Another Average Dropout

A friend and I went to visit Culinary Dropout.  It’s located inside the Hard Rock Casino here in Las Vegas.  I came across it by reading some online reviews of good places to eat.

Well, my or our experience was just ok.  Now, the service was great, clean environment and the decor was FAB within their open layout.  I sooooo loved the bar centered in the room, black leather booths and the wall paper that consisted of popular celebrity names…”Look, Michael Jackson!” Oh, and you must check out the pool area out back.

However, as far as the food, we weren’t that impressed – another average dropout.  It looked great, sound great, but wasn’t great.  It was just ok and man I was so excited to try their breakfast.  We both went with the Cap’N Crunch Crusted French Toast served why cereal milk custard and fresh raspberries all for 10 bucks.  It wasn’t horrible, just expected better.  The texture of the bread was typical, meaning the usual bread offered at most restaurants.  I’m not a fan of raspberries for they’re a tad too tart, but that didn’t ruin the meal for me.  I’m also glad I ordered a side of eggs and bacon for I eat a lot and desire that sweet and salty combination on my tongue.  I will admit I thought it would be crusted similar to how it was served at Blue Jam Cafe in LA, but oh well.

culinary drop out-jpeg“Are you enjoying your meal?” I asked.

“It’s fine,” she responded.

Over all, what was missing was a stronger flavor.  There needed to be more of a punch either in the egg batter or the custard sauce.  A dash of vanilla or almond, something!  Maybe the hype was more on their dinner items or appetizers.

Amenities (parking, location, seating, menu selections, etc) ***
Customer Service (greeted, helpful, polite, checking-in, etc) ***
Cleanliness ***
Experience (themed, music, atmosphere, energy, etc) ***
Taste **
Price **


RECIPE

CAP’N Crunch French Toast

Toast3/4 cup heavy cream
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 to 10 slices thick-sliced white bread
Butter for cooking
For the topping:
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups frozen wild Maine blueberries defrosted

  • Mix the cream, eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl and whisk until combined.
  • Put the cereal in a storage bag and use a rolling pin or the flat edge of a large knife until it resembles cracker meal. Transfer it to a shallow dish.
  • Dip a couple of slices of the bread into the cream mixture until soft but not completely soaked. Let excess liquid drip from the bread, then press into the cereal crumbs to coat evenly. Place on a sheet pan and repeat with the remaining slices.
  • Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat, add butter as needed, and cook the bread until it is caramelized on both sides, about 6 to 8 minutes total.

 

Recipe provided by: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2009/02/sunday-brunch-capn-crunch-french-toast.html

It’s National Sugar Cookie Day

That’s right people, it is NATIONAL SUGAR COOKIE DAY.  This means EVERYONE should be out there baking away!  Sugar cookies are not something I make often, but are great for when I’m with the kids.  So it’s time to pull out the basic equipment and brush up on your baking techniques.

RECIPE:

Sugar Cookies

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter (1 stick) room temperature

1 egg

1 tablespoon milk

1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

a little sugar (colored or crystal, etc) for garnishing

  • Sift flour, baking powder and salt into bowl.
  • Beat sugar and butter until creamy in a large bowl.  Add the next three ingredients until fluffy.
  • Combine flour mixture.
  • Divide dough into two balls and wrap in plastic wrap.  Chill for 2 hours until firm.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
  • Take one half of the dough and roll out to a thickness of 1/8 inch on floured surface.
  • Cut individual shapes of cookies with round cutter.
  • Place cookies on sheet and sprinkle with sugar of your choice.
  • Bake for 9 minuets or until lightly browned.
  • Cool, remove from sheet and continue.  Dough makes 24 cookies.

Tips:

  1. Don’t use imitation/artificial ingredients.
  2. Butter should always be at room temperature to avoid cold lumps while trying to blend with sugars, etc.
  3. Work with half of the dough while shaping and cutting.  Why?  So you don’t over kneed/work making the dough too tough.
  4. Flatten your balls of dough to form a better mold/shape of cookie.
  5. Offer enough room for your cookies while on the pan.  Consider an inch of space.
  6. Cool cookies completely before storing.

 

Breakfast in The Burgh!

Kelly O’s Diner is a (F.O.) diner offering two locations for breakfast and brunch.  This one in particular is located in the Strip District (downtown Pittsburgh) built around a great back story.

A widowed single mother who was a bartender and waitress for years.  Frustrated with her current situation, prayed for a change for her children and personal lifestyle.  After coming across a blessing to move forward, two locations later – this family business is running strong.

I enjoy hearing stories of faith, success and perseverance.

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(photo credit: Leslie)

Well, as always, I’m forever seeking out great places to break bread.  Kelly O’s was mentioned.  “Hmm what’s on their menu?” of course curious.  There’s everything from the breakfast basics such as pancakes to grilled items like steak and omelettes. Everyone seemed eager to eat, I’m lucky a photo was even captured.

The entire meal consisted of their Steak & Eggs with potatoes and texas toast, Cinnamon raisin french toast with sausage on the side.  Sometimes you just have to get it in…with no regrets.  And why should there be?  We all know why we’re here – to chow down!!!

I asked (L) what she thought, “Everything’s 💯% good.  Fast and friendly service and the food is great!”  And there you have it people.

 

Amenities (parking, location, seating, menu selections, etc) **
Customer Service (greeted, helpful, polite, checking-in, etc) ***
Cleanliness ***
Experience (themed, music, atmosphere, energy, etc) ***
Taste **
Price ***

To keep the food going, I’ll leave you with some steak & egg recipes.  Consider making some for dad!

 


RECIPE:

Molasses Grilled Rib-Eye Steak

1/2 cup molasses

1/4 cup course-grain dijon mustard (mustard with mustard grains in it)

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 (10 oz) boneless rib-eye steaks

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon pepper

  • Create marinade by combining first three ingredients in bowl or large zip-lock bag
  • Add steaks and chill for 2 hours
  • Remove steaks, discard marinade and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  • Grill covered over medium-high heat for 6 minuets on each side or when you believe it’s done.  I prefer mine well done so I’d grill a little longer.
    • You can consider grilling in the pan on top of stove as well.
    • I’d also consider adding green peppers and onions for additional flavor 🙂

Scrambled Eggs

4 eggs

2 tablespoons of milk

1/2 teaspoon of salt

Sprinkle of pepper to taste

1 teaspoon of butter

  • Warm the frying pan/skillet on medium heat, adding the teaspoon of butter
  • Once butter is melted, combine first four ingredients into the pan, slowly stirring to scramble the eggs.  Offer seconds of rest in between for the eggs to curdle
  • Once eggs have thickened, yet still moist, remove from heat and serve

HAPPY FATHERS DAY

Finally made it to Cinnaholic

We were driving and driving.  D happened to be in town.  The original objective was to seek out fried Twinkies and Oreos, but to our surprise Mermaids went out of business.  “Well this sucks,” I shared out loud while seeking for other venues offering the same pathetic goodness.  So now we all know that as of June 2017 there are NO MORE FRIED TWINKIES in downtown Las Vegas!!! Horrible news, just horrible.

“Well, so now what?” D was basically asking.

Thinking quickly on my feet, “Hey, do you like cinnamon rolls?”  Mind you, I keep a sugar log of places I must try and Cinnaholic was on it.  From what I understood, it was basically Cinnabon and Yogurtland fused together…I was right.

We continued back on the dusty road, but this time to seek out these rolls of yeast with varied frosting and toppings.  The northern/west location we visited was under contraction, but still open for business.  We weren’t too sure at first.  The outside didn’t look so welcoming, but the inside was clean while in its transitional stages.

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Greeted by the display case once you enter, you are soon drawn to the cinnamon roll creations to choose from.

“Oh boy, what’s that one?”

“Hey, check that one out!”

“<hmm> I don’t know about peanut butter and jelly?”

 

If none of the pre-made items move you, you can continue down the counter picking and pointing at the varied frosting and topping selections posted on the wall to explore.  A few of the frostings included banana, cherry, maple, pina colada and butter pecan.  Toppings ranged from almonds, brownie bites, pie crumble, pretzels to strawberry jam.  Sure, it can be overwhelming, but nonetheless satisfying. IMG_4244.JPG

“So, do you all hate cinnamon rolls?” I ask out loud to all the employees.  Together they respond, “PRETTY MUCH!”  We all laughed.  I always find it funny when employees cross that point of overload concerning products they sell.

 

So for about $25 I purchased four cinnamon rolls <chuckle> .  Three for myself and one for D.  He went with a Oreo cookie crumble with fresh-cut Strawberries and drizzled Chocolate.  

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I raised the bar ordering from top to bottom, Mango frosting with fresh Blackberries.  Next I went with the Peanut Butter frosting, loaded with Chocolate Chips.  And to top it all off I chose the Coffee Cake from the display case, which included a sprinkling of brown sugar and oatmeal.

“Hey, you want to try some of this?” I asked.  “Sure!” D replies.

We went back and forth cutting from each cinnamon roll.  Needless to say, I started to become sick <lol>.  However, do you know what’s interesting, Cinnabon doesn’t make me feel sick.  As much crap as they put in those rolls, I am able to handle it.  I guess it’s because they only offer a frosting rather than a strong flavored frosting plus toppings.  With Cinnaholic, three bites of the first one was already much.  It’s as if they went a little too far.  I’m not against the toppings, I respect the gimmick, but you don’t want to over do something either.  I would want to offer the best ratio with the idea of enjoying every bite rather than scraping off half of the toppings because it was too much.  What if I said I wish there was more focus on raw flavor than sugar?  Let’s take the peanut butter and chocolate.  For my New Years (birthday) I’m now always making a chocolate peanut butter cup cake which contains a chocolate fudge cake, peanut butter cream icing and gnash.  Oh and the candy on top – how can I forget.  And I don’t feel overloaded.  I can eat a lot of it and feel satisfied/pleased.  I can’t put my finger on it, but something was weird about their peanut butter or the two selections combined.  So could it be their ingredients or preparation of their items?  I think I was just disappointed because of this crazy high expectation I formed in my mind – NOT to say it was nasty or horrible.  I mean, the dough was nice and soft, no complaints.  Customer service was great and I enjoy the concept of the shop.  I even had the chance to sample a frosting. Will I return?  Sure, but…I think I’ll be a little more mindful as to which flavors to choose and to tell them to hold back on the amount of frosting.

Check their site to see if there’s a location in your state.

 

Don’t worry, I did not eat them all in one setting.  D took his home and I packaged up my three and picked at them the following night…while home alone…in the dark…while watching tv (BIG SMILE).

Amenities (parking, location, seating, menu selections, etc) **
Customer Service (greeted, helpful, polite, checking-in, etc) ***
Cleanliness ***
Experience (themed, music, atmosphere, energy, etc) ***
Taste **
Price **