in), we decided to split a dessert. The dessert menu is very enticing, so we were once again torn about a decision. We finally decided to go seasonal, and so chose a rhubarb and strawberry cake topped with ice cream. We all enjoyed it very much. Three of us opted for decaf cappuccino and one brave Diva had regular coffee.

In Summary, we thoroughly enjoyed our evening and our meal. Harry’s is not a bargain destination, that’s a fact. But the quality of the seafood was outstanding, we loved the creativity of the menu and the service was excellent. It is definitely a place to return to – once we rebuild our bank accounts.

Postscript: Since our meal, I have learned that Big Eye Tuna is considered endangered, so I don’t know that I would order this even though it was delicious. Of course, that is an individual choice.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Harry's Seafood at the Wilmington Riverfront

On this Thursday, we will be dining at Harry's at the Riverfront. We Divas have all been there before and have had mixed reactions. Stay tuned....

Friday, June 11, 2010

Ed Oliver's Golf Course - Greenhill Pub

Am not quite sure if Greenhill Pub is the proper name of this restaurant but it is close enough, but I can tell you that this evening June 11, my hubby and I played 9 holes of golf and had the a wonderful light dinner at the "19th hole". The Greenhill Pub, has a light fare menu of nice sandwiches and salads. I had the roast beef and cheddar wrap and Fred had a hamburger with onions, mushrooms and peppers. Both were perfect, light and nicely prepared, and totally enjoyed on the new deck of the resturaunt overlooking the golf course. The menu is not fancy and is some what limiting but not in a negative way. They are trying to keep it simple and that is not a bad thing. If you go be sure to tell Chris White that Nanzie recommended the pub.The pub just opened early May and has not yet started to advertise, i have a feeling that once this place is discovered, it will become a favorite family place because its prices are so reasonable. It is located at the Old Porky Oliver's Golf Club in Wilmington. Stop by before the crowd discovers this place!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Ristorante Marco in Greenville - Review

Ristorante Marco in Greenville Center on the lower level opened almost a year ago last June. Its sister location with the same name opened two years in the Sunset Station Shopping Center below Bear.

On May 13th, the Divas visited Ristorante Marco. Earlier excursions into ethnic cuisine included Spanish, Malaysian and Japanese. By contrast, nowadays Italian is often ho-hum - sort of mainstream - in American cooking. However, to decide whether to recommend the Divas visiting Marco, I had done a preliminary stop by and picked up the carryout menu. It included dishes I’ve never seen before and also new twists on traditional dishes. So I recommended it and we finally went on a Thursday evening.

The restaurant is cozy in size with handsome dark wood and furnishings. The bar is small and just inside the door. You go through it to get into the main dining room. It had no loud music and the acoustics allowed easy conversation. This Thursday evening the bar and dining room was not crowded.

The Wines

We started the evening by perusing the extensive 10 page wine list heavy with wonderful Italian offerings and Californians, many available by the glass. Nancy had arrived early and ordered a Chianti Classico at the bar, which she liked and recommended. I ordered Montepulciano D’Abuzzo: Zaccagnini, which was very full bodied and smooth. Nanzie described her wine, the Valpolicello: Venturini, as smooth, fruity with an edge and very clear flavor notes that she could recognize. I mentioned that when wine’s written descriptions list these notes, I can never actually taste them. She said that had been her experience too- but this wine was different. We all tasted her glass, and decided it was very fine. For our second glasses Nancy and I switched to the Valpolicello. Lorraine had started off with a white chardonnay and then she switched to Nebbiolo: Veglio, which she said was very good and exactly what she expected. The wines here were a real adventure for us, not the ordinary French, Australian or Californian merlots etc. that one usually encounters. Both Lorraine and Nanzie said they hoped to find their wines locally and buy them for home use.

Service and Set-up

Casey, our waitress, was very pleasant, helpful and unobtrusive. Along with the basket of good bread she brought out a dish containing three vegetable spreads: tomato, mushroom and eggplant, which were very tasty. Our favorite was the tomato, then the eggplant.

The Menu, and our choices


From the Antipasti Caldi group (hot appetizers) we chose Cozze alla Marinara (cozze being mussels). The waitress said we could have it with a white wine sauce instead of the marinara sauce and we opted for that. Our second appetizer, from the cold selections was Antipasto Cilentano. It contained small portions of grilled eggplant and zucchini, roasted peppers, mushrooms, Parma prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella and shaved Parmigiano Reggiano. The menu promised mixed salami as well, but that was not on the dish.

The mussels were a clear favorite. A couple of us actually rate restaurants based on how well they prepare mussels. These mussels were perfectly cooked, tender and plump, with great flavor from the white wine, abundant garlic and fresh leafy parsley. The garlic was sliced rather than crushed, which Lorraine said produces a lighter taste, and is why it wasn’t overpowering even though very plentiful. The portion size was fine as an appetizer for the four of us, probably around two dozen mussels.

The Antipasto Cilentano was tasty. The grilled zucchini was far and away the favorite. The mushrooms and eggplant may have been marinated - this wasn’t mentioned but was suppositioned as we talked about the flavors. Again, there was a plentiful amount for small tastings for the four of us.

The Main Course

After our delicious experience with the mussels we figured, “this restaurant knows how to do seafood,” and Nanzie decided to order fish. She was disappointed to hear that only salmon and tilapia were on the menu. Neither of these were favorites, so she decided to choose something else. The restaurant does have as a specialty Bronzino al Sale- fresh Mediterranean bronzino encrusted in rock salt, baked and carved tableside. However, this wasn’t mentioned, and is an expensive dish.

Nanzie ordered the Ravioli all’ Aragosta (lobster filled ravioli) instead. This dish had several large raviolis, probably enough for 2 apiece. They were covered in crabmeat. The menu said, “…served in a cream sauce and crab meat.” I felt there wasn’t much sauce. Everyone felt the dish was too salty and rather dry. We didn’t finish it.

I was a contrarian and ordered a soup and salad instead of a main course. The two dishes I chose were completely new to me and part of the reason to try the restaurant. The soup, Ceci e Gamberi (Chick peas pureed with shrimp) was creamy with small chunks of shrimp and was redolent with rosemary. Three of the divas pronounced the rosemary flavor too strong, dominating the soup and diluting the shrimp flavor. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and asked whether it was the invention of the chef. The waitress checked and told us that is a very typical soup of Campania in southern Italy where every household has its own version. An online search brought up about ten pages in Italian including a posting on You Tube. Here’s the link to the video. You don’t need Italian to understand it:

The salad, Insalata Arrosto, was one-half head of Romaine lettuce grilled and topped with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano, and bits of salty pancetta, then drizzled with a balsamic vinegar reduction was also a winner.

Nancy ordered the Pollo alla Marsala with mushrooms. There were several small thin perfectly cooked tender chicken breast cutlets. We also perceived the dish as too salty and without a pronounced Marsala flavor.

The last entree, ordered by Lorraine was the best of the main courses. Risotto alla Pescatore is listed as a specialty, and it came with more whole seafood than I have ever seen in a risotto dish. It was ringed with mussels and clams in the shell and topped with shrimp. The rice was perfectly cooked, a bit al dente. The mussels weren’t as good as those we had earlier, and this dish was also too salty- but less so.

Dessert- we shared the Tiramisu, which was good size and cake like. It lacked much coffee taste, and we didn’t finish it - perhaps because we had already eaten abundantly.

Bottom Line: We were disappointed in the main dishes because the cook has a heavy hand with the salt. There are some new and intriguing dishes on the menu, and a good wine list. The surroundings are classy and refined with good acoustics. Would we go back? For sure. But we would definitely request that less salt be used in the entrees.

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Laurels Preserve & Talula's Table (again)

On Saturday, May 29, Nanzie & I & Belle, my puppy, went on a morning birding trip to The Laurels Preserve, a property of the Brandywine Conservancy located off Route 82 in Uniondale, PA. Had a great time! It is a lovely place, open only to members of the Conservancy, kept in a pristine state. I brought sandwiches from the wonderful Talula's Table in Kennett Square (they are really into conservation and local sourcing, so I feel good buying from them); after 4 hours of walking the Preserve's trails, Nanzie & I both needed a sandwich and Belle was hungry, too. For Belle, I brought "Stella & Chewy's Chicken Dinner", a really good quality dry food. And of course lots of water for all of us. A fun time was had by all.

Ristorante Marco

Linda will be writing the full post, but as a quick summary: nice room, good service, loved some aspects of the meal but not others.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bucktoe Creek Preserve & Talula's Table

On May 16, two friends and I went to the Bucktoe Birding Blitz sponsored by the DE Nature Society. The birding was great and the weather perfect. As an added bonus, a free lunch was provided by Talula's Table of Kennett Square, PA. We ate at picnic tables in the middle of a meadow, surrounded by the beautiful preserve and listening to bird songs. What a great setting and what a delicious meal! There were a number of different types of wraps, both meat and meat-free, as well as some of the tastiest quiches I have ever had. The vegetable quiche in particular was delicious.

Talula's Table is a small gourmet restaurant with limited seating. But all items on the menu are available for take-out as well. I especially like their seasonal olive mix, their salads and their scones. Talula's also has a large cheese selection and always has samples on hand.

All in all it was a fun and tasty Sunday.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Immaculata University Art Show

Yesterday, Nanzie and I took a road trip up to Immaculata University, near Exton, PA, to attend the annual Art Show. It is quite a large show, with a wide variety of works in different media and styles. Both of us found things we loved and since the show is a fund-raiser for the University, part of the cost is tax-deductible. Unfortunately, the amount of time (and money) we spent at the show ruled out a chance to dine out. But it was a fun day nonetheless.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Next Up: Ristorante Marco in Greenville, DE

We Divas have been yearning for Italian food. An Italian restaurant has opened fairly recently in Greenville. Linda suggested we try it as our next outing and we were all excited at the idea. We will be going within the next few weeks and are really looking forward to it.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Glorious Day Trip to Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve

Inspired by the Delaware Center for Horticulture, we visited the Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve ( which is nestled in the lovely woodlands outside of New Hope, Pa. We spent the morning roaming the wooded trails enchanted by the spring ephemerals. Swaths of Virginia Bluebells, fields of Spring Beauties, and bright splotches of Marsh Marigold delighted us. We found ourselves getting close to the ground to examine the intricate design of Trout-lily, Jack-in-the pulpit, ferns and trillium while often retrieving old remembrances and confronting gaps in our knowledge. We searched for frogs in the algae covered pond enchanted as children as we spied them hiding in plain sight. There is much to see in this little gem with different flowers coming into bloom each month - all native to the area with over 80 rare or endangered species. We highly recommend taking the time to enjoy a visit.

By 1:00 we were ravenous and went a short way down River Road to Bowman's Tavern, a sprawling establishment with lots of space inside and a small patio outside. Their menu was extensive with a broad range of choices. We began our meal with an appetizer of Wild Pork Wings, pork shanks glazed with soy, ginger, lime, sesame and teriyaki on a bed of spring greens. The pork was tender and very tasty - it was gone within minutes.

Lorraine chose the traditional tavern dish of Fish and Chips. Breaded deep fried flounder served on a mound of french fries with a side of slaw. The fish was good except the narrow edges were too dry to eat, the fries were commercially prepared - good, but not exceptional, however the slaw was very good.

Nanzie also chose a tavern standard, a Po Boy. Four huge deep fried oysters with bacon strips, lettuce, tomato and red onion on a freshly baked roll. Throughout our meal we could hear these small cries of delight as Nanzie took another bite. A definite winner.

Linda chose one of the specials, Tilapia with tomato, mango and spinach served with wild rice and vegetables. She said the meal was very good.

I chose Liver and Onions, a dish I love but rarely make for myself. The liver was breaded and fried, smothered with lots of onions and served on a bed of wild rice with vegetables. The liver was tender and tasty, and the onions were perfect but the breading was a bit soggy. I had difficulty integrating the flavor of the wild rice with the liver...mashed potatoes would have been so much nicer.

In all we enjoyed our lunch and would recommend the tavern as a better than average place to eat. (

Written by Nancy M.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Stone Balloon Review

This is terrible. It has taken me almost four weeks to post this review and we Divas loved the place and the food.

Place: Stone Balloon, Newark, Delaware
Date: Tuesday March 23, 2010

The ambience and décor was warm and inviting with lots of natural materials, wood, brick and stone. For a Tuesday evening, it was quite crowded looked like there was a business convention in town.
The acoustics were not the best, but better than Koomas and seem to improve as the bar area cleared out. Interestingly there was a recent article the outlined that personal preferences regarding acoustics are varied. Some folks like a quiet restaurant - others think the restaurant seems “dead” if it’s not noisy. Also interesting: People eat less, but drink more in a noisy restaurant, and we all know where the money is in the business!

The Wines: Of course a glass of wine is how we started the evening. Wine by the glass - two sizes, 2 or 5 oz pours of the wines from the Cruvinet were offered. A Cruvinet is a temperature controlled wine dispensing system, similar to beer taps. It uses gas to keep an open bottle of wine fresh for about two months, a fact that’s revolutionized the wine industry. Restaurants can now serve an immense variety of wines by the glass without waste. Today, restaurants can open many bottles at any price range, then serve the wines at the proper temperature, prevent spoilage and increase marketability because of the Cruvinet’s elegant appearance. Thank you Diva Linda for looking this up. In addition to the wine by the glass from the Cruvinet, they also had a 10 page wine list, you are sure to find one to your liking and budget.

The Food: We started with the Kitchen Tasting Board, a variety hard cheeses, two different meats, hummus, marinated mushrooms, artichokes, roasted peppers, pate, croutons, olives, risotto, and pickled fish. There was a generous portion of each item and then some. We all loved it. There was not a piece of anything left on the board, not an olive, not a crumb of bread, with a glass of wine it was a great start of what was to come.

Each Diva chose a very different menu item - lamb, seafood, beef and stew! All portions were quite large and well prepared with plenty to share.

- Butter Poached Rib eyed cooked medium rare was perfectly done, and melted in your mouth.
- Slow Roasted Lamb had a delicious duxelles stuffing made with local Kennett Square mushrooms, and had just the right amount of fat, which contributed to its good taste and was easily cut away. The portion larger than one would expect. It had to be at least 2 ½ inches thick, wonderfully mild, and tender.
- One of the Divas ordered from the “small plates” section of the menu. A Baby Beet Salad with two different colors of beets, thin French green beans, nuts and blue cheese. The dressing was sherry vinaigrette. It was very pretty as well as delicious. The scallops beautifully seared nestled in a delicious mushroom risotto. These two items were the hit of the evening!

-There was also a special “Battle of the Chefs” prix fix menu special. I ordered from this menu which consisted of 3 courses for $35. It included Manchego Cheese and dried fruit, Portuguese Stew, which was chicken, sausage, fish, mussels and scallops in a nice tomato base, and a dessert. The Portuguese Stew was the least popular of all of the dishes but not to be under rated, just that everything else was so good. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

- Instead of taking the dessert that my prix fix meal came with, we upgraded it for an additional $3 and shared. We ordered the Chocolate Mousse Cake, a large serving and very rich and sharing is highly recommended especially if you just ate a full dinner.

One last item is the parking – There is free parking for the restaurant patrons behind the restaurant, but I warn you that it is not easy to find. If you park behind the restaurant be sure to inquire about the parking, otherwise you could get towed. We were in the wrong lot, and were glad that we moved our cars. The garage is covered and free and certainly a lot more pleasant since we could avoid the wind and chill of the evening. This lot is easy to miss.

All in all, we rated this restaurant quite high and all of us would go back again, especially since they do seasonal menus and is due to change the menu soon. The only down side was that three of the meals came out together and the third was delivered at least 20 minutes after the others. The manager came over several times and apologized, but there were no comps or special accommodations for the inconvenience. The staff was efficient, courteous and attentive, but not overly so.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Stone Balloon Winehouse

Nanzie will be writing the full post, but as a quick summary, the food was very good. We all left pretty happy!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Roasted Halibut Recipe from The New York Times

Last Wednesday, there was an intriguing recipe for Roasted Halibut from food writer Melissa Clark in "The New York Times", so I decided to invite two friends over and give it a try. It was a success, so I have reproduced it below, with some minor changes since the original recipe only served 2 people. I also added a few large shrimp to the recipe; I served the dish with Rice with Pine Nuts, and Roasted Asparagus with Pine Nuts, Parsley and Grated Lemon Rind. The one quibble I have with the recipe is that there is no indication of how much Aleppo Pepper to use. I added about 1/2 tsp, which turned out not to be enough; next time I will start with 1 tsp.
A nice feature of this recipe is that it can be prepped ahead of time and kept in the fridge; just don't add the lemon to the fish until ready to cook.

Roasted Halibut with Lemons, Olives and Rosemary

4 Pacific halibut steaks, 5-6 oz each
12 large, cleaned shrimp
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, or more to taste
Kosher salt
Ground Aleppo or Turkish pepper
4 rosemary branches
1 lemon, sliced very thin (I used a mandolin)
1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives, sliced

1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place fish and cleaned shrimp in baking dish.
2. Mix together the olive oil, salt and Aleppo pepper; rub onto the seafood.
3. Top each fillet with a rosemary branch and several slices of lemon. Scatter olives over the seafood and pan.
4. Bake until just done, about 10 minutes. Drizzle with more olive oil and sprinkle with more salt and Aleppo pepper, if desired.
(This should serve 4, but the 3 of us managed to eat all of it.)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Next Up: Stone Balloon Winehouse, Newark, DE

We are going to the Stone Balloon Winehouse on Main Street in Newark for our next destination. As usual, we expect to have a fun evening.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Premier Wine and Spirits -

On February, 17, 2010, I went out with a co worker and friend, Barb to Premier Wine and Spirits, a wine and liquor store off Limestone Road. Yes, this is a late posting, say a whole month late, but I want to get it out today because I am going back tonight. OK, so I’m going to a liquor store. Really this one is really fun. Great wine tasting! Wednesday Nights are Ladies Nights, but men show up as well. They have light hors d'oeuvre and great wines. My friend barb introduced me to two of her friends Bridget and Suzann, fun and out going ladies and of course I told them about the DeDiningDivas and that I would be posting something on the site about our get together. I think they are tired of waiting. I will be seeing them tonight so I have to get this posted to save face.
So what did we have? We started with a series of Sauvignon Blancs.
- Sauvignon Blanc from Bonterra Vineyards a California wine and one of the few certified organic wines in the country. We all agreed that this was really nice.
- Sauvignon Blanc – From New Zealand Matua, a nice zippy citrusy touch to the palate
- Sauvignon Blanc Chateau St Michelle – this one was well liked by all of us and we all felt this would go well with seafood, a couple of us thought of scallops. It had a hint of vanilla which was kind of nice. I actually bought a bottle of this. This wine was from Washington State.
- Then we moved to a Chardonnay another Bonterra vineyard wine. I especially liked this one and bought it as well. Very tasty aged in American and French oak, but not overly oaky, which I prefer. It had a nice balance between the oak and an apple-citrus flavor. We also thought it was a little spice too.
- A Rose from Bonterra was next in line, this was very mellow and we all felt that it would be a nice wine and that it would not interrupt any meal a nice drinkable wine.
Bonterra was sort of a feature wine during the evening and there was a representative there from Bonterra, Joe. He was the one that brought to my attention that this was an organic wine and is quite proud of it. I was surprised at how good these wines were.

I have to also mention Mia the hostess behind the wine bar. What fun. She really likes this job, I can see why, who wouldn’t. Serving wine and understanding what people like, she has a real knack for figuring out what you would like if you describe to her your taste in wine. You have to go here to meet her. Bet you will not walk out of there with only one bottle of wine! I bought 6.

Two more wines and I head home the others stayed, I think until the event was over at 9:00.
- Rosa Regale and Banefi wine a sparkling Dolce. A nice sparkling champagne like wine from Italy
- And finally a Moscato D’asti which reminded me of an ice wine. Ok,I said only two more wines… Mia would not let me go with out trying a dessert wine that others before us were raving about… It is a product of Holland and a really classy name … ChocoVine. Don’t let the name of this wine turn you off. It is great. A taste of dutch chocolate and fine red wine. I bought a bottle and plan to serve it as an after dinner dessert wine Easter dinner.

Diva's are expanding their site

We, the four DeDiningDivas, decided that we want to make our site more informative and more active so we are expanding the site to post activities of the Divas dining and culture events that may include any of us even without one of the others. As you can imagine, it can be difficult for all of us to get together on a regular basis. Another feature that you will also start to see are our recipes, like the one Lorraine recently posted for Cajun Fried Rice. Please be sure to try it. It sounds so yummy.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Kooma Sushi Bar and Asian Fusion Restaurant, Wilmington, DE

I’ve been having a hard time writing this review, probably because after an evening in the darkness that is Kooma, I am blinded by the light -- the amount of light that most people and restaurants consider normal.  The amount of light that allows you to actually read the menu.  Of course, being Divas, we were able to read the menu BY PULLING OUT MINI-FLASHLIGHTS FROM OUR PURSES!   You get older, you get creative.  And you’re beyond being embarrassed.  We noticed other, younger diners struggling to hold the little table-top floating votives over their menus to read them.  We talked of offering them our flashlights – for a small fee, of course.  But we decided that they, too, should have the benefit of learning from experience.  Age may make you wiser, but it doesn’t necessarily make you kinder….
The restaurant is actually quite attractive.  The décor is modern and sleek, quite appropriate to the setting in the up-and-coming Wilmington Riverfront area.  The bar area is large and looks comfortable; it was quite full for much of the evening; there is also a second bar area, which was in use by a private party that night.   Here’s something strange:  no coatroom.  I asked and was told I hadn’t missed it; they didn’t have one.  Don’t get that at all; we do have winter here, as everyone should know after this season.  The tables in Kooma’s dining room had good spacing and the seating was comfortable.  On the minus side, the space is designed with a warehouse aesthetic: high ceilings, no rugs or curtains, and resulting bad acoustics.  This became annoyingly obvious once the entertainment, an acoustic group, came on; they were fine and not at all overly loud, but the lack of acoustic deadening made talking all but impossible.
Now, to the food…….
We started with a bowl of Edamame.  How much did we like this?  When the busboy came to take the plate away while there were still some edamame uneaten, he was taking his life in his hands.  The edamame pods were lightly salted, just enough to make them enjoyable but not so much that you felt a salt overload.
Next we shared the Appetizer Sampler:  shrimp shumai (steamed dumplings), vegetable tempura (lightly battered and deep fried), chicken yakitori (grilled white meat chunks with teriyaki sauce) and beef negimaki (grilled thinly sliced sirloin wrapped around cream cheese and scallions).  We gave high marks to all except the chicken yakitori; we felt the chicken was dry and the sauce bland.
We then ordered Seaweed Salad.  It was dressed with a sweet-tangy marinade, with sriracha painted in the center of the plate; you could add as much or as little of this quite spicy sauce as you wanted.  Kudos to our server for the presentation:  she served two plates of salad, each of which had two separate mounds of salad separated by the sriracha, making it easier for us to share.  Everyone enjoyed this salad.
For a main course, Nancy ordered Hibachi Shrimp.  She felt the hibachi sauce was lovely -- sophisticated, gingery and enjoyable.  The serving was generous and the rice very nice.  But the shrimp, which were large, of excellent quality and perfectly cleaned, were overcooked and dry!! 
Linda ordered Unadon, broiled eel in a sauce with rice.  The presentation in a covered ceramic bowl was lovely and the eel was very tasty and tender.  The sauce infused the rice with flavor.  Quite a nice dish, but there were no veggies so the meal seemed one-dimensional.  In the future, Linda will stick to eel in sushi and order some veggies in addition.
Nanzie and I both had Bibimbab, a Korean specialty.  Nanzie had the Seafood Bibimbab, basically a big sushi-style seafood salad with rice.  She enjoyed it but didn’t love it.  The tobiko (fish roe) was a nice touch and there was plenty of seafood, all of excellent quality, but the greens in the salad were not chilled enough so they seemed a little wilted.  I ordered the Stone Pot Bibimbab.  This is beef, eggs, veggies and rice served in a heated stone pot.  If you don’t keep stirring, the rice sticks to the hot pot and burns (that is the nature of this entrée and part of its appeal is the crunchy rice that develops).  I liked this enough to take home a doggie bag.
Then we decided to order dessert; not our best decision of the evening.  We ordered the Tempura Ice Cream, described on the menu as “ginger ice cream wrapped in pound cake and fried in our light tempura batter, topped with whipped cream.”  We ordered one serving for four people – and didn’t finish it.  The fried tempura batter was soggy, the pound cake was soggy, the ginger ice cream was not gingery, the chocolate sauce tasted just like Hershey’s.  If four people don’t finish one serving, that really does speak for itself.

Would we go back???  No, not for dinner on a night when there is entertainment, but maybe for lunch.  Not because the meal was bad.  It is just not a place for every diner.  The owners know their demographic – young professionals who work and live in the downtown area -- and they have designed a restaurant that serves that demographic well.  We just are not part of that cohort.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Kooma Restaurant, Wilmington

The Sushi Bar at Kooma Restaurant, on the Wilmington Riverfront.

The Divas dined at Kooma on Thursday; our comments will be posted soon....
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Kooma, here we come!

The weather forecast doesn't have any snow in it, so we are off to Kooma at the Wilmington riverfront tomorrow evening. It's been a long time since we have been able to get together. We are looking forward to a good meal and good conversation.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cajun/Asian Fusion Recipe

I love rice; given a choice of rice or potatoes, I will always choose the rice.  Maybe that's why I'm such a fan of Cajun/Creole and Asian cuisines.  Since we last went to a Cajun restaurant and next are going to an Asian one, I thought I would share a recipe that I created a few years ago that combines the two cuisines:


1 egg
1 t Canola oil
1 C cold cooked white rice made with chicken stock instead of water

1 T Canola oil                                                               
1 shallot, thinly sliced                                                        
1/3 pkg. frozen peas, defrosted                                    
2-3 oz Tasso, diced to the size of the peas (or other spicy cooked sausage such as Andouille)                       
1 small carrot, diced to the size of the peas                    
1/4 red pepper, diced to the size of the peas
2-3 dashes (or more) of Tabasco sauce


1.     Heat a wok over high heat. Add the 1 teaspoon of Canola oil. Slightly beat the egg, then add it to the wok. Stir-fry till done, then set aside.
2.     Add the 1 T of Canola oil to the hot wok, then add the shallot.  Cook briefly, then add the Tasso and cook briefly.
3.     Add the peas, carrot and red pepper. Stir-fry about 5 minutes, then add the rice.
4.     Stir-fry all ingredients until heated through. Return egg to wok and heat briefly. If mixture is too dry, add a little water.
5.     When finished, stir in Tabasco to taste.
Serves 2.

Monday, February 22, 2010

We will try again to get to Kooma....

We are working on getting together next week for our now long-delayed meal at Kooma, the Asian-fusion restaurant at the Wilmington Riverfront.  We'll keep you posted......

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Another disappointment

Once again our plans were canceled. The weather is just not cooperating...25 inches of snow over the weekend and another 15 inches Tuesday and Wednesday shut down the state of Delaware and the other surrounding states. We were suppose to go out for dinner Friday night to Koomas down on the riverfront and take in a movie at Theater N in Wilmington. The streets are just too slippery. We attempted to contact Theater N to see if they will be running the show at another time. It would be nice if they did because I really wanted to see Broken Embraces with Penelope Cruz. The show is getting good reviews.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Divas Do New Orleans (Well Sorta)

Blue Parrot Bar and Grill
January 31, 2010
We Divas seem to like the ethnic cuisine offered in our fair city and surroundings. Our outings so far have included Malaysian and Spanish, and for meal number 4, reviewed here, the Cajun-Creole French mélange of New Orleans. Next week we are off on a culinary trip to Japan as interpreted by Kooma Asian Fusion Sushi Bar on the Wilmington Riverfront.
We decided to do Sunday Brunch for a second time after enjoying the sunny Sunday at Krazy Kats back in November. When we discovered the city had a New Orleans themed restaurant with brunch, visions of Beignets and café au lait with lots of chicory danced in our heads - well - in my head anyway. Visions of the elegant Commander’s Palace and memories of its scrumptious food were also called up.
A huge winter snowstorm delayed our visit till after New Year’s and another snow forecast made us postpone it a second time. However, on Sunday January 31, we finally arrived at the Blue Parrot Bar and Grill, 6th and Union St. in Wilmington’s Little Italy.
My concern about finding street parking quickly vanished - Sunday Brunch, especially after a winter snowstorm is not a high priority activity in this neighborhood. In fact we found ourselves the only patrons in the restaurant.
The décor was cozy and comfortable with warm colors, lots of posters, paintings and large-scale photomontages of The Big Easy. Colorful bejeweled and feathered masks hung from the walls and dripped with love beads. Lots of dried flowers and plants added to the charm. Recorded jazz played softly in the background.
Our waitress was friendly and knowledgeable and provided good service, except for one minor item (see Lorraine’s comments on jambalaya). We had our choice of menus: Brunch, Lunch, Specials or the regular menu. We all ordered drinks: Three ordered Bloody Marys: one each of fiery, moderately spicy, and just a bit spicy. They were done perfectly! The fourth diva ordered a Mimosa, which she pronounced, “fine- it’s a Mimosa, but small.”
Two of the divas had actually breakfasted earlier at home and chose the lunch menu. One decided she was a “wus” about trying Cajun or Creole first thing in the morning. She decided on the traditional bacon and eggs-over- easy with home fries. The eggs were fine, the bacon limp and the home fries wonderful.
Our second breakfast eater (me), who is timid about spice, was assured that the Bayou omelet would not be fiery. This large perfectly cooked omelet was filled with shrimp, crayfish tails, crabmeat, onions, tomatoes, jack and cheddar cheese. The Creole sauce, which I ordered on the side, complimented it perfectly and wasn’t spicy. The home fries were sprinkled with diced green and red peppers and were crisp, crusty and not greasy.
Of the nine offerings on the Brunch Menu only two omelets carried out the Louisiana theme. Besides mine, the Delta omelet included andouille sausage, and tasso ham along with onions, peppers and two cheeses. The other brunch items were standard American breakfast fare like blueberry pancakes, Belgium (sic) waffles, steak and eggs, and of course, that all American favorite, eggs benedict.
Diva number three settled on the Mississippi Crab Fries from the “Specials” menu. The huge pile of fries were cooked perfectly and covered with a mess of andouille sausage, crabmeat, jack and cheddar cheeses and brown gravy. Nanzie said she “almost licked the plate.”
Our forth diva, Lorraine, is the one of us who is truly a foodie and the most traveled and adventurous of the group, She has been to The Big Easy several times. She plunged right in and ordered the Jambalaya. An aside here - the restaurant offered half portions of many of its dishes- a feature we really appreciated and wish more restaurants would do. The half portion of jambalaya was huge and Lorraine didn’t finish it. Jambalaya is a traditional Louisiana dish with several meats, usually including sausage, ham, chicken, and shrimp cooked in a fiery sauce and served over rice. Lorraine mentioned that the Okra was a nice touch. She expounded on the jambalaya later by e-mail. In her own words,
It used to be hard to get andouille outside of Louisiana, so people substituted kielbasa. But now you can get good andouille everywhere. Although the kielbasa was tasty, it wasn’t as good as the andouille. Leave out the kielbasa and amp up the andouille!! Another thing that I like in jambalaya is tasso, the traditional smoked, spiced ham of Louisiana (and “jambalaya” does supposedly come from the French word for ham, “jambon”, plus the African for rice, “ya”). Tasso is not required (remember, jambalaya doesn’t have a fixed recipe), but it sure adds a nice kick and would have made the Blue Parrot’s jambalaya seem even more authentic. The rice which forms the base of the jambalaya was properly cooked, a definite plus. Didn’t love the sauce, which was tomato-based, but that is an authentic type of sauce in jambalaya… I only ate half of it, but was not offered a doggie bag for the rest, a surprising oversight from an otherwise competent and pleasant server.”
So what’s the bottom line on the Blue Parrot Bar and Grill? Two of us might go back, but wouldn’t go out of our way to go back. Two of us gave it a complete Thumbs Down. Surprised?
The failure that doomed this restaurant to perdition is truly lousy coffee. At first we thought we had been given an old pot. We requested a new pot and the coffee that came was bland, weak, still awful, and - mortal sin for a New Orleans themed restaurant - the chicory was “MIA.”
Posted by Linda

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Brunch at the Blue Parrot in Wilmington

The Dining Divas finally got together this past Sunday for brunch at the the Blue Parrot Restaurant on Union Street in Wilmington. How well did this New Orleans style restaurant provide a tasty meal that carried out its overall theme? Would we go back?

Full review will appear soon.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Looking forward to the Blue Parrot

Brunch at Blue Parrot the week before the Super Bowl, how appropiate. We'll be sure to give a toast to the Saints! Can only imagine that the place will be jammin' next weekend. Go Saints!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Congrats to Nanzie; Brunch is on for next week!

Congratulations to Nanzie, hubby Fred and their cat Guinn on their adoption of a new family member:  rescue Greyhound Nefertari ("Tari").  She is 5 years old, a lovely tan color and very sweet; she even put up with crazy puppy Belle, my 5-month old brindle mutt, and Belle's pal Mocha, the young Rottweiler down the street.

The Divas are on for brunch next Sunday at the Blue Parrot in Wilmington; I think we are all looking forward to it after two cancellations.  We always have lots of laughs when we get together.....

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A sad loss; brunch postponed again

We had planned to go to brunch tomorrow at the Blue Parrot; this is the rescheduling of the brunch we had to cancel in December due to the snow storm.  We have cancelled this brunch again.

Sadly, Linda W lost a family member the other day, her nephew Matt.  We all are saddened by his passing and send our thoughts and sympathy to Linda and her whole family.