Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Snooze

Hip little joint near Coor's Field here in Denver. Steph never leads me wrong when she has a restaurant in mind. Snooze has her favorite Huevos Rancheros ever, and it's a damn tasty one for sure. Three tortillas, perfectly over-easy eggs, crisp, fresh salsa and avacado, creamy black beans. It gets filed under 'did not suck.'

I went for the "Pulled Piglet Benedict." Yeah, you knew I was going to order that. According to Snooze, it's "Slowly braised pulled pork and avocado atop a toasted English muffin, covered in our smoked cheddar hollandaise & served with house hash browns on the side."

According to my taste buds and my belly, it was just frickin' awesome. Smoked cheddar hollandaise makes me happy. Crispy hash browns soaking up yolk from perfectly poached eggs makes me giddy. Pulled pork with all of that? Yeah, I was definitely a member of the clean plate club.

Snooze on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 25, 2008

Buffalo Bolognese

Dinner Saturday night in Lakewood at Cafe Jardano. Fantastic neighborhood Italian joint.

PG talks about this dish non-stop. And I know why now. Sorry for the cell phone picture. But what you have here are three thin buffalo steaks with a bit of crispy breading and a MASSIVE amount of cream sauce. I mean seriously, this was a cream and cheese good day. Cream, not half-n-half, not milk.

Crispy Eggplant Sammy

First lunch in Denver yesterday with a gaggle of WV Young Dems. We found a spot called the Appaloosa Grill on the 16th Street Mall.

I went for the Crispy Eggplant. Fried 'cutlet' style pieces with a bit of cheese and some tangy marinara on a hearty, chewy roll. A good start to food in Rockies.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

My Omnivore's 100

Okay, I'll bite.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras (thanks Steph!)
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal (for the first time last month)
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

I get 75. Not bad.

Clearly I'm realtively Asian-food-deficient. On it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Presents

My pal Krista's mom went to India for surgery recently. She got a new hip, and I got a jar of garam masala and a pouch of turmeric from India.

I want to know what to cook with it.

I can reprise my Baingan Bartha.

I can pull out my copy of The Curry Book by Nancy McDermott and make Kashmiri-style Lamb Curry.

I can make something really weird. What can I make? Tell me, tell me, tell me.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

wv pork ribs w/ grilled red chilli corn

i know i talk about it all the time, but really, go to the bluegrass kitchen. new chef and neighbor gary is OUT OF THIS WORLD. bbq pork ribs with grilled red chili corn. and BAM. the man is a brilliant chef. great to chat with about food too.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Wild Mushroom and Broccoli Risotto

Packaged pre-spiced turkey tenderloin is a relatively cheap way to get some lean protein. There were some words I couldn't readily pronounce, but there were also a lot of just plain food ingredients. Plus, I ran into Randy in the produce section and he suggested them as fairly tasty...

Randy is a smart guy.

Plus it lent itself to the addition of Sriracha.

And then I got to cook, fairly intensely for a Wednesday night, by making a wild mushroom and broccoli risotto.

No cheese. My bad. Made up for it with creamy butter.

1 medium red onion, diced
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
Olive oil
3 cups wild mushrooms, sliced
1 cup risotto
1 cup white wine
1 box chicken stock, in pot warm on stove
1 large head broccoli, chopped and lightly steamed
1 T butter
salt and pepper

1. Saute the onion and garlic over medium high heat until just starting to turn translucent.
2. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper, and cook over medium high heat until the mushrooms have given up most of their liquid (10-12 minutes).
3. Add the risotto dry and stir through for 1 minute.
4. Add the wine and stir until absorbed.
5. Add the stock, 1 or 2 ladles at a time, stirring constantly, until each addition of liquid has been absorbed.
6. Somewhere after 15-18 minutes, when you've added liquid between 6 and 8 times, the risotto is likely close to ready. Check by tasting it...really. If it's still to crunchy, keep adding and stirring. Test after each ladle is absorbed from here on out.
7. Steam broccoli. I nuked for two minutes covered with plastic in a bowl. Whatever gets you hot, crisp tender, bright green broccoli.
8. Add the broccoli and the butter to the risotto, remove from heat and stir through. Serve hot.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Would You Like to Be My Neighbor?

I thought after my first read through this month's Bon Appetit (the restaurant issue) that it would be a slightly disappointing issue. There weren't recipes that jumped out and said "Go to the store and buy every ingredient required to make this. NOW." I usually get at least one.

Now, I will make the Philadelphia's Osteria's Semolina Gnocchi with Oxtail Ragu when the air conditioner is no longer needed for life. And you'll probably like it a lot.

But the most striking piece in the magazine was an article I only skimmed on first read.
I've always liked the idea of a neighborhood restaurant. In a perfect world, we all would have one: a warm, dimly lit cafe around the corner; a bistro just a stumble down the block; a spot up the street where you could always get a table. We all would have a reataurant where we truly belonged - like the bar from Cheers, only without the kooky customers.

In this perfect world, the maitre d' would greet you with a kiss on the cheek. The server would set down your usual drink before you'd even taken a seat. The menu would open up like an old, familiar novel, the one you've read a half dozen times but never seem to tire of. You could eat and drink and carouse as though you were at your own kitchen table - bat at the end of the evening, you could tumble into bed without washing a single dish. When I die, I've decided, I don't want to go to heaven. I want to go to my neighborhood restaurant.
This is such a touchstone description of the Bluegrass Kitchen it literally caused me to reread the article twice.

Author Molly Wizenberg, author of Orangette, goes on to wax awesome about her favorite dish on the menu.

It's a slow-roasted tomato served with perfectly grilled crusty bread. And I'll probably make it after connecting with the sentiment of the article.

Like Wizenberg, I am discovering the benefits of local living on the East End. There are Italian restaurants, barber shops, book stores, the Capitol Street Market, Power Park.

And the BGK.

It's dimly lit, the staff is family to each other and to me. Hell, the owners are my landlords and I live in a four-unit building with the chef, the sous chef, and Herbert.

When I roll in for dinner on a Saturday night, there's a reserved card with my name at one of the six bar stools, usually the one at the end closest to the kitchen (I get the most interaction with the wait staff that way).

Herb is making a Manhattan for me. He uses bitters. Like you all should.

New chef Gary is recreating the experience at dinner.

The standard menu is a wonderful mix of black bean-poblano enchiladas and perfect chicken, red lentil hummus and squash ribbon pasta.

And now there are truly 'special' specials. Fresh, exciting dishes that make even the old comfortable neighborhood restaurant an adventure every day.

The Piedmontese-style beef tenderloin with deep-fried potato-cup spinach and Maytag blue cheese souffle smothered in mushroom-truffle oil sauce.

The Escolar (white tuna) on a sweet corn Johnny cake with green tomato sauce.

The Gnudi (naked ravioli) with ricotta pan sauted and served with arugala pesto, roast pumpkin seeds and roasted red-green tomatoes.

The chewy bacon and market fresh tomatoes on the BLT with gorgeous tender sourdough bread.

The perfectly poached egg everytime you order the ham steak with sawmill gravy brunch special.

All while chatting with Eileen, Eduardo, Herbert, and John. A glass of the Cousino Macul unoaked Chardonnay to pair simple wine with the complex acid tomatoes, herbed pesto, and creamy Gnudi.

It's a comfort zone that everyone should find in food.

I know the place, the people, and the food. I don't get tired of walking in to meet up with friends for a meal and I never hesitate to walk over on my own if I haven't made or don't want to make plans.

And now I get to watch the progress of the deck being added to the front of Tricky Fish across the street too.