Brunch Time: Dilly Deli

I love brunch. To me, there is no meal more luxurious. You get to loaf around all morning, arrive at the restaurant whenever you please, you can still have breakfast, a cocktail and, if you're lucky, you get to sit on a sunny patio and linger into the afternoon.

This particular brunch outing brought me to Dilly Deli...
Dilly Deli is a charming eatery in Tulsa's Blue Dome District that features delicious sandwiches, salads, and baked goods. And of course, a fabulous breakfast menu.
The people at Dilly Deli have taken a bare-bones old building and given it a  charming, fresh feel with eclectic furniture, bright colors at every turn, and a fabulous patio I have yet to explore (but there is a bocce ball court!).
Now to the food! (and drink)

Before I could decide on my breakfast item of choice, I had my eye on their Bloody Mary. I typically don't like Bloody Marys but I was intrigued by their house infused spicy vodka that I saw brewing on the counter on the way in.
Holy cow. I am now a Bloody Mary fan. This cocktail wasn't like those I'd had in the past that seemed more akin to spicy tomato sauce you drink with a straw. This Bloody Mary had added tomato juice to the mix so it was thin and drinkable and just the right amount of spice that didn't linger too long on the tongue. I was so enamored with this beverage I grilled my poor, very busy waiter on its ingredients. Amongst them: wasabi powder, cayenne, and celery salt.  Add a salt and peppered rim, and ta-da!
If you're not a Bloody Mary fan, you can always have a mimosa made with freshly squeezed OJ or a cocktail made with their house infused orange vodka. Or, maybe just a nice hot cup of joe made with Tulsa's own Topeca Coffee beans.

When it came time to order, we were warned about the dishes that they had run out of already. Amongst them, The Jed- "a cinnamon roll as big as your head". That means it's got to be delicious...

I decided on a breakfast sandwich, the Meg...
 A fried egg, bacon, tomato, cheddar, lettuce and avocado between two pieces of crusty Tuscan bread served with crispy hashbrowns. The cheddar they used had a great sharpness to it that pulled the whole sandwich together. Delicious and satisfying.

D ordered their Reuben, Margie's Rueb, which was named their signature dish in TulsaPeople Magazine. Poor boy knew he didn't really have a choice with this one.
There is nothing about this Reuben that makes it different from any other Reuben in town. It's got corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing on rye bread- no special twist with this one. But, my word, it is the best Reuben I've ever had. I didn't even know they could be this good. That just shows you how incredible their ingredients are at Dilly Deli.

Adding to Dilly Deli's appeal, both the Tuscan and rye breads are made in town at Farrel Family Bread organic bakery. And, boy, do they know what they're doing. I feel a field trip coming up...

If you love Tulsa and you love a good sandwich, you need to get your buns down to Dilly Deli. Not only will you be supporting local businesses, but Tulsa's blossoming downtown as well!

Dilly Deli on Urbanspoon


Travel Lust: London

This week's location may not have palm tree-lined beaches, but it is still on an island! I can't help myself- I like to be surrounded by water, I guess.
As D would say, I like things that are old. I think that is part of what draws me to London. That and the chance of running into Colin Firth or Jude Law.
 I would love to take a ride on bright red double-decker bus.
Or ride in one of their charming taxis. Beats the yellow things, yes?
One thing I love about the big cities in Europe (that I've seen) is they don't have as many of the big sky scrapers that we have. It gives the city a completely different feel. And one you can't seem to get here in the U.S.
 I would love to take a ride on the London Eye...
And see the changing of the guard...
And maybe even spot some royalty!
They are so darling...

Mind the gap!
London is one of those places I will mostly likely make it to in this life time. I can't wait. After all, I am, like, 1/16 British.

Have you been to London? Let me know what your favorite thing was!


G-Love Cake: Just What the Doctor Ordered

Last week, on my day on call, things were not looking so great. As the call team, we are required to finish all of the cases scheduled for the day. At mid morning, it looked like we had one doctor with two day's worth of patients. I was pretty sure we were never leaving the hospital.

And then Dr. G came to the rescue (on his vacation day!) and saved our lives. I even got to leave before the sun went down!

So I give you: The G-Love Cake. Created especially for the Knight in Shining Armour of the Cath Lab. Chocolate cake with raspberry filling and a mocha Swiss meringue buttercream. To die for!

Mmmm... chocolate cake! You really can't go wrong with chocolate. This cake is made with bittersweet chocolate melted down with fresh brewed coffee to bring out the chocolate's flavor. I also added sour cream to keep the cake moist and light.

Like any baked treat, you start by creaming together the butter and sugar and slowly add in the eggs (one at-the-time as Paula Dean would say). Next, the yummy melted chocolate and coffee mixture gets poured into the batter along with some vanilla and... yummm...

Now comes the cake flour mixture and sour cream. Yes, you must use cake flour! It makes your cake much more tender. And I know you want a tender cake. Don't worry, they sell it at Walmart!

Now, pour this delicious mixture into three greased and floured nine inch round pans. Trust me- grease and flour them well. Yes, even if your pan is "non-stick". You will thank me.
Pop those babies in the oven and go find something to do, like make frosting. Don't peek! They should be done in about half and hour.

After your cake tester, aka toothpick, comes out clean leave the pans to cool before flipping the cakes out. Don't do what I did and try to rush the cake to make a dental appointment. Because instead of this:
You'll have this:
Oops. Patience is not a strong suite of mine. Two layer cake it is!

While you're letting those three... or two... cakes cool lets make the delicious caffeinated frosting.

Mocha Swiss meringue buttercream. Sounds kinda complicated. Don't be afraid! It's really pretty simple and so worth it!
First, you start by making the meringue half of the equation.

Egg whites and sugar are heated over a double boiler (fancy for heat-proof bowl stuck over pot of simmering water) until the sugar is dissolved. It should feel smooth between your fingers.

For those of you with a stand mixer this next part will be a cinch. I hope to some day to join your ranks. For now I will beat this mixture for 10 minutes with my ancient hand mixer until stiff peaks form and the mixture is glossy and beautiful.
See how the meringue stands up on its own? That's what you want!

Now you get to add an entire pound of butter, tablespoon by tablespoon, into the meringue, mixing well. Don't freak out if this happens:
It may look like the mixture has curdled, but keep mixing and it will smooth back out.

Add in melted semisweet chocolate, espresso powder and vanilla and... voila! You have a fabulous frosting! This step is where you can use some creative license and flavor the frosting to your needs or tastes. The base has a great texture for frosting or piping and is not overly sweet- perfection!

Now you can put your cake together.
Smother the cake layer with 1/4 inch seedless raspberry jam and top with the second cake. Repeat if you didn't destroy your third layer.

Then smother it with frosting and decorate with fresh raspberries. And don't forget to lick your spatula!
I bought this to work and it it was 80% gone by 9am. Need I say more?

G-Love Cake
6oz bittersweet chocolate
3/4 c brewed coffee, strong
1 c butter, unsalted, softened
2 c sugar
4 eggs, large
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 c cake flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 c sour cream

1. Combine coffee and chocolate in saucepan over super low heat and cook until melted.
2. Beat butter on medium until creamy and gradually add in sugar.
3. Add in eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.
4. Add chocolate mixture and vanilla and beat 1 min.
5. Mix together dry ingredients. Add alternately with sour cream to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Mix on low until blended. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as you mix.
6. Pour batter into three 9" greased and floured pans. Bake @ 350 for 25-30 min until cake tester comes out clean.
7. Let cool then turn out onto wire rack to finish cooling.

Mocha Swiss Meringue Buttercream
5 egg whites, large
1 c + 2  tbs sugar
Pinch of salt
1 lb butter, unsalted, softened and cut into tbs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
4 1/2 oz semisweet chocolate, melted
1 tbs instant espresso powder (not instant coffee!)

1. Whisk eggs, sugar, and salt in double boiler until mixture is warmed and sugar dissolves.
2. Pour mixture into mixing bowl and beat until stiff peaks form and this mixture is cooled. Approx. 10 min.
3. With mixer on medium, add butter 2-3 tbs at a time, mixing well after each addition.
4. Add vanilla, chocolate, and espresso powder and beat on medium until smooth


A Play: Reasons to Be Pretty

This past weekend, my lovely boyfriend agreed to see a play with me. I think he only acquiesced because a review compared the show to Jersey Shore. Snookie was mentioned- he was sold.

None the less, we attended a matinee production of "Reasons to Be Pretty" put on by the Odeum Theatre Company- now in its second season.

"Reasons to Be Pretty" chronicles the consequences of an adoring boyfriend, Greg, making what he thinks is a harmless remark about his girlfriend, Steph's, average appearances. In typical girl fashion, she is unable to forget the hurtful comment and throws it back in his face until the very last moments of the play. The show also features the Greg's friend and work colleague, Kent, his wife Carly, and Kent's wandering eye.
Though I didn't have much in common with the characters on the surface, the play was very relatable. D and I found ourselves exchanging glances during the couple's outlandish arguments that said "we've been there before". We were reminded of how a small thing can ruin a relationship if you let things get out of perspective.

Though the show provided some serious perspective, it also kept you laughing from start to finish- best of both worlds!

I was impressed with all of the actors in the production, but one in particular stood out above the rest- Derick Snow who played the part of Kent. Everything from his mannerisms and accent to his delivery helped him play this role with perfection.

They weren't kidding when they said this show was for mature audiences only- the characters in this show had quite the potty mouths! I wouldn't suggest you bring your grandmother to this one.

Odeum Theater Company has one more show left in their 2010/2011 season, "Swimming in the Shallows" running from April 28-May 8. This comedy is also for mature audiences only!


Eat, Pray, and Love Elizbeth Gilbert: A Book Signing

This past Saturday, I attended my very first book signing put on by Book Smart Tulsa. It featured none other that Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love- now a household name.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect out of this whole book reading concept- I could imagine it easily being a bore.

But let me tell you- that woman was delightful. I didn't really care if she was talking about her book or not; she could talk about the grass growing and still get a laugh out of the audience.
The evening began with a decree from the Mayor declaring it Elizabeth Gilbert Day here in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I'm not sure how that ranks on her list of accomplishments but it was a charming touch!

The book signing was to promote her newest memoir, Committed, which chronicles the research and preparation she did leading up to her marriage to her sweetheart, Javier  Bardem. I mean, Felipe!
Seeing that I have just received a dozen books (literally) off of Amazon.com, I didn't have any intentions of buying her new book that night. But then she started reading from it... and I couldn't help myself! It was incredible!

The author chose a section of the fourth chapter in her book entitled "Marriage and Infatuation" to read to the standing-room-only crowd. On top of making everyone roll with laughter, the excerpt was so relatable and real- much like the author herself.

After the reading, Gilbert took questions from the audience and answered each of them with grace. She talked about the research that goes into writing each of her books- including reading hundreds of books for her last memoir, her feelings on the Hollywood adaption of her book (all positive), and her inability to keep up with daily meditation.

One audience member deeply inspired by Eat, Pray, Love asked Gilbert what authors or novels she looks to for inspiration. Gilbert recommended another memoir, A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas, and states that she also turns to Charles Dickens time and time again.
After questions were taken, the packed house filed down the aisle to have their books signed. Surprisingly, it did not take long at all!
Tulsa marked Gilbert's last stop promoting Committed and after all the publicity she claims that she is not going out into the limelight for a long time! I'm so glad I was able to see her!

If you missed this event be sure to mark the next Book Smart Tulsa signing in your calender- Yann Martel, the author of Life of Pi and a new novel Beatrice and Virgil, will be at Congregation B'nai Emunah March 1st at 7pm.


Travel Lust: Malta

Ah... the lovely island of Malta...
No, no, no! I'm talking about the chain of three islands of the southern coast of Sicily.
Though this island is a mere 120 square miles, it packs quite the punch of beautiful beaches, architecture, and history.
Anything in the Mediterranean Sea is really right up my ally. Is it just me, or does the sun seem to shine brighter there?
The most important thing to mention about Malta is that they do indeed have beaches. Beautiful beaches.
This is where I will be picturing myself this week at work when things get stressful.
I don't know if you've caught on to the trend here or not, but I like to go places that are warm, sunny, and surrounded by water.

Photos from: breedretriever.com, malta-holidays.org.uk, dxing.at-communication.com, europe-re.com, wikipedia, gotraveltalk.com


When Life Gives You Blizzards, Make Mayonnaise

In a bout of cabin fever, I decided I needed to make mayonnaise from scratch.

I headed to the grocery store the eve of our next snow storm to stock up on the ingredients: eggs, oil, dry mustard, lemon juice, and vinegar.
Much to my surprise, the store was completely out of eggs! Can you believe it? We were truly in a state of disaster. I would have to work with the eggs I had left at home- this meant no room for error.


The task of making mayonnaise seemed a bit daunting at first so I turned to trusty friend: Julia Child and Mastering the Art of French Cooking. 
 I could gush on and on about this book but let me just say that there is a reason that Julie Powell spent a year plowing through all the recipes in this book.

It is simply amazing.

Do you know how hard it was for me to stop at just that?! I will leave this masterpiece for another time...

So, mayonnaise. Sounds much fancier and delightful when you say its full name.

Here is the basic concept: mix up some egg yolks in the food processor and add in lemon juice and/or vinegar while it's running. And it really was as easy as it sounds.

The recipe instructs you to not stop the processor until the sauce has thickened. I watched my beloved Cuisinart vibrating on the counter with anticipation until- alas!
I had something that most definitely looked like mayonnaise. And it even tasted kinda like mayonnaise, too.

Originally, I thought I might prefer the flavor of my mayo if it was made with solely lemon juice, but it seemed to be lacking something. So I thinned out the mixture with some white wine vinegar.
Ah- much better!

I was shocked that with the help of some acidity I managed to mix together egg yolks and oil and bring them to a state totally unlike the one in which they started.

Normally, I am a big fan of extra virgin olive oil but in this case, I would not recommend it. The flavor is far too dominate- I recommend one of the lightly flavored olive oils available so as not to overpower your sauce (it even sounds nicer just calling it a sauce and not a condiment!).

Go on, I dare you! Make something at home that it completely foreign to you. Something that you usually buy readily made at the store. I guarantee that you will have a new found respect for a simple thing such as mayonnaise. Or gelato. Or ricotta cheese. Or salad dressing.

What will you make?

Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child

1 egg and 2 yolks
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
Lemon juice
White wine vinegar
2 cups good quality, light-tasting oil

1. Process the egg and yolks in the food processor for 1 min
2. Add the mustard, salt and 1 tsp lemon juice or vinegar with the machine running
3. With the machine still running, add one half the oil in a stream of droplets and process until thick
4. Thin out the sauce with lemon juice and/or vinegar, then add the rest of the oil in droplets
5. Season with salt, pepper, lemon juice and vinegar to taste

If you enjoyed this recipe you must check out the book for further ways to flavor your mayonnaise. Or get creative and come up with your own flavor combos! I think curry mayo would be delicious. Or horseradish mayo!


Valentine's Day: A Day of Chocolate... I Mean, Love

Valentine's Day: A special day of the year to tell your loved-ones how much they mean to you.

Also, a wonderful excuse to devour a box of chocolates. And I found the best box in town.
Behold: Glacier Confection.

If you're not careful, you might miss this small artisan chocolate shop located in Downtown Tulsa's Brady District. Its storefront is hardly representative of the beauty and perfection of each confection inside.
The moment I walked into this shop, a huge smile was plastered across my face. I was like, well, a woman in a chocolate shop! Except these didn't look like any chocolates I have seen before. These looked more like beautiful gemstones. 
With flavor combinations such as peach champagne, peanut butter and jelly and banana caramel I was more than intrigued. But I would have bought a box of these chocolates upon looks alone.
Each chocolate had a unique, detailed design and an unbelievable sheen. It was like looking at a case of  precious stones that had been polished to perfection.

Needless to say, I bought a box. Yes, it was a mere three days before Valentine's Day. And yes, my boyfriend was with me. But I couldn't help myself.
Forget Godiva- this is something special! Most treats are handcrafted in the back of the store and this box was just under $15.

Now to the good part- eating them!

I am not typically one to eat more than a single truffle at a time- but for breakfast I had a cinnamon roll and banana caramel truffle. Hey, at least they were breakfast-related!
These truffles had a perfect, thin, crispy chocolate shell covering each delicious flavor concoction. They were simply out of this world.

Glacier Confection even lets you order online and have them shipped to your home or you can pick them up in the store. Get to shopping! You need to try these!

Aside from their brilliant chocolate creations, Glacier Confection also gives back to U.S. Troops and their families. Pretty awesome, right?

Once you try a Glacier chocolate (or heck, even look at one), you will be surprised to learn that the mastermind behind them didn't start out in the food industry. Check out this article in the Tulsa World to read more about it. 

I let you know how the rest of my box goes down... I'm sure it wont take long!

Glacier Confection on Urbanspoon