Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bloggers' Bites: Best Spring Break Food

Bloggers' Bites is a series of posts chronicling the foodie adventures of Penn Appetit's blog staff. During spring break, our staff traveled back home or ventured on exciting foodie adventures, delighting in both comfort foods and culinary masterpieces.

The question: What was your favorite food experience this spring break?

Leyla Mocan: Over spring break I went to Magnolia Cafe in the small town of St. Francisville, Louisiana. It's about a 45 minute drive from my native Baton Rouge and is fun for a quick day trip. For lunch we had a "Spicy Shrimp Poboy" which was a sandwich with shrimp cooked in garlic butter with peppers and onions. The best part was the gooey pepper jack cheese which gave the sandwich just the right amount of spice and kick. I also really enjoyed having real Louisiana shrimp, I had forgotten what a delicious, intense taste real shrimp had when they're fresh from the gulf. Topped with the classic poboy dressings of lettuce and tomato this was one awesome sandwich.

Laura Sluyter: I love carrot cake, but I’m very particular. While I’ve had delicious desserts at many, many restaurants and bakeries, there are only two carrot cakes that I like: my mom’s carrot cake and the carrot cake at Baker’s Treat in Flemington, New Jersey. As a result, I found myself making a very difficult decision when I went out to dinner with my parents over spring break. Should I take a risk and order carrot cake or go for the safer choice of chocolate chip cake? The best resolution, I decided, was to have both! That night I ordered the chocolate chip cake, and later in the week, my mom and I made carrot cake. As always, it was delicious and perfectly moist. Eating that classic carrot cake was the gustatory highlight of my break (although the chocolate chip cake was pretty delicious as well).

Rachel Marc: Over spring break, I ate dinner with my family at Trattoria L' Incontro, a delicious restaurant in Astoria, Queens. An overall fantastic dining experience, all tables are started off with a brick oven baked flat bread accompanied by a sun-dried tomato dip, followed by a visit from the waiter who recites a memorized special list that contains at least 25 options. All dishes consumed by the table were delectable, and my personal favorite was my mom's nut-encrusted chicken paillard topped with a tomato and avocado salad, slightly beating out my brother's eggplant parmigiana for the top place in my heart...and stomach. We were too full for dessert and sadly had to pass up a chocolate hazelnut pizza served with a chocolate hazelnut ice cream. If looking for a high end meal in a lively atmosphere, L'Incontro is the place to be!

Heejae Lim: During this spring break, I had a wonderful food experience in Boston! Since Boston is famous for its fresh seafood especially lobsters, I searched for restaurants noted for serving lobsters. I went to "Legal Seafood Harborside" at 210 Northern Ave. and tried the Lobster Roll, New England Clam Chowder and Linguini and Clams Pasta. The seafood, especially the lobster, was tasty and fresh. The restaurant was spacious and had a kitchen at the center that was visible and also had a huge bar with wide range of wines and cocktails. I sat at the window side, so I could see the calm harbor while eating, which was a very pleasant experience.

Carissa Gilbert: I enjoyed eating at various frozen yogurt places in California the most! I tried at least 6 different places including Pinkberry, Berrysweet, Yogurtland, and Yogurt Escape. Overall, however, a psychedelic frozen yogurt shop, called Sweet Things, in San Diego was the best. Walking into the yogurt shop, I immediately felt like I had traveled back in time to the 1970s. Not only did the music consist of popular 70s artists but the walls were tie dyed and the chairs were a groovy orange. I ate the flavors banana pudding, cinnamon, and cake batter. I also enjoyed their topping bar which had colored mochi!

Emma Silverman: Me and my Spring Break were filled with amazing meals. I went home to Chicago for the break after visiting New York for the weekend, so I definitely had my fill but I think that my favorite food experience was at my favorite burger restaurant in Chicago. The place is called Urban Burner and my mom and I go there pretty much every time I'm home. It sounds basic, but they do burgers right. I actually love the veggie burger. Veggie burgers can either be disgusting or amazing. You have to treat the patty itself as what it is: veggies and rice. It cannot go around masquerading as meat when it's just not. Their veggie burger is light and flavorful, and is topped off with chipotle mayo, avocado, some fresh arugula, and goat cheese. With a side of sweet potato fries and fried pickles (trust me) there's nothing better.

Katie Behrman: Over spring break, I went to Seed, a modern American restaurant in Marietta, GA, where I tried pork belly for the first time. Paired with pickled organic cucumbers, hoisin, and scallions and enclosed in a slider, the scrumptious pork-belly enlivened my taste buds. The crispiness of the pork-belly contrasted perfectly with the soft, gooey bun; the hoisin sauce spilled over the edges, its sweet flavor enhancing and blending each ingredient together. If you’re ever in Marietta, I highly recommend Seed and its delicious sliders!

Elliott Brooks: I went on a Penn Alternate Spring Break trip to a farm animal rescue shelter and organic farm in Paris, Virginia. Rescued farm animals mean rescued hens and rescued hens mean eggs. I spent each morning delighting in a breakfast of farm fresh eggs, harvested that morning from the barn beneath my feet. They were delicate, creamy and simply delicious without needing any pepper or salt. I tried them hard-boiled, scrambled and fried, but my favorite preparation was when I accidentally soft-boiled them.

Nicole Woon: Spring Break for me meant going home and having access to a real kitchen! At last, I could cook and bake to my heart's content with an actual stovetop, oven, and pots and pans. I had a blast cooking and baking up a storm, making everything from coconut macaroons to unctuous braised pork belly to rich chocolate French macarons. My favorite recipe over break, though, was for challah bread. Last winter, a friend of mine made the most amazing challah bread for dinner and I knew I had to try my hand at it. I had never made bread before, so it was definitely an experience baking it for the first time! I went through multiple trial runs; one time I didn't add enough yeast, another time the dried fruit I studded the bread with burnt to a crisp. Experimentation, however, is the key to discovery. Indeed, I finally arrived at a close rendition to her version by the end of break. I put my own spin on the eggy bread with plenty of plump raisins and fragrant cinnamon. The simple egg wash brushed on before baking added a beautiful glimmer on the crust of the bread; the bread itself was soft and tasted excellent spread with a bit of butter and honey. I can't wait to return home and continue perfecting the recipe in my kitchen.


  1. Thanks for sharing this useful information! Hope that you will continue with the kind of stuff you are doing.
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  2. Thanks for this article. It's just what I was searching for. I am always interested in this subject. Will bookmark it.

  3. Delightful desserts are always my weakness. Can't resist my self.
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