kitchen scribble

June 15, 2015

Got upsold at Mrs. K’s Toll House

Filed under: local, peevishness — kat @ 2:56 pm

Say you ordered a vegetarian dish, and got an add-on of meat; of course you’re willing to pay a little extra for the add-on, but how much is acceptable? If your dish is an $18 risotto, would you accept an extra $5 for some shrimp? How about $8?

How about $16?

This past Friday, I met up with a few friends at Mrs. K’s Toll House Restaurant. It’s in an old converted toll house, just north of downtown Silver Spring. It’s surrounded by green, manicured gardens, and the location itself is a beautiful building full of antique furniture. I loved it. Great ambiance. The service was wonderful, too, very attentive and courteous, and the food was delicious.

I even remembered to take a picture of my dinner, the mushroom risotto:

mushroom risotto from Mrs K's

Yes, that’s more than just mushrooms. When I ordered, the waitress asked if I would like to add on some shrimp. And I said, sure! I didn’t mind paying a little extra for protein. The shrimp, blackened and just a hint spicy, was a delicious counterpoint to the rich, creamy risotto. It was an great pairing – kind of like an amped-up shrimp and grits.

Really, everything was going swimmingly until we got the bill, which showed that I had spent $18 for my mushroom risotto, and $16 for the add-on of shrimp.

I called the waitress over, just to make sure there wasn’t some mistake, and she verified that yes, I had paid $16 – almost 90% of the cost of my entire entree – for five pieces of shrimp.

That’s $3.20 a shrimp.

I mean, it was good shrimp, but not that good.

This meant that my shrimp-and-mushroom risotto came to a grand total of $34, which, I believe, made it more expensive than anything on the menu except the crab cakes and the filet mignon.

Sure, I could have (and should have) asked what the charge would have been for the shrimp add-on. But, you know, if adding on a protein effectively doubled the price of someone’s dish, you’d think it would be polite to mention it, right?

I thought briefly about stiffing the waitstaff on the tip, but the service really had been exceptional otherwise, and besides, our party of five had an automatic service charge on the bill. So I let it go.

But I’m definitely not going there to get upsold again.

May 28, 2015

spring CSA, final week

Filed under: CSA, local — kat @ 2:42 pm

For the final week of this year’s spring CSA, we had: beets, apples, asparagus, Vidalia onions, cucumbers, green leaf lettuce, kale, green beans, eggs, and bread (Breadery sourdough).

spring CSA, week 11

Saying goodbye to the spring CSA is nowhere near as bittersweet as saying goodbye to the summer/fall CSA. The spring CSA ends at a great time; the farmer’s markets are just starting up, strawberry picking is beginning in the fields, my little container garden is providing herbs for our meals, and I can already see the beginnings of baby hot peppers on our plants. And the summer/fall CSA starts up in just two weeks, so it’s hardly a period of privation.

Yesterday afternoon I went to the farmer’s market at Miller Library, just to stock up on eggs. The guy at the TLV tree farm promptly talked me into buying more. Like he said, they’ll be fine for weeks in the fridge… and at under $4/dozen if you buy three, these fresh brown eggs from cage-free hens are comparable to supermarket prices. He also talked me into buying twice the strawberries I came for (picked that very morning). Dude is smooth.

farmer's market haul

While I was there, I also picked up a bag of mixed greens from Love Dove, challah from The Breadery, and zucchini from the stand next to the Stone House Bakery.

The strawberries came in handy right away; I used them to bribe the Little Prince into finishing his salad greens. The kid will do anything for strawberries. They were juicy, sweet, and perfect. I’m already itching to make strawberry jam.

strawberries!

I’ve said this before, but: I really love spring in Maryland.

April 13, 2015

I want to go to Tous les Jours every day

Filed under: local — kat @ 3:51 pm

Tous les Jours is a beautiful new Korean bakery lighting up Route 40. I’ve been there several times now, because I love it, but it does have two negatives. One is that they are so popular that it’s sometimes hard to find a place to sit, and as for the other, well, I’ll get to it later.

Tous les Jours is apparently an outpost of a well-established chain, a bakery/coffeehouse hybrid like Shilla, Bon Appetit, etc. The bakery area is very approachable, always very well-stocked with (delicious!) tasting samples; the drinks I’ve had so far have been delightful, although the ordering process has been somewhat complicated by the fact that I seem to get a newbie cashier almost every single time.

The first I heard of them was when K came back from running errands, toting a big bag of bakery goods. I was impressed with how good the food looked. I was even more impressed by how good it tasted.

baked goods from Tous les Jours

Living close to Rt 40 as we do, I’ve tried a lot of Korean bakery items, and I think Tous les Jours is my favorite bakery so far. I particularly loved the one bun that was completely round, with a crispy shell and a chewy filling; it reminded me of dim sum sesame balls, but bigger (and without sesame). The croquettes were warm and toasty when K brought them back, too, because hot items are kept inside a little warmer oven. Very thoughtful.

They also bake their bread fresh. I’ve been there first thing in the morning (they open at 8, which is not the friendliest time for commuters), and saw several trays of bakery items heading out of the kitchen; the place smelled heavenly.

The picture below is from an evening when we headed over for dessert, and enjoyed a mango bubble tea (K) and a mocha (me). K chose an item that we both agreed was pretty much a twisty, bent churro. I picked my pale green “melon” bun in an effort to try new things, and because I loved how it looked: like it was baring its teeth at me. Its tasty, pointy, cute little strawberry teeth. It was soft in texture, with an almost cream-cheese-like quality, and an interesting light tangy taste from the melon.

drinks and dessert from Tous les Jours

Besides being beautiful, my mocha was also quite satisfying, with good flavors of coffee and chocolate. K’s bubble tea was nothing to write home about, unfortunately; the flavor was good, but the tea shares the same weakness as most of the bubble teas I’ve had at other local establishments. The tapioca pearls were inconsistent in texture, some hard and pebbly, some soft and almost too goopy: the mark of bubbles that are not fresh. You want bubbles that are chewy but not hard, sweet but not sugary. These felt like they had been improperly prepared, or were sitting around too long. Anyway. Not going to knock Tous les Jours on their bubble tea, since apparently my standards are higher than what’s available anywhere in the area, but you can be sure I’ll be sticking with the non-bubble drinks in the future.

(Sidebar: good bubble tea is not hard, people; if you want really decent bubble tea, go to Rockville. Check out Jumbo Jumbo Cafe, and while you’re there, get yourself an order of the fried chicken appetizer with spiced salt and basil; trust me on this, it’s an epiphany. Bubble Tea Cafe on Rollins is also good. Or Ten Ren in Wintergreen Plaza. I’ve also had perfectly decent bubble tea from Rockville joints that aren’t bubble-tea-centric, like from the ramen joint Ki No Spoon, or from Maria’s Bakery, etc, etc… anyway, HoCo really needs to up its bubble tea game. I’ve tried the bubble teas at Honey Pig, La Boulangerie, Bon Appetit, and even Ichiban Cafe down in Columbia, and they all have the same goopy/pebbly tapioca ball issue; if you know where to find a good one in the area, definitely let me know.)

I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I had a second negative thing to say about Tous les Jours. I’ll present it verbatim:

“I have good news and bad news,” K said, returning to our table. “Which do you want first?”

“The bad news,” I said, because I like things to end on a high note.

“OK. The bathroom had one of those checklist cleaning lists posted, right, when someone initials the time that they last cleaned it? Well, it’s set up for every three hours, and it was last cleaned at 5pm. That means no one cleaned it at 8pm.”

“That’s not… so bad,” I said. It was about 10pm.

“And the other bad news is that the date on the cleaning schedule was March 26th.”

“Oh,” I said. It was March 28th. “So, um, what’s the good news?”

“There’s hand sanitizer outside,” K said brightly, “for when you leave the bathroom that hasn’t been cleaned for two days!”

I mean, we ate there anyway. The food and drinks were delicious. But, yeah, bit of a sour note there.

In sum: I know I said some negative things about Tous les Jours, but honestly, I’m actually really in love with the place. The bakery items are all fantastic, the coffee drinks are wonderful, there’s plenty of seating and the decor is calm and comfortable. I’d recommend it to anyone.

Tous les Jours is on Rt 40, across from Shilla Bakery, behind Lighthouse Tofu.

October 15, 2014

The French Twist Cafe

Filed under: local — kat @ 2:13 pm

…has ruined me for hot chocolate.

So when I was a kid, I loved Swiss Miss hot chocolate – you know, the packets of cocoa and sugar and whatever that you can mix with hot water. I particularly liked the ones with the little mini marshmallows; I loved chasing them around in the cup and trying to drink them before they dissolved. Suckers always floated to the far side of the mug, too.

Then, when I was a teen, I discovered that Starbucks made hot chocolate with milk. It blew the watery Swiss Miss away. Starbucks hot chocolate was creamy and sweet; they steamed the milk as if for a latte, but then mixed it with sweet chocolate syrup. The richness of the milk won my heart. I now made my hot chocolate at home with hot milk and cocoa mix (nothing but sugar and cocoa in the ingredient list, thank you very much).

But then, along comes the French Twist Cafe.

It’s a tiny little place, tucked away on a side road off the Main Street of historic Sykesville. It’s warm, cozy, and very welcoming, and they make fantastic crepes. I had their autumn special crepe, with applesauce and salted caramel drizzle, and it was delightful; with the seasonal gingerbread chai alongside, I really felt like I was celebrating fall.

autumn apple crepe and gingerbread chai at the French Twist Cafe

But forget all that for a minute and let’s talk about the hot chocolate. I think they call it “chocolat chaud,” which as far as I can tell is just French for “hot chocolate.” I ordered a hot chocolate and watched them steam the milk; then, to my surprise, the only thing that went into the milk was a generous scoop of bittersweet chocolate chips, stirred until melted. I think the lady said the chips were 70% cocoa, which is pretty darn bitter if eaten on its own. And that was it! No syrup, no sugar, no artificial flavorings of any kind.

It was a revelation.

The taste is pure chocolate, rich and creamy with the milk, no cloying syrupy aftertaste. I was amazed. The next time I got Starbucks hot chocolate, it felt far too sweet on my tongue; I missed the uncomplicated simplicity of nothing but bittersweet chocolate and hot milk, whisked together. Thanks a lot, French Twist Cafe; you’ve ruined me for hot chocolate forever.

Guess I’ll just have to go back.

hot chocolate at the French Twist Cafe

Ignore how the drink looks. It looked much prettier when they gave it to me, but I couldn’t resist taking a sip or three before I took a picture.

(They sweeten their whipped cream with honey. Get the honey whipped cream on top. It’s heavenly.)

June 24, 2014

summer CSA, week 3; also, kohlrabi and primaries

Filed under: CSA, local — kat @ 11:24 am

The third week of the summer CSA: two kinds of lettuce (green leaf and “Eric the” red), a bag of spinach, a bag of green beans, three crispy cucumbers, a bag of red potatoes, four “color me” yellow squash, a generous pint of blueberries, a dozen eggs, and bread (Breadery sourdough).

summer CSA, week 3

The picture doesn’t include the blueberries, because they were hiding in the fridge, away from hungry toddlers. The eggs were in the fridge as well.

I also dropped by the East Columbia Farmer’s Market last week, for strawberries from Orchard County Produce. All the sun made the strawberries nice and sweet (they were bland last time due to all the rain). While I was picking up strawberries, they also let me take a picture of their very expressive kohlrabi.

kohlrabi faces

Gotta have fun with that split kohlrabi.

In other news, primary voting is today! I did some extra driving around because I showed up to the wrong location, where they directed me to another wrong location, but I eventually made my way to the proper polling place and cast my vote like a good citizen. I have to say, I was dying for an iced coffee the entire time. I think that doing our civic duty would be a lot more comfortable and inviting if they had a nice refreshments area. Kudos to the people outside gamely waving their campaign signs, who sadly outnumbered the people voting inside. I hope they brought cold drinks today. Dude, if I were a kid on summer break right now, I’d totally set up a lemonade stand just outside a polling place.

I heard someone on the radio saying that the turnout was going to be really low. That makes me sad; voting is one of the most important rights that we have as citizens, and in a country that values and protects free speech, why would you muzzle yourself?

If you need to read up on the races, here’s the official list of candidates, the Baltimore Sun’s incredibly helpful voter guide, and a roundup of candidates on social media at our very own Hocoblogs’ Elections page. I like to eat local because it makes me feel close to the land and the people around me, but eating local is only one of many ways to be a real part of the community.

May 27, 2014

I can’t believe all this butter

Filed under: local — kat @ 10:36 am

I decided to buy an 8-pound tub of butter from South Mountain Creamery. I usually buy butter from Costco in 4-lb packages (each stick is a quarter pound, 4 sticks of butter in a box, 4 boxes in a Costco pack), so I don’t mind having butter around in bulk; it freezes very well. And with constant baking (two sticks of butter in a batch of cookies, or one stick in a loaf of banana bread), as well as constant cooking (virtually every time I heat a pan to saute something, I usually start with a pat of butter and a glug of olive oil), butter disappears from my household at a fairly regular rate.

So, back to the 8-pound tub. Compared to Costco prices, it’s not actually a very good deal; Costco will sell you 4 lbs of butter for $11.50, so that’s $23 for 8 lbs, whereas South Mountain Creamery charges $27.69, plus extra if you’re having it delivered. But it’s from a small operation, from sustainably-raised cows on a local farm, so some markup is not unexpected.

An awesome friend of mine has a recurring delivery from South Mountain, and kindly agreed to add my tub of butter to her weekly delivery, so I did at least save on the delivery fee. It was pretty intimidating to be faced with this giant tub of butter. But I wasn’t about to freeze the whole thing in a solid block, so I got out a couple of tablespoons, my kitchen scale, and some plastic wrap, and got down to business.

portioning out the butter

I figured the best way to portion the butter was in the form I was already familiar with: the standard “stick” of butter, 4 oz each (or 1/4 lb). I set the kitchen scale to ounces, put a piece of plastic wrap on top, and started spooning out chunks of butter. Whenever I had added and subtracted enough butter to equal 4 oz, I wrapped the 4 oz of butter up in plastic wrap and started squishing it into a vaguely rectangular shape, using my phone and the counter surface.

The process started to speed up as I got a better feel for how much butter would be in each 4 oz batch. I ended up getting 30 sticks of butter, plus a bit extra (less than 2 oz) that I stuck in the fridge for later. Here are the sticks in the freezer, all wrapped up and bagged.

split up and bagged in the freezer

I know, right? Only 30 sticks? I had been expecting 32. (Because 30 sticks of 4 oz each actually comes to only 30 x 4 = 120 oz, and 120 / 16 = 7.5 pounds of butter, which is a half pound less than the 8 lb advertised.) I weighed the butter again after I had made it into sticks, just to make sure that I hadn’t messed up during the portioning process, but all of it still came to about 7.5 lbs. I’m kind of disappointed that I didn’t get my full 8 pounds of butter, but on the other hand, this is more butter than I’ve ever had in my freezer at once, so it feels silly to complain.

April 3, 2014

Kimco Bethany Seafood: crazy combinations

Filed under: local — kat @ 2:09 pm

When we sat down at Kimco Bethany Seafood, I really had no idea what we were in for.

They welcomed us with cups of tea and tiny bowls of rice porridge. The Korean barley tea was great on a cold night – rich and dark, like toasted wheat bread. The porridge was very tasty, with flavors I didn’t quite recognize – dried fish? – but it was gone in just a couple of bites. Adorably, the spoons they provided had little paper envelopes over the bowls, to keep them sanitary.

We’d gone in thinking seafood bibimbap for dinner, but our eyes were caught by the sushi-and-sashimi combo. The small combo, the helpful waitress assured us, would be enough for two to share. (At $59.95, I thought, it had better be.)

It began innocently enough, with a sort of Korean twist on a bento platter: seaweed in a spicy red sauce, sliced sushi roll battered and fried, edamame, some sort of sliced dried starchy root vegetable (I think? Honestly, I have no idea, I’m sorry) and thick pieces of fish skin, fried crunchy. Before we’d had time to taste everything on the platter, two hand rolls arrived, seaweed cones perched in a little stand, filled with rice and fish and pickled vegetables, and the waitress encouraged us to eat those quickly, before the seaweed got mushy.

After that, the next round of dishes arrived in such a flurry that I’m unable to tell you what got there first. I think Korean meals just involve being surrounded by a number of little plates, and if the diners aren’t completely outnumbered by the sheer crowd of dishes before them, you’re doing it wrong. (nb: I am not Korean. I’m Chinese-American; this is a brave new world to me.)

There was creamed corn, but with huge corn kernels, and the cream had an interesting acidic tang. There were clams, on open shells, tasting bright and fresh. There was a bowl of steamed egg (always one of my favorite dishes) and one of burnt rice. There were cold knotted cooked scallions bearing a thick dollop of spicy red sauce. (Not a big fan of this one, mainly because my teeth couldn’t penetrate the thick knot of slippery fibrous scallion; I eventually chewed it enough to extract some flavor, and then eventually gave it up as a poor use of my time.) A dish of tasty noodle stir fry joined the crowd. And then an entire little fish less than a foot long, fried crispy from head to tail, arrived at the table. “I don’t know what this fish is called,” the waitress confessed as she set it down.

It didn’t matter what it was called. It was fantastic. K’s chopsticks broke through the crispy skin with a promising crunch, and uncovered meltingly soft flesh underneath. The fish had been seasoned spectacularly well, salty and spicy and delicious; each bite of crunchy, fried skin was incredibly savory, each morsel of tender white meat fantastically good. I spent half the meal gushing about that fish, even after we’d finished picking all the flesh off the bones and crunched the fins between our teeth. I may have said that its very existence on this earth was proof that God loved us and wanted us to be happy.* I did not shut up about this fish for quite some time.

*It should be noted that I am pretty much an atheist.

Sometime after the Fish of Divine Revelation, they brought us the sashimi platter and little bowls of rice.
Up to this point, we’d had a pretty awesome meal, and I am sad to say that the tide turned a little bit. The tuna was great, dark and meaty on the tongue; the salmon was sweet, buttery, and melted in the mouth. But some of the other fish had obviously just been defrosted, and not all the way; a couple of slices were cold and grainy with ice crystals, and one piece was so partially-frozen that it even crunched between my teeth. We soldiered on, drenching the frozen bits in soy sauce, and I saved some lovely bits of fat salmon for last. But it did put a pall over the dining experience.

the crazy sushi-sashimi combo, in a series of pictures

When we’d had enough, the waitress showed up again… with a big bowl of hot, spicy tofu soup and even more panchan. There was cooked fish in the soup, which looked like the same kind of smallish fish that we’d eaten fried earlier. Although I’d previously felt that I couldn’t stuff much more in my stomach, I found that the tofu soup really hit the spot; I found myself putting away even more helpings of soup, tofu, and pieces of delectable fish.

We stumbled out of there stuffed to the gills. (After that much seafood, I could almost believe that I had gills.) It was a great experience. We’d definitely go back. But maybe not for the sashimi.

March 27, 2014

Cha Ya Asian: good food, bad menu

Filed under: local — kat @ 2:35 pm

A friend had a hankering for Asian fusion cuisine, so even though it generally isn’t our thing*, we checked out the Cha-Ya Asian Bistro.

* I have nothing against Asian fusion, but generally when I want Thai, Chinese or Japanese, I go to places that specialize. Personally I believe “fusion” restaurants were intended for larger groups who can’t agree on a single cuisine, or maybe sushi fans eating out with non-sushi-lovers.

So I try to give menus at Asian places a pass when it comes to spelling, but I must admit that we had a bit of a laugh at the Vegetable section of the menu:

the vegetable section

The first item is “Crispy beef sautéed in chef’s special brown sauce.” In the Vegetable section? I suspect lazy copy/paste. And then the last item is “Vegetarian Pasta,” but your “pasta” choices are fried rice, pad Thai, and drunken noodle. I’ll give you pad Thai and drunken noodle as a very loose interpretation of pasta, but I think it’s stretching the definition just a bit too far to include rice.

But speaking of the rice, we got a side of egg fried rice for the two-year-old, and it was fantastic. The kid was a huge fan and ate a ton of it. The only issue was that they had no silverware he could use; they provided a tablespoon, but the bowl of the spoon was too big for his mouth. Then, when we asked for a smaller spoon, they came up with a long-handled teaspoon used for stirring bar drinks. The bowl of the spoon was a good size, but the kid could not deal with the very long handle. We ended up feeding him, which took time away from our meals. At one point I got tired of it and said, “okay, feed yourself. Just use your hands.”

The kid gave me a horrified look. “No! No use hands! Mommy feed myself!”

“Mommy feed… myself?” I ate a bite.

“No! Mommy feed MYSELF!” And he pointed into his open mouth.

So Mommy kept feeding him. We’ll work on proper usage of reflexive pronouns at another time. Just saying, if you’re going to have a whole kids’ menu section, it might be nice to also have kid-sized silverware.

Anyway, I got the Mandarin Pan-Fried Noodle dish (I think that was its name) and it was just what I wanted: a lot of thin egg noodles, fried crispy around the edges but still soft and dripping with sauce in the middle, piled high with chicken and vegetables. Others at the table got drunken noodles and green curry. Everyone seemed to have a good time.

When ordering, they’ll ask you how spicy you want it, on a scale of 1 to 5. Personally I was dubious over the fidelity of the spiciness scale – what do they do, just hold the bottle of hot sauce over the wok and give it one to five shakes? Or put in exactly one to five spoonfuls of chopped chili? Anyway, I ordered mine as a zero on the spiciness level, so I will never know.

I hadn’t been inside the restaurant since they renovated. They took over where the old coffee shop used to be, and now the place is dominated by a giant curving bar… at which no one was sitting, at least not between the hours of 6 and 7 on a Wednesday. The bar takes up the center of the restaurant, and then the outside areas are filled with tables, which is where most of the patrons were sitting. The service was attentive and courteous, and the servings are very generous. Next time we have a group of people who are indecisive about cuisine, I wouldn’t mind going there again.

March 25, 2014

banh mi at Café Au Lait

Filed under: local — kat @ 12:18 pm

I’ll put the tl;dr up front here: We got banh mi from Café Au Lait, a nice little eating space tucked into an office building on Ridge Road. The banh mi were tasty, and they’re buy-5-get-1-free. But if we want banh mi again, we’ll call in the order well ahead of time, because it was the longest I’ve ever waited for sandwiches.

So I don’t know if Café Au Lait is usually slammed on Saturdays for lunch hour, but it was certainly slammed this past Saturday. We dropped by to order sandwiches for the family: five banh mi (Vietnamese sandwiches). Then the nice young man at the counter told us that banh mi were buy-5-get-1-free; would we like to order one more? We were more than happy to do so.

The young man at the counter told us that the kitchen had a lot of orders to deal with and that it would probably be a half-hour wait; would we like to go away and come back?

We were a bit surprised, as our previous experience with banh mi was with the Lee’s Sandwiches chain in southern California, where the time to get a banh mi was roughly comparable to how long it takes to get a sandwich at Subway. Still, we’d wanted to try the local banh mi for a while; we agreed that we would wait for them.

The place wasn’t that full, so they must do a bustling business in takeout orders. We bought a chocolate croissant to snack on (perfectly decent, though not French-bakery-crusty by any means), went over to Home Depot and ran a leisurely errand, and were back in about 40 minutes.

The sandwiches still weren’t ready. The young man was extremely apologetic and offered to throw in some bags of chips. We waited maybe five or ten more minutes, and then the sandwiches finally came out.

On the bright side, they were pretty delicious. We got five flavors: classic, roast pork, grilled pork, meatball, and lemongrass chicken. (We chose roast pork for our sixth baguette.) We were sharing the sandwiches among five adults, so we cut each one into four pieces. The taste varied dramatically depending on whether or not you got a slice of jalapeno pepper in your bite.

Each sandwich came encased in its own Styrofoam container. (I don’t know why they didn’t just wrap them in paper; it would have taken up less room. Maybe they were afraid the sandwiches would get squished?) They were served on a somewhat softer, doughier bun than I’m used to; classic banh mi is served on a baguette, but this was toasted ciabatta. It’s okay; it was still tasty. All of the meats had great flavor, although the grilled pork was somewhat unexpectedly spicy. The pickled sliced vegetables gave just the right sweet-sour crunch. I liked it a lot, although personally I’d go with less jalapeno.

So yeah, the banh mi was pretty good. It wasn’t the best I’ve had, but it still pretty good, and it’s certainly great to have banh mi right here in Ellicott City. I’m already looking forward to getting a coffee drink or a bubble tea next time I go. I’ll just be sure to call in my order ahead of time.

banh mi from Cafe au Lait
…we waited 45 minutes for this.

October 4, 2013

Touché Touchet Cookiepalooza; summer CSA week 18

Filed under: CSA, local — kat @ 3:24 pm

I stopped by Touché Touchet this morning to pick up something for breakfast, and found out that it was the beginning of Cookiepalooza! Sample three bites of brand-new cookie? Don’t mind if I do…

cookiepalooza!

It’s an annual event in which they choose their next case cookie by popular vote. This year’s choices are caramel apple, white chocolate cranberry, and gluten-free peanut butter chocolate chip. I loved the caramel apple, which tasted like fall; the white chocolate cranberry was fruity and sweet, and the gluten-free cookie was unbelievably moist and delicious. They were all incredible. It was unfair to have to make a choice. Stop by and try the free samples of the cookies, and vote for your favorite.

In honor of the cookie event, all of their normal case cookies are on sale too, $1 each (not bad for a cookie half a foot in diameter; I’m not even exaggerating). Don’t worry about them running out of cookies; they’re baking up a storm.

On a healthier note, here is week 18 of Breezy Willow’s summer/fall CSA. We got lettuce, Red Delicious and Golden Delicious apples, red potatoes, onions, green beans, beets, broccoli, eggs, and bread (Breadery sourdough).

summer/fall CSA, week 18

Red potatoes are perfect for stew. This hot spell isn’t going to last forever; I look forward to turning on the oven and making long-cooking stews and braises in the Dutch oven, and lots of sweet baked goods with apples and pears. Store-bought cookies are great and all, but whenever October rolls around, I start feeling like the girl in this comic.

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