The Love Apple, Taos, NM

Shortly before heading off on our honeymoon to ski in southern CO and Taos, NM, we posted about our upcoming trip on Facebook. Our dear friend Grace, esteemed blogger of Grace(full) Plate, emphatically suggested The Love Apple, so we added it to our dining itinerary.

The Love Apple

The Love Apple, another name for the tomato, is located in an historic Catholic church that was built in the early 1800’s. You enter a beautiful courtyard and are greeted by a blackboard introducing you to the local farms, cheese makers, and other purveyors. Signs like this make me excited to dine, so before even entering or looking at their menu, I was enlivened by this place.

Love Apple Local Sources

The menu has something for everyone, and the wine list is well above average. We ordered a couple glasses of wine while deciding on our food and which bottle of wine we were going to order. Our first shared dish was the Sangre de Cristo Flour Tortillas, made in house daily with locally sourced flour. These were delicious, served with harissa, homemade creme fraîche, and cilantro lime relish.

Sangre de Cristo Flour Tortillas

Next, we shared two salads: the Raw Beet, Avocado, and Southwestern Ruby Grapefruit Salad

Beet Avocado Grapefruit Salad

And the Local Green Salad with Pomegranate, Pecans, and Warm Goat Cheese.

Greens and Goat Cheese

Both salads were first and foremost nutritious and delicious, but the combinations of ingredients was inspiring. I especially enjoyed the breaded and fried goat cheese disk and, though I see it infrequently, never tire of this particular presentation.

Oaxacan Tamale

For an entrée, he ordered the Housemade Baked Tamale and Oaxacan Style Mole which was a tamale filled with sautéed local greens and sweet corn, topped with red chile mole, a fried egg, and creme fraîche. He loved the combination of flavors, thought the mole was exceptional, and thought the egg was perfect and made a nice addition.

I went with the Grilled Ruby Rainbow Trout, which was served wrapped in a corn husk with lime compound butter. It was topped with chipotle creme and rested on top of a quinoa-piñon fritter (hiding behind the tail and missed by my camera), and cilantro lime relish.

Rainbow Trout

I ate every single bite of food on my plate. The fish was perfectly cooked and moist, the fritter was a fun way to have grains on the side, and Sean’s wine choice was a superb accompaniment.

This charming old church was such a peaceful setting for dinner, I opted in to dessert. The theme of The Love Apple seems to be “house made,” so when I heard of the housemade spiced chocolate gelato, I said, “Yes please.”

Spiced Chocolate Gelato

Thank you, The Love Apple, for being an oasis of great food amongst a dessert of mediocre food in the southern CO, northern NM region. We’ll certainly tell everyone we know visiting the area to enjoy a meal from your kitchen.

The Publican, Chicago

The Publican is a meat-centric James Beard Award Winning establishment in the meatpacking district of Chicago. Not necessarily a great choice for vegetarians, but absolutely worth a metro ride out to this neighborhood that still clings to it’s meatpacking past of warehouses, wide streets, and the stench of fish from a  loading dock floor that maybe wasn’t hosed down too well with bleach the day before.

This is a place that takes itself very seriously, and their attention to detail was impressive. The interior design, service, sourcing of product- every single thing was well done in what I could tell from our hour or so experience sitting in a booth that resembles a hog’s pen, with a chest-high door shutting us in and all. Pig paintings decorate the walls, and they have their own butcher shop across the street: Publican Quality Meats. We definitely weren’t in Boulder…

The Publican, Chicago, Menu

Like all great places nowadays, local farms are highlighted on their menu so you know exactly where that Little Gem Salad is coming from.

We started off with beverages, of course. (Sean and I can be a couple of one trick ponies)

I tried a cider, and he went for a flight of rosé. When the flight arrived, I asked our server to please place it down for a photo before unstacking the unpretentious wine glasses. For me, this presentation was another nice touch. The Publican has beer glasses to match every beer, but wine, on the other hand, not so much. Rocks glasses for wine, totally rocks.

Rosé Flight

Not being incredibly hungry, we went with a cheese board and a Werp Farms Little Gem Salad. We had just eaten a Werp Farms Little Gem Salad at the Green Zebra the night before, so we decided to compare…

Werp Farms Little Gem Salad

You can’t even compare the two salads. The Publican fills a plate with Little Gem lettuce, fennel, radish, buttermilk dressing, and fried pig ears (which we got on the side).  Green Zebra, unfortunately, skimped out on the little gem lettuce and essentially mis-labeled their dish. But anyway, back to this amazing salad. I had never had pig ears and he insisted I try them, so we got a pile of thinly sliced, fried ears on the side rather than in the salad.

Fried Pig Ears

I didn’t like them at all. Sean swore they were amazing, but the flavor wasn’t something I really wanted to linger in my mouth. I’m just not too adventurous about eating animals, that’s all.

But cheese, on the other hand… I could eat cheese all day. Especially when presented like this-

Cheese Board

I really wasn’t on my game this particular day after my first night in a new city, where we were up before dawn to fly at 6 am, and learned they have a 4am last call at some bars, so I’ll admit to having no idea what cheeses and accouterments we enjoyed. But, it doesn’t really matter because The Publican is a place that frequently features different cheeses, etc., so whatever you enjoy on your cheese board will be completely different from my mid-July experience. Just know it will be good. Really good. Amazing, I dare say. Go now, Go often.

The Publican

837 W Fulton Market

312.733.9555

melT: The Almond Drop

I met Melissa Thomas on a progressive dining tour with Local Table Tours. We got to talking about cooking, food blogging, the gluten free trend and just how terrible some of the “healthy” gluten free pre-packaged foods taste. Melissa mentioned that she actually made a gluten free treat called The Almond Drop. She told me that her original intentions were not to create a gluten free product, but it just so happened to be delicious and naturally gluten free, so she found herself right in the middle of the gluten free industry. As she was incredibly friendly, a knowledgable foodie, and passionate about her craft, I told her I’d love to sample them and write a post to help spread the word.

I was expecting a small sample, perhaps one or two of each flavor, so I was really surprised when she gave me four whole packages: Walnut White Chocolate Dried Cherries, Cranberry Chocolate, Apricot Chocolate, and Simply Apricot (a vegan treat). I’m really glad she was generous with me because these things were my nightly dessert for a week or so.

Almond Drops

A combination of almonds, dates, almond butter, unsweetened coconut, and flax has never tasted so good. These little bite-sized balls are sweet enough (agave syrup) to satisfy my sweet tooth, yet wholesome enough to indulge in more than just one, as those calories (140 per ball) are mostly comprised of nuts and healthy fats. I loved each variety of Almond Drop almost equally, and found that having all four in one sitting made for a most satiating dessert.

You can purchase The Almond Drop here in Boulder at Whole Foods and Lucky’s Market. Way to go, melT Foods! That’s a well-deserved product placement.

 

The Farmhouse Tap & Grill, Burlington, VT

I always enjoy a good meal on my trips to Burlington, and this trip was no different. Sean and I were staying at Homeplace Bed & Breakfast, and had a great discussion with Mariot the owner over breakfast. Mariot was explaining to us that up in Vermont local food is incredibly local. Restaurants source cheeses, meats, eggs, and vegetables often from within a few miles’ radius. Local doesn’t just mean local to the state or region. A cheese plate in Burlington, for example, is likely very different from a cheese plate in Brattleboro or Montpelier, Mariot explained. Before finishing breakfast I had already decided I needed some local cheese that afternoon.

We met one of Sean’s sisters for lunch in downtown Burlington and decided to eat al fresco on a gorgeously sunny September afternoon at The Farmhouse Tap & Grill. As soon as I flipped  their menu over, I was reminded of the morning’s conversation with Mariot:

Their menu highlights nineteen different local farms, the towns where you’ll find the farms, and what they provide the restaurant. It then mentions twelve local cheese makers. We just don’t see too much of this in Colorado…

As I was on a northeast cider tasting tour, I tried some cider on tap. Sean was all about local beer. I didn’t write down which ones we tried, so these will go unnamed.

The first thing I look for on menus at restaurants like this is pickles. Of course they had house made pickles!

Roasted beets and goat cheese, both locally sourced, were also on the top of my list for lunch.

The cheese plate was also fun. Sean picked a few from the menu to custom build a plate with some apple butter and jam.

Everyone was SO patient while I snapped photos, and then food was quickly devoured. Next came our actual lunch. Sean had the Farmhouse Veggie Burger with Cabot cheddar, house made kimchi, and pickled jalapeños with fries.

His sister Angela had their Misty Knoll Free Range Turkey Burger with Vermont farmstead Tilsit cheese, cranberry mostarda, arugula, charred onions, and fries.

And I went for the Farmhouse Veggie Sandwich with house made hummus, Landaff Creamery “Landaff” cheese, Jericho Settler’s Farm carrots, dill pickles, local sprouts, grilled zucchini, herbed yogurt, on Red Hen Bread. I, as usual, went with a side salad to complement my veggie sandwich rather than fries. I’m just no fun!

We had a great lunch on their beautiful patio, and I’d definitely go back.

The Farmhouse Tap & Grill

160 Bank Street, Burlington, VT 05401

802.859.0888

 

 

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