Friday, October 30, 2009

Crockpot Chili

It has been raining for a week straight, and the temperature drastically dropped, too, in DC. It can put a damper on things, but it motivated me to make chili. I've never made it in a crock pot, so I thought I'd throw everything in it, set the temperature, and have a hearty chili waiting for me the next day. I looked at several recipes, and the one I narrowed it down to is actually a lot more involved than I wanted it to be, but it sounded the best. I went shopping, came home, and started the creation around midnight and finishing around 10AM. In the end, was it worth it? Heck yeah. The only thing I would have done different is added more heat for an extra kick. Anyway, here is the recipe that I used with my own modifications and pictures I took along the way.


Start the DAY BEFORE; the flavors have to blend!

- 2lbs ground beef
- 2lbs beef stew cubes (chuck), cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 lg onion, chopped
- 3-4 garlic cloves chopped
- 2 red or green peppers, (your choice) diced
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (one pepper, not the whole can!)
*** Note - I couldn't find this, so I used a spoon of hot sauce and 3 spoons of brown sauce (like A-1, HP, etc. I used HP sauce. Like a British A1 sauce, but a little different.)
- 1 28oz can diced tomatoes in puree
- 2 14oz cans tomato sauce (with green chile peppers are good)
- 2 14oz cans Heinz beans (if you can't find Heinz, use kidney beans (light or dark) but drained and rinsed
- 1 14 oz can black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 14 oz can cannellini beans drained and rinsed
- 1 12oz beer, any kind
- chili powder
- cumin
- garlic powder
- salt
- black pepper
- cayenne pepper
- Secret ingredient: 2 square unsweetened Baker's chocolate

Saute onions, garlic and red/green peppers until soft. Remove to crockpot.
Brown ground meat and the cubed meat, add to crock pot. If you'd like more flavor, go ahead and all the juices and fat too.
Turn crockpot up to high, add all the tomatoes and the beans.
About 3 hours later, add the beer (it'll foam up), let that get hot.
Start adding the seasonings to taste. What this means is, start with at least 1-2
tablespoons of chili powder and cumin (don't be shy!), some garlic powder, salt and black pepper.
Scrape the seeds from the chipoltle pepper, and chop it up. Throw that in with a tsp of the adobo sauce. As I said above, if you can't find this, use the substitute.
Let it cook up a while. Look for a reddish-orangeish color. You'll probably have to add some more of the spices. If it's not too spicy, sprinkle a little cayenne in. It does get hotter as it goes along. Again, the color will dictate the taste, if it's still red like straight tomatoes you need more spice, but go easy on the salt and the cayenne; folks can always add more if they want it hotter or saltier.
When it's getting nice and hot and rich-looking, drop in the unsweetened chocolate, and let that melt right in. That adds another layer of flavor, and deepens the color.
Let it cook at least four hours. You'll need to remove the lid now, and then and let it cook off some of the liquid so it's not too soupy. You can just cook it over night if that's easier, then cook it down in the morning. But you should let it cool so the flavors blend, then heat it up again. It sounds like a lot of work but it's definitley worth it.
You can serve this one rice, noodles, or straight up. I didn't have sour cream at that moment, so I sued cottage cheese in addition to blended shredded cheese and chopped onion. Yummy!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Martha Stewart Meal

I had this weird desire to have a nice fall meal - crispy chicken, roasted butternut squash, nice side salad and bread. I honestly had no desire to ever make this style of food in the past, but maybe it's living in the burbs now and seeing the falling leaves that has brought out my inner Martha Stewart. Any who, a completely delicious satisfying meal.

Chicken recipe a la Porthos.

Roasted Butternut Squash
So simple and easy. Insanely sweet and had weird hints of cinnamon and nutmeg although I added none. I'm sure there's many other things I could have done, but I had no time and this method still yielded a great dish. The perfect fall side dish and great with the crispy and full flavored chicken.

1 butternut squash
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

1) Set oven to 400F. Place a baking sheet in the oven
2) Peel the butternut squash twice - when the color is not green or pale, you can stop peeling. Remove seeds and stuff inside. Dice squash into 1 inch pieces.
3) Toss squash with extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper
4) Add squash to the oven and cook 45 minutes to an hour. Stir once or twice. The squash should be nicely caramelized and crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Guilty Pleasure

McD's is perhaps the ultimate corporate badboy of America. Not only do they fatten us up, their food will kill us. Much like how tobacco companies are, McD's have lobbyists and corrupt scientists spreading misleading findings trying to convince you it's all good. And surprisingly to some, they aren't regulated by too many federal guidelines.

These guys are the best. An unstoppable money making force. They probably make more money than you or I could print in our basement.

Well, as much as I'd like to say I'm for sustainable farming and healthy living, when I'm on the road traveling hundreds of miles and have places to be, a quick stop at McDonald's is the best I can do. I simultaneously fill up the gas and order my favorite 10 piece chicken mcnugget.

It's easy to eat, its not messy, and really quite good. [You definitely don't want to know how they make these (completely) unnatural finger snacks]
All in all, I guess this is more of a confession than anything else. : )

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Pepsi in Japan

Azuki is a Red Bean Paste. Mainly used in Japanese pastries...
This just goes to show the Japanese will try anything.

Niigata not only Sake anymore

Niigata's most famous export is their ultra fine sake.
These cute little desserts are doing their brest to make a name for themselves.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bar Artisanal - Second Look

After the incredibly delicious Irving Mill burger, I immediately questioned how it would rank up in the pecking order of the burger universe. So, naturally I decided to take another look at the Bar Artisanal burger.

Although the second visit to Bar Artisanal was incredibly delicious, I wasn't as blown away as the first time. Oddly enough, I was more blown away by the fries at Bar Artisanal - huge, huge potato flavor and crispier than the first time. Any who - it's good tasting these burgers so close to each other because you can definitely see the nuances between the two.

Taste - Bar Artisanal wins the taste battle. The remoulade and pickled tomato gives the patty and incredibly beefy flavor. I added gruyere to the burger and it was a phenomenal addition and adding the right amount of sweetness and nuttiness that complemented the burger.

Texture - Irving Mill's burger is ridiculously juicy which makes sense considering they use 35% pork fat. Even the meat texture is better - crispy on the outside and a great meat texture, soft but with a little bit of chew. Bar Artisanal's texture is decent, but I think the coarser grind made the texture less pleasant than Irving Mill.

Final Verdict - I have to say Bar Artisanal wins out for me in the overall happiness department - though I really, really love the Irving Mill burger. Something about Artisanal's burger just makes me uber happy.

Todd (Munster)

This guy has to be one of the most annoying celebrity chefs out there.
(And seriously, can anyone remember what restaurant did he actually cook at?)
Just like all the sell outs, he's now selling his own brand of pots and pans on the Home Shopping Network.
Are you kidding me!?

But what gets me most is his arrogant look and annoying voice.
But on a bad day, he has a shot of resembling Herman Munster.
(There is a God... )

Monday, October 26, 2009

Random Corolations

What better way to celebrate the release of Windows 7 than with a giant 7-patty BK Whopper that costs 777 yen?
It's a limited edition burger, available only for 7 days!

(You can't make this stuff up... It's the real deal)

what a joke!

Angelina Jolie's Semi-Homemade Birthday Cake for Maddox

Originally posted Friday October 23, 2009 07:30 PM EDT

Angelina Jolie's Semi-Homemade Birthday Cake for Maddox

She's a working mom – one who juggles six kids, a movie career and philanthropy – but Angelina Jolie still found time to whip up a sweet treat for son Maddox's birthday in August, thanks to TV chef Sandra Lee.

"I was really surprised when her friend let me know she made my No Bake birthday cake," says Lee, whose show hit Food Network show, Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee, provides viewers with no-fuss recipes prepared in minutes. "She's a Semi-Homemade mommy just like the rest of us!"

The cake, which Lee says is "a beautiful display that anyone can do in five minutes," starts with a store-bought white sheet cake, topped with a plain white round cake and then surrounded by cupcakes and pre-decorated cookies. "What's great is that you get to personalize that beautiful display," says Lee.

"She's a very busy, overextended mother," Lee, 43, tells PEOPLE. "I'm very proud not just that she made my cake but that someone of her stature isn't delegating these [tasks], like her children's birthday, to other people. I'm glad she loves the show and that the kids apparently also watch it too."

The chef and New York Times best-selling author would know a thing or two about balancing a busy schedule. In addition to Semi-Homemade, she also has Sandra's Money Saving Meals on the Food Network and will be releasing three new cookbooks (Semi-Homemade Money Saving Slow Cooking, Semi-Homemade Weeknight Wonders and Semi-Homemade Cocktail Time) on Oct. 25 – the same day she'll be appearing on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

RELATED: Watch Sandra Lee serve up blue cheese-stuffed burgers on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition!

Swapping spatulas for hammers – "I was sawing, drilling, carrying furniture, unloading trucks and making hamburgers for the community," she says – Lee helped a family in Illinois rebuild their home and fundraised to pay off their mortgage.

"It was touching for me personally because they quit their corporate job to run a food bank," says Lee, who recalls growing up on welfare and food stamps.

"The genius of Extreme," explains Lee, "is that they're able to, somehow, find these unique families in these unbelievable situations that do so much good in their community and are so selfless. I think this show should be on every single night of the week!"

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition featuring Lee, along with fellow celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito, airs Oct. 25 at 8 p.m. on ABC.

Are Artificial Sweeteners Really That Bad for You?

Here is an article from Time Magazine that talks about what we've hear our whole lives - Sweet 'N Low will cause cancer, create anal bleeding, will make you fat, and could break your spine. After all this time, there isn't really scientific evidence to back this up. I'll be honest; I still use the stuff. So far, so good. Then again, check back with me in a couple more decades when I may be using a sanitary napkin instead of toilet paper.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Irving Mill - Aramis Review


Irving Mill - Highly Recommended
116 E 16th St, New York 10003
Btwn Union Sq E & Irving Pl
Phone: (212) 254-1600

Another day and another burger. This time the pretty, pretty, pretty awesome Irving Mill. I'm probably the last foodie to hit this place up, but better late than never. With so many awesome burgers popping up around town, it's hard to be impressed by burgers anymore. This place definitely has the wow factor going on. I give the restaurant an 86/100.

Our Menu
1) Burger and Beer Monday's **

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

Dish Comments
1) Nice crispy crust on the outside, big beefy flavor, ridiculously juicy and tons of fat dripping through. The bun is soft and slightly sweet. I ate the burger first without the pickles and onions, but adding them made everything tasty beefier. The size of the burger was on the smaller side - maybe 1/4 lb? This website has the mix: 35% whole beef cheeks, 35% flap meat, 35% pork fatback.

Overall Restaurant Experience (86/100)
  • Food 8.6/10 – Pretty spectacular burger, but after having so many burgers - it's hard to be 100% blown away. Fries had huge potato flavor, but was oddly barely crispy but still soft and tender on the inside.
  • Service 9.0/10 – Food came out insanely quick and the waiter took our order right away.
  • Atmosphere 7.5/10 – Dark and swank inside. Lots of dark wood everywhere - more of an upscale joint. Got there at 8:15pm on a Monday and was seated immediately. Crowd consisted of large groups of people in ties and business attire.
  • Price 9.5/10 – $13 for a burger and a beer. Phenomenal deal and it's not just bud lights only - the deal includes any beer on the menu. I ordered a nice Octoberfest which paired well with the spectacular burger. Phenomenal deal!
Closing Comments
This burger was pretty f'n spectacular. Me thinks the Bar Artisanal burger is still tops, but regardless this place rocks.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cupcake Party

Friday after work I headed over to Crumbs (top of the picture) on 52nd and Madison to pick-up some cupcakes for a house warming party on Saturday. I got there and had some problems choosing the flavors, given everything looked so good. So I picked some out and headed home. It ends up I was not the only person with cupcakes on the brain. Another Friend had went to Mr. Cupcakes (bottom of the picture) in Clifton, NJ and brought a whole bunch of different flavors to the house warming as well.
To rattle off some of the flavors from both cupcakerys: Carrot, Pumpkin, Cookie Dough, French Toast (my favorite, Mr. Cupcakes), Hot Chocolate, White Hot Chocolate, Cappucino, Oreo Cookie...I can barely remember all the flavors.
I have to say both Crumbs and Mr. Cupcakes offer a really good selection and they both have their own style. Crumbs is mostly about the icing and fillings, don't get me wrong the cake itself is good. Mr. Cupcakes is all about great cake flavor balanced with a nice topping/icing. If I had to choose between the two places I would say Mr. Cupcakes brought his "A" game today. Now please don't misunderstand me, if I was walking by a Crumbs in the city I would still stop in and try the latest flavor. After today's cupcake party all of us decided to do a similar cupcake tasting at our next get together. Till then we continue our search for the perfect cupcake...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

2 Buck Chuck - Chardonnay

'Two-Buck Chuck' wins wine competition

(click above for original article)

Vin d'Expensive? Meritage Snooty? If that's the kind of name you were thinking would grace a winner of the California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition, get ready for a shock.

Try "Two-Buck Chuck," more formally Charles Shaw, the brand beloved of bargain but palate-sensitive wine shoppers. It's sold by Bronco Wine Co. exclusively through Trader Joe's.

Fred Franzia, president of Bronco Wine Co., holds a bottle of his 2005 California Chardonney. The wine won a double gold medal at the California State Fair Wine Competition.

Shaw's California Chardonnay took first place for Best Chardonnay from California. To some in the clubby California wine community, that must seem like a Michelin's Red Guide giving three stars to a roadside hamburger stand.

The Chardonnay received 98 points, a double gold, with accolades of Best of California and Best of Class.

"Since we judge all wines totally by variety without different brackets for price, this double-gold achievement by the Bronco winemakers is astounding," G.M. Pucilowski, chief judge and director of the competition, said in a Bronco Wine Co. press release.

While the complete results of the competition are to be announced July 12, Renata Franzia, from Bronco's Franzia family received the results Thursday.

Richard Peterson, veteran winemaker and a State Fair judge for 20 years, said in the release, "We have the most open judging I know. There is nothing to bias judging. We get numbered glasses. We don't know the region, brand or price. We evaluate the judges frequently to make sure they're tops in the field. Charles Shaw won because it is a fresh, fruity, well-balanced Chardonnay that people and wine judges -- though maybe not wine critics -- will like."

Bronco president Fred Franzia said in an interview that customers have proven to be discerning, buying more than 300 million bottles of Charles Shaw brand wines over the years.

"The consumers are way ahead of the judges here, and now the judges have figured it out," Franzia said in the interview. And there's more of this vintage on the way, Franzia said, so there will be a plentiful supply.

Franzia's next challenge is winning over the restaurant industry. "The restaurants are overcharging consumers for wine. If we could just get restaurants to sell wine at $10 a bottle, or $2.50 a glass, or less, heaven forbid. If I can sell 'em to Trader Joe's for $2 a bottle, and they can get five glasses out of it, you'd think they could sell it for $2.50 a glass and make consumers happy."

And yes, Franzia said, Two-Buck Chuck will remain $2 -- the price isn't going to increase.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ariel (Montreal)

Ariel Restaurant - Recommended
2072 Rue Drummond
Montreal, QC H3G 1W9, Canada
(514) 282-9790

I haven't seen B and J for a while... possibly 4 years since the last time. So it was great getting together to chat and catch up on old times.
As we get older, so do our conversations. We touched on health care, role of government, taxes, academia, social norms, food, culture, marriage, etc...
Hardly the same conversations we had in college.
But it was great non the less and the food and ambiance was perfect for the get together.

Service was smooth and not obtrusive. The food was good to the point where we would stop and say something about it and then continue with our conversations.
Pacing was good and the atmosphere was perfect.

If you are looking for a quiet place with good modern cuisine, this is a great place to check out.
The locals consider it a hidden gem and the owners seem to want to keep it that way as well. Our concierge didn't even know about the place.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I love a great crepe but here in the US, it's close to impossible finding a great crepe joint.
I've looked everywhere, but people who make crepes here are usually idiots with absolutely no clue what it takes to achieve that super thin pastry like wonder.
The French can do it... why can't we?! Argh!
So what's the next best thing than flying to France? Montreal!

I had a total of 3 crepes during my 3 day stay in Montreal.
And although better than what I've had in the States, it still doesn't compare to Paris.
What the f does a guy have to do to get a real crepe around here?

The first crepe on the right is Savory Crepe. Bechamel with Ham and Cheese. I'll give it a 5/10.

The next crepe is a Nutella Filled sweet crepe. I'll give this a 6/10

And finally the last crepe is another Bechamel filled Ham and Cheese Crepe.
But this one had a hint of Nutmeg mixed into the crepe batter. I'll give this one a 7/10. Nothing really blew my socks out of the water but I guess I have to tip my hat off to the mainland Frenchies... They really know how to make an f'n good crepe.

Friday, October 16, 2009


A novel idea but comes a bit short on the Awesome Meter. It's good, but it ain't that great.
You get fries, throw some cubed cheese over it and drown it in gravy. You then garnish with some kind of meat and there you have it.

I chose a Bacon Poutine for my lunch. (see below)
In all fairness, I was walking in a touristy area of Montreal (Old Montreal), and was encouraged by the restaurant owner (who was waiving in passer byers out in the street) to try his "famous" poutine and to kick back and rest their tired feet.
So perhaps, a grander establishment would have been a wiser choice, but fries are fries right? You don't need a Poutine expert to cook up this dish.
Hey, I don't dislike it, but I'm not putting it on my "To Do Eat List" next time I'm in Montreal.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fast food restaurant commercial from Australia?

Bratwurst Lesson with Theo

Here's a cool video of Theo Peck cooking up some bratwursts from scratch. My roommate and I were lucky enough to have him serve up some phenomenal eats for our combined birthday parties in July - Thanks again Theo!

I do have to wonder if there's more to the spices than the video shows, as he once told me a sausage man never reveals his secret recipes...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cott Black Cherry Soda

There's so much Cherry in this can it's amazing.

I sucked this can down with a Schwartz's Smoked Meats sandwich and it REALLY hit the spot.

Schwartz's Deli (Montreal)

Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen

3895 St Laurent
Montreal, QC H2W 1X9, Canada
(514) 842-4813

I had my reservations about this place. After all, "is this place even going to come close to Katz's Deli?"
I wasn't really expecting much. How could I? Not only do I love Katz's Deli in Manhattan, it's considered by many, to be the end all be all sandwich of mankind. Inmates on death row have requested their last meal be a Pastrami sandwich from Katz's (OK, I made that up, but I am willing to bet a dollar that that actually happens)
But at $16 a sandwich, Schwartz's $5.50 is a steal!
I'm not going to say Schartz's "smoked meats sandwich" is better, but for only $5.50, it's the best $5.50 I've ever had.
(and Yah! that's $5.50 Canadian)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Avec Eric

Found another great show on PBS - Avec Eric. I had reservations about this show at first as I thought Eric Ripert (of Le Bernardin) was the last great chef who would not sell out. C'est la vie I guess as everyone sells out at one point or another.

Any who - the show is great. It's very refreshing watching a chef that's laid back, but totally in control of his game - great change of pace from Mr. Gordon Ramsay who seems to be always screaming. Basic format is Ripert travels to a location to get inspired (e.g. traveling to Georgia to learn about honey) goes back to his kitchen at Le Bernardin for a restaurant quality dish and back to his place for home cooking.

As usual, it's great to see a real professional kitchen being run. Le Bernardin actually has a conference room where they talk about creating dishes and everyone seems to get involved. Then watching him cook at home all I have to say is everything is precise! Great show and can't wait to watch more...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Gino's East

Gino's East ***** (r u kidding)
633 N Wells St

Chicago, IL 60610

It was my first trip out to Chicago and I'd heard all about the fabulous options of dining excitement in the Windy City.
Cardinal Richelieu Sr. had some business contacts out in there and I tried to get the insight on Deep Dish Pizza. Lou Malnoti's is a chain I was told to check out but when all else fails a dude consults a dude and Athos recommended both Gino's and Giordano's out in Chicago. I wanted one more opinion from the locals so I engaged the downstairs in the hotel in a debate about Lou's, Girdano's and Gino's. One had strong feelings for Lou's , the other had strong feelings for Giordano's and both put down the other one - but the consensus choice among both of them was Gino's was good. So for me that's Three Yes's and Four if you count a Dude's Opinion as 2 Yes's. It was a good choice. Perhaps stupid idiots in congress and the senate should get less votes than people who know what they are talking about that's another issue for a rainy day.

On this particular cold, rainy, and miserable day (thanks Cubs), my crew were ready for some heavy grub. We waited outside in the rain for 45 minutes and boy was it worth it. Other than serving one if not Chicago's finest DDP's as I call them, the one thing that this place is known for is the ability to write on the walls with a black marker.

We weren't up for anything cute - these pizzas were big. In retrospect now that I think about it how could we have not gone with Sausage Pizza being in Chicago of all places, but we just got the breadsticks and the standard large cheese DDP. They call it deep dish for a reason, being from the east admittedly I never even had Uno's before. Its literally like serving pie. Large Crust and a deep sea of cheese and sauce. I knew it would fill the hunger but I didn't know only two slices could accomplish this (one seriously could have done the trick but I had 2.5). One of the most amazing things was how good the sauce was, despite all the extra cheese. Very thick and tomatoey and highly noticeable. Its like having marinara sauce with a mozz stick, its definitely there for a reason. All I can really say is this the most enjoyable pizza dinner experience I have ever had. I'm certainly conscious that some beverages were in the mix which could sway the thinking a few percentage points here and there but I certainly doubt it. Service was a little slow but these things obviously take some time to bake. Highly Recommended to anyone who visits Chicago. and if you come back from there and tell anybody familiar with the city you'll certainly get some props , its certainly a beloved staple. Definitely looking forward to going back and sampling some other DDP's at Gino's.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Daisy May's BBQ USA - Review

Daisy May's BBQ USA - Highly Recommended
623 11th Ave, New York 10036
At 46th St
New York, NY
Phone: (212) 977-1500

I've been wanting to check out Daisy May's for a while, but never found a reason to head up there. This Saturday the fellas decided to go out for Lord Fluffernutter's birthday and man was it a great idea. Great times and as usual way too much food - 3 dudes and 2 dudettes worked on 15 pounds of pig and yes we finished it - kinda ridiculous, hella delicious, and as usual hella fun. Definitely a go-to BBQ spot from now on and the South Carolina style mustard based BBQ is a great contrast to Hill Country's Texas style BBQ - my other go to BBQ joint. Overall, I give the restaurant a 90/100.

Our Menu
Big Pig Gig Menu (half pig - 15 pounds)
1) BBQ Pig **
2) Creamed Spinach ***
3) Creamy Cole Slaw **
4) Baked Beans with burnt ends **
5) Macaroni and Cheese **

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

Dish Comments
1) Incredibly juicy, tender, and flavorful pig with the perfect amount of sweet smoke. Pretty spectacular stuff. Every single piece was delicious with the cheek being incredibly flavorful and tender. This would have been a completely WTF moment if the skin was edible - too much chew and way too much smoke...about 6 hours according to the pitmaster which seemed light to me. Even the mustard based BBQ sauce was a perfect complement to the pig. Great with the texas toast.
2) The best creamed spinach I've ever had - definite WTF moment. Huge flavor and perfect texture - maybe a hint of parmiggiano reggiano? Not super salty or too creamy like most joints - really the perfect side.
3) Another great side in the creamy cole slaw. Mustard based, creamy, with some nice crunch. Great flavor again and necessary to cut the fatty pork down.
4) Great baked beans with the burnt ends. Nice texture on the beans and the right amount of sweetness.
5) I don't get it, but most joints have terrible mac n cheese - terrible texture, no flavor, or too dry. Like all the other sides, this was spot on. Great flavor, real nice texture, and nice creamy sauce. One of the best mac n cheese's I've had in recent memory.

Overall Restaurant Experience (90/100)
  • Food 9.0/10 – This place really reminds of Porterhouse - instead taking the BBQ concept and adding phenomenal sides. Great stuff and the piggie kicked massive ars.
  • Service 8.0/10 – Food came out super quick and the pitmaster brought out the food. He was extremely nice and very cool.
  • Atmosphere 8.5/10 – Surprisingly a much tinier place that I thought. Seats maybe about 40-50. Very old school picnic style place with the checkered table cloths. The whole place is covered in wood much like Hill Country. More blond wood all around though. Place was pretty busy with lots of couples - older and younger. There was also another group of younger guys. Had reservations for 6pm on a Saturday and were seated immediately.
  • Price 8.4/10 – $120 for me and the wife which was pricey, but definitely worth it. Me and the wife were extremely happy.
Closing Comments
A definite big winner for me - totally love this place and love this style of Carolina mustard based pig BBQ. 100% have to go back, but just need to find a reason to go back to the area.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Ray's Hell Burger Review

1713 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22209
(703) 841-0001

When you ask people around Washington, DC where is the place to go for burgers, you generally get two replies: Five Guys and Ray's Hell Burger. Earlier this year, Barack and Joe stopped by the latter, which boosted their popularity exponentially. People talk about the line that goes out the door, so a coworker and I went on a Sunday afternoon. It didn't matter; there was still a line. Before going, I searched online what are the things to get. There are so many combinations and suggestions that it seems one of the popular things to do is get the burger of the day so I did that. I don't remember the name of the burger, but it was pretty typical: lettuce, tomato , pickles, and a Thousand Island-ish sauce on a sesame bun. As for sides, the cheesy tater tots were highly recommended, so I got that. I don't drink soda, and even less, root beer; I ordered it, though, since this was mentioned a lot. I was excited about going to Ray's. There is so much hype. The burgers in the pictures look great, and in person, even better. We waited in that long line in the *hot* summer day. We finally get to the store, and it's a typical hole-in-the-wall, which is what I like. There is someone directing traffic in this tiny place. We finally order, sit, and wait for the food to be brought to us. Man this thing looks good. I bite down, and... what happened? Wait, let me try again; this time I'll bite deeper. Nope, same thing. Really? This is what everyone's going crazy about? There really was not much flavor to the burger. My friend's burger gave him the exact reaction, and he ordered something different. Okay, let me dig into the cheesy tater, which also look good. Meh, mushy. I had to add salt to dig the flavor out. And mustard. Okay, we'll just cut our losses and eat. After eating half the burger, I was it down with the root beer.


Let's do that again. Nice! And this is coming from someone who doesn't drink pop, let alone root beer. This is pretty darn good. I would have loved a refill, but the place was too packed for me to even try it.

In the end, would I go again? Maybe for the novelty and if there is no line. I wanted to like this place. I mean, look at my picture of the burger - looks delicious, right? Obviously I'd try a totally different burger. But for now, there is a Five Guys everywhere, and I don't need to hunt down this place which I passed a few times since there's no sign, just a plain door.

Friday, October 2, 2009

American Chinese Food

There are times when hunger calls and you just want something that will satisfy that primal instinct.
On Wednesday, I and a co-worker trekked over to the Asian Grill in East Rutherford and chowed on some pretty awesome American-Chinese grub.
You will never find this stuff in Asia, but the menu highlights a bunch of staples here in the US.

I'm not afraid to say it, "I love my General Tso's Chicken".
When done right, its crispy on the outside, juicy in the inside, and the sauce is a bit, sweet, sour and savory, not to mention spicy as well.

Asian Grill in East Rutherford, NJ
20 Rt 17 North
East Rutherford , NJ 07073
Highly Recommended

THE Best lunch special I've had in a long time. $7.50 - Can't go wrong.

General Tso's Chicken Combo
- 2 Pork Dumplings (B)
- Egg Drop Soup (B)
- Fried Rice (B)
- General Tso's Chicken (A)
That's a deal any way you look at it.

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Thursday, October 1, 2009

What's in your Freezer?

To continue from last week... we are inspecting everyone's freezers today.
We're looking for "oldest" item in your freezers.

Athos :
A box of "Turron de yema tostada" from Spain that doesn't taste good.
Expire 09/09
And some RedLine power drinks from when Athos was working out at least 9 months ago

Edmund Dantes :
Homemade Vegetable Stock made a few months ago

Porthos :
Big Brown Box - Fresh Croissants from a distributor friend 3 months ago.
3rd shelf from the top - Frozon Wontons from an Asian Supermarket 8 months ago.

Cardinal Richelieu :
Cream of Spinach Soup from over a year