You Gonna Eat All That?

A fork in one hand, a pen in the other.

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Location: Virginia, United States

(Biscuit Girl)

Monday, April 24, 2006


For about 2 years I have been using this outdoor chair at my desk. And while it is a very comfortable chair for sitting out on the patio it just wasn't the best desk chair. But that has finally been taken care of.

I had to stop by an office supply store this weekend to pick up a few things and decided to look at the desk chairs while I was there. But I wasn't very optimistic. Over the past two years I'd tried a few chairs but couldn't find one that didn't cost a small fortune or one that felt just right......until now. I sat in this chair. It felt good, real good. But how much would it cost? I'd neglected to look at the price tag when I sat down. So I gingerly reached for the price tag dangling from the back of the chair and much to my surprise it was only $89. Sold! It's made with an Microsuede material that feels really nice and looks expensive. I went home to tell Biscuit Boy and we planned to go back today to get it.

So tonight we went back and got my chair. And get this, it was on sale for $69! How cool is that! Once we got home I spent about 30 minutes sweating, letting out a few curses and a misplaced part. But it was well worth it as I now sit here and write in comfort. Ah........

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Grouper Therapy and the Art of Patience

This post is from a dinner I cooked last week but too busy to write about until today. But as the old saying goes, better late than never.

After my monthly visit to the allergist for my allergy shot, I swung by a local fish market to pick out something for dinner. The place is called Slavins and has some of the best seafood in the area. And because it's all so good, it's always hard for me to choose something. This particular day, there were several varieties of salmon that looked very tempting as did the shrimp, tuna, swordfish and seabass. But it was a nice piece of grouper that caught my eye. It was a fairly large fillet, just about 1 pound but I got it all anyway.

Now Biscuit Boy is the cooker of all things fish in our house but tonight I wanted to try my hand at it. I think part of my reason for not being that good at cooking things like fish is that I tend to be impatient when I'm standing in front of the stove. I can't just let something sit there and cook with out fidgeting with it. Maybe that's why I like to stir-fry so much, it's quick and you're always moving things around in the wok.

But under Biscuit Boy's patient eye, he led me through the process. I sliced the fillet into four slices and seasoned it with some cajun seasoning then fired up the iron skillet. And being impatient, I wanted to throw the fish in right away but Biscuit Boy held me back.....wait for it, wait, wait...... Then finally he said the skillet was just right. We set the timer for 5 minutes and tossed in the fish.

It sizzled immediately and the aroma was fantastic. But then again, my impatience had me itchin' to take a peek at the know....just to see how it was doing. But Biscuit Boy wagged his finger at me and said no. Pointing to the timer, he showed me that I still had just about three and a half minutes to go! Agony! I wanted to peek soooooo bad but I prevailed and stood there til the timer went off. I carefully turned over all four pieces then we placed the skillet in the oven to finish cooking. This was way easier for me since it was now in the oven and not staring at me from atop the stove. I set an oven thermometer into the thickest piece and set the temp timer to go off when the fish reached a certain temperature.

While this was cooking, I opened up a bag of Trader Joe's Risotto with asparagus and cooked it up. And before I knew it, the fish was done.
It was so tender and flavorful with the cajun seasoning giving it a nice kick. The creamy risotto helped balance it out. It was so good that we both went back for seconds. And it was just what Biscuit Boy needed after a long day, some good grouper therapy.

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Rockin' Robin

Yesterday morning we noticed a robin in the crab apple tree just outside our back window. It seemed to be checking out the real estate and must have liked what it found because this morning, we saw this: I'm pretty excited about it especially since it's so close to the window. I'm hoping we get to see baby robins soon and up close!

A few years back we noticed a BIG nest in a pine tree behind the house. At first we thought it was a hawk but it turned out to be crows. Every day, we'd watch as one of them stayed on the nest while the other was out doing whatever it is that crows do.

And after a few weeks we saw three scraggly little black heads bobbing just above the top of the nest. Baby crows! This was followed a week or so later by the baby birds stretching upwards and you could see their little baby wings. We laughed so hard the first time we saw that because they looked like little baby teradactyls.

Then after they got big enough they started to hop out of the nest onto nearby limbs and stretch their much sturdier wings in preparation to take their first flight. We knew that soon they'd fly off and sure enough they did. But for most of the summer, we'd see two larger and three smaller crows hanging out in the front of the property. I'm not sure if it was them or not, but I liked to think so and enjoyed seeing them grow up.

Now it's time to watch for baby robins. Peep peep.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

VRC Reminder

A quick reminder to hop on over to The Savory Notebook tonight to out all the entries in the latest edition of the Virtual Recipe Club: Most Requested Recipe Edition. Our host, Alysha has been busily collecting all of our entries while trying to move so she's been quite busy. If I could send her a virtual cocktail, I would, cuz she's earned one (or two....or three).

Here was my entry: Tres Leches Cake


Saturday, April 08, 2006

Hennen's - Chattanooga, TN

Biscuit Boy and I were in Chattanooga last weekend to help celebrate his parent's 40th wedding anniversary. They had no idea we were coming down for the occasion so it was a nice surprise for them when we pulled into the driveway.

We'd been planning the event for about 2 months with his brother. All his parents knew were that his brother and girlfriend were taking them out to dinner but they suspected something else was going on even if they couldn't figure it out.
We were originally going to take them to the Back Inn Cafe until we found out the restaurant changed it's format and now served only crepes. Not exactly my father in law's style so I asked Emma from Modern Girls Kitchen for some suggestions since she lives in Chattanooga.

Among the places she named, one caught my attention,
Hennen's. It's a fairly new restaurant in downtown Chattanooga near the Tennessee Aquarium (and yes, I will refrain from making any jokes about how fresh the seafood is at Hennen's). A quick search online netted a few reviews and the restaurant's web site. And so it was decided that we've give it a whirl.

So how was it? Pretty good. For those of you in the DC area, I thought it reminded me
somewhat of the Clyde's restaurants but a little nicer. It had a very cool wine cellar, if that's what you would call it. A tall, glass enclosed wine area is just inside the entrance. Hundreds of bottles of wine are there for all to see. I want one of these in my house....and fully stocked.

We were seated promptly in a nice comfy booth for 6 near the somewhat open kitchen so there was a lot of activity to see and also gave us a chance to see what the entrees looked like as they were carried out. Oh yeah, food porn.

Hennen's has a very nice wine by the glass list as well as a nice well rounded list of wines by the bottle. But their cocktail list was disappointing to me, it was mostly martini's. I haven't hopped on the martini-craze train and probably won't since I don't care for vodka. Now I'm sure I could have ordered any drink I liked from the bar but I think a little more variety on the cocktail menu would be nice.

The food menu is limited but this isn't a bad thing. The choices are well balanced and there's something for everyone. We started with two appetizers, the Baked Spinach Artichoke Fondue. Basically it was spinach artichoke dip. It came with triangle of pita bread, some of which were a bit too hard but it tasted pretty good.
Baked Spinach Artichoke Fondue - Biscuit rating: 3 biscuits*
*The biscuit rating is on a scale of 1-5. 1 is the lowest rating, 5 the highest.

The other appetizer was the Sweet Ginger Calamari. Lightly battered and fried calamari served with a sweet chili ginger sauce. It was cooked to perfection. Each piece was as tender as could be. The dipping sauce was a little too sweet for my tastes but not bad even though I enjoyed the calamari all by itself.
Sweet Ginger Calamari - Biscuit rating - 5 biscuits

We ordered our entrees and each couple got a Caesar salad to share. It was an extra $4 per salad which some reviewers had complained about. Not me. It was the best damn Caesar salad I've had in ages. The dressing clung to each and every leaf of lettuce and imparted a creamy, garlicky, parmesan cheesy flavor with every bite. I wanted to lick the plate. Biscuit Boy thought the Caesar salad at Ray's the Steaks was better but he surely ate his share of this one.
Caesar Salad - Biscuit rating - me: 5 biscuits, Biscuit Boy - 4 biscuits

Shortly after we finished our salads, the entrees arrived. I ordered the Cedar Plank Salmon. The somewhat slender cut of salmon came served on a little cedar shingle and as a side I chose the Jasmine rice. If the cedar is supposed to impart some flavor to the fish, I couldn't detect it although it tasted very fresh and was moist and flaky. It came with a little ramekin of a butter dill sauce that was nice for dipping. The rice was a bit clumpy but was flavored nicely. Over all the dish was good and cooked perfectly but the seasoning of the fish could have used a boost.
Cedar plank Salmon - Biscuit rating - 4 biscuits

Brother in-law's girlfriend got the Boursin Crusted Filet with a side of the mashed potatoes of the day. Forgive me if I've forgotten what they were seasoned with but they were tasty. The filet was melt in your mouth tender and very flavorful. A really nice dish.
Boursin crusted Filet - Biscuit rating - 4 biscuits

Brother in law got the fish of the day - Mahi Mahi which came with a side of the broccolini and jasmine rice. He also got an extra side of the mashed potatoes. Again I forgot how the mahi was prepared but that aside it was excellent. Hennen's really know how to cook their seafood. (Oh the tempation to make a joke about it's proximity to the aquarium is killing me but I'll be good)
Mahi Mahi - Biscuit rating - 4 biscuits

Next up was a slab o' Prime Rib ordered by my father in-law. He commented that it was just ok but the kitchen should have trimmed it up a bit.
Prime Rib - Biscuit rating - 3 biscuits

Another filet was ordered by my mother in-law but this one was naked, no boursin crust for this bad boy. And like the other filet, it was tender, tasty and cooked just right. She chose the broccolini as her side dish.
Hennen's House Filet - 4 biscuits

Biscuit Boy ordered the Delmonico (Rib Eye) steak with the mashed potatoes. And like the prime rib, he said it was just ok. It had a rather large amount of fat in it even for a rib eye. Unfortunately, the picture didn't come out so you'll just have to use your imagination.
Delmonico Steak - 3 biscuits

Then there was dessert. Only two of us were craving something sweet after the meal, me and the brother in-laws girlfriend. She was craving chocolate and got the Warm Chocolate Cake with white chocolate raspberry ice cream. It was a little on the small side but was hot, rich, creamy and very chocolaty The ice cream was so good with it and could have easily been a dessert all by itself.
Warm Chocolate Cake - Biscuit rating - 4.5 biscuits

I ventured off my chocolate loving path and ordered the Caramel Mousse with Lace Cookie Napoleon. It was very rich and very yummy and there wasn't a bit left. The caramel mousse was light in texture and very creamy. The buttery, crunchy lace cookies accented it well and added a nice contrast to the texture of the mousse. Both the girlfriend and I agreed that this is a place to go for coffee and dessert.
Caramel Mousse with Lace Cookie Napoleon - Biscuit rating - 4.5 biscuits

Overall we enjoyed the meal. The service was friendly and didn't feel rushed. The noise level was high but not to the point where you couldn't hear others at the table. Given our choices of places to eat in downtown Chattanooga, there are more affordable options to choose from (Our tab came to about $50 per person including tip). You go to Hennen's for the atmosphere and location; it's in a prime tourist area. Did I mention it was close to the aquarium? Could explain the fresh fish. (Sorry, I just couldn't stand it, the joke was begging to me to say it.) But seriously, if you go to Hennen's get the House Filet, Boursin Filet or any of the fish and you won't be disappointed.

Overall rating of Hennen's - 3.5 biscuits.

Hennen's Restaurant
193 Chestnut Street (Chestnut and 2nd Street)
Chattanooga, TN 37402

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

A Toast

Been missing me? The past couple of weeks have been crazy but things are starting to settle down so I'm finally able to get back to posting. Why have I been busy? Let's see, the big thing was a trip to Chattanooga to surprise my in-laws on their 40th Wedding Anniversary and a side trip along the way to Knoxville to see my family. But before I get into that I'd like to propose a toast.
1. Biscuit Boy, who made an "A" on his midterm exam (He's taking a grad school class at work)
2. Biscuit Boy again for a job interview tomorrow (for a promotion),
3. And to good friends of ours in Chattanooga who had twins this weekend, a boy (Henry) and a girl (Anna).

Cheers, Slainte, Salute and congrats!

Hopefully in the nect couple of days I'll post more about the restaurant in Chattanooga where we had my in-laws anniversary dinner as well as some other goodies. So stay tuned!