Liquids and Solids at the Handlebar

My friend Melissa told me about this fantastic restaurant she went to in Lake Placid, Liquids and Solids at the Handlebar. She told me it would be right up my alley, and friends, it was.

Melissa, her husband, and myself all piled into the car to make the trip to Lake Placid. When I first laid eyes on this place I knew I was going to love it. I mean, just look how inviting the place is from the outside.

When you walk in the door, you are greeted with eclectic decor  and a lot of mustaches, including a large one you can pose with, if you would like.  I took it as a good sign that the music coming over the speakers was Devotchka, a favorite of mine.

There is also an ever changing board that details what local products are used. This totally impressed me, because I try to eat local whenever I can and I always appreciate when a restaurant cares enough to do the same. I recognized a few vendors and I will be looking into some of the other sources to use in my home kitchen.

See, I had already done my recon on the menu before we went to the restaurant, so I knew what I was going to eat, but the drink menu proved to be a bit more challenging. I mean, with so many unique cocktails and delicious beers, I had a hard time picking what I wanted to drink. I also knew, I needed to drive later on in the evening, so I needed to be responsible with my choices.

(Note:  Some of the photos are dark, but I didn’t want to be intrusive to my fellow diners by using my flash.)

I was intrigued by the Cilantro Daiquiri and I was almost seduced by the Salad and Gin, but ask any of my friends, I don’t like gin. In the end, I settled on the Balsamic Fizz and I was lucky enough to take a taste of the Smoked Ale and the Creme Brulee Stout.

Clockwise from the top: Smoked Ale,Creme Brulee Stout, Balsamic Fizz

Here’s another shot of my Balsamic Fizz. Yes that is pepper sprinkled on top. Yum!:

When it came time to order, I loved that the menus were clipboards!  I also really liked that the water was poured from reused glass milk bottles.  I am not a big fan of plastic.

Apparently, they offer a different poutine every day and on this day they had a butternut squash poutine.  I am salivating a little as I write this, remembering how delicious it was.  I didn’t finish mine (the serving is generous), so I brought the rest home which made an amazing late night snack.

As for the rest of my meal, I knew that I was going to get some of selections off the sides menu, but I was debating on getting the parsnip soup, which was topped with apple and delicata  squash bruschetta and pickled ginger.  Melissa got that and let me take a bite.  I LOVE PARSNIPS! and I plan on getting this the next time I go.

Off the sides menu, I chose the   I wish I would have ordered the maple baked beans off the small menu, because I think it might be different.  Oh well, there is always next time.

(Clockwise from top:  maple baked beans, fried Brussels sprouts, and spicy pickles.)

I do need to point out though, that the Brussels sprouts are not vegetarian.  I asked the server before hand and was told they were.  Unfortunately, I found out anchovies are a part of the recipe after I inhaled my portion.  I am not angry, just sad that I won’t be able to eat these delicious fried Brussels sprouts again.  They were my favorite thing I ordered/tasted.  However, if you aren’t vegetarian or vegan, I recommend ordering the sprouts, maybe even two portions.  Yes, they are that good.  The next time I go, I am going to ask if I can get them without the anchovies in the mix.  Who knows!  It doesn’t hurt to ask.

We were asked if we wanted dessert, but honestly, I was too full to eat any.  Had I picked one, I would have had a hard time picking one, because they all sounded great.

I highly recommend you make Liquids and Solids at the Handlebar a dining destination.  It’s not that far from Plattsburgh and it is well worth it when you get there.  I already plan on coming back with my husband in November, when we celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary.

Liquids and Solids at the Handlebar is amazing. You have to go there if you love good food and drinks and you like to be surprised by new and exciting flavor combinations, not to mention, it’s not that hard on the wallet either.

Have a great day friends and keep cooking!

Vegan cream of mushroom soup! Oh yes!

I have been craving cream of mushroom soup for the past week or so. I don’t really like the canned kind, because I try to eliminate dairy when I can and I don’t like the consistency of the canned version.

I bought some mushrooms at the grocery store on Saturday, with the full intent to make some sort of cream of mushroom soup, but I didn’t know how I would make it creamy. I had some plain almond milk that I could mix in, but would it really give it the desired creaminess?

Last night it hit me. To make the cream of mushroom soup creamy, I should add unsweetened coconut milk! Unsweetened coconut milk is a pantry staple for me (It should be for you, too! It’s yummy and versatile!).

Don’t be fooled by the photo! There are plenty of mushrooms in this soup although in the photo it appears they are hiding.

Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup

1 small red onion, diced
1 tablespoon vegan margarine (or butter if you don’t want to make this vegan)
A splash of olive oil
4 cups of chopped mushrooms
1 tablespoon of minced garlic or six cloves of garlic
3 cups vegetable broth
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons of flour
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, add the onions, garlic, and mushrooms in the margarine and add the splash of olive oil. Cover and cook on low until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms are a nutty brown. (Mushroom notes: I sliced some, diced some, and chopped some to give a the soup some different textures. I also used button, oyster, crimini, and shiitake mushrooms. Locals, Hannafords has a mixed package of mushrooms containing all of these mushrooms, except the button mushrooms, which I purchased separately.)

When the onions, garlic, and mushrooms have cooked down, add the vegetable broth, cover, and cook on low for about 35-40 minutes.

After the 35-40 minutes have passed, stir in the can of unsweetened coconut milk and the flour and add salt and pepper to taste. I used a whisk to make sure the flour wasn’t lumpy. I also was light on the salt and heavy on the fresh ground pepper. Simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes uncovered. Keep an eye on this, stirring from time to time because you don’t want this to scorch.

Because I like things spicy, I also added some crushed red peppers to my serving.

I hope you enjoy this soup. I love it and I think it will be something I make often. It’s so good!

Have a great night everyone and keep cooking!

Curried coconut tofu.

Last Sunday, I decided to laze about and do nothing but actually enjoy my day off by doing the things I love. Since I love to cook, I did cook a bit. I made a wacky cake with peanut butter icing and I whipped up curried coconut tofu.

I kinda just made this up as I went along, but since I was asked for the recipe, I will try to replicate it here.

First, I mixed up my curry powder because I didn’t think I had any. Using my mortar and pestle, I ground black peppercorns, whole cloves, turmeric, cinnamon, poppy seeds, cardamom pods, and a garlic powder. After all of this, I realized I had some curry powder, so I threw some in the mortar and pestle. A warning: make sure the cloves are either well ground or you pick them out. I ended up biting into a few whole cloves when I ate this. Also, after grinding the spice mixture, fish out the cardamom pods as well. You don’t want to choke on one of these. Naturally, if you only have curry powder, you can use that. I didn’t really want to mix my own, but I am often the victim of an overflowing spice cabinet.

I heated some light olive oil and a little hot chili oil in my wok. As that was heating, in a separate bowl, I tossed some drained and cubed tofu in corn starch. This was my first time doing so, and I think it turned out well. It makes the tofu a little crispy.

When the oil was hot enough, I threw the tofu in the wok and let cook for a bit. I then added some chopped green onions and minced garlic to the wok.

After the tofu was nice and crispy and the garlic and onion was cooked down, I lowered the heat and stirred in a whole can of coconut milk, adding the spice mixture, a splash of lime juice, a little more garlic powder, and some sambel olek, because I like things spicy. A dash or two of hot sauce is good too.

I didn’t serve this over rice, but you could. Also, I had a few florets of cooked broccoli hanging out in the fridge that I just threw into my bowl. The next time I make this, broccoli and maybe some carrots. Red peppers would be nice too, as would just about any veggie you would like to add, except celery, because we all know how I feel about celery.

Have a great day everyone and keep cooking!