Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Spot on Sunset

The Spot has been on Sunset since 2010, and before that it was Lumber Inn 2 (a sit down breakfast restuarant), Lucky's (a hot dog place) and Hardee's. My guy and I stopped in for breakfast a few weeks ago and I was very pleasantly surprised with the look and feel it had to offer.

The building has gone through some major changes to become a sit-down restaurant, since it's Hardee's days. It's barely recognizable that it's a former fast food joint. Carpeting has been laid down on the floors, nice sconces were added, a dividing wall separates the room into two parts, and the walls are decorated with a lively green color with plenty of pictures. They still use the drive-thru, but I'm not sure if that's for call-in orders, or if you can really wait in the drive-thru while they prepare your meal.

The host seated us at a booth near the windows and we were able to look out at Sunset Dr. and watch some light snow falling.

Then we perused the menu and I instantly knew I wanted a skillet. They all sounded great, but I finally chose the Ranchero Skillet. My guy was still on his Greek breakfast kick and went with the Greek Skillet. I chose sourdough toast and he went with raisin toast.

When the skillets arrived at the table, they were still sizzling--nice and hot! I snapped pictures while it cooled down and then we dug in. I love that they come on cast iron. This helped the food stay warm throughout the entire meal, and made for a fabulous presentation! The skillets are also loaded up with so much food! I knew there was no chance I would finish it, but I did my best. 

The Ranchero was a little spicy for my gentle buds, but a side of sour cream helped with that and I was able to enjoy it. The peppers still had a slight crunch, and had a nice char from the hot skillet, bringing in that nice grilled flavor. The steak was the spicy part of the dish (to me). My guy thought it had great flavor - he has less sensitive buds and enjoys the spice!
My guy's Greek skillet was awesome too! The gyro meat was delicious and seasoned very well. I'm not a runny yolk person, so I just sampled some of the tomatoes and meat, but he was a huge fan of the whole thing - a very hearty meal!
The toast was nice and warm too - a great side dish to help mellow my buds out again.

Although we got to breakfast around 11, we were only offered the breakfast menu. But I did hear the table behind us ask for a lunch/dinner menu and were provided one. They have some unique hours of operation, so make sure you check if they are open before venturing over, but it is most definiltey worth the drive!

Hours:
Sunday - Thursday
6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Friday 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Saturday 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

What a great meal to help us stay warm on a cold snowy Sunday.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Winter Janboree

Happy Birthday Waukesha Janboree - January 16-18, 2015



The Waukesha Janboree has been a tradition for Waukesha and area residents for 30 years! This winter festival brings together all sorts of activities into one great weekend. I'm not sure how many of the events I'm going to be able to attend but I know I'll hear and see a few of them.

The event kicks off on Friday at 3 pm with the opening ceremonies that include fireworks. Living on the north side of Waukesha now, I heard the fireworks and didn't put it together until after the show was done. I'm hoping that maybe we will see them this year. Fireworks are at 8 pm in Lowell Park.

Saturday and Sunday are full of activities and one of my favorites is the ice sculpting contest. The pieces of ice are put around downtown Waukesha and local artisans have 4 hours to create something fantastic from their piece of ice. It's a 300 lb. block of ice. These will then stay in downtown for a week, depending weather.

Another great event is the "Arctic Avalanche," or in easier to understand terms, the 350 ft. toboggan runs at Lowell Park. This runs each day of the Janboree and is always a blast. I'm not sure the cost to rent the toboggan, but I have heard it could be free for the Janboree!

Other great family events include free ice skating at Eble and Naga-waukee parks, the Frosty 5k in Frame Park, a penguin egg hunt, bocce ball tournament and more!

Hope you have some free time this weekend to check out the Waukesha Janboree! The weather should be in the 30s so it won't be too cold to be out and about. Hope you can attend!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Kalimotxo


I tried my first Kalimotxo (pronounced Cali-mot-cho) cocktail last night - created it myself at home. If you aren't familiar, this is a traditional Spanish cocktail consisting of equal parts red wine and cola over ice and a lemon garnish.

I heard about this cocktail from a few people and read about it on a few blogs as well. It is talked about more during the holidays (in my opinion) and I finally decided to concoct it myself. 

I bought a bottle of Intermingle red wine at Aldi this last weekend. For $7, this bottle was decent for a red blend - easy to sip on and won't overpower any meal.  I would compare it to Ménage a Trois; similar label styling, its a red blend, similar taste. 

I had one glass of the wine first to enjoy, and then decided to make a Kalimotxo. 

I grabbed a rocks glass, filled it with some cubes and then half wine, half diet cola. The only thing I was missing was a lemon for garnish, but because I am not one for fruit on my drinks because of my low tolerance to Vitamin C, I wouldn't have gotten it that way at a restaurant either.

I grabbed a comfy spot on my couch, turned on Parenthood on Netflix, and relaxed with the Kalimotxo. 

My first sip was....interesting.  It tastes like cola and red wine, something I wouldn't think would go together . But after sipping some more, I realized why this combination works. It adds sweetness to the wine but not like a white soda. It's adds the caramel flavor to the drink and makes it a richer, deeper flavor, but still adding sweetness to the wine. I would never recommend making this drink with a more expensive red wine.

I don't know if this would become a staple for me in my "drink repertoire," but it's definitely something that tastes ok. There are some cocktails that I try exactly one time and decide that is enough for me - most drinks with gin or brandy are on that list. A Kalimotxo would be something that I might try again.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Packers Playoff Game - What to Eat?




The Packers have a huge game this weekend after a stellar win over Dallas on Sunday! Seattle is a strong team and the Pack is going to have an uphill battle, but I have faith in my green and gold boys!

I bet there will be very few people in Wisconsin on Sunday that aren't glued to a TV and if you are one of those people, you are going to need some tasty bites to get through the game. Here are some of my past posts that feature great Packer party treats, eats and ideas.

From way back in 2011 before I realized the importance of using images in every blog post (sorry). These sliders were fabulous!

Cheddar and Guinness Dip was a huge hit at a Packer Playoff game in 2013.

 You can't go wrong with Olive & Pickle Rolls with Ham.

How about a tailgate burger party - the weather is supposed to be in the upper 30s for the weekend, bust out those grills! 


Doing a "bar" is an inexpensive way to feed a lot of people and cater to all different tastes. Taco and baked potato bars are two of my favorites.

Sloppy Joes also serve a large group and when you serve on little sweet Hawaiian buns, it's even better!

For these ideas and even more, check out my Pinterest Page. Especially the Snack Attack, Superbowl, and Crockin' Boards.  

I don't know where I'm watching the game yet or what I will be eating, but from 2 - 5 pm on Sunday, I will be off the radar and glued to a TV - GO PACK GO!


Friday, January 9, 2015

Cauliflower Soup

For my cousin's New Year's Eve party, I brought a huge bowl of vegetables with dips - the healthy option for us! I was going to buy a pre-packaged veggie platter but found out that was actually going to be more expensive and have less variety to buy individually. Sure I spent more overall, but the pre-packaged option only had carrots, tomatoes and celery in it. How boring!

So I walked around the produce section of Woodman's and picked up all my favorites to bring along - carrot slices, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, yellow and green peppers and cucumbers. I picked up a light ranch dill dip and Woodman's had a new brand for free with coupon. I bought a spinach variety of that dip. Both dips and the veggies were well received and almost gone by the end of the night.

I did have some leftovers of the veggies and started looking at some recipes to create a soup using the veggies. I found The Pioneer Woman's Cauliflower Soup and decided to modify it slightly to fit my tastes and use what I had in my condo.

I started with dicing some celery, onion and carrots. I added the onion to a dutch oven with some margarine (recipe calls for butter) and sauteed it for a bit. 
I then added the carrots and celery to get the veggies soft.
 Then I threw in the cauliflower and parsley, covered the pot and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
Next, I poured in the stock and let it simmer some more.
In a separate pan, I mixed together margarine (recipe calls for butter) and 1% milk (recipe calls for whole milk, but I don't buy that kind). And then I added this mixture to the veggie and stock mixture.
The half and half is added to the pot when it's removed from the heat. A little stirring to get all the flavors melded and it was looking great. I seasoned lightly with salt and pepper and decided to throw in some more carrots and broccoli to give more flavor and some color.

I did not add the sour cream to the recipe because I already felt the soup was rich enough. I wanted to keep it a little healthier as well.

I made a half recipe of The Pioneer Woman recipe and it came out to be 4 servings. I have been eating it all week and it's very flavorful. I love that the cauliflower absorbed the flavors during the initial simmering.

This week was exceptionally cold in Wisconsin with noon temperatures hovering below zero. Add in the wind chill and it was quite bitter - can you say "return of the polar vortex?" Soup was the perfect thing to bring to work to help me stay warm!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Qdoba Smothered Burritos





I was contacted by the Roaring Forks restaurant group and asked if I was interested in trying the new smothered burritos from Qdoba and sharing my thoughts on my blog. I didn't have to think long about that because I have a love-love relationship with Qdoba. The three cheese queso nachos might possibly be my go-to meal and I can't get over their chips! I taste a hint of lime on them and it's really refreshing.

My guy and I stopped into Qdoba for lunch and went all in on two smothered burritos, guacamole and chips and beverages- you know, a nice light lunch!

We got in line to order and a sample of what a smothered burrito looked like was on the counter. I told the smiley employee that I was going to dive into one of those and she explained it to me before starting the production.

She explained that the smothered burrito is more like an enchilada where all hot things go on the inside and cold items on the outside, minus the outside smother. She also shared that they were offering a queso version of the smothered burrito. The new sauces are Red Bold Chile, Smoky Chipotle Cream and Tangy Verde.

Because of my love for the Queso, I chose that option and we went to town making my burrito. Here are all the options in making the burrito.

Inside:
Whole Wheat or Flour Tortilla
Cilantro Lime White or Brown Rice
Black or Pinto Beans
Grilled Steak, Grilled Chicken, Pulled Pork, Seasoned Ground Beef, or Shredded Beef
Smoky Chipotle Cream, Bold Red Chile, Tangy Verde or Queso Smother

Outside:
Smoky Chipotle Cream, Bold Red Chile, Tangy Verde or Queso Smother (this doesn't have to be the same as what you put inside!)
Pico de Gallo, Salsa Verde, Roasted Chile Corn, Salsa Roja, Fiery Habanero Salsa
Sour Cream
Guacamole
Shredded Cheese
Lettuce

My burrito:
Flour Tortilla, Cilantro Lime White Rice, Black Beans, Grilled Chicken, Queso Smother both inside and out, shredded cheese, sour cream and pico de gallo.


My Guy went with a very similar burrito but with the Smoky Chipotle Cream Smother inside and out, and guac on the side.

They don't wrap these burritos in foil like their other ones, because of the sauces, so they are served on a plate. 

Because we didn't think those were going to fill us up (HAHA), we ordered guacamole and chips too!

Qdoba has those interesting Coca-Cola soda machines where you pick your type of soda (Coca-Cola, Mello-Yello, etc.) and then can add different flavors to it. I went with a Diet Cherry Coke and my guy went with Cherry Mello-Yello. The machines are unique and a little touchy with the buttons, but I love the end result of the soda with a little extra flavor.

 We grabbed a table and dug in!
The burritos were very large, as most Qdoba burritos are. But I think the addition of the sauce really brought them to a new level. I love the extra flavor and have I said enough about how much I love the queso yet. The meat itself is seasoned really well, but mixing it with some cheese, always makes it better. (My true Wisconsinite flare is really showing isn't it?) I can't believe it, but I dominated that burrito. And I even had room for some of the chips and guacamole. Qdoba has their guacamole perfected and it is divine! I could eat just that and chips for lunch and be very satisfied!
It definitely was more like an enchilada with the sauce on it. This makes it a bit longer of an eating process than a regular burrito because you are using a knife and fork, instead of just your mouth from the foil wrap! Nothing wrong with taking your time to eat, but I can see that being a negative for some that like a meal on the go. (I could never eat one of their burritos on the road as they are just way to big to manage for me. But I have seen some friends manage it with no issues.)

Overall, these were very filling and quite tasty. I would like to try another sauce sometime and maybe even change it up with one sauce on the outside and another on the inside. Woah - crazy talk I know. I recommend you try this sometime too! But go there very hungry!

Roaring Forks (Qdoba) provided me compensation for a post featuring their product, but the review is my own honest opinion of the product.

Monday, January 5, 2015

2015 Goals

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!


Resolutions, Goals, Intentions, Plans.....they all mean the same thing and many people make resolutions at the start of the year, only to break them and fall off the wagon within a month.

I used to be part of this group, but I have decided to make my goals more attainable and work on progressing them forward throughout the year. For example, weight gain doesn't happen in a month, so you can't expect to reverse the holiday affects completely by the end of January. But if you stick with it, you will see progress that should keep motivating you to go further.

I'm not going to layout all my goals for 2015 in the blog, but I will mention a few that I hope to work towards in 2015.

1) I hope to continue to live my healthy lifestyle. I really kicked it in gear and figured out what worked for me starting at the end of June. I made attainable goals and kept working towards smaller goals to get to that main one. Anytime you complete a goal, I feel a reward is due and I gave myself small rewards along the way. The holidays were tough for me, but I'm excited to get back at it!

2) In conjunction with the healthy lifestyle, I hope to continue my running and working out. I really got into a groove and made amazing progress on running a faster 5k. Then a miserable cough (and a possible asthma diagnosis) took me out of commission for a few months. I didn't let it completely stop me, and I now know what I can do to keep working at my goal.

3) I want to continue to eat and cook healthy. I hope to cook more at home and received some great cookbooks for Christmas. My guy likes to cook too, so I hope we can blend our flavors together and come up with some really great dishes that we will then share with all of you.

And I won't stop the recreations of my area restaurant favorite meals. The duck confit flatbread from Bernie's will be accomplished this year....thanks to finding duck breasts at Woodman's (I really didn't want to buy an entire duck and fear having to clean it!) But don't worry this won't deter me from coming to the restaurants downtown - not even a little bit.

4) I hope to grow my blog. I have a few things already in place to make this happen, but I hope that I can grow my readership and one of the best ways to do this is word of mouth. I'm out of business cards and I hope to get some new ones made so I can pass them out around the city and get them in the hands of more people. But I also would love the help of my existing community of readers to help me get new folks on board by sharing my blog and Facebook page with your friends.

5) Renovations - My condo is great and I am very happy with it as my first home. But with all things that are almost 30 years old, some work is needed. I am hoping to renovate a bathroom and get the basement back into shape after the Great Basement Flood of 2014. I also am going to rip out some plants and do a little landscaping so I can enjoy my outdoor space more this summer. Other areas to renovate include the kitchen, deck and shower, but I won't put too much on my plate for one year!

Oh if only! Maybe in my next house!
6) Try more new things. My family already tells me that I am someone that always is on the move and trying new places to eat, checking out new stores, trying a new drink, making new recipes, going to shows, networking and meeting new people. I love that I do this and I hope to continue it. I hope to try at least one "new to me" place, thing or idea a month.

6) And overall, I hope to be a more positive person. I think that moods are contagious and no one wants negativity to spread. I know that not everyday will be sunshine and rainbows, but after completing the 100 Happy Days movement on social media, I can definitely notice a difference in myself and how I view the world. My friend gave me a jar for Christmas last year to put your happy thoughts in. I read them back and it made me really happy to reminisce. I will continue to fill that jar this year!

Those are my goals for 2015 and I hope you come along for the ride! It's going to be a great year! 

Happy 2015!