I am constantly complaining about how there are not enough places in Annapolis for paleo people to eat. Well, on Friday night I returned to one that I haven’t been to in over a year and I am happy to say that it was just as good this time as it was the last time I ate there.
I went out for my moms birthday with my sister and a few of my aunts to Level in downtown Annapolis and I left dinner very satisfied. Level is an awesome restaurant that is huge on sourcing their food from local, sustainable resources whenever possible. It is a “small plates” type of restaurant, so we ordered about 8 plates for all of us to share.
Sorry it is so small, but that is their current menu. It changes with the seasons since the food is all fresh and local. I love the sentence at the very top, as well as the list of the local farms, etc. where they get all of their ingredients from!
We started with a warm olives and almonds plate, which looked great but I didn’t try since I am not a huge olive fan. I had one little love affair with them during a week I spent in Paris with my sister in 2012, but other than that I just can’t get aboard the olive train. Then we got the chorizo dip, which was made with fresh chorizo sausage, garlic, herbs parmesan and served with tortilla chips. Most definitely not paleo, but most definitely worth it.
Then we ordered a roasted beet salad, sautéed kale, bison and bacon sliders (hmm, wonder where my idea for this post came from?), spicy tuna tartare, pan seared scallops, shrimp and grits and 1 flatbread. Holy crap, just typing that embarrasses me for how much we ate.
Luckily it was all really really good. Except for that beet salad. I keep trying to like beets but I really just can’t. They taste like dirt. And this one was in a balsamic reduction with walnuts AND it had goat cheese, and it was still bad. The kale was good, although I have to admit I prefer the one I make at home. The bison and bacon sliders obviously inspired me to recreate them for dinner last night, so they were obviously amazing. Everything else was really good as well; including the Moscow mule I drank and the bottle of Sancerre we split. All in all it was a really great night with great food and even better company.
Saturday night we celebrated my mom’s birthday again, but this time with her family. Her birthday was last Wednesday and she was in Palm Springs for it. Somehow, she managed to drag it out for an extra 4 days. What a lucky lady. For dinner Saturday my grandmother made some of my moms favorite foods, including escargot, prime rib, mashed potatoes and cauliflower. She also made crepes from scratch, which were used in place of a birthday cake.
Flambéing the crepes
Saturday night we took it relatively easy and I was feeling good enough on Sunday to go see Divergent. I am usually a huge downer when it comes to books made into movies, but I actually liked this one. Obviously everyone pictures a book differently in their heads when they are reading, so seeing it come to life in a movie is a hard pill to swallow. At least for me it is. Divergent wasn’t exactly how I pictured it, but I was ok with all of the actors and scenery (usually I am not) and I was extremely happy that they followed the plot of the book pretty well.
When we got home last night and I realized that I had to actually cook dinner, I was proud of myself for having bought enough food last week to save me a trip to the grocery store this week. Laziness at its finest. The bison burgers on Friday night were so good that I wanted to really make them my own, and I just happened to have some bison and bacon in the fridge. Believe it or not, this is my first time cooking bison ever. I bought it at the store on a whim because I have always wanted to cook with it, and now here you have it. These are SUPER super easy to make and unbelievably delicious.
My version of the burger- with a side of kale chips of course!
1 LB ground bison
1 LB bacon. If you have a meat grinder, good for you. I don’t. Go ahead and grind the bacon so that it is the same consistency as the bison. If you’re like me and you don’t have a grinder, you can use a sharp knife and chop it up just as easily.
1 TSP dill
1/2 TSP salt
1/2 TSP pepper
1/2 TSP crushed red pepper
1/2 garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 head of iceberg lettuce. You really only need 1 or two pieces to wrap your burgers with. TJ actually prefers his without the lettuce, so you can do without.
Additional suggested toppings:
Jalapenos. These you can chop up and include in the meat mix if you want your meat a little spicy!
Sliced avocado. Wait until you are just about to serve your burgers before slicing.
Sautéed mushrooms and onions.
Cheese. Totally not paleo. I still totally used it on my burger.
Dill pickles. No burger is good without pickles, let be honest.
Preheat your oven to broil on low. You can make these on the grill, but since it is still chilly here in Maryland, the broiler is where its at right now. Mix your two ground meats together (yup – with your hands) as well as all of the additional ingredients. I strongly suggest adding jalapenos, I just didn’t happen to have any last night which really bummed me out. Make 4 patties with your meat. These will be pretty decently sized burgers, so you can scale them down and make 6 if you want them a little bit smaller. Suggestion: once you make your burgers, use your hand or the bottom of a glass to make an indentation in your burgers so they aren’t rounded on the top. This makes it much easier to add all of your toppings.
Cook your burgers in a broiler safe pan (aka cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil like I did) directly under the broiler for 10 minutes. Take them out, flip and cook for another 8 minutes. If you opted to make the smaller burgers, they will probably not need quite as much cooking time.
Once they are done, take them out of the oven and let them rest on a paper towel for a minute or two. The grease from the bacon needs to drain off a bit. Then just place them in your lettuce wrap, top with whatever your chosen ingredients are and wrap it up!
If you want to make kale chips as a side dish, you can find my recipe here. I promise you won’t be disappointed!