Saturday, July 31, 2010

Test Kitchen



Every Saturday I'll try out a new recipe I just found on the net...you'll see the good and the bad of it.






Chipotle-Grilled Tacos

http://themightyrib.blogspot.com/2010/07/mighty-good-recipe_13.html

Description: Remember this recipe? I do. It was sent in by a loyal follower (that term sounds like I'm making people drink the Kool-Aid). It took a little time, but I got around to testing it out. Glad I did. Thanks again to Amy for sending this one my way.

Recipe Difficulty (Scale of 1-10): 7
I went with a high difficulty here only because of the pork loin. I'm tired of eating dried out loin. Great piece of meat if grilled correctly. If not, it ends up tasting like a catcher's mitt. It's easy grilling pork loin, just don't overcook it. The rest of the recipe is simple to put together.

How it turned out: AWESOME!!!
Umm, look at the picture...how do you think it turned out? This is truly a great recipe. Very Bobby Flay-isc. It was sweet, tangy, and spicy.

Would I make again: Yes...absolutely yes.
Everyone loved this one...definitely met with rave reviews. And as you can see, you can even have a little fun with the presentation. I decided to deconstruct mine.

Friday, July 30, 2010

He Said, She Said

Monthly Feature
It's the end of the month...and guess what's due...another He Said, She Said for Carrie and me. Here’s how it works:

• We went to the same Houston-area restaurant at different times.
• It's our first time eating at the restaurant.
• We read no previous reviews.
• We write our reviews separately.
• Once written, the reviews are not changed.

Little Bigs
2710 Montrose Blvd.
Houston, Texas 77006
http://www.littlebigshouston.com/

Little Bigs is a slider/shakes, order-at-the-counter restaurant located in the heart of the Montrose District. There’s also a location in Hermann Park.

He Said Atmosphere: (3.0) Stars
Montrose location: I was flustered upon entry. The order counter is about two feet from the front door and with the lack of patrons, they were ready for me. After I ordered, I got a better chance to appreciate my surroundings. Clean, white community tables were throughout…with mid-sized metal stools for sitting. Nothing really stood out about the place, but I felt comfortable enough. Watched some sports highlights on the flat screen and listened to some tunes on the jukebox. I wasn’t a fan of the beer bottles on the wall…felt like college. This place was better than that. LBs also had a nice, covered outdoor deck.

She Said
Atmosphere: (3.5) Stars
Hermann Park location: The straight forward concept of this place is evident the minute you walk in. Simple stainless steel tables set up counter-style. A couple smaller tables, but essentially, you will be sitting next to strangers. Floor-to-ceiling windows give you a beautiful view of the lake. However, if you sit against the windows, make sure you are on the lakeside; otherwise you have a lovely view of the public restrooms. Tables to accommodate 4-6 available outside if you can bear the Houston heat (which I couldn’t in July).

He Said
Menu Selection: (0) Stars
Ummm….four types of sliders, fries, shakes, beer and wine. Think that was it.

She Said
Menu Selection: (3) Stars
Not a lot to think about in terms of what to order. At the Hermann Park location, there are 3 slider choices- beef, chicken, or black bean- fries, and 2 salad options. Various yummy sounding milkshakes, including several for adults.

He Said
Taste: (2) Stars
Can someone please change the name from “Little Bigs” to “Order the Fries”? The fries absolutely saved this meal. They were some of the best I’ve had. Everyone has their own style of fries and these were right up my alley…medium-cut, good amount of potato, crispy but not too crispy, with a perfect amount of sea salt. They were fabulous. The rest of the meal screamed average to below average. I ordered three of the four sliders (beef, fried chicken filet, and pulled pork). First off, I’m not a big slider fan. The patty is typically small and thin...ending up dried out. Not LBs…their patty was almost like a little ball, and thus it turned out moist. But it wasn’t seasoned well, and the caramelized onions did nothing for me. I walked over to the condiment bar for some “special sauce”. Good description…if you eliminate “special”. The fried chicken slider was the best of the three…not greasy, very crispy…but nothing about it stood out. The pulled pork slider was dry and poorly seasoned. It was topped with cole slaw, which was tasty, but I wanted more. Did I mention the fries were fabulous?

She Said Taste: (2.5) Stars
Maybe if I could have indulged in an adult milkshake I would feel more positive about my food experience. Here’s the thing…if you are only going to offer four menu items (the 2 salad options don’t count in my book), they better be exceptional. Mine were not. I ordered the slider trio – one each of the beef, chicken, and black bean (pulled pork was not an option at the Hermann Park location) – a basket of fries and a lemonade. The beef slider was on the dry side and lacked seasoning. It was saved from ruin by the caramelized onions, but just barely. The chicken slider was tender and juicy, but forgettable…breaded chicken which was by no means “spicy” with a single pickle. The black bean slider was the best thing I ate. Granted it was a bit pasty and the little squirt of harissa cream sauce was undetectable, but, it was tasty with a good level of heat. Now, the fries…props to Little Bigs for using sea salt, but I would have liked some more of it. To me, fries should be either super crispy or full-on greasy. These were somewhere in between. Not terrible, but nothing spectacular. Oh, and my lemonade may have been hand-squeezed, but it tasted more like Countrytime. So sad.

He Said Service: (5) Stars
Great service…fast, and the guy running the show complimented my super cool, vintage Astros shirt. He was a nice guy and was genuinely interested in making sure we enjoyed our experience.

She Said
Service: (3.5) Stars
Since you order at the counter and pick up when your number is called, rating the service is somewhat difficult. That being said, the staff at the counter was friendly and the place was extremely clean.

He Said
Pricing: (5) Stars
I ordered four sliders and some fries and the bill was around $10…not bad. The burgers were small, but the fry basket was huge. Have I mentioned how good they were?

She Said Pricing: (3.5) Stars
Not bad…about $20 for two of us. Extra points for considering tax when pricing their items $5.78 for the slider trio = $6.25 with tax, $1.62 for fries = $1.75 with tax. Genius!

He Said Overall Opinion: (3) Stars
I don’t want to completely destroy Little Bigs. I like the concept, and at least I didn’t leave feeling like a complete fat ass. There’s something to be said for that. The burgers weren’t terrible. I didn’t like the pulled pork, but the other two were average. I’d come back for some fries and a shake. My biggest complaint…if the menu is this limited, every item needs to be spectacular.

She Said Overall Opinion: (3) Stars
Expectation is clearly the mother of disappointment. Had I not had such high hopes for Little Bigs I may have enjoyed my experience more. I LOVE the concept of this place…no frills burgers and fries. Unfortunately, I could have used a few more frills as my meal, in general, lacked flavor and pizzazz. Sorry, Little Bigs…I wanted to love you.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Happy Hour

Every Thursday I'll get you ready for the weekend with a drink recipe!

Before I get to this week's drink, I wanted to mention a new blog out there. My buddy Mike just started up
http://themadduxabides.blogspot.com/. Please check it out and become a "follower"...I'm guessing it will be good.

Purple Devil

http://www.drinksmixer.com/drink6004.html

This drink is certainly not as crazy at it sounds. It's a cool, refreshing summer drink. I'm on a mission to clean out the liquor cabinet (slowly that is). The Purple Devil helps me with this endeavour. Cabinet staples such as Cointreau, amaretto, and triple sec are all included.

Reader Questionnaires


Take a look at some more reader questionnaires. Want to send one in? Email me at: wcshalin@hotmail.com



Name:
Tracy
Current City: San Antonio, Texas

Do you cook? Unfortunately.

What is your favorite meal to cook? Soup, but no one else likes soup, so I make a lot of spaghetti. I use spinach and squash instead of meat and my boys eat it up.

What food do you absolutely hate? Lamb. I don't really like fennel seeds or rosemary in any food on my plate either.

What is your favorite dessert? Hmmm... either chocolate cake or cheesecake. I'd have to look at both to choose.

What food have you never eaten, but wish you could try? Maybe Ethiopian.

What is your favorite restaurant and what do you order? Favorite as in, I could eat there every day for a long time and not get tired of it? Well, that's how I'll answer the question. It was the Rose Garden (thai) in Vacaville, CA. I'd get a thai iced tea, the fresh spring rolls for my appetizer, and the thai broccoli with shrimp. The next day, I'd have the fried spring rolls with the Tom Ka Gai. After that, the Hot n Sour soup with pineapple fried rice. Next day, coconut chicken soup with the yellow curry tofu. Then, a salad with the lemon chicken... I could go on and on.

You’re on death row, what’s your last meal? I'd head our for tapas, order everything on the menu, and have pitcher or two of Sangria.


Name: Mini T
Current City: Houston, Texas

Do you cook? From time to time, mainly simple dishes. There just isn't enough time after work during the week and too many great restaurants to try during the weekend.

What is your favorite meal to cook? Rib Eye Steak - I love love love meat...and when you make it yourself you get it done just the way you like it.

What food do you absolutely hate? I don't think it's possible for me to hate any food. I just don't like over-priced mediocre food.

What is your favorite dessert? Not a huge dessert person but the first thing that came to mind was a warm white chocolate bread pudding with Mexican vanilla bean ice cream on top.

What food have you never eaten, but wish you could try? I would have to agree with the truffles. It's this elusive ingredient. I've had truffle oil which is not at all the same. But definitely a plate of really good risotto would just be heaven I'm sure.

What is your favorite restaurant and what do you order? Having to pick a favorite restaurant is just mean. My most recent foodgasm experience was Branch Water Tavern. The fois gras was appetizer was amazing.

You’re on death row, what’s your last meal? All things meaty and decadent....fois gras and bacon wrapped scallops for appetizers...a 22oz medium rare bone in rib-eye...and lamb chops on the side...screw the traditional sides or anything green....and a bottle of magnum opus.

Natalie the Nomad

Monthly Feature
Natalie is on the move...this time in Georgia!

Minnie’s Uptown Restaurant

104 8th Street
Columbus, GA 31901

The Scene: Minnie’s is a peculiar place, only open Monday through Friday, and from 10:30 to 2:30 in the afternoon. We quickly noticed that ‘parking’ was limited to picking a spot around the restaurant and the surrounding neighborhood. Minnie’s is a homely place; patrons ranged anywhere from blue collar folk to people in suits traipsing in from a downtown job. While we were fortunate enough to not run into this issue, we were told to arrive early or else food would run out rather quickly.

The Drink: Summertime in Georgia "is hotter'n a hookers doorknob on payday." The perfect ying to that yang is sweet tea. When in Georgia, live off of sweet tea and you will not be disappointed. Especially if said sweet tea is coming from Minnie’s Uptown Restaurant... the sweet tea in and of itself is a treat, but the massive amounts of down home Southern soul food definitely puts the icing on the cake.

The Grub: The setting is a quaint country buffet style cafeteria set up, complete with desserts and your choice of soda/water. The smorgasbord was complete with greens, turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, cornbread stuffing, green beans, and a plethora of desserts. The popular choices at our table were fried chicken, candied sweet potatoes, grits, rice & gravy, cornbread, creamed sweet corn and hush puppies. The sides complimented the friend chicken perfectly. I’ll have to admit that the cornbread was a little dry, but I also think that it is a personal opinion… the rice and gravy were “nothin’ to write home about”, and I was kicking myself for not getting mashed potatoes and gravy. While I’m not a fan of grits, I was assured that they were great – in between heaping spoonfuls of grits of course. Now onto the nitty gritty… hush puppies were perfect. I honestly was afraid of attacking these first, as they were huge and sure to be filling. I was right, but it did not stop me. The creamed sweet corn was downright awesome. All too often, creamed corn is bland and watery; but this stuff was almost fluffy and full of flavor. Being a runner, my heart screamed upon seeing all the fried food on my plate, so I’m glad I could manage to combat it with some veggies… ;) I’m just going to pretend the creamed sweet corn counts! The candied sweet potatoes were probably my favorite. I could have eaten an entire tub of this deliciousness. While mashed, there were still chunks of sweet potato, but also in the mix were tiny little bits of cooked brown sugar. Whoever thought of this little bit is a GENIUS. I’m tempted to try and duplicate this recipe on my own, but I know for certain it would not compare to Minnie’s.

The Chicken: Now onto the fried chicken. Words cannot describe… I’m pretty sure this chicken came straight down from Heaven and onto my plate. The breading was perfect; so thin yet incredibly decadent. The chicken itself was juicy and moist, cooked to perfection. I will admit that I went all ‘Neanderthal’ and even licked my bone clean. Everyone at the table got fried chicken and not one person had a complaint. Anyone who knows me, will tell you that I am the last person to ever eat fried food, but if I could have this stuff daily I would.

The Grand Finale: At this point I was barely functioning and was pretty much a walking zombie in a self induced food coma. I could not have another bite, but from what I understand the banana pudding “tastes so good it makes you wanna slap your mama”. The bowl was gone within minutes, but from the glance I stole, it did look pretty tasty. Had I not have been up to my eyeballs in soul food, I would have tried the red velvet cake. Or the key lime pie. Or the brownies.

The Verdict: I literally just wanted to eat chicken skin and candied sweet potatoes all day long and wash it down with Sweet Tea. If you are ever in Columbus, Georgia – this place is a MUST GO. Just go early, and you will leave fat and happy. I will warn you though, if you are on any kind of diet… you should go anyway, purchase a tub of candied sweet potatoes and send them to me!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Thank You


These came in the mail today from some great friends. Thanks so much to Keith, Molly, Richard, and Bethany. The entire Shalin Family got Mighty Rib shirts.

Unique Randomness

My random thoughts...brought to you once a week!
  • Mental note to tell the managers of LA Fitness to please change the channel. I just can't take looking up and seeing The View anymore. And what moron decided it was a good idea to sex-up Joy Behar? Looking at her cleavage is like looking at the sun...you know it's bad for you and it could be blinding.
  • I have to come clean here...I said "git er dun" once this week. Worse yet, a friend called me out on it. And even worse...it was in the presence of small children. He was right. It was a mistake...I'm owning it...and promise to never let it happen again.
  • I saw on tv yesterday that Erin Andrews is leading the cause for "anti-stalking laws". I'm leading the cause for "anti-Erin Andrews laws". This just in...she really enjoys being in front of a camera. Stalking is bad, what happened to her was bad...drugs are bad...mmmkay (South Park reference).
  • I could run the Astros...seriously, I could. First order of business...trade Carlos Lee for a gross of used jock straps. One of his prized Brahmas could man LF better than him.
  • I took Nat to see Toy Story 3. Awesome movie...even for adults. I didn't cry at the end...swear.
  • Facebook Folley of the Week: Recognize this person? "Hey everyone...Little Johnnie just graduated kindergarten." D*mn it! No he didn't. He just FINISHED kindergarten. You graduate high school or college or salon school. You don't graduate kindergarten...you finish it and move to the 1st grade. Did Little Johnnie get a diploma? (I'm guessing that answer is yes). My daughter just finished kinder...and I thank little 8 pounds 6 ounce baby Jesus that there wasn't a ceremony. Final point...please don't take 115 pics of the ceremony and post them. If we're not the kids grandparents, we stopped looking at 0.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Mighty Good Recipe

Every Tuesday is dedicated to bringing you a Mighty Good Recipe!

Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/chicken-and-broccoli-stir-fry-recipe2/index.html

This is the second recipe in a series of Chinese food delights that will culminate with the revealing of my potsticker recipe (it's not mine...just one I use). This particular stir-fry is probably not suited best for a beginner cook. Lots of things happen quickly and it's easy to get flustered. As with most Chinese recipes, often times it's all in the prep work. The actual stir-fry part only takes a few minutes...so you better have your ducks in order.

Note: Feel free to play with the ingredients in this one. I added some carrots for color and texture.

Reader Questionnaire


Some more reader questionnaires to check out...



Name:
Lyndi (aka www.nwafoodie.com)
Current City: Beautiful Northwest Arkansas, land of the Ozark Mountains

Do you cook? Yes! I really only started really learning cooking techniques a few years ago when I discovered Cooking Illustrated. And then I discovered www.cooksillustrated.com. I love all the helpful tips and knowing they tested every ingredient to get just the right one.

What is your favorite meal to cook? It would have to be chicken marsala and risotto. Scratch that... It would have to be breakfast. I could live on breakfast!

What food do you absolutely hate? Hate? Food? Bite your tongue. Although... I do have a strange aversion to the smell of butter. Ever since I was a kid. Weird, right?

What is your favorite dessert? Good questions you’re asking, Kevin! Shockingly, I don’t have a favorite dessert! I’m not really a dessert person. Or chocolate person. Since I live wheat-free and dairy-free I am really limited on dessert choices. Okay, since you asked I will tell you a dessert that I remember loving: a super-sticky ooey-gooey cinnamon roll. Yum.

What food have you never eaten, but wish you could try? Black truffles. Technically not a food, I know. But I would love to try a fresh truffle shaved over something perfect. Like risotto.

What is your favorite restaurant and what do you order? Kelly Liken in Vail Village, Colorado. Have you ever eaten there? She cooks clean, simply prepared and yet decadent dishes. Most of her food comes right from Colorado. Besides the food the people who work for her make you feel like family. She had a side dish of fresh picked peas, pea tendrils, and fava beans that I am still tongue-tied over. Wow. I had her Colorado rack of lamb. Ahhh... Yes, this is the same Kelly Liken who is doing so well this season on Top Chef Washington D.C. I hope she wins. I also love The Angus Barn in Raleigh, N.C. Brings back great memories of growing up there.

You’re on death row, what’s your last meal? Appetizers: Brie with just the right creaminess. There would have to be several kinds available because we all know that brie can be picky. It would be shame to have a so-so slice. Meal: About 8 racks of lamb. Kelly’s fava bean side dish. Macaroni and cheese. Wine. Wine. Wine. Dessert: I think I would pass. Bring back some more brie and wine.


Name: Keith
Current City: Houston, Texas

Do you cook? A little bit...here and there....but I enjoy it when I do.

What is your favorite meal to cook? Spicy sausage lentil soup

What food do you absolutely hate? Liver, durian, cooked spinach

What is your favorite dessert? Apple pie a la mode

What food have you never eaten, but wish you could try? Swordfish

What is your favorite restaurant and what do you order? Indian Pass Raw Bar in Port St. Joe, Florida. The baked oysters are the best I've ever had and are also my favorite meal.

You’re on death row, what’s your last meal? Hamburger and French fries

Monday, July 26, 2010

Dinner Club


Our Dinner Club this month took a field trip...to a little place I like to call Mark's. For the non-Houstonian followers, Mark's is just about as good as it gets in our fine city. There's a million positive reviews of this place. Thought I'd switch things up a bit with a Pro/Con breakdown of Mark's.

Mark's
1658 Westheimer Road
Houston, Texas 77006
http://www.marks1658.com/

Atmosphere
Pro: Dark, seductive, mysterious, elegant, architecturally mesmerizing...get the picture?
Con: Because of extreme elegance...I had to put on a pair of slacks. It had been a few months and I think I gained a little weight. Thanks for that reminder Mark.

Drinks
Pro: Best mojito ever!!! Think it was called the 1658.
Con: I think the 1658 was actually $16.58...coincidentally, the same price as last month's water bill.

Apps
Pro: My oyster (that's right, just one...we split it) and corn chowder were perfection. So many flavors...my tongue was in heaven.
Con: That's what she said.

Entree
Pro: My shrimp were good, but I had a bite of Keith's Japanese Sea Bass...that was a memorable moment in life.
Con: In a jealous rage over Keith's choice...I tipped the waiter to spit in his bread pudding.

Dessert
Pro: My fat ass didn't order any. Thank god...my already tight slacks were cutting into my love handles.
Con: Tasted a bite of bread pudding and blueberry mascarpone tart...those were good...maybe next time.

Service
Pro: Our waiter was at the top of his field...as knowledgeable as they come. Most of the menu was off-menu. The guy didn't miss a beat.
Con: With service this good, there's nowhere to go but down.
Con 1A: That's what she said?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Readership Questionnaire


Love all the responses I've gotten on the questionnaire. Keep them coming and I'll keep posting. Thanks so much!


Name:
Margie
Current City: Houston, Texas (Heights area)

Do you cook?: Absolutely. I find it relaxing after a long day at work.

What is your favorite meal to cook? Most days, spaghetti but baked chicken on the other days.

What food do you absolutely hate? Oh man, my list of HATES is longer than that of my LOVES. However, I hate me a banana with such passion that a movie should be made about it. Knowing that there is a banana pudding whatever thing in the fridge for the office employees celebrating a birthday that month makes me want to don my Hulk hands and smash.

What is your favorite dessert? Same-creme brulee. I love cracking the top and crunching down on it. Yum, in the words of Top Chef's Angelo, "So sexy!"

What food have you never eaten, but wish you could try? Hmmm, specific food, fish cooked in that salt dome. Not a big seafood fan but I would love to try this.

What is your favorite restaurant and what do you order? This varies. Right now, I love the tacos de bistec from Tacos del Julio. Little lemon on top of the soft steak meat in a greasy tortilla. Yum.

You're on death row, what's your last meal? Fajita tacos with beans in a flour tortilla from Laredo Taqueria with a Mexican coke.


Name: Leah
Current City: Nashville, Tennessee

Do you cook? As much as I can. It's my stress reliever.

What is your favorite meal to cook? Any kind of dessert. Cakes, pies, cookies. You name it, I'll bake it.

What food do you absolutely hate? Celery. The taste, the texture, the stringy-ness. It's horrid.

What is your favorite dessert? It's a tie between Tiramisu and Creme Brulee. I love the silky texture of Tiramisu flavored with a hint of espresso. The crunchy, sugary topping on Creme Brulee in contrast to the smooth custard below is to die for.

What food have you never eaten, but wish you could try? Steamed lobster. I've had lobster in dishes, but never by itself. I'd like to learn how to eat it properly.

What is your favorite restaurant and what do you order?
There are so many! One high on my list is Brio in Birmingham, Alabama. For lunch, they have this Romano Crusted Chicken Salad. It's served over greens with chopped egg, scallions, tomatoes, bacon, cucumber, and topped with a creamy Parmesan dressing that is heaven. All those flavors combine together perfectly for one fantastic lunch.

You’re on death row, what’s your last meal?
Filet mignon cooked medium, baked potato with a ton of sour cream and chives, my mom's dinner rolls, macaroni and cheese, pulled pork from The Perfect Pig in White House, Tennessee, pad thai from Royal Thai in Nashville, unbaked fudge cookies, creme brulee, tiramisu, and yellow cake cupcakes with chocolate frosting! Oh and several glasses of Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling

The Mighty Questionnaire

As I get these back from readers I'll be sure to post them. If you want to see your answers on the blog, please feel free to email me at: wcshalin@hotmail.com


Name:
Lesli
Current City: Houston, Texas

Do you cook?
Sometimes. It depends on my mood and if I feel like devoting the time to it.

What is your favorite meal to cook?
I enjoy making Thanksgiving sides like dressing, layered pea salad, cream cheese & corn, deviled eggs.

What food do you absolutely hate?
I am NOT a picky eater. That being said, I don't like goat cheese AT ALL. There's something about the smell of it that repulses me. Beets and hominy run a close 2nd & 3rd.

What is your favorite dessert?
Bread pudding, but it has to be done right. Rainbow Lodge has the best I've ever had.

What food have you never eaten, but wish you could try?
I've tried a lot of different foods. Maybe Russian cuisine?

What is your favorite restaurant and what do you order?
Hard choice. This answer will definitely change. Right now, my favorite Houston restaurant is Branch Water Tavern. The chicken fried oysters are amazing! I also love their fresh vegetable selections, particularly Brussels sprouts, and their seafood dishes.

You’re on death row, what’s your last meal?
Nopalitas salad, chips & guacamole made fresh right in front of me like they do at Escalantes in Highland Village, a soft Spanish cheese with bread and olive oil and aoili for dip, garlic stuffed olives, about 3 dozen oysters on the half shell, lobster, bread pudding, red wine.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Back to Basics

Fridays are dedicated to the beginner cook.

Black and White Pudding Cake
This is a perfect dessert recipe. It is so good…and EASY!

1. Blend these ingredients:1 cup flour, 2/3 cup sugar, 4 TBSP cocoa, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp instant coffee, 1/4 tsp salt
2. Beat the following ingredients with the ones listed above: ½ cup milk, ¼ cup oil, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 oz. white chocolate
3. Spoon batter into greased pan.
4. Stir together, then spread on top of batter: 2/3 cup sugar, 2 TBSP cocoa.
5. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over cake (don’t stir).
6. Bake at 350 degrees.
7. Serve with ice cream.

Note: How do I know this recipe is so easy? It’s written in our recipe book (courtesy of my wife) in what looks to be fifth grade handwriting. It's an oldie but goodie.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Reader Questionnaire

When it comes to food, you've heard enough from me. Now it's time to hear from you. If you take a look at the right side of the page you'll see "The Mighty Questionnaire". This will be a weekly feature from real readers. Hope you enjoy, and if you'd like to participate send me an email at:
wcshalin@hotmail.com

Happy Hour

Every Thursday I'll get you ready for the weekend with a drink recipe.

Michelada

1 bottle of light beer (preferably Modelo)
1/2 lime (squeezed)
1.5 oz Zing Zang mix
1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Salt
Dash of pepper

Take a glass in throw in the freezer for a few minutes. Take out, rim with salt. Put in rest of ingredients except beer. Finally, pour in cold beer and mix.

Micheladas are a big hit in these parts....spicy, tangy, salty...everything you'd want from a drink. There's a million recipes out there...this is one I've pieced together from a friend. It works well for me.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Unique Randomness


My random thoughts...brought to you once a week!
  • I'm a high school teacher. Love my job...and it's great getting to spend the summers with my girls. But do you know how difficult it is to write "Unique Randomness" when the most exciting part of your day is checking the mailbox?
  • Big weekend for me...we (wife and I) get to go out both Friday and Saturday night! That's what I call Christmas in July. However, I am a little nervous about my quickly eroding socialization skills. Watching kids all week lowers my already borderline IQ by another 20 points.
  • Mel Gibson...ahh...wow! I thought nothing you did could make me not like Braveheart. I was wrong.
  • As I write this, I'm drinking a cup of the big chain's coffee (we'll call them Marmucks again). Why do I get lazy and buy this crap at the store? It tastes like burnt horse piss. And no, I've never tasted burnt horse piss...so just save it.
  • I am ready for football training camp to start...these Astros are killing me. Can you just trade Oswalt already?
  • Facebook Folley of the Week: "I Love My Husband" Girl. You know who I'm talking about. Heck, you might even be her. She's the one who goes on facebook and professes to cyberspace that she has the best husband in the world. How did you tell your husband of his greatness before facebook?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mighty Good Recipe

Every Tuesday is dedicated to bringing you a Mighty Good Recipe!

Honey Soy Dipping Sauce (For Dumplings/Potstickers)
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/honey-soy-dipping-sauce-for-dumplings-or-potstickers-recipe/index.html

WTF! I know what you're thinking...it's just a dipping sauce recipe. And no, I'm not getting lazy! My next few Mighty Good Recipes will be a series of Chinese food delights. I love cooking Chinese food and maybe, just maybe these tasty recipes will inspire you. I'm starting with the dipping sauce because I'm finishing with the dumplings. Why? Because I'm a firm believer that good things come to those who wait. The dumpling recipe I possess is my Mt. Everest...it's the best I have. If this recipe was on Facebook, it would have like 5000 friends.

Note...sorry about the lack of pic today...figured a dipping sauce wasn't much to look at.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Restaurant Review

Mondays are dedicated to bringing you a restaurant review from Houston or even from around the country.

Christian's Tailgate
2000 Bagby Street
Houston, TX 77002
http://www.christianstailgate.com/

The Rundown: Christian’s Tailgate is the real deal! I’m not getting in the middle of a “Best Burger in Houston” pissing contest. Let’s just say my burger lived up to the hype. But CT was more than just a great burger joint…it was a real, honest to goodness sports bar. Those are rare in Houston.

The Food: I had tunnel vision for the hamburger…specifically, the 1/3 lb. Swiss mushroom burger. It came with a side of fries, onion rings, or a combo of both. I went with the combo. After the first bite, I really couldn’t help but channel Samuel L. This really was “a tasty burger”. I generally don’t like my patty so well done, but it wasn’t dry at all and the mushrooms and Swiss cheese really vaulted the burger to greatness. The fries were fries, but the onion rings....oh dear! They were light, but crispy...and every time you took a bite, the entire piece of onion didn’t come with. My St. Arnold’s (best beer ever) on draft tied the entire meal into a nice little bow.

The Price: Given the location (midtown), I was very pleased with the overall prices at Christian’s. My burger combo was $7.29. That’s pretty standard in these parts.

The Overall Opinion: CT’s was outstanding…I only wish I lived closer. Loved the layout, the beer, and the food. Next time there’s a big sporting event, I’m making the drive. It will be hard not getting the burger, but I may try some of their other items. I checked out the menu again. Its everything you want in a sports bar…beers on tap, wings galore, sandwich options, and even seafood baskets. The burgers start at 1/3 pounders and go up to a pound.

Helpful hints: CT’s parking is as bad as their burgers are good.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tip Jar

Every Sunday you'll get a tip...take it or leave it.

Shower Cap Food Saver

Imagine a dinner that yields a massive amount of leftovers. You go for the plastic wrap...but alas, you're out. What do you do? What do you do? (sorry...this is a reference from the movie Speed...it was on this week, and it's so bad you just can't turn it off) Remember that little box-o-shower-cap you nabbed from the 4-star hotel? Go ahead and break it out. It works wonders in a pinch. Start a collection and save a little money...they re-use quite well. In this picture, I wrapped up my sausage (thank you..I'll be here all weekend...remember to tip your waiter).

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Test Kitchen


Every Saturday I'll try out a new, found recipe...you'll see the good and the bad of it.

Goat Cheese Sandwich with Prosciutto and Apricot Preserves

Ingredients:
--Sourdough bread
--1 slice of prosciutto

--1 TBSN apricot preserves
--Healthy spread/crumble of goat cheese
--Butter for outside of bread
Make sandwich and if you’ve got a panini press…you’ll be in a happy place in about 5 minutes.

Description:
Several weeks ago, a reader (Amy via her sister Erin) suggested I try this out. It may take me some time, but I usually get around to all suggestions. The fresh sourdough, buttery crust, tangy goat cheese, salty prosciutto, and sweet apricot preserves is a starting five that could take down the Lakers.

Recipe Difficulty (Scale of 1-10): 1
If any sandwich is harder than a “1” you’re probably not making a sandwich.

How it turned out: Really good
The only fault with this sandwich was my own doing. I put a little too much prosciutto and not enough preserves. Like most recipes, this one was much better the second go-around. I nailed it with the balance of flavors.

Would I make again: Yes
The recipe world of sandwich-making is a crowded field, but this one makes the cut. My level of cooking creativity is less than zero. Translation: I would’ve never come up with this sandwich. That’s why I am so very appreciative of readers’ suggestions. Thank you so much and please keep them coming.

Note: Please also note that a little preserve on the side for dipping works very well.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Back to Basics


Fridays are dedicated to the beginner cook.

Guacamole
In Texas guacamole is a way of life. It’s a fixture at every gathering…and for good reason. It tastes great with everything and it’s EASY to make!

1. Take two large, ripe avocados (when squeezed, they should have a little give to them).
2. Take a large, sharp knife and cut avocados lengthwise until you hit the pit. Remove pit and scoop out the good stuff.
3. Place the avocados in a large bowl.
Add:
¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro
1 TBSP of lemon juice (or juice of half a small lemon)
¼ cup of finely chopped red onion
1 TBSP of sour cream
1 tsp each of salt and pepper
4. Take a fork…mix and mash the ingredients with the avocado.

Note: I like to keep mine a little chunky. Also, remember that guacamole is not an exact science. Add or take away any ingredient you choose.

Tip: Want to keep your guac from getting that disgusting look from sitting out? Take the pit and place it in the middle of the mixture when serving.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Happy Hour


Every Thursday I'll get you ready for the weekend with a drink recipe.

Sunrise 43
1 oz. Licor 43
1/3 oz. White tequila
3 oz. orange juice
top with grenadine and maraschino cherry
Combine ingredients, pour over ice, top with grenadine.

My journey to clean out my liquor cabinet, while passing along quality drink recipes, continues. I love me some Licor 43. I found this to be a perfect brunch drink. After several bad college memories, I am no longer a fan of tequila. But it seems to work well in this drink...probably because of its limited amount. And then there's that darn maraschino cherry again. Makes you want to drink that drink even more...doesn't it?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Vegetarian's View


Molly gives her view of Hobbit Cafe...through the eyes of a vegetarian.

Hobbit Cafe

2243 Richmond Avenue
Houston, TX 77098

Overall Vegetarian Selection: (5) Stars
Brief Take: Hobbit Café is a vegetarian’s dream. The selection is very diverse with over 20 vegetarian (and some vegan) dishes on the menu. Every category has a variety of meat-free options. The vegetarian selection is so large I actually have a difficult time deciding what to order. This is a new and strange feeling to me which hardly ever occurs since many restaurants only have two or three vegetarian items not counting the kid’s menu.

Taste: (5) Stars
Brief Take: I didn’t order an appetizer but out of the 10 appetizers, six were vegetarian. That is what I call getting off to a good start. For my entrée I ordered a sandwich called the Shire. Hobbit Café has two sandwich size options: slim and classic. I was super hungry when I went and opted for the classic which was HUGE! The Shire sandwich was piled so high I could hardly take a bite, but I am not complaining. The sandwich was sliced in half with generous portions of avocado, tabouli, tomato and alfalfa sprouts on whole wheat bread. The menu calls for the sandwich with mayo but I decided not to include that. I really liked the Shire and thought the taste and texture complimented each other nicely. The avocado got a little messy but it was still very delicious.

The sandwich comes with black beans, brown rice or chips. I substituted fries for a small charge. The fries were just ok, I didn’t each much of them. Next time I will get the beans/rice instead.

Other menu items that caught my eye and I will probably consider next time include the Hobbit Wrap and Veggie Enchiladas. I didn’t order a smoothie but wished I would have because Hobbit Café’s smoothie selection looked wonderful. They even have the option to add protein or yogurt for under a dollar – that always makes a vegetarian happy.

Healthy Rating: (4) Stars
Brief Take: My sandwich was very healthy, but the fries were not, hence four stars instead of five. If I ordered the beans/rice instead, my Hobbit Café dish would have easy garnered five stars. Everything on the sandwich was healthy from the whole wheat bread to the tabouli.

Overall Opinion: (5) Stars
Summary: Hobbit Café is a win-win for vegetarians and meat eaters. I go with my husband and he always is pleased with the variety and selection of meat and seafood dishes. The restaurant is very laid back and the menu consists of American fare. I like to dine on the patio when the weather permits. Parking can sometimes be a problem during peak hours. I’ve been lucky a few times and parked in the lot but mostly I end up on a side street nearby. Their wine section is pretty good but next time I am getting a smoothie with protein for sure.

Unique Randomness


My random thoughts...brought to you once a week.

The more I work on this blog, the less television I watch…that’s a good thing. I’m not a big “show” watcher, but of course I still have my opinions…

Best Show: Pawn Stars

This one is easy. If you read this blog, you know how much I love Pawn Stars. They can’t keep the new episodes coming fast enough for me.

2nd Best Show: Chopped
I just love the concept. The great job of editing always creates a little drama.

Worst Show: Food Network Challenge
Listen, I know there are many worse shows (like everything reality driven), but I just hate these stupid Food Network challenges. I don’t give a sh*t if someone can make a human-sized Sponge Bob cake. Does it taste good? I never see the judges try a piece. On that note…you can have Ace of Cakes as well. I spend most of the show staring at Duff’s 5o’clock shadow that starts one inch below his eyes.

Show on the Decline: The Office
I know…it pains me to write it. This show is going downhill and Steve Carell knows it. I tried to pinpoint its demise. It’s the moment Dwight stopped idolizing Michael. Think about it…I’m right.

Show on the Rise: Hung
I was on the fence with this show after its first season. Thus far, season two has been a success…much better writing.

Top Heavy Show: Entourage
Where would this show be without Jeremy Piven? Answer…canceled.

Show I Want Back: Deadwood
I would pay part of my salary to have this show back on air. No kidding. Maybe the best writing ever on any program.

Show That I Know is Popular but Still Have Not Seen: True Blood
Easy one…vampire stuff scares me…there, I said it.

Best Cartoon: Family Guy
Family Guy runs laps around all the others. Stu Griffin is my all-time favorite.

Facebook Folley of the Week: Going on Vacation
You know the “Going on Vacation” guy. He’s the one who announces to the world all the details about his impending two-week vacation to Cabo. Really? Did you leave the front door unlocked as well? You know what type of people are on the internet? Perves, criminals, nutjobs, freaks, etc. Stop acting like the internet/facebook is a safe place. And another thing…only about 2% of the people in your life care about your vacation. The other 98% are pissed and jealous they can’t go. Think it’s not true? Honestly, what was your first thought when you saw that last facebook beach pic?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mighty Good Recipe

It's Tuesday...time for a Mighty Good Recipe!

Today marks our first submitted reader recipe. I trust Amy...and these sound good.

Chipotle-Grilled Pork Tacos
From the June/July 2008 Cook's Country

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 (8 oz) can pineapple chunks in juice, drained and chopped 1/4 cup
juice reserved
3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo
1 (8 oz) bag coleslaw mix
3 scallions, sliced thin
salt
2 pork tenderloins (1 1/2 to 2 lbs total), sliced in half lengthwise
12 corn tortillas

1. Whisk mayonnaise, pineapple juice, cilantro, garlic and chipotle in
a large bowl; reserve 1/4 cup mayonnaise mixture. Add pineapple
chunks, coleslaw mix, scallions and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to bowl with
remaining mayonnaise mixture and toss to combine

2. Pat pork dry with paper towels and season with salt. Rub with
reserved mayonnaise mixture and grill over hot fire until browned all
over and meat registers 145 degrees; about 6 minutes. Transfer to
cutting board, tent with foil and let rest 5 minutes.

3. Grill tortillas over hot fire until lightly charred, about 15
seconds per side. Slice pork thin, arrange on tortillas, and top with
coleslaw.

Serves 4

Note: Thinks this would be just as good with fish, chicken or beef. And don't forget the guac!

Monday, July 12, 2010

City Jewel: Dallas-Ft. Worth


Mondays are dedicated to bringing you a restaurant review from Houston or even from around the country.

North Main BBQ
406 North Main
Euless, TX 76039
http://www.northmainbbq.com/

The Rundown: North Main represents the essence of Texas bbq. This Dallas-suburb eatery has it all…the rustic look, the “Best BBQ Anywhere” sign, and the haunting smoky aroma that slaps you in the face upon entry. Admittedly, I was drawn to this place by the power of advertising. North Main was featured for their ribs on the Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate”. Even more intriguing than the food was the older gentleman who runs the place…Hubert Green. He projected such a confident attitude on television and I wanted to see this guy in person.

The Food: Let's get one thing straight right off the bat…these were not the best ribs in the world, but they were VERY good. The best ribs in the world are located at Oklahoma Joe’s in Kansas City (and are the inspiration for this blog). North Main’s ribs are extremely lean, with an outer crust that is seasoned extremely well. Before I get to the rest of the food, it’s important to know how things run at North Main. You walk in, grab a white or black Styrofoam plate and proceed to the line of plentiful meats and sides. The white plate represents an “all-you-can-eat” experience. The black plate is half the cost but only gets you a sandwich and side. Guess which plate I grabbed? I went for it all: ribs, brisket, sausage, pulled pork, chopped beef, potato salad, and slaw. That’s it…no frills, and I think it's a great concept. As I stated, the ribs were fabulous. The pulled pork and brisket were very good, and were helped out by the tasty bbq sauce. The sausage was one notch above terrible. The sides were nothing special…not bad, but certainly not memorable. It was obvious the ribs were the main attraction, and for me they were great.

The Price: North Main is a fat man’s paradise…$12 for as much bbq as you can stuff in your pie hole. That price simply can not be beat…especially when you take into account the quality of food.

The Overall Opinion: I loved my experience at North Main. The food was great and I enjoyed watching the workers run the show. Those slabs of ribs were treated like Rembrandts, with the artist (Hubert) himself watching over everything like a hawk.

Helpful Hints: North Main is only open on the weekends. The parking lot is tight, but we had no trouble finding a spot. Just a warning…you will feel like an absolute fat pig after this meal. Wear something loose and have a jug of water for your unquenchable thirst. It felt like someone threw sand in my mouth for the rest of the day.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

City Jewel: New York City


Thought I'd post this one a little early...it's our first feature on a New York City restaurant. Thanks so much to my good friend Lettie for submitting this great review!

Lombardi's
32 Spring St.
New York, New York
http://www.firstpizza.com/home.html

The Rundown: After my cousin took a trip to New York last summer, he came back to Houston raving about what else … pizza! Not just any pizza - the pizza at Lombardi's, America's first pizzeria.

For those of you unfamiliar with the story, Lombardi's opened in Little Italy as a grocery store in 1897. Eight years later, that's 1905 for those counting their fingers, Lombardi's was established as the first pizzeria in America with New York's issuance of the mercantile license.

For a more detailed history lesson, visit Lombardi's website.

Even with all the wonderfully creative and tasty dishes I've had the pleasure of enjoying as an adult, nothing beats a good slice of pizza. And thus, I trekked the three miles on foot (didn't want to feel guilty about eating what surely didn't qualify as health food) to Lombardi's to enjoy a slice (or three) of heaven.

The Food: Let's make one thing clear before you read on. When it comes to pizza, I decide what I want depending on the type of establishment I'm dining at. If I'm at a nicer Italian restaurant and order pizza, I will often opt for a pie with pesto, sundried tomatoes, portabella mushrooms and the like.

However, if I'm at a no-frills establishment that serves up the more traditional toppings like sausage, pepperoni and hamburger meat, then that's what I'll have - nothing fancy.

And that's exactly what I did at Lombardi's. I split a small pizza with a friend, half mushroom-half pepperoni. When the waiter came out with our coal-fired pie, the cheese was appropriately oozing off the sides the serving pan. The fresh-out-of-the-oven heat didn't deter two hungry chicks who had just walked three miles to enjoy a good - scratch that, great - slice of pizza. At first a little disappointed in the small, nickel-sized slices of pepperoni, I quickly came to appreciate that I didn't have to tug at my pizza in order to get one of the little suckers in my mouth. It's the little things in life that you learn to appreciate as you get older. The pizza was sprinkled with fresh basil, a nice addition I apparently looked over on the menu. The dough was fresh and thick enough to make you appreciate it, but thin enough (this is New York, after all) that it didn't overpower the pie itself.

I didn't try any of the mushroom pizza, but given that my friend and I sat in almost complete silence for the next 20 minutes after our pizza arrived at our table, I am confident she was equally as impressed.

The Price: Both the small (six slices) and large (eight slices) pies run less than $20. This being a New York eatery, that's not bad for a meal, especially when you split the bill. Lombardi's also serves up calzones and a small assortment of salads, all of which are reasonably priced.

The Overall Opinion: A definite must for visitors to New York who staying more than a day or two. Was it the best pizza I've ever eaten? No. And if you're looking for a big slice of greasy goodness, Lombardi's isn't where you're going to find it. But if what you're looking for is a nice slice of traditional pizza with a little bit of added flavor that brings it up a notch, Lombardi's is definitely a must. A friendly waitstaff, even in New York, made the experience all the more enjoyable.

Helpful Hints: Lombardi's is regarded as one of New York's best pizzerias. That being said, you should expect a 20+ minute wait to be seated as the establishment is not very big.

Tip Jar

Sundays are dedicated to throwing out a tip...take it or leave it.

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do
Everyone has their own method when it comes to doing even the most mundane kitchen activities. For years, when I made spaghetti I would take the pasta out of the package and snap it in half before throwing in the water. This caused pasta shards to fly around the kitchen. The solution? I slowly break the pasta while it's inside the package....then I open and dump in the water. No mess!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Test Kitchen


Every Saturday I'll try out a new, found recipe...you'll see the good and the bad of it.

Carolina Wings
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/guy-fieri/carolina-wings-recipe2/index.html

Description: These Carolina-style hot wings are a Guy Fieri (that’s pronounced do*chebag) special. These are fairly healthy as far as chicken wings go…they’re baked, then grilled. The wing sauce was perfect…a little sweet from the sugar, a little smoky from the adobo sauce, and a little hot from the pepper.

Recipe Difficulty (Scale of 1-10): 2
Very easy. Just clean the wings, pop them in the oven for 45 minutes. While that’s happening, prepare the sauce. Take wings out, throw on the grill for 10 minutes, then toss in the sauce. Can’t get any easier than that.

How it turned out: AWESOME!
I love chicken wings…and I’ve tried a million recipes. This might be my favorite. I love the chipotle flavor, so these were right up my alley.

Would I make again: H-E-Double Hockey Sticks Yes
I’ll definitely be making these again…probably for Superbowl when the Texans are playing!

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Road Ahead


The Mighty Rib has some great things coming later this month:

--Dinner Club takes a field trip in July...to one of Houston's best restaurants...Mark's.

--Veggie View is right around the corner.

--Natalie the Nomad heads to Georgia for a restaurant review.

--Two new monthly columns: The Junkies and Calorie Worthy.

--He Said, She Said goes to Little Bigs in Houston.

--I'm heading to Dallas for some of the best BBQ in the nation (supposedly) at North Main BarBQ.

Back to Basics


Fridays are dedicated to the beginner cook.

Roasted Broccoli

This simple and different method to preparing broccoli was relayed to me by my friend Mickey. We make it about once a week in our household. Why? It tastes awesome and…it’s easy! See those blackened areas? That’s charred goodness! Anytime you’re making a big meal, it’s great to have an easy side dish recipe like this one. It keeps you from going insane.

1. Fill an entire baking sheet with broccoli florets.
2. Pour olive oil all over the broccoli.
3. Salt, pepper, and add minced garlic. Add some cayenne pepper for spice.
4. Give a good shake to make sure all parts are covered.
5. Throw sheet into a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes.
6. For the final minute of baking…switch to broil. This gives it a nice char.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Happy Hour


Every Thursday is dedicated to passing along a found drink recipe. Enjoy!

Black Cherry Fizz Bomb
http://www.drinksmixer.com/drinkp15q072.html

How did I find this one? I did a google search on black cherry vodka (had a bottle of it sitting in the liquor cabinet for quite some time). I stumbled upon this Black Cherry Fizz Bomb. I'll give this recipe credit...it made me purchase Red Bull for the first time. I was very happy with the results. It's a perfect summer drink...cool, refreshing, sweet but not too sweet. And don't laugh at my maraschino cherry. I bought a bottle for blog presentation.

**Note**The recipe link mentions watermelon vodka...just disregard that...they meant cherry.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Unique Randomness


My random thoughts...brought to you once a week.
  • Quick…better invention: The Internet or Golden Oreos? Before you rush to judgment…take a moment and really give it some thought.
  • I love chips. I’ve got a great idea for a new chip. It’s called a “Completely Full Bag of Chips”. Here’s the key…I don’t care what they taste like, but the bag is guaranteed full…right up to the seal. Charge me more, I don’t care! Think about the great advertising campaign. It’s revolutionary. But alas, I’m guessing there’s some legal reason why bags of chips can now only be 35% full.
  • Sticking with the chip subject…kudos to Sun Chips. The deafening, biodegradable bag is sure to be mimicked by all. The clock is ticking on me for sneaking chips. On second thought, f-you Sun Chips!
  • Got to thinking the other day…with all the rain in Seattle, does anyone there subscribe to DirecTV? Someone spits five feet from my dish and I can’t watch television for the night.
Facebook Folly of the Week: Gotta love the purposeful vague status updater. You know the guy I’m talking about. He’s got absolutely nothing going on in his life, so he posts these random, usually depressing statements to illicit some responses. Does this sound familiar?
“It’s all going downhill.” (on a skiing trip)
“Just can’t take the pain of losing you.” (just wrapped up watching LOST)
“Will you ever come back?” (still referring to LOST)
“Just had the most special weekend of my life.” (still referring to LOST)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Mighty Good Recipe

It's Tuesday...time for a Mighty Good Recipe!

French Dip Sandwiches
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/French-Dip-Sandwiches/Detail.aspx

I'm a sandwich whore. If you're a follower of this blog, you've probably realized this for some time now. I found this French Dip recipe a few months back. Added bonus...it's a crockpot-er...although I would cut down the cooking time in half (around 6-7 hours). This sandwich goes great with some sweet potato fries (buy the giant bag from Costco's).

Monday, July 5, 2010

Restaurant Review


Each week, Mondays are dedicated to providing you with a restaurant review from a place in Houston or from around the country. This week, let's keep it local.

Seoul Garden
9446 Long Point Road
Houston, TX 77055

The Rundown: My buddy Lim introduced me to Korean food several years ago. At least twice a year we dine at Seoul Garden in the Spring Branch District of Houston. Recently, the Houston Press did a "Top 10 Places to Eat on Long Point" feature. Somehow Seoul Garden did not make the list. Maybe there was some crack passed around the office that day. ***Correction***Just got a great plug from the peeps at Houston Press. I looked back at the "Long Point" feature. I made an error. Turns out I was the one smoking crack...Seoul Garden did sneak onto the list at #9. How about I still cry foul that it wasn't higher? My apologies.

The Food: I love Korean food, and although my experience with it is fairly limited, I can say Seoul Garden definitely brings it. Korean eating is a social experience. If you have a party of six+, count on the good people of Seoul Garden giving you one of those private dining areas. These private areas give you the freedom to get a little loud. And once the sake starts flowing, the volume goes up a few decibels. You start off with complimentary plates of food. Various items such as pickled seaweed, kimchi, roasted potatoes, and sprouts adorn the table. For me, all of these tasty treats are excellent...well, except the kimchi. That's an acquired taste. We usually eat family style, and with Lim ordering... the food comes out in droves. Everything from zucchini pancakes to marinated beef, to spicy octopus, to hotpots. You just go from one thing to another (with shots of sake in between).

The Price: For some reason I never look at the prices and I really can't remember the amount of cash I hand over to Lim. Seoul Garden is not cheap, but it is well worth it. The quality of food is excellent, the place is very clean, and the social experience is not to be beat.

The Overall Opinion: This is one of my favorite places to eat in Houston. I consider myself very lucky to have a friend like Lim. He has shown me the finer things in Korean cuisine.

Helpful Hints: Very casual place. They also serve sushi. The parking lot is a dump, but the inside is nice.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Test Kitchen


Every Saturday I'll try out a new, found recipe...you'll see the good and the bad of it.

Deviled Eggs with Apple Compote
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/robert-irvine/deviled-eggs-with-apple-compote-recipe/index.html

Description: Deviled egg recipes are a dime a dozen. I took a chance on this one because it seemed to be a little bit different. The egg mixture filling was pretty standard, but the apple compote added a nice texture and a little sweetness.

Recipe Difficulty (Scale of 1-10): 7
Don't let deviled eggs fool you. I know when you look down at a cookout and see them, you figure it was pretty simple to put together. They're not. The eggs have to be boiled just right, and if you care about presentation...you better not destroy the rest of the egg when removing the cooked yolk. Quite frankly, it's a lot of effort for a finger food.

How it turned out: Good
I really liked them...I've had better, but I've never had apple compote in my deviled eggs.

Would I make again: Probably so
I don't make deviled eggs very often. One, my wife is allergic to eggs...and it's not like you can down 12 of these babies. Two, like I said before, it's just a lot of effort for a few tasty bites.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Hour


Every Thursday is dedicated to passing along a found drink recipe. Enjoy!

The Perfect Peartini
http://www.yumsugar.com/Happy-Hour-Perfect-Peartini-920266

I mentioned this drink recipe in our last Dinner Club, but felt it needed to be highlighted again. It turned out really good. My wife's favorite new drink. That thing floating around that looks like a little seahorse is actually a candied pear. I tried my hand at them...more trouble than they are worth. A nice pear slice is a great substitute for a garnish.