CakeMeOmaha Series #10: The Bicycle Cake

Best friend, Zoe, was coming to town and the gang knew we had limited opportunity to celebrate her birthday. Strategically, we decided to hijack the end of a group dinner with a surprise early birthday cake.

Zoe loves biking. Thus, we decided on a bicycle-theme cake from The Cakery. The ordering was completed with some back-and-forth communication via email and phone. This cake was Zoe-personalized!

The following pictures were sent to The Cakery for inspiration.

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With only two days notice, The Cakery concocted the below.

The Cakery's Custom Bicycle CakeThe Cakery's Custom Bike CakeThe Cakery's Custom Bicycle Cake

The Cakery baked, whipped, and piped a custom cake featuring Zoe in her biking gear and her bicycle. The Tiffany blue color is a nice pop and I love how Zoe is represented in this cake.

Here are side-by-side comparison pictures of real-life and cake-life Zoe and her bike.

Side-by-Side Bicycle Cake Comparison Side-by-Side Bicycle Cake Comparison Side-by-Side Bicycle Cake Comparison

At the end of dinner, real-life Zoe was presented the custom bicycle cake.

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Zoe was surprised and all smiles! She tilted her head and asked, “Who is the man [on the cake]?” Friend Anne said, “She has boobs!” Laughter ensued within the group. While Zoe did not immediately recognize herself in the cake, she did recognize her bike.

How did the cake taste? The cake was red velvet. I was caught up in the festivities, so I forgot to take a picture of the sliced cake. Zoe liked that it was not a sweet cake. I thought it was okay. I missed the rich cream cheese frosting that makes a red velvet cake. Taste-wise, I recommend Nothing Bundt Cakes‘ red velvet cake over The Cakery.

Custom Bicycle Cake

  • Description: Custom bicycle-theme red-velvet cake.
  • Price: $26.99
  • FoodMe YUM Rating: 7.0 out of 10
  • FoodMe Value Rating: 9.0 out of 10

Ultimately, the cake was a happy-visual impact and budget-friendly. Thanks to The Cakery for creating the custom bicycle cake at short notice.

Click to add a blog post for The Cakery on Zomato

Top Five Memorable Morel Dishes of 2015

As evident in past FoodMeOmaha blog posts and social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter), I am an avid fan of morel mushrooms. I love it so much that I bought morels for a steep $40 a pound from these guys at the Omaha Farmer’s Market in Aksarben Village.

Nebraska Morels at the Omaha Farmer's Market in Aksarben Village

Nebraska Morels at the Omaha Farmer’s Market in Aksarben Village

My morel mushroom madness is justified! Here are my top five memorable morel dishes of 2015 from great to greatest:


#5: Block 16’s Morel Philly Royale Special

Morel Philly Royale Special at Block 16

Morel Philly Royale Special at Block 16

My man, Brian, emailed me, “Did you see Block 16‘s lunch special?!?!” I immediately went to Block 16’s Facebook page and saw the above and read “Morel Philly Royale today! Shaved steak, provolone, grilled onion, truffle aioli and local MORELS on a sourdough roll. Won’t last long, get down here!!!

My reaction: Think Homer Simpson’s head tilted, eyes rolled back, mouth agape, tongue out, and drooling. Since I work out west and couldn’t make it, Brian saved the day and got me one to-go! I was lucky. They ran out of their special soon after opening.

The re-heated version was satisfyingly good. I enjoy Block 16’s regular Philly sandwiches. It is even better with the morel mushrooms. The morels picked up the savory meat flavor. While I know the Morel Philly Royale was not at its prime freshly-made state, I was happy!

Block 16 on Urbanspoon


#4: My Man’s Butter-Sauteed Morel Mushrooms

Sauteed Morel Mushrooms

Butter-Sauteed Morel Mushrooms Made By Man

I adore the homemade butter-sauteed morel mushrooms made by Brian. See the FoodMeOmaha post, “Butter-Sauteed Morels Made by Man“. This dish is simple, yet, sooo goood!

On another occasion, Brian made this morel dish for close friends, Maude and Joen Moreno. The Morenos were delighted and we were delighted to share the food experience with them.

Maude: “On my first bite, the texture, the oily moisture, how it just melted in my mouth… It was like wanting to delay my chewing just so this piece of heaven does not disappear down my throat. I wanted to savor every bit of it! So good and so unforgettable!”

Food is even better when shared with peeps we care about!


#3: Lot 2’s Bone Marrow and Morel Mushrooms

Bone Marrow and Morel Mushrooms at Lot 2

Bone Marrow and Morel Mushrooms Special at Lot 2

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Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar has my favorite bone marrow in town. Therefore, when I discovered Lot 2 had bone marrow AND MORELS, I had another Homer Simpson drooling moment on repeat. The roasted bone marrow is divine, indulgent goodness elevated to new heights with the morel mushrooms. The morels were sauteed in a lovely sauce of shallots, garlic, thyme, lemon, white wine, butter, salt, and pepper.

The bone marrow and morels are a dynamic duo! Brian and I were either sighing, moaning, or pausing in silence over the bone marrow and morels. My taste buds thanked Chef Joel Mahr and staff of Lot 2!

Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar on Urbanspoon


#2: Taita’s Morel Mushroom Nigiri

Morel Nigiri at Taita

Morel Mushroom Nigiri at Taita

Holy morel nigiri at Taita Restaurant! The morel mushroom is honored in this dish. The woodsy mushroom is the featured star accented by a dark salty and sweet sauce, scallions, and neutral, compact rice.

Chef/Owner Jose Dionicio of Taita: “We slightly marinated morel in soy and dashi, then proceed to grill them finish them off to brush them with a nikiri sauce which contains hints of sake, soy and more dashi.”

This finely executed nigiri is a marvelous, woodsy-pure bite!!!


#1: Taita’s Wagyu Beef and Morel Ragout

Wagyu Beef and Morel Mushrooms at Taita

Wagyu Beef and Morel Ragout at Taita

FoodMeOmaha and Brian are frequent visitors at Taita since this is our top favorite restaurant in town. On a recent visit, Brian and I ordered our usual $60 omakase per person for dinner. The omakase is a great food experience. Chef Jose creates a series of courses of his choosing including sushi, hot dishes, and dessert. Our omakase journey hit a pinnacle with the wagyu beef and morel ragout! I was an ecstatic school girl when I feasted my eyes on this glorious course!

The wagyu beef was a savory, melt-in-your-mouth, beautiful moment. The exquisite salt added the extra edge! Chef Jose explained that the morels is a take on a classical ragout. Sauteed onions, wine and a hint of soy were involve in the making of it. The morel mushrooms was an oh-my-freaking-amazing, woodsy love immersed in a velvety sauce with roasted garlic cloves… Oh yeah…

This dish was superbly executed and zealously enjoyed.

Taita on Urbanspoon

This concludes my morel mushroom madness for this year!

For a different perspective, here is Brian’s top five from great to greatest:

  • #5 Block 16’s Morel Philly Royale
  • #4: His’ Butter-Sauteed Morel Mushrooms
  • #3 Taita’s Morel Mushroom Nigiri
  • #2: Lot 2’s Bone Marrow and Morel Mushrooms
  • #1: Taita’s Wagyu Beef and Morel Ragout

FoodMeOmaha had several memorable morel mushroom dishes (including others not mentioned) in 2015. Greedy MorelMeOmaha wants more morels! Next year, I foresee morel mushroom hunting in addition to the eating!

Sauteed Morels Made By Man

I admit that I have morel fever! Every spring, I go gaga for the morel mushrooms. These forest treats are in limited supply for a limited time.

Morel Mushrooms

My man, Brian, and I received a small precious bunch of morel mushrooms from friends, Erin and Richard McArthur. Thank you McArthur’s!!!

In the past, we have cooked butter-fried morel mushrooms. See FoodMeOmaha post, “Butter-Fried Morels Made By Man”. This time, my man sauteed the morel mushrooms with butter.

Sauteed Morels:

Ingredients:

  • Fresh morel mushrooms (approximately 12)
  • 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • Salt and black pepper

Directions:

1. Admire the morel mushrooms.

2. Trim the stalk ends and cut the bigger morels vertically in half.

3. Soak morels in salt water (we soak for about an hour), rinse, and pat dry.

4. On a frying pan, melt butter on medium-high.

Melt Butter for Sauteed Morel Mushrooms

6. When the butter is melted, add the morel mushrooms.

7. Add salt and pepper.

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8. Cook for about 5 minutes or until cooked through with buttery goodness.


Breath in the awesome aroma!

9. Occasionally stir gently.

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Sauteed Morel Mushrooms

10. Serve and enjoy each morel morsel!

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So simple and soooo good… We deliberately rationed the morels! Like Russian roulette (but in a delicious way), we took turns enjoying a morel piece. Every buttery, woodsy mushroom bite was followed by a moment of appreciation.

I now prefer the sauteed version over the fried. The earthy mushrooms shine more without the breading.

FoodMeOmaha Tidbit: Have morel fever? Check out the FoodMeOmaha post, “2015 Morel Sightings at Omaha Restaurants”.

CakeMeOmaha Series #9: The Avengers Cake Sequel

As evident in past CakeMeOmaha posts, Bliss Old Market Bakery has consistently created custom cakes that look and taste good. This included an awesome Avengers cake for awesome Cade (eldest son) back in September 2012. See the past FoodMeOmaha post, “CakeMeOmaha Series #3: The Avengers Cake”.

On March 7th, 2014, Jonah (youngest son) had an Avengers theme birthday party. Thus, we went back to Bliss Old Market Bakery for an awesome Avengers Cake “sequel” for awesome Jonah. The result…

Custom Avenger Cake from Bliss Old Market Bakery

Bliss Old Market Bakery created an Avenger-tastic nine-inch cake Marvel-ized with fondant and frosting. I love how Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, and Thor are individually represented in a quadrant and united in one cake!

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The Avengers cake is visually neat to see from different angles. We received many cake compliments at the party.

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The best part: We were stoked to see Jonah’s delight over the cake!

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Custom Avengers Chocolate Cake

  • Description: 9-inch round chocolate cake (feeds 32) with peanut butter frosting and custom Avengers decorations.
  • Price: $50.00, additional $15 for custom 3D fondant figures
  • FoodMe YUM Rating: 8.5 out of 10
  • FoodMe Value Rating: 8.25 out of 10

Chocolate cake and rich peanut butter frosting is one of my favorite Bliss cake/frosting pairing. Birthday boy Jonah says: “It was really good!”

FoodMeOmaha Tidbit: Peanut butter lovers, I recommend the peanut butter chocolate cupcake at Bliss Old Market Bakery!

Thanks to Bliss Old Market Bakery for another awesome Avengers cake!

The Avengers Age of Ultron Movie

By the way, FoodMeOmaha and the boys saw The Avengers: Age of Ultron movie last night. The Avengers sequel has jammed-pack action, great visual effects, laughs, and superhero entertainment! I craved Chinese takeout at one point…

Bliss Old Market Bakery on Urbanspoon

2015 Morel Sightings at Omaha Restaurants

Morel mushrooms have been sighted! These unique, honeycombed-cap beauties have a more woodsy flavor than the common button mushrooms. Morel mushrooms are only available once a year by mother nature.

There are a handful of Omaha restaurants that have morel mushrooms. Get them while they last!


Taita Restaurant

Taita Restaurant is FoodMeOmaha’s top favorite restaurant in town! I continually rave about their sushi and other yummy offerings. I am thrilled that they have morel mushroom specials!

Mushroom Morels at Taita Restaurant

Mushroom Morels at Taita Restaurant

Homemade Pasta w/ Scallops, Scallions, and Morel Mushrooms

Homemade Pasta w/ Cream Sauce, Scallops, and Morel Mushrooms

Homemade Pasta w/ Cream Sauce, Scallops, and Morel Mushrooms
  • Description: Weekend special – Homemade pasta with cream sauce, scallops, and morel mushrooms.
  • Price: $25.00
  • FoodMe YUM Rating: 9 out of 10
  • FoodMe Value Rating: 9 out of 10

I had this special yesterday evening. I was wooed with each bite. The cream sauce was divine, the homemade pasta smooth and comforting, the scallops nicely seared, and the morel mushrooms was woodsy love! I wanted more and almost ordered this dish again!

Morel Mushrooms Broth and Miso Ramen at Taita

Morel Mushroom Broth and Miso Ramen at Taita

Taita serves up ramen on Sunday only (12pm-4pm only). Today, they have morel mushroom and miso ramen!

Taita on Urbanspoon


Dante Ristorante Pizzeria

Dante Ristorante Pizzeria is another favorite restaurant. They have wood-roasted, grass fed NE rib-eye w/ wood roasted morels, nishnabotna spinach & gnocchi and a nettle & ceci bean tortellini w/ wood-roasted morels, squeaky green organics radish, nettle pesto & fried ceci beans. Based on a recent phone call, their supply of morel mushrooms are almost gone!

Morel Mushrooms at Dante Pizzeria

Morel Mushrooms at Dante Pizzeria

Dante Ristorante Pizzeria on Urbanspoon


La Buvette Wine & Grocery

4/26/2015 Update: Morel mushrooms have been sighted at La Buvette in the Old Market! Omaha food writer, Sarah Baker Hansen, recently posted on the Omavore Facebook page: “What I’m eating: an incredibly delicious morel mushroom pizza” at La Buvette.

La Buvette serves up good food in a charming, quaint European-like cafe with exposed brick and walls of wine. Based on a recent call, La Buvette likes to have fun and try different dishes with morel mushrooms. Note based on several past visits, expect slow-paced service.

La Buvette Wine Bar & Delicatessen on Urbanspoon


Block 16

4/27/2015 Update: Block 16 has joined the list of Omaha restaurants with morel mushrooms!

Block 16 is one BIG reason I wished I stilled worked downtown!!! Last year, during the morel mushroom season, they had a different morel lunch special every day. Today, Block 16 has this morel mushroom special…

Miso Morel Burger at Block 16

Miso Morel Burger at Block 16

Hello, beautiful!!! The Miso Morel Burger is composed of the house patty, miso glazed MORELS, cheese, grilled onion, arugula, aioli and sriracha on a brioche bun. I want.

Check out Block 16’s Facebook page for their lunch specials. I wonder what other morel mushroom specials Block 16 will serve. I recommend getting their early. It gets crowded fast since Block 16 is that good.

5/2/2015 Update: Block 16’s special tonight is “MOREL AND LOBSTER RISOTTO. WITH A DUCK EGG AND GRANA PODANA. This is dine in only friends and we’ve only got a couple dozen left. They’ll go quickly and they don’t start until 5 p.m. but its worth it.”

Block 16 on Urbanspoon


V. Mertz

5/2/2015 Update: V. Mertz has posted an Instagram pic of a morel mushroom!

Morel Mushroom at V. Mertz

Morel Mushroom at V. Mertz

V. Mertz is a fine-dining restaurant with fine-tasting food. They have a great ambiance set in the Old Market Passageway. V. Mertz have unique dishes that merge traditional and contemporary styles and different cultural influences. I wonder what they will do with morel mushrooms…

5/4/2015 Update: Check out the goose eggs and morels Instagram pic from V. Mertz!

Goose Eggs and Morels at V. Mertz

Goose Eggs and Morels at V. Mertz

V. Mertz Restaurant on Urbanspoon


Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar

5/3/2015 Update: Lot 2 posted that they have morel mushrooms this weekend!

Morel Mushrooms at Lot 2

Morel Mushrooms at Lot 2

Lot 2 Restaurant & Wine Bar is another favorite restaurant. There is a lot to love at Lot 2 including the charcuterie board and bone marrow. Thus, I had a “woot woot” reaction when I saw Lot 2 has morel mushrooms!

Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar on Urbanspoon


5/6/2015 Update: 
There are more morels sighted at Omaha restaurants including J. Coco, M’s Pub, Dolce, and Kitchen Table!

FoodMeOmaha loves morel mushrooms! I will update this post if there are other morel mushroom sightings at Omaha restaurants. Hopefully, mother nature will be generous this year.

I recommend contacting the restaurant beforehand, if you want to make sure they have morel mushrooms. They go fast!

The Fries and Sides at Stella’s Bar & Grill

On March 10th 2015, FoodMeOmaha and work friends, Ryan and Eric, went to lunch at Stella’s Bar & Grill.

Stella's Bar & Grill Inside View

Our objective: Stella’s famous hamburgers. Oh yeah… Stella’s continues to be FoodMeOmaha’s top favorite burger joint in the Omaha area.

Custom Cheeseburger at Stella's Bar & Grill

Teaser: Salivate over this cheeseburger with bacon, fried egg, sauteed mushroom, grilled onion, and melted pepper jack served on a napkin. I happily gobbled up my customized burger masterpiece. Drool…

No brainer! When you are at Stella’s, enjoy a hamburger! How about the sides?

On this visit, we each ordered a differed side and shared them among the table. I tried the onion rings for the first time and tasted the Stella fries and sweet potato waffle fries again.

StellasSides

The Fries and Sides menu section.

While the hamburgers are the reason to eat at Stella’s, this post is about the fries and sides at Stella’s Bar & Grill. Here are my rankings of the sides at Stella’s based on recent and past visits:

#4: Stella Fries
Stella's Fries

These fries don’t do anything for me. I know others who like them. Consistently, they are too soft, greasy, and bland for my taste.

Stella Fries
  • Description: Hand-cut, fresh Idaho potatoes
  • Price: $2.50
  • FoodMe YUM Rating: 5 out of 10
  • FoodMe Value Rating: 5 out of 10


#3: Sweet Potato Waffle Fries
Stella's Sweet Potato Waffle Fries

The Sweet Potato Waffle Fries has a nice sweet potato taste but I want more salt and texture.

Sweet Potato Waffle Fries
  • Description: Sweet potato waffle fries
  • Price: $3.00
  • FoodMe YUM Rating: 7 out of 10
  • FoodMe Value Rating: 7 out of 10


#2: Potato chips – Home-Cooked, Kettle-Style
Stella's Potato Chips

The home-cooked, kettle potato chips are much tastier than the Stella fries and sweet potato waffle fries. The potato crunch is a great complement to the savory burger.

Potato Chips
  • Description: Home-cooked kettle-style potato chips
  • Price: $2.50
  • FoodMe YUM Rating: 8 out of 10
  • FoodMe Value Rating: 8 out of 10


#1: Onion Rings
Stella's Onion Rings

The onion rings are now my preferred side at Stella’s! Ryan and Eric favored this side as well. Yummy, textured breading and sweet cooked onion.

Onion Rings
  • Description: Onion Rings
  • Price: $2.50
  • FoodMe YUM Rating: 8.25 out of 10
  • FoodMe Value Rating: 8.25 out of 10

Overall, some sides are good and others are just okay. In the future, I will order the potato chips and/or onion rings with my awesome Stella’s burger masterpiece.

For more on Stella’s Bar & Grill, check out the past FoodMeOmaha post, Stella’s Hamburgers: A Burger Affair to Remember.

Stella's Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

CakeMeOmaha Series #8: The Deadpool Cake

My boyfriend’s son, Cade, turns fourTEEN! (He used to be shorter than me…) In honor of his birthday, we continued the custom cake tradition with a Deadpool cake from Bliss Old Market Bakery. They did not disappoint.

Custom Deadpool Cake from Bliss Bakery

Custom Deadpool Cake from Bliss Bakery

As expected, Bliss Old Market Bakery created a cake that looks good and tastes good.

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I enjoyed the yummy, moist chocolate cake. On a minor note, I wish I had ordered the chocolate buttercream. The red-dyed white buttercream was sweeter than I prefer. Note that I am not a big frosting fan.

On a practical note, I also wished Bliss Old Market Bakery packed their cake more securely for transportation. We ordered the non-standard 10″ cake. The box was much larger then the cake and the top cover did not fit the box. Despite cautious, slow driving, the cake was slightly damaged. The cake slid in the box and the box cover scratched the cake.

Regardless of a few “cuts and bruises”, the custom Deadpool cake was a hit! Another awesome cake for awesome Cade, the teenager!

Custom Deadpool Chocolate Cake

  • Description: 10-inch round chocolate cake and white buttercream with Deadpool custom design.
  • Price: $60.00
  • FoodMe YUM Rating: 7.75 out of 10
  • FoodMe Value Rating: 7.75 out of 10

Bliss Old Market Bakery on Urbanspoon