Monday, March 31, 2008

Bad Mozz...

Dioxin found in some Italy mozzarella

By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press WriterFri Mar 21, 1:17 PM ET

Makers of Italy's prized buffalo mozzarella took out full-page ads in Italian newspapers Friday assuring consumers the cheese was safe after high levels of dioxin were found in some samples of buffalo milk.

The tainted products came from a few buffalo dairies in the southern Campania region, whose reputation as a top agricultural producer already has been tarnished by the months-old garbage crisis that has fueled fears of food contamination.

Dioxin, a chemical environmental pollutant, can be hazardous even in small amounts. When it accumulates in the body, it can be linked to cancer, birth defects and organ failure.

Over the past week, Italian authorities have searched dozens of buffalo dairies and seized milk samples for tests after higher-than-permitted levels of dioxin were discovered in products from 29 mozzarella makers, news reports said.

Prosecutors in Naples have placed 109 people under investigation in connection with the probe, on suspicion of fraud and food poisoning, the ANSA news agency reported.

On Friday, the consortium of buffalo mozzarella makers in Campania took out full-page ads in Corriere della Sera and other national newspapers outlining the system of controls that are in place for its top-branded mozzarella, which carries the designation DOP, meaning it has certain protection and quality guarantees.

Health officials, police, agricultural and cheese authorities all guarantee the safe production of DOP mozzarella, the ad said, adding that the dairies involved in the police seizures were not members of the consortium.

"Considering these norms, buffalo milk — before being transformed — is placed under the most stringent health and chemical controls which guarantee the safety and quality of Campania's DOP buffalo mozzarella," the ad said.

The Italian agricultural lobby Coldiretti called for a speedy investigation to determine which dairies were to blame, since buffalo mozzarella is such an important brand domestically and internationally.

The soft and subtly flavored mozzarella is a key ingredient in pizza, but also is eaten uncooked, often alongside prosciutto or with sliced tomatoes and basil.

Coldiretti said 33,000 tons, worth $462.69 million, of DOP mozzarella is produced annually, employing some 20,000 people. Most DOP mozzarella is consumed in Italy, but 16 percent is exported, mostly to European countries but also to Japan and Russia, Coldiretti said.

It was not clear what, if any, role Campania's garbage crisis has had in the mozzarella contamination. However, earlier this year Naples health authorities began screening residents for dioxin contamination amid accusations that toxic garbage was being dumped illegally by the mafia-controlled garbage industry in the area.

Naples and its surrounding area have been plagued by garbage crises over the past dozen years. Dumps close after filling up, and residents — afraid that toxic garbage is being dumped — block efforts to open new ones.

A recent study by the World Health Organization found that people living in Campania were not as healthy as residents in the rest of Italy. Mortality rates, particularly from some forms of cancer, are higher in the areas around Naples where the garbage crisis peaked.

Still, Renato Pizzuti, a regional epidemiologist, said a direct link to garbage contamination cannot be made.

"For sure, the population of the Campania region is suffering from some negative health factors, both in terms of mortality, above all, and for some pathologies in terms of morbidity." But in a recent interview with AP Television News, he stressed, "This cannot be directly linked to garbage."


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Can't get enough !!!

J.G. Melon - Revisited
And it still kicks ass...!

Our group of 5 (dudes) got together for a little eating session this past week.
At one of Manhattan's most famous burger eateries. JG Melon.
The first time I was there, I came out quite happy and I told (blogged) all my friends about it.
Time and time again, this place delivers and never disappoints.



















At first glance, the bill is a little startling. After all, what did we just eat...
Burgers, Chili and some Beers... But the satisfaction level shoots off the charts and ultimately, the bill is just a monetary set back. You can't put a price on sheer delight.











I'm happy to pony up $35 for a deeply satisfying meal.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Pitano Gelato - Review

Intro
Pitango Gelato - Highly Recommended

802 S Broadway, Baltimore, Maryland (410) 702-58
28
Phone:
410-702-5828

The final review of our mini Baltimore trip and as some of you faithful readers know by now, I looooooove gelato. So, wherever I see gelato, I must try it. Being the Italian food snob, I really don't expect much from any gelato unless it's in Italy. Pitango's gelato in the Fell's Point area was a spectacular surprise - better than one of my favorites in NYC, Bruno Bakery in the West Village. Gelato is all about intensity of flavors and the super creamy texture. They nail it perfectly here and one up Bruno as I feel the gelato's at Bruno are too sweet. Any who, if you're ever around the area you must try. Oh ya, gelato's are $4.50 for 2 good size portions...killer deal.

My Menu
1) Coconut Gelato **
2) Chocolate Hazlenut Gelato (Gianduja) **

* Good
** Great
*** What the F (in a good way)

1) Never had Coconut gelato, but they do it perfectly here. You really get the great coconut flavor that's pleasantly sweet, instead of crazy sweet.
2) I love Gianduja and this is a great representation of it. Rich chocolate flavor enhanced by a super nutty flavor of hazlenut.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

John Steven Ltd - Review

Intro
John Steven Ltd - Recommended

1800 Thames St, Baltimore, Maryland 2
1231
Phone: 410-327-5561

Since I was in Baltimore this past weekend, I wanted to find out what the big deal about Maryland crab cake was. I've always heard about the wonders of this dish, but never really experienced a great Maryland crab cake. We asked a bunch of people at the rehearsal dinner and everyone brought up the same name - John Stevens. They are 100% correct, maybe the best crab cake I've ever had. Overall, I give the restaurant an 79/100.

My Menu
1) Crab Soup
2) Scallops :(
3) Crab Cake Entree **

:( What the F - in a bad way
* Good

** Great
*** What the F - in a good way


Dish Comments
1) Basically a minestrone with crab. Tomato based soup with corn and peas and a very tiny amount of crab. Soup was OK, but I wouldn't order it again.
2) I love scallops and I would say avoid these at all costs. It's
broiled in butter, but there's absolutely no flavor to it. Scallops should be slightly sweet, but these taste like nothing.
3) Great crab cakes here - nice and juicy. The meat is lump so it's in bigger pieces and you really taste great crab flavor in every bite. The crust on the crab cake is light, but because it has a nice sear in butter the flavors are explosive. The sides of fries are good, but the slaw is flavorless though. The carrots are ok, but undercooked in my opine.

Overall Restaurant Experience (83/100)

  • Food 7.8/10 – The dishes that we had we're pretty average to subpar, but the crab cakes were spectacular.
  • Service 8.5/10 – The waitress was incredibly nice and was eager to help us in ordering the food. Food came out pretty quick. She was looking at me seasoning the scallops and came over right away and asked how things were.
  • Atmosphere 8.5/10 – I love eating at bars and this was great. Not crowded at all and just a great atmosphere. Crowd consisted of older couples, families, and groups of dudes at the bar. Got there at 1pm on a Saturday and were seated immediately.
  • Price 7.5/10 – Price of crab cakes were on the high end ($24) for lunch, but it was 100% worth it. All other dishes were moderately priced.

Closing Comments
This experience reminded me of Tadich Grill in San Francisco - one phenomenal dish (crab cakes), but everything else was OK to sub par. But, like Tadich Grill I will 100% come back anytime I'm in Baltimore to John Steven Ltd just for the crab cakes...



Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Best Popeye's....

The Best Popeye's....I've ever had was this weekend while heading down to Baltimore for a wedding. Porthos has always raved about the Popeye's at the Thomas Edison rest stop on the NJ turnpike (exit 11 southbound). Man, he was so right. The meat is so insanely juicy and flavorful. The crust is crispy, but still relatively light. This is the Cadillac of fast food fried chicken. We think this is due to the high turnover rate at the rest stop, so they don't have much time to sit. Whatever it is, it f'n rules...check it out sometime. And, bypass the corn...it was completely flavorless.

BTW - Bigus Edicus has let us know the original creator of Popeyes has past away, so pay your respects and rock out some Popeyes...

Pizza and Pasta Prices

Ok, so I've previously blogged about the issue of ethanol affecting food prices. Here's a potential opportunity cost of planting more corn to produce more ethanol - rising wheat costs, which will definitely affect our cost for a slice of pizza and pasta. This article documents a NY pizzaiolo's price for a bag of flour that went from $16 a bag to $37 a bag in only 4 weeks. Can't wait to see what Del Posto will charge for a plate of pasta in order to make a profit now...say hello to $40 a plate :P

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Berger's Cookies

Reffering to this posting from a couple weeks ago, my cousin in Spain sent me some Iberico Jamon for my birthday. I had to reciprocate and send her something that she wants for her birthday, which is in a couple days. She told me her roommate is from the Baltimore area and introduced her to cookies that will cure any chocoholic's craving - but she didn't remember the name. She stated these cookies are made in Baltimore and are only available in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. area. I Googled around, found what I thought she was talking about, and she confirmed. Like a good cousin, I picked up several boxes of these and sent them to her in Spain. Of course, I had to see what they were all about. Introducing, Berger's Cookies.


Do a Google search yourself, and you will not see a bad thing about these but the opposite instead. And yeah, if you like chocolate, then you will definitely like these cookies. My gosh these cookies are rich. I peeled the shrink-wrapping back on my drive home from one of the few places I found that sold these cookies. I wish I knew what I was in for and bought some cold skim milk, because these are overwhelming. I could only put down 2 and a part of a third. (As good as whole milk is, it still would have been too much with these cookies IMO.)

A couple days later, I tried them again; this time I was prepared with said milk. First off, there's barely any cookie. It's essentially chocolate. And yeah, if you look inside of it, you'll see a cookie in there. Yeah, these are quite tasty. A different cousin and his wife were visiting me from Miami and then driving back. I picked up a couple boxes of these for them, and they were very happy. I think you will be as well if you try these and even moreso if you like chocolate. If you're not in the area, you can order them to ship to you from their website.


Here's a tip - break some cookies in half and let them sit out for a few days. When you bite into them, you'll still have the soft chocolate topping, but you'll have the crispiness of the cookie to give it extra texture. I found this on accident when a.) I only ate half a cookie and b.) I returned a few days later for the other half, since I didn't want to make it a habit-turn-addiction of eating these cookies.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Le Bernardin Review

Intro
Le Bernardin- Recommended

51st St, New York 10014

Btwn 6th Ave and 7th Ave

Phone: 212-741-4695

The fiancée took me out to Le Bernardin for my birthday – completing my journey of old school NY Times 4 star restaurants (Daniel, Jean Georges, Bouley being the others). Usually, I would have had a ridiculous amount of anticipation for this restaurant, but I’ve been so swamped at work that I didn’t have much time to think about it. Still, even without the high expectations for the meal, the restaurant was a bit of a disappointment. I still had a great time and was blown away by many a dish, but as you'll read later something drags the overall review down. Overall, I give the restaurant an 87/100.

My Menu

Chef’s Tasting Menu

1) Amuse – New England Clam Chowder (not on menu) **
2) Fluke *

White Soy-Yuzu Marinated Fluke; Seaweed Spiced “Rice Crispies”

3) Calamari ***
Sautéed Calamari Filled with Sweet Prawns and Wood Ear Mushroom, Calamari Consomme

4) Spiny Lobster ***
Warm Lobster Carpaccio; Young Ginger-Matsutake Mushroom Salad; Vanilla-Citrus Oil

5) Wild Salmon *
Barely Cooked Wild Alaskan Salmon; Daikon and Enoki Salad; Baby Leek-Wasabi Sauce
6) Dover Sole **
Dover Sole; Shiso-Matsutake Salad; Lemon-Miso Broth
7) Escolar ***
White Tuna Poached in Extra Virgin Olive Oil; Sea Beans and Potato Crisps; Light Red Wine Bearnaise
8) Cheeses – Avoid!!!
9) Greengage Plum *

Caramelized Greengage Plums, Rhubarb Compote, Blood Orange Cream, Creme Fraiche Sorbet
10) Warm Chocolate – Avoid!!!
Warm Amedi Chuao chocolate, Malted Rum Milk Chocolate Ice Cream

11) (not on menu) Mango Cake **
12) (not on menu) Chocolate Pot De Creme **


I’m gonna rock out a new rating system alla Porthos, so this is my scale

* Good
** Great
*** What the F – in a good way

Dish Comments
1) A nice play on New England clam chowder. Great broth, tender lobster, and perfectly cooked potatoes. Great way to start the meal.
2) Nice delicate preparation of the fluke. The fish had great texture and was slightly sweet – nice contrast with the bright yuzu. This dish is a bit of a letdown, but I think any raw fish preparation will always make me compare it to Sushi Yasuda…nothing outside of Japan will top that in my opine.
3) My first what the f moment of the night that said you are at Le Bernardin. The body of the calamari was incredibly tender, sweet and filled with even sweeter prawns that had a shredded texture. The tentacles were lightly battered and fried to perfection - the best fried calamari I've had.
4) Don’t know how, but this dish was much better than the calamari. The best lobster dish I’ve ever had. Very sweet lobster meat that had the perfect texture. The vanilla-citrus oil, ginger, and mushrooms made the meat seem even sweeter – a phenomenal combination. Raw mushrooms tasted great combined with everything else and I never thought I'd be so happy eating raw mushrooms at a crazy expensive place.
5) Salmon that was only warmed through on one side and served with raw garlic chives and raw snow pea shoots – very Chinese ingredients. Good stuff, but a bit of a letdown after the previous homerun. Texture was great and the flavor was nice. The raw chives and snow pea shoots had a slightly spicy, sweet thing going on.
6) Perfectly cooked Dover Sole with a super intense miso and mushroom broth. Great flavors and texture.
7) This was a complete shock to me. Again, another what the f moment as I was contemplating why everything isn’t poached in olive oil. Taking a nice rich piece of tuna and making it even richer by poaching it in olive oil was brilliant. Combine that with the light and flavorful red wine béarnaise (first for me) and probably the best potato chip I’ve ever had…this may have been the winner of the night.
8) Cheeses were pretty disappointing. The cheeses were a goat, some tuscan cheese, cheddar, and a blue. Goat and the tuscan cheese were average and not worth describing. The cheddar was great and the blue was ok. Surprising that the cheese were overall average for a place like this.
9) Seared plum from New Zealand that supposedly is only available 1 month out of the entire year (I guess kinda like the Macanaw peaches for you Seinfeld heads). The plum by itself is slightly sweet and has a great texture, but it’s pretty tasty combined with the great blood orange cream and the amazing crème fraiche sorbet.
10) This dish totally brought me back down to Earth. Chocolate soufflé was way to dense and heavy and it didn’t even soufflé really. The tops were cracked and the soufflé was totally deflated. Flavors were OK, but this was just a shock that a restaurant this caliber would serve a deflated soufflé. A what the f in a bad way.
11) For my birthday cake, they made an amazing mango cake that was insanely light and fluffy – kinda like a Chinese cake. The cream inside the cake exploded with fruit flavor and the sorbet on top added a nice tartness – I believe it was passion fruit. A big comeback after the bad chocolate souffle.
12) Final dish was the chocolate pot de crème in the egg shell. Good to finish with a homerun. The fluffed up cream on top was so airy and light. The chocolate underneath was perfect and the slight topping of maple syrup was such a pleasant surprise.

Overall Restaurant Experience (87/100)

  • Food 9.0/10 – They truly are masters here and some of the dishes here I don’t think you can get anywhere else in the US. The food is beautifully presented and smells phenomenal. Almost every single dish has sauce that is poured by the server...kinda funny. Scores would have been higher were it not for the bad cheese and dessert plates.
  • Service 7.5/10 – Ok, so for a 4 star NY Times restaurant that is 400+, the service here is bad…at least in my opine. When we sat, it took 10 minutes before anyone gave us a menu – and we had to flag someone down to get it. Then, the sommelier took another 15 minutes to show up to our table and was very difficult to get a hold of all night (there were 3-4 sommeliers there too). These things are unacceptable at a place like this. When I spend this much money, I expect to be treated like the other 4 star restaurants in the city (e.g. Daniel and Jean Georges). Another nitpicky thing – they didn’t clean the crumbs on the table that frequently. Only 2x during the 12 courses…don’t mean to be picky, but again at Daniel and other places they’ll do that after every course. Also, the fiancée asked the reservationists to do a cake for my birthday. They didn’t until she asked them towards the end of the bill – they forgot. The redeeming factor is the food does come out at a good pace and our waiter was extremely nice. He seemed to really know his food and was proud to describe the dishes and ask how the food was. Also, the sommelier we had was a true master. The wines that he recommended were phenomenal and I don’t think I’ve ever had a better wine pairing with food…ever.
  • Atmosphere 7.5/10 – Very stuffy place packed with the super rich. Place had the Japanese look with the blond wood with huge paintings on the wall. Crowds consisted of families, older couples, and large groups that get very loud. Tables were way too close to each other and we could overhear everyone’s conversation. Funny one – couple with their 14 year old son there and he was asking why they don’t get regular water instead of bottled water. Rich lady said because that would ruin the meal, you don’t want to be like one of those people. Ha! Definitely not my type of crowd or place. The fiancee booked the restaurant 1 month in advance. Got there at 7pm on Thursday and was seated promptly.
  • Price 7.0/10 – Ok. For the food the price I think is completely worth it. Again, you’re getting the quality of food that you can’t get at most other restaurants. However, the service completely dragged things down and I 100% do not think it’s worth the price overall. About $600 for 2 including 8+ glasses of wine.

Closing Comments
Amazing food, but the overall experience was not of a 4 star restaurant. Out of all the restaurants I’ve been to in NY only Daniel and Jean Georges are deserving of the 4 star distinction. Bouley is 0 stars in my opinion. Le Bernardin would be a 3 star for me. That said, I would definitely come back for the 4 course $107 tasting menu – the same items on the chef’s tasting was available on the 4 course menu. When you spend less money, you go with less expectations, so the service would not bother me as much next time.






Sunday, March 23, 2008

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Only in America....

and maybe Dubai, Hong Kong, Macau, Saudi Arabia, and maybe even Kuwait....

OK, so there's a lot people out there with way too much money in their pockets... but seriously guys... can't you think of better ways to piss your money away?
Like maybe donate to a Hospital, Library, Medical Research, etc....

Anywho... here's the latest in dumb purchases...

CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- Two sisters from Virginia sold their Illinois-shaped cornflake on eBay Friday night for $1,350.

art.flake.ap.jpg

Two sisters from Virginia sold this cornflake for $1,350 on eBay.

"We were biting our nails all the way up to the finish, seeing what would happen," said Melissa McIntire, 23. "There's a lot of relief involved."

The winner of the auction, which lasted more than a week, is the owner of a trivia Web site who wants to add the cornflake to a traveling museum.

"We're starting a collection of pop culture and Americana items," said Monty Kerr of Austin, Texas. "We thought this was a fantastic one." 

Kerr owns TriviaMania.com and said he will likely send someone to Virginia to pick up the flake by hand, so it won't be damaged.

This isn't the first cornflake that Kerr has tried to buy. He said he purchased a flake billed as the world's largest, but that by the time it was delivered it had crumbled into three pieces.

McIntire and her sister Emily, 15, listed the cornflake on eBay last week, but eBay canceled the auction, saying it violated the Web site's policy against selling food.

The sisters restarted their eBay auction, advertising a coupon redeemable for their cornflake instead of the cereal itself.

The McIntires said they'll likely use the money for a family vacation.

Copycat items have popped up on eBay, including cornflakes shaped like Hawaii and Virginia. There's also been a potato chip shaped like Florida, and Illinois cornflake paraphernalia, including T-shirts and buttons.


Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Serious OCD

The pic was taken at a highway MickieDs in Mass.
Ketchup lined up in boxes at the fixin' station.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Friday, March 21, 2008

Lobster Roll

Here's the scenario :
1. I'm an hour away from Boston and not too far from the water.
2. I have an hour between my next appointment.
So what would a "dude" do to kill some time.

Order a Lobster Roll !!!

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Cape Cod Goodness

Steamers and Oysters.
On business in Cape Cod, Mass. and had to take advantage of the local catch.
Damn It!!! This was sooooooo good.

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

No English, No Food

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (AP) -- A Philadelphia agency has ruled that English-only signs at a famous cheese steak shop are not discriminatory.

The Commission on Human Relations says in its Wednesday ruling that the signs at Geno's Steaks do not violate the city's Fair Practices Ordinance.

Joe Vento posted the signs at his shop in October 2005. They read "This is AMERICA: WHEN ORDERING 'PLEASE SPEAK ENGLISH.' " Video Watch a 2006 report on the issue »

Critics allege the policy discourages customers of certain backgrounds from eating there. They say the signs discourage non-English speakers from going to the shop.

Vento says he has never refused service to anyone because they couldn't speak English.

from today's CNN Article

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Got Burned!

Anyone ever do this? Am I the only one?

I like cheese. No, I love it. There hasn’t been a cheese that I wouldn’t eat, even if it’s cheap. Give me the saltiest, stinkiest stuff, and I’m happy. Another way I like cheese… burnt. I’m not talking charred to ash, but crispy burnt.

Ever have that corner of lasagna where the sides of it are black, because the cheese was roasting itself on the pan in the oven? What about pizza where the cheese fuses itself to the crust that people don’t eat? Maybe scraping the bottom of the fondue pan? Man, the last one is one of my favorites.

Well, here’s something I did on accident last weekend. And have done it purposely several times afterwards. I got some ½ skim milk string cheese to snack on, threw it in the microwave to melt it some, but then left it unattended. When I returned… what a mess. A burnt, tasty mess!

I tried it again… delicious. How? Just throw the string cheese on a plate and into the microwave for 77 seconds. Why 77? Cuz it’s easier to type than 70 or 80. (It’s not like a scientifically calculated that 77 is worse or better than 76 or 78, just that I don’t want to lift my finger from the 7 and then put it on the 0 number. Though I did try 66, and that wasn’t burnt enough.)

There’s my recipe. You’re welcome, to my fellow weirdo readers. ^_^



Birthday dinner in Xi'an, China (long)

Again: Warning, long post.

During the time I was in China, I celebrated a few things: Valentine’s Day, Chinese New Year, and my birthday. Part of that day was, of course, dinner! We went to one of the best places in Xi’an, one of the old capital cities of China. This is located towards the center of China where we drove about 10 hours from Tianjin. I saw the site where my host’s restaurant used to be, and it was sad that I couldn’t experience it first hand. Instead, he took me to a restaurant that he likes a lot. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the name of the place. His friends and family also joined in the celebration dinner. Among his friends were some he called his little brothers. Among the three were an executive chef, head chef, and manager of a kitchen at other restaurants now but all used to work for him once upon a time. So with these four in the room, you know this place was about to dish up some good eats.

First of all, when you walk in, the place looked more like a hotel with the gargantuan lobby with a receptionist desk, marble floors, spiral stairs, and more. Sorry readers, no pictures of the place itself, only the food. I was lead upstairs to our private dining room. I’ve been to these high end places where you sit in your dining room. You have your personal wait staff. The food is delivered to them through a small opening equipped with a door. The cabinets are stocked with drinks, but for specialty drinks, they order them and retrieve them through the slot. This one had a flat panel TV on the wall. I guess in case the conversation goes badly?

I learned some dining traditions of the Chinese culture, and it was in full effect this day, so I will share some with you. First of all, this was a surprise birthday dinner. The dinner wasn’t a surprise, but that I was the special guest of honor, is what threw me off. They asked me to sit at the “head” of the table. Since the table is round with the lazy susan in the middle, they showed me which seat to sit in. This was the seat facing the door so when people walk in, they look directly at you. Generally, the wait staff will place the food on the lazy susan and spin it until it gets in front of the guest. Everyone waits for you to take from the dish and put onto your plate, and then that dish is fair game for everyone else. When people toast to you, you should drink with them. If they do the whole shot, then you do the same. If just a sip, then reciprocate. Another tradition is to humble yourself when someone wants to “kam pei” (cheers/salud) with you. When they hold their glass up, you put your glass lower than their glass and touch the top part of your glass to the bottom part of their glass. Kind of like saying that you are putting them higher than you.

Okay, now that I dropped some culture on your asses, get down to the food. The food… what can I say? The first thing you notice is the presentation. They started placing the dishes in front of me. I wanted to dig in, but they asked me to hold off for now. Huh? Well, umm… okay then. So I just drank. Had some hot tea, but I prefer cold water. Cold water in China… yeah. I go through this whole routine almost every time. I asked them for it “wo yao bing shuai” (I want ice water). First, they look at me like I have three heads. Next, someone else at my table has to confirm what I asked for but say it with the proper tones, etc. Finally, they go in the back, and after a while, they bring me a bottled water. In a very fancy way. Many times it’s delivered in a mini-champagne bucket on ice with tongs and a glass. Yeah, I can accept that. Sometimes the water is already cold, so I open it and drink from the bottle. After their whole presentation… heh heh. So I have my ice water. Guess ice water is not common. Next, someone comes around and pours a steaming hot liquid in glasses. I give them my glass, and now I have this black liquid that’s quite hot. I give it a taste, and I started laughing. Apparently, Xi’an is known for heating up their drinks. And my drink? Boiling hot Coca-Cola. Next thing you know, the lights went out, the main doors to our private dining room open, and there is a large bouquet of flowers and a birthday cake with sparkly candles. Yes, for me. They made me get up, they turned the lights on, and I gave my speech in the little Chinese I know, and then the rest via translator. Now then, we get to eat!

Food

I can’t remember all the food, and I didn’t get pictures of everything. It was a little annoying for me to take pictures of every dish while everyone waited for me to eat from it, so they can as well. Though the chefs did appreciate that I had an appreciation for food. This lead them to order more and better things. Sometimes they explained to me what they were ordering and why. For example, they ordered a dish, like dessert, that had peaches. If you look at traditional pictures from China meaning “long life,” it’s usually with an old man with a long beard holding a peach. The dish with peaches they ordered for me was to say long life, since it was my birthday. Few things I noticed about dessert in China is 1.) it’s not really good, 2.) it’s not common to have it like USA, and 3.) they eat it WITH the meal. This time, the birthday cake was quite good. Still strange to me, and I’m very open-minded, to eat it with the meal. One moment you’re eating turtle heads, next thing you have cake. Just doesn’t jive together, so I pushed it aside and waited till I finished the salt before the sugar.

Presentation of the food was very well done as you can see in the pictures. Some come in steaming bamboo pots, others arranged nicely on a dish, there were dishes that were still cooking, and some shaped into different animals and objects. Very creative.

The flavors generally matched the presentation. Some of the dishes were top notch, full of flavor, and you wanted to keep it for yourself and not let anyone else touch it. There were others, like the turtle heads, that were interesting. Good taste, actually. But with all the dishes that were served that evening, there were some that were pretty, but not pretty good. What I really enjoyed was the pork belly: juicy, fatty, and tasty. I enjoyed the traditional Xi'an food, like the lamb legs. It was coated with a delicious spice, but it numbs your tongue, so you need to wait a little bit for it to wear off in order to really taste the food. It would be difficult to state what I ate and then describe, so please check out the slideshow, and read the captions like a short narration. Remember to click on the slideshow to slow down the pictures and to click on the actual picture to view it full screen.

Enjoy




Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Hard Boiled Eggs

After the side by side test of kitchen knives, I wanted to continue our Dudes Test Kitchen theme. Comparing techniques (and products) is such a great way to understand why you need to cook things a certain way. Flipping through Jacques Pepin's Fast Food My Way book (phenomenal btw), I noticed he talks about how to properly cook hard boiled eggs. He uses a push pin to create a tiny hole in the egg which allows air pressure to release providing a more delicate egg white with no cracks. This also potentially prevents the yolk from turning gray. I figured why not give it a try - push pin with one egg and no push pin with the other egg. Jacques as usual is right. The push pin egg white is more delicate - a little springier and much softer, though both eggs didn't experience the gray yolk thing. Perfect hard boiled egg.

Hard Boiled Egg
Ingredients
4 Medium Sized Organic Eggs

1) Fill up one liter of water in an electric tea kettle and get it boiling. I've started doing this, since it saves me time as it takes 1 minute for a full boil on the kettle vs 5 minutes on my stove top.
2) Push the push pin on top of each egg creating a tiny hole. Be careful not to press hard with your fingers, since you'll smash the egg.
3) Set a pot over high heat. Pour the hot water from the kettle in the pot. Make sure the water is at a full boil.
4) Drop the eggs in and drop the heat to low - barely boiling. Cooking at the lower heat will also help make a much softer delicate egg.
5) After 10 minutes pour the hot water out and shake the eggs around the pan gently. This will form a bunch of cracks in the eggshell which will make it easy to remove later.
6) Drop the eggs in cold running water. The cold water should result in a perfectly yellow egg yolk preventing the yolk from turning green/gray. After 5 minutes remove, de-shell the eggs, and serve with a little kosher salt or drizzle a little soy sauce over top. Buono Appetito!

in addition ...

Eggs are an amazing source of nutrition and simply quite fascinating as a product.
The shells are porous in nature so many chefs have been known to leave aromatic objects next to eggs when storing over night and the next day, you get "flavored eggs".
The most famous of these being Truffled Eggs.

sidenote :
- According to Escoffier's book, it's said that the chef's hat is a symbol to all that he is well seasoned, and the "hundred" folds in his hat represents the amount of ways he knows how to cook an egg.
- Classic rule of thumb. Serve eggs with eggs. So for our example, chicken eggs with caviar, or uni are 2 excellent ingredients that accommodate very well.

Cooking : Hard and Soft Boiled Eggs
Consider using relatively older eggs to make boiled eggs.
An egg that's a day or two old is almost impossible to peel. So ideally eggs that are 4 to 5 days old make the best boiled eggs.

After you cook and peel the egg, you can tell by the size of the air pocket ring on the tip of the egg.
If it's the size of a dime, that's a fresh egg. Probably 2 days old.
The size of a nickel, 3 to 4.
Anything the size of a quarter is well into a week.

Many times, people leave the eggs in the water bath, and it just keeps on cooking.
I've found the perimeter of the yolk turning gray is due to over boiling.

To make Soft Boiled Eggs...
There are many methods, but I find the following to work in any kitchen.
Simply arrange raw eggs in a pot. Cover with tap water making sure all eggs are submerged.
Place pot on medium high and watch carefully for it to slightly simmer.
When the first sign of water simmering, cut heat and cover the pot.
Let stand for 10 minutes. (set a timer... this is pretty exact)

Refer to the de-shelling method posted above.
Voila!
Now you have an egg with soft and slightly runny yolk with beautiful spongy whites.

I'm imagining this on a Sunday afternoon, with some roasted vegetables, tapenade, toast and maybe some cured meats... (or crisped up ventreche). And don't forget the Caviar...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Les Halles - Review

Intro
Les Halles - Recommended
411 Park Ave S, New York 10016
Btwn 28th & 29th St
Phone: 212-679-4111

Went to Les Halles for a going away dinner with some co-workers Thursday. I've frequented this place many a time before, but this was the first time in about 4 years. Still a solid place for bistro food and pretty cool to go after watching the Les Halles episode on No Reservations. Overall, I give the restaurant an 81/100.

My Menu

1) Frisse Aux Lardon - Slightly Recommended
2) L'Entrecote Du Boucher - Recommended
3) Cheeses - Not Recommended

Dish Comments
1) Salad is crispy and nicely coated with dressing, lardons are crunchy, and the roquefort croutons are nice. Something about the dish made it feel like this was made way in advance though...lardons should have been warm and they were cold.
2) Ribeye with frites and bearnaise. Ribeye was nicely cooked and quite juicy - good beefy flavor. Fries were great and the bearnaise was very tasty. Solid dish; however, the steak was a little too fatty even for me.
3) Compte, roquefort, and another cheese...all were unmemorable. Very salty and not really that flavorful. Textures also were not very pleasing . I guess bobolink really ruined it for me. All cheeses are held to a much higher standard now.

Overall Restaurant Experience (81/100)

  • Food 8.0/10 – Decent bistro food.
  • Service 8.5/10 – Great job getting the food out for 15+ people quickly. Wine glasses seemed like they were never empty.
  • Atmosphere 8.0/10 – Bar atmosphere that is great for a large group. Very loud noise level and packed with large groups. Got there at 6:00pm on Thursday with a reservation and were seated promptly. Place was a tad empty till 7pm then it was packed with people.
  • Price 8.3/10 – Price was very pricey per person, but that was because of the endless amount of bottles that we ordered all night. Steaks are 19-28 and frisee is about $10 - great price point minus the absurd amount of wine.
Closing Comments
Great times at Les Halles, but it always seems like a great time there. Les Halles is a solid choice for large groups as you can be very loud. However, if you want solid food with a less boisterous group, I would pick DB Bistro Moderne or Cercle Rouge. I would potentially recommend Artisanal, but I've heard the chef has moved on since I last visited so caveat emptor...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Happy Birthday "DUDES"!

The Dudes-on-Foods today, celebrate our first birthday.
A year ago, we took that bold step to document our eating escapades here on the blog.
And it's been nothing but fun for us.
We've also grown a bit since our inaugural posts and to give credit where credit is due, here's a little shout out to our other contributing posters.
D'Artagnan, Mr. Risotto, and Devin Stewart.




To reflect, we've racked up 433 posts, had over 20,000 hits and most importantly, countless great meals.

Huge thanks go out to our loyal readers across the country.
"Got nothin' but love for y'all..."
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Please keep visiting, and pass it along to friends. We promise to pump out more fun "flogs" for all to enjoy.

Eat well,
Aramis, Athos, and Porthos

Joel Robuchon - L'Atelier

I'm trying a new thing here. Every Sunday, I would like to highlight a specific chef I find particularly interesting and label the series,"Chef's Own Words".

Friday, March 14, 2008

Junior's

Nothing junior about Junior's cheesecakes.
Big in size in addition to big in flavor. I'm pretty sure they single handedly keep Philly Cream Cheese Company afloat.
The famous Brooklyn eatery has spread to various other locations in Manhattan.
Making them just another American chain restaurant to compete with Applebee's, Friday's, and Hooters...

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Nikujaga - Meat & Potatoes

Simple home cooking in a pot takes on many forms across the world.
Even the ultra efficient and madly meticulous Japanese at times prefer an easy 1 step 1 pot dish.

Nikujaga (Nee Koo Jah Gah) which literally means meat and potatoes in Japanese, is one of these dishes.










You simply cut up...
Base Ingredients : Potatoes, Carrots, Onions
Optional : Gobo, Konyaku, Shiitake Mushrooms
Slices of Beef and sautee it all in a pot, add Sake, Mirin, Soy Sauce, and Sugar and let it simmer till potatoes are fork tender. Serve hot with some rice or rice noodles and you have a traditional Japanese home cooked dish.

Some people are just different...

***from the NJMG.typepad.com***
my favorite is #2

The problem with having to write an Intriguing People profile of New York restaurant magnate Drew Nieporent, a Ridgewood resident, is that everyone has a story about the guy. So where do you stop? Today, here's my Top Five Nieporent tales/tidbits I had to cut out of the story.

Carminegalassonieporent_21. Drew Nieporent's Christmas dinners are not like your Christmas dinners. His wife, Ann, on the annual feast in Ridgewood, cooked by Nieporent himself: "Drew's not a big cleanup person. He uses every dish and every pot in the house. And then he collapses….We're not just having caviar, we're having blinis with the caviar. So he's cooking the blinis and he's, like, sweating in the kitchen… We're drinking great champagne… it's like a spread from Food and Wine, it's a gorgeous spread of hors d'oeurves. Then we're all full. Then we go sit down to dinner. We have these giant chafing dishes from Tribeca Grill because the food has to be hot. This year I demanded that we have a ham, an old traditional thing. But we also have miso cod."
2. Drew Nieporent's phone conversations are not like your phone conversations. His longtime friend from college, Scott Tremble, the owner of Esty Street in Park Ridge, recalls driving Nieporent somewhere (Nieporent can't drive.) "And he's talking to Francis Ford Coppola," who remains one of his business partners in his San Francisco restaurant, Rubicon. "Francis," as Nieporent was calling him, was concerned at the time that he "had to get out of Rubicon," because of some potential conflict with his winery. Tremble listened with amusement. "It would be Mr. Coppola, sir, to me. But it's Francis to him." The good news was, "Francis has somebody to take his place. George Lucas!" - none other than the director of Star Wars. Tremble says he heard Nieporent saying "George Lucas? Have you checked him out? Does he have money?" By now, Tremble says, "I'm driving up on the sidewalk."

3. The dumb things Drew Nieporent did as a kid are not like the dumb things you did as a kid. Tracy Nieporent, Drew's brother, who now does marketing for Nieporent's Myriad Restaurant Group, remembers a story from when the two brothers were about 9 and 11, passionate athletes growing up on 23rd Street. "We had this football called 'the float.' We threw it around to our friends. It started to get nicked up. We put tape on it. It started to become more oblong than spherical," but they loved it still. So "one night, Robert Kennedy was running for senator of New York. He was on 20th Street. We went running up to him and handed him 'the float' to sign." And they got Kennedy's autograph, though they were too young to really realize what that meant: "Then we went back to the playground and started playing with it...I thought maybe we should take the float out of circulation. But Drew was like, 'This is the float! We gotta play with it.' Within a week the signature was gone."

4. The circles Drew Nieporent runs in are a rather diverse lot. Scott Tremble again: "We're up in Albany together a couple years ago," at a concert. "And (former New York) Gov. (George) Pataki is backstage with us. And Drew introduced me to Pataki. He told Pataki, 'You must come to Esty Street.' Now, why is Esty Street being talked about by Gov. Pataki? But that's Drew. Drew will include you in. He doesn't forget his roots."

5. Drew Nieporent's evenings are....well, you know. It's a Tuesday night in late January, and the bash to celebrate the redesign of Gourmet.com is just ramping up inside a dim Bar Boulud, Daniel Boulud's new wine and charcuterie bar across from Lincoln Center. Nieporent doesn't own this restaurant - but he makes a business out of owning parties. "I gotta stand at the door," Nieporent says. "This is my new restaurant. I have to greet all my guests coming in." He schmoozes while moving smoothly down toward the food, before the rush. "It's the same way with, like, a U2 concert. I'm there early so I'm in the pit." While snacking on plates of coq au vin and boudin blanc, he takes compliments about how much weight he's lost. Meanwhile, photographers snap shots of Nieporent with other guests, and a small crowd begins to form around him near the exit to the restaurant kitchen. Behind Nieporent, Boulud stands in the doorway, repeatedly calling to an employee caught up in the Nieporent scrum. After several minutes, Boulud finally exclaims in exasperation: "Hey Drew! Tell me who you didn't have a picture with so I can..." He is drowned out by laughter.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Restaurant Inspections Site

I was googling around for information on potential restaurants to visit and I stumbled upon this site listing all NY restaurants that have failed inspections recently. Basically, all restaurants fail inspections but some violations aren't so bad in my opine (e.g. inadequate choking sign).

Here are some fun violations...
  • Rats, Roaches, Flying Insects
  • Expired Milk
  • Improper Use of Pesticide???
  • Improper labeling of toxic chemical???
  • Food worker prepares food or handles utensil when ill with a disease transmissible by food, or have exposed infected cut or burn on their hand.
If you want to look for a specific restaurant to visit, this link from NYC is easier to use. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Anthony Bourdain: Les Halles Episode

Phenomenal season finale of Bourdain's No Reservations. Premise - he gets irritated by all the food bloggers talking shite (heh) about his lack of cooking and skills. So...he decides to go back to Les Halles and put in a full breakfast, lunch, and dinner shift as the saute guy. An amazing and well detailed look at the day in the life of a restaurant. And, a great look at the normally confident Bourdain get buried - orders being sent back, chef telling him to do redo things. I would 100% try to catch this if you can...best cooking episode I've seen maybe ever.

Btw - Bourdain challenged his buddy Eric Ripert from Le Bernardin to join him...and he does working the grill station.

Danger in Tap Water

***long post alert***

(AP) -- A vast array of pharmaceuticals -- including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones -- have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans, an Associated Press investigation shows.
art.philly.tap.ap.jpg

Officials in Philadelphia say testing there discovered 56 pharmaceuticals or byproducts in treated drinking water.

To be sure, the concentrations of these pharmaceuticals are tiny, measured in quantities of parts per billion or trillion, far below the levels of a medical dose. Also, utilities insist their water is safe.

But the presence of so many prescription drugs -- and over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen -- in so much of our drinking water is heightening worries among scientists of long-term consequences to human health.

In the course of a five-month inquiry, the AP discovered that drugs have been detected in the drinking water supplies of 24 major metropolitan areas -- from Southern California to Northern New Jersey, from Detroit, Michigan, to Louisville, Kentucky. Map: See the cities where drugs were found in drinking water »

Water providers rarely disclose results of pharmaceutical screenings, unless pressed, the AP found. For example, the head of a group representing major California suppliers said the public "doesn't know how to interpret the information" and might be unduly alarmed.

How do the drugs get into the water?

People take pills. Their bodies absorb some of the medication, but the rest of it passes through and is flushed down the toilet. The wastewater is treated before it is discharged into reservoirs, rivers or lakes. Then, some of the water is cleansed again at drinking water treatment plants and piped to consumers. But most treatments do not remove all drug residue.

And while researchers do not yet understand the exact risks from decades of persistent exposure to random combinations of low levels of pharmaceuticals, recent studies -- which have gone virtually unnoticed by the general public -- have found alarming effects on human cells and wildlife.

A 'growing concern'

"We recognize it is a growing concern and we're taking it very seriously," said Benjamin H. Grumbles, assistant administrator for water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Members of the AP National Investigative Team reviewed hundreds of scientific reports, analyzed federal drinking water databases, visited environmental study sites and treatment plants and interviewed more than 230 officials, academics and scientists. Video Watch more about what's in our drinking water »

They also surveyed the nation's 50 largest cities and a dozen other major water providers, as well as smaller community water providers in all 50 states.

Here are some of the key test results obtained by the AP:

• Officials in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, said testing there discovered 56 pharmaceuticals or byproducts in treated drinking water, including medicines for pain, infection, high cholesterol, asthma, epilepsy, mental illness and heart problems. Sixty-three pharmaceuticals or byproducts were found in the city's watersheds.

• Anti-epileptic and anti-anxiety medications were detected in a portion of the treated drinking water for 18.5 million people in Southern California.

• Researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey analyzed a Passaic Valley Water Commission drinking water treatment plant, which serves 850,000 people in Northern New Jersey, and found a metabolized angina medicine and the mood-stabilizing carbamazepine in drinking water.

• A sex hormone was detected in the drinking water of San Francisco, California.

• The drinking water for Washington, D.C., and surrounding areas tested positive for six pharmaceuticals.

The situation is undoubtedly worse than suggested by the positive test results in the major population centers documented by the AP.

Testing not required

The federal government doesn't require any testing and hasn't set safety limits for drugs in water.

Of the 62 major water providers contacted, the drinking water for only 28 was tested. Among the 34 that haven't: Houston, Texas; Chicago, Illinois; Miami, Florida; Baltimore, Maryland; Phoenix, Arizona; Boston, Massachusetts; and New York City's Department of Environmental Protection, which delivers water to 9 million people.

Some providers screen for only one or two pharmaceuticals, leaving open the possibility that others are present.

The AP's investigation also indicates that watersheds, the natural sources of most of the nation's water supply, also are contaminated. Tests were conducted in the watersheds of 35 of the 62 major providers surveyed by the AP, and pharmaceuticals were detected in 28.

Yet officials in six of those 28 metropolitan areas said they did not go on to test their drinking water -- Fairfax, Virginia; Montgomery County in Maryland; Omaha, Nebraska; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Santa Clara, California; and New York City.

The New York state health department and the USGS tested the source of the city's water, upstate. They found trace concentrations of heart medicine, infection fighters, estrogen, anti-convulsants, a mood stabilizer and a tranquilizer.

City water officials declined repeated requests for an interview. In a statement, they insisted that "New York City's drinking water continues to meet all federal and state regulations regarding drinking water quality in the watershed and the distribution system" -- regulations that do not address trace pharmaceuticals.

In several cases, officials at municipal or regional water providers told the AP that pharmaceuticals had not been detected, but the AP obtained the results of tests conducted by independent researchers that showed otherwise.

Of the 28 major metropolitan areas where tests were performed on drinking water supplies, only Albuquerque, New Mexico; Austin, Texas; and Virginia Beach, Virginia, said tests were negative. The drinking water in Dallas, Texas, has been tested, but officials are awaiting results. Arlington, Texas, acknowledged that traces of a pharmaceutical were detected in its drinking water but cited post-9/11 security concerns in refusing to identify the drug.

The AP also contacted 52 small water providers -- one in each state, and two each in Missouri and Texas -- that serve communities with populations around 25,000. All but one said their drinking water had not been screened for pharmaceuticals; officials in Emporia, Kansas, refused to answer AP's questions, also citing post-9/11 issues.

Rural, bottled water also unchecked

Rural consumers who draw water from their own wells aren't in the clear either, experts say.

Even users of bottled water and home filtration systems don't necessarily avoid exposure. Bottlers, some of which simply repackage tap water, do not typically treat or test for pharmaceuticals, according to the industry's main trade group. The same goes for the makers of home filtration systems.

Contamination is not confined to the United States. More than 100 different pharmaceuticals have been detected in lakes, rivers, reservoirs and streams throughout the world. Studies have detected pharmaceuticals in waters throughout Asia, Australia, Canada and Europe -- even in Swiss lakes and the North Sea.

In the United States, the problem isn't confined to surface waters. Pharmaceuticals also permeate aquifers deep underground, the source of 40 percent of the nation's water supply. Federal scientists who drew water in 24 states from aquifers near contaminant sources such as landfills and animal feed lots found minuscule levels of hormones, antibiotics and other drugs.

Perhaps it's because Americans have been taking drugs -- and flushing them unmetabolized or unused -- in growing amounts. Over the past five years, the number of U.S. drug prescriptions rose 12 percent to a record 3.7 billion, while nonprescription drug purchases held steady around 3.3 billion, according to IMS Health and The Nielsen Co.

Medications not all absorbed

"People think that if they take a medication, their body absorbs it and it disappears, but of course that's not the case," said EPA scientist Christian Daughton, one of the first to draw attention to the issue of pharmaceuticals in water in the United States.

Some drugs, including widely used cholesterol fighters, tranquilizers and anti-epileptic medications, resist modern drinking water and wastewater treatment processes. Plus, the EPA says there are no sewage treatment systems specifically engineered to remove pharmaceuticals.

Veterinary drugs also play a role. Pets are now treated for a wide range of ailments -- sometimes with the same drugs as humans. The inflation-adjusted value of veterinary drugs rose by 8 percent, to $5.2 billion, over the past five years, according to an analysis of data from the Animal Health Institute.

Ask the pharmaceutical industry whether the contamination of water supplies is a problem, and officials will tell you no.

"Based on what we now know, I would say we find there's little or no risk from pharmaceuticals in the environment to human health," said microbiologist Thomas White, a consultant for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

But at a conference last summer, Mary Buzby -- director of environmental technology for drug maker Merck & Co. Inc. -- said: "There's no doubt about it, pharmaceuticals are being detected in the environment and there is genuine concern that these compounds, in the small concentrations that they're at, could be causing impacts to human health or to aquatic organisms."

Recent laboratory research has found that small amounts of medication have affected human embryonic kidney cells, human blood cells and human breast cancer cells. The cancer cells proliferated too quickly; the kidney cells grew too slowly; and the blood cells showed biological activity associated with inflammation.

Also, pharmaceuticals in waterways are damaging wildlife across the nation and around the globe, research shows. Notably, male fish are being feminized, creating egg yolk proteins, a process usually restricted to females. Pharmaceuticals also are affecting sentinel species at the foundation of the pyramid of life -- such as earthworms in the wild and zooplankton in the laboratory, studies show.

Wildlife problems troubling

Some scientists stress that the research is extremely limited, and there are too many unknowns. They say, though, that the documented health problems in wildlife are disconcerting.

To the degree that the EPA is focused on the issue, it appears to be looking at detection. Grumbles acknowledged that just late last year the agency developed three new methods to "detect and quantify pharmaceuticals" in wastewater.

"We realize that we have a limited amount of data on the concentrations," he said. "We're going to be able to learn a lot more."

So much is unknown. Many independent scientists are skeptical that trace concentrations will ultimately prove to be harmful to humans. There's growing concern in the scientific community, though, that certain drugs -- or combinations of drugs -- may harm humans over decades because water, unlike most specific foods, is consumed in sizable amounts every day.

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Our bodies may shrug off a relatively big one-time dose, yet suffer from a smaller amount delivered continuously over a half century, perhaps subtly stirring allergies or nerve damage. Pregnant women, the elderly and the very ill might be more sensitive.

"We know we are being exposed to other people's drugs through our drinking water, and that can't be good," says Dr. David Carpenter, who directs the Institute for Health and the Environment of the State University of New York at Albany.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Momofuku Ko

Officially opening this Wednesday, I was lucky enough to be invited to a sneak peak "friends and family" event Sunday night.
J and I enjoyed our 11 course meal while sitting next to a seasoned New York Times food columnist (FF).
Pretty cool.

Momofuku Ko makes #3 in David Chang's growing enterprise. Momofuku Noodle Bar, Momofuku Ssam Bar are his other 2 restaurants in the city.

On to the food. Let me start by saying "Wow!" Because you just don't expect this caliber of food from previous visits to the sister restaurants.
It was just an eye opening experience.
The food is imaginative yet prepared with strict precision.
I'm not the first to write about Ko and certainly won't be the last.
check out Ruth Reichl's article (here)
This place is going to hit the masses by storm. Ready, Set, GOOOOOOOO!

List of Dishes:
1. Homemade Chicharrones with Togarashi
2. English Muffin with (not butter but) Pork Fat
3. Long Island Fluke with Sudachi Chili Buttermilk *
4. Pork Belly on Oysters in Kimchi Consomme ***
5. Runny Poached Egg with Caviar, Soubise, and Potato Chips **
6. Shaved Foie Gras Torchon over Riesling Gelee and Pine Nut Brittle ***
7. Seared Scallop & Clams in Pork Broth, w/Iwa Nori and B.Trumpet Puree **
8. Deep Fried Short Ribs with Pickled Veggies and Poached Daikon **
9. Aka Miso with Pork essence Onigiri
10. Pineapple Sorbet with Candied Pineapples
11. Deep Fried Apple Pie w/Sour Cream Gelato & Toasted Miso Sauce **

The dishes were all good to excellent. "Bravo"' to the team for putting all this together.
But if I had to pick one dish to single out and declare my favorite, it would have to be dish #6.
Very imaginative and well executed. It's a must have.

Like I said to the chefs as I devoured the dish, "a little bit of awesome going on right here!"

Sunday, March 9, 2008

International Restaurant & Food Show 2008 - NYC

If you're interested in the restaurant biz... and have some time to spare Monday and Tuesday, go check out the International Restaurant & Food Show at the Javitz Center.

Doors are open from 10am to 5pm. Sunday to Tuesday.
There's tons of cool food to try and even some cooking seminars to sit through.

Sidenote : I saw Kelly Choi today. Yah... she looked pretty hot