Madfoodies enjoying their Ten Year Anniversary Enjoying Southern Cuisine Part II

According to Google, the definition of Soulmate is, “Someone that just gets you. It’s a connection of minds, a mutual respect, an unconditional love and a total understanding. It’s about being yourself and knowing, not only that person is following and understanding your thoughts, but is right there with you, side by side.” On this ten year anniversary, I truly understood and agreed with this statement. Eric and I have known one another for twenty years. We decided to make our journey official in October 2009 when we both said the words, “I DO”. Our trips, vacations and excursions off the beaten path have shown me the meaning of sharing your life with someone who is willing to try new things. We may be different people, but we are willing to open our eyes to the experiences that life has for both of us. On our Southeast trip, my Madfoodie partner did his best to surprise me everyday with something new. Please check out our Anniversary Dinner.

Preparing for a evening out on the town

My sweet Madfoodie Husband took me to Charleston Grill for our Anniversary dinner.

Nothing like dinner by Candlelight!

Our Anniversary Menu

Heirloom Tomato SaladWhipped Feta, Olives, Capers, Red Wine Vinaigrette

Charleston Grill Crab Cake made with Creek Shrimp, Tomatoes, Lime-Dill Vinaigrette

Sea Scallops- Huitlacoche, Corn Puree’, Cilantro Pistou, Chanterelles

SQUAB – Black Truffle, Roasted Shallots, Bacon, Haricot Verts

Prime Beef Tenderloin- Bearnaise Sauce, Asparagus Spears, with a Red Wine Reduction

Black Chocolate Pudding Cake- Butterscotch Custard, Espresso Ice Cream, Dehydrated Chocolate Mousse, Chocolate Paper

Key Lime Cheesecake- Coconut Graham Cracker Crust, Grilled Pineapple, Key Lime Curd, Toasted Meringue

Charleston Grill’s personal touch on a wonderful Anniversary Dinner

We enjoyed this sparkling Wine with our Dinner that went great with everything from the appetizer to the dessert!

The Madfoodies rediscover Soul Food at Nigels Good Food, Part I.

Our Ten Year Anniversary….

Lolo and Eric have been on many adventures and our 10th anniversary was no different. Visiting family in North Charleston, Eric set up a lunch date for himself, Lolo and two family honorary madfoodies, Eunice & Anthony. Eric’s sister, Eunice, gave them a recommendation to tryout a restaurant named Nigel’s Good Food, specializing in what is called Low country or Gullah Geechee cuisine. To the millions of people in America, it is just called Soul Food. Trust what I say, lots of people put the label ‘soul food’ on different types of dishes, but they really have no ideal of what they are talking about.

Nigel’s Good Food showed us that they definitely know what Soul Food is. And their Soul Food is truly GOOD FOOD! Please take a look at what we tasted and savored that day.

This is gonna be GOOD!
Mouth Watering Geechie Wings
Bam’s Shrimp & Sausage Gumbo

Succulent Turkey Wings with gooey Mac & Cheese, Fried Cabbage and Collards.
Hot Honey Butter Corn Bread
Special Bite of Gumbo
Taste of the Hot Cheezey Mac & Cheese
Taste of Low Country Ravioli

The taste of the wonderful, Low Country Food at Nigel’s Good Food gave us a warm, homey feel in our souls and we the madfoodies can not wait to return.

Lolo and Eric with Eunice and Anthony ( Our honorary Madfoodies for the day)
A Wonderful employee of Nigels with Lolo
Yummy Peach Cobbler to go

The Madfoodies take on the restaurant “The Corner” in New Jersey.

Many neighborhoods have small restaurants that folks living in the vicinity can pick up a quick meal or a small bite to eat. The Madfoodies found such a place while visiting Bloomfield, New Jersey. But this diner had something with a little more panache The restaurant is called, “The Corner”. Don’t let the name fool you; it’s more than your usual Mom and Pop place to check out on a Friday night. The Corner has delights that will make your eyes dance like Sugar Plum Fairies and your mouth water non-stop. The following pictures are our compelling evidence and we had to showcase them on

Rosemary Shoestring French Fries

Smoked Salmon on Toast with Avocado and Poached Eggs

Mixed Greens with Watermelon Radish, Carrots, Sprouts and Sherry Vinaigrette

Mouth Watering Toast SamplerAvocado ToastProsciutto & Ricotta ToastOrganic Chicken Liver Toast

Savory House cured thick cut bacon

Eric & Lolo with another honorary Madfoodie

The Madfoodies check out the Impossible Burger

When it comes to food the mission is never impossible unless you are the Madfoodies and you are checking out the Impossible Burger at Bareburger. During a visit to Bloomfield, New Jersey. The Madfoodies were given a mission and they decided to accept it.

The Impossible Burger with Bacon. Oink and veggie. The best of both worlds.

Build your own burger and Fries. The fries were the BOMB!

The Blazing Bison Burger

Lolo Arnold and a Madfoodie honorary buddy go to an off broadway show after Bareburger.

The Madfoodies and a New York Summer!

The Madfoodies visit the Big Apple and get school about the city that never sleeps. The selections of food are too numerous to counts! So as only the Madfoodies can do, they will show you pics of everything edible they encountered.

The World Trade Center Station

Our first stop after getting off the World Trade Center was Bann Modern Korean Cuisine. Bann shows us, every plate does it’s best to achieve elusive, cuisine-defining balance of traditional and modern Korean cooking. Bann uses the finest ingredients prepared with the most diverse cooking techniques; presenting authentic flavors that delight the most discerning palate in approachable and creative ways. 

JAP Chaewok Stir Fried Glass Noodles with assorted vegetables, soy and sesame (vegetarian or beef).

Ssam Buns steamed buns with pickled shredded daikon and sweet soy (pork belly, beef bulgogi, chicken)

The succulent fresh meat and veggie roasting on the grill.

Steak, Chicken with Rice wrapped in tasty Bibb lettuce.

Bann’s warm inviting decor.

The Madfoodies after a delicious meal.

The Madfoodies Take on City Winery in Washington D.C

Madfoodies take on City Winery

Wine, food and all that Jazz!  We experience that and much more at Washington D.C’s premier City Winery.   The Madfoodies settled in for evening of great eats and musical entertainment.  City Winery is a wonderful venue allowing wine lovers to partake in discovering delicious cuisine, new wines and live entertainment of all types.  This particular evening, we were so lucky to acquire tickets to view Smooth Jazz vocalist and a long-time good friend of Eric’s, Lori Williams.  Lori’s vocal stylings were so delightful and melodic to our ears you truly understand why she is moving up the Smooth Jazz vocal charts.  We are sure that we will continue to see and hear more from Lori in the future.

Our knowledgeable hostess started our evening with a Malbec that paired excellently with  the delectable Charcuterie Board  that had a selection of meats from near and far.   This was an awesome appetizer and tasty preview for the start of the evening.

Delectable Charcuterie Board

Mixed Slaw with Artichoke Spread

Shells and Cheese Fontina and Gruyere

Smoked Pork Belly with grilled corn salsa

Peaches & Cream with a vanilla bean panna cotta base, peach compote almond crumble and fresh thyme. 

Lori Williams soulful stylings provided lovely entertainment for the main course and ensured our dinner had a wonderful backdrop.  The Smoked Pork Belly with grilled corn salsa and the Mezze Plate of marinated olives, stone fruit chutney, spiced nuts, artichoke spread and grilled garlic bread were totally divine.

As for desert, I had to give the Peaches & Cream; a selection with a vanilla bean panna cotta base, peach compote almond crumble with fresh thyme.   It was a refreshing spin on the original dessert.  Eric and I enjoyed sharing this dish.

All and All I would say our evening at City Winery was a definitely foodie delight and I would recommend it to anyone visiting the Washington D.C area.

The Madfoodies preparing to enjoying the evening.

The Madfoodies with Magnificent songstress Lori Williams!

Excellent layout of Washington D.C’s City Winery

Spacious Seating for City Winery Guess

The Madfoodies take on the Pacific Coast.

Lolo and Eric had a wonderful day in Malibu, California. It was a beautiful day with a comfortable temperature of 89 degrees and the coastal water was a balmy 79 degrees, which anyone knows is wonderful for the west coast.

The Paradise Cove Cafe Restaurant we visited that day was a lovely seafood venue that had ocean delights we could only describe as a foodies treasure.

Paradise Cove in Malibu

Eric and Lolo’s lunch. Paradise Cove’s take on Fish Tacos!

You don’t get Fish Taco’s like this on the east cost

Eric’s ICED Seafood Sampler Huge and Meant to be Shared

Eric and Lolo by Paradice Cove Beach
The Madfoodies sign off at the end of a wonderful day.

This was the end of a great afternoon.

And Sō, the journey began…

“So.” A word so tiny, yet oh-so-powerful. It can be a point of emphasis or dismissal. It depends on the perspective of its user and the recipient.

When a couple of co-workers recommended Sō, a Korean BBQ establishment in Centreville, VA, I was excited to have a return visit to a genre of culinary delight I haven’t experienced since my Navy days in Japan just outside of Yamato city in Kanagawa Prefecture. Pulling up to Sō, a throng of eager visitors awaited entrance. The heavy steel door opened to an atmosphere bright with excitement. The aesthetic was a combination of subtle colors and dark furniture. A clean minimalism starring opposite the sizzling, succulent, spicy tastes that would light up our evening.

It is here that I turn over the telling of our foodie journey to my partner in gourmet adventures, Lolo:

You can thank my husband Eric for both this eloquent introduction and for providing the inspiration for this post. As you have already guessed, Korean BBQ is the topic at hand today. One of my favorite episodes of Buzzfeed’s “Worth It” featured Korean BBQ that the hosts tasted at three locations around Los Angeles. I was so impressed by the restaurants they showcased that I began planning my next vacation to LA. My sweetie Eric must have felt the same way this past Saturday, but I didn’t know until we arrived at the restaurant for the surprise reservations he made.

It was wonderful to find out that our dinner that night was at the Korean BBQ restaurant named Sō. Meaning that I wouldn’t have to travel to California after all.

Fortunately, with the help of the Worth It episodes, I had a good read on what to expect. And the theme for our evening was pork belly — oh my goodness! It was so delicious! Between the thinly sliced pork belly, the garlic-marinated pork belly, and the bulgogi (marinated, sliced rib-eye), I thought I was in protein heaven.

Jay, our attendant for the evening, was very informative and he brought out a great selection of juicy and vibrant cuts of meat. There were also dishes of salted sesame oil, plum sauce, and a spicy, sweet red pepper paste for dipping. Each bite coated my mouth with a mouthwatering rush of savory heat. The freshly-grilled meat was flavorful, and I could not stop myself from devouring more, even when my stomach was nearly at full capacity. Jay and the rest of the staff moved like a symphony, both cooking our fill while ensuring their other patrons enjoyed the full Sō experience. Ever arriving just in time, Jay expertly handled each portion of meat until it was fully cooked and then offered suggestions for combining sauces that heightened the overall taste.

I truly recommend if there is a Korean BBQ anywhere near you, you have to give it a try. If you already have an establishment in mind, come back and tell me about the dishes that you enjoyed most. As Jean Luc Picard would say, “Make it Sō.” I can tell you I did!

Madfoodie Original: Smokey Citrus Ice Cream Glaze

Kids are not the only ones with a sweet tooth.  Adults get that craving for something luscious and delightful also.  The issue I have is that when the cravings come,  a candy bar or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich won’t cut it.  For me, I need something different and distinct.  Last night my taste buds called for ice cream, but with an adult touch.  I took my vanilla ice cream and kicked it up a notch! Try this Madfoodie creation: Smokey Citrus Ice Cream Glaze.

I guess you’re thinking, where did that idea come from? Well in my household, Grand Marnier is a constant standby.  It sits on my kitchen counter as a drizzle for fruit on the weekends or an interesting touch to that sunday morning french vanilla coffee.  I try to remember to put it back on the bar, but a new idea for its use constantly comes up.

Friday evening after the dishes were in the dishwasher and I was about the turn off the lights, I got a hankering for something, but everything I saw on the table or in the open cupboard didn’t peek my interest.  Then I remembered the French Vanilla ice cream in freezer.   But the ice cream alone wouldn’t cut it.  That creamy deliciousness would need something else to complete the request that my palate was calling out for.  Out of the corner of my eye, the Grand Marnier sitting on the counter started calling to me.  On the other side of the countertop was a bottle of Smoked Maple Syrup I was saving for a rainy day.  How did I come up with the ideal to blend these two divergent concoctions?  They don’t call me the “Mad Foodie” for nothing.  In my head, the following recipe came about:

  • 1 tsp. Grand Marnier (or your favorite orange-flavored liqueur)
  • 1 tsp. Smoked maple syrup

As for ice cream, I used French Vanilla, but I can imagine, depending on your preference, any ice cream will do.  And that’s all I did.  Simple but delicious or “effin’ delicious” as my husband said.

You can let me know in the comments if you try it with other ice creams and how it tastes.


Himalayan Salt Block: The Madfoodies check it out

Shrimp Roasted on a Himalayan Sea Salt Slab

Himalayan Salt Block! What can I say? It makes everything taste great! Whether it’s succulent shrimp, juicy ribeye steak or tender lake trout, a Himalayan Sea Salt Block lifts your foods’ flavor palette to the next level.  Using it does take a little time and effort because you have to heat the block in the oven for 20-30 minutes at 400 degrees. Next, move the block to your stove top and cook your food on top of it.  Some folks don’t understand the effort, but the flavor it imparts to your food….OH MY GOODNESS! It is truly delicious and you just cannot get enough of whatever you are savoring.  Some cooks put the block on an open fire.  I do not recommend this.  That method causes the salt to breakdown too fast and infuses too much of it into your food.  In the recipe above, I seasoned the shrimp with garlic powder, dried basil, pepper and paprika.  There is no need for salt because that will come from the block!  Cook the shrimp for 4 minutes per side.  Enjoy your Roasted  Himalayan Salt Slab Shrimp with herb-flavored olive oil and a french baguette. A bottle of Pinot Grigio will send this Friday night delight over the top!