Cuisine - American, Foodie Firsts, I Ate That Series

Holiday Inn Express Pancake Machine

Pancakes in a MinuteFile this post under weird things I have eaten. What do you get when you cross a conveyor belt with one of the most beloved breakfast foods?

Holiday Inn’s express pancake machine. This counter-top appliance churns out one pancake every 18 seconds. So, how does it work? Well, thanks to a trip to Brattleboro, Vt., for Christmas, I got to see first-hand how this gadget works.

According to Hotel F&B magazine, an industry publication for hoteliers, the flapjack maker was rolled out to all of Holiday Inn Express’s 1,800 North American hotels in early 2011. Each machine comes with bags of premade mix that each make 35 pancakes. The batter drops onto a Teflon-coated belt, which lasts for about 60 bags of batter or approximately 2,100 pancakes. (Wow, that’s a lot of syrup!)

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Cuisine - Italian, Food - General, Foodie Firsts, Places - Massachusetts

Polcari’s Has An App For That

Brett and I went out for date night last night at Polcari’s/Pizzeria Regina on Route 1 in Saugus. At the end of our meal, our server Sheena came out with this little gadget:

iPhone at Polcari's Pizzeria Regina in SaugusAn iPhone (attached to a wooden board) with a preloaded program for guests to input their thoughts about the meal they just had. It’s a simple step-by-step process asking you about your meal, server, cleanliness and how likely you are to recommend the restaurant to friends. The program uses a slider scale from thumbs up to thumbs down for your rating.

It was very easy to understand and input my suggestions and comments. However, at the end when I wanted to submit my thoughts, there was a connection issue that couldn’t be resolved. (I had been checking into Foursquare and Facebook throughout the night in the restaurant so I know my iPhone was working properly.)

Overall, I think it’s a great idea for businesses to make that leap into the 21st Century, using technology to learn more about the people who are sitting at their tables and booths, and creating better experiences based on customer-provided information.

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Cuisine - American, Cuisine - Desserts, Foodie Firsts, Recipes

My First Apple Pie

My first apple pieA few weeks ago, I conquered making my first cheesecake – with a few surprise accidents thrown in for good measure. This time, I attempted to make my first pie crusts and apple pie. Not wanting to do this alone since I have a huge fear of messing up pie crusts, I enlisted the assistance of Stacey from “Boston Sweetie Blog.”

We decided to have a baking afternoon last Sunday while the boys watched the Patriots game. So, we tackled the apple pie as well as some ridiculously awesome fall-inspired cupcakes stuffed with cupcakes.

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Cuisine - American, Cuisine - Desserts, Cuisine - Japanese, Cuisine - Seafood, Foodie Firsts, Places - Boston, Places - Massachusetts, Places - New England

Check-in: 6 New England Things to Try

Shortly after we moved back to New England I made a list “6 New England Things to Try,” that was comprised of some of the region’s most beloved items. In the little over a half a year since we have been year (where has 2011 gone!?), I am 2/3 of the way through my list.

Here’s a little bit of a check-in with my progress and some thoughts:

Lobster Roll

Inspired by Adam Richman’s trip to Maine on an episode of “Man v. Food,” one of the must-try items on my list was the lobster roll. Chunks of fresh lobster mixed with a little bit of mayo and piled high on a roll.

Being one of the top things I needed to try, I had been asking around for recommendations since moving back to Mass., which garnered some great tips from long-time locals. One weekend, Brett and I ended up at The Beach Plum’s Portsmouth, NH location delving into a huge sandwich.

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Cuisine - Desserts, Foodie Firsts, Places - Boston, Places - Massachusetts, Places - New England

Whoopie Pies at Chococoa Baking Company

If you remember, a few months ago I posted a list of “6 New England Things To Try.” On the list, one of the things that I most wanted to try was the “Whoopie Pie,” a chocolate cookie sandwich with a fluffy cream interior. Shortly after I posted my list of things, I received a message on Twitter from one of the owners of Chococoa Baking Company in Newburyport, Mass. She invited me to her little shop in this seaside town to enjoy my first Whoopie Pie.

Owned by a husband and wife team, Chococoa Baking Company prides itself on using fresh, natural and organic ingredients in its Whoopies. (By the way, the name Whoopie Pie comes from when kids would yell “Whoopie” for the treat.)

Julie Ganong is a Maine native who remembers baking Whoopies with her grandmother and mother. Her husband, Alan Mons, is the genius behind all of the baking. He’s taken classes all over. The pair has even traveled to France to try the some of the world’s most decadent chocolates to find some of their Whoopie inspiration.

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