Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out for October: Boudro's Texas Bistro #WGDinesOut

This month, The Weekend Gourmet Dines Out spotlight is shining on Boudro's, a longtime favorite Riverwalk restaurant. Popular with locals and visitors alike since 1986, this Texas bistro features big-flavor food and drinks...and picturesque Riverwalk views. Michael and I recently enjoyed a delicious meal that featured some of Boudro's signature menu items. We were warmly greeted by the servers and shown to our table. While we decided on our entrees, we decided to start out with cocktails and Boudro's signature Guacamole for Two, which is made to order at your table. I ordered a Prickly Pear Margarita, the restaurant's colorful signature cocktail. Michael opted for a Strawberry Caipirinha, which was flavored with fresh strawberries, basil, and serrano pepper with key lime and Cachaca, a Brazilian sugar cane distilled spirit. Both cocktails paired perfectly with the excellent guacamole.
Our server Tracy is a guacamole expert. He customized the guacamole to our flavor preference, and it's some of the best guacamole we've ever tasted. It was flavored with roasted tomato and Serrano peppers, orange and lime juices, and cilantro. It was nice and chunky, with just enough heat. It was the perfect start to our meal!

Boudro's offers a wide range of entrees -- from seafood to steak and chops and other specialties. We both focusesd on two seafood entrees during our visit. Michael loves Cajun food and quickly zeroed in on the Boudreaux's Shrimp and Grits, while I opted for the over-the-top good Gulf Shellfish Platter.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Sneak Preview of our Upcoming Culinary Adventure in San Francisco, Sonoma, and Napa Valley #WGTravel #Cali2016

I’m thrilled to announce The Weekend Gourmet’s next culinary travel adventure is going to be San Francisco, Sonoma, and Napa Valley! Next month, my four-person team will be exploring the very best, food, wine, and attractions in the area…and sharing all of the fun with you via live social media shares and a multi-part series of articles. I wanted to share a sneak preview of our itinerary today, because I’m so excited about this trip! After a Summer and early Fall that was spent tending to a wounded leg, then dealing with a nasty bout of shingles? I'm ready to have some fun adventures! Michael and I first visited the Bay Area and wine country area in 2009, the year before we founded The Weekend Gourmet. We fell in love with the area and are so excited to be going back! Our trip will start with two nights in San Francisco, where we will explore Fisherman’s Wharf, visit the Ferry Building Market, and eat our fill of Dungeness crab, clam chowder, and other local favorites. 
Our home base for the first leg of our journey is the beautiful Hyatt Regency San Francisco, which is ideally located near the picturesque Embarcadero and features stunning waterfront views. We will be dining at Pier 39's Fog Harbor Fish House, enjoying contemporary Japanese cuisine at Ozumo, and clam chowder and other seafood delights at Bistro Boudin. We will also be dining at Restaurant Gary Danko, one of San Francisco’s best fine-dining restaurants. We dined at Gary Danko during our 2009 trip, and it's one of the best dining experiences we've ever enjoyed!  

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A Summer Visit to New York...Featuring The Library Hotel #WGTravel #EastCoast2016

Photo provided  by The Library Hotel Collection
This Summer, we enjoyed a fabulous long weekend in New York. I’ve shared most of the trip with you over the past few weeks, but I still have a few more delights left to share today! We spent the last evening of our visit at the charming boutique Library Hotel. This gem is located – as its name implies – just down from the New York Public Library's Main Branch. This hotel is the perfect hotel for bibliophiles. Everywhere you look, you’ll find fun library- and book-themed dĂ©cor! When you enter the lobby area, you find bookshelves and old-school library Dewey decimal card files. The theme continues to the main floors – each of which is named after a specific literary genre. Room numbers follow the Dewey decimal system – complete with corresponding books inside each room for reading. 
Our room featured a Queen bed and a soothing color scheme. It was a cozy and relaxing home base to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. The room also featured a marble bathroom with a nice tub for soaking. Like all hotels in the Library Hotel Collection, The Library offers guests complimentary WiFi connectivity. For another fun decorating touch, check out the cheeky embroidered pillow that was on our bed!
We’ve stayed at all four New York properties in the Library Hotel Collection, and we’ve been very impressed by their excellent customer service, casual-elegant atmosphere, and amazing guest amenities. Apparently, we’re not their only fans! The Library Hotel Collection was recently named the #1 Luxury Hotel Brand in the world for 2016. They earned an impressive 96.1% score in the Guest Rating Index (GRI) based on 2.7 million guest reviews in 2015.

We dropped our bags for storage with the friendly front desk staff at The Library's check-in counter before heading out for a day of fun! Every time we come to New York, a stop at The Doughnut Plant for amazing artisan doughnuts and chai tea is a definite must. We made our way to the Lower East Side and made a beeline for Doughnut Plant's original location. We love enjoying our favorite flavors…and trying special seasonal flavors too! This time, our doughnut sampler included Peanut Butter & Jelly, Coconut Cream, Chocolate Blackout Cake, a Chocolate Hazelnut Doughseed, Tres Leche Cake (our personal fave!!), and a Creme Brulee Doughseed. The square shape of their filled doughnuts ensures you get a taste of filling with every bite. Take a look...and get ready to drool!
My cousin Michael lives in New York, so he and his little girl met up with us for a mid-morning foodie adventure. The only thing better than a breakfast of Doughnut Plant doughnuts and steaming hot chai tea is sharing the experience with family you don't get to see very often!
After stuffing ourselves with doughnuts and chai tea, we decided to make the short 10-minute walk to Vanessa’s Dumpling House in nearby Chinatown. We love going to Vanessa’s, because you can get a ton of delicious, authentic Asian food for not very much money. Vanessa's is actually one of our best tips for stretching our food budget when visiting New York!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The TMBBQ FEST Is Coming to Austin This Month! #TMBBQ

Attention all Texas BBQ lovers! What if I told you that you could sample delicious BBQ from all over Texas…plus a BBQ joint from Paris, France…all in one venue? This scenario is a dream come true for BBQ fanatics! Texas Monthly's seventh annual TMBBQ FEST is being held Sunday, October 30th at The Long Center for the Performing Arts in Austin. This smoketacular event will take place from 100-400 p.m., and tickets are now available! This will be our third time to attend and cover the TMBBQ FEST, and it’s always a great time. This year, 25+ of the best BBQ joints are taking part in the FEST, including Austin’s Franklin BBQ (currently ranted #1 BBQ in the entire state), highly acclaimed Killen’s BBQ from Pearland, and Pecan Lodge from Dallas. Every participating BBQ joint has a booth where hungry BBQ lovers line up to sample their brisket, ribs, sausage…and fun surprises like lamb chops too! As these pictures from last year’s TMBBQ FEST show, we had a great time sampling some amazing BBQ.
In addition to fabulous Texas BBQ as far as the eye can see, attendees can also purchase soft drinks, beer, and cocktails to wash it all down. There’s also plenty of great live music to enjoy – the event is in Austin, after all! Bottom line: TMBBQ FEST is a fun afternoon where BBQ lovers of all ages mingle and sample as much smoky Texas BBQ as they can eat in a beautiful location near picturesque Lady Bird Lake. Keep in mind that this is a very popular event, and tickets typically sell out before the day of the event. If you are interested in attending the 2016 TMBBQ Fest, I highly recommend you purchase your tickets online as soon as possible! VIP Tickets are already sold out, but General Admission tickets for this family-friendly event can be purchased online for $80/adult. Discount tickets for children 5 and under are just $10.

The Weekend Gourmet will be posting lots of fun social shares the day of the 2016 TMBBQ Fest – including live video streaming! If you’re not following us on social media, what are you waiting for? We’re WEEKENDGOURMET on Instagram and @TheWeekendGourm on Twitter.

Disclosure: TMBBQ FEST provided The Weekend Gourmet with media credentials to attend and cover this year's festival. 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Sleepover Foods #SundaySupper...Featuring Fluffernutter Puff Pastry Turnovers

This week, #SundaySupper is having a sleepover! Our hostess is Marion of Life Tastes Good. She asked us to share our favorite sleepover-worthy recipes. sleepover days were several decades ago. However, some things never change. All you need for a fun sleepover is good friends, a funny movie, colorful lip gloss, sparkly nail polish...and an amazing sweet treat! One of my favorite sandwiches as a kid was a fluffernutter: peanut butter and marshmallow fluff on soft white bread. This sweet sandwich was the inspiration for my Fluffernutter Puff Pastry Turnovers.

With just five ingredients -- including easy and convenient puff pastry -- these decadent sweet treats are a snap to make! I added some white chocolate to the filling to up the ante just a bit...and then drizzled a combination of white chocolate and more peanut butter on top. These amazing fluffernutter turnovers would be a welcome addition at any sleepover!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

#ad Gearing Up for Halloween with Tyson Foods…Featuring Boo-rific Halloween Corn Dog Cups with Green Goo Dipping Sauce

Disclosure: This post is written by me on behalf of Tyson Foods, Inc. All opinions are entirely my own. This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SpookyGoodSnacks #CollectiveBias
It seems like Summer was just here…but Halloween is just around the corner! Why not surprise your family with some fun and creative #SpookyGoodSnacks featuring State Fair® Corn Dogs and Tyson® Any’tizers® chicken snacks? These convenient frozen products allow busy cooks to whip up fun, quality seasonal treats that are also a good source of protein. I used State Fair® Corn Dogs that I bought in the freezer section of my local H-E-B to create my Boo-rific Corn Dog Cups with Green Goo Dipping Sauce. I also purchased some Tyson® Any’tizers® Tequila Lime Wings to pair with my fun corn dog display, because the tangy-spicy flavors also worked perfectly with my spicy neon green avocado-based dipping sauce.
State Fair® and Tyson® are offering their customers a very special deal during the annual FRIGHT FEST event at Six Flags® Fiesta Texas! To receive one free kid ticket, simply take the following steps:

(1) Purchase any State Fair® Corn Dog or Tyson® Any’tizers® snacks product.
(2) Snap a picture of your receipt with your mobile device.
(3) Text the word TYSON (along with your receipt picture) to 87654. Then, follow the prompts.

Once you complete these steps, you’ll receive a special code via text that can be redeemed at the gate when you arrive at Six Flags® Fiesta Texas. The codes expire on 10/30/16 at 11:59 PM ET. Be sure to check out the FRIGHT FEST at Six Flags® Fiesta Texas Program Rules for complete promotion rules.

I can't wait to show you how quick and easy it is to create my fun…and spooky Boo-rific Corn Dog Cups with Green Goo Dipping Sauce! It's also a great Halloween kitchen craft project to involve your kids in. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Hamilton Beach 4-Cup Rice and Cereal Cooker Giveaway...Featuring Deluxe Mexican Rice #hamiltonbeachricecooker #giveaway

Let's' face is busy -- especially during the last three months of the year! Between school activities, holiday prep, and socializing...time is a precious commodity! I’m always on the lookout for ways to maximize my time and ensure I serve a healthy and satisfying dinner. I recently received a handy appliance from my friends at Hamilton Beach that saves me time while I’m making healthy dishes. Hamilton Beach’s versatile 4-20 Cup Rice Cooker and Hot Cereal Maker can be used in a variety of ways to help save time and make your kitchen life easier!  It’s definitely a foolproof way to make a perfect pot of rice – but this unit can also make other grains and cereals too. It also makes killer oatmeal in about 30 minutes, while you shower and get ready for work! 

Because this rice cooker comes with a handy steamer insert, this cooker lets you prepare an entire meal in about 30 minutes! Cook your rice in the pot, then add seasoned veggies and protein to the steam insert. When the rice is cooked, your veggies and protein are ready too! I used my Hamilton Beach rice cooker to make Deluxe Mexican Rice. The rice is flavored with diced tomatoes and chiles, corn kernels, and other seasonings. It cooks up perfectly fluffy and is spooned into bowls. Everyone can customize their favorite toppings – I love to add sour cream, shredded cheese, green onion, and avocado for a veg-friendly dinner. If you want to have a more hearty meal, simply steam some seasoned chicken tenders while you cook the rice!