Thursday, September 23, 2010

Restaurant Review - The Stone Rose

More than once, I have been asked by a few colleagues, "Why haven't you tried writing a restaurant review?" After all, this is "Suburban Spoon" - the adventures of a foodie in the suburbs of Philly! I have been dying to try a new-er restaurant in Conshohocken, The Stone Rose, so I thought - let's give it a try!

In the past week, I have been to The Stone Rose twice - once for lunch with my neighbor and once for cocktails & dinner with friends. Lunch was good; it was a lovely day and The Stone Rose has outdoor seating at the front of the restaurant which made it feel very metropolitan, as if I were eating downtown. I had the chicken pita special, which was very good but nothing noteworthy.

For my dinner at Stone Rose, I went with a couple of girlfriends for a night out. Since I am getting married soon, we thought it would be fun to go out and taste-test cocktails so that I chose the signature drink for my wedding. The bartender, who I believe might also be the manager, was extremely accommodating and friendly - especially considering I came with a list of cocktail recipes that we wanted to try.

One major point that I appreciated was that the menu strived to include as locally grown and organic ingredients as possible. From the local greens to the grass-raised beef, I was grateful to finally find a local, suburban restaurant with a green conscience.

The Food: presented beautifully, which of course is very important to a foodie. The first thing we have a chance to judge is the way a dish looks. I had the Stone Rose Salad to begin. The attractive pile of greens was tossed with the perfect amount of cider vinaigrette, but I was disappointed by the meagerness of the toppings: Wisconsin sharp cheddar, candied pecans, and apples.

For my entree, I chose the locally raised Oven Roasted Free Range Chicken. Those who know me well know that I love my chicken; I just can't think of anything more versatile and delicious! The chicken was seasoned and roasted to perfection. The herbed rice gratin that it was served with was fantastic, folded with a wonderfully sharp bleu cheese.

Sadly, we did not have any room for dessert, although I didn't even see any mentioned anywhere so I'm not sure that they even SERVE desserts.

The Service: the three of us sat at the bar, although there were open tables since we had gotten there fairly early (7:00PM) and it was a Tuesday night. Like I mentioned before, the gentleman taking care of us was very cordial.

The Atmosphere: the urban-like feel of this restaurant is unique to Conshohocken, and I think it is about time something of its caliber came along. From the open-air seating, to the hardwood floors and beautiful bar, the aesthetic of this restaurant was an A+ in my book.

Will I return? Absolutely. I am thrilled with this addition to my neighboring town. I cannot wait to try the Braised Beef Short Ribs over Mac & Cheese as well as their Stone Rose Burger. Since the location is not the largest, I will surely try another weeknight to avoid a crowd.

The Stone Rose
822 Fayette Street
Conshohocken, PA  19428


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Food News: What was she thinking???!!

I respect Lady Gaga as an artist.  Really, I think she is a great performer.  The next Madonna?  I don't know about that, but she is definitely trying to make waves wearing a dress made of meat to the MTV Video awards.  Lady Gaga, that is just wretched... stay away from my house, especially on Mondays!

Photos courtesy of Huffington Post.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Spiced Grilled Chicken with Couscous

Tomatoes are everywhere right now and the last of my basil is also sitting in pots on my deck begging to be picked and used before the cold weather sends my plants to basil heaven. 

Anyone who knows me personally also knows that I am a huge chicken fan.  I love how versatile it is; you can fry it, you can roast it, bake it, make soup with it, but best of all - you can grill it!

This easy recipe adds a little spicy kick to grilled chicken.  Add steamed vegetables to the couscous for an extra healthy addition.

Spiced Grilled Chicken with Cous Cous-2

Spice Grilled Chicken with Couscous
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken halves
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup couscous
  • 3/4 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup torn basil
  • 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 2 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 T olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Heat grill to medium high.

Using a meat mallet or rolling pin, pound chicken until about 1/2" thick.  Season with paprika, cumin, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Grill about 3 minutes per side, until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees.  Transfer to a plate and tent with foil for 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring broth to a boil and add couscous.  Remove from heat and cover for 5 minutes.  Stir in lemon zest and juice, 2 T of olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Spoon to bottom of serving dish, scatter tomatoes and basil on top.

Slice chicken into 1/4" slices and arrange on top of couscous.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Meatless Monday - Butternut Squash, Spinach, and Mushroom Lasagna

I recently had my neighbors Jody and George over for dinner to celebrate Jody's birthday.  Since the only night we were able to get together was a Monday evening, I wanted to come up with a satisfying meal for company.  This lasagna was so delicious, my guests didn't miss the meat one bit!

  Butternut Squash, Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna
  • 9 precooked lasagna noodles (I wouldn't use the no-bake kind here)
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 cups fat-free milk 
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion 
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh sage 
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 8-oz bag of fresh spinach
  • 1 lb. porcini mushrooms,
  • 1 medium butternut squash, diced into 1" cubes
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese

  • Kosher salt
  • White pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 450°.

Combine 1 & 1/2 teaspoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, mushroom, and butternut squash on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.

To prepare béchamel, place flour in a Dutch oven and gradually whisk in milk. Add 1/2 cup onion, sage, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 tsp. white pepper and bay leaf. Bring the mixture to a boil.  Cook 1 minute or until thick.   Set aside.
Heat 1 T olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add approximately 2 & 1/2 cups onion and garlic; sauté for 3 minutes. Add 1/2 tsp salt, 1/3 tsp pepper and spinach; sauté 2 minutes or until spinach wilts.  Set aside.

Combine cheeses in a small bowl and set aside.

Spread 3/4 cup béchamel in bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 3 noodles over béchamel.  Top with half of squash mixture, half of the spinach mixture, 1 & 1/2 cups béchamel, and 1/3 cup cheese mixture. Top with 3 noodles,  remaining spinach mixture, remaining squash, 1 & 1/2 cups béchamel, and 1/3 cup cheese mixture. Top with 3 noodles and spread remaining béchamel over noodles and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for 10 minutes longer.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.



Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Teryaki Chicken Meatballs

Now and then, I like to try something a little different than the norm.  I'm also on a healthy kick, so substituting chicken or turkey for red meat where I can is always a bonus.  I came up with these Asian-inspired chicken meatballs, which are surprisingly moist and packed full of flavor!

Teryaki Chicken Meatballs

For the meatballs:
  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 T lite soy sauce
  • 2 T rice wine vinegar
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 6 scallions, whie and light green parts, chopped
  • 1/2 of a carrot, diced
  • 2 T canola oil
For the sauce:
  • 1 c chicken stock
  • 3 T soy sauce
  • 3 T rice wine vinegar
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 1 T sugar
In a large bowl, combine all meatball ingredients.  Shape mixture into 1" balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or wax paper.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add meatballs and brown on all sides, about 6-8 minutes.  Remove and set aside.

Meanwhile, combine the sauce ingredients.  Add to the skillet after removing the meatballs and bring to a  boil.  Reduce heat, return the meatballs to the pan, and simmer for about 8-10 more minutes, until sauce has reduced by half.

Serve over rice, and enjoy!

I served this with a side of steamed edamame for a well-rounded, healthy meal.

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