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Cooking With Kyle perfect cheesecake

Fahrenheit 132 upscale steak house Joins Restaurant Row

by james kyle snyder

I have never been very good at alchemy. It is a very difficult skill to master, especially when it involves taking into consideration all the ever-changing naturally occurring variances. One day might be hot and humid while another cool and dry. To those who can consistently bake year-round and produce the same product every time, I solute you! Gavin came to town bringing a huge surprise. Russell, my brother. It is not often that we get to commiserate collectively, watch movies, share a live Caps game, and eat chicken wings, nachos, and other delicious forbidden treats daily. Hours were lost to laughter and silliness. Early in the process Gavin broke out a skill which far surpasses mine. A perfect cheese cake. I could get some semblance of the treat … occasionally – usually with a huge fissure through the middle – which could invoke half tilted smiles followed by “no really, its good, its just that…”Gavin had gleamed the cube. He said, “its easy dad” and proceeded to produce another one for the Best Neighbors Ever (BNEs). The matriarch a.k.a. the Queen of Effing Everything had made direct reference to a


February 2016

toll of cheesecake as entry to her kingdom. Gavin was happy to comply. “Those guys are great!” After setting the oven to 350 to preheat, and setting a pan large enough for the spring-form to fit in as a water bath ¼ full of water on the stove top he started with the crust by gently wrapping a spring-form pan with foil reminding me the key is to be gentle so that you don’t create holes that will ruin the crust. Next, in a bowl, he combined 15 crushed Graham crackers with 2 Tbs sugar, a pinch of salt, and 4 ½ Tbs of butter . Gavin meticulously pressed the mixture into the bottom of the spring-form then into the oven for 10 minutes. While that was baking he blended 2 pounds of room temperature cream cheese, 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar, a heaping teaspoon of vanilla (or a little more if you like), 4 large eggs, 2/3 cup sour cream, and 2/3 cup heavy cream until smooth. He removed the crust and lowered the oven to 325. Gavin poured the creamy concoction into the spring-form and smoothed it with the spatula. Next, he gently lowered the almost-done combination into the simmering water and then moved the water bath to the waiting oven. He was careful to ensure the water went up half way on the spring-form – no more, no less. After 1 ½ hours he simply turned off the oven and cracked the door. What a great idea! The slow cooling prevented the cracking I could not avoid. He noted that it needed to cool for at least one hour. My patience grew thin. After the hour Gavin removed the prize and grabbed another piece of foil to cover it. “hang on a second,” I protested noticing that there was still more wait time ahead. Gavin laughed and reminded me that the cake was for Her Majesty and his only way into the kingdom. As I dove a large spoon into the corner I reminded him that as a BNE myself, it was my duty to ensure there were no poisons in the gift – him being an alchemist and all! The cheesecake was accepted and more laughter ensued. I encouraged another attempt of sorcery – adding one cup of Nutella and an extra egg. Voila! Another entrance to the kingdom. We have immeasurable fun surrounding food. Hope you do too. Simple-ish, easy (if Gavin is home), and delicious. Be Well! Kyle treats us to simple, easy & delicious recipes each month in this space. Photo by Kyle Snyder

Front porch fredericksburg

Fredericksburg’s Hometown Saloon Since 1961

The Soup & Taco, Etc. 813 Caroline St. Fredericksburg, VA

by M. L. Powers is a high demand area, and some of the local beef farms have as much as a two year wait for their cows. This partly explains the high cost of beef and veal in restaurants and grocery stores. Cole stated that produce is easier to procure locally, and they have a plan to team up with Wilderness Run Vineyards, and farm a ten acre plot starting this spring, enabling them to use much of their own produce. Their staff will not only be good at service, but also farming. Sounds like a blast! Their chef, Chris Henshall is a 17 year restaurant lifer, who worked around town helping to open some of the newer

Serving Traditional Mexican, Tex-Mex Food and Something More!!

A F AIR DEAL accessible fresh food =Healthy Lives

By A.E.Bayne The farmer’s markets in Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania and King George are burgeoning spaces, bustling with buyers and sellers during Virginia’s long growing season. What started as a collaboration between these farmers markets, The Farmers (, has blossomed into an organization working to promote local farmer’s markets and to increase local food access and affordability, connecting those with limited means with programs that will get healthy food into their hands. All of this is positive and indicative of the growth that our region, one the size of Rhode Island, has experienced over recent years. Today,

Tuesday to Saturday 11am-9pm Sunday 11am-6pm

Fredericksburg is becoming a real contender in the foodie capitol arena. One can go into town and find almost any variety of delicious food. The latest addition to the restaurant row area is an upscale steak house named for the medium rare temperature of a good steak. I sat down with the owner, Cole Berlin, on one of the first really chilly days of the season. The atmosphere in the restaurant was warm and cozy. I liked the comfortable booths and rustic wood ambience. His story is one of determination, ambition, and the work ethic that goes above and beyond the usual in this day. He told me how he and his wife were both working three jobs when they met, and the only time they were free for dates was from 3 - 5 am. They were both of the same mindset that they wanted to save enough money to buy their own business. His wife, Kristina is from the Fredericksburg area and they both agreed they could make a start here. She migrated from DC to a position with Castiglias on William St. One thing led to another. The building next to the wine bar (owned by the Castiglias) had been vacant for about six months. A discussion began with Mr. Castiglia, Kristina and Cole, which concluded with an offer of a silent partnership. They just opened before the holidays, and so far the reviews are awesome. One friend had the Burrata stuffed Tomato appetizer, and she said she had to drop out of the conversation while she enjoyed it. Most local restaurants are developing locavore concepts. We talked about the availability of organic beef. This

Phone: 540-899-0969 E-mail:

The Sunken Well Tavern

local eateries. His knowledge of food, whether French Southern or Caribbean will bring flair to the steakhouse. Their wine list is a hand-picked selection of local and international wines. Cole trained as a sommelier, but says that having worked in bars from LA to Maui to DC, he also acquired the necessary hands on training. The bottom line is he is passionate and knowledgeable about wines, and that is apparent from the wine list. They also offer a selection of artisan cocktails that have an interesting allure. Cole is a detail oriented person, so training of staff is intense from the beginning, and continues daily to ensure knowledgeable and efficient service. So far, most of the reviews reflect this important aspect. Fahrenheit 132 has happy hour specials, and a cool concept called “Hangry Hour” where the last hour of business they have 1/2 price food specials geared towards restaurant workers. I think they are a brave new addition to the local scene, and look forward to a good steak or two in the future. Check for hours and specials. Mary Lynn Powers loves her grandchildren, food and the local restaurant scene

720 Littlepage 540-370-0911 Eat Well Drink Well Live Well is evolving to address broader food access and food system issues. Recently a new nonprofit, the Virginia Community Food Connections (VCFC), has been formed to directly address these broader issues. While will continue to focus on farmers market promotion, VCFC will focus on supporting fresh, local food accessibility and affordability, educating about the health benefits of nutritious, local foods, and supporting regional food systems that provide a fair livelihood for family farmers. Elizabeth Borst (above) and Bill Brooks, who have been associated with for many years, will be leaders within VCFC. Brooks elaborates, “We’ve spun the food access piece off as a separate organization operating within the Fredericksburg region. It will position us to better support our mission, both in terms of increasing capacity and programs, and to more effectively gain funding to support this work.” Borst explains, “We’re working toward the development of a statewide network of nutrition programs, so that folks who do the work that we do are not doing it in isolation, but with a set of shared tools making the job easier and more impactful. There’s $1.6 billion in SNAP (food stamp) funding disbursed annually statewide, and only about $110,000 of that is spent at farmer’s markets today. That means there is a huge amount of growth potential, but it also

means getting those in need of healthy food to have access to more markets.” Borst says that right here in our region, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania and King George offer SNAP access at farmer’s markets, but that doesn’t address the needs of the entire region. She notes, “For example, at the Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center market, we see tons of Caroline County customers. They’re driving long distances to use their SNAP benefits, and that’s not really efficient. We want to work to address that gap, to ensure that all members of our community have access to fresh, local food close to home.” As a part of the National Nutrition Incentive Network, and with their national partner Wholesome Wave, the VCFC has a strong resource network. Borst says they learn and borrow from each other, creating a huge collective impact. She remarks that even the USDA has taken notice: “They’ve come to see that these pretty simple programs can have a profound impact on hungry families, on family farms, and on local economy. VCFC plans to keep close ties with regional farmers markets and its community partners through the Fredericksburg Food Forum. Borst says working with community partners on food access and affordability issues has been extremely gratifying. “Just getting people together through the Fredericksburg Food Forum has been a big step towards developing a regional road map for addressing these issues. We’ll continue to operate in partnership to ensure we’re reaching all corners of the region.” For more information about VCFC, please contact A.E. Bayne is a writer and visual artist from Fredericksburg. She is a monthly contributor to Front Porch Magazine, as well as a writer and editor in chief at Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review (

front porch fredericksburg

February 2016


Profile for Virginia Grogan

Front Porch Fredericskburg - February 2016  

Front Porch Fredericskburg - February 2016