The Post livens up Germantown with quality pizza

The Post in Germantown.
The Post in Germantown.

Germantown is a fascinating part of Louisville where neighborhood staples live alongside an influx of new development and business. Developers will transform the Goss Avenue Antique Mall into Germantown Mill Lofts. An onslaught of young people have taken advantage of affordable housing and share sidewalks with folks who have been here for a generation or two. The collision of new and old is most evident in neighborhood’s restaurants.

My friends Susie and Sam split a pizza. I went rogue and bought the slice of the day.
My friends Susie and Sam split a pizza. I went rogue and bought the slice of the day.

The Post is the latest addition to the Germantown dining scene. This restaurant serves New York-style pizza with an array of thoughtful topping combos on top of a crisp yet bendable crust. There are also subs, salads and calzones if you want something a little different. And if you’re into grown-up drinks, there’s a full bar with a robust selection of drafts.

The Post embraces Germantown history while adding a new flair to the neighborhood, which will hopefully bode well for this business’s future in the area. Check out food writer Steve Coomes’ overview of The Post in Insider Louisville:

Owners Nash and Laura Neely have worked for the better part of a year to convert the aged VFW Post on Goss Avenue into a neighborhood pizzeria that, in theme, acknowledged its initial reason for being, albeit subtly. Outside of a lone American flag hanging in the dining room, there’s no military décor, but the menu is replete with wartime themes and names: The Allies is a topped with pepperoni, sausage, ham and bacon, while the Victory Garden is a veggie fest with artichokes, olives, sundried tomatoes and more. And you have to love the Army Brat, which combines bratwurst, garlic, jalapeno, cheddar, sauerkraut and brown mustard.

These pizzas cost more than your average Papa John’s pie. Pizza prices range from $7.95 for a 12″ cheese pizza to $35.95 for a 20″ pizza called The Victory Garden that comes with green bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, black olives, roasted red peppers, broccoli, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes and feta cheese. However, costs aren’t so bad if you split the pizza or buy pizza by the slice ($3-$4).

My giant slice which included onion and bacon. Yes, please.
My giant slice which included onion and bacon. Yes, please.

During my first visit, I had the giant slice of the day ($4) and a small caesar salad ($5.45). I spent less than $10, but I probably could’ve gone for another slice. That might be because I can’t stop myself when it comes to pizza, but I digress. The pizza is bendable with a chewy crust with crisp edges. The cheese oozes and is perfectly toasted. This is special-occasion pizza that tastes too delicious to waste on an all-nighter or eaten cold for breakfast. This is pizza worth putting on pants and leaving the house for. The taste and quality will make you understand why it’s worth going for a more expensive pie.

On a recent visit, I noticed a lot of new- and old-school Germantown residents. There were plenty of pairs of young professionals, but there were also a couple of families with kids. The Post offers something to please everyone, from a healthy list of craft beers to $3 big-name domestics, specialty pizzas with delicious toppings and giant slices of just cheese and pepperoni. The dining area is compact and bustling, and you might catch a ball game projected on a wall. Everybody, young and old, hip and square, is jammed together enjoying pizza, which is a pretty fun way to spend an evening in Germantown.


 

The Post

1045 Goss Ave., Louisville

For more information: The Post’s website and Facebook page

 

I ate all the tacos so you don’t have to (unless you’re really into that)

A sampling of tacos from El Taco Luchador on Baxter Avenue.
A sampling of tacos from El Taco Luchador on Baxter Avenue.

It was an assignment not for the weak of stomach: write about the burgeoning Louisville taco scene.

Journalism school taught me that a good reporter must do his or her research, so I embarked on a two-week taco taste test across the city. I documented some lessons learned and some stand-out taquerias in a story I wrote for the WFPL news blog. Here’s an excerpt:

The components of a taco sound simple enough—a tortilla, some meat, a few veggies, a sauce, and a wedge of lime on the side. But the best tacos in the city are thoughtfully crafted by chefs willing to explore flavor combinations that call on tradition yet seem refreshing and new. The tortilla should be soft, warm, made of corn and sturdy. The meat is best when it’s marinated and slow cooked, as evidenced by tender strips that fall apart as you chew your way through. The veggies should be crisp and handled with a light hand to not overwhelm aforementioned tortilla. And the sauce can make or break this little handheld dish—too much, and it’s sloppy and overbearing, too little, and the dish is  dry. And don’t forget to squeeze that lime, for it adds a final citrusy pop to make the tastes come alive.

Read the rest of the article here. Gluttony jokes aside, I had a fun time writing this one. Louisville has turned into a great place for tacos.

Where do you go when you need a taco fix?

Review: Premium meat from Mattingly worth the investment

A box of meat from Mattingly. Christmas came early?
A box of meat from Mattingly. Christmas came early?

Let’s get the tough part out of the way. This blog post is going to feature expensive meats firmly settled in Treat Yo’ Self territory.

Mattingly Foods – A. Thomas Meats invited me to review a selection of their products – hamburger patties, steaks and pork chops, to be exact. This local operation supplies high-quality meat to restaurants in the region and individual customers on a cut-to-order basis. It was hard to say no to a review request from a company with such deep roots in the city.

Yet, I was torn. The selection of meat from Mattingly is of premium quality with prices that reflect that commitment. Of the meat I sampled, the New York Strip is $13.75 a pound, pork chops are $5.50 per pound, and the hamburger patties are $3.50 per pound.

We’re all regular folks, here. You know and I know that the prices made us gulp. But if you’re going to go big, go with Mattingly.

Bringing home Mattingly Meat was like sneaking into the kitchen of my favorite steakhouse, clunking the chef over the head, and stealing slabs of beef from the fridge. My galley kitchen was instantly upgraded when I cooked a New York strip.

New York Strip with peas and mashed potatoes.
New York Strip with peas and mashed potatoes.

The steak cut like velvet, juicing sliding down the glowing pink grains. I only seasoned it with salt and pepper, and that was all that this strip needed.

Pig, meet cow.
Pig, meet cow.

The pork chop was equally succulent, with little fat and lots of tender meat.

A burger from Mattingly meat.
A burger from Mattingly meat.

The hamburgers were juicy and retained their size as the fat cooked off.

So how can you make this price point work?

Stretch out your meat:

  • The hamburger patties I received were SUPER HUGE. I took two of the patties and cooked them with a can of red beans and taco seasoning for burritos.
Beef and red beans.
Beef and red beans.
  • I took the three remaining patties and reshaped them into four smaller burgers.
  • The New York strip was large enough to share between two people, along with a couple of side dishes.
  • Future possibility for the remaining steak: stir fry.

Deciding to spend the money on Mattingly’s selection is hard. Fortunately, Mattingly’s offers a variety of packages and cuts of meat, and they even have a bargain outlet. Treat yo’ self to a belly full of premium protein.

For information on ordering, visit the Mattingly Foods – A. Thomas Meats website

Stevens and Stevens Deli serves up local, lunchtime realness

Benowitz When in Doubt and chicken noodle soup at Stevens and Stevens Deli.
Benowitz When in Doubt sandwich and chicken noodle soup at Stevens and Stevens Deli.

Sometimes, I get by with a little help from my friends. These are friends who love food as much as I do and introduce me to their favorite places to eat in the city.

I have Jay and Renee Valentine, fellow bloggers/podcasters and past guests on Deliciously Louisville, to thank for introducing me to Stevens and Stevens Deli, a hidden gem of a lunch spot on Bardstown Road. The Valentines raved about this restaurants wide selection of sandwiches, tasty toppings and good prices and invited me to join them for an early weekday lunch. They had me at sandwiches.

I’ve driven or walked by Stevens and Stevens dozens of times without noticing this restaurant. I blame the odd restaurant/roommate situation. The deli shares a space with Ditto’s Grill near the busy intersection of Bardstown Road and Grinstead Drive. The Ditto’s whimsical sign eclipses the simple Stevens and Stevens masthead on the front of the building. And the entrance to Stevens and Stevens is down a narrow parking lot toward the rear of the building’s left side. The relationship between these two restaurants gets even cozier inside. To my right, I had a clear view of the staff preparing the dining room of Dittos for the approaching lunchtime crowd. To the left, customers had started to pop in and order from the Stevens and Stevens counter and sit in the deli’s smaller dining area.

The selection at Stevens and Stevens is worthy of front-of-the-house attention. There are more than 50 types of sandwiches, which are all made to order right at the counter. There is a sandwich for everyone, and a quirky name to go with it. I’m a sucker for a fun menu. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Mr Ziegfeld Mr. Ziegfeld: rueben with corned beef, sauerkraut, Jarlsburg swiss cheese and Russian dressing
  • Hogs and Heffers: hot honey ham, applewood bacon and warmed pimento cheese
  • Arc de Fromage: grilled challah bread with Jarlsburg, cheddar, applewood bacon and tomato
  • Sleeps with the Fishes: hand-sliced lox from New York City, arugula, garden tomatoes, red onions, capers and mayo on toasted challah bread

Don’t worry, picky eaters — you can get plain ol’ sandwiches, too. But who wants a turkey on white when you can get a Dr. Zhivago (turkey, Russian slaw, and Jarlsburg swiss cheese)?

Stevens and Stevens also makes a variety of pasta and green salads and soups that you can pair with a sandwich, but are hearty enough to eat on their own.

The pick two options at the deli are wonderful for trying a little bit of everything they have to offer. Customers can two half portions of soup, salad or sandwich for $6.50 ($7.50 if you pick half of a specialty sandwiches, aka the ones with the fancy names). After much studying and fretting, I picked the Benowitz When in Doubt, a turkey sandwich with Chinese slaw, melted provolone, lettuce, tomatoes, and honeycup mustard on challah bread. I made it a pick two and paired my half sandwich with a bowl of chicken noodle soup.

The Benowitz When in Doubt.
The Benowitz When in Doubt.

Half the reason I ordered the sandwich was the name; I was, after all, in doubt. But I was also intrigued by the addition of an allegedly crazy slaw to a turkey sandwich. The cabbage slaw, trapped under the melted provolone, was sweet and crunchy. The honey mustard slathered on top was tangy and matched the slight spicy kick from slaw perfectly. The stack of turkey was large enough to tango with these medley of flavors. And the challah bread? Dense, soft and heavenly.

Chicken noodle soup.
Chicken noodle soup.

The soup was full of chopped carrots, hunks of chicken and tender noodles. If I had a cup of this for every cold day, I would be a happy woman.

I owe the Valentines big time for introducing me to Stevens and Stevens. This deli quickly became one of my favorite places to grab a sandwich in Louisville. Now, I just need some friends to help me get through that sandwich selection.

Stevens and Stevens Deli

1114 Bardstown Road

Louisville, Ky.

www.stevensandstevensdeli.com

I ate an $8 grilled cheese sandwich at Atlantic No. 5. Was it worth it?

The inside of Atlantic No. 5 on Main Street.
The inside of Atlantic No. 5 on Main Street.

Cold weather and a long line outside of The Main Eatery prompted my first visit to Atlantic No. 5, a new restaurant on Main Street in downtown Louisville.

Last Friday, I had my heart set on a tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich from The Main Eatery. It was the first cold Friday of the fall, so the line for other seekers of that legendary soup-and-sandwich combo was out the door and to the corner of the block.

It was 12:15. I didn’t have time for that.

Atlantic No. 5 was just a few doors down. I glanced inside and saw that the line was contained to the warm interior of the bistro. Customers hovered over cups of soup as they skimmed newspapers. A server walked around the counter with something that could pass for a grilled cheese. That was enough for me to give this restaurant a try.

Atlantic No. 5, named after those old-school lunch boxes that blue collar workers carried back in the day, comes from the mind of the same folks behind Rye on Market. From Insider Louisville:

Located at 605 W. Main Street, the new restaurant will be “very bistro like,” according to Michael Trager-Kusman, who said he and his partners sought to create a relaxed concept.

“We want it to be a place you come and go, stop and have a snack, a light dinner, a beer or a glass of wine,” said Trager-Kusman, who’s also seeking a full liquor license.

The dishes offer fresh takes on traditional Southern ingredients by pairing regional favorites with Eastern-inspired additions, such as a golden beet and couscous salad or the marble potato salad with turmeric-pickled cipollini. The rotisserie pork and beef meatball sandwiches also get a creative splash with the addition of broccoli rabe and carrot-cumin tomato sauce, respectively.

But is this a place where I can get a great soup and grilled cheese?

Sort of.

The menu items at Atlantic No. 5 are a la carte, which is French for, “We don’t do value meals here.” Sandwiches are $6 to $9, and a cup of soup (rustic tomato or coconut squash) is $5. I wasn’t on a $10 Challenge, but my bank account wasn’t in the mood for a $14 lunch. So I compromised with a grilled cheese sandwich ($8) and a bag of potato chips ($1.50).

A grilled cheese sandwich, all snug in a nice to-go box.
A grilled cheese sandwich, all snug in a nice to-go box.

The sandwich was made up of white cheddar, fontina and goat cheeses on country French bread with a balsamic-onion marmalade. Three creamy cheeses on one sandwich are good; a tart onion spread to cut some of the richness is even better. What the small sandwich lacked in size, it made up for in decadent ingredients.

The sandwich, and I imagine the rest of Atlantic No. 5’s menu, is something that I would order when it’s time to treat myself to a little bit of fancy to break up a work day. The price and size of the meal, however, will keep me from making this new downtown restaurant a regular lunchtime stop.

Atlantic No. 5

605 W. Main Street, Louisville

www.atlanticno5.com

Havana Rumba Express livens up Bardstown Road with tapas at low prices

Fancy potatoes from Havana Rumba Express.
Patatas bravas, which I like to call fancy potatoes, from Havana Rumba Express.

I need to allot a portion of my paycheck to the owners of Havana Rumba Restaurant. I visit the restaurant’s Middletown location when I want to enjoy the weather on the lush patio. I go to Mojito Tapas Restaurant, a slightly different concept from the same owners, when I feel a little fancy. And when all else fails, I can count on the original Havana Rumba location in St. Matthews to provide consistently good Cuban food, strong tropical drinks and an atmosphere that will liven up any weekday.

Now, the creators of Havana Rumba have gone and opened another restaurant, or, as I shall call it, the Highlands Depository of Ashlee’s Hard-Earned Money.

Havana Rumba Express and Tapas Bar opened last month at 2210 Bardstown Road, close to Douglass Boulevard. This new branch of the Cuban food family is two restaurants in one — a fast-casual restaurant perfect for meals on the go and a tapas bar for a casual evening out.

A margarita and mojito to get the party going at Havana Rumba Express.
A margarita and mojito to get the party going at Havana Rumba Express.

The restaurant is split into two distinct dining areas to clearly divide the dual concepts. But there isn’t obvious signage to give direction to customers. I didn’t know whether to order at the counter, grab a seat or wait for a hostess.

The area in which you enter is the fast-casual side of the house, where you can order pressed Cuban sandwiches, desserts, or build your own entree (not literally, there’s people behind the sneeze guard that do that for you) by adding sides, meat and salad priced $1 to $5 per item. There’s plenty of seating in that area to enjoy your meal, or you can take your food to go.

I had just recorded a podcast with Melissa and Linda of the Louisville, Not Kentucky podcast, and we decided to keep the fun going by eating in the tapas bar area.

A view of the baron the tapas side of Havana Rumba Express.
A view of the baron the tapas side of Havana Rumba Express.

Tapas is a Spanish style of cuisine that involves small plates and sharing. It was hard to pass along the goodies at Havana Rumba Express. I didn’t want to let go of my patatas bravas (fingerling potatoes topped with truffle aioli, spicy sauce and mahon cheese sauce), and I hesitated to share the surprising deliciousness of the pintxo de morcilla (a black sausage patty and goat cheese topped with a fig sauce over a slice of tumaca bread). However, it’s better to give than receive, and it’s awesome to give AND receive a bite of lobster quesadilla and torta de camaron (a potato cake topped with pickled carrots, guacamole, shrimp and a sweet chili sauce).

Lobster quesadilla at Havana Rumba Express.
Lobster quesadilla at Havana Rumba Express.

Our table of three ordered nine small plates to share, which was enough to make a meal. However, the servers bring only one or two dishes at a time, so it can get kind of awkward eating your friend’s guacamole while you wait on your empanada (sorry, Linda).

Spinach and cheese empanada at Havana Rumba Express.
Spinach and cheese empanada at Havana Rumba Express.

Other than the taste, the price is the best thing about tapas dining at Havana Rumba Express. The small plates are no more than $4 each, and three will leave you pleasantly full. I spent $9 on food, an amount comparable to other fast-casual restaurants but with the added bonus of supporting a local business that consistently produces great cuisine. So great, in fact, that my money will continue flowing Havana Rumba’s way.

Review: Menu and Hours app for Android is worth the wait

A screenshot of Menu and Hours. This is a portion of the Dish on Market menu.
A screenshot of Menu and Hours. This is a portion of the Dish on Market menu.

Let me start this review with a few disclosures.

I’m friends with Michelle Jones, the creator of the Menu and Hours app. Michelle began to publish my $10 Challenge pieces on her popular blog, Consuming Louisville, back in 2010 when I was just a fresh-faced blogger fresh out of a traditional newsroom. I consider her a role model and a friend.

I’m a financial supporter of Menu and Hours. I donated money to the Menu and Hours Kickstarter campaign, which means I received this app for free as a reward for my donation.

I’m not a tech writer. I still haven’t figured out the technology behind fax machines (something about pictures or magic, I think).

We square?

Good.

*clears throat*

Menu and Hours is a Louisville-centered restaurant app that provides you with the basics — the menu, hours, location and phone numbers of some of the region’s local restaurants. There’s no reviews, PDFs or other annoyances I’ve found on similar food-centric apps. Instead, Menu and Hours uses a slick, clean design to relay the information that really matters when you’re hungry.

Menu and Hours debuted on the iPhone in September and arrived in the Google Play store last week. As a devoted Android operator, it’s been a long few months of seeing iPhone-leaning friends plug the usefulness of this app. Now it’s my turn.

The app’s appearance immediately grabbed me. There’s no pictures and not a lot of color, just some bright blue spot color and a couple of clean sans serif fonts. It’s odd to see a food app without a lot of bells and whistles, but the sparse displays help me hone in on the basic information I want from my favorite restaurants.

The restaurants are sorted into basic categories such as American, Chinese and Breakfast/Brunch, but I really like the special categories listed at the bottom — Louisville Classics, New and Noteworthy and Fancy Cocktails, to name a few.

Non-traditional categories in Menu and Hours.
Non-traditional categories in Menu and Hours.

Restaurants are easy to find throughout the app, whether you search by keyword, location or type of food. When you find a restaurant that you particularly enjoy, you can add them to your favorites by typing the star in the top right-hand corner so the name will appear in the left sidebar for easy access any time you use the app. This will come in handy when I want to show friends and co-workers the items available at some of my go-to establishments (I’m looking at you, Dish on Market and Wild Eggs).

The menus are comprehensive in the Menu and Hours listings. Prices and descriptions are available for most restaurants. It gets a little dicey with places such as Sweet Surrender bakery that have menus that change daily. But Menu and Hours includes a note when a restaurant has a flexible selection and, in the case of Sweet Surrender, lists all the items that could be offered on a given day.

Some of my favorite Louisville restaurants haven’t agreed to be listed in Menu and Hours — yet. I remember Michelle making the rounds of some Louisville businesses to ask for their inclusion in this app. Now that Menu and Hours has arrived in the Android space, I hope restaurants can see the value of providing her with their information for inclusion in Menu and Hours. I’d also like to see restaurants working with Michelle to make sure the most up-to-date menu is available on the app. I found one case (Café Lou Lou, specifically) in which the menu had been changed in real life, but not on Menu and Hours.

Even though Menu and Hours is a fairly new addition to the smartphone horizon, I already wonder what I did without it. Menu and Hours is one of those few apps that I can see myself using every day, right along with Twitter and Facebook. This app tells me where to go and what to expect when I get there. I don’t just love Menu and Hours because I’m a Louisville food writer. I love Menu and Hours because I’m a Louisville food eater.

[Review] Middle-class dreams of healthy eating come true with Green BEAN Delivery

My bounty from Green BEAN Delivery.

(Blogger’s note: For one week, Green BEAN Delivery is offering Ashlee Eats readers 50 percent off the price of a produce bin for new and reactivating customers. Just type in ACLapc in the promo code area. The deal doesn’t include grocery add-ins.)

I keep my life goals realistic. So realistic, in fact, that I don’t even call them “goals.”

I have “Middle-Class Dreams.”

My top Middle-Class Dream? To be the weekly recipient of a CSA bin.

Community Supported Agriculture, aka CSA, is a way to buy local, seasonal and/or organic food directly from your friendly neighborhood farmer. Here are the basics of the idea, courtesy of localharvest.org:

A farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a “membership” or a “subscription”) and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.

Sounds nice, right? But the price point of the CSAs I have come in contact with have kept me from signing up. So I was thrilled when Green BEAN Delivery contacted me to review their program because of my appreciation of CSA and similar programs and my love of free stuff.

Green BEAN (not a CSA, buy similar) serves Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio participants with bins of (mostly) organic produce, much of which is from local farms, and natural food. It’s easy to get started with the program. You pick which size bin you would like to receive (ranging from a $35 small bin to a $49 large bin) and the frequency you would like to receive your bin. You can also select certain natural food brands to add to your bin.

For my review, I signed up for the small produce bin that the Green BEAN website said is “perfect for 2-3 people.” The picture at the top of the page is everything that came in the bin, and here’s the list:

  • 2 heads of broccoli
  • 1 bunch of carrots
  • 1 red onion
  • 24 oz. klamath pearl potatoes
  • 1 lb. green beans (the only non-organic item)
  • 4 bosc pears
  • 4 gala apples
  • 3 navel oranges
  • 3 tangerines
  • 1 head of bibb lettuce

The produce comes in an insulated bin complete with a cold pack, so everything arrived looking fresh out of the farmer’s market. Just opening the lid was like walking down the first aisle of the supermarket.

As soon as I washed and stored all the food, I peeled right into one of the deep-orange tangerines. It was juicy and tangy, a nice preview for the rest of the produce I would eat.

I spent the next week experimenting with all fresh food that packed the shelves of my fridge. Much like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get in the CSA bin each week, so a little research and flexibility are key.

After a call to my mom, I threw the green beans in a slow cooker with some bacon, onion, salt and pepper for a delicious side dish:

I also referred to my favorite cookbook and a recent issue of Better Homes and Gardens to create this dish of herb-roasted root vegetables that used the potatoes, carrots, red onion and a few sweet potatoes already in my house:

My husband and I ate the rest of the items in the bin straight out of the refrigerator in salads or just by themselves. Each piece of fruit or hunk of vegetable tasted better than the previous. Everything was fresh and fragrant, crisp and cool. Not a brown spot in the bunch.

The small bin is a great size for an adult couple and could last two weeks if you supplement your produce with other groceries. I also ate more fruits and vegetables during my time with the bin because I couldn’t escape all of the produce in my face.

The small $35 bin received on a bi-weekly basis is an expense I’m willing to work into my family’s grocery budget in exchange for healthier, fresher, more seasonal eating. There is enough variety and surprise in your selection to keep things interesting. I could easily seeing myself getting the majority of my produce from Green BEAN and The Root Cellar, another excellent resource for local, seasonal food.

The only thing left of my Green BEAN bin is the broccoli, and I don’t want my glimpse at achieving a Middle-Class Dream fade to black.

 

[Review] The Motorola Xoom will help you cook, grocery shop and blog. Just don’t drop it.

Photo courtesy sekimura via Flickr.

(Blogger’s note: This isn’t a review of the Xoom’s tech specs and other things I don’t understand. This is all about how the Xoom integrates into food-related tasks. For more high-tech info and a review, give CNET a click.)

 The nice people over at Guthrie/Mayes Public Relations in downtown Louisville had a good question for me:

“Do you want to test the Motorola Xoom tablet on Verizon’s 4G network to see how useful it is in the kitchen?”

You had me at Motorola Xoom, Guthrie/Mayes.

Before I used the Xoom, I had never had any intimate times with a tablet. I wasn’t sure how useful a tablet could be in my life when I already use a MacBook and a smartphone.

After a couple of weeks with the Xoom, I discovered that the device is a nice addition to the life of a techie cook like me.

I used the Xoom for three main purposes: cooking, grocery shopping and blogging here at Ashlee Eats. Here’s a breakdown of how the device performed in each category:

Cooking

The Good: This is where the Xoom performed the best. It was easy to pop up a recipe from the Internet, sit the Xoom on its stand (sold separately, but definitely a necessity) and turn the device into a modern cookbook. It takes up less room than a laptop, which is the device I usually use to call up recipes I find on the internet. For optimal use, I changed the sleep settings on the Xoom so the screen would stay active for 20 minutes at a time, eliminating the need to constantly touch the screen and leave smudges while cooking. I cooked this Moroccan beef stew recipe using the Xoom.

The Bad: I mainly use Pinterest to mark recipes I find online, and the mobile version of this site doesn’t even compare to the full version. It’s hard to access all of your pins, so I found myself Googling the recipes I wanted to access.

Grocery Shopping

The Good: The strength of the Xoom in grocery shopping depends on what app you use to keep track of your grocery list. I discovered and fell in love with Out of Milk, an app that allows users to keep multiple shopping lists, a list of pantry items and to-do lists. There is also a barcode scanning feature that makes compiling a grocery list a matter of pointing the Xoom and letting the app do the work. I also never had any connection problems accessing my apps on the Xoom once I got inside of stores, a problem I sometimes have on my smartphone.

The Bad: Boy, is this thing bulky when you are trying to grocery shop. It was hard to balance this 1.6-pound device in one hand while grabbing cans and cartons with the other. The tablet’s size (the screen is about 10 inches) also puts in a category of being too big to fit in a purse, but too small to fit in a computer bag. Since I didn’t have a case, I found myself cradlingbthe Xoom and shopping in fear that I would drop it.

Blogging

The Good: I got to use a Bluetooth keyboard with the Xoom, which made blogging from the tablet even better than using my laptop. It was easy to include links and switch between different screens and applications because of the touchscreen, and the keyboard allowed for traditional typing.

The Bad: You have to buy the keyboard separately, or face a lot of blush-worthy autocorrects if you’re a clumsy touchscreen user like me.

Overall, I really liked the experience of using the Motorola Xoom. Service was fast, it was easy to use, and it was great for using to cook. But the $499 price tag, the need for so many accessoriea and the inconvenient size make me hesitate to buy one for myself.