b is for berries

I've been nuts about this salad ever since I first tried it years ago. The sweet combination of fresh berries, poppyseed dressing, and cinnamon roasted almonds is like a perfect marriage in a salad bowl. I enjoy this salad so much that I tried to recreate it for a dinner party. It was a hit... although, I think it was still missing the Zupas touch.


recipe: sweet southern onion rings

In honor of the Vidalia sweet onion being in season, make these delicious onion rings. You won't be disappointed...


4 cups buttermilk
2 large Vidalia onions (about 2 pounds), cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds,
separated into rings

Vegetable oil (for deep frying)

3 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons ground cumin
3 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

Place buttermilk in large bowl. Add onion rings and toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes or up to 1 hour, turning onions occasionally.

Pour enough oil into heavy large saucepan to reach depth of 3 inches. Heat to 350°F.

Mix flour, cumin, chili powder, salt and cayenne in large bowl. Remove 1 handful of onion rings from buttermilk; add to flour mixture and toss to coat. Add onion rings to oil; cook until crisp and golden brown, about 2 minutes. Using tongs, transfer to paper towels and drain. Repeat with remaining onion rings in batches. Mound in bowl and serve.


Sweet Vidalia Onions

Oh how sweet the sound (and taste) of a Vidalia onion. I'm thrilled that they're popping up at the grocery store. The sweet taste of this onion reminds me of the South and Southern Cooking. With the onion being the oldest vegetable known to mankind, they've found their way into almost every cuisine and culture. My personal opinion, America should be proudest of the Vidalia.

*Vidalia onions originated in Toombs, Georgia.
*In the 1940's the state of Georgia built a farmers market in the city of Vidalia which greatly aided in spreading the word about "those Vidalia onions" which is how they got their name.
*By the 1970's the Vidalia onion had become so popular that it merited its own festival.
*Every year an estimated 15,000 acres is planted of Vidalia Onions.
*They are harvested typically from late-April to mid-June and all harvesting is done by hand.
*In 2003, the Vidalia Onion Museum was open to the public sharing information about all things related to this sweet onin.


destination: barcelona

Barcelona is one of my favorite European cities. To me it’s like a warmer version of Paris, but with beautiful beaches, great food, and very friendly people. It’s a city that I can spend days just walking the streets to absorb the history and culture of this great city. I especially love the buildings designed by Antonio Gaudi. With their crazy mix of curves, colors and designs, they are like nothing else I have ever seen. One of the days that I was there, I decided to spend the entire day visiting his architectural masterpieces. I had a fantastic time and before I knew, it was already late afternoon and I hadn’t eaten anything. I found this great modern cafĂ© that only the Europeans seem to have and walked in. I was first served the most amazing bread that they rub with tomatoes and garlic and then toast. After eating what was probably and entire loaf’s worth, I ordered a bowl of cream of asparagus soup to go with it. I can honestly say this was one of the best soups I have ever tasted and I ordered even more bread to go with it. The combination of the two was absolutely out of this world. It was so good in fact that I spent half a day the next time I was in the Barcelona trying to find the same restaurant and when I finally did it was as good as I remembered.

    —Zupas Aficinado



FYI: plugged in

Did you know...Cafe Zupas has FREE wireless internet?!

When I saw the signs that read Free-WiFi I was almost positive that it probably wasn't working or that the word FREE was too good to be true...boy was I wrong. As I flipped open my laptop, rather than being directed to a page describing a ten dollar fee...I found myself comfortably on my homepage. I ended up staying for about 3 hours! I worked busily on my laptop while eating a nice Zupas lunch and refilling my drink 3 times or so. Sure beats working in a cubicle.


menu: California Turkey Grilled Panini

I'm finally convinced that Spring is here and Summer is quickly approaching. To celebrate I ordered the California Turkey panini at Zupas this week. It was absolutely delicious!

The avocado on this California Turkey Panini is the star for me. Perfectly in season, this rich addition to the sandwich paired with fresh tomatoes, sprouts, muenster cheese, and ranch dressing seems to create an ideal lunch for a warm day. To top off the sandwich experience, Zupas always grills their paninis providing just enough crunch and the luxury of melted cheese.

Just writing about this sandwich has me hungry for another one...



celebrate: Cinco de Mayo

To celebrate Cinco de Mayo, I challenged myself to make authentic corn tortillas. They were surprisingly very easy to make and oh, so delicious.

How to Make Corn Tortillas

Before you start

You'll need a special corn flour called masa harina for making the tortillas. Masa harina is corn flour that has been treated with calcium hydroxide or "lime" which makes it more nutritious by releasing the niacin in the corn, and easier to digest. Masa flour can be found at Mexican markets or online at Amazon.com. Look for masa harina that is only corn and lime (calcium hydroxide) for corn tortilla making.

You can make the tortillas completely by hand, by forming a thin pancake with the dough between your hands. But unless you are somewhat experienced in this method, you'll get more consistent results by using a tortilla press.

  • 1 3/4 cups masa harina
  • 1 1/8 cups water
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together masa harina and hot water until thoroughly combined. Turn dough onto a clean surface and knead until pliable and smooth. If dough is too sticky, add more masa harina; if it begins to dry out, sprinkle with water. Cover dough tightly with plastic wrap and allow to stand for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat a cast iron skillet or griddle to medium-high.
  3. Divide dough into 15 equal-size balls. Using a tortilla press, a rolling pin, or your hands, press each ball of dough flat between two sheets of plastic wrap.
  4. Immediately place tortilla in preheated pan and allow to cook for approximately 30 seconds, or until browned and slightly puffy. Turn tortilla over to brown on second side for approximately 30 seconds more, then transfer to a plate. Repeat process with each ball of dough. Keep tortillas covered with a towel to stay warm and moist until ready to serve.