Friday, May 27, 2016

World Burger Tour at the Hard Rock Cafe and GIVEAWAY!

A few weeks ago, Bunny was informed by Brandy that the Hard Rock Cafe was hosting a little event called the World Burger Tour through the end of June, in which the rock and roll restaurant would be showing off burgers with lots of international flair and flavors.  This meant that Bunny would have the chance to relive some of her favorite culinary mouthfuls from across the globe without leaving a single restaurant.  However, there was one problem; getting to try more than one of the burgers on offer without developing an exploding gut.  "I'm fairly sure which of their offerings I'm leaning towards," Bunny mused, thinking of the English Breakfast Burger, "But I would like a wee little taste of some of the some of the others.  I can't bring Brandy, because trying to sample something off of her plate would be like doing battle with a snapping turtle.  But bringing someone along is not such a bad idea.  In fact, I may bring more than just one someone..."

And so after convincing Bailey and Hawk to accompany her, Bunny and friends headed into the Hard Rock for a large dose of meaty goodness.  That particular night, a band called Lance Lipinsky & the Lovers set the tone for the evening, playing vintage rockabilly and swing numbers on the stage at the back of the restaurant to the delight of the crowd.  Seated at a table on the second level just under a guitar once owned by Richard Marx and across from Billy Joel's blazer, Bunny was able to enjoy the music as well as the conversation with her friends.

The meal began with cocktails, of course, like the All Jacked Up, a delightfully tropical cocktail made with two types of Jack Daniel's whiskey, spiced rum, and fruit juice, or the Crisp Sipper with gin, cucumber, lemon, orange, and raspberry flavors, both of which came served in a Hard Rock emblazoned mason jar.  Next, the table ordered up some appetizers, feasting on a fresh tomato bruschetta and a surprisingly authentic poutine.  "Now don't spoil your appetites," Bunny warned them, "I've heard these burgers are pretty big!"

Hawk had gone with the Java Lava Burger, which took the flavors of Seattle as its inspiration.  The burger itself had been prepared with a custom espresso rub, then topped with melted cheddar cheese, bacon, crispy onions, and a spicy sauce, and then garnished with a whole fried pepper.  Hawk liked that the burger started with a classic combo of beef, cheese, and bacon, and built on it with a good amount of spice and flavor.  Feeling adventurous, he even added on some of the new Chili Spiced fries for an extra bit of kick.

Bailey went with the Jamaican Jerk Burger, which came topped with mango and jalapeno cream cheese, banana pepper slices, and jerk seasoned mayo.  Bailey was especially pleased that her burger came perfectly rare, as per her request, and she really liked that the spice on this burger built slowly with every bite.  The cool cream cheese helped to balance out the particularly pungent peppers, and the jerk spice very nicely set off the meat and made sure that the burger was the foremost flavor.  Bailey accompanied her burger with some garlic and herb fries, which did a nice job of cooling off the gentle fire on her tongue.

Bunny, of course, went with the English Breakfast Burger, which came stacked high with sliced ham, a sausage patty, fresh arugula, roasted mushrooms, a fried egg, garlic aioli, and a side of baked beans.  "I can barely get my mouth around this thing!" Bunny exclaimed, and ultimately had to resort to slicing off chunks of the behemoth burger when the juice from the mushroom began to compromise the integrity of the bun.  The overall flavors were certainly spot on with the English breakfasts of Bunny's youth ("Could do with a little HP sauce and a roasted tomato though," she commented) and were nicely paired with the Parmesan fries, which came served with a garlic aioli.

Last of all, with their guts preventing them from ingesting any more solids, Bunny and crew picked a few liquid desserts in the form of boozy shakes.  Bailey chose the Iced Caramel with Irish cream, amaretto, and salted caramel liqueur, which had her swooning after a single sip.  Bunny went with the Twist and Stout, which, as its name implied, contained a healthy dose of Guinness along with spiced rum and chocolate liqueur, blended with vanilla ice cream and topped with crumbled bacon.  "Far be it for me to turn away from anything topped with bacon," Bunny laughed, "But I certainly have eaten my fair share of meat today!"

Bunny was so pleased by her evening of rock and roll and food and drink that she has decided to give away some Hard Rock Cafe goodies to one of our loyal readers!  All you have to do to enter is leave a comment, telling us what city you would like to see inspire a burger, and make sure to include the hashtag #WORLDBURGERTOUR!  Get one entry for commenting here, and additional entries for commenting on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.  A winner will be picked at random by the end of the day Friday June 3rd.  Also, don't forget to stop by the official World Burger Tour site to learn more about the burgers now on offer at the Hard Rock through the end of June and also find out how you can book your own World Burger Tour by visiting every city that has inspired this year's burgers!

The writers of this blog have been provided by Hard Rock International with information as well as any meals featured in order to facilitate the writing of this post.

Hard Rock Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Chocolate Sanctuary or Purple Reign

The Slow and Savory Review

Poor poor Bailey Blue.  Brandy's dear friend has been put through the ringer in recent months due to classes she has been taking to become a certified expert in decoupage, wood work, and all the things one would need to know to run a refurbished furniture business.  "I'm just exhausted all of the time," Bailey told Brandy, "I can't even relax at home because every time I look at my nightstand, I think how it would be so much better if I sanded it down and painted it teal.  I've constantly got glue under my finger nails and my hand have a permanent yellow tinge from wood stain."  "What you need is a a nice little afternoon road trip ending in a relaxing brunch," Brandy suggested.  "Brunch is your answer for everything," Bailey laughed, to which Brandy responded, "Brunch does fix a lot of things.  But you know what's even better at fixing things than brunch?  Chocolate."

What Brandy had in mind was the newly premiered brunch at The Chocolate Sanctuary in Gurnee.  The nearly year old restaurant recently debuted their "cocoa infused" brunch with two different dining experiences offered: an a la carte menu with lots of sweet and savory options and a buffet for $22, which includes a complimentary mimosa.

The restaurant, which is situated on a sunny corner of a plaza, had an L shaped interior with a bar and high tables on one side and a large dining area on the other side, bifurcated by a gorgeous fire feature.  Dark woods and sparkling tiles set off the interior, predominantly featuring rich purple linens, which Brandy absolutely loved.  "Would you look at that cabinet in the back with all the glassware!" Bailey exclaimed.  "Darling, look away from the furniture.  You're here to relax, remember?"

Brandy and Bailey started off with some coffees to awaken their palates; a macchiato for Brandy and a hot chocolate for Bailey.  The ladies were delighted when they were presented with their beverages to find out that they came accompanied by a couple of the house made truffles.  Brandy's drink, which was rich and warm and delicious, came accompanied by a raspberry heart, which Brandy could not have been happier with, from its thin milk chocolate coating to its luxurious berry center.  Bailey, who commented, "I could drink this hot chocolate for the rest of my life and be happy," received a massive cookie dough truffle, which a thicker dark chocolate coating and even more chocolate, in chip form, dotting the inside.

Heading to the buffet, the ladies first eyed up the array of freshly made pastries and gorgeous fruit.  Bailey especially liked the chocolate croissants, which were buttery and flaky, while Brandy sided with the miniature muffins with fresh berries baked into them.  Next, the ladies attacked the seafood selections, like the chilled shrimps, lox and cream cheese rolls, and a surprisingly delicious ceviche.  They also adored the goat cheese and beet fritters, which were presented beautifully on metal spoons suspended on a magnetic board.  The main event of the buffet was the meat selection, which included ribs doused in a chocolate 5 spice sauce, prime rib with a cocoa dry rub, and cocoa candied bacon.  In fact, one could get the bacon made into the center of what was referred to as a Waffle Pop, where the stick mounted bacon was dipped in batter, cooked in a special appliance, and then topped with the diner's choice of a variety of toppings, like caramel, chocolate sauce, fresh berries, and maple syrup.  "If you would have told me I'd be eating brunch foods off a stick and loving it, I would have thought you'd inhaled too many furniture polish fumes," Brandy laughed.

Of course, no meal at a restaurant themed on chocolate could be complete without some decadent desserts.  There were plenty of bite sized delights to be found on the buffet, such as tiny cups of chocolate mousse, lemon scented cream puffs, chocolate eclairs with a touch of fruit jam, and white chocolate mini cupcakes.  Not content with the amount of sugar they had already injected into their veins, Bailey and Brandy also sampled an item off the a la carte menu, the signature chocolate sourdough bread made into a scrumptious French toast and covered in white chocolate cream and fresh berries.

"You know, a seafood and chocolate restaurant is certainly not something you see every day, but I think it makes for such an interesting contrast!" Bailey mused as she downed one last cream puff.  "I just love that this buffet isn't full of unwatched chaffing dishes, grey eggs, floppy pancakes, and over cooked meats," said Brandy, "Everything here is fresh, very well presented, and original.  It's not every day you see levitating fritters or chocolate infused ribs!"  The service was also exemplary, especially considering how busy the place got towards the late morning, and at only $22 for the buffet, Brandy thought the quality and variety of the food made the price more than reasonable.  "So, have you found a bit of inner peace now that you've had some chocolate for brunch?" Brandy asked Bailey.  "Maybe a bit too much peace," Bailey yawned, "I'm ready for a nap.  I guess that table and chair set I'm supposed to patina for my final will just have to wait until tomorrow."

The writers of this blog were invited to dine by the restaurant free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

The Short and Sweet Review

The Chocolate Sanctuary Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

From the Kitchens of Bunny and Brandy: Baked Carbonara with Monograno Pasta

Few know this, but Brandy's most favorite food away from the brunch table is actually pasta.  Presenting her with a plate of fettuccine or rigatoni is a sure fire way to win her heart.  "Pasta is just the perfect sort of canvas for which a chef to paint upon," as Brandy likes to say, "It can be rich and decedent, or light and fresh, depending on the sauces, meats, and veggies used.  There's not many ingredients that are so versatile."

Of course, pasta is not often seen at brunch, which does make Brandy melancholy at times, but recently when she discovered a new and exciting line of pasta from Monograno Felicetti, it sent her brain into over drive. The new line uses organically grown grains cultivated across regions such as Umbria and Puglia, where the land is ideally suited to produce flavorful grains that are then milled into incredibly flavorful, nutritious, and high quality pasta. The Monograno line of pasta represents the culmination of four years of testing of hundreds of ancient strains of wheat, farro and kamut, resulting in superior pasta that can be traced back to a specific organic field.

These pastas are so finely crafted that the different grains used actually create unique tasting experiences.  Pastas made with the Kamut release scents of white flowers and freshly peeled fruit while cooking, while tasting like pine and macadamia nuts.  The Farro pasta has a flavor like peanut butter and dates, perfect for pairing with red wines.  The Matt pasta is the most traditional of the ancient grains, giving off the scent of dried coconut and hay while tasting buttery and bread like.

Completely enamored with these pastas, Brandy set a quest for herself to complete a brunch themed pasta dish to honor them.  "Now let's see... pasta... with brunch... eggs... bacon... of course!"

And so the Baked Carbonara was born, using the Matt penne as it's canvas.  The buttery richness in the flavor of this particular pasta made it the ideal base for rich and smokey bacon and loads of cheese.  "Why have I never thought to do this before?" Brandy wondered after she'd finished her masterpiece, "From now on, I'm going to start adding pasta into all of my brunch dishes!  Just imagine how good a Benedict would be on top of linguine instead of an English muffin!"

Monograno Felicetti pastas are available for purchase on Amazon or at Eataly in Chicago.

The writers of this blog were sent products by the company free of charge in order to facilitate the writing of this post.

Baked Carbonara

1 box of Monograno Matt Penne
1 side of bacon, cut into bite sized pieces
1 lb of asparagus, cup into 1 inch pieces
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
4 large eggs
1/2 cup of heavy cream

Pre heat your oven to 375 degrees. Slightly under cook the pasta in salted water, then drain and set aside to cool.

In a medium skillet, cook the bacon until crispy, then remove and drain, leaving about a table spoon of grease in the pan.  Add the garlic and asparagus to the pan and cook over medium low heat for about 7 minutes, then salt to taste and remove from heat.

In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, eggs, and cream, then salt to taste (remember to account for the saltiness of the bacon).  Add in the pasta and stir to combine, then add in the bacon and asparagus and stir again until everything is distributed evenly.  Add the pasta mixture to a greased 9x9 pan and leave to bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes, or until the top begins to turn golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.

Serve hot, optionally topped with more Parmesan and/or a poached egg.  Makes 6-9 servings.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Max and Benny's or Matzo Ball Soup for the Soul

The Slow and Savory Review

Brandy sometimes worries that her extensive brunching adventures have turned her into a brunch snob.  "There was a time when a simple omelette, a couple of strips of bacon, a buttered crumpet. and a cup of coffee was all I needed to satisfy my hunger, but now I seem to get personally offended if there isn't local vegetables in my eggs, the pedigree of the pig my bacon came from isn't spelled out on the menu, exotic fruit jam isn't on my crumpet, and a meal pairing suggestion isn't presented with my coffee.  Maybe I've become too spoiled by all these chefs vying for my attention and approval with their culinary magic tricks, their modern twists on classics, and their seasonal produce obsessions."

Expressing her fears to her friend Hawk, he had to agree that perhaps Brandy's palate had become too pampered.  "You need some good old comfort food.  A greasy spoon diner or a mom and pop bakery or an established family restaurant," he said, "Hey, that gives me an idea!  What would you say to a road trip out of the city to visit a beloved suburban Jewish deli and eatery?"  Brandy mulled this over.  "I just don't know if my sophisticated palate is up for that kind of thing any more," she admitted.  "We'll put it to the test then.  If you don't like this place I'm suggesting, then it may be true that you are forever ruined."

So Hawk and Brandy headed out to Max and Benny's, a 30 year old institution and bastion of good old fashioned Jewish comfort food.  The location was at the head of an unassuming strip mall with the deli at one end and the dining area at the other of the massive space.  Resisting the urge to spend all her money at the deli before they'd even been sat, Brandy took in the unassuming restaurant interior, which was already buzzing with tables full of regulars and the servers who knew them all by name.  "It's not the most glamorous place I've ever been," Brandy said, "But I can't deny that its already putting a smile on my face."  That smile expanded once they were seated and the pair were presented with a basket of fresh bread rolls, and as their waitress (who had been at Max and Benny's nearly 15 years) explained to them, all the bread was baked in house twice a day.

To start off their meal, Brandy eyed up an old favorite of hers, the Fried Matzo (otherwise known as Matzo Brei).  She put in an order for the plain version with onions, which also came served with a side of apple sauce, and was delighted to see the dish presented simply.  The matzo provided a nice slightly crunchy and chewy contrast to the eggs, while the sweetness of the onions was really brought out by an accompanying dunk in the apple sauce.  "Needs a bit of salt though," Hawk commented, to which Brandy pointed out that that issue could easily be overcome by ordering the version with salami the next time.

Hawk decided on the Grandpa's Favorite, with consisted of corned beef, pastrami, and chopped liver on rye bread with a side of cole slaw and a pickle.  The beef was perfectly spiced and melt-in-your-mouth tender, which Hawk really admired.  The liver was maybe a tad overwhelming in competition with the other meats, but it ultimately fit in quite nicely.  "Does liking this sandwich mean that I'm now officially an old man?" Hawk wondered.  "No, it means your tastes have finally reached full maturity," Brandy corrected him.

Brandy had picked the Veggie Breakfast Skillet with corn, mushrooms, green beans, potatoes, and cheese, topped off with two over easy eggs and a side of pancakes.  Not only did she get what she ordered, but the meal also came with a wedge of cantaloupe and two slices of fruit cake, meaning Brandy was overwhelmed with things to sample.  The pancakes had an inherent sweetness and denseness to them that actually made them perfect as a side dish ("I prefer my entree pancakes light and fluffy and my side pancakes substantial," as Brandy put it) and the fruit cake was moist and flavorful.  The skillet was jam packed with crisp veggies and melty cheese, Brandy especially liking that the potatoes at the base of the dish had a lovely crisp crust on them to add in a bit of extra texture variation.  "I never thought I'd been swooning over a plate of eggs, vegetables, and cheese, but... swooning I am, none the less," said Brandy.

Lastly, they finished off with a plate of Red, White, and Blue Blintzes.  The crepe that formed the foundation of the confections was perfectly thin and eggy, while the filling was plentiful.  The red (cherry) and blue (blueberry) blintzes were sweet, almost like the filling of a pie, and perfect with a scoop of sour cream to balance them out, while the white (cheese) was sweet, creamy, and utterly savorable.  "It almost tastes like cheese cake!" Hawk exclaimed in delight, this being the first ever blintz he had experienced.

Still taken with the incredible food at Max and Benny's Brandy rounded out her day by raiding the deli for bagels, brisket pot pies, noodle kuggels, and matzo ball soup to take home with her.  She had been fantastically charmed by the authentic food, done thoughtfully and with love, served by knowledgeable an hard working servers at a price point that was more than fair.  "I may still be a brunch snob," Brandy said as Hawk helped her to haul bags of food out of the restaurant, "But its good to know I can still recognize good food when I see it, no matter where it's being served.  I tell you, this place is enough to make an old city girl like me think about moving out to the suburbs!"

The writers of this blog were invited to dine free of charge by the restaurant in exchange for an honest review.

The Short and Sweet Review

Max & Benny's Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Food News: Hard Rock Cafe Announces World Burger Tour Menu

"You know how you say that there is no exotic or international food you can't find in Chicago?" Brandy said to Bunny over the phone as Bunny sat in a terminal at O'Hare.  "Yes?" Bunny responded.  "What if I told you that you not only didn't have to leave Chicago, you would only have to go to a single restaurant to travel around the world?"  "I'm listening."  "Good.  Then I have three words for you.  Hard.  Rock.  Cafe."

What Brandy was talking about was that Hard Rock Cafes across the nation are currently hosting an event called the World Burger Tour from May 1st through June 30th.  Chefs from 160 locations all across the world competed to represent their cities on the featured menu, and the winners show a diverse and exciting variety of options:

· English Breakfast Burger (London, England) – a Certified Angus Beef® patty topped with sliced ham, a sausage patty, a fried egg, a portobello mushroom, arugula and garlic aioli and served with a side of baked beans

· Java Lava Burger (Seattle, United States) – a Certified Angus Beef patty grilled and dressed in a house-made espresso rub and topped with lava sauce, crunchy java onions, bacon, melted Cheddar cheese and garnished with a fried jalapeño

· Tandoori Chicken Burger (Mumbai, India) – a dark meat chicken patty seasoned with aromatic spices and fresh herbs, topped with mint mayonnaise and served with a side of cucumber

· Jamaican Jerk Burger (Montego Bay, Jamaica) – a Certified Angus Beef patty topped with banana pepper rings, mango jalapeño cream cheese and jerk mayonnaise

· ATOMIC! Burger (Las Vegas, United States) – a Certified Angus Beef patty topped with Atomic beer-battered peppers, pepper jack cheese, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, garlic chipotle ketchup and chipotle mayonnaise

· Tango Salsa Burger (Buenos Aires, Argentina) – a Certified Angus Beef patty topped with andouille sausage, Monterey Jack cheese, chips de batata, a fried egg, salsa criolla and garlic aioli

· Greek Burger (Athens, Greece) – a Certified Angus Beef patty topped with arugula, feta cheese and a tomato slice

·Aloha Burger (Honolulu, United States) – a Certified Angus Beef patty topped with SPAM, Monterey Jack cheese, a grilled pineapple ring with sweet soy glaze, guacamole and pico de gallo

Along with the burgers, Hard Rock Cafe is featuring a host of accompanying cocktails to take along on the tour.  Served in Hard Rock’s iconic mason jars, adult guests can order with the suggested pairing or mix it up with any other burger from the limited-time menu. New cocktails include:

All Jacked Up – created to balance the Jamaican Jerk Burger’s spicy flair, this cocktail features a mix of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, PJ, Orgeat and lime juice, garnished with orange and pineapple wedges and a cherry

· Crisp Sipper – inspired by the Aloha Burger’s sweet and savory taste, this cocktail features a mix of Hendrick’s gin, Monin Cucumber, lemon, orange and raspberry, topped with tonic and garnished with rosemary and thyme

· MelonPalooza
– designed to complement the fresh flavors of the Greek Burger, this cocktail features a mix of Midori Melon Liqueur, Malibu Rum, Hard Rock’s house-made sour mix and PJ, garnished with slices of pineapple and strawberry

· Sweet & Fiery
– inspired by the ATOMIC! Burger’s spicy flavor, this cocktail features a mix of Absolut Peppar Vodka, Canton Ginger Liquor, Blue Curacao, lemonade and ginger beer, garnished with a red pepper

· Black Cherry Melonade (non-alcoholic) –
created to complement the rich espresso of the Java Lava Burger, this mocktail features a mix of Black Cherry Real and Monin Cucumber, topped with ginger beer, garnished with a cucumber slice and a cherry

"Alright, alright!" Bunny interrupted Brandy, "You had me at English Breakfast Burger!"  And with that, she picked up her bags and left the airport for an extended stay in Chicago.  Stay turned to find out which burger Bunny and Brandy determine to be the best in the world!

To Be Continued...

The writers of this blog have been provided by Hard Rock International with information as well as any meals featured in order to facilitate the writing of this post.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Postcards from Bunny: Out and About at Spring Foodie Fests

Bunny certainly has been a busy girl as of late.  Of course, her life is usually full of international flights to exotic locations and the like, but just as she did a few months ago, she has been confining all her adventures as of late to the streets of Chicago.  "There's just so much here to see and to taste!  I truly feel I can travel the entire globe in a weekend just by walking down the block in this city," as Bunny likes to say.  Here is a quick breakdown how Bunny has been wisely spending her limited time in the Windy City before her next international adventure.

Reinheitsgebot at Prost! 

500 years ago, the German government passed a law meant to keep beer as pure as possible.  Only water, hops, malt, and yeast were permitted to be part of the ancient beverage, and any derivation from those perimeters meant serious consequences.  To celebrate that law, Prost! in Lincoln Park partnered with Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr for a night of beer, prizes, and lederhosen wearing fun.  Bunny stopped in, donned an Alpine hat, and sipped on brews like Munich Gold while politely arguing with those around her about exactly how "Reinheitsgebot" should be pronounced.


The pig lover's favorite festival stopped over in Chicago recently, bringing together five of the city's favorite chefs for a friendly competition.  Bunny went along to witness exactly what these titans of pork would come up with and did not leave disappointed.  Winning the fan's votes was Chef Sarah Grueneberg of Monteverde Restaurant with incredible dishes like Bar-b-Q Rib Rillettes, Pig Skin Tortellini in Brodo, Offal-ly Pierogi, and Crema di Lardo Cannoli.  Chef Grueneberg and her team will now go on to fight for Chicago in a national competition at the Food and Wine Classic in Aspen.

Alongside Chef Sarah's delectable bites, Bunny very much enjoyed what Chef Cory Morris and his team from Rural Society put forward, serving up everything from empanadas to peanut butter and jelly to shaved ice, all incorporating part of the pig.  There was also lots of cocktails to be found, like bourbon Old Fashioned's served in a miniature mason jar with boozy cherries and custom concoctions created for the Punch Kings contest between a group of prestigious local barkeeps.  After the main tasting came to a close, other events like a live auction, a pop up butcher's shop, and a ramen bar delighted attendees with more deliciousness

Pastoral Artisan Producer Festival

Bunny had only recently become acquainted with the Chicago French Market, but now she is hooked for good.  The variety of vendor stalls combined with the old world charm of a Paris street makes for the perfect combination of food and relaxation.  But, as Bunny found out, it also plays host to amazing foodie events like the Pastoral Artisan Producer Festival, where specialty cheesemongers Pastoral invited hundreds of local artisan cheese makers, wineries, meat purveyors, and more to serve samples to the public and introduce their wears to a whole new audience.  The festival took place both inside the market and immediately outside, where table after table lined the expanse of the Metra train station.  Bunny found herself running from station to station, cramming as much cheese as she could into her mouth so that she didn't miss out on anything.  "I'm going to have to strategize for this festival next year," she said, "I'm coming with lots of crackers in my pockets next time!"

One of a Kind Show

The One of a Kind Show at Merchandise Mart is usually something reserved for hordes of Christmas shoppers looking for unique handmade gifts, but this year a Spring version of the popular event was announced, and upon learning there would be a Gourmet Corner, Bunny made sure to put the dates on her calendar.  Among her discoveries were I Heart Keenwah, a local company producing sweet and savory snacks made from quinoa.  She especially like the Sea Salt Truffle and the chocolate covered Peanut Butter Puffs.  As she is always unable to resist the allure of anything tea flavored, she also picked up a jar of Earl Grey Fudge from Puffs of Doom and some Lady Grey Marshmallows from Katherine Anne Confections.  Jose Madrid Salsa infused with fruity flavors caught her attention right away, as did the Burton's Maplewood Farms booth, as she had heard from Brandy just how delicious maple syrup aged in oak barrels could be.  Rounding out her trip, she snacked on a Spring Feast Crepe from Gotta Bee Crepes, filled with local veggies, fruit, goat cheese, and honey

The writers of this blog were invited to attend the mentioned events free of charge in order to facilitate the writing of this post.