Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Halloween bacon

October 31, 2007 - 8:48 pm 1 Comment

Halloween is here, and in the air is a strong scent of bacon.

WTF? Why does the street smell like bacon? It’s been bacon-smelling since we took the kids trick or treating an hour and a half ago. Now the smell is so strong, it smells like bacon in the house.

Not that I’m complaining.

But… bacon? Huh?

Some Halloween goodness. Our little devil and Spiderella, and the severed ladyfinger cookies I made for my classmates (yes, I’m baking cookies for my college colleagues… Hub keeps calling me a little old lady.

Halloween kiddos Severed ladyfingers)

Quickie reviews

August 3, 2007 - 4:22 pm Comments Off on Quickie reviews

Restaurants we’ve been to lately:

Dirty Martin’s Kum-Bak Place. Still excellent after all these years. The back room now has three, count ’em, three window air conditioners, so it’s frigid in there, yet still smells funky. Their sirloin sandwich is to die for. Cheese tots are a must. The kids (after complaining about the temperature and the smell) asked when we’re going back. Go.

Evita’s Botanitas. Before even bringing menus, the waitress brought us water, chips with 6 different kinds of salsas, and little cups of (complimentary) queso for the girls. The kids inhaled their food. I got the mole enchiladas and do believe it’s the best mole I’ve ever had. Previously I got gorditas there and they were similarly rad. Hub was happy with his al pastor. Go.

Taqueria Arandas. Delish Jalisco-style food. Hub digs the al pastor. Kids dig the enchiladas. I always seem to end up with the carne asada (they cook it with nopalitos, yum). Excellent horchata. Cheap. Good. Go.

Dot’s Place. (Note: Dot’s place is on Windermere, not Orchid. They burned down and moved a couple of years ago.) Simply put: you must go. They serve cafeteria-style soul food. $7.50 gets you a meat and two sides, and they’re enormous portions. $.30 for a roll or a piece of heavenly cornbread. The beef tips are excellent. The sweet potatoes might make you cry. The kids got the lasagna and loved it (child plate is $5). They’re open for dinner on Thursday and Friday from 5:30-8:30; else they’re just open for lunch. Go.

Doggie update

June 10, 2007 - 1:53 pm 2 Comments

Quickie update – Cuervo’s still staying at the vet, but they have been calling us daily with reports. He’s “scarfing down food” and keeping it down. He’s also said to be in good spirits. The only problem is that they had to stop treating the big bad long-term problem in order to treat the big-bad short-term problem, so once his infections are healed, we have to restart the steroids and immuno-suppressants. And Kona is lonesome.

We hope to bring Cuervo home tomorrow.

Other stuff that’s been going on lately:

– Every time the neighbor’s AC goes on, our lights dim.
– I spent the night in NYC last Monday and had a great time. I left my camera in a cab, though. I did manage to grab the pics onto the computer beforehand.
– At least two more weeks of insane busyness ahead. I’ve also got a research paper due this week and a final exam next week. I’ve decided that I will not flip out if I get a B in this class. My GPA would still be a 3.9.
– We tried two new restaurants this week – Ventana (cooking school restaurant; okay prices, shaky service, uneven food) and Drakula (Romanian; good appetizer plate but when one makes polenta, one should use the salt; also, it smelled like someone’s grandmother’s house – a mix of cleaning products and cabbage – and was about the same 85 degree temperature atmosphere a grandmother would like, too).
-Two profs from last semester told me I should submit two different papers for publication.

Back to the grindstone!

New favorite restaurant

March 16, 2007 - 10:44 pm Comments Off on New favorite restaurant

Hub and I went to the Backstage Steakhouse for dinner tonight, and we were completely blown away. We started with the Jalapeno Corn Cake with Crawfish and Gorgonzola with a Mustard and Red Chile Sauce – the corn cake itself had a nice crunchy texture to it, and the crawfish was nicely spiced. Then we followed up with the Spinach Salad with Poached Pears, Walnut-Crusted Goat Cheese and Raspberry Port Vinaigrette – my only complaint here was that the dressing was very sweet and needed a little salt to balance it out. For an entree, I had a pan-fried tilapia served over rice and under a crab salad, topped with a jalapeno bacon lime butter sauce. I could not get over how good this was, and I’m not usually one for fish dishes. The tilapia was piping hot and such a nice mouth contrast to the cold crab, corn, and gorgonzola salad atop it. Hub got a ribeye and asked for it rare, and happily it was cooked correctly. The meat itself was very flavorful. The best part is that they’re relatively modestly priced, and the happy news is that they have kid entrees, too, so I imagine we’ll go back with the girls since it’s not terribly quiet inside the restaurant.

I hesitate to recommend this place because if people knew how good it is, there would be no getting in, but some stuff is just too excellent not to share.

Dart Bowl no, Phil’s Icehouse yes

February 10, 2007 - 9:42 pm 6 Comments

After hearing for years about their fabulous enchiladas, the family and I went to Dart Bowl today for some bowling and dinner. We entered the restaurant area around 6:20, and ordered at 6:25.

At 6:45, still nothing. A customer from another table went to the kitchen and stood in the doorway until someone finally acknowledged him.

At 7:00, the people sitting behind us who sat down a good 20 minutes after we did got their food.

At 7:15, we’d had enough. No food, no eye contact (actually, the waitress was visibly ducking us), no refills, no “your order will be out before midnight,” no nothing. We left five bucks for the drinks and took off.

Their enchiladas may be good, but I won’t know about it.

We headed over to Phil’s Icehouse instead. I adore their Violet Crown burger (patty with grilled onion and bleu cheese on a jalapeno bun). Their onion rings were cooked to a turn, too. It’s just a shame that the patties were so overcooked. The butter rum from Amy’s next door made up for it, though.

Restaurant reviews

January 28, 2007 - 1:18 am 2 Comments

We visited two restaurants this weekend.

Last night, around 9:00, we decided to go out to eat. I checked around on to see what restaurants were still open late, and Truluck’s in the Arboretum area (although not in the darned Arboretum) was listed, so we decided to try it. This was the first time I booked anything through that website, and it went very well.

Truluck’s was a joy. The service was excellent – helpful but completely not overbearing. We ordered the Tuna Tartare Tower (which is just darned fun to say) as an appetizer. Chopped raw tuna, avocado, sprouts, and tomato with a spicy sort of dressing and balsamic vinaigrette. Next was the lobster bisque with sherry. Both starters were fresh and toothsome, although I thought the bisque was a bit undersalted.

For an entree I ordered the stone crab platter. This came with 8 crab claws and a side of mustard sauce, as well as parmesan garlic mashed potatoes (oh so good) and steamed broccoli. I had never had stone crab before, so I was really pleased. The crab was pre-cracked and served over ice. The flesh was slightly sweet and really very nice. I managed to eat half before I got stuffed. Hubby’s Flounder Ponchartrain was also very nice, but the stone crab was definitely the standout of the meal.

The bartender also makes a mean dirty Tito’s martini.

We definitely plan to haunt Truluck’s more often, perhaps even going early in the evening and bringing the kids. (Well-behaved foodie kids, of course.)

After reading some of the stellar reviews here for Uchi, we decided to bite the bullet and stand in line. We got there around 6:30 and were quoted a two hour wait; in fact, we were seated at 7:30, which was a nice surprise.

After near-complete befuddlement at the menu, we decided to go ahead and order the omakase. The waiter stumbled a bit in the description, not sure whether it was 9 or 10 dishes, and not entirely sure what was on it, although he did mention fois gras.

At least three (and maybe four… too much sake) of the dishes were variations on the peanuts/almonds + sashimi + citrus-infused oil/white soy + golden raisins theme. Not that it wasn’t good, but I had hoped for a little more variety. The real standout dishes were the toro nuta, the seared scallops, the duck, and the hangar steak. When I asked about the foie gras, the waiter said they had run out – then I heard the table behind us (who was seated after we were) receive theirs. Dessert was a sort of uninspired chocolate terrine, although the pumpkin sorbet, ginger puree, and chocolate ciggies that accompanied the terrine were all great. My press pot coffee was extremely weak for my tastes, but I’m picky about coffee.

To get to the restrooms, you have to weigh about 80 pounds and be able to squeeze through 4″ spaces. The people seated with their backs to the aisle were completely disinclined to pull their seats in. I’ve had more room squeezing past the drink trolley on an airplane. And the bathroom was dirty. 🙁

In short, Uchi was technically good, but I felt that they were overpriced ($166 for the omakase for two), considering the lack of variety and miscellaneous slips. Very trendy, the bar is very much a meat-market, very beautiful people. If you’re into the scene, you might like it, but strictly for food purposes, you’re probably better off elsewhere.

Tamale recipe

December 19, 2006 - 2:09 am 1 Comment

Okay, I am a real tamale snob. I get really turned off by substandard tamales. I’m not exaggerating when I say that these tamales rival the best tamales I’ve ever bought from someone else.

They’re not hard to make, but they are time-consuming. It takes about one minute per tamal to spread the masa, add the filling, and roll it up.

I also like to add 5-6 raisins on top of the meat before rolling it up.

Here’s a pictorial of last year’s tamale process.

2 lb. cooked meat, shredded
6 oz. corn oil
3 tablespoon chili powder
2 tablespoon comino
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2.5 teaspoon salt

To prepare meat, cover with water and boil until very tender. Reserve the broth for making the tamales.

Gently warm the oil with the spices. Pour over the shredded meat and mix very well.

Makes enough filling for about 4-5 dozen tamales.

1 cup lard
4 cup broth
4 cup masa
2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon chili powder
Corn husks

Soak corn husks in water while making the masa.

Beat the lard until it is smooth and slightly fluffy. Add two cups broth and mix, then add 2 cups masa and mix. Add two more cups broth and mix, then two more cups masa. Once all ingredients are incorporated, whip at high speed until fluffy. When it is beaten well enough, a pea-sized amount will float at the top of a cup of cold water.

Spread a thin amount of masa onto the bottom left of a corn husk, leaving about one third uncovered on the top and right side. Sprinkle a tablespoon of prepared filling down the center of the masa, longways. Start rolling from the left to the right, ending with the part of the husk that has no masa on it. Fold the end under.

Steam for about 2 hours until masa is firm.

Makes enough masa for 4-5 dozen tamales.

Feliz Navidad

December 18, 2006 - 2:40 am 1 Comment

It’s tamale time again. We’re getting started really late, and we’re about to be out of town for two days, so we need to have them done by then. Ten dozen down, about fifty dozen more to go.

But boy, are they gooooood.