Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dinner in 10min

I love Chinese food for just this reason. It cooks in minutes.
Sure, there are dishes in the repertoire that require hours of cooking, but for the most part, Chinese cooking is about wielding a strong fire and flash cooking things in minutes or seconds.

I stopped by an Asian grocery store on my way home from work last night and picked up some beautifully peeled and deveined shrimp.

So I got home, dropped my bags and took a quick shower. (it's a pet peeve of mine. I love that fresh feeling)
Came out and laid out all the ingredients I needed.

Chicken stock
Chinese cooking wine
Soy sauce
And my reserved homemade Chili puree

Shrimp literally takes 2 minutes to cook, so you know that's one of the last things you add into the sautee pan.

Throw in the aromatics first. Your scallions, ginger, and mushrooms. Hit it with a little bit if wine and soy sauce for flavor. Dump the shrimps while the pan is super hot and stir your shrimp till they start turning bright pink. Add enough chicken stock so the you are able to properly deglaze the pan and also soupy enough for you to ladle some sauce on to your rice.
Taste a shrimp, or two, or three and when they are firm and perfectly shrimp crunchy, plate and serve immediately. I like to jazz it up with some pre-made chili sauce.

Luckily, I also have one of those rice cookers with a built in timer, so I can walk into my apt and have perfectly cooked rice waiting for me. This was MONEY last night.

10 min in the kitchen and voilà, dinner.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Spanish Chocolate

Contrary to Spanish linguistics, the producer stresses a hard "J" for proper pronunciation.

It's delicious.

Best NFL Stadium Food Rankings

It's the most wonderful time of the year - the NFL season has begun! Esquire magazine ranked all the stadiums from 1 to 31 and it looks like Seattle was ranked #1 due to the local options and solid beer selection.

1. Seattle Seahawks (Qwest Field)
Number of concessions: 47
Number of restaurants: 1 (The FSN Lounge)
Local options: Excellent (Seattle Dogs, Taco Ma's, Glo Bowl Thai)
Beer selection: Very Good (Miller and Coors, plus Amberweizen, Hefeweizen, IPA, Curve Ball, and Red Hook ESB)
Pro: More international options than you probably even need.
Con: More options than you probably even need.

2. Dallas Cowboys (Cowboys Stadium)
Number of concessions: > 150
Celebrity chef: Jamie Samford
Local options: Very Good (Texas catfish po' boy, The Kobe Burger)
Beer selection: Good (Miller, MGD, Coors, Bud, Shiner)
Pro: The Cowboys cheese steak.
Con: $7.50 for a hot dog?

3. Washington Redskins (FedEx Field)
Number of concessions: 50
Number of restaurants: 1
Local options: Good (Famous Dave's BBQ)
Beer selection: Excellent (24 on draft, 26 in bottles, and then the175-seat glass-enclosed brew house)
Pro: Hooters.
Con: Hooters.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers (Heinz Field)
Number of concessions: 32
Number of restaurants: 0
Local options: Very Good (Benkovitz Seafood, Quaker Steak and Lube)
Beer selection: Excellent (Iron City, Blue Moon, Yuengling, Bass, Guinness, Harp, Penn Pilsner)
Pro: Two words: Primanti Brothers.
Con: Six words: 61 percent critical health violations.

5. Houston Texans (Reliant Stadium)
Number of concessions: 38
Number of restaurants: 0
Local options: Good (Cactus Cantina, Red River dogs, Luther's BBQ)
Beer selection: Very Good (St. Arnold, Dos Equis, Corona, Fat Tire, Pyramid and Blue Moon).
Pro: "The barbecue capital of the NFL."
Con: The walk home.

6. New Orleans Saints (Louisiana Superdome)
Number of concessions: >150
Number of restaurants: 1
Celebrity chef: Lenny Martinsens
Local options: Very Good (gumbo, jambalaya, cajun sausage, alligator sausage)
Beer selection: Good (Bud, Heineken, Corona, Abita, Michelob, Newcastle)
Pro: Did we mention the alligator sausage?
Con: Have you tried the gumbo?

7. Miami Dolphins (Sun Life Stadium)
Number of concessions: 40
Number of restaurants: 2
Celebrity chef: Orlando R. Morales
Local options: Good ("Asian" stir fry, Caribbean "cuisine")
Beer selection: Average (Miller, Coors, Landshark)
Pro: The paella.
Con: Again with the health violations.

8. Arizona Cardinals (University of Phoenix Stadium)
Number of concessions: 47
Local options: Very Good (Grande Roja, PizzaZ Mr. B's BBq, Touchdown Tortilla)
Beer selection: Average (Bud, Bud Light, Miller Lite)
Pro: Mr. B's brisket.
Con: After the brisket.

9. Chicago Bears (Soldier Field)
Number of concessions: >400
Number of restaurants: 0
Celebrity chef: Mark Angeles
Local options: Very good (you know, sausage)
Beer selection: Very good (Miller, Goose Island Honker's Ale)
Pro: Steamed pork buns.
Con: Steamed pizza.

10. Green Bay Packers (Lambeau Field)
Number of concessions: >200
Number of restaurants: 1 (Curly's Pub)
Local options: Very Good (Meat Packing Company, Titletown Grill)
Beer selection: Good (every kind of Leinenkugel Beer on tap)
Pro: Fratello's lasagna — oozing, in a good way.
Con: The service at Curly's Pub — standing, not in a good way.

11. San Francisco 49ers (Candlestick Park)
Number of concessions: 44
Number of restaurants: 4
Local options: Good (Papa Murphy's Pizza, Boudin's chouder, lots of seafood)
Beer selection: Good (plenty of microbrews on tap)
Pro: Edible fish tacos.
Con: Not-that-edible hot dogs.

12. Baltimore Ravens (M&T Bank Stadium)
Number of concessions: 45
Number of restaurants: 0
Celebrity chef: Chad Vandegrift
Local options: Good (a big BBQ stand)
Beer selection: Good (Miller, Budweiser, Michelob and Coors, Heineken, Amstel and Yuengling, Sam Adams and Corona)
Pro: Crab cakes. Lots of crab cakes.
Con: Eight dollars for a hot dog. Really.

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Raymond James Stadium)
Number of concessions: >500
Number of restaurants: 0
Local options: Good (but all pirate-themed: Treasure Cafe, The Galey, Crows Nest)
Beer selection: Good (Miller, Coors, Red Bridge Gluten-Free beer)
Pro: Smoked short ribs.
Con: It's Tampa.

14. New York Giants/Jets (New Meadowlands Stadium)
Number of concessions: 42 fixed, 92 portable
Celebrity chef: Eric Borgia
Local options: Good (Boardwalk Fryer, Brooklyn Custom Burgers)
Beer selection: Good (Brooklyn Lager, Hoegarden, Guiness)
Pro: "Go eat a goddamn snack."
Con: "Eating a bunch of fucking cheeseburgers before you stretch? That's being a jackass."

15. Carolina Panthers (Bank of America Stadium)
Number of concessions: 429
Local options: Good (Bojangles, the BBQ Shack)
Beer selection: Very good (SC Doubloon Double Pale Ale, Maelstrom IPA, Olde Meck Copper)
Pro: Serious pulled pork.
Con: Seriously not much beyond Carolina BBQ.

16. Detroit Lions (Ford Field)
Number of concessions: >50
Number of restaurants: 7
Celebrity chef: Joseph Nader
Local options: Good (Poletown Sausage, Big Boy, Charlie Sanders's BBQ)
Beer selection: Average (Bud, Miller, Coors)
Pro: The chicken.
Con: The Lions.

17. Oakland Raiders (Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum)
Number of concessions:: >50
Number of restaurants: 1
Local options: Average (garlic fries...)
Beer selection: Good (Anheuser/Busch brews, Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada, Guinness, Dos Equis)
Pro: Teriyaki everywhere.
Con: Almost too friendly to vegetarians.

18. Denver Broncos (Invesco Field at Mile High)
Number of concessions: >100
Celebrity chef: Christopher DeJohn
Local options: Average (Jalapeno Heaven, Blitzburger Grille, Buenos Dias Burritos)
Beer selection: Good (come on: it's Colorado)
Pro: Prime-rib sandwiches.
Con: Primetime prices.

19. Philadelphia Eagles (Lincoln Financial Field)
Number of concessions: >200
Local options: Average (Chickie's and Pete's)
Beer selection: Substandard (Bud, Miller, Coors)
Pro: Cheese steak.
Con: Cheese steak from Massachusetts.

20. Kansas City Chiefs (Arrowhead Stadium)
Number of concessions: >50
Celebrity chef: Kevin Williams
Local options: Good (BBQ, Primo Italian Classics, the Flame Grill)
Beer selection: Average (Boulevard, Bud Light, Miller Lite)
Pro: KC BBQ.
Con: The Chicken Basket? No.

21. Cleveland Browns (Cleveland Browns Stadium)
Number of concessions: 576 points of sale
Number of restaurants: 1 (Gridiron Square)
Local options: Average (Dawg Pound Deli, Browns Bistro, Donato's Pizza)
Beer selection: Average (Budweiser, Bud Light, Miller Light, Coors Light)
Pro: The Dawg Pound Deli
Con: The nachos in a dog-food dish — degrading.

22. Jacksonville Jaguars (EverBank Field)
Number of concessions: >40
Number of restaurants: 5
Local options: Average (El Gato Grande, Andrew Jackson's BBQ)
Beer selection: Good (Duke's Cold Nose Brown Ale, Killer Whale Cream Ale)
Pro: Andrew Jackson's BBQ!
Con: Andrew Jackson?

23. Tennessee Titans (LP Field)
Number of concessions: 60
Local options: Good
Beer selection: Substandard (no local beers)
Pro: Serious buffet.
Con: Seriously boring beer selection.

24. Indianapolis Colts (Lucas Oil Stadium)
Number of concessions: >160
Local options: Average
Beer selection: Average (Budweiser, Miller, Coors, Corona, Heineken, Amstel Light)
Pro: Good nachos, actually.
Con: The rest? Not so much.

25. New England Patriots (Gillette Stadium)
Number of concessions: >500
Local options: Average
Beer selection: Good (the Sam Adams roster)
Pro: Tailgating is fantastic.
Con: The $9 "value" meal at the McDonald's.

26. San Diego Chargers (Qualcomm Stadium)
Number of concessions: 125
Number of restaurants: 2
Local options: Substandard
Beer selection: Coors Light, Heineken, Dos Equis, Blue Moon
Pro: Fish tacos?
Con: Crowded.

27. Atlanta Falcons (Georgia Dome)
Number of concessions: n/a
Number of restaurants: 1
Local options: Average (Taco Mac
Beer selection: Good (Bud, Miller, Michelob, Coors, Heineken, Corona, Newcastle, Guinness)
Pro: Spitting out the Michelob?
Con: Too expensive for not much.

28. Buffalo Bills (Ralph Wilson Stadium)
Number of concessions: 42
Number of restaurants: 1
Local options: Average
Beer selection: Average (Budweiser, Bud Light, Coors Light, Heineken, Guinness)
Pro: Beef on weck sandwiches.
Con: The weck.

29. St. Louis Rams (Edward Jones Dome)
Number of concessions: >40
Local options: Average
Beer selection: Substandard
Pro: Toasted (read: deep-fried) ravioli.
Con: $9.50 for a beer?

30. Minnesota Vikings (Mall of America Field at Hubert H. Humphrey Dome)
Number of concessions: >40
Number of restaurants: 0
Local options: Substandard
Beer selection: Substandard (Miller, coupla local brews)
Pro: BBQ pork sandwiches at Famous Dave's.
Con: Not much else.

31. Cincinnati Bengals (Paul Brown Stadium)
Number of concessions: 56
Number of restaurants: 0
Local options: Awful
Beer selection: Good (Bud, Bud Light, Miller Lite, Guinness, Warsteiner)
Pro: The Mett by Bluegrass Meats.
Con: Everything else.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Seared Branzino with Cauliflower Puree and Caramelized Onion Sauce

I've been craving some pan seared fish - crispy skin and moist flesh, so I decided to flip open some cookbooks to get some ideas. After consulting with Thomas Keller, Eric Ripert, Tom Collichio, and Andrew Carmellini for fish cooking techniques, I ended up using techniques from all of them. The final dish consisted of a creamy cauliflower puree and a subtly sweet and bright caramelized onion sauce (deglazed with sake, rice wine vinegar, tsuyu, and chicken broth). A great combo and a fun meal on a Sunday night - the crispy skin was awesome. I just need to work on my fish butchery next time.

Crispy Fish Skin Tips
1) Make sure the fish is bone dry - I used 4 layers of paper towels and patted them down and let it sit for 5 minutes. Also, Mr Keller uses the edge of a knife against the skin to squeegee the extra moisture off the skin - key to getting a nice crisp skin. You'll be surprised how much extra moisture you get off with this method.
2) Score the skin to prevent the skin and meat from curling up - a tip from Mr Carmellini. Also, press the fish down with a spatula for a minute to let the meat set up; otherwise it will curl up also. I didn't score my cod last week and the fish ended up curling up leaving me with crispy skin around the edges but soft skin in the center.
3) Season with salt and white pepper on both sides. White pepper ensures the fish still looks nice and clean instead of the gritty look that black pepper gives - courtesy of Mr. Ripert.
4) Cook over medium high heat to ensure crispiness of skin. Medium heat didn't crisp the skin enough for me. Touch the pan with the fish, skin side down. If it starts sizzling drop it in, if it does nothing let it heat up more. Cook till the meat is cooked 3/4 the way up - maybe 3-5 minutes depending on the size of the fish. Flip the fish over and cook for 30 seconds and remove. This will also ensure you get a real crisp skin.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Woo Lae Oak - Review

Woo Lae Oak - Not Recommended
148 Mercer St, New York NY 10012
Btwn Prince & Houston St
Phone: (212) 925-8200

The wife and I have been wanting to check out Woo Lae Oak for a long time and we heard good things about this place, so we were amped to finally check it out. I don't know if the raves were from a long time ago, but this place is pretty shitty. I love me some good Korean food and I think cooking westernized dishes using Korean ingredients would be pretty damn tasty, but not here.

Our Menu
O Ree Mari
roasted long island duck breast, crisp daikon & shredded greens rolled in a miso blini with plum sauce

This looked like an egg roll, but was wrapped with a soft blini instead. The flavor of the duck and daikon were ok (a tad bland), but the plum sauce was gross - way too sweet.

Kal Bi Jim *
tender beef short rib steak simmered in a sake ginger soy glaze served with kabocha squash and asian broccoli

A very tender rib steak (no knife required) served with sauce that's also a tad bit too sweet. This time the squash and rich steak mellowed out the sauce and the overall dish was pretty fun with white rice.

Bi Bim Bap
steamed rice topped with seasoned vegetables and crisp romaine

A pretty sorry excuse for bi bim bap. What's fun about bi bim bap is perfectly cooked rice that almost has an al denteness to it, mixed with flavorful meat and vegetables, and when you combine them all together it just sings. This was like something I would make in college just throwing a whole bunch of stuff in a wok that did not go well together at all - rice was not cooked well either a bit mushy for me.

Rating System
--- What the F - in a bad way | (no stars - poor to average) | * Good | ** Great | *** What the F – in a good way

Overall Restaurant Experience
  • Food (6.0/10) – I kind of get the jist of the place now - they have some traditional Korean dishes but they also try to serve dishes that look pretty and westernized using Korean ingredients. Unfortunately the sauces are so damn sweet since the chefs probably think the Western palate wants overly sweet food. No good.
  • Service (7.0/10) – No Korean servers at all - not that it matters, but that was the first thing I noticed and it set the tone to not expect authentic Korean cooking. The server was not really friendly, but the food did come out pretty quick.
  • Atmosphere (7.0/10) – A sleek looking place that's all black and you get to see the open kitchen. Again, not that it matters, but everyone cooking the food was of Latin American descent. I know this happens in the majority of restaurants in NYC, but again this sets the tone to not expect authentic Korean cooking. There were a few couples, but mainly the place consisted of large groups. Surprisingly, the place was 40% Korean - I would expect much lower due to the quality of the food. Got there at 8pm on a Friday and was seated right away.
  • Price (5.0) - Average price of an entree was $25, not bad at all but the food was pretty subpar. So price per happiness was very very low.
Closing Comments
I don't mind fusion at all, but the bottom line is the food has to taste good and this stuff was way too sweet. If you're looking for some good Korean food, head over to Koreatown or better yet Palisades Park in NJ.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Neither the Coffee, Nor the Muffins

It's Autumn! And I'm in that Pumpkin mood again. I'm ready to order that Pumpkin Ale, along with some Pumpkin Gnocchi, and why not that Pumpkin Cake for dessert.

So when I see Pumpkin Muffins, and being the slut that I am, I run towards it like a Republican running towards mid-term primaries.

(I jest, but you get the sentiment)

So I spotted "Pumpkin Muffins" at the local DD his morning.
I get to my desk and bite into it. Well more like break off the top mushroom cap and savor the unique and satisfying texture of only what a great muffin can do.
(I digress again)
Well this little pastry came short of satisfying.
What perverted mind would engineer such an airy and not at all densely packed muffin? It's FLUFFY! Oh No You Didn't!
The pumpkin flavor was so-so but completely moot at that point.

Needless to say, Starbucks trumps Dunkin' Donuts not only in the coffee department, but also in their baked goods category as well.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

You Like Panda Cheese

You haven't tried this Egyptian cheese? You will.

And trust me, you will like Panda Cheese.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


You know its gonna be a good day when your coworker shows up to work bearing munchkins.
Or... perhaps she's gonna ask for a massive favor. (paranoia sets) (-_-)'

Teppan : Late Dinner, No Prep

Neighborhood Japanese joint (owned, not even by Koreans or Chinese, but Gringos) is just so convenient when you get home late from work and have nothing ready to eat in the fridge.
So from time to time, I bite the bullet and head over there. 2 minute walk.
So far, I've had the teppanyaki, the sushi rolls and nigiri, and also the kalbi (yes, their menu is all over the place).
So to continue on with my masochistic lifestyle, I ordered the sashimi platter and shumai for good measure.
What can I say that hasn't been said before?
It's food and that's pretty much it.
But I still hold on to the dream, one day this place will blossom into the star of Hudson County.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Breakfast for the Early Bird

I got home last night completely drained and took what I had hoped to be a power nap.
I ended up waking up at 1am and had some deadlines to make so ended up working til now (4:30am).

Consequently, I got a case of the munchies and so I raided my fridge and whipped up some scrambled eggs with chives and pecorino cheese. I had some roasted pimentos in a jar and garnished the eggs with them.
The green salsa is from leftover chili peppers I just pulses in the cuisinart.

All served on thin little sesame crackers.

Aaaaaand back to work.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fusion that kinda works?

The wife and I stopped by the Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy and we were looking for some street eats. I usually hate this festival since it's annoyingly packed with tourists, but we were in the area and wanted some quick food to go.

Fortunately, I remembered this article from the NY Times about these two chefs with a solid pedigree, working under Andrew Carmellini and Mario Batali, serving up an Italian style Char Siu Bao - a Chinese Roast Pork Bun. The phrase "fusion = confusion" usually holds true at most restaurants and this was kinda weird at first, but it ended up being totally delicious.

Their version was made with pork loin (red color in tact!), sweet roasted peppers, and broccoli rabe. Char Siu Bao has strong childhood connotations for me, so this was walking on sacred memories but it totally friggin worked and brought a big smile to my face. If you have a chance head over to Torrisi Italian Specialties (250 Mulberry St, Near Prince St) before Sunday Sep 26th - the last day for San Gennaro.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Chinese Cookin at Home

One of the biggest reasons for Gas over Electric in the kitchen is Chinese Food.
Cranking up those BTUs and putting things on fire really makes a difference when you want to stir fry or quickly bring up the temp to your pots and pans in a jiff.

So needless to say, after moving from my previous apartment to the current, I'm pretty happy with my set up in the kitchen... I have a pretty decent 4 burner gas stove giving me enough heat to cook up a storm in a pinch.

I don't know what it is, but perhaps it's the changing of the seasons. Aramis brought up Cassoulets the other day and all of a sudden I'm not in the Summery sandwich mood, but rather big time meals requiring sitting down at the dining table and really chowing down.

It's also been a while since I've focused on Asian dishes at home, so it was just a matter of time that I brainstormed a bit and went back to basics with Chinese food.

Last night's menu was Razor Clams with Chinese Basil and Blue Crabs in Black Bean Sauce and Chili Peppers.
I had stopped by in Flushing and picked up some beautiful seafood at the Hong Kong Supermarket.

As for the Razor Clams, since they were relatively cleaned already, I had them spit out sand under water for just 10 minutes. I left them in a strainer and proceeded to prepare the mis en place.
Ginger, Scallions, Chicken Broth, Chinese Basil, Chinese cooking wine, Soy Sauce and Corn Starch.
Basically cook these clams like you would mussels. Get all the flavoring components going in a hot wok (use a soup stock pot if you don't have a wok. thicker the walls, the better). Reserve just the chicken stock, corn starch and basil til the end. Once all the flavoring ingredients are in the pot, add the clams. Toss them around under high heat and you will notice them start to open up. Toss in the Chinese Basil and add 1/2 cup of chicken stock and immediately cover for 2 minutes.
Open, stir around and add about 2 T of corn starch that has been diluted with about 1/4 cup of cold water. Mix all this together under high heat and notice the sauce thicken up.
Cut heat and plate onto large open dish.

The blue crabs were split open and halved. Then I pretty much stir fried them in ample amounts of ginger, soy sauce, black bean sauce, and chili peppers. Scallions and a little bit of chicken stock was added in the last 2 minutes of cooking. And there it is.
Plate and serve hot.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Xiao Long Bao Craving

It's been a while since I've had my last XLB fix.
It was one of those mornings where the first thing coming to mind was, "Self, what are going to feed yourself today".

So I hopped out of bed, and got dressed. Climbed into my car and drove the 12 miles to glory.

Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao is always solid and if you get there before 11:30am, you most likely won't have to wait more than 5 min to get seated.

To be brutally honest, Din Tai Fong is still top dog in my book. But these guys in Flushing Queens delivers one heck of a soup dumpling.
Well worth driving an hour for and when you want quality, and when Joe's Shanghai just won't do, Nan Xiang is the answer.


Just take a look at this sexy sandwich.
I know I've posted bahn mis in the past, but this most recent meal at Baoguette (west village on Christopher St.) was immensely gratifying.
What's even better is the mere $6 I had to pay for quite possibly a day's worth of euphoric sentiment.

Like a good bahn mi, it's toasted at the end to crisp up the bread. It's a warm sandwich with a ton of flavors and textures to seduce even the snootiest of foodies.
Constructed with Pate, Ham, Julienned Pickled Veggies, Sauces, Cilantro, and depending on some, extra spiciness as a kick for good measure.

Finding these sorts of culinary gems through out the city, and having them at your disposal really tips the scale in favor of an urban lifestyle.

Fork&Knife or Bare Hands

I ended up craving for pizza last night and the opportunity for UNOs popped up.
There are some of you out there who disagree with the deep dish being classified as a Pizza. And that's fine.
Pizza is a pretty sacred dish so to each his own.

That said, there really wasn't any way to eat THIS pizza without a knife and fork. I refuse to get grease and tomato sauce all over my fingers. Especially if I'm in a suit. So for those of you who enjoy a NY slice for being something you can eat on the go and then quickly wipe the flour from your hands on a single napkin, I salute you.

But rather than getting all tangled up with definition or classification... if it's good, it's good.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Kalua Pig

I was invited to a birthday party for two lovely friends, and one of them wanted it to be a Hawaiian luau. Since a lot of us were bringing dishes, I stuck with the theme and recalled the kalua pig I had when I was at a real luau on Maui. Of course, I didn’t use a whole pig, nor dig a hole in the ground to build an imu to cook the pig. I used the oven, pork shoulder, and a few other things. I’ve wanted to recreate this ever since I ate it years ago, but I’m not sure what took me so long. I assumed it would be complicated. There are different ways to make it, and here’s how I did it. Read on to see how easy it is:

- 5# pork shoulder (or pork butt… same thing)

- 4 washed bananas (Normally 1 banana leaf would be used, bit it was late, and the international market was closed, so I substituted with the bananas. It looked funny, but it worked.)

- 2 tablespoons Hawaiian salt (I used red salt. If you can't find this, sea salt works, too.)

- 2 tablespoons liquid smoke

- Tin foil

- Something to roast the meat in

- 1 large bowl

- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Slash the pork all over... aaaaaallll over. Do it with a fork or a knife. Only ¼” deep.
- Put the pork in the big bowl, and rub salt and liquid smoke all over, trying to get some in the slits you just made.
- With the fat/skin side up, put the unpeeled bananas on top.
- Lay a sheet of tin foil down, large enough to wrap the pork and bananas tightly.
- Place the pork and bananas on the foil.
- Wrap everything tightly in foil. Make it as tight as you can without ripping it.
- Put the pork in a roasting dish.
- Put an inch of water in the dish.
- Bake at 1 hour/pound.
- Take it out, open foil, discard bananas, and place the pork in a large dish or bowl. (Don't discard the foil yet, as you'll need the "juice.)
- Shred the pork.
- Take the skin/fat, and dice it into small cubes.
- Spoon the "juice" from inside the foil (not the water that is on the outside) onto the shredded pork to desired taste.
- Mix the pork & fat, and serve.

Normally, all procedures are the same, but the pork should be wrapped in the ti leaves with no bananas, tied with kitchen twine, and then all wrapped in the banana leaf.

That's it! See? Simple!
Apologies I don't have a better pic of the finished product in all its shredded glory; it was lost somehow.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Unoriginal Hollywood

Let's face it - there is very little originality now a days. They've made La Femme Nakita 5,000 times already and we even see this in the food world as people are suing each other left and right for ripping off each other's restaurant ideas.

Well, we even see this crap in the food television world as the Food Network has launched a series called Food Feuds which is basically the same exact concept of the Travel Channel's Food Wars - a relatively entertaining show featuring a blind taste test between two restaurant rivals in a featured city (Pastrami - Katz's Deli vs Second Ave Deli).

Pretty dumb, but it doesn't surprise me at all. Funny thing is Travel Channel and Food Network is now owned by the same parent company...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cod with Creamed Corn, Red Cabbage and Apples

Picked up some of the last corn of the season and whipped up this dish. Pretty fun and hearty flavors which are perect for the colder weather...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Scotch at Keen's Steakhouse

Met up Porthos the other day at my favorite NYC steakhouse, Keen's Steakhouse, and I was craving some scotch for dessert. When I asked which scotches they had, they brought up an encyclopedia of good old Scottish whiskey. This was by far the most impressive list I've ever seen.

I saw a glass from 1964 (Scott's Selection North of Scotland 1964), so I figured why the hell not - 1964 was a good year, right? - the first Ford Mustang, Cassius Clay beats Sonny Liston, and the Beatles make their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. At first I wasn't blown away since I'm not into Scotch with a sweet nose, but man it was so damn smooth. It definitely grew on me and I was pretty damn happy when all was said and done.

Can't wait to pay another visit and order me some other scotch.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sunday Night Dinner

Every so often, I crave a simple grilled fish with a bowl of white rice.
The Asian in me just can't help it I guess.
So I decided to grill up a mackerel the Japanese way, over some charcoals and seasoned it with just sea salt and sake.

In addition, I made a side dish as well.
It's my take on South East Asian flavors that would go well with white rice. Pork belly with chive shoots sauteed with Thai basil, lemongrass, namplah, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, ginger and garlic.
All in all, I'm very happy with the results tonight.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Summertime in the City.
A little bit of Italia never hurts.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Il Pesce

It's 2am now, I just got home from a 3 hour drive, and all I can think about is my amazing lunch yesterday at Il Pesce.
Il Pesce is David Pasternack's new seafood restaurant at Eataly.
I gotta say, I'm not a giant fan of this over cooked piazza/market, but I have to admit the fish is tops in the city.

You'd think NYC... the city that never sleeps, the city where you can get anything under the sun would have a great fish monger in just about every neighborhood.
Well, that's not the case. I can't even give you 1 example that's on par with Il Pesce in the Eataly complex. It's that good guys.
Fish with beautiful clear glass ball eyes, flush red gills, and shiny scales, all packed on an enormous slanted ice bed for you to marvel at.
The Langostines are live, and so were the razor clams and scallops.
It's a feast for not only the palate, but the eyes as well.

Alright, enough writing and I'm headed to bed.
Enjoy the pic I'm tagging to this post.

Branzino simply seasoned and baked in a combi oven for 13 minutes at 420 degrees F.
You really can't beat that.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Brooklyn in da House!

I had a long and stressful day yesterday. But after the work day and as the day ended, I had some friends come over and unwound over a quick dinner I put together.

By now, my friends know I'm an Ale Beer Guy through and through.
So they brought a six pack of Brooklyn Summer Ale.

I gotta say, it's some tasty stuff. And more importantly, it went very well with the Chinese food I made.

The summer's shot, but I'm sure you can still pick up the last few of this delicious brew at your local liquor store.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fornino Park Slope

Our buddy and fellow "Dude" is the Exec Chef at Fornino in Park Slope.
The NY Times Review came out today and they were awarded 1 star.
It's a respectable write up, but I'm a firm believer it's a solid 2 star restaurant.

The article is written up under the pretense the owner of the place is the Chef when in actuality, that's not the case.

This is all you buddy!

His cod wrapped in prosciutto, served with capers, olives and a scattering of sweet cherry tomatoes, showcases real talent in the preparation of fish, and a nicely cooked duck breast with cherries, spinach, pine nuts and a glaze of white balsamic vinegar shows a sure hand with game as well.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Taiwanese Food in Flushing

This is a must have dish. Clams with Chinese basil.
There's also a little bit of heat and a good amount of yum in this favorite dish of mine.

Lin's Taiwanese Gourmet - Highly Recommended
8402 Broadway
Elmhurst, NY 11373

It's pretty authentic and they do their best to use ingredients a normal Taiwanese would identify with.
Well, I always say tasting is believing.

I do wish they had a few more dishes I crave, but for being 5000 miles away from the motherland, I'll take it.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Food and Copyright?

The BLT Group is suing it's former chef and namesake Laurent Tourondel over a restaurant he just opened in Sag Harbor. I'm always anti-lawsuit regarding restaurants since chefs take inspiration (aka ideas) from other chefs all the time. But we are in America, so here are some other funny lawsuits grabbed from NY Magazine...

1989: Papaya King v. Papaya King, Papaya Prince, and Original Papaya
The cousin of Papaya King founder Gus Poulos once told us “We’ve sued many a Papaya Kingdom, Papaya Prince.” Papaya Kingdom cleverly dropped the K to become Papaya Ingdom, but it was ultimately forced to change its name entirely. The New York chain also successfully sued an Original Papaya for having a similar logo. So why have other Papaya King imitators gotten away with it? As the Times points out, “papaya, like cola, cannot be trademarked: as the name of a fruit, it is a common word.”

1990: Kentucky Fried Chicken v. Kennedy Fried Chicken
Kennedy Fried Chickens are abundant in New York (there were an estimated 50 locations in 2004), and don’t think the Colonel hasn’t noticed: The Times reported that Kennedy Fried Chicken was sued in 1990, and legal documents indicate that certain Kennedy locations (along with a Tokhie Fried Chicken!) were seized and finally forced to dole out $296,000 in 2004. The Times points out that the Kennedys have been hard to pin down legally, since their ownership is sketchy and they’re not a chain in the McDonald’s sense.

1990-Present: Patsy’s Italian Restaurant v. Patsy’s Pizzeria
In 1990, the Patsy’s Pizzeria chain (established in Harlem in 1933) prevented Patsy Grimaldi (a nephew of Patsy’s owner, Patsy Lucieri) from operating as Patsy’s in Brooklyn (it changed its name to Grimaldi’s). Ten years later, Patsy’s Pizzeria got a taste of its own when it was sued by Patsy’s Italian Restaurant, a favorite pasta joint of Sinatra. The pasta joint complained that the pizzeria had started selling red-sauce jars under the name Pasty’s Restaurant (not Pizzeria), with a logo similar to the pasta joint’s long-selling jars. A judge barred sale of the sauce. In 2006, the pasta joint sued again, this time trying to prevent the opening of a Patsy’s in Staten Island that claimed it had bought the name rights from the pizzeria. A judge ruled that it could open as Patsy’s, but had to cover up an Italian motto. Just last week, the Patsy’s were back in court because the phrase had reappeared on the Long Island joint’s awning.

1991: Famous Original Ray’s v. All the Other Ray’s
Here’s the history of Ray’s pizzerias, per the Times: Ralph Cuomo, owner of the first Ray’s, opened a second one and sold it to Rosolino Mangano. Mangano opened up a dozen other locations under the name Famous Original Ray’s and sold one to Gary Esposito, who opened up five more under the name Original Ray’s. After some disputes, the three men teamed up to form a company so they could register a federal trademark and sue every other Ray’s — most notably one Joseph Bari who owned the Ray Bari Pizza chain and claimed to have trademarked the name Ray’s in New York. Bari told the Times he wouldn’t fight for the name Ray’s, and he still operates under the name Ray Bari Pizza. Meanwhile, the Famous Original Ray’s Licensing Corp has sued other Ray’s as recently as 2008 (that case ended in a settlement).

1997: Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus v. Windows on the World
The Greatest Show on Earth unsuccessfully sued the bar in the World Trade Center for using the motto “the Greatest Bar on Earth.”

2003: Bukhara Grill of New Delhi v. Bukhara Grill of New York
New Delhi’s famous Bukhara claimed it had trademarked the name for restaurant use back when it operated an outpost in New York in 1986. A judge ruled that because that restaurant had been out of operation for three years (the legal definition of abandonment), Bukhara no longer had any claim to the name in the United States, and the Midtown East restaurant could keep its name.

2004: Rare Bar & Grill v. Rare Steakhouse
Shortly before it opened, Jean-Georges Vongerichten changed the name of his Time Warner Center steakhouse from Rare to V after burger joint Rare Bar & Grill complained that they didn’t want their brand diluted.

2005: West Hollywood’s Koi v. the East Village’s Koi
On the verge of opening a $2 million New York branch, West Hollywood’s Koi sued an East Village restaurant that had been operating under the name Koi since 2003. The complaint dropped Jennifer Lopez’s name to prove Koi was a “hot spot,” and claimed the “imposter” had copied design and menu elements. The East Village’s Koi in turn asked the court to prevent L.A.'s Koi from opening in New York. Eventually, to avoid extensive litigation, the local Koi caved. It’s now known as Kanoyama.

2007: Daniel Boulud v. Danny Brown, CBGB v. DBGB
Daniel Boulud threatened legal action on a Queens restaurateur, Danny Brown, for using a logo similar to that of his db bistro modern (a lowercase "d" and "b"). Ironically, a couple of months later, a CBGB lawyer told Boulud to cease and desist from using a DBGB logo similar to the CBGB logo. Boulud did just that, and Danny Brown ended up taking down his offending db sign.

2007: Pearl Oyster Bar v. Ed’s Lobster Bar
In a juicy lawsuit, Rebecca Charles of Peal Oyster Bar claimed that her sous-chef of six years, Ed McFarland, “pirated Pearl’s entire menu, copied all aspects of Pearl’s presentation of its dishes; duplicated Pearl’s readily identifiable décor; made repeated efforts to secure Pearl’s staff and suppliers and even returned to Pearl and photographed business documents; all for the evident purpose of trading off of Pearl’s sterling reputation and business.” Answering the complaint, McFarland argued that Pearl’s dishes were “traditional, ubiquitous and generic seafood dishes,” and asked that the case be dismissed. In April of 2008, the parties settled — Charles told the Times it was partly because she had to take care of her ailing mother.

2008: Miami Beach’s the Forge v. New York’s Forge
Miami Beach’s lavish celebrity spot the Forge accused Mark Forgione’s modest restaurant, Forge, of “cybersquatting” and trademark infringement (Forge was actually Forgione’s longtime nickname). The suit ended in a settlement and Forge is now simply Marc Forgione.

2009: Trader Joe’s v. Trader John’s
Late last year, a mysterious sign popped up on West 14th Street in New York, advertising a Trader John’s. It turned out to belong to Gristedes honcho John A. Catsimatidis’s new supermarket. Trader Joe’s didn’t take kindly to it, and Castimatidis eventually changed the name.

2009: Hershey’s Kiss v. Jacques Torres’s Champagne Kiss
When the Hershey Company sent a letter telling Jacques Torres to find a new name for his Champagne bonbon, Torres replied with a missive calling the action “yet another example of a giant, monolithic corporation attempting to take advantage of ‘the little guy,’” and had supporters sign a petition telling Hershey’s to kiss off. The strategy may have worked, because the petition is now over 4,000 signatures strong, Torres got oodles of publicity, and he hasn’t heard a peep from Hershey since.

2009: Chicago’s Superdawg v. MacDougal Street’s Superdog
The home of Maurie and Flaurie decided to run a West Village hot-dog stand through the garden when it tried to open as Superdog. After a couple of cease-and-desist letters, the owner changed its name to Super Hot Dog, but that didn’t stop a lawsuit from being filed.

Friday, September 3, 2010


Do you know what these are?
Japanese fish cakes. "Nah Roo Toh"
Originally a special dish like kamaboko, but it is now mass produced and garnishes mostly ramen bowls today.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Atlantic City Seablue Visit

Went to Michael Mina's SeaBlue in Atlantic City and had a great time. We went with the tasting menu which showcases Mina's signature dishes and it even comes with his cookbook which has all the dishes in there. First time at any of Mina's restaurants and you can see he's into taking classics and tweaking them slightly with big time rich flavors. Any who, thanks to the chefs for a fun meal and my buddy Kyle for a great experience.

Our Menu
House-Made Pita Bread
Sun Dried Tomato Tapenade, Goat Cheese Spread, Cannelini Bean Spread

Tartare of Ahi Tuna
ancho chile, pine nuts, pears, mint, sesame oil

Foie Gras
pistachio, mango chutney, brioche

Miso - Glazed Chilean Seabass
udon noodles, rock shrimp, baby bok choy, mushroom dashi

Maine Lobster Pot Pie
Seasonal Vegetables, Truffled Lobster Cream

American "Kobe" Rossini
Shallot Potato Cake, Hudson Valley Foie Gras

Chocolate Trio
Devils Food Cake, Chocolate Pudding, Molten Cake