Recipe: Gravy, or Is It Tomato Sauce?

Tomato sauce covering a chicken dish

Kathleen’s family, having strong Italian-American roots, has equally strong views regarding the naming of tomato sauce. To them, this classic Italian sauce is always called gravy.

No matter what you call it, there’s no doubt that a good recipe for this Italian staple is a must-have. There are no shortage of gravy recipes, from the quick and easy to ones that take hours. We recently posted one of our favorite gravy recipes, and it’s made easily in under an hour.

Our gravy is great over pasta, topped on chicken parm, or used as a dipping sauce for our fried zucchini patties. So please, stop buying shitty jarred tomato sauce, and enter the world of delicious, homemade gravy that awaits you.

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A Recipe for A Vegetable Dish I Don’t Hate

Fried zucchini patties

Over on our Recipes Page, I just did the unthinkable: I posted a recipe for an exclusively vegetable dish. What the hell’s gotten into me?

My struggle with vegetables is well-documented among my friends and family. Despite loving food and wanting to experience a wide range of cuisines, I’ve had an aversion to veggies for as long as I can remember. This has only recently started to improve, thanks in large part to Kathleen’s help in finding vegetable preparations that don’t completely revolt me.

My favorite of Kathleen’s attempts to feed me vegetables is probably this recipe for fried zucchini patties. I can give it no higher praise than this: you won’t even know you’re eating vegetables! If you’re vegetable-averse, like I am, go make some of these and prepare to be delighted.

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Travelogue: Our Weekend at Lake Anna, Virginia

A view of Lake Anna from our Air BnB

Avowed city dwellers though we are, we recently set out to enjoy a quiet weekend at the lake at nearby Lake Anna, VA. A little fresh air, a little sunshine, and some swimming in a nice, cool lake sounded like just the thing for a June weekend. This did not go as planned.

Over on our Travel Page, we’ve posted our travelogue of our weekend at the lake. Check it out to see why Kathleen hates Air BnB, why we had an unforgettably disturbing dinner, and how we ended up bringing home 6 bottles of wine, 12 cans of beer, and a crap load of delicious cider.

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Where to Eat in South Florida

Kathleen and Paul at Flanigan's in Deerfield Beach, FL
Us enjoying one of my favorite dining spots during our last trip to Florida.

Recently, I was chatting with a new friend I’d made on Twitter (and seriously, you should follow us there @FoodAndDINK if you haven’t already), and my Twitter friend mentioned plans to spend part of the upcoming summer in South Florida. Now, it just so happens I grew up in South Florida, and even though I no longer live there, I do visit regularly. And what do I do when I visit? I eat everything in sight, obviously.

I thought this would be the perfect place to share some of my favorite dining choices back in my hometown. From a 24 hour donut shop with some of the best breakfast options in town to world-class seafood, these are the places I absolutely must visit whenever I return home.

Where to Eat Breakfast

Dandee Donut Factory

Deerfield Beach

During our last visit to Florida, I think we ate breakfast at Dandee Donuts at least four times—it’s that good. They have a couple locations, but the one in Deerfield Beach is about a two-minute drive from my family’s house, making it not only delicious, but convenient. Their donuts are absolutely perfect (though Kathleen complains they are too rich).

But the donuts are just the beginning. They also make a number of breakfast dishes—our favorite being the Jersey pork roll sandwich. If you’ve never had pork roll (also called Taylor Ham), just think of thick-sliced bacon, thrown on a griddle and caramelized to meaty perfection. Add in some perfectly-cooked eggs and melty cheese and you have a breakfast sandwich you’ll never forget.

Sticky Bun

Deerfield Beach

We tried Sticky Bun for the first time during our last visit, but it immediately made its way on to my must-eat list. This place is typically packed, with good reason. Their homemade biscuits are a marvel, as is their house-made bacon. They also made the best mimosa I’ve ever had—basically a glass of Champagne with just a hint of orange juice. They even have a lot of outdoor seating, for those of you insane enough to want that kind of thing even in the Florida heat.

Where to Eat Lunch

V&S Deli

Boca Raton

Home to more than a few transplanted New Yorkers, it’s no surprise that you can find excellent NYC-style food in South Florida. The absolute best example of this can be found at V&S Deli. Beautiful fresh meats, flavorful Italian cheeses, and the most remarkable fresh bread are the hallmarks of this gem. Still the best meatball sandwich I’ve ever had, this place will take you straight back to your favorite classic Italian deli. If for some reason you don’t have memories of a favorite Italian deli, let V&S make new ones for you.

New York Grilled Cheese Co.

Boca Raton

I don’t know why this place is called the New York Grilled Cheese Co., unless it’s an attempt to appeal to the aforementioned NYC transplants. If New York is famous for grilled cheese, that’s news to me. Nevertheless, this place makes fabulously melty grilled cheeses. Stuffed full of a variety of ingredients to please just about everyone, the sandwiches here never disappoint. My favorite is stuffed with mac and cheese—because I am a glutton.

Where to Eat Dinner

Little Havana

Deerfield Beach

Miami is home to the finest Cuban food in the country. But making the hour plus drive from Broward County isn’t always feasible. Luckily, Little Havana in Deerfield Beach is a more than worthy alternative. For many years I lived in places where it was very hard to find good Cuban food, so I would have to get my fix whenever I visited home. Most of the time, this meant a visit to Little Havana. They satisfy all the Cuban cravings, most especially their amazingly-flavorful roast pork.

Calypso Restaurant and Raw Bar

Pompano Beach

Calypso is so damned good, they’re not open on weekends! This is definitely a sign they’re doing something right. The thing they’re doing so right is seafood. Their conch chowder is the best I’ve ever had, and that’s only the start. The famous Calypso Cutter is one of the most memorable sandwiches you’ll ever encounter. Shrimp, garlic butter, melty cheddar cheese, and mushrooms (which I skip), this thing is rich, decadent seafood perfection.

Papa Hughie’s Seafood World

Lighthouse Point

Want to dine on some of the finest seafood anywhere? Head to Seafood World in Lighthouse Point. Now, I should acknowledge my bias here—our family has been going to Seafood World for years. They’ve catered major family occasions, and several dishes on the menu at the adjoining Papa’s Raw Bar are named after members of my family.

That being said, seafood doesn’t get much better than this. Want to feast on Florida stone crab? Hint: you absolutely do! You’ll find the freshest fish, prepared in many delicious ways. Go here and experience the pinnacle of Floridian seafood.

Bonus Floridian Eats

Want to eat like a true Floridian? I’ve got two more suggestions that all Floridians know about and enjoy often.

First, at the local grocery store, you’ll find some of the best subs anywhere. What makes a Publix sub so damned good? I’m not sure, but I have loved them for almost forty years now, and it’s still at the top of my must-eat list when I’m in Florida.

Finally, there’s Flanigan’s Seafood Bar and Grill—another place I’ve loved since childhood. We’ve written about Flanigan’s here before, and I still stand by it as one of my go-to restaurants in South Florida. Is it flashy? No. Is it good? Definitely. There’s a reason you’ll often find a long wait at many Flanigan’s—it’s affordable, it’s delicious, and it’s quintessentially Floridian.

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Travelogue: Our Two Weeks in France, Spain, and Italy

The Arch de Triomphe in Paris, France

There’s nothing quite like your first trip to Europe. For us, it took months of planning, multiple changes to our itinerary, and a great deal of narrowing down where to visit (wanting to experience it all). The result: a two-week whirlwind through France, Spain, and Italy, including a seven-night Mediterranean cruise aboard the Norwegian Epic.

Over on our Travel Page, we’ve posted our travelogue of our first European adventure. There you’ll find over ten pages of notes from our trip, dozens of photos, and, of course, many, many food recommendations. Want to do a food tour in Paris? We’ve got you covered! How about a food tour in Rome? We’ve got that too! Plus, don’t miss my favorite travel story to date. Join us as we experience some of the worlds greatest cities for the first time.

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Stop Ordering Crab Rangoon and Make These Spicy Crab Dip Eggrolls Instead

A homemade crab dip eggroll

We’re on something of a roll with homemade eggroll appetizers (pardon the pun). A couple weeks ago, we posted a recipe for our take on a BBQ pork-filled eggroll.

We enjoyed that dish so much, we set our minds to coming up with more tasty things we could stuff in wonton wrappers. We came up with a version stuffed with a spicy crab dip, making a homemade version of a classic Crab Rangoon. Click here to check out the recipe!

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Our Neighborhood Just Got an Awesome New Seafood Restaurant and I’m Pumped About It

Garlic butter grilled oysters at Whiskey & Oyster in Alexandria, VA

Our neighborhood, the Carlyle section of Alexandria, doesn’t have a lot in the way of restaurants. It’s been primarily a commercial zone, populated with chains and lunch spots designed to satisfy the nearly 10,000 people who come to work here each day.

That’s started to change, though, as more and more residences pop up in the surrounding area. It’s now becoming less necessary to make the 30 minute walk to Old Town in order to have a good meal. We got a new French bistro this summer (review to come), and, most exciting of all, a new spot for seafood and whiskey just opened up a short walk away from our apartment.

Whiskey & Oyster is just as the name implies; they serve oysters in a variety of preparations, and they have a whole crap load of whiskeys on offer. We dined there for the first time last weekend and wrote a full review of our experience. We will undoubtedly be back often. Welcome to the neighborhood, Whiskey & Oyster!

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Lamb Shawarma Burgers

Lamb burger

Last weekend, we took a slightly different approach to the traditional Memorial Day cookout. Tired of the same old burgers, we experimented with some new flavors, with spectacular results!

Our first entry on our Meats Page, these herbaceous, spicy Lamb Shawarma Burgers will zest up any occasion. And don’t forget to top them with our Homemade Tahini!

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Our Epic Meal at St. Anselm, One of D.C.’s Hottest Restaurants

A table full of food at St. Anselm in Washington, D.C.

We’ve watched Top Chef for years, all the while hoping we’d one day get to taste some of the offerings by our various favorite contestants. That day finally happened a couple months ago when we dined at one of D.C.’s hottest restaurants, St. Anselm.

Run by Top Chef alum Marjorie Meek-Bradley, the food on offer at St. Anselm was just as good as you would expect from a former Top Chef powerhouse. We ate a lot—to the point where passing staff commented on our epically full table. Our feast included one of the most unique (and delicious) seafood dishes we’ve ever encountered, and much, much more. Check out our full review over on our restaurants page to read all about this fantastic meal.

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Travelogue: Christmas in New Orleans and Cruising on the Norwegian Dawn

A street in New Orleans, LA

Back in 2016, Kathleen and I took a Christmas vacation just the two of us. It was relaxing, festive, and—most importantly—it was delicious.

We spent seven fun nights aboard the Norwegian Dawn cruise ship, hitting stops in the Western Caribbean. We soaked up some Mayan culture in Costa Maya, spent a day feasting at an all-inclusive resort in Cozumel, and played with monkeys in Roatan!

After the cruise, we enjoyed Christmas in one of our favorite cities in the world, New Orleans. We hunted for the city’s best oysters, discovered some regional Christmas traditions, and had an unforgettable Christmas brunch.

Click right here to read this extensive travelogue. Get in the spirit and plan your own Christmas getaway right now!

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