Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Arthurs Tavern

Arthurs Tavern
644 Georges Road
North Brunswick, NJ 08902
(732) 828-1117

Who wants 24 ounces of meat.
Madison Square Park - Manhattan, New York

Wow, you are literally a shack. Yet the smell alone made me fall in love instantly. An old college friend of mine suggested we make a visit to the Shake Shack during my trip to NYC. At the time I had no idea what this place was, but now I'm preaching the word like it's my job. Five Guys, you have been replaced.

Shake Shack is a New York newbie, but already a staple made apparent by the constant hundred plus person line. Shake Shack opened its windows just a mere 5 years ago in 2004, but it looks like it is here to stay. Located in serene Madison Square Park, the lines may be long, but standing in a park on a beautiful day ain't so bad especially when everything smells like meat and cheese...mmm, beef flavored foliage. I forgot what I was saying.

Looked like we made it at a decent time - I think it was 1ish on a Saturday during Rosh Hashanah and German Day Off. I suggest if you can visit during a major holiday to do so. The line got noticeably longer as we slowly moved forward. The shack has only 2 service windows and even after you order there's a wait. About halfway through the line we got a menu.

I may have almost died when I saw they had cheese fries, which are my secret lovers. I totally expected squeezey cheese or canned nacho cheese from a pump, but oh no. This was the good stuff. I'll talk more about that later.

As you may or may not be able to see from the menu above prices seem decent. However, once you add up some fries, a burger and a beer you're looking at a $14 meal. But I was on vacation, still unemployed, but on vacation with an excuse to splurge. Also I was in New York, a city which reliable sources (tv shows such as Sex and The City) have told me is uber expensive and you can apparently only live there if you're a whore, a wasp or some hybrid combination of the two. But I digress. Believe it or not, the wait and the price were no match for the awesomeness of the food.

We finally made it. About forty minutes in line and another fifteen waiting for our order to come up we got our food. They give you that little buzzy thing to tell you when it's ready. I made the mistake of holding it up to my ear, thinking that I probably got the broken one and of course it goes off. I throw it while yelling eep and a profanity at the same time, looking like a complete ass. Sorry children, earmuffs. What can I say, I am not New York chic, I am Minnesota bumbley.

Ahhhh, see above. Soak in the glory...Imagine the smells...Feel the grease and the smush of the bun between your fingers...See the glean of the cheese...send BananaWoo money...Oh, sorry, thought I might have had you hypnotized. But seriously, look at that and tell me it's disgusting. You can't! You just can't do it! And if you can do it, well guess what pal, we cannot be friends.

What you see pictured above is a Shack Burger (single), cheese fries and the bottom half of a cup containing ShackMeister Ale. And yes, it's actually called that. And yes, I had to sound like an ass and ask for it by name. The good news is I've done far worse for 16 ounces of beer.

Burger=Beefy goodness. Super fresh beef and fixins, cooked just right with just the right amount of seasoning. The "Shack Sauce" as they call it was also delicious. I expected spoiled mayo, but instead it was light and creamy and a little spicy. And did I mention the cheese fries? It was like God sent me a potato guardian angel and some dude in a park caught it, chopped it up, dunked it into a fryer and smothered it in cheese. Thank you for your sacrifice potato angel. Like I said, it wasn't nacho pump cheese and it wasn't oily dried shredded cheese either. Can't say exactly what it was, but it was amazing. Crinkle fries weren't half bad either, even though I'd probably just drink the cheese straight if given the option. Also, Meister Ale, superb. It might have tasted really good because I was standing in line for an hour for it, but I think under regular circumstances I would still enjoy.

All in all I am now prepared to move to New York for this place. Just kidding...ahem. But in all seriousness, if you find yourself in Manhattan and have a little extra time on your hands I strongly recommend Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. My only advice is don't come starving and make sure you place a hearty order. If you're going to wait in line for an hour might as well gorge when you get the chance. Maybe get a whole bunch and then walk down the line and sell it to the people waiting for an inflated price. Jokes.

-BigAppleWoo (?)

Journal ala Blog?

Mr. B suggested that I start a journal about my travels. I agreed that would be a good idea. Especially now that I am unemployed and without money, Food ala Blog might be without new restaurant reviews for awhile. No funds = no eats for this blogster. I take that you want to hear 20 or so posts on how to fancy up a Cup O' Noodle? Thought not.

I know, I know, you're probably wondering how I'm going to travel without funds. Well...that's a good question. Crap. I guess I'd rather be traveling and starving than full and dormant? Anyways, I just recently returned from a trip to NYC and Jersey. Two major foodie cities in the U.S. of A. I hit up some hot spots and obsessions (Americana Diner, Arthur's, Les Halles) so still food related, but there was so much more that made me fall in love with New York. Once I become rich or find an old rich guy I will be moving there. Reviews and pics to come soon.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Goodbye State Fair!

Labor day, last day of the State Fair and although it's not offically fall yet it feels that way. I guess it's convenient that the cold comes right after the fair ends. Now I can cover up my salty, greasy bloat with a couple cute sweaters. Fried cheese, hot dogs, ice cream and corn on the cob are all things of the least until next year.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Sustainable Food

As the growing season comes slowly to a close (at least here in Minnesota) I reflect back on my first attempts at gardening. I think that sustainable food is a really important issue that we should all address. I don't think we all need to become vegetarians and I am fully aware of how expensive organic produce is, but consider the future and the past and think about where skills like gardening have brought us and can bring us. It is not such a crazy idea anymore that urban gardening and sustainable food is the wave of the future and maybe the only way we will be able to survive someday.

We live in a culture where quick and easy is the norm. A lot of people don't want to get their hands dirty or wait 3 weeks for a tomato to grow when you can get them at the grocery store. I'm guilty of this just as much as the next person. It is hard to start a garden, especially in the city. Things don't just magically start growing, at least for more people, and most first time gardeners will have their fair share of disappointment. Just a few weeks ago i killed a bunch of morning glory plants, sigh. The good news is somethings did work out and the things that I didn't I learned from my mistakes.

My goal this winter is to keep a considerable amount of plants growing indoors and to start my second garden early next season.

Welcome Fall

Fall means a change of season in the world of food, especially here in the frozen tundra of Minneapolis. I am looking forward to some awesome heart warming seasonal menu items at my favorite restaurants around town. I would highly suggest Broders' Pasta Bar for an excellent fall meal. The digs are cozy and they always have great seasonal menu items.

Personally, I'll be cooking a lot more, staying in and enjoying the indoors. Hope to get some new recipes posted real soon.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Places to catch that last ray of sun

If you're like me you're thinking, "hey, summer is almost over, better get outside while I can!"

Yes, the best and worst part of Minnesota dining is patio seating. Best because it is beautful and despite popular belief we do get a few warm days here and there. Bad because, #1 it ends, #2 when it actually does gets warm patio seating is hard to get without a reservation. So, with summer coming to a close and the MN State Fair here to distract a few people, get outside and eat! Here are a couple of suggestions where patios are plentiful.

1. Cafe Maude located on 5411 Penn Avenue South in Minneapolis. Chic, hip, French.

2. Grand Cafe located on 3804 Grand Avenue South in my old Kingfield hood. Neighborhood gem, a bit pricey, but quiet and maybe even a little romantic?

3. Sea Salt Eatery on the Minnehaha Parkway (4825 Minnehaha Ave). Seafood and scenery. I love this place!

4. Town Talk Diner is funky and fresh on Lake Street (2707 1/2 E. Lake Street) in Minneapolis. Fun and energetic, they put a unique spin on diner food. A little spendy, but I would say worth it.

5. Ba-gu Sushi on 4741 Chicago Avenue located across the street from another favorite, Turtle Bread! Ba-gu placed in my top 3 sushi places when considering price, quality, ambiance, and HH specials. Cute patio out back.

6. Kings Wine Bar is new to the neighborhood. Give it a try. Sidewalk and patio dining. A little loud, but not too bad. If you don't fancy wine bars, try Cafe Ena across the street. Both are located at in 45th & Grand the Kingfield neighborhood of South Minneapolis.

7. Brit's Pub located on Nicollet Mall in Downtown Minneapolis. Rooftop lawn bowling, outdoor bar and large patio. Fun and different.

There is lots more, just keep your eyes open. This first weekend of September should be a glorious 80 degrees, so get out there and soak up the sun while you still can. See you on the patio.


OPEN: Kings Wine Bar

I should explain, if you'll take a look at the comment below. Yes, I was cheering for these guys, but no, this was not the most spectacular meal I have ever eaten. In fact, there were a few things that I may have failed to mention because I want neighborhood digs to thrive. In the end though the meal was sub-par. To keep my integrity as a "food writer" I will add a few notes. Our service was pretty poor and it took them a good amount of time to figure things out. There was lipstick on our water glasses and it took forever to get a replacement glass. Since our visit I have had more than one rude encounter with the manager/owner and that has basically killed any desire for me to return. Sorry Kings, I will not be positively advertising for you any longer.

Kings Wine Bar
4555 Grand Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55409

I remember when this corner was a convenient store and a video and tan. Obviously not as swanky as what it has become today, but still very homey. In recent years this corner on Grand Ave has become very quiet. Old buildings remained, but nothing moved in. Finally, Café Ena brought some life by totally revamping the convenient store into a fabulous restaurant. The recently opened Kings will hopefully follow suit.

Locally owned and run Kings is an interesting mix of deli sandwiches, wine bar, French cuisine, and a sort of Minnesota tapas. A small patio out back and sidewalk dining makes Kings very inviting and a great addition to the neighborhood. It feels like a community. This is how a neighborhood should feel. The inside is dark and modern and although the food is reasonably priced this could be an intimate location for a date.

There is a different menu for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner as well as dessert and a wonderful (and giant) wine list. We indulged in a number of ‘small bites’ including Fried Stickey Hill goat cheese fritters, lox on rye toast, and house made tater tots with bacon and gruyere cheese sauce. The goat cheese fritters were definitely the stars! For dinner we all did small things. Soups, salad, sandwiches, etc. The small bite appetizers were the highlight though. Pair those wonderful little guys with a bottle of Chilean wine and a couple beer and you have yourself an evening my friend.

Sure, there were a couple suggestions I might make, but what I hope and want is for Kings to come into its own. They have all the time in the world to work out the kinks. I have no doubt in my mind that Kings can become a successful business and a neighborhood staple and I’ll be back to make sure that happens.

Tot with bacon and gruyere sauce
Why Hello Tot, I'm Lox
Lox on rye w/dill cream
Goat cheese fritter
Trio of Small Bites
Tomato basil sandwich
Spinach/goat cheese/spicy almond salad

I'm hungry.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Some photos from: Sushi Tango

I just recently got over my phobia of being seen as a big weirdo freak while taking pictures of my food. Lots to share, here's a taste.

L to R, Top to Bottom: Uni Nigiri, Uni/Tekka/Spicy Tuna, Hamachi, Dynamite & Happy Nigiri, Happy Nigiri & Caterpillar Roll. This was my first time trying Uni and I am now officially in LOVE with it!!!! Also, since their move across the hall Tango has revamped their menu. They now offer hibachi as well as some great HH items such as Happy Nigiri. Yay!

Food ala Blog is Getting a Makeover!

Hi anyone and all:

I've neglected my own blog for far too long so I'm doing a major revamp! Look for fun new information in my MN Food News Section as well as some great recipes and of course restaurant reviews.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Forever in Love with Broders!

Broders' Pasta Bar
5000 Penn Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55419-1035

This place is always delicious and special. Usually busy, but worth the wait. Here are some photos from my most recent visit.
Olive AssortmentFettuccine con Meridionale Manzo
Tagliarini di Locanda del Lupo

See my full review on Menuism


Oklahoma Joe's BBQ
3002 W 47th Avenue
(47th & Missions Road)
Kansas City, KS 66103

The outside might not be much to look at. It's attached to a Shamrock gas station and is sort of in the middle of nowhere and after driving 6 hours in the car through construction BBQ is probably the last thing you think you need. I felt a little car sick as we pulled in to Oklahoma Joe's. However, I was determined to try it. Bourdain had it on his list of the 13 places to eat before you die. That was good enough reason for me, even though I thought I'd be barfing it up in the parking lot minutes later. Sorry for that over share, but don't worry it's leading up to the good part.

Inside is half gas station convience store, half BBQ heaven. It smelled awesome even though I was dizzy and tired. The menu was written in chalk on the wall, but there were a surprising amount of options. Did I mention this is not a place for vegetarians? Wait, I take that back. If you are a vegetarian who really enjoys cole slaw then come along. The rest of you can pour red paint on me later...but at least I'll be full. At the window with the tin roof is where you place your order. Pay attention and know what you want...I did not. Silly Yankee.

We managed to get our food and a couple Coronas. Mr. B had a "Hog Heaven" sandwich which featured smoked pork and pork sausage. More like hell for a hog, but heaven for hog eaters. Smokey and delicious. Throw some texas toast in there too. If it's BBQ without butter, it's not BBQ.

Last, but certainly not least, I give you...THE CAROLINA PULLED PORK! This is what I was waiting for. My stomach instantly healed itself once I took a bite of this thing. Pulled pork topped with spicy Carolina slaw served on a warm buttered bun. If you go to Kansas City you must, must, must stop here. You'll never forgive yourself if you don't.


Back From Arkansas and KC!

So what did I learn about food on my travels to KC and Arkansas? Well, I found that Oklahoma Joe's lives up to its reputation and might very well be the best BBQ in the US. Secondly, Indian food in Arkansas is not out of the realm of possibilities, but it might not be what one would expect. You can find "Chicago" style pizza joints nestled among rocky hillsides and what they say about Southern hospitality is true. They do more than fry and BBQ, but maybe sticking to the classics isn't a bad idea.

Not sure if I had any true revelations while I was there, but somewhere in between feeling like I was to be murdered at a roadside berry stand and sensing an indescribable serenity sitting in the woods, I thought maybe I could live in a place like Arkansas. Cities aren't the end all be all, but they're what I know. I think maybe I should finish exploring Minnesota before I venture South again.



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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Cafe Agri


Cafe Agri
4300 Bryant Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55409

I have yet to decipher my feelings about Café Agri. What I do know is I like the idea of a local neighborhood café, organic and gluten free which focuses on the locally grown and sustainable food methods. It certainly brings something unique. I also have a personal attachment to the corner location which is across the street from my old elementary school. From what I’ve read the public is not too happy with Agri’s service and maybe not entirely in love with the food either. I’m not sure how I feel yet, but maybe once I start writing I’ll be able to better explain everything to you all.

Located just blocks away from my parent’s house we took an early evening walk down to Agri last Saturday. We timidly entered inside in search of a hostess who could seat us outside. The young woman who came out of the kitchen greeted us kindly and allowed us to pick a table of our choice inside or out. The restaurant itself is very small and probably can house about 25 people max. The décor is a mix of modern, café and shabby chic. You can also sit outside at tables just located on the sidewalk. Things are usually pretty quiet as far as traffic noise.

Our hostess also turned out to be our server and contrary to what most other reviewers said our service was pretty decent. She was pleasant and visited our table just enough to take our drink order, food order, check in and refill our water glasses. The menu is fairly limited, but all organic and gluten free. I like to eat fresh food, but I’m not organic savvy at all so I just sort of pointed and picked a dish that had something familiar in the description. My parents who accompanied us had been to Agri on a couple of occasions both for breakfast and dinner. They seemed to have a few favorites and enjoyed what Agri had to offer for the most part.

Our dishes arrived in a timely manner starting with the yam crisps. Like potato chips, but lighter and sweet, served with guacamole which was creamy, refreshing and a little garlicky. We each order different entrees. I went with the smoked trout sandwich which turned out to be nothing that I expected, but was still good. I opted for salad instead of chips ($2.00 extra) which I regretted soon after tasting the salad. Expecting the freshest most amazing organic salad ever I was disappointed with the meager greens and carrot sticks covered in an overly tart and tangy dressing. I did not finish the salad. The smoke trout sandwich made up for the greens though. Turned out the trout was actually prepared as a spread, like a tuna or chicken salad. It was flavored with orange and red onions, an awesome combination. Although I would have been happy with a big piece of smoked trout so I could admire the texture, the sandwich turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

The other 3 in my party had pasta dishes. Two went for the walnut pesto (a dish my parents had had before and enjoyed) and one with the ravioli. From what I was told everyone enjoyed their dishes. I had a taste of the pesto and it was pretty normal, I guess I didn’t know what I expected, but it was just like any other pesto I’ve tried. The ravioli was a little funny look. Pale in color they looked like little pillows without cases set on a bed of tomato sauce and capers. To me they looked flavorless just due to their lack of pigment, but my dad said the sauce was really robust and with a lot of flavor elements from the capers, portobellos and fennel.

A long review and what do I have to show for it? Still not sure how I feel overall about Café Agri, but I do know that our experience last Saturday was delightful. Personally the food is not something that I would wake in the middle of night yelling for, but for a good healthy meal and for something a little different I would probably go back. And, as always, I’m in full support of the locally owned and those who support the local producers. Green on Agri, Green on.

Yam Crisps

Glutten free raviolli

Penne w/pesto

Smoked trout spread


Smoked Salmon

Testing the new indoor smoker. Salmon filet smoked with thyme and mint. Just a little salt and pepper. If you haven't seen these indoor smokers I suggest you check them out!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Blackbird Cafe

Blackbird Cafe
815 W 50th Street @ Bryant Ave

When I first learned about Blackbird I was browsing the internet for food stories as I usually do. I came upon a review on The Heavy Table’s food column, The Bite. They had this beautiful photograph of a spicy peanut noodle dish with tofu. From that point forward I knew I had to try it even though my only basis for that thought was a photo.

Located in my childhood neighborhood I am fairly familiar with the area and the people. Although the people are somewhat artsy, I wasn’t sure the neighborhood would feel what Blackbird was trying to accomplish. None the less Blackbird delivered that avant-garde bistro/café feeling I was hoping for. Antlers of all sizes hung from the walls along with gold painted framed mirrors and a chalk board with specials. In the entry way and in the back hung ill-hemmed Italian looking curtains and in the hall paper Chinese lanterns graced the ceilings. From the outside the Blackbird looked very small, but they could probably house about 40 people.

On a whim last Monday evening we decided to give it a try. We arrive about 6:30 which was perfect because after we were seated numerous parties came in and were turned away (you cannot make reservations). The one unfortunate part was being seated right next to the doors, which wasn’t entirely the restaurant’s fault, but we had a couple parties come in and stand right over us talking loudly about whether or not they should wait. One group even took the menus from our table to try to figure out if they were at Heidi’s (which is right next door). I quickly snatched back our menus once they walked away.

The wait staff seemed friendly enough. I chatted a bit with our waitress regarding the spicy peanut noodle picture I saw on The Bite. She told me that many people have come in seeking out just that one dish. For the rest of the meal she was attentive and made sure our glasses were full and our table was clear.

My boyfriend had the Southwestern Sandwich, which was not actually a sandwich, but still good. I of course had the Spicy Peanut Noodles with tofu. Not overly spicy, but still had a lot of flavor. The tofu was definitely the star of this dish. There was also chicken mixed in the noodles and I wasn’t sure if that was a mistake or if they always came that way. In any case, if you are a vegetarian you may want to ask about the chicken.

The most awesome part of this meal wasn’t the entrees, but the app and the dessert. We tried the Proscuitto Cigar which was by far one of the best apps I have ever eaten (see more about this in the description below). Also, the dessert trio we ordered was delectable especially the jasmine tea crème brulee.

The Blackbird was an overall success in my book. Reasonably priced (not an everyday place, but for special occasions or a treat), interesting décor and some really amazing unique dishes. I would definitely go back in the near future even if it was just to nosh on apps and drink some beers at the bar.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

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Roat Osha is trying to make the grade

After a few months in business are they doing it? We went for a visit after being ejected from Burger Jones. Just kidding, there was just a 45 minute wait. I like hamburgers as much as the next fellow, but...It looked like there was patio seating too and they were just making people wait. I'm sure that wasn't the case, but still, what the hell?

Anyways, our plans shifted from burgers to Thai food. Lucky us because we were close to Uptown which they might as well rename 'Thaitown'. We chose Roat Osha for the parking and the patio which had available tables (Dave called ahead, good work!). When we got there the place looked dead inside. There were a couple people sitting at the bar and the rest of us were outside. Still, the patio was not packed by any means. Good for us, bad for Roat Osha.

Since Mr. B and I had already eaten at Punch, we had time to sip some drinks and take in the sunshine. I was also preoccupied with the table next to us who seemed to be having an awful lot of trouble. I wouldn't usually have noticed, but out waitress spent most of her time talking with them and not so much attending to us. No big deal today, but I saw a flash of things that might come to be. Would the service at Roat turn as bad as the service Tum Rup? I hope not.

The Sister and the Dave partook in their regular spicy pad Thai with no egg. Everything was pretty normal and overall satisfying. Mr. B and I shared the mango with sticky rice dessert. The mango was fresh and delicious, but the rice was in a square, kind of bland and not impressive on a plate. I would recommend the mango sticky rice dessert from Amazing Thailand over the one served at Roat.

I think Roat Osha has the ability to be long lasting, but it needs to keep its service standards up. Don't worry, we will probably be back.


Ciao Bella

Ciao Bella
3501 Minnesota Drive
Bloomington, MN 55435

According to their website Ciao Bella is a 'contemporary Italian restaurant', 'dramatic, comfortable, welcoming and delicious.' I would agree with most of that. Technically located in Bloomington, this on the outskirt of Edina dining and drink establishment has been around for over a decade. The inside is sleek and classy, dimly lit and very intimate. There is also a small bar area with large glass doors that open all the way up to the reveal the patio and the nice weather the 2 months of the year Minnesota has it. Ciao Bella is owned by the same peeps as Bacio of Plymouth and Zelo of Minneapolis.

They have a lunch and dinner menu as well as fresh fish, dessert and wine. The wine list is fairly extensive and I saw a few that I like (Smoking Loon cabernet sauvignon and the Robert Modavi pinot noir). On our most recent visit we just went for a short lunch. On my usual visit I most often sit on the patio and enjoy a beer or two.

The salads my sister and I chose for lunch were good, but nothing super special. The Ciao Baby feature organic greens, goat cheese and pine nuts tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette. Basic, yet refreshing. My sister had wished there were a few more dimensions to the salad. As a side it would be great, as a lunch entree I would suggest something a little more interesting.

I went with the small chopped salad which included crispy prosciutto, chicken, tomato, onion and blue cheese crumbles with a spicy-sweet dressing. I did highly enjoy the dressing, a bit different from your average chopped salad dressing. The rest of the salad I could take of leave. The tomatoes were few and the ones I did find were at the bottom of the bowl and smushed. The crispy prosciutto looks almost like bacon bits and not the thinly sliced salty goodness I was expecting. Lastly, the chicken appeared to be boiled or something. It was not grilled, just wilty and almost too pink. I ate it though and I'm still here, so guess it was okay. The other thing I noticed is my friend who ordered the large chopped salad had a few more additions including fresh parmesian cheese on top. Her's looked better than mine, so maybe I was just unlucky.

Although Ciao Bella and the Cheesecake Factory are totally different dining experiences I would rather go to the Cheesecake Factory for their cobb salad than do another chopped salad at Ciao. For less than $8.50 (the amount for a small salad at Ciao) you get a huge 'lunch sized' portion at Cheesecake Factory and it has always been crispy and satisfying. While I do enjoy Ciao Bella for the atmosphere and wonderful patio, I will most likely pass on dining there anytime in the near future. In Ciao's defense many of my co-workers swear by this place. Plus, some of the menu items intregue me like the chicken and wild mushroom risotto does sound delicious. Nothing against you Ciao, but high class restuarant establishment does not always mean out of this world food.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ricotta Gnocchi

I am super proud of myself, I made gnocchi! And not just any gnocchi, good gnocchi! Thanks to the awesome recipe at and a little can do attitude I was able to pull these off on the first try. For those of you looking for the recipe in cups versus grams here's a little breakdown:

1/2-2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup of ricotta cheese
1 egg yolk from a medium to large egg
1/4-1/2 tsp of fine sea salt (I used regular table salt and it worked out fine)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Mix the wet ingredients first (and the salt) and then gradually add the flour a little bit at a time stirring with a wooden fork. The mixture will be sticky, but rolling it out in flour will solve that. If you take a floured finger and poke it should feel almost bouncy. The more flour you add the more dense your gnocchi will turn out.

These dumplings turned out fluffy and velvety just like deliciousdays said. I forked them (this is not necessary) and made a simple red sauce with spicy Italian sausage to go on top. I served the gnocchi with a spinach and arugula salad with a light olive oil, black pepper, salt and crushed red pepper dressing. This dish looks hearty, but because of the delicate texture of the gnocchi it didn't feel like you just ate a rock. I can't wait to make this recipe again and try some different variations with herbs or other seasonings!