Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Build-your-own Burgers at 56 West

Tonight, I met two girlfriends at 56 West in Lakewood for dinner. It was a bittersweet experience - great food, but we were saying goodbye to a friend who's moving to Pittsburgh this weekend.

She picked the restaurant - she'd been wanting to try 56 West for a while. And, I'm glad she did.

It's a very casual, laid-back atmosphere, and the menu, also casual, had some really great options.

Burgers, sandwiches, salads and a few simple large plates made up the inexpensive menu (all sandwiches and burgers were under $10). It seems that the feature is the burger section, with build your own section that included a lot of unique topping options, as well as a list of suggested burger/topping combinations.

Here's what we chose:

Bacon, egg, arugula, roasted tomato, herbed mayo

Build-your-own Burger with arugula and goat cheese

Build-your-own Burger with chimichurri sauce, chipotle honey glaze, leaf lettuce and Vermont cheddar cheese

The burger itself was average...juicy enough but not the best I've ever had. It was really all about the toppings for me. And, you really can't beat the list of options they offer for such a low price.

I'll definitely be back to this place and hope you check it out, too.

56 West on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Freshening up for summer

I try to use fresh ingredients as often as possible, but now that it's summer, I feel there's no excuse to not use all of the beautiful fresh fruits and vegetables out now. So, for the next several weeks, I'll be including at least one fresh fruit or vegetable in every meal.

So while I'm snacking on peaches, plums, berries, kiwi and anything else that looks delicious at the grocery store, I've been thinking up new ways to include them in our meals, too. Here's what we ate tonight:

Farfalle with lemon, asparagus and Parmesan

While cooking the pasta (1 pound), I blanched a bunch of asparagus spears that I had cut into small pieces. Then, I mixed 3 tablespoons of butter with the zest of one large lemon. Once the pasta cooked and the asparagus had spent some time in an ice bath (to keep it green and crunchy), I mixed it together and stirred in the lemon butter, which melted and coated all of the pasta and asparagus. Then, I mixed in some shredded Parmesan cheese.

The crunch of the asparagus, the sweetness of the lemon zests and the salty taste of Parmesan was a great combination. It was a hearty dish that was still light enough for summer.

Dessert: Warm sugar cookie topped with grilled peaches and plums and vanilla bean ice cream

While my husband grilled the peaches and plums, I quickly baked a batch of sugar cookies (had pre-packaged cookie dough in the fridge). I literally transferred the cookie from the baking sheet to the bowl, and the fruit went straight from the grill to the bowl as well. Once the cold ice cream joined them, it started to melt over the warm ingredients and all mixed together so deliciously. With the exception of the cookie, this is a pretty healthy dessert (we used fat-free, no sugar added ice cream with only 70 calories per serving). I'm sure we'll make it again at least once this summer, with or without the cookies.