it's okay to play with your food

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A bit of shameless self-promotion...

My friend Cellis is a former colleague with the Gotham Chamber Opera. He is so smart and fun that I often forget he is a bit younger than me... almost twenty years younger... and yet that doesn't stop us from gabbing about opera and dancing to Madonna till the early morn.

He recently started his own blog and wrote a very sweet post about kitchenplay. I just have to share...

A Special Sponsor is a very nice website hosted by a dear friend and gives awesome recipes for food. I've looked at it since January when it all started. It goes from peppers to chicken in the recipes but either way you go it's a recipe for a full stomach. If you don't know what to eat tonight just take a peek at

Thank you Cellis!!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I'm a Pepper!

As a kid, I loved Dr Pepper. I don't drink soda much these days, but one sip of Dr Pepper takes me back to the soda machine at the Community Arts Center in Wallingford, PA, on break from a rehearsal or a making-fresh-bread-and-turning-it-into-art class.

But childhood adoration aside, I recently realized how little I know about Dr Pepper. For instance, what IS Dr Pepper? Who was Dr Pepper? And I also didn't know that the home of Dr Pepper is none other than Waco, TX, on the way to Austin from Ft. Worth.

So I decided to make a stop at the Dr Pepper Museum, determined to finally learn the secret behind the taste.

I learned nothing.

I did learn that it is definitely not prune flavor, as some have proposed. It is a combination of 23 flavors concocted in the late 19th century to reproduce the smell of the soda fountain, as told to me by the animatronic founder of Dr Pepper, Charles Alderton.

The name is also something of a mystery. Legend is that Charles Alderton was in love with a girl and wanted to impress her father, so Alderton named the drink after the man. Originally, it was known as a Waco.

Before getting back on the road, I had a really good Frosty Pepper: a vanilla ice cream float with Dr Pepper. At the museum's soda fountain, they make the drink with carbonated water and Dr Pepper syrup, with a couple puffs of compressed air. It was delish.

Monday, June 2, 2008


While I have spent the past month blogging about New Orleans, in reality I have been living and working in Ft. Worth, TX. And I have been eating, of course. Here are some highlights...

The Love Shack

The Love Shack is a casual burger place in the heart of the Ft. Worth Stockyards. The menu is simple: burgers, fries, onion rings, shakes, Abita root beer on tap.

In the name of research for kitchenplay, I ordered the Dirty Love Burger, topped with crispy bacon, cheese, Love Sauce and a fried quail egg. Love Sauce is a Texan twist on McD's special sauce: mayo and ketchup with rib seasoning and chopped pickles. The burger was good, with tasty, peppery beef. They grind their beef daily, a 50/50 combo of prime tenderloin and prime brisket. It was cooked medium, though, and I'm more of a medium rare kinda gal. The egg is a fun addition, but it didn't contribute much to the overall flavor.

The best thing about the meal was stealing my friend's onion rings: shoestring onion rounds in a light, crispy batter. The best onion rings I have ever had.

And the atmosphere is great... seating is outdoors spread out amongst three levels. Live music was on the stage and misting fans made the heat more bearable.

Paleteria La Flor de Michoacan

Paletas, Mexican popsicles, are great- fresh tasting and always offered up in fun flavors. I've been to two paleterias in my life, here and in Durham, NC. Both were no-frills settings with large stand alone freezers. I chose rice while my friend got strawberry crema. The rice paleta was totally awesome, with soft grains of rice and tons of cinnamon. The paleteria didn't close for another 20 minutes, so we went back for more. For round two, I got coconut and Cynthia got pecan. The pecan was disappointing, too sweet and without enough nutty flavor (though the layer of fresh pecans at the bottom of the popsicle was a nice touch). But the coconut was really good, creamy and rich, just like a coconut popsicle should be. But the rice paleta was definitely the winner.

La Playa Maya

La Playa Maya is where Cynthia, a Ft. Worth native, said I could find real Tex-Mex. And with the exception of a seafood cocktail appetizer, everything was delicious. The cocktail was ceviche and octopus in a ketchup sauce. Asise from being a ketchup sauce, it was also an overly sweet and thick ketchup sauce. I also ordered Cowboy Enchiladas, marinated beef enchiladas with queso. Those were great.

By the way, queso is awesome, and nothing back east quite compares to the real thing. Yes, the consistency is eerily similar to Veleveta, but the taste is closer to real cheese- a great combination.

Top that with deliciously seasoned rice & beans and $2 frozen margaritas, and you have my new favorite spot in Ft. Worth.

Up Next: Bats, Barton Springs and BBQ in Austin, TX