Monday, December 30, 2013
Sunday, December 15, 2013
It’s no secret that I LOVE NEW ORLEANS! Food is the primary reason that I love that city. So when I received an invite to attend a press dinner at Masq Restaurant & Lounge, a New York restaurant with a New Orleans theme, I HAD to be there. The theme is definitely there in the décor. There are three main areas and my favorite is definitely the back lounge area, which is heavy on the masques and likely to be the location of my birthday celebration next year.
Aside from the décor, the food is heavily influenced by New Orleans, but also has some standout dishes outside of that theme. By far my favorite dish was the Shrimp Po Boy.
It was served on a sweet Hawaiian roll, which enhanced the flavor of the Cajun fried shrimp by providing a contrast. The spicy remoulade was also a game changer that brought up the level of complexity in an otherwise simple Po boy. The Asian Marinated Salmon was a close second.
Since it falls outside of the theme, it couldn’t be the favorite. It is usually offered as a special. The honey garlic soy sauce had deep flavors. I treasured every bite of the salmon. I also very much enjoyed the Maryland Crabcake.
Another item that falls slightly outside of the theme, but it was seasoned to perfection. The breading was light and it was quite obvious I was eating chunks of crab and not filler. The arugula was slightly salty so I stayed away from that part of the dish. This is definitely not the restaurant for vegetarians. Both the Grilled Vegetable Flatbread and the Asiago Cheese Wedges were the least successful dishes.
The tomato basil sauce tasted great, but the cheese itself was bland and the breading was equally tasteless. The flatbread suffered a similar fate. It was also foiled by its use of cheese. The goat cheese seemed odd and detracted from the flavors.
The two dishes I would most like to return for are the ones I did not taste. The Mac ‘n Cheese Croquettes and the Jambalaya. Both of them contain some form of pork so I unfortunately missed out. Judging by the empty plates and looks of satisfaction around the table, I would guess that these were the top dishes. I have already inquired and I’m pleased to hear that the chef is willing to work with me and de-pork these dishes, when it comes to my birthday dinner. I can’t WAIT to try both.
Masq’s menu is diverse but definitely has a clear New Orleans swing. Considering my love for the city, I am thrilled that this restaurant exists in my city and I’m looking forward to returning.
Friday, December 13, 2013
As the weather starts to cool down, hanging out has become more of a challenge and I'm always looking for a fun and interactive indoor activity. When I received an invite to attend the press event at Cook & Go, I was pumped! Cook & Go is an awesome venue that allows you to do just what it says...cook, and go! The concept is brilliant. They have a short cooking class where you make an individual portion of a meal then you box it up and you take it elsewhere to eat. The set up is beautiful and I was super excited to get started.
Our chef was awesome and we had four fantastic dishes to make. The best part of the process is that you make your own dish, so you can add a little flair. My absolute favorite dish was the Ravioli with Pumpkin Sage Sauce.
We assembled the three cheese ravioli ourselves then cooked it…and of course I made a few extra pieces. The chef was also kind enough to give me some sauce to go. YUM! The panko crusted chicken bites were quite easy to make, and I have already replicated them at home.
Our entrées were restaurant worthy, and quite hearty! We also had not one, but two desserts!
The Chocolate Cranberry Tart tasted great but mine fell apart a little in the oven.
The Maple Upside Down Cake was much more successful!
I truly enjoyed the experience, and you can also take advantage of it. For a limited time, Cook & Go is offering my readers a chance to get a 10% discount! It’s totally worth it and I already have plans to return in January. Register here and use the password: Lady. Also not a bad idea if you're still looking for a list minute holiday gift!
This is also a great place for anyone who is unsure about whether they can cut it in the kitchen. You'll have some easy starter recipes created by well trained chefs! I also got to walk away with a new apron.