Giveaway from Larkburger ~ A Fast Casual Concept Perfect for the Whole Family

Giveaway from Larkburger ~ A Fast Casual Concept Perfect for the Whole Family

When Chef Thomas Salamunovch of the fine-dining restaurant Larkspur in Vail, Colorado had a desire to bring fine dining to the masses, the fast-casual concept of Larkburger was born.

Larkburger is a Colorado based fast-casual gourmet burger chain that is quickly expanding beyond it’s borders. Overland Park, Kansas is the first city outside of Colorado to score this restaurant which opened in early 2017.  Another location is in the works for the Missouri side just off of the County Club Plaza in Kansas City.

I recently had the chance to try it out thanks to a couple of “free burger” cards they sent me.

Guess what? They want to give you some too along with some other Larkburger swag. Two winners are eligible for that and details are below, but first here are the details on the menu and some really cool things you should know about Larkbrger.

The menu is diverse and a perfect place to take the whole family. From burgers to kale and a few things in between everyone can get something they like. I think one of my favorite options is the steamed edamame.

Larkburger Edamame. Chicken and Tuna burgers

Although, I am a sucker for fries, which are hand-cut in-house and are amazing, it is nice to have an unfired option when I am trying to cut back on calories.

The day I visited I had to grab a to go order for my son and I. The sweet girl taking my order was so patient with me as I could not decide what salad to get. I finally decided on the kale salad.

I knew my son would go for a burger but being the picky eater he is I knew I had to order it plain. I got him the traditional Larkburger with meat, cheese and bun which means he missed out on the special sauce which is made from scratch and what I think is the best part! All burgers are cooked to order at your desired temperature and of course served however you want it. All of Larkburgers sauces and dressings that accompany their array of burgers, sandwiches and salads are made in-house using only the freshest ingredients.

Although, I scored a bite of the burger which was tasty even without the sauce, I really enjoyed the kale salad and appreciate the diversity of the menu items Larkburger offers. It makes it super easy for carnivores and vegetarians alike to both order something that will satisfy their appetite. As I mentioned before it is great place to take the whole family. Not only do kids under 12 eat free on Monday’s with an adult purchase, it allows mom who may be watching what she eats get something satisfying when the rest of the family is craving burgers and fries.

I do need to mention that although a burger is going to have more calories then kale, you don’t need to feel as guilty if you indulge in one at Larkburger. The burgers are fresh and made from local Black Angus beef. That in itself is already going to be lower in calories than the average processed fast food burger that is shipped frozen from who know where.

Everything is fresh at Larkburger including the tomatoes which ripen in an in-house cabinet until they are at peak flavor and the house-cut fries are cooked in a trans free canola oil.

The Larkburger with Hand-Cut Fries

 

I recently attend a blogger event they had and got a little swag myself along with some tasty samples.

Larkburger Swag

 

Larkburger Chili

Larkburger Rocket Power Salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Larkburger Salted Caramel Shake

Apart from having great food, Larkburger is also kind to the environment and takes sustainability seriously.  Outside of the condiment packets and juice and milk cartons, everything is compostable. Every napkin, utensil, wrap, cup, bag, box and straw! The size of the restaurant trash can is no larger than a 9×13 baking dish. The space and decor is sleek and clean with the chairs made from recycled materials and the walls are reclaimed cypress wood. In addition, their fry oil is recycled and converted into alternative fuel and 100% of the electricity usage is offset by purchased wind credits.

Larkburger Decor

Larkburger also is committed to supporting local and will source beer and soda from the region the restaurant is in to serve at that location. For a list of all Larkburger location visit their website.

Now in order to get free burgers and swag from Larkburger all you have to do is comment below on how you top your burger!

Two winners will be drawn using random. org from the number of entries. Example first commenter is number on and so on. Contest ends midnight Monday, June 12.  Winners will be notified via email so be sure to leave a valid email with your comment. Good Luck!

 

 

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie with Sea Salt

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie with Sea Salt

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adding a sprinkle of Fleur de sel or French sea salt on top just before baking elevates the flavor of these already perfect chocolate chip cookies.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

The original recipe comes from a Betty Crocker Cookbook I received as a wedding gift back in 1991. As my cooking skills increased and passion for elevating flavors in dishes developed, I took the liberty of making up my own version of this cookie recipe and it has been a hit ever since. These cookies are my families favorites and as you can tell by the recipe it has been tweaked to my standards of perfection and used often.

I promise after one bite you will know what makes them so special. You’re friends will be in awe of how delicious they are but not quite being able to put their finger on what makes them so delicious.

The secret is the sprinkling of sea salt on the cookies before baking. Here is a quick video on how I made them.  I have revised the recipe since this video was made and although they come out okay with two eggs, I find that using just one egg makes the dough a little stiffer and the cookies are not as flat. The recipe you will be using below calls for only one egg.


I hope you try out the recipe. Comment below if you did!  I promise they will become your families favorite as well!

Print
The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt
Prep Time
11 mins
Cook Time
11 mins
Total Time
22 mins
 
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 12 ounce chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp French sea salt (Fleur de sel)
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees

  2. Cream together butter, sugars, vanilla and egg until thoroughly mixed.

  3. In separate bowl mix together baking soda, salt and flour.
  4. Add flour mixture 1 cup at a time to creamed butter and sugar mixture. Stir until well combined.

  5. Add in chocolate chips and stir until chips are evenly distributed throughout dough.
  6. Scoop dough onto parchment lined or lightly spray cookie sheet or baking stone. Sprinkle a pinch of the French sea salt over tops. Bake 11 -12 minutes

  7. Remove from oven and let set a minute or two on cookie sheet before removing to cooling rack.
Recipe Notes

Using a 2" cookie scoop will yield 2 1/2 dozen cookies and 1" scoop will yield 5 dozen.

 

 

Almond Butter Protein Smoothie

Almond Butter Protein Smoothie

This protein packed smoothie is delicious and will give you energy all day. I drink this one a lot after a workout and it is my daughters favorite.

Videos seem to be the way of the future but I do not have time to make those fancy ones with all of the editing! What you see is what you get! There will be no double takes and this is the real me. My goal is to keep them under 2 minutes so you can get the jest of the recipe without a lot of rambling.

You could certainly use any nut butter and milk you prefer. If you like cashews try this Cashew and Banana Smoothie or swap out the almond butter here for cashew butter.

I use Orgain  brand protein powder. It is taste great and is about the purest I have found. I love Costco and get everything from there. If you don’t have one near by you can still order online. The almond milk, almond butter and Orgain protein powder can be ordered from costco.com  or you can get them in the warehouse along with the greens and bananas.  I don’t have any affiliation any of the highlighted links, it is just my way of getting you the info on what I like.

Ingredients:
1 cup almond milk or milk of choice
2 tablespoons almond butter or nut butter of choice
2 handful mixed greens
1 banana
1 serving protein powder of choice
1/2 cup ice cubes

Place milk in blender first, then add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.
Makes 1 serving

Chicago Dining Guide for Local Fare

Chicago Dining Guide for Local Fare

This Chicago dining guide for local fare just highlights some of my favorite spots. If you are serious foodie like me and are spending the day in Chicago, I recommend adding these to your list to check out while visiting. Most of these places fill up quickly so it is best to get your reservation in at least a few days ahead of time if not weeks before dining.

Click on the restaurants link for directions, hours and menu information

Breakfast/Brunch: Farmhouse

The Farmhouse Chicago, Stuffed French Toast

The Farmhouse Chicago, Stuffed French Toast

This locally owned cafe is located a few minutes from downtown but feels like an old rustic small town cafe you might find in the middle of Iowa. The decor will take you back to your Grandma’s childhood kitchen with antique furnishings and appliances placed throughout the space. Dishes are prepared using local and seasonal ingredients from area producers as well as the restaurants owners farm.

Must try: Stuffed French Toast with extra syrup

Lunch: Fronterra Grill

Frontera Grill Sopecitos Rancheros

Fronterra Grill owned by Celebrity Chef Rick Bayless, is always on my list when visiting the windy city. The elevated Mexican fare is like non other. Rick is passionate about using produce and meats from local farms. The flavor combinations he uses in his dishes set Fronterra Grill apart from any other Mexican restaurants I have tried.

Must try: Sopecitos Rancheros

Snack: Garret’s Popcorn Shop

A visit to Chicago is not complete without a visit to the iconic Garrett’s Popcorn Shop. Once in the door the caramel corn aroma will have your mouth watering. I prefer the Almond Caramel Crisp, but the Garrett Mix that combines sweet Caramel Crisp with savory Cheese Corn is the most popular.

Must try: Garret’s Mix

Dinner: The Girl and The Goat

The Girl and The Goat

Get your reservation in early for The Girl and The Goat owned by celebrity chef Stephanie Izzard.  The dishes are served family style, which make them ideal for sharing. Most come in the “small plate” format so it is ideal to go with a group to try a variety of things. The restaurant serves only dinner and opens at 4:30 pm. This makes a great spot if you are need of dining late as it does not close until 11 pm Sunday – Thursday and 12 am Friday and Saturday.

Must try: Chickpea Fritter

The Girl and The Goat, Chickpea Fritter

The Girl and The Goat, Chickpea Fritter

 

MOD Pizza ~ Blue Springs, MO

MOD Pizza ~ Blue Springs, MO

Hey Kansa City! If you live in Blue Springs your lunch and dinner wait just got shorter!

MOD Pizza is a Seattle based fast casual pizzeria that allows customers to create their own pizza and salads with unlimited topping and is opening in their first location in Blue Springs on April 22. Pizza and salads are passed through a line by employees, named the MOD Squad, and customers can request toppings they would like added. Pizzas are then quickly cooked in a brick-style oven and called out for pick-up at the register when complete.

Below is more information and details from their official press release. I am set to visit later in May and will update with my take on the space so stay tuned!

“MOD offers a truly unique concept by serving customers their own, original creations, while still providing quick service. Everyone can get exactly what they want at no additional cost,” said Scott Womack, president of Womack Restaurants. “Beyond the great pizza, we’re passionate about building a company where we value lifting people up as our first goal.”

The 2,711-square foot location will feature MOD’s signature “Wall of Fame,” an assortment of photos from the community and customers, original artwork from local artists and a patio.

Dedicated to giving back, MOD will be donating 100 percent of their sales to the local non-profit, Drumm Farm, on opening day. The organization helps children in foster care, homeless young adults and those aging out of foster care build successful lives by providing programs and services that support forever family environments, emotional and physical well-being, educational opportunities and personal growth.

“We are honored to partner with MOD for the Blue Springs location opening,” said Brad Smith, executive director of Drumm Farm. “The proceeds will truly make a substantial positive impact on the lifelong success of children and young adults in need of a family and stable environment.”

MOD is known for providing job opportunities to former incarcerated individuals throughout their locations as a way of giving a “second chance” to those ready to integrate back into society.

For more information on the new Blue Springs location or to learn more about MOD Pizza, visit https://www.facebook.com/modpizzabluesprings/.

ABOUT MOD PIZZA

A pioneer of the fast-casual pizza segment, MOD Pizza was founded in Seattle in 2008 by entrepreneurs Scott and Ally Svenson. MOD’s individual artisan-style pizzas and salads are made on demand, letting customers choose whatever they like from over 30 toppings, all for one set price. At the core of MOD is a purpose-led culture that’s committed to being a force for good in the community – creating not only a cool place to eat, but an inspired place to work. MOD was recently ranked as America’s fastest growing chain restaurant by Technomic; earned a spot on the 2016 Inc. 500 list as one of America’s fastest-growing private companies; and was recognized by Fortune as one of the 20 best workplaces in retail for its progressive hiring practices and career-growth opportunities. MOD currently has over 220 locations across 20 states and the U.K. To learn more, visit modpizza.com.

About Womack Restaurants:

Womack Restaurants is a multi-concept restaurant franchise operator based in Terre Haute, IN with development markets in Kansas City, Tulsa, Indianapolis and Columbus, Ohio. The Womack team has extensive development and finance experience, having developed nearly all of the IHOPs since 1990, in sometimes complex situations. Womack Restaurants divested its IHOP business in 2014 to focus on expansion of its Popeyes franchise and pursue other concepts. Womack Restaurants is committed to community engagement and partnership, as well as connecting with our country’s leadership.

Strawberry Walnut Spinach Salad

Strawberry Walnut Spinach Salad

This strawberry walnut spinach salad is the epitome of spring.  With fresh berries coming in to season and local farmers markets starting to open, you can get the ingredients at the peak of freshness and support you local farmer all at the same time.

I love the combination of the sweet strawberries with the salty goat cheese and the walnuts add a nice crunch. You can use plain walnuts or take a stab at making these maple glazed walnuts. They are sweet and salty and the perfect addition to this salad. They also make a great snack!

You can top it with any dressing you like.  I like using a balsamic or poppy seed but you can use whatever you like. This salad is great as a side or add a little chicken or protein of choice to make it heartier.

It is absolutely fabulous to serve to a big crowd as you can just get the big one pound  package of spinach from Costco or wherever you shop.  They also have the best goat cheese! Throw in more berries, onion and walnuts and you will have the perfect salad for whatever event you are hosting. It also travels well so can be the perfect dish for a potluck or gathering.

Strawberry Walnut Spinach Salad
Serves 2
_______________________________________________________

1 6 oz Package Fresh Spinach
1/2 Cup Walnut Halves
1/2 Cup Crumbled Goat Cheese
1 Cup Fresh Sliced Strawberries
1/4 Cup Sliced Red Onion

Method:

Place Spinach in large serving bowl. Top with remaining ingredients. Toss and serve with dressing of choice.