Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Half baked

Well, in all honestly, it's more like 2/3 baked. When you have caramel/peanut butter/other ooey-gooey, sticky-icky, sugary goodness sandwiched between two already amazing brownies, what you get is the Killer Brownie (r) from Dorothy Lane Market!

The name says it all, but still doesn't do it justice. The Killer Brownie (r) is 1/3 of a pound of awesomeness. These things are legit (so legit that they are actually trademarked)! I was actually kind of psyched out when I got them in the mail and realized that this was some Man vs Food type of business! The photos I've attached do not do it justice, I measured them out when they arrived, they measure out at 1.5" x 2.25" x 3" (each).

I got 4 of them, but I had to eat them 2 at a time (immediately after a long workout). Even by limiting my consumption (somewhat), I still got a sugar buzz that not even a Red Bull can rival. After eating two of them, I ran around the house about 75 times and then passed out in a sugar comma.

Now that I have you all scared to death, these things are truly epic! If you are ever in the Dayton, Ohio area, you should stop into Dorothy Lane Market and grab one. Or if you are like me and have no idea when you will be anywhere Dayton, you are in luck because they ship/deliver! See descriptions of the Killer Brownies (r) that i have tried below:

Pictured to the right (in order from left to right) are The Original and the Brookie. The Original is about what it sounds like: caramel sandwiched between two traditional brownies and covered with powdered sugar (contains pecans). This brownie is for the brownie lover that is on the quest for something more. The Brookie (nut free, for those that are allergic, or just do not like nuts): a chocolate chip cookie-brownie-caramel sandwich. This brownie is perfect for someone who cannot decide weather they want a rich brownie, or a rich and gooey chocolate chip cookie. The solution is here... ...have both!

Pictured to the right (in order from left to right) are Blonde Ambition and The Peanut Butter. The Blonde Ambition: Macadamia nuts, Heath mix, and white chocolate sandwiched between two blonde brownies. I actually slept on this brownie before tasting it, boy was I wrong! This was possibly my favorite of the four. It tasted like you came home from trick-or-treating, dumped your candy out on the floor, then ate it all at once (simply incredible)! The Peanut Butter (pretty self-explanatory, nut allergies beware): some THICK peanut butter sandwiched between two peanut brownies. This one was probably my wife's favorite of the four.

Lastly, if you order the Killer Brownies (r) to be delivered to your house or business, they come in this awesome tin that I have repurposed into my blog contact business card holder.

Dorothy Lane Market (Springboro) on Urbanspoon

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Getting Baked!

This past weekend I was blessed with the opportunity to take a tour of Farm to Market Bread's new downtown bakery. This is exciting to me, firstly because my wife and I love the product and love downtown businesses. Secondly because, being an engineer and having worked in/on a few food plants in my day, I am known to nerd out when it comes to processes and industrial machinery.

Farm to Market Bread has taken over the old Hereford House event space in The Crossroads district. Not the original restaurant (that the owner was just convicted of burning down), but the second one (that also used to be a Paddy O' Quigley's, across from The Cashew). My wife and I smell the delicious bread baking every time we are jogging down Main Street. We had always wondered if they had a shop inside the bakery that sells the bread, and they sadly do not... yet, but it is in the works. They hope to have a bread shop and event space open in front of the bakery soon.

Buns in the oven.
(for Blanc Burgers)
Now to the bakery: It is exactly that, a bakery. Going into the tour, I had expected something much more mechanical, much more automated, much more of a factory setting. But I was wrong, it is very much a bakery, where the bread is made by people that know about the science of making bread and love making it. This is not a Wonder Bread bakery (too soon?).

The bread making process at FTM is almost a 24/7 operation. FTM bakes and delivers fresh bread to local grocery stores and restaurants 7 days a week. That means you have people coming in at 3 AM to start mixing dough, then you have activities going on throughout the day (shaping, proofing, baking, packaging, etc). Then to make sure that grocery stores and restaurants get the freshest bread, drivers show up at about 2 AM the next day to take the bread to it's final destination.

Dough in the new proofer.
Don't get me wrong, there are some awesome advancements in the new bakery that any bakery would love to have. For example: They have a huge new dough proofer (warm humidity) and dough retarder (cool humidity) that are both twice as large as those in the previous bakery. Proofing is a very important part of the bread making process. Not enough time in the proofer, the bread will not rise to the desired height. Too much time in the proofer, and your bread will go flat.

The bakery's HVAC system is made up of a canvas-like ductwork that blows cooling air upward, instead of downward (which would dry out the dough). <-- I told you that I was about to nerd out!

The breads: FTM bakery has the most amazing breads! As I told you, my wife and I love their breads, even before being invited in for a tour. They have both oven baked breads and hearth baked breads. We love the Wheat bread and Grains Galore for sandwiches. The hearth baked Sourdough is incredible! <--Try it with the Rachael Ray tuna melt that I posted about a few months ago.

These are a few of
my favorite things
We were given an awesome tip during our tour. If you have a problem eating a whole loaf of FTM before it goes bad (as it is made with no preservatives - it will not last forever - unlike Twinkies, too soon again?) then put it in an air tight ziplock and stick it in the freezer. This will keep your FTM bread fresh until you are ready to enjoy it.

They even have a couple holiday offerings - that if you have yet to pick up something to take to that Christmas potluck, I have the perfect offering for you - Stollen and Panettone. Stollen and Panettone are both traditional Christmas breads, from Germany and Italy, respectively. Both are a sort of fruit cake-breads, made with sweet candied fruits, and are just fantastic (just like every other bread from FTM).

If you have not yet enjoyed a loaf of FTM bread, do yourself a favour and go pick one up. If you already love FTM, I hope you enjoyed the pics!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Atole Ice Cream

Every month or so, a group of current and former co-workers of mine go to lunch to catch up on life, work, and college athletics. We always try to pick somewhere local and new to at least half of the group. Our most recent lunch landed us in the dining room of Frida's Contemporary Mexican Cuisine.

Frida's Contemporary Mexican Cuisine is aptly named. Both the ambiance of the dining room and the food presentation are unmistakably contemporary, which I did enjoy. My personal favorite touch was the Agave plant painting that you can see in the picture below, on the right side of the photo. The presentation is nice, but most important to me is the flavour of the food. 

Frida's tacos came highly recommended by an attendee's wife. She claims that they are the best tacos ever. I have to respectfully disagree. However, I have stated many times that my frame of reference is much different than most Gringos, I have had some great tacos in my day! The tacos at Frida's were street style and were not bad, just not the best I have had. If I go back again, I will probably get the Tamal that is stuffed with goat cheese and poblano pepper. This is what my gut told me to order in the first place, but I mistakenly went against it.

Right now, you are probably asking yourself "Where is the awesomeness that he always writes about?", hold on baby birds, I'll feed you. The awesomeness at Frida's comes in the form of a happy accident. As it was told to me, this dessert was created completely by accident. Frida's used to (and may still upon special request) serve Atole, which is a masa based drink that is a sort of Mexican cinnamony-hot chocolate. One night they accidentally froze the Atole mixture and the result was a wonderful ice cream-like substance. Everyone that tried the masa based ice cream loved it, so Frida's began serving it as its own menu item. The frozen Atole comes sprinkled with cinnamon & nuts and drizzled with house-made goat's milk caramel. This dessert is out of this world! I highly recommend a trip to Frida's, even if you are a taco snob like myself, solely for the frozen Atole! You will not regret it!

Frida's Contemporary Mexican Cuisine on Urbanspoon