Tag Archives: Omaha World-Herald

Chefs for Christmas

21 Dec

Today in the World-Herald I have a few Q&As with local chefs from Lincoln and Omaha about their holiday traditions. I also asked each of them one additional question and saved the answers to be featured on Omavore: “What is your favorite holiday dish?” I’ll share a few of their answers today and for the rest of the week. We’ll begin with two chefs from Lincoln.

Happy Holidays!

Chef Kevin Shinn, Bread and Cup, Lincoln: It probably sounds odd, but I like the soup I make from the turkey after the main meal.  I take the carcass, and make a stock, add the leftover meat, vegetables and seasonings and let it simmer away.  I eat it daily until its gone.  It makes the holiday meal seem like it lasts longer. (Kevin’s recipe for leftover turkey soup ran today in the paper.)

Chef Erik Hustad, GUP Kitchen, Lincoln: I almost hate to admit this, but my favorite holiday dish is actually green bean casserole.  Now, sometimes just for fun, I like to make this dish with fresh green beans, homemade bechamel sauce, and fresh mushrooms.  But, there is something about the version made from canned beans, canned mushroom soup, and canned fried onions that just takes me back to my childhood, and that’s really what’s so wonderful about food.

Review: Dixie Quicks Public House

2 Dec

Dixie Quicks is one of my favorite places in the city, so when I realized I could review it, well. I was both excited and nervous. But I think it turned out ok.

The short form: Dixie Quicks is now in Council Bluffs, but the food is still amazing. And the third outpost is by far the hippest and fanciest. I’ll be making the trip across the river now for more than just occasional games of blackjack and thrift store adventures.

Pictured above:Dixie Quicks Public House. Photo by Alyssa Schukar/OWH.


My crazy week, in review.

1 Dec

So Chick-Fil-A and it’s soft opening and opening took over my life earlier this week. I can’t say I’ve ever seen so much frenzy over a fried chicken sandwich (or so much controversy over the politics of restaurant owners, for that matter.) I also had to finish writing my story that ran Wednesday about creative hostess gifts (seriously, check out the cheese board that’s featured with the story — it’s amazing) and write my review for tomorrow’s paper and of course compile dining notes. Tomorrow’s review is a good one. I can’t wait to share it here.

Oh yeah, and I have a little column called art notes that always seems to get lost in the fray.

On Monday, I escaped my desk for a photo shoot for the gift story. Yes, that’s my back at left (and my own hand wrapped gift and front door, I’ll add.)

So those are all the reasons that Omavore has been quiet this week. But I’ll be back on track next week, beginning with a recap of this weekend, which I’m spending in Kansas City with my husband. His favorite band is playing a show Saturday night — can’t wait. Next week I’ll tell you about all the good food we eat and the good things we drink over the weekend.

Until then.

Chocolatier Blue and my first giveaway!

17 Nov

Update: The contest is now closed. The winner of the “Adventures with Chocolate” cookbook via a random number generator is commenter #11, RachelWarne. Congratulations!

I’ll give you the full scoop in my dining notes column tomorrow in the World-Herald about Chocolatier Blue coming to Omaha. I was lucky enough earlier this week to get a sample box of Chris Blue’s chocolatey goodness. My oh my. Some of these (and yes, I’ve eaten a few) are amazing. Below, I’m sampling my favorite so far, the White Russian (a.k.a “the caucasian.”) I’m saving the cardamom-flavored chocolate for last, because it just sounds so, so good.

To continue on the theme, I’m offering Omavore readers the chance to win a prize in my very first giveaway! The prize is a copy of the brand new just-released book “Adventures with Chocolate” by chocolate expert Paul A. Young. Young is a renowned British chocolatier, and his book recently won the Best Chocolate book in the World award from the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. Fancy!

The book includes 80 recipes — even savory ones. One that looks amazing to me is chocolate water biscuits that are meant to be served with cheese. This sounds like the best idea ever.

All you have to do to enter the giveaway is leave a comment on this post and tell me what’s your favorite way to eat chocolate? I’ll pick a winner randomly on Monday. Good luck!

OWH Video extra: Starbucks taste test

11 Nov

Yesterday Rainbow Rowell, newsroom Starbucks expert, and I did a little taste on behalf of Starbucks lovers everywhere. I’d been reading online about a lot of recipes that claimed to re-create the deliciousness that are Starbucks seasonal drinks. I wanted to try to make my own Pumpkin Spice Latte at home. I also wanted to try to make the gingerbread latte. But I didn’t want to try them alone, so I asked Rainbow to come and be my taster.

(also, full disclosure, I’m short. See me at left, standing on a box so I can be the same height as Rainbow.)

Click the link below to watch our taste test.


(Spoiler alert!)

So yeah. My drinks sucked. Rainbow was kind in saying my Gingerbread Latte reminded her of a cinnamon dolce latte. It didn’t remind me of anything at Starbucks, let alone anything good. And the Pumpkin Spice Latte I made was truly terrible in every way. It turned out thin, grey and strangely scented. Rainbow hit the nail on the head when she said it tasted like raw pumpkin. And even though I  followed the recipes to a tee, the homemade drinks simply weren’t the same. They weren’t as thick as Starbucks. Not as full-flavored. Not as prettily colored. They were bland, to put it kindly. Check out my pumpkin spice latte below next to the real deal. Uhh. No contest.

I guess that $4 and change for a seasonal treat is actually worth it.

I went ahead and printed the recipes I used below, because I figured some innovative reader out there might be able to improve upon them. If you have better luck than I did, please let me know in the comments.

And special thanks to Rainbow for being a good sport (though she did walk out with a free Gingerbread latte. I’m still sort of jealous of that.)

Pumpkin Spice Latte
makes 1-2 servings

2 cups milk
2 tbsp canned pumpkin or 1 tsp of Torani pumpkin spice syrup
2 tbsp sugar or sugar substitute
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1-2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1-2 shots espresso or strong coffee

In a saucepan, combine milk, pumpkin and sugar and cook on medium heat, stirring until the mixture is steaming. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and spice, and whisk well with a wire whisk until completely blended. Pour into one or two mugs. Add the espresso and top with whipped cream and cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice or nutmeg, if desired.

Gingerbread Latte
makes 2 servings

To make the gingerbread syrup:
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Make the gingerbread syrup by combining all the above ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

Add 1/2 cup of espresso or strong brewed coffee to a mug, then add 1/4 cup gingerbread syrup, and top with steamed milk. Stir and top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg.

Omavore Cocktail Night

8 Nov

We had a few friends over recently to try some cocktails created with Patron XO Cafe, which the fine people at Patron sent to me and asked me to try. My friends happily obliged, and my talented friend and fellow Word-Herald employee Alyssa Schukar agreed to take some photos. (I think I need to hire her full-time as my personal Omavore photographer, because these images are beautiful.)

Anyway, we tried a few of the suggested seasonal cocktails made with Patron XO Cafe, which is tequila flavored with coffee. The drinks were rich — we each ended up finishing about one. The Butterscotch Treat won the seal of approval of the group, and the creamy, sweet concoction would be the perfect after dinner drink at any seasonal party. I’m sharing the recipe below.

Patron XO Cafe Butterscotch Treat

* 3/4 oz. Patron XO Cafe
* 1/2 oz. Butterscotch Schnapps
* 1/2 oz. White Creme de Cacao
* 3/4 oz. half & half
* cinnamon and sugar

Shake all ingredients vigorously in a mixing glass, and strain into a martini. Makes one.

Review: Omaha Burger Club

4 Nov

I had the pleasure of eating with the Omaha Burger Club for my most recent review, which is really the Omaha Burger Club’s review of the best burgers they’ve tried in Omaha.

The short form: The OBC is a fun crowd, and they are serious about burgers. If you get the chance to eat with them, you should, because they’re not only really nice, they’re burger experts. The club’s next meeting is Nov. 17 at Sinful Burger,  4005 Twin Creek Dr. in Bellevue. Become a member of the OBC Facebook group to stay in the know.

Pictured at right: OBC members An Vu and Emily Brewer dig in to dinner at Crave, in Midtown Crossing.


Dixie Quicks Public House

3 Nov

Earlier this week, Matthew and I checked out the new Council Bluffs location of one of our favorite restaurants, Dixie Quicks. Needless to say, we were not disappointed. The new location is full of big-city style but maintains the charm of all of the Dixie’s previous locations. We can’t wait to eat many meals at the new spot. The restaurant opens for business today, and is located at 157 W. Broadway in Council Bluffs. Check out my dining notes column in the Omaha World-Herald tomorrow for a full report on the opening night event and an interview with co-owner and RNG Gallery director Rob Gilmer.

Review: Dolce Cafe

21 Oct

Dolce Cafe is only a few months old, but already making a niche for itself in West Omaha as a comfortable spot for lunch or a potentially romantic dinner place.

The short form: I had some issues with the atmosphere at Dolce, especially in the evening, but the food was top-notch. The pieces of salmon I ate were some of the best I’ve had in the city.

Pictured at left: Arugula and grapefruit salad. Photo by Rebecca S. Gratz/OWH.



Mail call: beer

14 Oct

So I get LOTS of stuff in the mail at work. Lots of it is weird or sort of random or kind of funny. So I’m going to blog about it.

In my first three weeks at the paper I’ve received a bottle of Patron XO, about 25 cookbooks of varying levels of interest, lots of food magazines, two packages of sugar-free gummy bears, a gold envelope that contained a press release and a bag of microwave popcorn, and this, from this morning:

When the front desk person brought it over, they guessed that it wasn’t really beer inside. They were wrong.

 One bottle of Boulevard Pale Ale, bubble wrapped within an inch of its life. I should also say there was a press release in the box, which informed me that Boulevard Pale Ale won two gold medals at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival.

Trust me, I won’t be drinking this one at my desk.


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