Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
"I received a beautiful tin of cookies from one Mrs. Fidel Gastro. Chocolate chip and peanut butter with Hershey's kisses. They are delicious. And I mean it. If I had a dollar for every time I said that, I would have one dollar."
Fidel: Hey D-tron, would you ever consider using your powers for evil?
D-tron: I don't think I'm programmed that way. Should we hog and jog?
Fidel: You mean dine and dash?
D-tron: Whatever. I'll go to the bathroom first.
Hogging and jogging ensues.*
*Actual events may not have included hogging and jogging. D-tron, thanks for lunch.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Street Meat: 3
Today I am eating a mushroom cheesesteak from a food cart over on 16th Street. I forget the name, but it's on the west side and close to Market. I know that "healthy cheesesteak" is an oxymoron, but this one has a "guiltless" taste to it (not a bad thing). It's almost as if I could eat three of them without filling up. Buen provecho.
Lunchtime stroll highlight: The junkie that stopped me to ask if "Holiday" has one or two "Ls" before he put sharpie to cardboard. Analog spell check. Brilliant.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Coyote Crossing is nestled among the blue collar townhomes of Conshohocken, PA. In addition to delicious ass wings, their margaritas and entrees do not disappoint. And if dancing's your thing, DJ Strike spins on Friday nights (but both times we have been there, the place was deserted).
Friday, December 12, 2008
Queso burrito with pork, corn salsa, hot salsa, pico de gallo. It may well have been a Top 25 burrito.
D-tron sez, "Don't put my face on the internets."
I say, "Shut up and eat your burrito. Would you hand me a napkin?"
Fist fighting ensues.*
*Actual fist fighting may not have occurred.
Friday, December 05, 2008
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Monday, December 01, 2008
Street Meat: 2
Having Ma and Pa Gastro in town (stay tuned for a report on all the misadventures) gives just cause to eating Philadelphia's signature sandwich more than once, especially since they decided to stay for an entire week (yes, a whole week). Last night's choice was Chubby's, a place directly across the street from Delassandro's, who happen to be closed Sundays. Great fries, above average steak (the meat has a great seasoning), but the fake Cheez Whiz took it down a couple notches. Buen provecho.
Monday, November 24, 2008
1. Cheesesteak (duh)
2. Fat Knight (similar to the Fat Darrel, which is now copyrighted by Darrel himself, because he's a paper chaser. Hell, I'd do the same)
3. Croque Monsieur
4. Chicken Parm
Oh yeah, the crepe place was the kind of place you'd go with your Rittenhouse Square living grandmother (if you had one). Our waitress, even though (s)he looked like Grace Jones, was about as nice as you can be while still keeping it authentique. My overpriced crepe was topped with an over-fried egg whose yolk was more mealy than oozy. The crepe itself had the right sponginess, but overall, it lacked that certain je ne sais quoi that satiates you. I wanted to order another one, but fearing the wrath of faux-Grace Jones (and realizing my lunch hour was almost up), I left hungry. If you're in the mood for a snack or a light lunch (but not a quick one), I'd say go ahead and give it a try. But if you're hungry, you should opt for one of the top 4 above. Buen provecho.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
When the cold winds blow in from the north (or when James googles "beefsteak dinner"), the beefsteak-as-fundraiser season is upon us. Last year's outing left us begging for more, and even the recent move to Philadelphia couldn't prevent me from taking in another beefsteak as soon as I got the chance. With my expectations boiling over, I recruited a fellow glutton to join me on the two hour drive to Verona, NJ, for the Broken Arrow District Boy Scouts of America Annual Beefsteak Dinner. If you think that's a mouthful, have a gander at the (crappy) pictures.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
The best part? It's so easy to make. A bowl of soy sauce, liquid smoke, red pepper flakes, and any other rugged ingedients you can dream up. The worst part? Waiting the 24 plus 12 hours to get to the finished product, but that beats the old timey days when it took the better part of a week AND you had to worry about wild animals all up in your business, potentially eating not just the jerky, but your face to boot.
*actual backpacking may not have occurred
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Street Meat: 2
Today I went with mushroom, american, hot sauce, and ketchup from a cart called "Breakfast N' Lunch" on 18th and Market. Big roll, but not enough meat to fill it, even with the addition of canned mushrooms, which could have already spent a day out of the can. Perfectly acceptable for four bucks. Buen provecho.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Please cook your rice. Please rotate your salsa stock. Please instruct your cashiers not to cough into their hands behind the counter. Please melt the cheese on my "enchilado style" burrito. Please tell your cooks to stop giving me dirty looks through the pick-up window. Please do not ever again serve the pile of crap that I ingested this past Sunday. In other words, please do your best to give a shit about what you serve. If you can't, then please take the word "fresh" out of your name.
Friday, November 07, 2008
1 small tin of Spam, cut into 1/4 inch slices and then halved
3 cups cooked short grain rice cooled to room temperature (I used brown rice)
1 sheet of nori, cut into inch slices
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin
1/4 cup sugar (this turned out to be too much. A tablespoon should do)
Combine the soy sauce, mirin, and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat to dissolve the sugar. Meanwhile, fry the Spam (no oil needed) until browned on both sides. At the end of cooking, pour in the soy sauce mixture and use tongs to coat the slices. Remove from heat. If you have a musubi maker, fill with rice, plunge away, top with Spam, and wrap in nori. Repeat until finished with rice and Spam. You can also form the cubes yourself, or use the empty Spam can.
Monday, November 03, 2008
Monday: A ticket to the World Series. Like a hypoxic mountaineer just steps from the summit of Everest, I deluded myself into the notion that the game would go on. Prior to the cats and dogs, however, I finally had the Schmitter, which I've been meaning to try since I heard some jerk talk about it during the cleanse. It sets itself apart from the ubiquitous cheesesteak by adding fried tomato, salami, and russian dressing, and to rationalize the gluttony, it's served on a kaiser roll. Sadly, my high expectations were met with disappointment, more than likely because it was a windy 40 degrees at the stadium, so the whole thing was cold after the first bite. I refuse to give up, though, and thankfully, the establishment that created the Schmitter just so happens to be in my neighborhood.
Wednesday: After unloading my ticket to a neurotic Indian, Mrs. Gastro and I joined the Gastro-in-laws for cheesesteaks from Delassandro's (my new 2nd favorite cheesesteak) and cheese fries from Chubby's (near and far, nothing compares to Pat's cheese fries, but these are in the ballpark). Unlike Pat's and Geno's, the steak is of the chopped variety, and there's a pile of it three feet high on the grill at any given time of day, so even if you call it in, they don't make it until you show up. Not exactly cooked to order. I think the beef could have used a little more salt, but I numbed my tongue with cherry peppers to cope with this. After dinner, the fightin' Phils won the World Series, which meant a stroll down Manayunk's Main Street, and more whiskey and colas than necessary, partly because of this, but primarily because I turned 30.
Thursday: Visit number four to Qdoba (please don't remind me that I hated the first visit. I know), which I've dubbed the pork burrito visit (and every fourth time from here on out, I will get pork). The assembly line put double of everything on it, and the result was a two pound behemoth that I probably shouldn't have finished. Then again, I probably shouldn't have drank my face off the night before.
Friday: A day off from work and a Wawa hoagie. If you don't know, I feel sorry for you. In the evening, a novelty costume and too much Red Bull. It usually doesn't work, but this time I was screaming at everyone I was with and laughing like a stupid banshee. My apologies to all who were with me.
Saturday: Just like the man upstairs, I saw that it was all good, so I finally got some rest. And some Chinese take-out.
Bender complete. Buen Provecho.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
You have three options; either replace the hot sauce with something that doesn't taste like apple cider (Frank's Red Hot isn't that difficult to come by), take the damn thing off the menu, or change the name to "dessert steak." And after you've made your decision, bring us the cheese sauce you owe us from last night's botched order of cheese fries. Jerks.
Mr. and Mrs. Fidel Gastro
Monday, October 13, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Thursday, October 02, 2008
I think every burrito deserves a second chance, especially when the restaurant queue makes its way out the door. After Qdoba served me a burrito both soggy and dry (in all the wrong places), I lowered my expectations and joined D-tron for another go, this time ordering one of their signature burritos, the Chicken Queso. Professor D opted for the Vegetarian Gumbo.
With long lines at the outset, you're subject to table-lurking. Fortunately for me, D-tron scored us a seat while my receipt printed, most likely by giving someone his signature "ice grill."
So here we were, me tearing the burrito foil back, and he already slurping what appeared to be a delicious bowl of soup and rice. The Chicken Queso burrito is made proprietary by a ladle of cheese sauce (canned or otherwise, cheese sauce is like a warm blanket on a cold day. Sadly, if you dipped yourself in cheese sauce to stay warm, once it congealed, you'd be pretty cold, plus you'd look like a real dumbass). Too bad the ladle was more of a tablespoon, and I couldn't really taste it among the hunk of rice and assorted spoofuls of beans, sour cream, chicken, and salsa. Overall, nothing new and innovative. Then again, with my expectations hovering near "this will be a shitty lunch but what the hell," getting a Chipotle replica turned out to be exactly what I wanted. Admit it, if you couldn't get Pat's for some reason, you'd make your way over to Geno's. Assembly line burritos are just plain good (if you can manage to properly cook the rice), whether they start with a Q, a C, or anything in between. And how was the gumbo? Well, you'll have to ask D-tron, but watch out for the "ice grill." Buen provecho.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
The order was "bacon, egg, and cheese; salt, pepper, hot sauce." Please do not presume that I want half a bottle of ketchup as well. The only thing worse than ketchup on eggs is purple ketchup on eggs. That, or maybe eating a tin of skoal.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Google "Rachael Ray is the devil" and you'll come up with pages upon pages of results. Sadly, I couldn't find the original article I was looking for; it had a wonderfully childish picture of Ms. Ray adorned with a goatee, two slits for eyes, and horns (my favorite likeness of the Prince(ss) of darkness). Getting to the point, which is not "Satan lives among us," rather, it's that I bought my wife a subscription to Everyday with Rachael Ray, and I was pleasantly surprised with one of the recipes, the Pita Salad. Don't hate the player, hate the game.
Channeling Alice Waters, the recipe calls for local produce that's available at the end of the summer, tossed with a light dressing of lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil (or EVOO in devilspeak). An added dimension of crunch comes from pita bread that has been baked in the oven for 10 minutes. It's the perfect meal for when you go play squash before the grocery store, then spend too much time at the grocery store because the grocery store's changing from a SuperFresh to a PathMark and you can't find anything, then get in a nonsensical fight that lasts longer than it should, and finally you arrive at dinner way past 9pm. On a weeknight. Buen Provecho (or Yum-O! in devilspeak).
Pita Salad for 2:
1/2 head of romaine lettuce
1/2 red pepper
2 pitas, cut into eighths
Juice of one lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
Small garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I have nobody to blame but myself for not checking the class schedule, but would it really be that difficult to keep at least one swim lane open during water aerobics? Furthermore, this no towel service thing is a flippin' joke. How can you have a pool and no towel service? It's like starting a fire knowing that there's no water around to put it out. And finally, I understand that demographics require the location to be in a strip mall, but please do not go on and on about making a commitment to fitness and then park yourselves a hundred feet from imminent and slow death by processed foods. LA Fitness, you get a C-. Barely.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Some of the takeaways/highlights:
1. Philadelphians don't fuck around. Even in the midst of a hurricane, the event was chock full of blue collar/white collar/popped collar spectators, most likely in attendance for any potential carnage.
2. If you're bringing beer in your cargo pockets, make sure your shorts have a belt.
3. Emergency rain ponchos are pretty freakin' sweet.
4. My wife is an amazing beer pong player.
5. I'm pretty sure I agreed to an ultimate frisbee league. If you see me on the street, you're totally allowed to punch me.
6. The tie that binds is always John Cusack films. Better Off Dead is my personal favorite.
7. If indeed you decide to make the commitment to a 14 hour drinking day, be sure to end it with a cheesesteak and cheese fries, and if you can't balance on your own, don't be a hero and try to put others to bed.
Friday, September 05, 2008
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
(I promise to get back to better reviews, dear reader. I apologize for this drivel. Stay tuned for something much more interesting than the breakfast buffet at the Rochester Courtyard by Mariott and their offering of made-to-order eggs)
Friday, August 29, 2008
At the end of it all, I feel amazing, and the added bonus is that I lost 20lbs, so I can put the elastic pants back in the closet. If you can shut the world off AND you can make food your enemy for 10 days, I highly recommend taking the plunge. When you're done, pat yourself on your newly flat tummy and smile. Buen Provecho.
Vegetable Soup Recipe:
1 bunch kale, roughly chopped
2 potatoes, quartered
3 carrots, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 long hot pepper, or any hot pepper, sliced
Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
Sweat the onions, carrots, and celery in olive oil until onions are translucent, about 3 mins. Add the rest of your vegetables and spices, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer the fuck out of it (an hour or so).
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Mental status: I'm no longer crazy, but I am a little angry
Tummy status: Ready to eat buffalo wings, tomato pie, cheesesteak, pizza, chicken parm, soup dumplings, and pork fried rice all in one sitting (and wash it down with an assortment of beers, including Miller Lite).
Energy level: Still way up, although it was tough getting out of bed this morning.
Tomorrow I drink orange juice and eat vegetable soup. I'm accelerating the reintroduction of food (which could be bad), but I'm flippin' starving. See you on the other side. Buen provecho.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
(You may note that I'm going completely crazy. I could have sworn I was hallucinating the other day. I've had the mouth of a sailor. And I'm even enjoying the musical stylings of Li'l Wayne. God help me)
Friday, August 22, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Moving along to other fun changes my body is going through, the other end is now dispensing liquids instead of solids, although a few did sneak out a 4am this morning as a result of the herbal tea I drank before bed. Surprisingly, there hasn't been much action aside from each morning's "internal bath." The upshot is that I get to catch up on some reading.
No major hunger to speak of, but we're early on. Plus, I'm pretty sure I ate enough to hibernate for most of the winter, so my reserves are pretty full.
Stay tuned for more updates, and enjoy your food, because I can't.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
1. The sushi here sucks, so don't get it. You're better off eating poison straight from the box. In fact, you should only order from the laminated menu with the grill specials. That means octopus balls, any of the pancake options, and fish sausage stuffed with cheese.
2. They're only open at night, but they're open late. I would say that the later you go, the better the food tastes.
3. Drowning whatever's in front of you in mayonnaise is always a good (delicious) idea.
4. The service is pretty crappy, but I probably wouldn't give a shit either if I was serving some drunk round-eye.
5. I'm hung over.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
The place is an all-around slam dunk. You get cheap ass food, local artwork, the owner's in a band, minimalist decor, and an 8 out of 10 on the service scale. If it weren't for the crowds, we'd probably eat there more often. Unfortunately, last night's food missed the mark. Maybe that's too much of a blanket statement. It was the Pad Thai (white man's Thai) and the warm beer that put the rest of what was on the table in vertigo. There was way too much plum sauce, giving the dish an unbearable sweetness that lingered far too long in your mouth, and the noodles themselves had the rubbery consistency of poorly cooked calamari. Aside from this unfortunate mishap (really the centerpiece of our meal), the rest was delicious, although the whole fish I ordered was filleted such that I spent a lot of time deboning. Moving on to dessert (which put me over the edge and made me want to deliver a food baby), we opted for the fried banana. Take a note, readers, skip the appetizer to save room for this masterpiece. It's a banana spring roll surrounded by neapolitan ice cream. The fried wrapper adds a savory note to the pile of cream and sugar, and it's a perfect ending to what is usually a perfect meal.
Overall, one hell of a goodbye meal. And for $50 all in, including booze, it's still the best value in Cobble Hill when it comes to Thai food. As a pair of bookends, I bid you adieu, Joya. I hope our paths can cross again, and soon. Buen Provecho.
Monday, August 11, 2008
As you may know, I will be relocating to Philadelphia shortly (less than a week to be exact). While I certainly look forward to everything that Stephen Starr has to offer, including his Atlantic City offering of French Onion Soup Dumplings, I leave New York City with a heavy heart. I have started what I hope to be a long string of suggestions for a final meal over on Serious Eats. Nothing's too outlandish, but try and stay within the constraints. Buen Provecho.
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Five Guys still has the best burger. Goodburger (home of the goodburger) has the right idea, but next time I'll refrain from getting "The Works." Ketchup, mustard, and mayo on the same sandwich is like the suicide fountain soda (all the sodas available). It only sounds like a good idea.
I took my wife to Saul for her birthday. Holy shit was it good. The tagliatelle first course had everything I would never think to ask for in a pasta dish: bacon, poached egg, and a silky broth that tasted like a meat smoothie (that's a good thing). Follow that up with sweetbreads atop an Indian-inspired pile of potatoes and pickled cauliflower, a pale ale pairing, and you've got the best meal on Smith Street (sorry, The Grocery).
I've spent the last two weeks eating more than 3,000 calories per day. It's very hard to sustain that much sustenance.
There was a pig roast at 3rd Ward on July 20th. I didn't go.
That's all for a week or so. Buen Provecho.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Dear Tom Mylan,
Please forgive me and my inability to cook pork. I feel as though it should be me engulfed in flames and not these spare ribs, not these chops.
Again, terribly sorry for thinking I actually knew what I was doing. Buen Provecho.
Friday, July 11, 2008
I understand that every now and again you have to have a cigarette. Smoking is cool. But if it's 6:55 and the 2-for-1 happy hour special ends at 7, you should not hang out post-smoke until 7:15 and screw my darling wife and I out of a free brew doggie. Furthermore, we sat patiently while you bullshitted with a dude that by most people's standards would be considered a douchebag. That in and of itself should qualify us for one on the house. You can have the tip money, but the next time you're behind the bar, we'll keep walking.
Mr. and Mrs. Gastro
Monday, July 07, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
"You know all those assholes that don't get out of the way when you're trying to get on the subway? And all those crowds on the street? And the fucking UPS guy? Every last one of them used to cure meat. It's just how it used to be done."
Or something like that. Tom Mylan is a genius, a history buff, and a goddamned good butcher. By day, the carving artist is behind the scenes at Marlow & Sons, Diner, and Bonita. In the evening, he's a moonlighting educator at The Brooklyn Kitchen, where you can witness the miracle of turning a whole hog (actually a side) into chops, belly, jowls, loin, and yet even more cuts that I am unfortunately ignorant about.
The whole process takes a little under two hours, beginning with an espresso, and finishing with sauteed pork kidney. Along the way, you learn about each cut of meat, the best way to cook it, and trade secrets that you may or may not have read in The Omnivore's Dilemma (I'm certain that all 10 of us in attendance gave it a recent read). For instance, I learned that there's only two hanger steaks to a cow, meaning that if you and your date both get steak frites at your local bistro, you might as well eat the whole cow. Food for thought indeed. It's not only a lesson in butchery, but also sustainability.
What I love about the grassroots approach of programs like this is that the people running the show love what they do, and want nothing more than to share that joy with the masses. It sounds corny, but it's true. I felt like an amateur throughout the process, but in the end I was given all the tips I needed to make sure that the 8 pounds of pork that I walked away with (triple cut chops, belly, and ribs) were put to good use. Buen Provecho.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Quite frankly, you suck. Please don't quit your day job. Although after last night's performance, I doubt you could be good at anything. In what I consider to be a free country, why are we not allowed to have a $5 happy hour margarita at the bar and then sit at a table for dinner? We would have even been generous with the tippage. Instead, you get zero, which is what you deserved after being such a jerk, and to add insult to injury, your margarita skills are worse than Mr. and Mrs. T. Thank goodness the rest of the staff is consistently stellar. As for you, I hope your days at Lobo are numbered.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Your iced coffee tastes like dirty water. I was dangerously close to vomiting after a single sip. I would think it wise to cease and desist your miserable iced coffee operation and stick to asiago cheese bagels.
Monday, June 02, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
1. Irish folk are wicked philanthopic.
2. I have no friends.
Let this post serve as a "thanks a million" to the proprietors of Ceol Pub on Smith St. in Cobble Hill as well as a "thanks for nothing" to the jerks that didn't show up. You know who you are.
Monday, May 12, 2008
Bun: Off to a good start. Not smashed into the rest of the sandwich.
Mayo: The usual BK four tablespoons, but enough bun and lettuce to hold it together.
Lettuce: A few shavings, probably a 2 on the 1 to 5 scale.
Tomato: Two small slices. I guess the roma tomatoes were cheaper today.
Breaded and Fried Onions: A soggy mess. Too close to the A1 sauce.
A1 Sauce: A watered down version of the original. Tasted more like sweet and sour sauce.
Cheese: Winner in the "Ingredient That Tastes Most Like What it Should Taste Like" category.
Patty: One and a half times the size of the bun, but thin and dry with leathery edges.
Overall: Fidel, you're a dumbass for thinking this would taste any better because the commercials are funny. Buen provecho.
Friday, May 09, 2008
No matter how much of a hurry you are in to reapply Proactiv solution to your already destroyed face, please refrain from taking our wet laundry from the washer and putting it on top of the dusty dryers. Or, better yet, please readjust your laundry schedule so as to not coincide with ours, because if this continues, there will be two hits: my wife hitting you, and you hitting the filth that we are forced to call a laundry room floor.
Mr. and Mrs. Fidel Gastro
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Thursday, May 01, 2008
This is Rachel's lasagna:
Pictured above is my second helping. Sausage, bechamel, and homemade sauce worthy of a New York mafioso. And after the second helping, while the rest of the party played "Drink Fifty Tequila Shots in an Hour," I silently peeled back layer after layer of pasta, eating them like savory fruit roll ups. And when the sauce and sausage emerged, I picked out the little chunks of spiced ground pork and popped them like whoppers. I think there's no better compliment to the chef than sneaking more of the main course when you're not supposed to. In fact, I think that even after the lasagna made it into the fridge, I was still picking at it. I hope that nobody was counting on leftovers. Buen provecho.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
1. The closer you are to the field/glass/court, the better the access to chicken fingers. In fact, at field/glass/court level, you can even get sushi. However, my wife is the only person allowed to order sushi without being subject to endless ridicule and dirty looks. Time and place, people, time and place.
2. When other people pay for it, the beer tastes better. But no matter how delicious it may be, it's never a good idea to order 12 beers on someone else's tab, especially if you don't have the aisle seat.
3. This has nothing to do with food, but it should be noted that sporting events are no place for kids, unless your kids are allowed to drop the f-bomb at home and pick fights with people who wear the wrong jersey.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Boo and double Boo. Your light beer offering tasted like orange juice from concentrate that you get in the tiny cans on the airplane, and your cobb salad had no taste, even with such pungent ingedients like blue cheese. The chicken was definitely chicken flavored meat product, and the boiled eggs were definitely from a jar. Also, guacamole is for chips. Avocados are for cobb salads. If you don't know the difference between guacamole and a plain avocado, please go f**k yourself.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Thank you very much for running out of cassoulet. The steak frites replacement was a real shit show. The cut of meat was way too big and way too greasy. Maybe it's my own fault for already having beef in the form of a pork roll burger for lunch. Regardless, I was disappointed. Furthermore, your service was a big pile of poo. I don't speak French, but I'm pretty sure "Could we get some water?" doesn't translate to "Please ignore us and our entrees presently drying under the heat lamp."
Monday, April 07, 2008
In lieu of butter soaked tenderloin on toast, the Beef and Beer offers chafing dish after chafing dish of slow roasted beef, fresh horseradish, baked ziti (aka "zeets"), and two kinds of potato salad, German, and the kind swimming in mayonnaise. And instead of helping yourself to Bud Light cans in strategically placed coolers, the Beef and Beer offers endless pitchers of Miller Lite, the best light beer ever created.
Once the belly's full (usually two to three plates piled high), one can attempt to burn calories by taking a stroll through the aisles created by the raffle baskets. Or, if the beer's doing what it's supposed to do, one can head straight to the dance floor. After a few songs, a giant candy bar shows up in the hands of the guy running the show (Gene Finely, brother of Claire, a real freakin' awesome dude), and the dance contest begins. Some dude took his shirt off, but it was the Asian breakdancer that walked away with the 5 lb. chocolate monstrosity after a flawlessly executed windmill.
And the evening rolls along. Line dancing, more beer, and finally, the basket raffles. Another year, another beef and beer. Thanks to my mother-in-law, not only did I get to stuff my face, but I was also blessed with having a designated driver. Much more than the raffles, the sense of community one observes at these events has to be the most rewarding take-away, and I hope I'm around next year and the year after that to be a part of it. Buen Provecho.
Friday, March 28, 2008
I love The Cease for being from the Midwest. I love his penchant for hard to injure quarterbacks and the irony of his lactardedness as a Wisconsinite. But his most redeeming quality has to be his ability to find an obscure foodstuff in an all too common location. The foodstuff of note this time around being the buzz meat La Quercia, a domestic porker available to purveyors only as a whole hog. Making local prosciutto has to significantly reduce the cured meat's carbon footprint, which is a grand thing for mother earth, but I was upset to see such a huge markup in Manhattan, where the premium (at Otto, natch) was double what I paid at The Jake Walk in Carroll Gardens ($5 for a single there as opposed to $10 in the big city). Granted, the fuel consumed by a refrigerated meat truck idling on 8th Street and 5th Avenue at 5am on a Tuesday might beg the premium, but I would rather Mr. Batali work it into the price of his myriad Italian wines, or any other combination of his non-local ingredients kicked out of the earthy boot that is his Disneyworld. I'm all for paying the premium associated with consuming local foods, but if your entire menu is FOB Italian, you should probably forgo the opportunity to serve domestic prosciutto, especially if you're going to charge and arm and leg (and a shank) for it. Let somebody else benefit from that gimmick. Buen provecho.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
I am fully disappointed in your latest brisket offering. It was all fat and no lean. Jack Sprat would have died on the spot. Thankfully, your baked beans and pulled pork are the best in NYC (leaps and bounds beyond Hill Country's), and they're even better with a gallon of Liquid Gold. It's fully worth reeking of campfire in the subsequent days after visting. But seriously, you should really do something about that brisket.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
On the other hand, if you adhere to the no meat during Lent policy, the one I made mention of in an earlier post, you have a great excuse to eat fish and chips. Unfortunately, the best fish and chips are all the way over in Galway, so I'll probably just have a turkey club. Buen Provecho.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
1. Holy crap is it easy to get to the slopes. Half an hour door-to-door, no crowds once you're up there, and the cushiest snow imaginable. If you're extreme like me, this is a plus.
2. Holy crap does the beer taste like carbonated water. Ever ordered a coke and it came out clear and tasted just like club soda? Kind of like that, except you feel extra bloated and you can't send it back because that's what it's supposed to taste like. One can only depend on brewer buddy Adam Curfew for quality suds. If you're planning a trip, let me know and I'll make sure he gets you sorted out.
3. There are a whole host of Mexican fast foot joints that kill it: Alberto's, Beto's, Los Betos, Molcasalsa. All open 24 hours a day, so if you've got the drunk munchies and are willing to risk the DUI, the burritos are unbelievable, plentiful, and cheap.
Basically, it's the best place to snowboard, but the worst place to drink.
Friday, February 29, 2008
2. The whole thing about no meat on Fridays during Lent came about because the clergy was in cahoots with the fishermen (and not because God is made of meat), so I have no remorse about eating sausage, roast pork, and chicken today.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
BFTC Annual Beefsteak Dinner
All You Can Eat and Drink (and the zipcar): $55
Fellow meathead The Cease does a wonderful job of covering this glorious occasion on To Beet or Not to Beet. Below are some more photos. If you go, don't eat the bread. Also, Leo Chase is a fraud. An hilarious fraud, but a fraud nonetheless. Buen provecho.
Conlon Hall. I bet there's been some mean CYO games played here.
James H multi-tasking
Che G. Pre-Hypnosis
The Cease post-beef (note the bread pile)
Thank you for regularly changing out your grease. The cheesy tots were a hair shy of perfection, and the only thing keeping them from such elevated status was my guilt for eating deep fried macaroni and cheese.
Thank you also for the freshly prepared Whopper Jr. I really did get to have it my way.
P.S. The reggaeton background music was also a nice touch.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Friday, February 15, 2008
Already a day late, will Che also be a dollar short???
ps- Importunitiousness isn't a word. I made it up.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
1. Its name is La Nueva Conquista.
2. There is no set menu, and everyday they have a new selection of dishes to choose from. They include more traditional dishes like chicken guisado, beef stew, and baked chicken, but they also have way crazier stuff like goat stew and pigs feet. And everything is served on a giant bed of beans and rice, with your choice of white/yellow or red/pinto, respectively. And, if you get there early enough, you can also get plantains.
3. They offer to put gravy on everything. Think about it. Putting gravy on your beef stew. Just think about it.
4. The dude that works there is wicked fat and has the craziest coke-nail I’ve ever seen. He’s really proud of it. You can tell.
5. They don’t really have set hours, but rather they close shop when they run out of food. This adds an extra level of excitement as you rush home at the end of the night.
6. Its super cheap. Each plate is only $7. You can’t even buy two tacos at La Esquina for $7. That’s the magic of low overhead.
Definitely check this place out if you’re in the neighborhood.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
The concentration of restaurants in Chinatown is such that one might think a soup dumpling is easy to come by. But a delicious soup dumpling? That's a little more difficult. My limited expertise in the field led me straight to New Green Bo on Bayard St. and east of Mott St. It was 15 minutes through the crowds to get there from the Canal St. stop on the 6 train, and once in the vestibule of the restaurant, I knew it would be an hour more. On to plan B, Shanghai Cafe on Mott St. north of Canal. Another crowd sidestep ballet and I was there. Since the parade was focused south of Canal, Shanghai Cafe had yet to be bombarded, and I was seated immediately. Moments later, the first of two orders of soup dumplings arrived, tiny blossoms taunting me in their bamboo sauna. I had to let them cool off, and after doing so, I employed the system of dumpling on spoon, hole in the dumpling, slurp the soup, and pop the remaining deliciousness in your mouth. And once you get the system down, it's hard to restrain yourself from going on a soup dumpling bender. The size and flavor of the soup dumpling tricks your mind into thinking you never have to stop. Thank goodness it's a lunch hour, and not a lunch afternoon. Buen Provecho.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Apparently this is an organized dinner in which they serve offals, which are basically organ meats and entrails. I love how people come up with ambiguous names for these parts of the animals so you think that maybe it’s something delicious. Like sweet breads. As in, “Would you like to try the sweet breads, sir?” and I’d be all like, “Sweet breads?? Sure. That sounds delicious. Is it anything like figgy pudding??”
But for anyone who is an adventurous eater, this sounds like a really interesting event. Especially if you’re as big a fan of candied cockscomb as I am.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
La Esquina is amazing for as many reasons as it is terrible. On the up-side, its open 7 days a week from noon to 5 am. I'm not sure who needs tacos at 5 am on a Tuesday, but apparently somebody does. Now, I'll admit that sometimes that someone is me, and when it is, that someone is wasted. But they don't judge. No way. They'll serve tacos to just about anyone willing to pay three times what a taco should cost.
And there's the rub. Every time I go there, I have to spend just a little more than I wish I had to spend. Not a lot more, but enough to make me long for easier access to a Grilled-Stuffed burrito with a side of Cinnamon Twists. And they have a $15 minimum on credit cards, which is just dumb.
But perhaps the greatest thing about La Esquina is its most unlikely menu item... La Hamburguesa. As many people know, hamburgers have become a big thing in New York these days, which is why I'm so surprised that I've never seen the burger at La Esquina on anyone's list (Fidel just informed me that it did make it on the Chowhound's top 5). I probably never would have ordered it myself had it not been recommended to me by a very hungry man, but I'm glad he did. Here's what good about it:
1. It's grilled and it tastes grilled, like a something you'd cook in your backyard. Its the only hamburger I've had in the city that truly tastes like it was good on a charcoal grill. It has the grill marks and everything.
2. It not only has lettuce, tomato and onions, it also has avocado and some sort of special sauce. I guess this is how they justify calling it La Hamburguesa. I also add ketchup.
3. Its just the right size. Its not a freaky-huge burger like you get at Jackson Hole, or 22 feet tall like Dumont. Its not by any means small, but you won't need a bib to eat it.
But the best part is this- since you can only order take-out, the burger gets kind of banged-up, the way McDonald's burgers do. Sort of smushed and delicious. I'm not sure why that makes it so good, but it just does. And to that end, if you eat at the bistro next door (not the fancy spot downstairs), don't order La Hamburguesa. It's just not the same thing. I'm not sure how they manage to screw it up so bad, especially since I believe its the made in the same kitchen as the take-out counter, but stick with the tacos (and order a Michelada).
Monday, February 04, 2008
There's always tomorrow's lunch break for that. Buen Provecho.
Friday, February 01, 2008
9th and Broadway
Lunch, no soda: $5
The aroma that wafts from the corner of 9th and Broadway holds a special place in my heart, right next to pool exhaust. It's comforting and familiar, and it's the siren song Rafiqi's uses to get you in line for a box of meat and rice, salad, hot sauce-white sauce. The general consensus is that street meat will kill you. Your intestines will explode with the fury of a thousand Spartans, and afternoon productivity levels will reach new lows as you spend the rest of your day in your "other" office. Logically speaking, a street vendor is subject to much more scrutiny than that of a storefront, and it's difficult to conceal hygenic shortcomings in a 5' x 5' stainless steel box. In that respect, I trust it. On the other hand, how can you get a healthy portion of chicken, lamb-flavored meat product, and rice for less than five bucks?
The answer is not low overhead. The answer is cut-rate ingredients. The "lamb" is really pressed meat and spices. Texturally, Rafiqi's does the right thing with it. It's cut from the shawarma-tisserie and thrown on the grill until a crunchy shell forms. Nonetheless, it's simply cubes of halal spam. The chicken is just plain wrong. In the age of chicken breasts, I'm not used to eating fatty chicken. It has the consistency of undercooked chicken, and no matter how many spices you rub it with, the texture screams salmonella. The salad is soggy lettuce and one slice of tomato. The rice is overcooked. The sauces are nothing more than mayonnaise and sriracha, and you'll get at least a cup of each squirted all over your platter. Aside from the crispy "lamb," the dish was a major disappointment.
This is one outpost of many Rafiqi's. Quite possibly, the expansion of the operation has diminished the quality of the food. The testimonials printed all over their cart sing their praises, but I have to put them at the bottom of my list of halal food trucks. If you're near 9th and Broadway, spend the extra money and time and make your way over to Chickpea on 3rd Avenue and St. Mark's Place. Buen Provecho.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Friday, January 25, 2008
Godspeed, Mr. Henry, and good luck. May your new eyes guide you along a righteous path.