Neighbors in #thenoke: Joseph Decuis

The Eshelman family has built an empire - a delicious and charming empire - in the heart of our dear town. Their renowned Joseph Decuis (pronounced day-QUEEZ, FYI) restaurant has become a culinary destination. What started as entertaining visiting sports insurance clients around their dining room table has become a fine dining experience, enjoyed by residents as well as many visitors from far flung places.

Joseph Decuis is now a multifaceted business with a few different dining and entertaining venues and experiences, as well as two stylishly appointed inns. We love walking down the street for lunch at the Emporium, and getting dressed up for an evening of fine dining on date night. We've been lucky to spend time on the Wagyu farm, located just six miles from Roanoke, and have seen the beauty of the compound first hand during special events. 

Our town is bustling these days, with shops of all varieties and a handful of dining choices for all palettes and price points. Joseph Decuis has brought such magic to #thenoke and we're happy to share a small stretch of road with them.

Come spend a day with us in Roanoke, and be sure to include Joseph Decuis in your plans!

Neighbors in #thenoke: Fearless Cook

Laura Wilson has been treating Northeast Indiana and far, far beyond to her gourmet delights for decades. The Le Cordon Bleu trained chef is talented, kind, driven and generous, and her presence in Roanoke is oh so valued. 

With La Dolce Vita, Wilson has been offering cooking classes, European food tours and Wednesday lunches to die for, in addition to a curated selection of cooking implements and entertaining staples. 

But her latest venture is Fearless Cook, located just a hop and a skip from La Dolce Vita. This new boutique with a mission stocks the greatest kitchen tools like whisks, spoons, spatulas, bar equipment, knives, linens, aprons and locally made wooden bowls, cutting boards and cheese boards. You'll also find a well-edited selection of coffees and teas and various accoutrement for flawless brewing.

Says Wilson, "Together we are going to be fearless in the kitchen. All cooking takes is a good palate and no fear. No fear of failing, burning, pots overflowing, or scalding. Just get in there and cook for your family and friends. If you make a mess, you will learn from it, so chalk that up to a good thing! We have all the tools you need to make and bake with ingredients you can actually pronounce giving you the courage to feed your friends and family with delicious creations and love!"

We adore Chef Laura Wilson, La Dolce Vita and Fearless Cook. Click below to learn more about all of Wilson's gourmet offerings in #thenoke!

A Brazilian Twist

We freely admit we have a girl crush on food babe, Cynthia Presser. And with all this talk about Rio these days, the Brazilian chef has been on our mind. We met Cynthia (pronounced Seen-Cha) when she was living in Fort Wayne. She delighted us with her sparkling personality and her talent and flair in the kitchen. Now, she and her family live in Tampa, Florida and she regularly appears on the Today Show as their Brazilian cooking expert.

Cynthia's cook book, Cooking with a Brazilian Twist, is a compilation of her 100 best recipes. The recipes are fantastic and easy to follow and the book itself if full of vibrant images and is oh-so coffee-table worthy! Cynthia's philosophy is that cooking should be fun and through her website, book, events and social media accounts, she shares that signature Brazilian flair of hers that we adore.

While we can't just hop on a flight to exotic locales whenever we want, we can dish up some tasty global fare. Which is perhaps the next best thing to traveling...

Read more about the amazing Cynthia on her website.

Come peruse our curated selection of global cookbooks and add some spice to your life!

Food, Glorious Food!

Food is something we take quite seriously. We're always in search of our next great meal, whether at a far flung restaurant, a local joint or in our own homes. In our world travels, we get to taste so many wonderful, sometimes unusual, things. But when we do stay put (it's never for that long), we like to give our kitchens a sense of purpose. When we cook, we cook.

To that point, we've personally amassed huge cookbook collections and now a few of the finest we've sourced lately have landed at The Trove, waiting to be lovingly splattered with culinary shrapnel in your kitchen. Check out our latest appetizing arrivals, cookbooks and ingredients that will elevate your next home cooked meal to 5 star status.

The latest and greatest resources in store for our favorite foodies. 

What everyone wants to know...

Short Stack is a series of mini cookbooks, each centered around a single ingredient. These beautiful books feature amazing recipes and original illustrations and make for lovely, thoughtful gifts. 

Drizzle this rich sauce over virtually any dessert for an instant upgrade.

Rich and tangy stone ground mustards elevate sandwiches as well as homemade dressings and marinades.

This decadent classic is what your ice cream is screaming for.

Quince and Apple, created by a husband-wife duo, makes small batch, artisan preserves and syrups. We're thoroughly addicted. 

Hungry yet? Come see us. We have a ton more ideas for boosting your meal mojo!

Local honeys from Second Chance Farm

Trovester Kate Tomkinson, in addition to gracing the shop with amazing inventory you all know and love, is an experienced and accomplished backyard beekeeper, having started her career in 2009. Kate was the winning bidder on a package that provided her with all the accoutrement needed to get started, including a hive and beekeeper's suit. She took to it beautifully and has been producing sweet, golden honey ever since. Beekeeping is an involved and intricate business but one that Kate finds so rewarding. Every year she learns something new, encounters a new parasite or virus and has had varying degrees of success with her yield.

Kate's concern for the plight of our nation's bees was the driving force behind her winning bid. Between pesticides used in agriculture as well as ever increasing viruses, a greater focus and concern for the well being of the bee population is vital for our crops, thus our food supply. Bees are extremely important to our ecosystem and without them our fruits and vegetables would be in grave danger.

Due to the increasing availability of local and organic honeys at grocery stores, farmer's markets and farm stands, Kate decided to get inventive with her Second Chance Farm honeys. She combined her honey with cinnamon and balsamic vinegar, creating a delicious Balsamic Glaze that's thick and slightly sweet, great for Caprese salads, fish, meat and even ice cream! Kate's latest concoctions involve blending some of her husband's most treasured fine liquors to create Scotch Infused and Bourbon Infused honeys that have become wildly popular. Spread these honeys on toast or biscuits or drizzle into your tea. Don't worry --- the alcohol content in these amazing honeys is minimal. 

All of Kate's Second Chance Farm honeys are sold at The Trove and are delicious treats for your own kitchen and make wonderful hostess gifts. 

Bangkok Street Food

I am of the firm belief that some of the best food in Bangkok can be found on the street being sold by vendors set up on seemingly every corner.  I have sampled the most delicious coconut ice cream, served with coconut meat and chopped macadamia nuts and the tastiest “mini pineapple” which my daughter proclaimed was better than any candy.  The following pictures prove my point that whether it was from a cart on the street or inside a market or from a boat that was part of a floating market, food in and around Bangkok may be the best when you are looking at the person who prepared it!


If I could eat one thing over and over again, it would be this Pad Thai. With a Singha to wash it down!

If I could eat one thing over and over again, it would be this Pad Thai. With a Singha to wash it down!

The epitome of chicken satay. What I’d give to find that on a street corner in my home town!

The epitome of chicken satay. What I’d give to find that on a street corner in my home town!

Nature’s Candy!

Nature’s Candy!

Heading to the floating market.

Heading to the floating market.

And to wash it all down…

And to wash it all down…

Deciding what you want to eat at the floating market is the hardest part!

Deciding what you want to eat at the floating market is the hardest part!

Dessert! Sticky Rice with an amazing topping of caramelized coconut.   

Dessert! Sticky Rice with an amazing topping of caramelized coconut.


Dessert for Breakfast?

I’m sorry if my title is misleading.  You may have assumed I would be rationalizing eating pie or cake or cookies for breakfast. If you need any help with your rationalization, mine usually goes something like this “if it’s home made, it’s probably healthier than a donut…”  or “if I drink a glass of milk with it, I’ll get some protein.”

But today’s dessert as breakfast discovery is a Cacoa/Avocado Smoothie.  Hear me out on this.  This taste treat was like drinking the most delicious dark chocolate mousse/pudding/truffle for breakfast and being left energized and ready for your day—not ready to crash from your pumped up blood sugar.

Some of the ingredients used in a Cacao Smoothie

Some of the ingredients used in a Cacao Smoothie

I started by looking through the new cookbook from Gwyneth Paltrow “It’s All Good” and found an awesome recipe for a Creamy Avocado + Cacao Smoothie.  Gwyneth doesn’t need my help promoting her cookbook, but I must highly recommend this one.  My wonderful husband gave it to me on Mother’s Day–I think he purchased via the GOOP.comweb site, and it was even personally inscribed by Ms. Paltrow.  As a collector of cookbooks, my autographed ones are highly prized and bring back lots of memories for me.  There are also many, many greatrecipes on the web site–delicious and easy to prepare once you start keeping the ingredients in your pantry.

“It’s All Good” Gwyneth’s new cookbook. Via .

“It’s All Good” Gwyneth’s new cookbook.

So, back to the smoothie–alas, my almond milk was expired.  Plus I was debating adding protein powder for that extra boost to keep me powered through a long Saturday morning of activities and errands.  Here is what I ended up with:

Cacao Smoothie

1 small container goat milk yogurt, plain (giving me that protein boost!)

1 ripe avocado–pitted and scooped out of the peel  (also boatloads of protein here)

1 c coconut water

1/2 t almond extract

1 T raw honey

1 small packet XyloSweet (a xylitol sweetener) or your sweetener of choice

1 T raw cacao powder

1 small scoop ice

Blend all together and presto chango–healthy breakfast!

I’m telling you, this is super delicious.  If you haven’t tried an avocado in a smoothie you really need to get on that bandwagon.  Gives it a great smooth texture and you don’t taste it at all–even with fruit.  I think the pickiest of eaters would even like this if you didn’t tell them what was in it!


Thai Coffee


 I’ve been out and about lately–when I found myself in LAX every weekend for four in a row, I thought I had died and gone to heaven!  Not what you might expect me to say, I know, but if I’m in an airport that means I am coming or going from an adventure and that makes me happy.


When I travel, I love to experience food.  Really, food is my souvenir.  A recipe I brought back from my trip is for Thai Coffee.  This really helps a person make it across time zones, believe me!

Thai Kah-Fe

1 double espresso

2 T sweetened condensed milk

Spoon the condensed milk into a glass of double espresso and allow the milk to settle at the bottom of the glass.  Serve hot with a coffee spoon and stir to combine the coffee and milk before drinking.

Also, completely delicious over ice!!!

This recipe is courtesy of “At the Table of Jim Thompson,” an amazing Thai cookbook.



Easy, Impressive Winter Meal

We’ve had some friends in from Chicago the other evening who are total foodies.  We love to eat, drink and be merry with these guys and their visit was coming mid-week, so going out and about didn’t seem like the preferred option.  While I consider myself a good cook, there was the added pressure of coming up with something delectable and special for these two.  Also, cooking mid-week doesn’t lend itself to anything too elaborate.  It seemed like an impossible challenge–find some quick to prepare, easy to execute recipes that are impressive AND delicious.

Ina Garten and Ree Drummond to the rescue!

I must say I love each and every cookbook I own that these two have published.  They are my go-tos and my fall backs.  Here is the menu I ended up making:

From “The Pioneer Woman Cooks:  Food from my Frontier”:  Herb-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Cornmeal Cakes and Roasted Vegetables.  For the vegetables I roasted chopped carrots, parsnips and butternut squash. I used fig preserves for the sauce and while I did use the 1 cup of water called for in the recipe to make the sauce, I then needed to boil it WAY down to get the consistency I wanted.  In the future I will start with 1/2 c and see how it goes.

I also made her Crash Hot Potatoes, from the same book.


My friend commented that the cornmeal cakes reminded her of her grandmother’s mush she used to make her for breakfast with maple syrup!  I only made half of the recipe called for, but what we didn’t eat on our plates, got gobbled up just by dipping them in the sauce!  Any leftovers would have made a great breakfast treat, but we had none!  I will make the entire recipe next time.

For dessert, one of my all time favorites is Ina Garten’s Brownie Pudding, found in “Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics.”  The recipe garners 5 out of 5 stars on the Food Network web site.  Need I say more?

 The intense chocolate dessert has the best consistency–the top forms a somewhat crunchy crust that yields to an amazing gooey delicious mess of chocolate.   My husband and son rose to the occasion and plated the desserts with fresh raspberries and drizzled chocolate syrup on the plates. I wish I would have thought to take a picture of them, but we gobbled them up so quickly that their artistic efforts weren’t memorialized.  Still, it was a perfect end to another memorable evening of friends and laughter.

Yummy for your Tummy Breakfast

I’m getting ready to bake up the traditional German Lebkuchen this morning and I know in my heart that I won’t be able to resist sampling along the way.  With this in mind, I decided I should at least start the morning off on a healthy foot and not just get jazzed on java.  So, I just made and devoured a delicious, quick, warm breakfast of Nutty Maple Quinoa.

Two of the ingredients for my quinoa. I devoured it so quickly I forgot to take a pic of the actual dish!

Two of the ingredients for my quinoa. I devoured it so quickly I forgot to take a pic of the actual dish!

This is my cousin’s recipe and I must share:

12 oz. package quinoa

2 c water

1/2 c dried cherries, chopped

1/2 c raw almonds, chopped

1 T fresh ground cinnamon

1 T maple syrup

Place one cup quinoa and 2 cups water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. (I used 1/2 c quinoa and 1 c water and it was perfect for a hearty individual breakfast).  Reduce to simmer, cover and cook until all the water is absorbed (10-15 minutes).   Toss in the remaining ingredients and serve as a warm alternative to oatmeal or cereal.

Of course, in real life, one can short cut the recipe by using what is on hand—I had sliced almonds and already ground cinnamon.  I also just drizzled on the maple syrup to taste and sprinkled the cinnamon.  Those of you who free form recipes like I tend to do will recognize yourself.  Those who like to stick to the measurements will also be rewarded with deliciousness!