Habanero Mexican Grill

So I have to confess that Habanero is one of my favorite lunch spots. It’s one of the few (non-chain) restaurants in town that has a steady line at lunchtime. They boast that they don’t own a can opener and everything is made fresh. I’ve found this to be true and have enjoyed many a meal there.

Most recently I ordered the steak tacos. Service is always goods and friendly as they are takeout style. The food is made to order and you get to pick from plentiful options such as four different types of salsa, several protein options and then the usual taco or burrito toppings. The tacos didn’t disappoint. The steak was tender (only a few pieces were cut a little big), the toppings fresh and the flavors were as satisfying as I expected.

My only complaint was that they were about out of sweet tea when I went through the line. They had refilled though by the time I was done so it wasn’t a big deal since I could get a refill to go.

Still one if my favorite places for lunch and they get four stars (out of five). Yum!

Ryan’s Rating: Ryan gives Habanero a rating of The Twilight Series. Almost everyone loves it, except me, because it makes me physically sick to my stomach. Disclaimer: anything even a little spicy, or sparkly vampires, makes me sick to my stomach, so it is no fault of Habanero’s. There’s just no excuse for Stephanie Meyer, though.

Restaurant Review: Casa Visone

Recently Ryan and I went to Casa Visone for dinner. I love the atmosphere of Casa Visone! It’s quaint and intimate which is what you miss when you go to a big Italian restaurant like Olive Garden. The owner and the chef spoke personally with us. They were very personable and concerned with whether we were enjoying ourselves. While we were there, there was a couple dining with a little boy. The owner was really welcoming to the family and very sweet to the little boy.

After a little wait we were given bread with fresh ground pepper to go with the infused olive oil that was on the table. The bread and olive oil were what you would expect. I ordered the Ravioli con Pucini which translates to cheese ravioli with mushrooms in a sherry cream sauce. The sauce was delightfully rich, and the ravioli was a nice size and given generously. It could have benefitted from a little more salt and being a bit warmer, but I still enjoyed every bite.

For me, the real star of the evening was dessert. The owner listed the desserts and had me as soon as she said ganache. I love ganache! It was everything ganache should be–rich, dark and balanced with homemade whipped cream.

Overall, I enjoyed the meal. The on-street parking wasn’t an issue which was nice since it was literally about 10 degrees outside. Improvements would be a little more attention to drink refills and the food being warmer. Highlights were the sherry cream sauce and the ganache. Overall, I give it 3 1/2 stars (out of 5) and definitely look forward to trying other items on their menu.

Ryan’s Rating: I’m a thirsty guy. If I have to wait for a refill, I’m unhappy. So this rating is a glass mostly empty. Through the [Empty] Looking Glass? I’d be more clever if I wasn’t still thirsty.

A Personal Goal for the New Year

A personal goal for me this year is to get as much of our food from local sources as possible. I want to know where my food comes from and what’s in it. I think this will be challenging as we are busy people and this requires a time and planning. Any suggestions are very welcome. I also will take this opportunity to say that I receive no incentive to recommend any of the restaurants or businesses that you will read about here. I simply recommend them as they are businesses that I like and who offer quality products.

This is where we are so far. We have successfully made the switch away from grocery store milk. Last spring we started buying our milk from Butler’s Farm Market. They stock milk and other products from Trickling Springs Creamery. First, I love going to Butler’s because they have great variety of produce and other products and are incredibly nice. Second, the milk you get from a dairy as opposed to the grocery store tastes so much better and is worth the cost. It is also free of any antibiotics and growth hormones. Since Butler’s closes from about November to March, during that time we get our milk from the Peddler’s Wagon outside of Hedgesville. It’s fairly inconvenient, so I’m thankful that my sister-in-law is willing to pick up our milk at the same time she picks up milk for her family.

Along with milk, I get most of our produce from Butler’s during the season that they are open. Off season is a bit harder. Produce gets much more expensive during that time, and I’m having difficulty spending that much money on produce. To solve this dilemma, I’m going to spend time this spring, summer and fall, freezing and canning produce so that we have it available during the winter. We just need to have a large freezer by spring.

The parts of my goal that I need to work on now are getting bread, meat, spices and condiments from local sources. I have a few options for meat but haven’t built them into my routine yet. I have an option for bread but am not sure that it will work out. I’ll update as I have success (or have to continue to figure out how to build this as a lifestyle).

I’m excited to see where we are with this goal at the end of this year.

House of Horst in the new year

Just to be quick and clear this blog is mostly about food (and probably a little bit of guns–thanks to Ryan). Ryan and I have a goal as a couple to make an invitation to our house a guarantee of a good meal. We both love to cook, and we love good food. I can say that we are authentic foodies as the majority of our free time at home (I type this on a snow day while sipping spiced wine, watching Food Network and planning dinner which includes sweet Italian sausage made from lamb that I picked up at a local meat market.) and our vacations are focused on food–where to eat and what to take home.

On this blog you will find commentary on recipes and local restaurants. We live in an area that doesn’t have an abundance of locally owned restaurants but we have some hidden gems that are easily overlooked in the plethora of chain restaurants. I’ll give you my review and rating and then Ryan will give you his. The difference is probably that Ryan is a meat and potatoes guy and I’m a little more open minded 🙂

Finally, you can join me on my journey to build a healthier lifestyle for Ryan and I (and our future family) by obtaining as much of our food as possible from local sources. I want to know where my food comes from and what’s in it (and definitely what’s not). It’s a new challenge for a new year!