Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Voce - Review

Intro
A Voce – Highly Recommended
41 Madison Ave, New York 10010
At 26th st
Phone: 212-545-8555

Every once in a while, you’ll run across a restaurant that will make you say – what the f. Spotted pig had the “what the f effect,” as in: what the f, this burger tastes like a salt rock. Last Thursday, A Voce made me say what the f – this food is delicious, how does he do it. The only way to describe A Voce is Italian food done with great French technique. Some may say it’s not even Italian food (foie gras appeared on two-three of my dishes), but in the end it doesn’t matter – the food is great. Overall, I give the restaurant a 89/100.

My Menu

1) Crositini ala Toscana – Highly Recommended (must have)
2) Duck Meatballs – Highly Recommended (must have)
3) Beet Salad – Highly Recommended
4) Grandmother’s Meat Agnolloti – Highly Recommended
5) Pistachio Tart– \Recommended
6) Bombolino’s – Recommended
7) Ricotta Cheesecake and Concord Grape Sorbet – Not Recommended

Dish Comments
1) Basically a spread made of chicken livers, foie gras, and a gelee of muscato on top. Perfect texture, intense chicken liver/foie gras taste, and the sweetness of the gelee on top is a nice offset. Great with the grilled, earthy tuscan style bread.
2) The biggest what the f moment of the night. Duck and pork (I think) make up these meatballs and it’s stuffed with a piece of foie gras in the middle. Tiny meatballs exploding with flavor. Now, this is Italian in looks, but definitely very French. Celery root puree, red wine/cherry sauce, and topped with celery leaves. Wished the meatballs were a tad softer, but this dish was still killer.
3) Perfectly sweet, roasted beets and pears. Some type of Gorgonzola concoction on the side. Again, the contrast in textures and flavors worked perfectly here.
4) A braised meat ravioli which I’ve never had before. Usually, ravioli meat is ground kinda like burger meat, but this was more like braised short ribs (except I think the meat was pork and duck). Not really a mind blowing dish, but very homey and satisfying. Pasta texture is perfect, filling is very tasty, and the tomato sauce is incredible – light and tasting like the freshest tomatoes only. I’ve seen the tomato sauce made on Colameco’s Food Show, but after tasting it I think I’m going to use this as my tomato sauce from now on.
5) Pistachio is one of the ingredients that screams Italian to me and this is a pretty good Pistachio tart. A pretty good vanilla gelato and fresh berries accompanied the dessert. This dish is a bit of a let down after the onslaught of great dishes before.
6) Dave, our waiter recommended this over our cheesecake and he was totally right. This dish is just pure fun. Crunchy donuts, with a cream feeling and side of rich chocolate sauce to dip. The donuts could have been fluffier, but this was still so much fun to eat.
7) Cheesecake was decent, but the concord grape sorbet had the taste of freezer burn, which ruins the dish.

Overall Restaurant Experience (89/100)

  • Food 9.1/10 – Great food period. Not always Italian, but usually always delicious. Nicely presented. Unfortunately, the desserts don't live up to the rest of the dishes.
  • Service 8.8/10 – Waiters are attentive and the food comes out on time. Dave was incredibly helpful and was good to talk about the food with him, since he seems very passionate about the food also. Thanks again Dave.
  • Atmosphere 8.0/10 – We sat outside. which was very noisy, especially since there’s a bar (I think) that’s outside also – a few loud obnoxious people. However, that’s offset by seeing beautiful people walking around outside. We go there at 9:30 on a Thursday night and we’re seated right away – still busy though. Place was packed with groups of women and some older couples.
  • Price 8.5/10 – Price was expensive, but definitely worth the quality of the food - $90 a person.
Closing Comments
I’ve always had the notion that doing Italian food in an elevated way would never work. When I visited Rome and Amalfi, the worst meals were always these fancy dishes done by these Michelin star restaurants. The best were the grandmothers cooking the food. A Voce has now totally changed my mind. The Michelin star restaurants were all about presentation and doing things in a new way, but they lacked flavor and soul. A Voce delivers the elevated Italian food with the great flavor and lots of soul. Dave told us about truffle season in November and I’m already rounding up the fellas to go back.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Top Chef Judges

I admit it - I am a Top Chef junkie and I'm pleased to see the quality of judges this season. These judges instantly know what is correct and what is wrong with each dish. Again, very refreshing listening to the opinion of master chefs on technique and flavor, which is a complete contrast to the hausfraus on the Food Network. Some of the judges include:
  • Daniel Boulud - chef at 4 star Restaurant Daniel (my favorite restaurant in NY)
  • Eric Ripert - chef at 4 star Le Bernardin
  • Andre Soltner - former chef at Lutece, one of the top French restaurants back in the day
  • Alain Sailhac - former chef at Le Cirque and Le Cygne
  • Jacques Torres - a world famous pastry chef
  • Nils Noren - former chef at Aquavit
  • Cesare Casella - chef at Maremma (one of my favorite Italian restaurants in NY)
  • Sirio Maccioni - owner of Le Cirque

Fage : fah-yay

Here's a little shout out to my boy Dave who's kicking ass with his product.

This stuff is addicting. Greek-style Strained Yogurt.
If you haven't had a bite before, go do yourself a favor and buy a little tub of heaven.
I like my Fage with a little honey or fruit preserved jam.
This yogurt has the consistency of a Fromage Blanc while having all the good bacterial cultures that help keep your body and stomach strong.

This Greek based company in my mind is fulfilling hours and hours of community service by displacing junky Dannon and Columbo yogurt from grocery store shelves each and everyday.

To all Foodies, the more quality we buy, the less junk gets re-shelved. Jump on it!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Nothing better than some KFC after a hard day's work


(courtesy of People Mag)

Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony's tour bus has welcomed more than its share of Kentucky Fried Chicken dinners. Now the couple have received a finger-licking good offer from the fast-food chain: Party with us while you're on the road.

Anthony recently admitted to Access Hollywood that he harbors a major KFC addiction, saying, "I can't eat anything else after a concert." Lopez is not as big of a fan, but that didn't stop KFC president Gregg Dedrick from publicly extending the unusual invite, the TV show reports.

"We would like to offer you, your entourage and a few VIP guests an 'all access' pass to the KFC location of your choice," Dedrick wrote in an open letter to the couple.

"You have a bucketful of choices for 'after party' locations because KFC has more than 5,500 restaurants across the country. Hearing about your fondness for KFC was music to our ears, so just name the time and the place and we'll open our doors to you for a post-concert feast."

There was no immediate response from the couple, whose North American tour kicks off Sept. 29 in Atlantic City, N.J., and includes 16 dates, wrapping in Miami on Nov. 3.

If either of them nixes the idea, it will be Lopez, who knows her husband's habits all too well from previous tours.

As she told Access Hollywood recently, "People were like, 'What about the [tour] bus, Jennifer, was that hard?' I'm like, 'No. The Kentucky Fried Chicken was the killer.' "

Why you can't trust Ads III


We've talked about this a few times before. What you see in print ads and what you actually get in your take out bag looks nothing alike.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

P E T A

If you ask me, PETA stands for "People Eating Tasty Animals".
extras on PETA
- http://www.petakillsanimals.com/
- http://www.mtd.com/tasty/
- penn and teller on peta
- peta-sucks.com

If anything, I am a supporter carnivorous activity! And at times, I will even settle for omnivorous activity.
But to be Vegetarian is completely incomprehensible.
If we didn't have opposable digits, stereoscopic eyes, both incisors and molars, and a highly advanced brain (for most of us that is), I could see how we may just wonder around eating veggies, fruits and nuts all day.
Understand this as well, we are on the TOP of the food chain and therefore we have the luxury to eat what ever we want.

I don't need these daisies at PETA telling me I shouldn't eat Meat!
And then they have the audacity to muddle with our government to push them to ban stuff like Foie Gras. Bud out A-Holes!

Those bastards! They can't fight the chicken, beef or pork farmers of America so they go for the smaller, less mainstream item that is also considered a little bourgeois. Create this little circus saying it's cruel and unethical, while never taking the time to fully learn the careful artisan methods in duck raising and foie gras harvesting.

A select few with very deep pockets, and influential friends are ruining our dinners folks. They would love nothing more than to make us all Vegans and live a bland bland life just like them.
Calling them the Food Police almost sounds too nice. They are more like the Gestapo.
Hitler had his town rallies, these guys have the internet.

Take a look at their most recent ad with Alicia Silverstone.
I used to think she was cool and bangable.
Now I will have to replace cool with stupid... She's still bangable.

video

Monday, September 24, 2007

Synergy


First of all, how does an American staple deviate from layered and baked potato chips in a cylindrical can to paper-box cracker sticks?

What is going on here?

Then, and probably even more trivial is the connection between Pringles and Nintendo. How did the execs at Pringles get with the guys at Nintendo and decide to run this promo?

I guess the answer is synergy.
Our American business spirit at it's best.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Megu (Tribeca) - Review

Megu
62 Thomas St.
New York 10013
Btwn W Broadway & Church St
Phone: 212-964-7777
Fax: 212-964-7776

This is the type of place where you go to entertain people from 'out of town'. And more importantly, with the corporate card.
It's the New York Restaurant Scene in fifth gear.
I suspect there are a good amount of Megu 'regulars' out there, but off the top of my head, I can point you to 5 other places in the city that serve better Modern Japanese Cuisine.
Dining here once is good enough for me.

On any given night, you will see a row of chauffeured Mercs lined up outside the joint. On the inside, you have a lot of entertainment people, and wallstreet guys with their girlfriends/mistresses dining, with the music bumping and alcohol flowing.

So much for the scene... as for the food...

The food is hard to explain. It's definitely not simple food and by no means is it fine dining.
The highlight of this place is the quality of their ingredients. Simply second to non. They spare no expense when seeking out the best. Any chef in the city would be happy to work with Megu's fresh fish, beef, mushrooms, and vegetables. It's absolutely amazing.
But the execution is something I would encourage the management to re-think.


There were one or two dishes that were cleverly put together, but for the most part, the food is for the novice palate. Perhaps I'm being overly critical, but I thought the chefs were not very skilled. In addition, I noticed too much garlic in many of my dishes.
It's almost like taking any typical Japanese dish and throwing some garlic into the mix.
It just wasn't pleasant and/or entertaining to me.


My menu : Chef's Omakase Tasting

Deep Fried Beef Skewers in Panko (Amuse Bouche) *
Hot oil blistered Madai on Finely Julienned Vegetables & Mixed Nuts Salad *

Sauteed Wild Mushrooms

Popcorn Rock Shrimp in Chili Sauce *

Fried Asparagus Crusted with Chili Panko and Ground Nuts *

Oven baked Salmon with Sweet Miso Sauce

Hot Rock Seared Skirt Steak with Fried Garlic Chips *

Sushi Assortment with Freshly Grated Wasabi

Hirame (Fluke),
Saba (Mackarel),
Salmon,
Madai (Red Snapper),
Tuna

* designates garlic in the dish
Raspberry Mousse Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream

Dassai 50 - Sake of the Night

Chef's (Omakase) Tasting Menu
Food
Taste/Texture 30/40 Average execution. Not much to write home about.
Presentation 18/20 A lot of effort placed here.
Aroma 10/10
Price 5/20 Expensive!!! Well over $1,000 for the 6 of us.
X-Factor 0/10 Not for me... but, if you like to check out celebs or just look at really really rich people... then perhaps there's something here for you.
Total 63/100

Overall Experience
Food 38/50
Service 25/30 Pretty well trained Server. Bus-boys need work.
Atmosphere 8/10 It's a beautiful and cool restaurant, but just too noisy.
Price 3/10 Too rich for my blood.
Total 74/100

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A farm in Brooklyn?

Here's a great article in NY Magazine about a man running a farm out of his tiny backyard in Brooklyn. His goal was to eat food only produced from his farm for one month.

http://nymag.com/restaurants/features/37273/

Friday, September 21, 2007

Book Plug: First Big Crush

First Big Crush: The Down and Dirty on Making Great Wine Down Under

A friend of a friend wrote this book, so I wanted to plug it here cuz it sounds pretty cool....Matt's words:
"My former roommate, and currently still good friend (imagine that) Eric Arnold just finished writing his first book about his year living on a winery in New Zealand. As boring as that may sound, he is quite funny, and totally inappropriate, sarcastic, and uncouth. It is getting really good reviews so far. I would be remissed if I didn't recommend it to everyone I know."
Looks like an entertaining read to me!

-RR

Stuffed sausages

Here's a stuffing you won't normally find...
http://news.yahoo.com/

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Lick-a-thon...

(courtesy of Steve at junkfoodblog.com)

This Thursday, September 20 (tomorrow), participating Baskin-Robbins locations across the country will host in-store Lick-A-Thons to ring in the Fall season.

I wasn't sure what a "Lick-A-Thon" was, as this information came to me from Baskin-Robbins' marketing agency. So I did a Google search for "lick-a-thon" to see if they had held these events before.

Unfortunately, all I got was a bunch of porn sites.

So I called up their marketing agency and asked them.

The Lick-A-Thon is an effort to find America's fastest ice-cream licker. Participating Baskin-Robbins locations will host a Lick-A-Thon which involves licking up an Oreo Ice Cream cone the fastest. It sounds like the winning licker and his/her "lick time" will be added to a nationwide database to identify the quickest tongue in the land.

Unfortunately again, Baskin-Robbins made no effort to explain which locations are participating. According to their marketing agency, you have to look up various locations on the Baskin-Robbins website, and call them to see if they're running a Lick-A-Thon. Here's their store locator...
http://www.baskinrobbins.com/StoreLocator/PrxInput.aspx

For those of you fortunate enough to find a participating store, make sure you read the "Lick Tips" from Baskin-Robbins executive-chef Stan Frankenthaler, on his Squidoo webpage...
http://www.squidoo.com/baskinrobbinslicktips/

If you happen to call a Baskin-Robbins store and they tell you, "Lick A What?", please post a comment below.

Piroulines


Remember these guys (Pirouline) used to make those hazelnut chocolate cigars?
Yup, those really addictive rolled up wafer-esque cookies with the awesome nutella like filling.
Well, they now have these strawberry mousse fillings available.

Try not to finish the whole can in one sitting.
I never know how they come up with those random serving sizes.
Yah, like 2 of those badboys will ever satisfy any man, woman or child.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ramen Setagaya - Review

Intro
Ramen Setagaya - Slightly Recommended
141 1st Ave
New York, NY 10003
Phone: (212) 529-2740

There was a buzz in the NY food scene when it was announced Ramen Setagaya would make it's way to NYC. Supposedly, this place is a pretty good ramen chain in Japan, but after some research I decided against trying the ramen. Almost every single critic was bashing the ramen as too salty, but our resident Japanese expert Porthos convinced me to pass on the ramen. The place is OK if you're in the area, but I think there's better places to get this style of food. Overall, I give the restaurant an 71/100.

My Menu

1) Oshinko - Recommended
2) Tsukemen – Recommneded

3)
Oyako-don - Average

Dish Comments
1) Oshinko are pickled vegetables. These were nice and crunchy and depending on the vegetable, it was either sweet or sour. Good start.
2) Tsukemen is basically noodles with a side dipping cold broth and topped with bbq pork. The noodles were al dente and had a nice texture being close to being undercooked. The side broth was very rich and had complex flavors consisting of dried scallops,
garlic, ginger, a bunch of other ingredients. The pork on top was basically the chinese style bbq pork - tiny pieces but good stuff. Very flavorful and very fun to eat.
3) Oyako-don is chicken, rice, and egg. This dish was a tad to salty and a tad to sweet. Also the texture of the chicken was too crumbly. Pretty picky, but I've had this dishes multiple times and Porthos makes a phenomenal Oyako-don.

Overall Restaurant Experience (71/100)

  • Food 7.2/10 – Good noodles, but everything else is average.
  • Service 6.8/10 – Waiteresses are nice, but it takes a while to get the food. About 10-15 minutes for the first item to come out.
  • Atmosphere 7.5/10 – Looks like a nicer noodle house with faux marble counter. Very tiny place, which maybe seats around 20 people. Lots of Japanese business people and single eaters. Seems like a good place to eat solo if you're in the area.
  • Price 7.5/10 – Price was decent. $30 for all three items including a nice beer.

Closing Comments
If you're in the area, it might be worth it stop in for a quick tsukemen and Japanese beer. However, you'd do better at Rai Rai Ken.



Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Rice Cookers

recent conversation between Athos and Porthos
(yes, the geekiness just doesn't stop)

Athos :
What do you guys think of this rice cooker?
$50 minus 2 $15 rebates = $20. Free shipping:
http://www.buy.com/retail/product.asp?sku=204688018#moreimg

Porthos :
you pay for what you get... in this case, for 20 bucks, you are getting a machine that looks more impressive than what it really is.
the model you chose is a 1 click basic heat source cooking rice as fast as it can. nothing more.
warning : you will have burnt bottoms and unevenly cooked rice. kinda like a sedementary rock. there will be layers of doneness.

so basically, before you pick a rice cooker, you should ask yourself a few questions.
1. How often are you going to be having rice? (times per week...reason for laying down the $$$)
2. What quality of rice do you currently purchase? (low, medium or high)
3. Do you enjoy various types of rice? And will you attempt to make them at home. (long or short grain, basmati, wild, etc.)
4. How many fuctions would you like on your rice cooker? (porridge, steamed white, brown, barley... also timers and keep warm functions)

if you enjoy and are looking to make a high quality short grain rice, you may want to look into the Zojirushi line of rice cookers.
their Fuzzy line controls the heat levels very well and (with most models) not only cooks the rice from the bottom, but also from the sides.
the more evenly you distribute heat to the rice, the more even it cooks and you end up having a good bowl of rice.
the heat source in the Fuzzy line is rounded on the bottom and kinda craddles the rice pot, while also steaming the rice with their patented semi-vented lids.
the next step up is the Induction series. and almost NASA-ish, this actually is the best in today's market where it cooks each rice kernel at the same rate as the others. so not like conventional rice cookers where the heat source is coming from the bottom (and maybe the sides) this new induction series cooks the rice like a microwave where it shoots out waves and cooks the rice "PERFECTLY". it's the ultimate in rice cookers.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Great BBQ

Went to a great bbq this weekend. The ridiculous menu is listed below - faves included the mojitos, the empanadas, and the steak. I think there was actually more, but those Mojito's probably destroyed some brain cells. Great job Rosh and Sheevani. Going to be hard to top this...

Drinks
Mojito's
White Sangria with Guava
Red Sangria
Lots of beers, wine, alcohol

Food
Empanadas
Croquettes
Steak marinated in chimichurri sauce
Sandwiches with Prosciutto and Mozzarella
Burgers
Hot Dogs
Sausages
Fried plantain chips
Various dips, chips, and cheeses

Sunday, September 16, 2007

No way Jose!


The last I heard, Bob Evans made breakfast sausage patties.
I guess they saw $$ in the "Stir-Fry" market and pounced on the opportunity.
Yah, I think I'll pass.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Venison - The other red meat

Somehow Ariane Daguin (proprietor of D'Artagnan - a meats, game and foie gras company) found our little blog here and sent us a heads up on Venison. Just thought we'd share with all of our readers...

To the Dudesonfoods,

I wanted to let you know that an in-depth fact sheet on venison is now available. It's titled "Venison: The Other Red Meat"

Here's a summary:
With every four (and five) star restaurant putting venison on the plate these days, and the supply improving daily, I think it safe to say that venison is approaching "mainsteam meat" status.

High in protein, low in fat and calories, yet more delicious than most cooks ever dreamed possible, venison seems to be one of the "wonder foods" of the gourmet and health-conscious. Now there's a new in-depth fact sheet on venison, its history and origins, and easy-to-use guides on cuts and cooking collected all in one place.

Take a look and let me know what you think! It's online at
http://www.dartagnan.com/images/pdf/venison.htm

Bon appetit,
Ariane Daguin
Chef and Founder of D'Artagnan



Thursday, September 13, 2007

Iron Chef America: Italian Battle

Even though I haven't been following Iron Chef America closely, I did manage to catch one on my Tivo this weekend - Mario Batali vs Andrew Carmellini, from A Voce. What a great competiton. Some really inventive and tasty-looking Italian dishes. Interesting to see the contrast in styles - Mario's rustic cooking vs Carmellini's refined Italian cooking. Standouts included bruschetta with lardo, truffles and parmiggiano; and fried polenta cups stuffed with spinach pesto - all Carmellini's dishes. Definitely need to visit A Voce in the near future...

Dominos 2.0

So the Dominos you know no longer delivers in 30 minutes, nor does it serve sausage pepperoni pizzas. (ok, that's an exaggeration)

Take a look at this.
The Oreo Pizza from Dominos
The name says it all.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Bar Stuzzichini - Review

Intro
Bar Stuzzichini -
Recommended
928 Broadway, New York 10010
Btwn 21st & 22nd St

Phone: 212-780-5100

I’ve wanted to stop by Bar Stuzzichini for a while, since NY Magazine has been raving about it. I was a little hesitant since the chowhounder’s are split about this place. Some love it, some hate it. My buddy and I are in the group that are believers. The place serves great tapas – Italian style. Overall, I give the restaurant an 84/100.

My Menu

1) Polpo – Not Recommneded
2) Carciofi - Recommended
3) Scamorza Alla Brace – Highly Recommended
4) Prociutto di Parma – Highly Recommended
5) Arancini – Highly Recommended (must have)
6) Mezzi Rigatoni Con Ragu – Highly Recommended (must have)


Dish Comments
1) Grilled octopus served cold.
A lot of reviewers were raving about this dish, but I don’t know why. The octopus is charred, which tastes bitter when it’s cold – still tender though. With the quality of the other dishes, I would get another Salumi.
2) Classic Roman dish – fried artichokes.
Very tasty, but the leaves were a tad tougher than I would like. Still very flavorful and addicting like popcorn.
3) Smokey, creamy mozzarella grilled and topped with chili oil.
This is amazing. Chili oil is not too spicy, but adds a little heat which is wonderful with the mozzarella.
4) Great prociutto thinly sliced.
Nuff said.
5) Fried risotto filled with mozzarella and another cheese.
This is ridiculously good. Rich cheesiness and great risotto fried to a crisp. Quite honestly better than some of the arancini I had in Rome.
6) Rigatoni cooked nicely with a ridiculously good meat sauce – braised meat (chicken and pork I think?), and sausage.
The best chicken I’ve had in a long, long time.

Overall Restaurant Experience (84/100)

  • Food 8.8/10 – Tasty Italian food.
  • Service 7.8/10 – Waiters are over attentive, but still very nice.
  • Atmosphere 8.5/10 – Located where Komegashi used to be. Way to big a place for this type of food in my opinion. Also, looks like a steakhouse. Crowd was a mix of families and very attractive ladies. They have seats at the bar where they cook the Stuzzichini, which is where we sat. No reservations and no wait at 7:20 on a Thursday. It was empty the majority of the time, which is a bad omen. Towards the end it was half empty.
  • Price 7.5/10 – Price was moderately expensive ($60 a person), but the portions are very tiny. $22 for 5 appetizers, but they’re probably 3 tiny bites per appetizer. I wasn’t that hungry, so I didn’t mind, but don’t expect big Italian-American sized portions.
Closing Comments
Even though the price is a tad expensive, I do like this place and am curious to try the other pasta dishes. Hopefully, this place stays in business, but based on the crowd I would doubt it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Organic Frauds

Aurora Farms, a company that supplies Target, Costco, and Wal-Mart, is about to be stripped of their organic certification. Kinda aggravating considering it costs $5 for organic milk or in this case faux organic milk. What can you expect when you buy organic from huge wholesalers? It's probably safest to get organic products from smaller grocery stores or directly from the farms themselves.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Fight Food

I had some fellas over for UFC 75 and I decided to make some bar/man food. Great times with the fellas and great food - even though Matt Hamill got ripped off.

Italian Style Quesadillas
Love quesadillas and this was an homage to the pizza bianca at sezz medi. The better the cheese you use, the better the flavors will be. Make sure not to go overboard with an abundance of cheese. You should taste
a little bit of all the cheeses in each bite.

Ingredients
Flour tortillas
Whole milk mozzarella cheese - shredded
Whole milk ricotta cheese
Gorgonzola cheese - crumbled

1) Sprinkle a big handful of mozzarella cheese on half of the tortilla. Add small scoops of ricotta in each spacings. Between the ricotta add the gorgonzola.
2) Toast in the toaster oven until golden brown. Let rest 3 minutes before cutting.



Cuban Style Chicken Wings

Not sure if this is exactly Cuban, but I like the flavors a lot. Marinade would probably go wonderful with pork as well.

Ingredients
chicken wings (fresh preferable)
2 cups orange juice
1/4 cup minced fresh oregano
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 head of garlic, each clove crushed (skin can stay on)
1 Tbsp cumin
1/4 cup white vinegar
Salt and Pepper

1) Combine orange juice, oregano, cumin, crushed garlic, salt and pepper, white vinegar, and
olive oil. Taste marinade. Flavors should be savory, sour, and relatively sweet. Adjust flavors as necessary. If orange juice is not sweet enough, add sugar.
2) Marinade chicken wings for at least 4 hours.
3) Set oven to 400 degrees. Pour marinade in a pan and set to high heat to reduce until syrupy - maybe 15 minutes. Taste the reduced marinade - it should still be very flavorful. If it's too bitter, add sugar and more olive oil and warm through.
4) Dry off wings with a paper towel and place on a tray in the oven. After about 10 minutes, take the reduced marinade and spoon over the wings.
5) Bake another 5 minutes until wings are browned and chicken is cooked thoroughly and still moist. Add more marinade at the end if you want.


Italian Style Manwich
Here's my basic braising recipe I use when I want to braise meat.
Make sure to look for steak with lots of marbling. Very rich flavors and the meat can be used over pasta, rice, or in tortillas.

Ingredients
2 pounds chuck steak bone in
1/4 cup tomato paste
4 cups homemade tomato sauce
Extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
2 whole yellow onions sliced
5 cloves garlic thinly sliced
3 sprigs (leaves only) each of thyme, rosemary, sage

1) Cut chuck steak into 1 inch x 4 inch strips. Season both side with salt and lots of pepper.
2) Brown steak over high heat in olive oil both sides. Make sure not to crowd the pan, may take 3 separate batches - otherwise it'll stew. Also, brown the bones. Remove steak and bones. Reduce heat to medium.
3) Cook onions in the same pan and salt and pepper the onions. Scrape the fond on the bottom of the pan. When the onions have softened slightly. Add tomato paste and cook for at least 5 more minutes.
4) Add garlic, thyme, rosemary, sage and cook for 2 minutes.
5) Add steak, juices from steak, and bones to the pan.
6) Add tomato sauce and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for 2-3 hours. For the last 1/2 hour, cook unconvered. Meat should be very tender and sauce should be relatively thick. You may need to cook more if need be. You can also place in the oven at 300, but this may take longer to cook. The oven method will result in a thicker sauce though.
7) Toast hamburger buns and scoop meat/sauce on the buns. Top with extra virgin olive oil. Buono appetito!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Fat man bites hand that feeds

I was informed by Mr Risotto that Mario Batali has been fired from the Food Network (he provided this title). I have mixed emotions about this. Although I've recently had bad experiences at 3 of his restaurants, I feel he was a great teacher of all things Italian. Also, he, along with Emeril and Bobby, built up the Food Network which changed the way mainstream America looked at food. Maybe, this will help focus Mario at his own restaurants, but I highly doubt it...

Friday, September 7, 2007

Foodstock 2007 on Big O & Dukes - 9/7/07





What started off as an invitation-only 4 hour collaborative meeting including eating and talking about food amongst those who appreciate a burger has now blown up into Foodstock 2007. Big O and Dukes, the new DJ pair on 106.7 Free FM Washington, D.C. from 7PM – 11PM, were at it again this evening and talking food. I was near the Iwo Jima Memorial in traffic on my way to the Maine St. Fish Market in D.C. for some fresh swordfish steaks, and of course, I couldn’t resist calling. Naturally. I actually made it through, was disconnected, and tried calling in again. These guys rock. I haven’t even spoken to them yet, and I’m already saying they rock. During the time I was disconnected and called back to get on, they talked about this website. Rock on! I got back on, and they remembered me from a couple days ago. As I asked before… how cool is that??? Anyway, it’s on. Friday, September 7, 2007 is the first annual Big O & Dukes Foodstock. Mmmm, burgers...
Below is the link to listen to show live from 7PM – 11PM EST.
Chow… I mean ciao

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Why you can't trust Ads II

An amalgam of Jeckyll and Hide.

McD's Fillet O Fish doesn't look too different. Then again, how worse or pretty can you make it look?











Why you can't trust Ads

Take a look at these pictures.
A Burger King Omelet Sandwich and an Arby's Beef 'n Cheddar.
Advert vs Reality.
Often, when you unwrap these monsters, it looks nothing like the print ads.

There has to be some kind of punishment implemented to these kinds of false advertisement.
Like if the customer isn't satisfied, they should get the second one free.
Hey, just thinking out loud.

Being an Adult


Do you remember way back in your childhood, when you asked your mother if you could have some ice cream before dinner?
I don't know why, but moms across the nation would get pissed off and end their little lecture with a "when you're an adult, you can spoil your dinner whenever you want..."
Well we are adults now and I have to say, it's great.
I can order what ever I want. I can eat as little or as much veggies as I choose. And I can have a Good Humor Strawberry Shortcake for breakfast while on my way to work if I wanted.


So last night, I met up a friend for a late dinner over at my "go-to" eatery. Lan Restaurant.
I was in the mood for Sushi so I paroozed through the sushi menu.
Nothing sprang up. The preselected sushi orders just wasn't doing it for me. So I took the liberty of ordering A La Carte. I haven't done this in years. And boy, is it the best.
You only get the stuff you really really like.
We ordered our sushi and got to that happy place where we are slouching in our seats, savoring the quickly devoured meal and thinking... can we eat more?

We ended up sharing a ribeye steak, some veggies, and some chicken skewers. Yes, we pretty much had 2 dinners at the same seating.
Sick to some, heaven to others. We fall under the latter.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Big O & Dukes like my kind of food


















How cool is this? I'm driving home from work, and I'm listening to 106.7, Free FM like usual. This is DC's talk radio station with such programs as Don & Mike, Opie & Anthony, Loveline, etc. They got rid of Unzipped with Michelle & Checkoway. (I actually agreed with Michelle a lot, but I detested Checkoway and came close to dragging my head on the ground on the drive home to remove my ear from listening to this moron several times.) Anyway, there’s a new show in town called Big O & Dukes to replace them. Couple cool guys from DC, but their last gig was in AZ. So they’re talking about food today. They mentioned double cheeseburgers, Baconators, (couple of my favorite chain restaurant burgers!) and more. Then they announced that the phones are open. I’m driving home, and I thought I’d give it a chance. C’mon, they’re talking food! I actually got through on my first call! In fact, I was the next caller!! So we start talking food, burgers, and they liked me. I even made them laugh a couple times. They asked me for the address to this website and even asked me if I would mention them. I told them just because they were talking about food, how could I not? One thing lead to another, and then they invited me for their Friday show. For FOUR HOURS! When I was off the air, the phone screener verified my number and stated they may call me back. We’ll see.

They do broadcast live online, so check it out (especially Friday evening!):

http://www.wjfk.com/pages/703221.php

Big O and Dukes

http://www.myspace.com/bigoanddukes

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Peasant - Review

Intro
Peasant - Recommended
194 Elizabeth St
New York, NY 10012
(212) 965-9511

After reading the book Heat, I was craving some polenta but many Italian restaurants don’t have it on their summer menu. One restaurant that I was dying to revisit did– Peasant. I’ve been to Peasant before and I remember the pasta and desserts were great, but the service was awful. Our previous visit included these highlights – having reservations and still waiting an hour, rude and inattentive service, and to top it off the bartender spilled a drink on my girlfriend.

However with that said, good Italian food (surprisingly) is hard to come by in the city, so I wanted to give them a second chance. Service was much better this time around, but still had some flaws. Most importantly the food was still great. Overall, I give the restaurant an 85/100.

My Menu
The entire menu is in Italian, which could be intimidating but the servers are pretty good at explaining. My buddies were still relying on me, since I knew enough Italian to decipher the menu.

  1. Prosciutto e frutta - Recommended
  2. Pizza speck e rucola – Highly Recommended
  3. Agnello con polenta – Highly Recommneded
  4. Torta di Pesca – Average

Dish Comments

1) Prosciutto was very rich and flavorful. Some of the best I’ve had in a while. The frutta today was fico (figs). Unfortunately after coming back from the Bay Area and having great figs, these were very sad in comparison. Decent, but not great.
2) A pizza more similar to the Italian style than the NY style. Very thin crust with a slightly crispy and slightly chewy texture topped with some smoked pork that has a good amount of fat. Arugula provided a nice peppery contrast to the fatty, smoky pork. A great fresh tasting pizza. Good tomato sauce too…
3) This was the big polenta moment I was waiting for and while it didn’t meet my polenta expectations after reading Heat, it was still awesome. The lamb was perfectly cooked and extremely tender with a great sauce. Aggressive garlic and rosemary flavors were all throughout the dish. The polenta was creamy and had a nice light corn flavor. Reading Heat I was expecting an intense corn flavor – in the book they cook polenta for 3 hours. Didn’t get that, but polenta was still great.

4) I remember this dish being the highlight of my first meal at Peasant. It was very sweet and smoky from cooking in the wood oven. This time the peaches were not as flavorful – maybe due to the fact that I just came back from the Bay Area where the peaches were like honey. Something was definitely missing. My buddies liked this a lot, but their dishes were better (ricotta cheesecake and flourless chocolate cake).

Overall Restaurant Experience (85/100)

  • Food 8.5/10 – Great Italian food and I didn’t even order the pasta, which I remembered being amazing.
  • Service 7.2/10 – OK. So this time the service was better. Waiter was very attentive and we were seated immediately. However, the busboys were pretty bad. The busboy spilled wine (luckily it was white) on my buddy. They tried to take away our food and drinks before we were finished. These were the only two incidents, but these were still unacceptable.
  • Atmosphere 8.5/10 – Place looks like a cave, white brick walls. Kitchen is open, so you can see the chefs prepare your food. Crowd was packed with lots of young woman and some couples. For a summer on a Thursday, the place was packed by 7:30. Still was able to get seated on time though.
  • Price 8.8/10 – Price was moderately expensive ($60 a person), but for the price the quality was great. On par with Maremma for the quality of the Italian food.

Closing Comments
At what point does terrible service, turn you away from great food. Peasant’s food is good enough to surpass the spotty service. Definitely some of the best Italian in the city. The other side note is Frankie DeCarlo (executive chef/owner) is actually cooking your food. You can see him taking out pasta and working the grill. Very rare that the head chef actually cooks and it adds to the experience.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Ranch Dressing

The Anthropology of Ranch Dressing

Dated 2 years ago, but still relevant and very much important.
Ranch Dressing is often the catalyst of drunk talk between stubborn French Chefs and Americanos such as myself. I say Ranch deserves it's rightful place in the world of Salad Dressings while the Frenchies disagree.
Perhaps a little jealous they didn't come up with it themselves? Hhhhm? (smirk)
But if Diet Coke is any indication of American persistence, Ranch Dressing too may gain the respect of gourmands around the world.

Courtesy of slate.com

video

click here for the full article : ( http://slate.com/id/2123991/ )