Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Friday, July 27, 2007
Pho - a dish that needs to be on more menus. I've never been so satisfied by a bowl of soup in my life. It's also the first time I've eaten soup with chop sticks. I stuck to just the beef...the tendon and tripe might have been excellent but I wasn't ranging far tonight. My father joined me for dinner as he was nearby waiting on my mother. He'd been to this place (or one very similar to it) many years ago and has been trying for all that time to get us there. I wish he'd succeeded before now. I hope we can get back this next week. We ate and had a good time catching up. He'd also mentioned Vietnamese coffee to me. Now I'm pretty much a coffee freak...there isn't much I haven't tried and I'm always up for something new. I had one hot and one iced tonight...imagine drinking melted coffee ice cream...and you get pretty close. Rich, sweet, intense, and with the caffeine and sugar I was buzzing for an hour afterwards.
So...I get my goodies home and I set to work. I've already told you about the pickle. Now...for the chicken...I mixed 1/4 cup of light brown sugar (at some point I'll get palm sugar and test it, but tonight called for what was in the pantry), 1/4 cup thin soy sauce, 1 1/2 T fish sauce (I almost ran out of the kitchen...I'll get used to the aroma over time but it was just rough tonight), 2 T tamarind pulp, and 1 T sriracha. I warmed this in the microwave for about a minute total and stirred to melt/dissolve/soften the tamarind from the seeds/membrane/inedible stuff. I let it sit for a couple of minutes and then I poured through a strainer and mashed on the solids to get all the good stuff...the verdict...sweet, salty, sour, and a little heat (just a sparkling heat, not really even a hit) - there's a hint of fishy but I think when it gets in with the chicken, lime, green onions, and garlic it'll fade fast. I'm going to tweak some Duke's mayo with some soy and sriracha for a little oomph.
On the New Orleans reference...yes...MAF is moving to the Big Easy. Posting will get scarce from the 3rd through sometime the next week. I'll be back...there's new foods to find and I'm assuming the cook's role in my inlaws house for a bit (they've opened their home until the loving wife and I get on our feet and find a place). I'm looking to broaden some culinary horizons and maybe slow down the eating out. I'll discuss more later.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Friday, July 20, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
So first order of business...pictures...
I'll disappoint you upfront - I didn't take any snaps at the Farmer's market. I had my camera but I was exploring and didn't really think to grab it until I was feasting on a Nutella crepe and about to depart.
I did take pictures here...
I drove to Avery Island and visited the factory...it's not a big place but it's well worth the drive - if for nothing else to pass mile after mile of cane fields and to say I've been where Tabasco is made. There are also other treats...
Fresh crawfish etouffee. Purchased at the Tabasco Country Store right next to the factory. I took the tour and bought a couple of little mementos. I also visited the Jungle Gardens just down the road from the factory but I'm still working on those pictures...so post for another day.
I spent a week in New Orleans. It's been the third week in a year and the fourth trip in that timeframe. My first trip was a good one - I went two years before the storm. My next trip was a year after. In these recent trips I have been able to see the real city. I've found out that some of the tourist traps are also favorites for locals. I've found that as is true in so many other cities - those hidden neighborhood hole-in-the-walls are some of the best food there is. I will weigh in on two topics: Cafe au lait and beignets and muffaletta. I'm not going to do an exhaustive history of the coffee and beignet tradition in the city but I will say that after multiple visits to both Cafe du Monde and Morning Call I much prefer Morning Call. I've visited the Lakeside location of MC half a dozen or more times (I need my fix at least once when I'm there) and several of the CdM's scattered about town...MC wins hands down in my book. Still...it's fun to go to CdM on a windy morning early (pre 9 am) and watch out of town business men in dark suits attempt to eat fresh beignets piled high with lots of white powdered sugar. I suppose it is the little things in life...especially when they're that funny. Now onto the topic that might get me keelhauled...muffaletta. I have had three versions of this mythical sandwich now. One from the capital of muffaletta Central Grocery, one from an Italian place just around the corner from my in-laws house, and this one...from Cafe Freret (thanks again Lorin). Now the one at the Italian place is in a different category - hot/warm muffaletta. CG and CF are both cold. My wife and I shared the large at CF...I managed to put away half of this thing. I love these sandwiches...meat, cheese, bread, vegetables, olives (which I'm not normally a big fan of) and love all put together in a way only New Orleans seems to do. My wife and I held a fast discussion as we indulged in our favorite NOLA date food (it's a tradition that we share one every trip) - we'll be back at CF...and not so much at CG. For the uninitiated let me offer this - go to CG and experience one (don't go on Monday (they're closed) and go early) then go to CF and really enjoy. These are my opinions - I'm not compensated in anyway that having eaten and enjoyed them (is it wrong to even enjoy picking up the check for them?)
There is more to come...but I wanted to get something to you to update things. Back to the iced au lait I made myself (I always bring back groceries...).