Friday, January 30, 2009


So, since HUE saved the day last weekend after the Fifis debacle, I figure this is long overdue.

I remember a few years ago, when HUE was opening, it was really the talk of the town. I think I may have even made fun of it-there were rumors abound claiming the name was an acronym for "Hip Urban Environment". (I still have no idea if this is true!) And, quite honestly, I don't even remember the first time I went for a meal. I think it may have been for a birthday dinner. But it wasn't for another year that I became a (semi) regular for brunch.

While one can describe the restaurant as being Hip and Urban, those two words have never been used to describe me. Which is why I've always been so surprised that whenever I eat at HUE, I usually feel comfortable and well catered to. And yes, it is a great location for sitting outside and people watching; but at the same time the inside decor is a perfect combination of comfort and sophistication.

My favorite brunch item is the infamous HUE Scramble 2-scrambled eggs with ham, spinach and cheddar cheese served with a sweet potato hash. I can fully admit that the sweet potato hash was the item that initially sealed the deal on HUE being my favorite brunch. For those of us watching our consumption of carbs and refined sugar, sweet potatoes fair much better on the list. Not surprisingly, HUE was one of the very few restaurants in Orlando that was mentioned in the 2005 South Beach Diet Dining Guide. Regardless, the hash is a perfect not too sweet, not too salty side for brunch. And the sauteed mushrooms give the dish a fantastic element of earthiness.

This past week at brunch I broke tradition and had the turkey croissant sandwich. The ultra flakey yet not greasy pastry was filled with turkey, brie, brandy poached pears with a honey creole mustard sauce. I would highly recommend this sandwich...but hold the pile of fries and go for the sweet potato hash instead.

Lastly, with all good brunches come good drink deals. I usually do the flavored mimosas (peach being my favorite) but the Bloody Mary bar is also a big hit. It's hard to describe the giddiness I feel when faced with a buffet of drink mixers. And, let's face it, there really is nothing like being handed a glass with an inordinate amount of vodka in it at noon on a Sunday.

In the end, thanks HUE. I'm sorry I used to make fun of your name. You have proven yourself to be a perfectly nonjudemental friend and are always there when a girl just needs some sweet potato hash. And a mimosa.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Giraffe Cake

How great is this?

I was at a baby shower this weekend weekend when a friend walked in with this cake!
It was so detailed that at first glance I thought it was a giraffe statue from Pier One. It was a chocolate cake with rice krispie treats to give it shape. The fondant was then airbrushed for color.

Cake Credit: Chef JR Kawczak

Snubbed at Fifis?

Headed out to brunch with some friends on Sunday and a very interesting thing happened. I think we were snubbed at Fifis!

I've written about Fifis before and actually have had an enjoyable time there. But I was shocked when the hostess told us (after we had already waited 20 minutes) that the kitchen was backed up and they were no longer seating people for brunch. We offered to sit and order drinks and relax while the kitchen caught up, but that offer was turned down. On our way out, a quick look back at the restaurant confirmed our belief when we saw new customers taking a seat at an outside table.

And, for the record, we are certainly not the "Santuary" crowd that adorns the streets on Sunday afternoons. But we were all dressed very respectably, and lets face it, I go to the farmers market almost every weekend. I've read that Fifis will actually be closing soon to change it's concept, so maybe they were just really overwhelmed. And, maybe it's just as well that we did not spend our money there.

The brunch was not lost however. The good old standby brunch over at Hue welcomed us with open arms and two dollar mimosas.

Things have been sooo busy....

That I actually left the house the other night wearing two different shoes.

As I tell my students when I try to help them pronounce "Trockenbeerenauslese", I can't make this stuff up!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Holidays 2008, A Few Weeks Overdue

I went a bit crazy this past holiday season with my newly acquired glue gun.

Cork Tree, two Berry Trees, Cork Star and Cork Wreath

This was my favorite, the Cork Wreath that I gave to my Dad.

We also started a new holiday tradition: Ableskivers! Ableskivers are a Danish spherical pastry that are described as a hybrid between a pancake and a popover. My great uncle who recently passed had made these for years, and my Dad got a new pan this year to make them for us on Christmas morning.

Ableskivers are not overly sweet, but he filled them with either a berry jam or a chocolate espresso cream. They were served with both syrup or (my preferred) whipped cream.
Rich and decadent, they were the perfect start to the holiday!
Answers to the pictures posted below:

1. Charleston, SC
Very cool place! Make sure you check out SNOB (Slightly North Of Broad) a fantastic restaurant downtown. I had the local Triggerfish with Farro and it was fantastic! Ok, not just fantastic. Amazing!

2. Boston, MA
Got stuck in Boston one night while trying to get to Bermuda. Instead of wallowing in my hotel room by the airport, I took a cab downtown and went to the infamous Union Oyster House where I had the perfect Boston meal: Clam Chowder (for the record, the best I've ever ever had!), Lobster and of course my fav Sam Adams.

3. After my brief stop on New England I finally made it to Bermuda for Luci's wedding!

Yes, it really is this beautiful!

And yes, this is the only picture you'll see of me in a bathing suit!