Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Vinoteque on Melrose.

Last weekend, my boyfriend and I were looking for a cute little place to have dinner and we stumbled across this place, Vinoteque on Melrose Ave, which I remembered my cousin, Mimi, suggesting to me. It's known for it's amazing wine selection and tapas style meals. For those that don't know, tapas are small plates which are shared among the table. Vinoteque was a good fusion of French and Spanish style tapas.

What I loved the most about this place was the ambience in the outdoor patio where we sat. It was a courtyard area with vines growing all over the walls, a calming fountain in the center, and a projection of a film noir silent movie playing in the background. It was a really nice date spot, but I would also totally come here with a girlfriend and I saw a group of people celebrating a birthday in a secluded cabana.

Make sure to ask about the wines! Most of the wines are French and I had a hard time deciphering what was what so I just ordered one that wasn't so great. Luckily, they allowed me to taste it and order another one since I didn't like it.

We started our meal with truffle fries (of course, my favorite) and the dipping sauce was a type of salsa, which really complemented the fries.

Then we had some fried artichoke hearts and let me tell you...I dreamt about these after eating them, because of how good they were. I have a mind to recreate these babies on my own at home.

Next, we had little mini Croque Monsieurs, which are French ham and cheese sandwiches. They were topped with balsamic vinegar, which really completed the dish. We also had these amazing sliders, which I really enjoyed. It had a tasty combination of sun dried tomatoes, onion jam, and harissa mayo...this was to die for.

Lastly, we ended our meal with the usual tapas dessert...churros! They were mini bite sized churros and were paired with a caramel sauce and boysenberry jam to dip the churros in.

If you're looking for a place to catch up with a friend or to impress your date, Vinoteque is definitely the place! 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Sweet Cherry Pie.

This past weekend, I was invited to one of my girlfriend's homes for afternoon coffee. I was super excited about getting together with my friends and I wanted to bring some homemade treats with me for us to share, but I was really in a time crunch and didn't have time to make a dessert from scratch.

Thank goodness I had some pie dough I made a few weeks ago stored away in my freezer and ready to go! I cut one corner and bought a canned cherry pie filling to go into my dough for the sake of time, but despite it not being homemade, it was still delicious.

I still wanted to put my own spin on the pie so instead of making one giant pie, I made mini individual sized pies! They were so cute and easy to distribute to whoever wants them without cutting into a whole pie and making a mess. I also made a lattice crust to give it that extra aesthetic to make it look like a miniature pie. It's super easy!...

After making the pie crust (recipe at end of post), use a cookie cutter or a cup to cut circles from the dough that are 4 inches circles. Place the circles into buttered muffin/cupcake tins and fill them with the cherry filling, 1/4 of a cup.

Photo courtesy of tablespoon.com. 

Then get to work on the lattice crust! Use a pizza cutter to cut small even strips of dough and use basic weaving over and under techniques to create a rustic look with the lattice. With this size of a pie, I used 6 dough strips in total: 3 horizontally and 3 vertically. Brush the top of the pie with an egg wash (a beaten egg) to give it that golden finish in the oven.

I baked these babies at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the crust is golden and the cherry filling is oozing and voila!

These could have come out a little prettier, as my lattice crust needs a little work, but these pies tasted like perfection. Little personal cherry pies with sweet, juicy cherries wrapped in a soft, buttery crust. These are sure to appeal to your guests tastebuds as well as their eyes!

Pie Crust Dough


  • 2 cups all purpose flour (sifted)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup butter (cold)
  • 5-7 tablespoons cold water 
  1. Put flour into a mixing bowl with the butter.
  2. Using a pastry cutter or dough hook, cut the butter into the flour.
  3. Add the salt and water. 
  4. Mix until dough is formed.
  5. Cut the dough in half and wrap both separately in saran wrap.
  6. One can be used for freezing. The other should be put in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to cool before rolling it out to use. 

Miniature Cherry Pies

  • Pie crust (recipe above)
  • 4 cups of pie filling (the filling can be altered at your choice i.e. apple, blueberry, peach, etc.)
  • 1 egg, whisked
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 12 muffin tins with butter or cooking spray.
  2. Roll out a single pie crust on a flat surface. Use a large cookie cutter or a cup to cut out circles that are 4 inches. Press each circle into the bottom of the muffin tin so that a tiny rim of dough sticks out at the top. Repeat with the other 12 tins.
  3. Fill each cup with 1/4 cup pie filling, or until the filling nearly fills the cups. 
  4. Use the remaining dough to cover the tops of the pies. To make a lattice crust, use a pizza cutter to cut out thin strips of dough, then lace together to form a lattice. To make a standard crust, cut out a circle of dough large enough to cover the top of the crust. Use your fingers to gently press the top crust to the bottom crust until they stick together and no gaps remain. 
  5. Use a pastry brush to brush the tops of each pie with the whisked egg.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the filling begins to bubble.
  7. Remove and let cool for at least 15 minutes. Then carefully use a knife to loosen the edges of each pie and gently lift each pie out. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate.