I accidentally traveled down to Hudson, OH this morning (it was four miles of futile attempts to either turn left or turn around – I’m not a very good driver), but I was glad I did – Hudson is adorable. They have a cute little Main Street (S. Main Street, actually) with toy stores, restaurants, bars, and cupcake shops (I won’t hold that against them). Reminds me of Hudson, New York actually. I will definitely be getting down there again soon, and give a thorough review and snap some pics.
Just past the Main Street, I finally found a place to turn around – a little brick plaza-type building with a Starbucks, a clothing boutique, some other things I forget, and a bakery called the Great Lakes Baking Co. So, I had to stop and see what that was all about.
It’s a cute little bakery, with cases of cookies and scones, wire baskets filled with loaves of bread, and pedestals covered with cookies in festive packages. Over to the left sits a a tall display case, which held four shelves of goodies, including the weekly cupcake special – devil’s food chocolate with raspberry filling. I did not choose one of these, though they looked absolutely delicious and they were only $3 each (they were pretty large). Also in the case was an assortment of their brownies – a few varieties, sold in four packs or in a brownie pie (which reminded me of those giant cookies we bought each other for birthdays in college).
After sniffing around a bit, I selected a lemon poppy scone and a six-pack of brown sugar chocolate chip shortbread cookies (for Bob. Sure). The scone was perfect, to me: dry but not crumbly, not too sweet, and topped with a zesty lemon-sugar drizzle. It barely made it out of the parking lot, so I never got a pic. And though I bought the cookies for Bob, I was forced to try one IN THE NAME OF SCIENCE. They were also great – perfect shortbread consistency, not too sweet, with a caramelized-but-not-burnt sugar taste. I also thought I tasted some cinnamon, but it was not listed on the ingredients tag.
I am impressed with what I read on their website:
All products are baked on the premises from scratch. Depending on the recipe, either whole wheat flours or white enriched flours are typically used – never bleached or bromated flours. In recipes requiring a sweetener, Ohio honey or pure cane sugar are used – never high fructose corn syrup or any artificial sweetener, flavoring or preservative. Fats are added sparingly, if it all. When needed, fresh creamery butter or olive oil is used – never shortening, lard, or hydrogenated fat.
According to the chalkboard outside, they’ve got lunch-y type things, too, like pizzas and sandwiches. I plan to make a return trip to learn more!
Things I plan to do over the next month or so:
- Visit the Countryside Farmers’ Market at Howe Meadow in Peninsula (inside the Cuyahoga Falls National Park)
- Attend a food swap (what up From Scratch Club! I’m keeping the faith!)
- Try a few new restaurants
- Review a few of the local grocery store chains
- Get up to Cleveland and check out the West Side Market and the Great Lakes Brewing Company
- Meet Chef Michael Symon (this is actually more of a long-term goal)
Bob and I met with our home building project manager yesterday, to go over the plans for our new home construction. He talked us through the topographical drawings and the floor plans, discussed our fixture and appliance selections, and walked us out to our building plot to see the actual property lines. Pretty exciting stuff!
So far, our experience with Ryan Homes has been absolutely terrific and pleasant, though we had one teeny-tiny glitch: since Bob and I were in different locations during the selection process, it was difficult for us to know exactly what we were choosing for carpeting, flooring, and appliances. I was relying on model numbers, proprietary product names, and grainy photo texts to make our selections. For the most part, everything worked out fine – except the stove. I thought we had selected a stove similar to the one we had in our old house – a ceramic-top electric. Turns out we ordered a coil-burner electric, and our decisions were final – no changes allowed at this point. I was pretty upset, and felt bad about how vocal I was about my displeasure. Bob and I decided to let it go, and maybe buy the one we really wanted later on. It wasn’t ideal, but we could live with it. Heck, we had to give up my beloved refrigerator just to sell the house (a post for another time), so this wasn’t going to be a deal-breaker.
Today, I got a phone call from the sales rep, who told me she was able to pull some strings and get me the stove I wanted. Yippee!
Anyway, here are some photos of our little piece of Ohio – we should be breaking ground within a week or so (waiting for permits from the city and some other things):
Well, southeast of Cleveland. But I’m here. Last Wednesday, I piled the two stinky dogs in the car (along with my clothes and necessary kitchen supplies) and made the 11-hour drive from Clifton Park to Ohio, with a short southern detour to Middletown to say goodbye to my family.
It was actually not a bad trip – drove the entire length of Pennsylvania, which is actually quite picturesque. Aroundabout Williamsport PA the skies opened up, and I stopped for a bit a a rest area in Snow Shoe to…well, to rest. After a quick spin around the grassy area, the dogs and I were all soaked to the bone. That was the only unpleasantness we experienced that day. The rest of the time I listened to NPR, the dogs slept, and I watched as the patchy dense fog rose in majestic columns from the verdant Appalachian Mountains. Really pretty country.
598.1 miles later, I arrived at the apartment, where we’ll be living for the next two months or so while our new house is being built. I am beyond excited about our new house. So much so that I plan to document the experience here, mostly so my mom can see what’s going on. But also for posterity. And you, Gentle Reader.
My first few days here have been spent unpacking, buying food, stocking up on household supplies, telling the dogs to stop barking, and generally de-bachelorifying the apartment.
The apartment complex is great, and very pet-friendly. A few other people in our building have dogs (which Bella and Quincy barkedly remind us about quite frequently), and every building has a grassy area at the end, complete with a poop-disposal station (including a poop bag dispenser!). There are even several fire hydrants to entertain the pooches. It’s a nice place.
So many things to look forward to over the next few months. But I’ll start with tomorrow, when we have our initial meeting with our house’s project manager. Time for Mad Men, so good night.
Why is a standard bag of sugar now 4 POUNDS instead of five pounds? That’s a pretty powerful grocery shrink-ray. When did this happen? How did I miss it?
According to C&H Sugar’s Facebook page, I’ve been asleep at the wheel for quite a while:
As you may be aware, the price of sugar on the world market has nearly doubled since the end of 2008. [You can see the data here at the USDA site: http://www.ers.usda.gov/briefing/sugar/Data/Table04.xls ].
In order to offset our cost increases, we have had to raise our price per pound of sugar. In order to keep the cost per bag of sugar down, many retailers converted their store brand product from a 5-pound to a 4-pound bag. In an effort to maintain affordability we decided to do the same with our C&H® brand sugar. The reduction in size, however, is not enough to offset the cost increase in the remaining four pounds of the product. That’s why you’re seeing the price go up and the size go down at the same time.
That post was dated February 18, 2011. Guess I don’t buy sugar that much, or I am that woefully unobservant shopper that all food companies are hoping for – the ones who don’t realize they’re paying more for less.
Christopher Kimball – of Cook’s Illustrated and America’s Test Kitchen fame – will be appearing at the Bennington Museum on March 1, for a discussion of the Test Kitchen’s latest book, “The Science of Good Cooking”.
Tickets are $25, and proceeds will benefit the Bennington Free Library. Kimball will sign copies of the book, and dessert will be served as part of the event (I’ll bet it’s going to be awesome). Kimball (one of the nicest guys ever – he was a regular guest on the radio show I used to produce) lives in southwestern Vermont, so this cause is likely near and dear to him. Purchase tickets by calling the Bennington Free Library at 802-442-9051.
Not familiar with Chris and his bowtie? Lots of ways to enjoy his wit and expertise: Cook’s Illustrated magazine and online, Cook’s Country magazine and online, America’s Test Kitchen (which is a TV show as well as a radio show/podcast), and he’s an occasional guest on public radio’s The Splendid Table. Quite a little empire he’s got going on. Kimball is extremely entertaining and knowledgeable (as well as stodgy and puritanical) , and this promises to be a fun evening.
Bennington is not far from here at all – road trip, anyone?
It’s back! the 8th Annual Schenectady Restaurant Week will be returning next week, February 18-24. Over the course of seven days, more than 20 restaurants in downtown Schenectady and Schenectady County will be offering special fixed-price menus for $20.13 – most giving diners a three-course menu that includes an appetizer, entree, and dessert. Some are even offering beer and/or cocktails as part of the menu.
As always, if you dine at one of these restaurants during the promotion, remember to tip generously – these meals are often worth significantly more than $20.13 and the waitstaff should be tipped accordingly. Basically, follow Wil Wheaton’s Law, OK?
Businesses participating in 2013 Schenectady Restaurant Week are below – click the link to see the menu:
- Ambition Bistro
- Angelo’s Tavolo at Glen Sanders Mansion
- Aperitivo Bistro
- Bangkok Bistro
- The Bier Abbey
- Bombers Burrito Bar
- Café NOLA
- Cella Bistro
- Clinton’s Ditch
- Cornell’s Restaurant
- Katie O’Byrne’s
- Manhattan Exchange
- Marotta’s Bar-Risto
- More Perreca’s Bakery & Café
- Randy Loren’s Dolce Vita. You know how I feel about this place.
- The Stockade Inn
- Stoney’s Irish Grill
- Taj Mahal Restaurant
- Tops American Grill, Bakery & Bar
- Turf Tavern
- Van Dyck Restaurant & Lounge
- The Water’s Edge Lighthouse Restaurant & Inn
Reservations are highly recommended.
Here’s my roundup of personal picks (and pans):
Best Overall Menus: More Perreca’s and Cafe NOLA (And I’m not just saying that because of the beignets. OK, maybe I am.)
Most Adventurous Menu: Ambition. It’s ambitious, and sounds delicious. It’s even got a theme: “Sunsets & Sangrias”! I am totally going. Lobster Salad? Sign me up.
Most Unadventurous: Angelo’s Tavolo. Zzzzzzzzzz……..
Maybe Shouldn’t Be Participating: Bombers. Again. Though, they do list margaritas as appetizers, which they surely are.
Don’t Go Here If You Actually Want Some Choices: Katie O’Byrne’s. You only get what they give you. That’s no fun.
Biggest Bang for Your Buck: Cornell’s Restaurant. Because soup/salad is not considered a separate course; every entree comes with one or the other!
The Only Place to Go if You Want a Waffle for Dessert: The Bier Abbey
Best Meal You’ll Ever Eat in a Sketchy Part of Town: Petta’s.
Most Intimidating Menu Item: NY Strip Steak Mafioso at Marotta’s Bar-Risto (another good name would be “Sleeps With the Fishes en Papillote”)
Most Choices on the Limited Menu: Tops. So much to choose from!
Most Intriguing Menu Item: “Tiger Cake” at Waters Edge Lighthouse. What the hell is Tiger Cake? Guess you’ll just have to go there to find out. That’s how they get you! Runner up: Potato, Artichoke & Sun‐Dried Tomato Croquettes at Perreca’s.
Are you planning on hitting up Schenectady Restaurant Week? Where are you going?