Cake by Franck, Foxwoods Resort Casino, CT

Cake by Franck, Foxwoods Resort Casino, CT

On March 1, Cake by Franck opened officially at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, CT. I was invited to an exclusive event where we had an opportunity to tour the shop and receive a cake-decorating tutorial by Chef Franck himself.

Cake by Franck opened officially at Foxwoods Resort Casino.

Cake by Franck opened officially at Foxwoods Resort Casino.

Cake by Franck is a boutique pastry shop offering a wide selection of sugary treats including vibrantly colored French macarons, custom-designed cakes, cookies, brownies, croissants, French donuts, miniature cheesecakes, Brussels-style waffles and much more.

Cake by Franck is a boutique pastry shop.

Cake by Franck is a boutique pastry shop.

I was amazed with the bright colors and whimsical themes of some of the sweet treats. They bring a smile to your face and had me in awe as to how they make some of these creations.

Some of the sweet treats bring a smile to your face and had me in awe as to how they make them.

Some of the sweet treats bring a smile to your face and had me in awe as to how they make them.

Frank Iglesias, a native of Argenteuil, France, created and designed the Cake by Franck shop. It’s a project that’s been in development since summer of 2015. Chef Franck also explained how he began studying culinary arts and pastry as a teenager. Before joining Foxwoods seven years ago, he worked with renowned pastry chef Francois Payard in New York City. You may recognize Chef Franck as he’s even made an appearance on Food Network’s “Sweet Genius” competition show.

Frank Iglesias created and designed the Cake by Franck shop.

Frank Iglesias created and designed the Cake by Franck shop.

After touring the entire store and indulging in breakfast-themed hors d’oevres, we received our cake-decorating tutorial by Chef Franck. Then, we were invited to partake in a cake-decorating contest. Mike and I teamed up to give the competition our best shot.

Mike and I teamed up for the cake decorating competition.

Mike and I teamed up for the cake decorating competition.

I was completely intimidated by the frosting piping bags – not wanting to mess up the cakes – but Mike dove right in. He drew upon his Carvel cake decorating skills from 30+ years ago. Together we created two beautiful cakes that even had Chef Franck wondering how Mike was so good at cake decorating. Even though we didn’t win first prize in the competition, I like to think we did a great job with our cakes.

Even though we didn’t win first prize in the competition, I like to think we did a great job with our cakes.

Even though we didn’t win first prize in the competition, I like to think we did a great job with our cakes.

Before we left our sweet morning, we were provided with some take home treats from the Cake by Franck shop. It was a great way to continue sampling their items. The giant cookie and “brownie in a jar” were as delicious as they look.

Take home treats from the Cake by Franck shop.

Take home treats from the Cake by Franck shop.

Cake by Franck officially opened on March 1. You can find it on the Concourse level of the Great Cedar Hotel, located across from the Great Cedar food court. It’s a great place to stop either after a concert or outlet shopping, or before losing all your scratch money at the casino, even if only for a slice of cake or a single macaron!

You can find the Cake by Franck shop on the Concourse level of the Great Cedar Hotel, located across from the Great Cedar food court.

You can find the Cake by Franck shop on the Concourse level of the Great Cedar Hotel, located across from the Great Cedar food court.

 

Have you ever been to Foxwoods Resort Casino? If so what’s your favorite place to visit?

What’s your favorite sweet treat at the bakery?

 

Disclaimer:  While I was provided with a complimentary preview to Cakes by Franck, the opinions and views expressed above are my own and describe my personal experiences.

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Cave Tools, Stainless Steel Grill Brush

Cave Tools, Stainless Steel Grill Brush

Barbeque grill brushes are a critical element to the life of a grill and an essential tool after any grill cooking. Over the years, we’ve tried many grill brushes and found them to be inadequate for the job of thoroughly cleaning. Cave Tools recently introduced a grill brush that might be the best we’ve ever owned.

Cave Tools Stainless Steel Grill Brush

Cave Tools Stainless Steel Grill Brush

This brush features an 18” handle with a very sturdy grip. The materials are rustproof so you don’t have to worry about leaving it outside with the grill.

Cave Tools grill brush features an 18” handle with a very sturdy grip.

Cave Tools grill brush features an 18” handle with a very sturdy grip.

The bristles are thick and stiff making it heavy duty for getting off even the toughest, stickiest baked on charred sauces.

The bristles are thick and stiff

The bristles are thick and stiff

The grill brush head features stainless steel bristles that wrap all the way around the top allowing you to clean from the flat, broad and narrow angles. Plus it is gentle enough not to scratch the grill grates.

The grill brush head features stainless steel bristles that wrap all the way around the top.

The grill brush head features stainless steel bristles that wrap all the way around the top.

The Cave Tools Stainless Steel Grill brush is sold online at their website, or you can purchase it on Amazon (15% off coupon code V9BW75DN). Currently, it is on sale for $12.99 plus there is a 10% discount code on the Cave Tools’ website. This is another great item for the grill master at your house.

 

Do you find cleaning the grill a messy job?

Have you been able to find a grill brush that lasts?

 

Disclaimer:  While I was provided with a complimentary sample of Cave Tools Grill Brush, the opinions and views expressed above are my own and describe my personal experience.

“Food for Thought” Cookbook book club – Brunch at Bobby’s Cookbook

“Food for Thought” Cookbook book club – Brunch at Bobby’s Cookbook

For the cookbook club’s first meeting of 2016, we cooked from Brunch at Bobby’s cookbook by Bobby Flay. Cookbook club is no stranger to Bobby Flay’s recipes – in fact, we cooked from his Boy Meets Grill cookbook in 2014.

Brunch at Bobby’s cookbook by Bobby Flay

Brunch at Bobby’s cookbook by Bobby Flay

As the title indicates, this cookbook features 140 recipes for Bobby’s favorite meal of the week – brunch. I find brunch to be a treat as well. It’s an easy meal to be laid back, enjoy a cocktail and splurge on indulgent entrees and other treats not normally eaten during the week’s meals.

Terri hosted this cookbook club dinner. To kick off the New Year, we invited our husbands to join us for this gathering – and some helped with onsite cooking, typical with certain brunch items that need to be made fresh.

This cookbook gets the brunch party started with simple and exciting drinks – both spiked and virgin, iced and hot coffees and teas. So we felt it appropriate for our brunch meal to begin in the same fashion. Sharon made an Earl Grey Spritzer. It was delicious simple syrup saturated with the tea and poured over crisp champagne.

Earl Grey Spritzer

Earl Grey Spritzer

Val made Sangria Sunrise. It consisted of a blend of fruits – pineapple, orange, and blackberries – with the fruity red wine bleeding down into the orange base.

Sangria Sunrise

Sangria Sunrise

The drinks were appealing both visually and to the taste!

Terri chose to divide the brunch meal into three sections – starters, entrees and sides and a sweet ending. To kick off the starters, Val made tropical fruit salad with ginger syrup. It was a refreshing combination of tropical fruits – a far cry from your typical fruit salad.

Tropical fruit salad with ginger syrup

Tropical fruit salad with ginger syrup

Sharon made pumpkin-cranberry scones. The combination of pumpkin and ginger, peppered with the dried cranberries made for the moistest scones I may have ever eaten. They were a treat that I treasured the next morning as well.

Pumpkin-cranberry scones

Pumpkin-cranberry scones

Sharon also made our savory starter dish – Fig jam, ham and cheese Panini. The blend of sweet (from the jam), salty (from the prosciutto), peppery (from the arugula) and creamy (from the cheese) is an amazing combination for the grilled sandwich and one that I’ll need to make again!

Fig jam, ham and cheese Panini

Fig jam, ham and cheese Panini

The main course featured a decadent take on the brunch classic eggs benedict and ratcheted it up several notches. Terri made crab cakes benedict with Old Bay hollandaise on Johnnycakes. It’s a rather involved recipe because it consists of four elements that come together to create this multi-layered dish.

Crab cakes benedict with Old Bay hollandaise on Johnnycakes

Crab cakes benedict with Old Bay hollandaise on Johnnycakes

And Terri cooked the dish to each person’s likings to accommodate for any seafood and egg allergies.

The dish was cooked to each person’s likings.

The dish was cooked to each person’s likings.

 

Accompanying the benedict were three sides. Terri made rosemary home fries with pancetta, Parmesan and parsley. The potatoes were wonderfully crispy and flavored with a salty (from the pancetta) and peppery (from the red pepper flakes) combination.

Rosemary home fries with pancetta, Parmesan and parsley

Rosemary home fries with pancetta, Parmesan and parsley

Pat made the other two dishes to complete our entrée portion. For our breakfast meat, she made the maple-mustard-glazed Canadian bacon. Another wonderful blend of flavors that elevates the dish.

Maple-mustard-glazed Canadian bacon

Maple-mustard-glazed Canadian bacon

Pat also made the tomato strata. While this recipe is listed under the “savory side dishes” section of the cookbook, it could serve as a side or as a brunch entrée. The baked dish is bursting with tomato flavor. It would be a great dish to make when the local tomatoes are available.

Tomato strata

Tomato strata

 

Concluding our cookbook club’s brunch was a sweet ending. I stepped aside in cooking for this meal and my husband took over the chef’s apron. Mike made double chocolate pancakes with salted caramel sauce. He spotted the recipe right after the cookbook arrived and was dying to try it.

Double chocolate pancakes with salted caramel sauce

Double chocolate pancakes with salted caramel sauce

For anyone who thinks chocolate-chip pancakes are a decadent treat, this raises breakfast pancakes to a whole other level. Surprisingly the pancakes were not overly sweet or heavy. The addition of the caramel sauce, raspberries and dusting of confectioner’s sugar put this dish into the dessert category in my opinion.

In total, ten dishes were made from the Brunch at Bobby’s cookbook. Everyone in the group had a difficult time deciding what to make because there are so many delicious recipes packed into this cookbook. I will definitely be trying out several more – maybe even for those Easter and Mother’s Day brunch celebrations forthcoming!

 

Have you ever hosted a brunch gathering?

What’s your favorite brunch recipe/ dish?

 

Disclaimer:  While the cookbook book club was provided with copies of Brunch at Bobby’s cookbook, the opinions and views expressed above are my own and describe my personal experience.