Of Cats and Coffee

Newark is brewtiful and cats get caffeinated.

    Welcome to Home Skillet, a local food and wine blog that takes it coffee with cream, sugar and Feline Greenies. Here’s what’s on tap for this week:

    Wednesday, July 22: Help benefit KINfolk, a great Wilmington-based organization that provides laptop computers to kids to are either hospitalized or homebound with long-term illnesses, by attending the Nassau Valley Wine Tasting and Art Auction on Wednesday.
For a mere $30, enjoy awesome, locally-made wines, plus delicious food and fine works of art. It all goes down in Lewes tonight. Click in this general direction for more.

    Saturday, July 25: Great food and brews, and not a skuzzy college kid in sight? Ah to love and live in Newark this Saturday for the 6th annual Downtown Newark Food and Brew Festival.
    The fest works like this: More than 40 craft and import beers get “showcased” at Newark restaurants, which pair the beer with a dish made special for the occasion. To illustrate, Main Street’s famous Caffe Gelato will “host” Magic Hat, Stone Brewing Company, Flying Fish Brewing Company and Brewery Ommegang, which will be featured in the restaurant and paired with specific tapas-inspired dishes. Home Grown Café will host Dogfish Head and Victory Brewing Company. And so forth and so on. For a full run-down, click here.
    The beer tastings and food specials get underway at 2 p.m. and run until 10 p.m. And hey, bring the kids. They get to sample root beer! No, really!

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    Kitties: I was fortunate enough a few weeks back to meet Annette Swartz, Charlotte Neuberger and Claudia Robbins, three ladies who work tirelessly for an organization called Forgotten Cats. The non-profit, based in Claymont, is a cat rescue group devoted to reducing the local unwanted cat population through its trap, neuter and return program. It also helps adoptable cats find good homes.
    So just what in the Sam Hill does this have to do with food? Well, Robbins, who owned the now-defunct Cuppy’s Coffee and More on Kirkwood Highway, worked with her distributors to create some great, exclusive gourmet blends that eventually became the Forgotten Cats coffee line, sales of which would directly benefit the foundation.
    Among them are: the Cool for Cats blend, a combo of light-roasted Brazilian and dark-roasted Colombian beans that produce a rich, chocolaty, spicy feel. The Black Cat blend is strong, earthy offering that works brilliantly in espresso machines. And, of course, the Calm Cat blend is decaf.
    Forgotten Cats coffee and tea launched in April and is available for purchase at: GiggyBites Bakery & Marketplace (Old Ridge Village Shoppes, 100 Ridge Road, Chadds Ford, Pa., 610-358-DOGS), Alexis Hair Design (1007 N. Market St., Hotel DuPont, Wilmington, 655-4303), MAGPiE Consignment Shop (1715 Delaware Ave., Wilmington, 654-2911) and Pooches and Purrs (116 S. Main St., North East, Md., 888-272-0207).
    I can say firsthand that the coffees themselves are delicious, and Cool for Cats has been fueling the Delaware Today office for the last couple days. So please, pick up a bag next time you’re near one of the above businesses. I know some cats who will be happy you did.

    Media watch: Delaware was all over the national food rags this month. In the August/September issue of Food Network Magazine appears a quick guide to each of the country’s 50 state fairs. In the entry for Delaware, the editors wrote, “Don’t miss: the table-setting competition”
    In the August issue of Everyday with Rachel Ray, Martia Keating of Clayton, made her way into an ad/recipe contest promotion by Comfort Inn. The contest spotlights famous recipes from across the country, and Keating was quoted in a section about sausage gravy and biscuits from Nashville. “Sausage gravy and biscuits, from the Loveless Café just outside Nashville reminds me of Sunday morning at home. This is the meal that really sticks to you on a cold winter day.”
    Finally, in the August issue of Bon Appetit, Nick Jackson from Wilmington writes in to praise the sour cream-hazelnut waffles found at Balthazar in New York. “Whenever I’m in New York for business, I stop by Balthazar for Sunday brunch. The sour cream-hazelnut waffles are a longtime favorite of mine. No one—not even my wife—makes them better. They have the perfect balance between soft and crunchy, and are topped with a mixed berry sauce. I am absolutely crazy about this dish.”

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