Monday, April 20, 2009

Cafe 4

So the first thing that brought me to Cafe 4 was my free cupcake coupon from the school coupon book. My office mate and I decided to head there one day for lunch. Cafe 4 is located on the Union Ave end of Market Square and they have both indoor and outdoor seating. I was pleasantly surprised by the menu choices and we happened to get a great waiter. When asked what he suggested he named one item from each area of the menu (genius)! Theresa and I both took his suggestion and ordered the Lobster-Bacon Flatbread and the Pulled Short Rib and Grilled Cheese (that's right a grilled cheese with pulled short rib meat!)

I had never had lobster before so Theresa let me have a square of her flat bread and it was really good. It had applewood bacon and smoked gouda cheese. There were greens served on top and although Theresa said they were good they were a little akward to eat. My sandwich was amazing. It had a "red onion" marmalade on it that tasted like onions brewed in red wine and it really was delicious! The rib meat was deliciously tender and the concept of combining this with a grilled cheese? GENIUS! My sandwich was also served with in-house made fries and they were also really good.

After lunch we headed over to the bakery counter to collect our free cupcakes. As we were standing there two TVA employees came in behind us and seemed really upset that they couldn't find an item in the bakery case. Theresa had to find out what they were so upset about and so she asked them. "Only the best lemon bars I've had in my life!" the one man replied. They were out the day we were there but they assured us that we should try them the next time we drop by. I can't wait to do so!

I ended up choosing a gigantic mocha cupcake for my freebie. Other flavors were lemon, chocolate mint, and the list went on. My cake was actually a little dry but I'm betting it was because I didn't eat it until the next day. It was actually big enough for me to split with a friend and the mocha icing more than made up for the slightly dry cake.

If you can't tell my mouth waters anytime I think of going back there. If you have never been, make plans to go soon. If you have been tell me what you had and how it was.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Food! Specifically, Beef Bourguignon

One of my all time "favorite things" is food! I know this blog started out as a mommy's guide to baby and preschool items, but I will now also feature favorite recipes and restaurant endorsements (no bad reviews here). By no means will this become a food blog, but there are just some local restaurants that I have had great expierences in lately and I just have to share!

Today as I was making Beef Bourguignon I thought, "This is a really straight forward dish that a ton of people would love, but most would be too intimidated to make." Do not be intimidated!! You can ace this dish if you can:
  • dredge meat in flower
  • brown dredged meat
  • chop things
The recipe I make is from Martha Stewart and was published in her Everyday Food magazine years ago. Even though the name is fancy (use this dish to impress guests) the methods are simple. Here is my quick run down. After cooking bacon, brown dredged meat in fat. Remove meat and add chopped vegetables. After these soften add back the meat (and bacon) and dump in wine! Let cook for 3-3.5 hours (while you visit with your guests). 30 minutes before dinner you can roast off some mushrooms and onions and add these at the last minute for flair!

Okay, there are a few more ingredients to this recipe, but I promise the steps are really that easy and you and your impressed guests will love it! I also serve mine with roasted potatoes that also go in the oven 30 minutes before dinner so that is easy! You could even make it a day ahead of time and just heat it up before your guests arrive.

For wine I suggest a Cabernet Sauvignon. In the past we have used the one from Biltmore, but today we picked up one from Chili (at about half the price) and it was really good. The most important thing when choosing your "cooking" wine is not to get a "cooking wine"! When wine cooks it increases in flavor, therefore you need to start with a wine that is good to drink to begin with.

Let me know if you try this recipe and what you thought of it! Also, what is a "fancy" dish that you love that is really not so fancy to make?

Monday, April 13, 2009

More Free Chick-fil-a!!...wait, there's more!

In an effort to promote their new yogurt parfait Chickfila (at least the Knoxville locations) is giving away free breakfast for the rest of the week! You can get a free breakfast entree of the day per person (breakfast ends at 10:30).

Here's the schedule (obviously they're trying to promote their new yogurt parfaits):
Monday: Sausage Biscuit (I missed this one)
Tuesday: yogurt parfait
Wed: 3-count chicken minis
Thurs: yogurt parfait
Friday: chick-Fil-A chicken biscuit
Sat: yogurt parfait


Today I went to Chickfila and got my two yogurt parfaits and discovered they are also offering free coffee for the entire month of April....mmmm I love coffee!

Monday, April 6, 2009

A new discovery: Consignment Sales!

This spring I was introduced into the wonderful world of consignment sales! First the preschool that my son attends had a clothing sale and last week I went to one of Knoxville's bigger if not biggest consignment sales, Duck Duck Goose. I remember when I first got pregnant one of my friends was trying to tell me the benefits of going to consignment sales and I would have none of it! I wanted my new son to have all new things! HAHAHA! How nieve was I?

At both sales I was wonderfully surprised by the quantities and qualities to choose from. At the Duck Duck Goose sale I was in awe at the number of potty chairs, bath tubs, and diaper genies (and that was just in one very small hallway). In my son's shoe size alone there were six Rubbermaid tubs to look through! I didn't even look at the clothes because that wasn't on my list! Consignment sales are great because we all know that kids (at least for the first two years) don't wear clothes for more than six months and we as parents definitely don't get the wear out of the clothes that we could.

So after going to two sales I have a few tips for first time shoppers:

Go with a list! A specific list with quantities, sizes, colors, etc. On my list for the Central Baptist sale was overalls and shoes. I found two pairs of great looking overalls and I might have picked up one dress shirt (that was reasonably priced) and I looked for shoes, but didn't find any that fit my specifications. For Duck Duck Goose I wanted to find a train table, potty chair, and more shoes (some for me and some for my friend Betsy). Although all the train tables that were left were overpriced, I did find a great potty chair, three pairs of shoes and a book for $14! A list is helpful for many reasons. Even though in both cases I bought something that wasn't on my list, the list helped me stay focused. I could have gotten bogged down looking at all the adorable clothes at great prices, but we don't really need any clothes right now so that is not a good use of my money or my time away from my family. I also noticed so many moms that looked like kids in a candy store; they had a hodgepodge collection of things that barely fit in their arms and as our line snaked through the sale they collected more, and more, and more stuff! Remember that a deal is only a deal if you need it AND you can afford it!

Go with a budget! Even better is to go with cash! We all know that going in with only cash sets definite unbreakable limits. At each sale I had an idea for how much I would pay for each item on my list (no more than $10.00 for a potty chair) and that help me budget the total maximum that I would spend. Since I found a potty chair for only $5.00 I was able to buy a book for $2.00 and still be well within my budget.

Go early and be prepared to be there for a while! This is especially true for big sales like DDG. I got to go in on an early admission day and I still waited in line to check out for 45 minutes. I even got to go through the "quick" 10-items or less lane! At the smaller sale I had no problem walking in, picking out what I wanted and checking out. Just be prepared to camp out for awhile at the larger sales.

Go prepared! I saw a few ladies at the big sale bringing in laundry baskets with them. Smart cookies those women! If you are shopping for an entire spring/summer wardrobe I would suggest bringing a basket or other carrying device (your arms can get tired waiting in line).

Go to one! I found great deals at both sales so my #1 piece of advice is to ask around in your moms group and make plans to go to the next one (planning child care would make it even better)!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin