Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Audacious Miller Lite

taken from : http://captainsbeerblog.com/2009/03/06/breaking-news-miller-lite-uses-hops/

Not that I'm into expending my focus and energy on this blog ripping American macro brewers (fish in a barrel), but this recent article from the Associated Press talking about Miller Lite's competitive struggles in the light beer marketplace really irked me.

Their continued efforts to dupe the American consumer by stealing craft beer lingo for their own profiteering purposes is shameless. From the article: 

"MillerCoors shared its new Miller Lite ad campaign with investors, saying it will focus on the brand's taste to woo new consumers. One ad played for analysts touted the fact that brewers add hops to Miller Lite three times while it is being made. It also used a slogan familiar with its fans: 'Great taste, less filling.'" 

Three hop infusions? Hats off to you, Miller Lite. However, I seem to recall from grade school that 3 multiplied by zero still equaled zero. Give them credit for world-class supply chain and production processes to put out a consistent product day in and day out. But as far as flavor and discernable hop characteristics are concerned, they've yet to sell me.

I just wish 96% of the beer drinking public felt the same.

American Thighs

Some of the best cooking you do at home can also be the simplest to prepare.
I had some local dark meat of chicken in my fridge yesterday.
I had bought it to make an Oyakodon, but for some reason, I had a craving for some crispy skinned chicken.
I changed gears and was pretty happy with the results.

Sidenote: when ever possible, please support your local farmers.
They definitely take pride in their products and chicken will actually taste like chicken.

I pan seared it and paired it with some rice and sauteed julienned green peppers, onions, and shiitake mushrooms.
Amazingly satisfying and really easy.

Ingredients :
1# Chicken Thighs (deboned)
1/2 Green Pepper
1 Med Onion
5 Shiitake-A Mushroom Caps
2T Vegetable Oil
Lemon Wedge

Directions :
Sprinkle salt on both sides of the deboned chicken thighs.
This will draw out extra moisture from the chicken, resulting in a firmer, more flavorful protein and also lends to seasoning.
You should leave the salted chicken on a plate for a good 10 minutes.
Then pat dry both sides and reserve for later.
Julienne all the veggies.
Get all your mis en place done ahead of time and heat up the saute pan.

Crank up the stove and with a scorching hot pan, enjoy the sizzle as you lay the chicken skin side down first.
Remember to avoid overcrowding and leave it alone for the next 5 minutes.
After the initial minute, I drop the flame down to medium and just sit back and let it do it's thing.

You will notice the chicken loosening from the pan as if it were teflon.
That's the sign you flip it and let it go for another 3 minutes.
When you see a good crust form on the bottom, remove on to a clean plate and remember, there's carry over heat so don't worry if you see "slight" pink.

Take your julienned veggies and dump them into your sautee pan and stir them around. If you like butter, you can remove the chicken grease and add a tablespoon of butter.
Sautee and deglaze with a dry white wine and if you have some chicken stock, it's a good time to splash a few ounces in there as well.
After about 3 minutes of this, take a look at your chicken. Your thighs should look perfect now, and there should be some residual juices forming on the bottom of the dish. Don't waste it and pour all that into the pan. Season to taste.
Give it a final toss to mix and cut the heat.

Now slice the chicken into strips and fan them out on the plate.
Spoon some of the sauteed veggies from the pan onto the plate and do what you like to garnish.
Lemon wedge and some parsley is classic. Bon Apetit!

Serve immediately and pair with a cold brew.
I had one last bottle of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale in my fridge.
Needless to say, it was perfect.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Vegetables at Kajitsu

To many, I may be the last guy on earth to recommend anyone to eat veggies. But after my exceptional experience Friday night at Kajitsu, I may have to rethink my whole take on food.
Protein may not have to take center stage all the time.
(mind you "may" being the operative word...)

Kajitsu (Highly Recommended)
414 E. 9th St.
(between 1st Ave & Avenue A)
New York, NY 10009
(212) 228-4873

Kajitsu isn't just about the vegetables (food) they serve.
With that said, this place isn't for everyone, or even all foodies for that matter. There's an element of culture and tradition also being delivered here that makes for so much more than just taste. And I guess one needs to accept and embrace the whole package in order to appreciate what they are trying to accomplish.

It was 8:30pm, Friday evening. I had just wrapped up with my work when my colleague mentioned she wanted to take me out for my birthday. She was meeting up a friend and I was too, but we ended up making it a foursome.
She made it a surprise and chose the newly opened Kajitsu... a specialist in Japanese Shojin Cuisine (Vegetarian).
She knew I wouldn't be immediately excited so she kept it a secret 'til we all got there.
I actually met the head chef a few weeks ago at a Restaurant/Food show and had promised him we would go when he opened.
So there we were, at the door steps. In my mind, I was a bit bummed out... Afterall, I'm a "meat eater".
So I psyched myself up, and convinced myself I should always try everything at least once.

As we opened the doors, a pleasant waft of freshly sanded cedar wood greeted us.
(Every table and counter is made with a distinctly different piece of lumber)
This took me back to my childhood when I lived in Japan.
Everyone immediately picked up on the scent and let out a fresh breath of nostalgia.
As you enter the restaurant, you can't help but notice the minimalist take on decor.
I could see Phil Jackson really digging this place.

We were taken to our table and quickly greeted by the chef. As we were taking our seats, I looked to my right, over at the counter and saw Ferran Adria. I mean, seriously... Holy Shit! Mr. FoamSauce was sitting 5 ft to my right! Are you kidding me?!
So I quickly composed myself as to not startle everyone within a 2 block radius.
We took our seats and our hostess quickly gave us an explanation about what to expect that evening.

First off, the chef is a deciple of Kiccho. For a French chef, it would be like saying you were trained in Escoffier's kitchen.
And his kitchen brigade is 100% Japanese. All transplanted from Japan. Even down to the dishwasher.

Um, yah...! Dishwasher. The reason is, the dishware at Kajitsu are all handmade works of art.
Some date back to the Edo Period. That would be over 400 years ago.
So you can understand the care in just about everything that goes into this meal.
This is typically how [High End] Kaiseki is done in Japan. Customers enjoy the tranquility of the experience, as much as the food being presented. To some, this may be just outright silly. But to others, great satisfaction comes from all this attention to detail.
Sound, Smell, Climate, Atmosphere, Service, Taste, Texture, Seasonality, Convenience, Logic, Culture, Tradition, Anticipation, Surprise all played a role that night.

As I'm writing this post, I realize I could continue to write volumes about every minute that transpired that evening. So I will save you the extras and go straight to the food.

Hana Course : $65 (highly recommended)
- Broccoli Rabe wrapped in freshly made Konyaku *
- Clear broth with Nama Fu (glutenous mochi) and Kabu (turnip) ***
- Roasted Artichokes ***
- Bamboo Leaf Sushi **
- Yuba **
- Soba **
- Tempura **
- Bamboo Shoot Rice with Pickled Vegetables *
- Sakura Mochi **
- Matcha *

These pics could be the first to hit the blogs. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Lasagna Post. By Athos.

I wanted to make a simple lasagna tonight so I rocked the Dudes blog and was surprised there wasn’t one on here. I made one that was quite tasty, but I didn’t get very technical by making the pasta or sauce from scratch. Since there was no lasagna here, I thought I’d post something.

Noodles I used were from Barilla. The sauce was something I picked up at the store. I added my own touches. I tried to make it healthier than normal. I love the sauce to be extra chunky, so I browned a pound of ground turkey. To that I added garlic, onion, thick-sliced mushrooms, and lots of spices like parsley flakes, salt, extra-extra pepper, oregano, tons of crushed red pepper and probably another thing. I combined that with the sauce, and it was definitely chunky. In another bowl, I combined ½ c. of egg substitute, lots of spinach, 16 oz. of skim milk Ricotta cheese, ½ c. of Parmesan cheese, and 2 c. of skim milk mozzarella cheese. I had an extra 2 cups on the side of a cheese blend. I started layering by adding sauce from bowl 1, pasta, cheese mix from bowl 2, sprinkle cheese blend. Repeat. Cover with foil, and throw in pre-heated 375 degree oven for an hour. When I take it out, I toast garlic bread that I bought for 7 minutes. Serve. Magnifico

P.S. For even healthier lasagna, substitute paste for sliced eggplant. Tre good. I’ve done it several times.

Friday, March 27, 2009

What happened to just Hotdogs and Beer?

"There's something strange, in your neighborhood.... "

Namely our baseball stadiums here in NY.
With the newly renovated Yankees and Mets stadiums...
With the respective new stadiums, it's not only the number of seats and VIP skyboxes that got a make over.
The food venues and choice of foods has changed for the better (I think).

Take a look at Yankees Stadium
excerpts from NY Times :
A number of restaurants and dining areas will be for their exclusive enjoyment. And the food will be prepared at open cooking stations run, from time to time, by Masaharu Morimoto of “Iron Chef” fame, April Bloomfield of the Spotted Pig, chefs from Le Cirque and cooks from Elaine’s

Those seated in the Delta 360 Club, which has 1,200 seats, will have access to a dining room where chefs from the Food Network will occasionally cook at two open kitchens.

On the broad concourse of food stands and carts for all fans, including those in the bleachers, there will be a small Lobel’s outlet. Outside a window, where butchers will be seen cutting dry-aged strip loins for the club restaurants, there will be the Triple Play Grill, a cart that will sell sandwiches of freshly sliced Lobel dry-aged prime rib ($15) along with beef and chicken sliders.

Among the newcomers will be some local places like Moe’s Southwest Grill, an Asian Noodle Bowl, a Latin Corner (with Cuban sandwiches) and a sushi station run by Soy Kitchen of the Bronx.

Because more than two-thirds of the 137 concession stands and carts will be able to cook, up from 14 percent in the old stadium, some will be grilling Nathan’s natural casing franks.

It’s part of the effort that Legends Hospitality Management, a company owned by the Yankees, the Dallas Cowboys and Goldman Sachs, said it is making to improve the quality and freshness of the food at all levels.
Then there's Citifield (Met's Stadium)
excerpts from Eater :

“As lifetime baseball fans and longtime Mets season ticket holders, we are incredibly excited to partner with the Mets and ARAMARK at the new Citi Field, and to have the opportunity to offer fans a fresh array of winning food options,” said Danny Meyer, CEO, Union Square Hospitality Group. “What you eat and drink – and how it’s all served – has become a major part of the ballpark experience, and we are eager to contribute as much as we can to why people will love going to Citi Field.”

“Working closely with the Mets, we have created a unique and extraordinary dining experience that will satisfy fans throughout every level of Citi Field,” said Liza Cartmell, Group President, ARAMARK Sports and Entertainment. “By partnering with Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, Citi Field will showcase the very best of New York’s culinary offerings and provide fans with a wide variety of delicious menu choices and dining formats.

And it's not only Danny Meyer.. but rumor has it Drew Nieporent, Dave Pasternack also make up the list of Star Chefs lending a hand at Citifield.
Press releases are expected March 31st for Citifield...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Padma's Burgers

Here's a commercial starring the annoying, yet hot host of Top Chef...buono appetito!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tehuitzingo Deli Grocery - Review

Tehuitzingo Deli Grocery - Recommended (for tripe and groceries only)
695 10th Ave
Btwn 48th and 47th St
New York, NY 10036
Phone: (212) 397-5956

Stopped by this deli / taco store to see what people were raving about. I dig the ambiance, but the taco's are pretty dry which kinda sucks. Still worth it for the tripe taco though and the nasty bits made sense after watching the brutal Watchmen in IMAX.

Our Menu
1) Tacos al Pastor
2) Lengua
Tacos *
3) Tripa Tacos ***

Rating System
--- What the F - in a bad way * Good ** Great *** What the F – in a good way

Dish Comments
1) Decent pork flavor, but very dry. What makes it worse is the tortilla's (double) were grilled way too long which completely got dried out.
2) Same comments for the tortilla, but at least the tongue had some more fat which helped the dryness.
3) A complete wtf moment. Crunchy, fatty, flavorful tripe that just rocks. It's so fatty and flavorful, that it would taste good between some cardboard pieces.

Overall Restaurant Experience

  • Food 7.3/10 – Good potential, but falls very short. The tripe does kick ars though.
  • Service N/A – You basically go up to the counter and order yourself.
  • Atmosphere 8.5/10 – I definitely dig the atmosphere here. When you first walk in, it's a Mexican grocery store/dive that has solid stuff (I can find my Takis again!). Walk to the back of the store and you'll see a counter that's smaller than my cubicle, where they cook the taco's for you. Add the Lucha Libre on the TV and you have the perfect environment for taco eating. Oh ya, there's about 6-8 seats there with plenty of hot sauces for your tacos...chipotle was the best.
  • Price 8.0/10 – A solid value for a filling meal. I think the tacos were around $2-3 per.
Closing Comments
Great grocery store and amazing tripe. However, I wouldn't necessarily trek out to Hell's Kitchen specifically for this place. If I'm in the area though, I would probably stop by and check out the rest of the menu.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

NYC Sake Seminar (Intermediate)

If you are a fan of Sake, and want to learn more about the intricacies in brewing and variations, sake specialist George Kao will be speaking at Sake Hana this Saturday. 
This 90 minute lecture is sure to open your eyes to a whole new world of libations. 

NYC: Sake Hana Sake Class 4

March 28, 2009
6:00 pmto7:30 pm

sake-hana.jpgSake Class 4
"Rice, Water, Yeast and Mold.
Undiluted Sake, Unfiltered Sake, Uncharcoaled Sake"

Date & time : March 28th, 6:00pm - 7:30pm
$65(include tax, tips)

by George Kao (New York Mutual Trading : Largest Importer and Distributor of Premium Sake in North America)

For more information or to register, please email: unihandroll@hotmail.com or stop by Sake Hana.

Sake Hana
265 East 78th Street
(Between 2nd and 3rd Ave)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Cru - Review

Cru - Highly Recommended
24 5th Ave, New York 10011
At 9th St
Phone: (212) 529-1700

The wife took me out to Cru for my birthday, a restaurant I've been looking forward to for a long time. I've seen Cru on Daniel and Colameco's TV show and always wanted to check out. Well worth it and surprised I never decided to stop in before. Overall, I give the restaurant an 87/100

Our Menu
1) Scallops Chanterelles ***
2) Foie Gras Torchon White Chocolate Sauce *
3) Papardelle Lobster
4) Tortellini Braised Lamb Shoulder / Pecorino
5) Sea Bass Preserved Lemon *
6) Lamb Chop **
7) Long Island Duck Breast Acacia Honey / Duck Rillette **
8) Fingerling Potato Puree *
9) Honey Crisp Apple Strudel Crisp Phyllo / Muscovodo Toffee / Caramel Ice Cream / Vermont Maple Gelee *

Rating System
--- What the F - in a bad way * Good ** Great *** What the F – in a good way

Dish Comments
1) Scallops are my favorite seafood item and these were some of the best I've had - I think the best since we started the blog. Perfect caramelization on the outside and perfectly cooked on the inside. A perfectly sweet scallop that was ridiculous with the rich powerful chanterelles and the accompanying sauce. Definitely makes me want to make some scallops.
2) A good dish, but I've had way too much foie gras so hard to be impressed anymore. Interesting with the chocolate sauce and what I think was some type of quince paste. Alone it tastes nice, but much better with the homemade brioche.
3) Papardelle had some nice texture (not great), but the combination of the ingredients were a little off to me - a little Frenchified with the chervil and what I think was either tarragon or fennel. Lobster was nicely cooked though.
4) Another WTF moment here. Pasta texture was great and the filling was perfect - great lamb flavor and texture pairing nicely with the salty pecorino. Another frenchified touch here with some type of demi-glace sauce / foam...this time it made 100% sense. So f'n good.
5) As soon as I ate this, I thought chinese food since steamed sea bass is a classic chinese dish. The dish here was cooked nicely- crispy skin and perfectly moist on the inside. Alone, it's nice but with the preserved lemon it was a great dish...they should have added more though, since every bite should have had a piece of lemon.
6) Haven't had lamb chop in a while, and this had great lamb flavor. Nice and tender and cooked uber perfectly. Was first put off by the look, since it looked crazy bloody, but it was pretty awesome. I believe some sweet mustard sauce was also on the dish, but not 100% sure.
7) Crispy skin and juicy tender meat. A hint of sweetness and nice fatiness to it. Great duck dish. Duck rillete was nice, but D'Artagnan's version is much better.
8) Shea Gallante (executive chef) worked the kitchens of Bouley, so this is another Robuchon/Bouley potato puree derivative. Insanely smooth and ridiculously buttery and rich. It's nice, but it was almost butter overkill to me - totally drowning out the butter flavors.
9) A very nice dessert with great textures and flavors. Had a crunchy, savory, sweet thing happening. I wish we ordered something else though, since the whole meal was basically heavy and strong flavored the whole time.

Overall Restaurant Experience (87/100)

  • Food 8.8/10 – Mainly great dishes here done very well. I would describe the food as New American and also Italian using more French techniques, kinda like how Carmellini did things at A Voce. Great stuff they're doing here. The food is plated very simply, so they have a separate section to order sides. Shea was in the house that night too, which is always comforting to know the exec chef is in the kitchen.
  • Service 7.0/10 – The entire staff was incredibly accommodating and friendly. Sommelier provided some nice suggestions, albeit very pricey. However, the food did take a while to come out and it comes out at a slightly slower pace. Pretty bad, considering it was relatively empty at 6:30pm on a Saturday. They also forgot a potato puree that we ordered. They didn't clean the crumbs up on the table at all either - something it seems only Daniel and Convivio pays attention to in the city. However, the staff made some great recommendations (sending the bass in 2 portions before the pastas) and even asked the chef if they would do a tasting for us - they would, but we declined. Whole service took about 2 hours.
  • Atmosphere 8.5/10 – Pretty quiet place considering it's hella noisy on 9th st and 5th ave. Very calming environment that surprisingly isn't that loud consider tables are relatively close to each other. Lots of brown and white colors with muted lighting. Crowds were generally older here and I saw a couple families. Reservation was made a month in advance and we were seated immediately. Sign of the times I guess, but when we left at 8:30 the restaurant seemed only 80% full.
  • Price 7.5/10 – In terms of high end food, the price seemed a tad cheaper than other restaurants - no entrees were over $33 I believe. Also another sign of the times, it seems they removed their tasting menu. I assume it's because of the economy, which would be a sad thing. What got us was the wines though. The sommelier recommended some tasty wines, but we found out they were around $27 a glass - a bit pricey considering we ordered a lot of glasses. They did pair well, but not that well...
Closing Comments
Really great food done here and my only real complaint was the food took a while to come out in the beginning. I would definitely come back though and just pick my own wines so I wouldn't get a huge surprise towards the end of the meal.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Forget the Spork...

...how about this tool? This will help some of you out at select establishments that only use chopsticks, especially in Asia.

You're welcome :-P

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

It's Homebrew Time!

Winning Brews Available in Samuel Adams® LongShot® Variety Six-Pack Nationwide April 2009

Boston, MA – America's interest in homebrewing and craft beer is at an all time high, making the 2008 Samuel Adams® American Homebrew Contest® more competitive than ever. Samuel Adams is proud to announce that California-resident Alex Drobshoff’s Traditional Bock bested more than 1,300 consumer entries to be chosen as the winning consumer brew in the 2008 contest.

Alex’s beer will be joined in the LongShot six-pack by California-resident Mike McDole’s Double IPA and Samuel Adams Employee Carissa Sweigart’s Cranberry Wit. Mike’s Double IPA won acclaim from the judges in 2007, but due to the worldwide hops shortage and a desire to preserve the integrity of the beer's recipe, calling for seven hop varieties, Mike elected to delay the brewing of his beer for the 2009 LongShot package. All three winning homebrewers will have the opportunity to brew alongside the Samuel Adams brewers in Boston. Their bragging rights will also include having their recipes bottled and available nationally in the 2009 Samuel Adams LongShot Variety Package, hitting shelves in April.

Samuel Adams employees compete in an annual homebrew competition. This company tradition, started in 2001, encourages passion and knowledge for craft beer while paying tribute to Jim Koch’s first batch of Samuel Adams Boston Lager®, homebrewed in his kitchen in 1984. Jim and the other brewers at Samuel Adams choose three finalists from all of the employee entries. These three employee homebrewers attend the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) and ask festival goers to taste and vote on their favorite. 2008 GABF goers chose Carissa Sweigart’s brew to be featured in the 2009 LongShot variety pack alongside the winning consumer brews.

"The number and quality of entries submitted to the Samuel Adams American Homebrew Contest and our annual employee contest continues to increase year after year," said Jim Koch, founder and brewer of Samuel Adams®. "As a homebrewer for more than 25 years, I’m proud to see that passion for great beer is passed on to our employees. The brewing creativity and innovation in both the employee and consumers homebrews is more impressive every year. Alex's bock, Mike's IPA, and Carissa’s Cranberry Wit are all exceptional brews that push the limits and demonstrate the endless boundaries of big flavor and the infinite ingredients available to today’s craft brewer.”

A panel of industry judges including William Brand of The Oakland Tribune, Tony Forder of Ale Street News and Marty Nachel, author of Homebrewing for Dummies, joined Jim Koch in selecting the 2008 consumer winners. Together, they determined the final winning consumer recipe based on the American Homebrewers Association Beer Judge Certificate Program guidelines. Each beer was carefully evaluated by style category and judged on how well the style characteristics and flavors were exhibited.

The 2009 Samuel Adams LongShot variety six-pack will be available nationwide in select retail stores beginning April 2009 for a suggested retail price of $9.99. The variety pack will include two bottles each of Alex Drobshoff's Traditional Bock, Mike McDole's Double IPA and Carissa Sweigart’s Cranberry Wit.


Alex Drobshoff’s Traditional Bock is a bright copper German inspired bock with a complex, full bodied mouthfeel. Underlying notes in the brew include hints of rich plum and cherry aromas paired with a toasty, malt flavor. He was inspired to create his Traditional Bock after listening to his friends travel encounters that described German beer as something that only could be experienced in Germany. Alex was up to the challenge and set out to replicate an authentic German bock right at home in California. The two year attempt to create this brew resulted in an award winning German inspired bock with a complex, full bodied mouthfeel. Alex's beer features hints of rich plum and cherry aromas paired with its toasty, malt flavor make this a great beer to linger over on a cool evening

Mike McDole’s Double IPA was inspired by the brewer’s own deep appreciation for hops. Known in his West Coast Homebrewing community as having an affinity for hoppy beers, Mike used over six pounds and seven different varieties of American hops per barrel for his Double IPA. An intense beer that explodes the senses, Mike’s brew is pale orange in color but makes up for it in a robust and malty taste. A full-bodied pale ale with strong spicy, floral and citrus aromas, this Double IPA is a hop-lovers' dream come true.

Carissa Sweigart, a national sales representative for Samuel Adams currently based in Colorado, chose her own hometown ingredients from Cape Cod as the inspiration for her winning Cranberry Wit. A delicious blend of cinnamon, orange peel, coriander and grains of paradise with hints of cranberry, Carissa’s brew is bright, fruity and refreshing. The perfect beer to sip on a chilly day, this crisp brew is flavorful and well rounded.


Aspiring homebrewers have another shot at fame by entering the 2009 Samuel Adams® American Homebrew Contest®. Interested beer drinkers can check online at www.SamuelAdams.com in February for contest rules, regulations and information on purchasing a homebrewing kit. In addition, they can download Jim Koch’s video, “The Art of Homebrewing” offering his personal tips on making a successful homebrew. Entries must be received between April 15 and May 1 and the winners will be announced at the 2009 Great American Beer Festival.

The Samuel Adams® American Homebrew Contest® continues the tradition first established with the 1996 Samuel Adams American Homebrew Contest and is a natural link to the company’s roots. Jim Koch knows first hand the challenges and the personal rewards of creating a quality homebrew. He brewed the first batch of Samuel Adams Boston Lager in his kitchen in 1984. More than 20 years later, Koch is a recognized pioneer of the U.S. craft-brewing revival, and he continues to push the boundaries of brewing and follow his passion for elevating the craft beer-drinking experience.

The economy affecting my TV shows...

So, my tivo used to be filled with some great food shows that helped me decide where I wanted to eat next in NYC. There's something about watching the food (prep and final product) on a large screen and listening to the chef/owners that is much more helpful than reading a review with no pictures of the food.

Unfortunately over the last 3 months, two channels dropped off Cablevision effectively removing 2 of my favorite shows - After Hours with Daniel and Reservations Required. MojoHD, home of the Daniel Boulud show, went out of business. VoomHD, home of the Reservations Required show, dropped off of Cablevision due to some fee disputes I believe. I've raved about Daniel's show before, but Reservations Required was another great show showcasing NYC restaurants, where the hosts ordered off the menu and ate/commented on the dishes at the end of the show.

In addition, Colameco's Food Show has disappeared from PBS the last two months. Fortunately, Mr. Colameco has confirmed he is filming a 9th season and that his shows will be returning to PBS in June. Maybe, the economy is affecting people's interest in watching NYC restaurants. People probably want to see less shows on expensive restaurants and more shows on reality cooking competitions...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Old Town - San Diego

Mexican food San Diego style is quite fun.
Very flavorful dishes with a slight American twist.
The Fish Taco for one, is a great example.

So I guess authenticity isn't always "the best".
There's something to be said about kitchen innovation.

Monday, March 16, 2009


KOBE in Holmdel, NJ is a great example why Japanese food is a joke in suburbia.

The name KOBE hints of gourmet Japanese cuisine. Such is the claim for Kobe Beef. The highly marbled, tender and oh so flavorful beef raised in Kobe, Japan.

This is not the case!
First of all, there is not one Japanese person in the kitchen or sushi bar. (Not a prerequisite by any means to cooking good Japanese food but statistically a good indicator for what's to come).
Then when asked, none of the chefs or cooks have ever been to Japan nor trained under a Japanese chef.
Total bummer.

We ordered some Tempura, Beef, and a Squid Appetizer. Everything was pretty bad.
I will never go there again.
I can see why Houlihan's and Chili's cleans up in the suburbs.

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Grading your health

Pretty soon we will be seeing these Sesame Street like block letters in front of all our restaurant here in NYC.
This was taken by yours truly in front of OTA Sushi in San Diego last week.

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Daniel and Marco...way out of touch

Read a roundtable with chefs Daniel Boulud, Floyd Cardoz, and Marco Canora. Although Daniel is my favorite restaurant in the city, Mr Boulud and Marco come off as jack-asses and out of touch with the common folk.

Here are some quotes that were quite irritating...
Boulud: Yeah, thanks a lot. We love you. I hope next month they can say ‘Let’s go out, here’s a sandwich that’s a great bargain.’ People don’t understand that trying to cook at home unless you know what you’re doing is going to cost you more money or you’re going to eat very lousy.

My take: that's a completely ridiculous statement that people shouldn't cook at home because it's either going to suck or cost a lot of money. I'm hoping websites like ours will help people cook better at home because eating out sometimes sucks bad and is 100% not worth the money.

Boulud: Also, expensive Japanese restaurants. I go to Sushi Seki at one o’clock in the morning and spend $200 for two. If I was a little bit more hungry it would be $250 to $300 at the bar. I think the price point is out of whack. In good times, what blew me away was how much money young people spend in places that are more trendy than good. Is that logical? It’s more expensive for sushi than a restaurant like Daniel where you have 140 employees taking care of you instead of three guys behind the counter.

My take: Sushi is a lot of money, but I pay not because it's trendy (trendy places make me nauseous). More because when I'm having some phenomenal sushi, to me it's one of the best food moments you can have. I don't care if 150 people work on a dish or if 1 person does, the final outcome of pleasure is the only thing that matters. And that interaction between sushi master and client really makes the meal memorable. Plus, Sushi Yasuda, one of my faves, is probably around $150, not $300.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Mighty Anheiser

Drinkability keeps America ignorant!

I'm not sure how much of a brewery Anheiser Busch is to being an Ad Agency.
They know exactly how to package, promote and sell their product probably better than any other company on earth.
(Well, excluding tobacco companies) How else do you hold on to 51% of the US market share.

I was at the San Diego Sea World this past Saturday and was pretty surprised to see a food court funded by the guys who owns Budweiser.
Above is a pic I took of the flight of beers they sell.
I found the bottom paragraph in the pic pretty humorous.

Friday, March 13, 2009

New Dog at Criff Dogs...

Love this place and I love huitlacoche. Following blurb was from UrbanDaddy...

Crif Dogs Introduces Gourmet Corn Dogs
The bacon-wrapped institution answers your late-night prayers with a new corn dog made from a mushroom-like corn spore called huitlacoche, courtesy of Tailor's Sam Mason. Add in some new Crif gear and a few new cocktails (like the gin-soaked Blackthorn Rose) and you'll forget you're eating a mushroom-like corn spore called huitlacoche.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Beer, Waffles and lots of Oak

Extreme Beerfest 2009 - Highly Recommended
Boston, MA

Every year I look forward to the cold weather beerfests. The cold trudge to the venue is rewarded by the warm crowded interior; filled with complex, huge beers. The format for these events are usually two day sessions on Saturday, preceded by a VIP session the Friday night. The Exteme Beerfest's VIP night is "The Night of the Barrels" which showcases big beers aged in barrels of all kinds; oak wine barrels, whiskey barrels, bourbon barrels and all manner of wood. It is easy to get swept up in the tide of beer and not eat any food for me; except for the waffles. At every Beer Advocate fest there is a waffle maker from the Waffle Haus in Vermont. These super nice people crank out hundreds, no thousands of waffles every beerfest and simply put, they are the best waffles I have ever had. I once asked the "waffle lady" why they were so amazing and she let me in on the secret ~ real Belgian sugar makes up for about 25% of the waffle batter. This pearlized sugar heats in the waffle iron and melts to create a hot, sticky, gooey waffle that pairs well with high alcohol beers, Belgian beers and just about any beer you throw at it. Amazing.

The Colonel Sanders Curse

I guess in Osaka, some rabid Japanese baseball fans threw a statue of Colonel Sanders in the Dontonburi River after the Hanshin Tigers won the national championship. My first thought was did they hate the Colonel that much, but alas, it was because they thought the Colonel resembled Randy Bass, a key member of the Tigers that year. Well, ever since they tossed the Colonel into the river they have never won the national championship again. Maybe the Cubs should take a cue and see if there were any objects thrown into the Chicago river after their 1908 championship. Maybe a statue of Mr Wrigley still lies at the bottom...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I heard from a little birdy that this high-end grocery store (Eataly) is coming to NYC...
I guess the Times had covered it last year, but it's good to hear news from Italy reconfirming the migration. 

Lost in Translation

Call it a hunch, but I'm pretty sure Lotte isn't selling too many of these "snacks" in Japan.
Look up or ask a Japanese friend what "Kancho" means.
Notice on the bottom left... "Kancho Biscuit filled with Chocolate..."

This reminds me of Chevy's attempt to sell their Nova in Mexico.

For those of you who don't speak Spanish, "no va", means "no go". Not exactly the image you want for a brand new car.

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Convivio - Review

Convivio- Highly Recommended
45 Tudor City Pl, New York 10017
Btwn 1st & 2nd Ave
Phone: (212) 599-5045

Another weekend, another Italian restaurant. I've been looking to check out this space for a while - first when it was L'Impero and now in it's current state as Convivio. It was definitely well worth the wait as all the food was pretty solid - huge flavors here. Surprisingly the pastas were not as impressive as the rest of the menu. Overall, I give the restaurant an 86/100

Our Menu
1) Fegatini rustic chicken liver crostini, marsala onions**
2) Cuore d' Antra grilled duck hearts, arugula, parmigiano, pinenuts **
3) Quaglia grilled quail skewer, pancetta, vin cotto *
4) Lingua slow poached veal tongue, salsa verde

5) Fusili neopolitan pork shoulder ragu, cacciocavallo fonduta *
6) Capalletti
(special) oxtail filled pasta, cauliflower puree, fresh black truffle**
7) Sgombo al Carbone charcoal grilled spanish mackerel, salame piccante, local potaoes, salmoriglio **
8) Pork Loin
(special) *
9) Polipo alla Piastra seared octopus, fried cauliflower caponata **
10) Budino warm dark chocolate, hazelnut gelato, candied hazlenuts **
11) Pistachio cake *
12) Gelati milk chocolate, pistachio *
13) Coconut Gelato and Braised Pineapple **

Rating System
--- What the F - in a bad way * Good ** Great *** What the F – in a good way

Dish Comments
1) Rich chicken livers, sweet marsala onions on some crispy bread. Even though I see this all over the city, I still can't get enough of this stuff. The ones at Gottino were better though.
2) Tender and flavorful duck hearts, peppery arugula, shaved parmiggiano, with a slightly sweet dressing. There was also a pickled sweet and pretty spicy pepper which made the dish really sing. I don't know what it is with Italian restos and spicy peppers these days, but I really dig it.
3) A nice juicy quail that was cooked well. I think the dish was combined with garlic chives and pickled red onions.
4) Veal tongue with a salsa verde and some mozzarella I think. Tender tongue, but after the previous 3 apps which had huge flavors, this was a little unmemorable.
5) This was the dish I've been waiting for after watching Colamecco's Food Show - handmade fusili with a pork ragu topped with a cacciocavallo cream sauce. I've been complaining about fresh pasta in NYC a lot recently (pasta that is too soft), but this place gets no complaints from me. The texture was perfectly al dente and the fonduta was a great touch. However, the pork pieces were a tad dry and after the huge app flavors, the ragu was a bit of a letdown. Still a very good dish to me though and definitely inspired to try making handmade fusili.
6) Silky pasta filled with flavorful oxtail, combined with the sweet cauliflower puree, and the earthiness of some shaved black truffle. The flavors were dyno-mite! Pretty subtle actually, but paired well together. I forgot how fun real black truffles are...too used to the truffle oil.
7) Huge flavored fish dish here. The mackerel was moist and oily (in a good way) topped with capers and almost a mayo like sauce. Really fun dish to eat.
8) As most of you know by now, I love pork. Anytime I see it on the menu I have to order it. This was decent. Crispy skin that was wonderfully fatty and full of flavor and a nice broth on the bottom to drench the meat in. Unfortunately, the meat was a tad dry for me - not ridiculously so, but a tiny bit. Still a good dish overall in my opinion - worth it for the sides, broth, and crispy skin.
9) Our friend ordered this dish, so I had one bite of the octopus. Could be the most memorable bite of the night. A great char flavor and very tender and flavorful octopus.
10) Budino was such an amazing dish. The actual chocolate cake was insanely chocolaty with almost a brulee thing going on - as the top of the cake was very crispy. The inside was warm and delicious. Add the nicely flavored hazelnut gelato and you have a sinfully rich dessert.
11) Wife ordered this dish and don't remember much about it. Almost like a pistachio cheesecake, but lighter? Good, but the buddino and coconut thing were f'n on.
12) Gelati flavors were pretty good, but the texture was a little lacking. Still good overall though.
13) This was a great, great dessert. The coconut gelato had such an intense coconut flavor without being very sweet at all. The spongecake filled with pineapple reminded me of the fruit spongecakes you get in chinatown.

Overall Restaurant Experience (86/100)

  • Food 8.7/10 – Oddly enough, unlike most Italian restaurants, I felt more impressed with the apps, entrees, and desserts over the pastas. The pasta was still very solid, but everything else was very good to great. Really nothing bad imho.
  • Service 5.0/10 – The waitstaff here either needs to be retrained or they need to hire more people. When we first satdown, it took about 10 minutes for someone to acknowledge us and we had to wave them over. Then, the sommellier took another 5-10 minutes to get to us. Then, we had to wave someone over to order the food and it took another 5-10 minutes for the waitress to get over there. The waitress was nice, but that was ridiculous. The first course also took a long time to come out, but at least once the first dish came out everything came out in a perfect pace. Good thing we enjoyed the conversation with friends, otherwise I'd be pretty pissed. Surprisingly, they were on top of the crumbs doing a sweep of the table after every course.
  • Atmosphere 7.8/10 – You're standard white table cloth place that looks nice and sleek inside. Kinda reminded of a DB Bistro feel for some reason, but much brighter inside. Place consisted of loads of people maybe in their 30's or late 20's - a mix of couples and groups of 5-6 maybe. The place does not seem very big, maybe seating 60? We got reservations two nights before for a Friday and were seated promptly. Place was a tad loud though. The other thing is it's pretty tough to find the place if you've never been to Tudor City.
  • Price 8.5/10 – A pretty good value in my opinion - $59 for 4 courses and we were pretty stuffed afterwards. Would definitely pay that price again. Funny thing is they also gave a discount at Alto, their fancier place. First time I've ever seen a high quality restaurant give out discounts to another restaurant - must be a sign of the times.
Closing Comments
This maybe my new favorite Italian restaurant in NYC - even though the service sucked hard. Next time I'm gunning for the carbonara and the pecorino potatoes.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Sickened Fat Duck...

Looks like 400 people got sick at the world famous Fat Duck restaurant in Berkshire, England. Just because the restaurant was "proclaimed the best in the world by the '50 Best' Academy of food critics, journalists, and chefs" doesn't mean you can't gets sick from the place. This bringing back angry memories of our experience at WD-50. F that place...

Wedding Cakes and Decorations

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Inspiration isn't a bad thing

One of my favorite dishes in Manhattan right now is the Bouchot Mussels dish the guys at Momofuku Noodle Bar serve.
It's a concoction made up of Bouchot Mussels, Garlic Miso Sausage, and bits of Sauteed Kale. The soupy sauce on the bottom of the bowl is a result of the sweet juice from the mussels, reduced sake, and the deglazed goodness of the sausage and it's renderings. This and a bowl of steamed rice is what I call comfort food. OOOOOWEE that's good!

Well, I just love that garlicy miso sausage so much, I had to make my version of it.

I had some left over ground pork from a mapo tofu dish I made the other day.
I marinaded (for 1 hour) the pork with Kidaru Jukusei Miso, Akasake Mirin, and a little bit of Gochujan.
I flattened the sausage and pan seared it first, before breaking it up into bite sized pieces. I wanted to make sure it wasn't all busted up and not manageable to eat with chopsticks.

With the Brussel Sprouts, I quickly blanched them in hot water for 2 minutes.
Took them out, patted dry, then sauteed the cut ends in olive oil and butter.
The natural sugars in the sprouts helped caramelize, giving a nice charred coloration and flavor.
After about 1 minute of sauteeing, I added the already cooked sausage into the pan, tossed and plated.
You can adjust seasoning right before plating, but I found the sausage already had enough punch to carry the dish.