If you love the taste of fresh homemade salads, lip-smacking barbecue ribs and grandma’s fresh-baked pies, then you’ll love these local food finds for Labor Day weekend.
Angela Verrastro, owner of Angelina’s Cafe, uses only fresh, all natural ingredients in her cuisine. You can taste the flavor profiles in everything from her breakfast egg dishes to her lunch and dinner salads and hearty pasta dishes.
Speaking of salads, Angelina’s Cafe has super sides that will hold up on the boat, at the lake or at a backyard barbecue. For instance the spinach orzo salad ($7.99/lb) consists of fresh spinach leaves, orzo pasta, red-ripe grape tomatoes and is tossed with a light and refreshing homemade lemon juice dressing. It’s finished off with a little bit of shredded mozzarella cheese.
The herbed barley salad ($8.99/lb) starts with toasting the barley.
“We put a little extra virgin olive oil in a pan and toast the barley using some vegetable stock, reducing it down until the barley is ‘al dente’ texture, sort of like cooking up a risotto,” Verrastro said.
Once the barley is toasted, she tosses it together with sweet orange, yellow and green bell peppers, minced red onions and celery, fresh sweet basil and flat leaf parsley, making for a colorful and textured side salad.
“If people order 48 hours ahead, they can build their own pasta salad, adding whatever meats, veggies and cheeses they want in to the salad,” Verrastro said.
According to Verrastro, since the Angelina’s Cafe opening, people are confused about what is left at Angelina’s Kitchen.
“One thing I want to mention with all the confusion between our two businesses is that all of our family dinners-to-go, side salads, desserts and other food items, are now located at Angelina’s Cafe,” she said.
Angelina’s Kitchen is now the hub for her cooking and catering business.
Angelina’s Cafe is located at 2230 Eagle Creek Lane, Woodbury. For more information call 651-436-6999 or check the website at www.angelinaskitchen.com.
It might be one of Woodbury’s best kept secrets, but no longer! The family-owned and -operated Greater American Ribs, Inc., distributes fresh racks of ribs across the country.
“We may look small on the outside, but every week, about 60,000 to 80,000 barbecue ribs go out these back doors,” said Rick Mahmood, co-owner of Greater American Ribs. His other business partners are his brother, Gregg, and son Ricky.
According to Mahmood, most all of their business comes from the wholesale food distribution. Here’s what locals may not know: inside Greater American Ribs is a small cash and carry retail area that was created by Mahmood’s mother, Angie. Grandma Angie ran this cash and carry part of the business until her death in 2009.
Lucky for rib lovers, Mahmood decided to keep the retail area open after his mother’s death. Due to the large amounts of ribs Greater American Ribs produces weekly, it's able to pass on substantial savings to the local consumer.
Take, for instance, Greater American Ribs’ own private rib label, Sunset Creek. A fresh full rack of ribs with barbecue sauce is only $3.70 per pound and a full rack of dry ribs is $3.85 per pound. What’s even better is these bad boys are fully cooked, too. Just heat em’ up and serve.
“Put the racks of ribs in foiled lined shallow pans and then heat them up in the oven, on the grill, campfire or even the microwave until their bubbly,” Mahmood said.
The company's ribs are vacuumed packed and sealed, too, making them easy to stack and store in the fridge or in coolers. For budget watchers, Greater American Ribs sells buffet bags ($15/five pounds).
“These are frozen rib ends and pieces in a bag that we cut off from the rib racks,” said Mahmood. “We didn’t want to throw them out, as there is a lot of good meat on them, so we decided to sauce them up and put them in large sealed bags and sell them.”
Bonus: Buy two buffet bags and you get the third one for free.
Mahmood recommends putting them in a crock pot on low for the day. Add some of their Sunset Creek barbecue sauce and you’ll have some awesome barbecue when you get home. Speaking of sauce, Greater American Ribs sells it by the jar for $3.50.
“The sauce is my mother’s recipe that dates back to 1941,” said Mahmood.
Greater American Ribs Inc is located at 1850 Weir Drive in Woodbury. For more information call 651-739-0161 or visit www.greateramericanribs.com.
Pies, Cupcakes and Cookies
Freshly baked fruit pies are a “must do” for the weekend menu. No need to worry if you don’t have time to make one.
Let Keys Cafe and Bakery do it for you! Keys fruit pies ($13.95/pie) are so darn good, they’ll pass for homemade every time.
Take their handcrafted, old-fashioned, double-crusted apple pie. It’s made with freshly sliced granny smith apples, cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg and other secret ingredients.
“We’ve used the same pie crust recipe for over 30 some years,” said Woodbury Keys manager Amy Mahowald.
This pie crust is buttery, slightly sweet, flaky, and darn near melts in your mouth. You can always tell how good a pie is by its weight. The heavier the better.
Enjoy the last of summer’s fruits and order a strawberry rhubarb pie. It’s also double crusted and is golden sweet on the outside and full of rhubarb and strawberry on the inside.
Cupcake enthusiasts won’t want to miss Keys' gourmet chocolate cupcakes. Made with its house chocolate cake recipe and then topped with homemade buttercream frosting, chocolate ganache and colored sprinkles, these rich cupcakes will be gone in seconds flat.
Heading up north? Keys' oversized, fresh-baked chocolate chip, Snickerdoodle or frosted, lemon zest sugar cookies are excellent treats to travel with—that is, if they aren’t gone before you get to your destination.
Keys Cafe and Bakery is located at 1750 Weir Drive in Woodbury. For more information call 651-731-5397 or check their website at www.keyscafe.com.