Link of the Week: Chantal: LiveStrong

Good Morning All!  I am excited to present to you this week’s featured link, Chantal: LiveStrong.  This is a line of signature yellow products benefiting the Lance Armstrong Foundation.  The line of serveware includes everything from travel mugs to tea pots and five to ten percent of all proceeds go directly to the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

My favorite items from this line are the LiveStrong Extra Large Plate, which is perfect for use as a platter at parties, and the LiveStrong Snack Plates, which coordinate perfectly along side the LiveStrong Extra Large Plate so that your guests may put their tasty nibbles on something other than a cocktail napkin.

Here are some images from the website:

Can’t you just imagine how strikingly lovely deviled eggs would look on this platter and these plates?

If you’d like your serveware to make a statement while also benefiting a very important cause, check out Chantal: LiveStrong today!

Link of the Week: Maytag Dairy Farms

The people who know me very well, know that I have a fixation on all things Iowa.  Everything from caucuses to cheese.  I’m just joking about the caucuses, but I am serious about the cheese.  My favorite American blue cheese comes from Maytag Dairy Farms in Newton, Iowa.

I first learned about Maytag blue cheese when I was in college (in Iowa) and I was watching Emeril Lagasse on the Food Network cooking with Maytag blue cheese.  I heard him say “…Iowa…” and I was shocked that Iowa made a cheese that I had not yet heard of.  So, the next time I went home for a holiday, my mom and I hunted down this cheese and made ourselves every recipe we could find that called for blue cheese.  I’ve been hooked ever since.  It is the only cheese I use in my traditional blue cheese dressing and Buffalo wing dip.  I also love to make Maytag blue cheese butter to dress up steaks.

You can find Maytag blue cheese in most specialty cheese departments but if you can’t, you can mail order it directly from Maytag Dairy Farms.  Now that football season is here, why don’t you make some homemade blue cheese dip to go with your Buffalo chicken wings?  But be careful, once people taste the Maytag, they’ll want to come to your house every time to watch the game!  That being said, Go Iowa Hawkeyes!

A La Turka

My husband and I have just returned from enjoying this month’s Foreign Food Night at A La Turka on the Upper East Side.  This month was my husband’s turn to choose which cuisine we would explore and he chose Turkish.  We used to live in the same neighborhood as A La Turka and we always said we’d like to try it sometime but never got around to it.  It was nice to get back to the old neighborhood and after the meal we just had, I think we’ll be doing it more often…

We arrived in a deluge of rain thanks to the remnants of Hurricane Hanna.  We almost thought of postponing Foreign Food Night until tomorrow night but we were feeling particularly adventuresome and set out to enjoy our evening.  As soon as we entered the restaurant, we could smell the heavenly aroma of grilled meats.  My mouth started watering and my stomach started growling.  We were sat at the front window, per our request, and perused the menu, taking note of the soulful music in the background.  As soon as we ordered, we were brought a basket of soft, warm flatbread with 3 dipping sauces (chili sauce, yogurt sauce with cucumber and dill, and flavored olive oil).

We shared a couple of hot appetizers – Sigara Boregi: pan-fried phyllo scrolls stuffed with feat cheese and dill; and Spicy Cigars: pan-fried phyllo scrolls stuffed with ground lamb with a garlicky yogurt sauce.  Both appetizers were out-of-this-world good!

With appetizers as good as these, our appetites were properly whetted and ready for our entrees.  My husband had the Beyti Kebab: hand chopped ground lamb seasoned with garlic, red pepper and parsley.  He L-O-V-E-D it!  I had the Fresh Turkish Okra with Lamb: baby okra cooked with tomatoes and onions served with rice.  Oh my… the lamb was so incredibly tender, I was in rapture.

For dessert, my husband had Baklava.  He can not see Baklava on a menu and not order it.  I ordered the rice pudding, which is my new comfort food dessert of choice.  It was so rich and creamy I would love to have some of it while sitting in front of a fireplace in my pajamas.  But, I digress.  Needless to say, we both enjoyed our desserts very much.  I do apologize, we did not take photos of our desserts as I, acting like a deranged woman who must have her dessert NOW, dug into my rice pudding before my husband could grab the camera.  So sorry.

As far as service is concerned, we were delighted by the wait staff that served us.  Everyone was exceedingly friendly and knowledgeable.

I must point out that we had to use our point-and-shoot camera this evening as our new digital SLR is simply too large to discreetly take photos in a restaurant.  Still, I think the photos turned out nicely.

My rating (out of a possible 5):

Yes, you read correctly, I have awarded this restaurant 5 TC’s.  The first 5 I have given since starting this blog!  That is high praise indeed.  I implore you to try this restaurant soon.  We were so thrilled with our meal and I want you to experience it for yourself!