[FHCx322] National Baklava Day/National Homemade Bread Day

Put on your balaclava!

IT’S NATIONAL BAKLAVA DAY AND NATIONAL HOMEMADE BREAD DAY!

Baklava is a sophisticated dessert. Much of our Mediterranean friends disagree that it’s anything special, but I mean really. We’re simple people. We would eat a block of chocolate and it would be amazing. Backpedaling, we’re not saying chocolate isn’t sophisticated… just that Baklava has layers.

Layers of filo dough and chopped nuts! It’s all held together by a very particular honey-ish syrup that is characteristic of any baklava.

Our favorite restaurant that serves Baklava is Holy Land, as in, National Gyros Day Holy Land. In addition to our lovely dinner of gyro, we got to take a gander at:

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Porque no los dos? We had to try both. The chocolate drizzled one was excellent.

Another favorite thing of ours to eat is bread. Bread bread bread. All the time. It’s something about our genetics that predisposes us to a love of bread. We see bread in our dreams. We even saw a baguette in a zoo once. The sign read, “Bread in captivity.”

Today’s homemade bread was courtesy of the amazingest baker, SPad. This is the guy who used to not be able to find shirts that would fit because his arms were so huge from kneading dough all the time (back when he worked as a baker). These days he focuses on a few breads and is very modest about how amazing his bread really is. His best work is the sourdough:

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We wish you could smell this!

Tomorrow is National Vichyssoise Day.

-SPAK

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[FHCx153] National Olive Day/National Hazelnut Cake Day

TODAY IS NATIONAL OLIVE DAY AND NATIONAL HAZELNUT CAKE DAY!

Another very interesting holiday celebrating two very different foods.

First up, the olive. It’s perhaps the most Mediterranean thing we can think of. They just represent the flavors of the whole region, whether Greek or Italian or Persian… And from its amazing use as olive oil (you should always have some on hand) to stuffing them with stuff, you can do a lot with olives.

Luckily enough for us, our local Lund’s & Byerly’s has an olive bar that is uncontested in the area. Be wowed:

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Look at olive ’em!

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Here was our pick of the olives. Feta stuffed, garlic stuffed, Italian, and Kalamata. About to go sailing on a journey across the ocean to our stomachs.

After an easy dinner at home, we were able to celebrate the second part of today thanks to Target. Here’s the thing about hazelnuts. We’re fairly positive that if not for Ferrero, most of the US would not really know much about hazelnuts. Not like we know that much about the nuts, but as soon as you mention the word, people start dreaming up the flavor of Nutella. Well, Nutella or no Nutella, we had our hazelnut cake. In fact, we would recommend it. It’s very tasty and easy to share!

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Cute, right?

Tomorrow is National Rotisserie Chicken Day and National Rocky Road Ice Cream Day.

-SPAK

Pizza! L-O-L-A, Lola!

It may be cliche to go to restaurants on shows like Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, but there is a reason many of these places get featured on those shows. The food is great, the atmosphere rules, or it just has an aura of hype surrounding it. Pizzeria Lola is one of the Triple D Hall-of-Famers in Minneapolis that creates funky fusion worth checking out. Not only that, but one of SP‘s friends works there.

Alright, so a Korean woman moves to Minnesota and decides that she loves pizza so much she’ll make a restaurant and name it after her dog. Works for us.

We started off by ordering some of Lola’s delicious roasted cauliflower. It’s slightly sour, kissed by the citrus of lemon juice, but with a kick of chili pepper rings. Eat your vegetables!

The other starter we picked was the meatballs to share around the table. Any place that has a kind of Italian red sauce should have meatballs to show you they mean business. And boy does Lola mean business. These meatballs come out in a baked dish overflowing with sauce and parmesan cheese, and served alongside some crostini to balance the chew with some crunch. The meatballs are so tender that they crumple when they reach your tongue. So you take a crostino, a chunk of a meatball (or the whole thing at once, we won’t judge) and scoop some extra sauce and cheese before placing it carefully in your mouth. It’ll get on your shirt, but instead of using your napkin, you’ll unconsciously lean over, pick up your shirt, and lick it off. Awesome meatballs.

There will be plenty of extra sauce to scoop on. Don't let it go to waste!

There will be plenty of extra sauce to scoop on. Don’t let it go to waste!

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Let’s get to the pies, shall we? The first feature here is a favorite on the menu called The Xerxes, named after the street on which the restaurant stands, and has a flavor that takes after the namesake’s downfall (Greek, that is). Spinach, feta, mozzarella, kalamata olives, and almonds top this Mediterranean style flatbread. No red sauce here? Blasphemy! Tasty, tasty blasphemy.

Tonight we dine in Minneapolis!

Tonight we dine in Minneapolis!

One with more fusion style is the Lady Zaza, one of chef Ann Kim’s Korean-inspired pizzas. Who puts kimchi on a pizza?! Lola does. Red sauce, Korean sausage, spicy serrano peppers (one of SP‘s favorite for use in cooking), scallions, sesame seeds, and this crazy glaze that reminds you of bulgogi with elements of soy and chili paste. In each bite, you get some of the soft chew of baked kimchi (which normally is a strong pickly crunch) and spicy sausage with the scallions on top. It’s a remarkable foray into mixing styles of two very different cuisines.

This pizza will kim-cheer you up!

This pizza will kim-cheer you up!

Lack of red sauce is hardly blasphemy compared to one of SP‘s favorite pizzas on the menu and AK now agrees: The Marinara, which has no cheese. Instead, you get the robust red sauce with olive oil, oregano, and garlic confit. The best trick is to order this pie with extra garlic. For us, olive oil will never be overrated. It brings out so much in Italian cooking that it’s hard to imagine a world without it. And even without cheese, the soft, mushy garlic makes up for that missing flavor. Garlic is king on this amazing pizza.

All hail King Garlic!

All hail King Garlic!

Now for a little bit of dessert. How about some ice cream with olive oil?

Sweet and Salty.

Sweet and Salty.

SP