Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Grace Garden Again

On Saturday, despite the heavy rain, we made another excursion to Grace Garden in Odenton for some really good Chinese food. Considering the restaurant had recently been named Best Chinese by the Baltimore City Paper, there was only one table occupied and a couple of people waiting for carry-out orders when we arrived at about 5:45 PM. When we left, nearly two hours later, there were just as many (or, as few) diners as when we got there. Don't know if it was the rain, or the location, but secretly I was happy to see that the restaurant wasn't already taken-over by more city-folk like me. I know, selfish. Bad me.

MinxBrother joined Mr Minx, LaRaine, and myself this time, and he requested that I order the tea smoked duck again so he could try it. I happily obliged, because it was probably the favorite dish I had last time we ate at Grace Garden. Once at the restaurant, we ordered five more dishes that we had not yet tried.

This was the beef chow fun, and probably my least favorite dish of the evening. It was heavy on the beef and light on the starch, which might be a good thing for some, but the chewy rice noodles are my favorite part of this dish. It was also a bit on the greasy side.

Here we have fish noodles - noodles made from actual ground fish, stirfried with mushrooms and Chinese sausage. The dish also contains cilantro, which we asked for on the side because Ms LaRaine is allergic (tragic, I know). Having seen many an Iron Chef episode in which Chen or Morimoto combined fish and egg whites in a food processor and then squeezed it into boiling broth, we were all curious to experience this dish for ourselves. It scored high on our list - it was very subtle, the "noodles" having a texture not unlike very tender chicken breast strips (you know, cooked Chinese style so they almost melt in the mouth) and were not at all fishy-tasting. The sauce was barely there, delicate and velvety, binding the elements together into a flavorful whole. I'd order this one again and again.

I thought we should have a vegetable and ordered Sichuan string beans from the "regular" menu. Not as garlicky as some I've eaten before, these were nevertheless delicious and generously dosed with ground pork that had been sauteed in savory Sichuan sauce. I could have eaten a plate of just the meat bits. They'd make a fantastic Chinese "sloppy Joe" - I have to remember to pick up a can of Sichuan sauce at the Han Ah Reum next time we go shopping to try that for myself.

LaRaine was curious to try the Sichuan dish listed as possessing "ma-la" or the tongue-numbing qualities of Sichuan peppercorns in a sauce also hot with chile oil. The rest of us worried slightly that it might be too hot for our fairly wimpy Western palates, but that was for naught. The chunks of very mild fish that had been coated with ground peppercorns were hotter than the chunks that were not, but overall the table considered the dish to be "medium-spicy." I find the hot chile oil I like to use while eating dim sum to be hotter than this dish. Overall, though, the flavor was nice and I'm glad we tried it.

Finally, we ordered the misnamed "pocket tofu" which leads one to believe the dish is comprised of pieces of tofu with a pocket cut into it, stuffed with shrimp mousse. What it is in actuality is a combination of homemade tofu mixed with shrimp mousse, the mixture appearing to be scooped (literally, with an ice cream scoop) into liquid for braising. We ordered the hot bean paste sauce version, and it was only lightly spicy. The tofu mixture itself was light and fluffy and reminded MinxBro of fresh mozzarella. It was very good, if not quite what we expected.

I would say our second visit to Grace Garden was as successful as our first, and we definitely need to schedule a third trip sometime soon. I'd like to try the hot and spicy smoky shrimp, the salt and pepper squid, crispy Sichuan fish with rice powder, wok fried quail, the Hak-ka style tofu - oh heck, I want to try everything on the menu!

Have you been yet? No? What are you waiting for?

Monday, September 29, 2008

My New Excuse...

...the Splenda made me fat.

According to Duke University researchers, Splenda might inhibit the supply of beneficial bacteria in our intestines and cause us to get fat.

What about those of us who are already fat? Should we go back to aspartame? Soda with high fructose corn syrup leaves a bad taste in my mouth and makes my tongue feel fuzzy, and that's why I prefer diet. Luckily I don't drink much soda or partake of artificial sweeteners on a regular basis, but now I can't help but think if I cut Splenda out entirely, I might lose a few pounds.

A Candidate I Can Stand Behind

If you're like me and haven't been impressed by either side, how about voting for something we can all get behind -  baked goods and pork products! Donuts and Bacon are running mates made in heaven, and these tasty treats won't let us down with empty promises or more years in Iraq.

You can support the cause by ordering your shirt from Zazzle.

Friday, September 26, 2008


I've never been fond of oatmeal.  I don't appreciate it's mucilaginous texture and general goopiness.  Plus it has no flavor.  My mother used to send me off to elementary school with a bowl of artificial-tasting instant awfulness in my tummy, and although I hated it, it was better than the sawdust flavor of Instant Cream of Wheat (and I *love* regular CoW, the lumpier the better).

I did like muesli, however, and Dad would buy a box of Familia as an occasional treat.  Eating cold oats - which did get slimy in milk - studded with dried fruits and nuts, was far tastier to me than the hot stuff.

This morning I skipped work because of a killer sinus headache, plus I didn't want to get caught in the deluge of Biblical proportions that was coming down at 6am.  I didn't feel like eating crunchy cereal that early in the morning, nor was I in a yogurt mood, so I fixed a bowl of muesli.  About a third cup of dry oatmeal, a couple glugs of 1% milk to cover, and a smattering of walnuts, pistachios, dried cherries and cranberries, seasoned with cinnamon, vanilla, and a bit of sugar.  The thought hit me to pop it in the microwave to see if the milk would be absorbed faster, so I cooked it for one minute.  That didn't do anything, so I put it in for two more and pulled out a bowl of...oatmeal.  And...it was good!  The oats absorbed the milk, but were still chewy and hadn't yet reached the goop stage.  Topped with a little more cold milk, it made for a tasty breakfast.

Whoda thunk it?

I'll Never Eat Ice Cream Again

PETA urges Ben & Jerry's to use human breast milk in their ice cream instead of cow's milk.

Ugh. Humans are so...unsanitary.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Where's the Beef? Ask Spike.

Mark Segraves, WTOP Radio

WASHINGTON - As a contestant on the reality television show "Top Chef," Spike Mendelsohn became accustomed to harsh criticism from the judges.

Now in the real world, his critics are government inspectors.

WTOP has learned Mendelsohn's new Capitol Hill restaurant, Good Stuff Eatery, has been cited by the District's Department of Health for several "critical violations" -- including storing beef outside in the alley behind his restaurant on Pennsylvania Avenue.

When WTOP asked Mendelsohn about the health code violations, he said the health inspector didn't actually see any problems.

"The health inspector never came in and saw violations," Mendelsohn, 27, says. "It was just a neighbor that was being difficult that had taken a picture right when we get our delivery in the morning. They didn't find meat in the back alley."

But a Sept. 4, 2008 D.C. Department of Health inspection report shows an inspector found raw meat in the same location.

D.C. Department of Health Sanitarian Sharon Cave writes, "Investigated complaint. Complaint valid. Food stored in alley. Beef stored in alley. A 5-Day notice was given."

The report also shows the hamburger joint was cited for three critical violations on Sept. 4 for the following risk factors:

  • Hand washing facilities were not accessible to employees;
  • Food contact surfaces (cutting boards) were not properly sanitized;
  • Food was not segregated, separated and protected

Good Stuff Eatery General Manager Michael Colletti signed the report.

Mendelsohn acknowledged the violations after being confronted with the report, but maintains the food was only in the alley for a short time because it had just been dropped off by a delivery truck.

"Anything that's in my alley is not there for more than five or seven minutes," Mendelsohn says.

The beef is not the only food item spotted in the alley. A photo obtained by WTOP shows two racks of bread outside the restaurant's rear entrance, in an alley next to several dumpsters.

D.C. Department of Health Director of Communications LaShon Beamon says inspectors would not have issued a citation if the food was in the midst of being delivered.

If the report was not correct, "the manager shouldn't have signed it," Beamon says.

In fact, when health inspectors returned on Sept. 5, they found potatoes in the alley, but noted that they had just been delivered.

Beamon says her department has received several anonymous complaints about violations at Good Stuff Eatery.

The D.C. Department of Health was responding to one of those complaints when they visited the restaurant on Sept. 4.

The handwritten report says the restaurant should "clean and sanitize cutting boards thru-out [sic] where needed. Food should be stored in an adequate location and sanitary. (Food should not be stored in alley.)."

The D.C. Department of Health isn't the only agency keeping a close eye on the Top Chef, who was ousted in episode 12.

Director of the Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration Maria Delaney tells WTOP her department has an open investigation and confirmed her inspectors have found several violations at Mendelsohn's restaurant.

Delaney would not comment on the violations, but says the inspectors' reports would be presented to the ABRA Board within the next week to 10 days for further action.

As for the beef found behind Good Stuff Eatery, Beamon says inspectors tested the temperature of the meat and found it to be safe for consumption, so they did not require the meat be thrown out.

On Sept. 4, temperatures in the D.C. area reached the 90s, according to the National Weather Service.

"It was meat that had just been delivered," Mendelsohn says. "I wouldn't throw it away -- that's my money."

Subsequent inspections on Sept. 12 and 15 found no violations.

In a Sept. 12 report, D.C. Department of Health Sanitarian Joyce Moore writes, "Handwashing accessible. Cutting boards cleaned. No food stored in alley at time of call."

"I know how to run a restaurant and I know how to keep it clean." Mendelsohn says. "You can come right here and you can eat off the floor. I don't run anything unhealthy."

(Copyright 2008 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New Method for Peeling Eggs

While I don't agree with his method of egg-cooking (I put cold eggs in enough cold water to cover, bring to a boil, then immediately turn the water off and allow eggs to sit in the water for between 15 - 20 minutes. The residual heat cooks the eggs through without creating a nasty green yolk.) I think the "no-peel" peel is kinda clever. On his blog, Ferriss says that the baking soda is optional, but I think it would be necessary for very fresh eggs which are harder to peel because of their relative acidity. Ice water works too, but who wants to use up all of their ice cubes to cool eggs down? Particularly those of us who don't have automatic ice makers in our freezers. :)


fail owned pwned pictures
Must be the ingredient list for Twinkies, huh?
see more pwn and owned pictures

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Indulge? You Keep Using that Word....

...I don't think it means what you think it means.

That's what I want to say to Allure Magazine. There's an article in their September Issue (with Hairy Underwear on the cover) discussing food cravings and how to control them. Sidebars accompanying the article give examples of substitutions to eat when those cravings hit.

For example, when you're hankering for some French toast, Stephen Gallo, a NYC psychotherapist and author of The Thin Commandments, suggests "a slice of Wonder Light bread dipped in egg whites, cooked in a pan with Pam Butter Flavor Spray, and finished with cinnamon, Splenda, and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! spray."

Wow. Eating a pile of chemicals is better for you than eating real food. Who knew?

And when you're craving pasta, have a serving of shirataki spaghetti, which has 20 calories a serving. Top with an "Alfredo" sauce made with one wedge of melted Laughing Cow light cheese and a bit of reduced-fat Parmesan and fat-free sour cream.

Excuse me while I go eat an entire box of See's caramels to cover the bad taste in my mouth from simply reading about these food substitutes.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Is This Dress Just Unflattering...

Or is Gail Simmons pregnant? This photo of her and Tom Colicchio was taken on the red carpet at last night's presentation of the 2008 Emmy Awards.

Crush in the Sun

Baltimore Sun reviewer Elizabeth Large discusses Crush this week. I'm happy to see she gave it a favorable review, with three stars for both food and service. Hopefully this will encourage folks to patronize the restaurant. Of course, even if she hated it, I'd still make a point to go to my newest non-ethnic neighborhood joint.

Not sure I appreciate the not-so-subtle chastizing Large provides with the comment, "If you're looking for something fancier but not too pricey, the smaller of the two beef filets is as much meat as anyone should be eating these days." Tell that to Michael Phelps. :) For those of us without cholesterol issues, there is no such thing as too much red meat!

Crush has a Web site in progress, but their menu is currently available online.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Flatbread for Breakfast...

...is a little like eating cardboard. I stopped at Dunkin Donuts this morning to try the new eggwhite flatbread sandwich. The egg whites were unsurprisingly bland, with a dearth of veggies, and a miniscule amount of cheese, capped off by a hard and unpleasant bread-like substance. With a FREE medium coffee, this breakfast set me back $4.55.

By contrast, a venti coffee AND one of the soon-to-be-discontinued breakfast sandwiches at Starbucks costs about $5. And it TASTES GOOD.

Speaking of Starbucks, I got a coupon in the mail for a free oatmeal, so I'll be reporting on that sometime next week.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Breakfast at Starbucks

Starbucks is going to get rid of their breakfast sandwiches by the end of the year, including my favorite reduced fat turkey bacon. The smell of sandwiches apparently interferes with the smell of the coffee. Welllll...if Starbucks went back to grinding coffee in store, there would be more coffee aroma. As it is, Starbucks has barely any scent at all, which is kind of criminal for a coffee shop, don't you think?

Replacing the breakfast sandwiches will be a new line of crap like the "Fruit Stella - Bursting with 100% whole grains plus juicy baked berries and omega-3s" and "Perfect Oatmeal - 100% whole-grain goodness finished with your choice of dried fruit, nut medley or brown sugar." These products are for people who are too lazy to go to the grocery store and pick up a box of granola bars or instant oatmeal. That's right, the "perfect" oatmeal is nothing more than the instant variety, reconstituted by the barista with a shot of the incendiarily-hot water they use to make tea. I saw a woman order it this morning. The cup was barely half full (that's it in the foreground, mounded high and topped with luxuriously plump dried fruit, provided by Starbucks' food stylist).

If that's not bad enough, the Pike Place roast seems to be the new permanent "coffee of the week." I think it's awful - burnt and acidy, which is the opposite of what it's supposed to be. I hate it so much, I've started ordering decaf Americanos, even if they cost a bit more. God, I hope they bring Christmas blend back soon.

What do you think of the food changes at Starbucks and the Pike Place roast?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cake Ace

The Baltimore Sun has a cute article on Geof Manthorne of Charm City Cakes. Apparently the man has lots of swooning fans. Who knew?

Photo by Glenn Fawcett, Baltimore Sun

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Elaborate Bacon?

Engrish never fails to amuse me. And as if "elaborate" bacon isn't funny enough, how exactly does one pronounce the brand name?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Recent Dining Experiences

On Thursday, Mr Minx and I met up with our friend Karin who was visiting from Germany. She was in the mood for dim sum, so we paid a visit to Jesse Wong's Hong Kong. We had never ordered dim sum off the menu there before, and despite everything being freshly made, we prefer the cart experience. More choices, even if most of them are room temperature/not as crisp as possible by the time they get to our table.

On Friday I took the train to Wilmington to visit my friend Kate. Immediately upon arrival I was whisked to Cajun Kate's to support Don during the filming of a segment on the local Philadelphia NBC affiliate. I can clearly be seen eating beignets at the counter, and hope to have a video up here as soon as I can get my powder-sugar-coated paws on one. In addition to Cajun Kate's yummy beignets, we split an order of the deep fried French toast with pecan maple syrup.

Several hours later, we headed back to Cajun Kate's for dinner - soft shell crab po' boys and crispy mac and cheese with corn and applewood smoked bacon. So delicious, but I can eat this way only once every few months...lol

The next morning we had breakfast at Angel's with our friend Wanda. Those scrambled eggs had to tide me over through a day of visiting - a much-needed *good* haircut from my friend Karen in New Jersey, a visit with her husband Jim Six, and then a gumbo delivery to my Dad in Bel Air. By the time we were ready to head back to Baltimore, Kate and I were famished and desperate enough to eat at Arby's (I'm not big on fast food).

Whew. I need vegetables. Stat!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Favorite Dishes

The other night, my Dad related to me a conversation about food he had with my brother. They attempted to determine the top five favorite dishes they had ever eaten, and soon expanded that list to ten. I thought I could give that a try, but I am pretty sure I could come up with far more than ten!

A lot of it has to do with the time and location of the meal, as well as the company. Something as simple as a hamburger can be remembered as one of the best meals ever because bread was broken with a cherished friend or relative. Some favorite meals were the first tasting of something and have thus become iconic examples of a particular dish or ingredient. For example, I have never found a match to a creme brulée eaten at the London home of a business associate of my Dad. I've had (and made) many a fine one in the 25 years since that first taste, but none have reached that level of excellence. The rest of the meal was memorable as well - a simple repast of roast lamb and the first fresh asparagus I ever ate.

Later that same year, Dad took me and my cousin Tony to Europe as a high school graduation gift. We had the best-ever bolognese sauce in a tiny Italian restaurant somewhere off the Champs Elysées. It was so good, we ate it two nights in a row. No sauce since that has tasted even close.

So what are my favorite dishes? Here are a few - I didn't number the list because I can't really rate one over another.

My Mom's baked mac and cheese, topped with breadcrumbs and thinly sliced tomato that caramelized in the oven

Basil Duck from Thai Luong in Herndon, VA

Black tagliatelle with corn from Babbo

Grapefruit gelato (not ice or sorbet - gelato) from Gelatiamo in Seattle

Mr Minx's pilaf - a simple dish of leftover rice, capellini, onions, butter, and saffron that I can eat and eat

Grandma's spaghetti and meatballs

Seafood gumbo at NOLA in New Orleans

Several varieties of dim sum at Jesse Wong's Hong Kong (fried noodles, hom sui gok, cheung fun)

Thai red curry from Bangkok Place

Black squid ink risotto with prawns and lobster @ Bolo

Mom's pot roast

Study of Duck at Emeril's Orlando (my first taste of foie gras, plus duck confit and seared duck breast served with a wild mushroom bread pudding)

See - that's already more than 10! What are your favorite dishes?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

TVFN's Lack of Cooperation

Near the end of July, I sent an e-mail to Lisa Garza, finalist on the Next Food Network Star, asking if she would allow me to interview her. The very gracious Garza responded that she would love to talk to me, but being that she had already gotten herself in trouble by commenting on blogs, we would have to go through Food Network PR. She supplied a name and the corresponding e-mail address.

I wrote to this person a couple of times in August, a week or two apart, politely inquiring if she could forward a few questions to Lisa from me. No response at all, which I thought was rude. My next prong of attack was to e-mail Adam Roberts, the blogger also known as the Amateur Gourmet, and ask him if he could supply me with a different name from the PR department (he has an online gig with the Food Network). He said he didn't know anyone in that area, but he would forward my inquiry to his associate producer. A few weeks have gone by and still no response, (and I have no reason to doubt that Adam did forward my message, and likely his AP did as well).

The other day, I scoured the Food Network Web site for another e-mail address that might get me some results. (At this point, "f*ck you, we hate bloggers" would constitute a result of some kind.) The only thing I found that was vaguely related involved auditioning for NFNS 5 (yes, another trainwreck for your viewing displeasure coming soon!) I sent a message to this address, yet again requesting an interview with Lisa. And maybe adding a small grumble about not getting a response from PR.

My thoughts: If the person to whom I wrote at FN PR no longer works there, shouldn't her e-mails be forwarded to the next available rep? A Public Relations department exists to promote; do they not see my request to speak to one of their personalities as a way to promote the Food Network? If they do not want to let Lisa speak, how hard is it for them to e-mail me with some lame "she's under contract" excuse? Or would that be a violation of the First Amendment, so rather than coming out and saying it, they choose to ignore the situation? She may not be able to speak about the show, but who is to say that I want to ask her about that at all? Why do they feel the need to limit any or all of her speech? (Is she still allowed to talk to her husband, for example?) Am I being discriminated against because I am a blogger? (Actually, I asked a former contestant from a couple of seasons back and he basically confirmed that yes, Food Network hates bloggers. If that's true, then why do they employ bloggers - see above?)

Or is FN PR just too lazy to respond one way or the other? I've become used to working with various PR reps from both the fashion/beauty and television industries over the past several months and all of them have been beyond helpful, kind, generous, and all around great to work with. I expect that from everyone in the field at this point. Are my expectations too high?

What are your thoughts? Anyone had a similar experience to share?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Crab Cakes

Knowing we had a can of crabmeat in the fridge, I flipped through a few cookbooks to see what I could do with it. Good old Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill cookbook had the answer for me yet again. Blue cornmeal crabcakes with mango salsa. I happened to have a ripe mango in the house as well, plus scallions, cilantro, and lime, so it seemed like a Flay-esque meal was going to be happening.

But as I read through the ingredients, I realized I would have to make a hell of a lot of substitutions. The crab cakes called for prepared horseradish, dijon mustard, creme fraiche or sour cream, and blue cornmeal. I didn't have horseradish, but I did have horseradish mustard. No sour cream, but I had a container of goat cheese yogurt. And no blue cornmeal, of course, but I had a box of polenta.

Flay suggested that in addition to the mango salsa a smoked red pepper sauce be used on the plates. There weren't any bell peppers in my house at all, but I did have some of Cajun Kate's spicy tomato glaze, which I doctored up with a chipotle en adobo, a bit of mayo to cut the sweet, and a pinch of smoked salt.

They were good, but nothing beats a crab cake made with fresh blue crab, using the recipe on the back of the Old Bay can....

Monday, September 08, 2008

Hair Don't?

I just spotted this on Michael Ruhlman's blog. Looks like back in the day, Tony Bourdain had crazy hair and no neck.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Willy Cakes

From CakeWrecks.

Seriously, would you put one of those things in your mouth? Particularly the jaundiced ones. (Yeah yeah, DD, I know, "nom nom nom nom.")

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Omnivore's Hundred

"Here’s a chance for a little interactivity for all the bloggers out there. Below is a list of 100 things that I think every good omnivore should have tried at least once in their life. The list includes fine food, strange food, everyday food and even some pretty bad food - but a good omnivore should really try it all. Don’t worry if you haven’t, mind you; neither have I, though I’ll be sure to work on it. Don’t worry if you don’t recognise everything in the hundred, either; Wikipedia has the answers."
Bold entries are things I have eaten. I did pretty well, eating 60 of the 100 items listed, though I will admit some of those things I won't be eating again...

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison

2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare

5. Crocodile (does Alligator count?)
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 (no, but I've smelled it)
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
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 (I've smoked a fat cigar but I don't much like cognac)
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O (in other words, a Jell-o shooter)
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 (sorry, not that much of a thrill seeker)
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 (I've eaten a Big Mac in my life, and McD's fries, but haven't ordered a "meal." I'm counting it anyway. It's not like it's real food.)
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini (Dirty vodka martini, sure. Can't drink gin...ick.)
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads

63. Kaolin (I am confused as to why this is on the list. Kaolin is a type of clay.)
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 (I don't like rabbit, so I know I won't like 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

From VGT--If you want to participate:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

NY Gelato

Grom at 233 Bleecker and Carmine Village, is just a jog away from 6th Avenue. L'Arte del Gelato is at 75 Seventh Avenue, near Bleecker. I spotted these gelateria on a trip through the West Village last Wednesday and knew I had to find my way back to try their wares. All in the name of research, mind you.

First I hit Grom. I ate a salad for lunch and no breakfast so I was still a bit peckish at 3pm. I had no idea when I would be eating next, as I'd be taking a 6:20 PM train back home to Baltimore and wouldn't likely see food again until I got home at 9, so I justified my splurge. I tasted the apricot sorbet, hoping that the fruit had been cooked at some point since I am allergic to raw apricot. (I never claimed to be smart, especially not with ice cream staring me in the face.) It was very true to the fruit, and I opted for a small cup with both the apricot sorbet and some pistachio gelato. The pistachio was unlike any I've had in the past. Not only did it have that distinctive almondy flavor, it was full of crushed pistachios. Texture-wise it was unique, and flavor-wise was up with the best I've had.

As it was only about a block away, I skipped over to L'Arte and tried the cassata and the grapefruit-campari sorbet. The latter knocked my socks off with its sweet/bitter notes, so I had some of that with a pinch of the cassata. The cup was garnished with a sample of the mango sorbet, also very true to the fruit.

All of the flavors from both places had their merits. I especially liked Grom's pistachio and L'Arte's grapefruit. And it might have been piggish to eat four flavors of gelato in one afternoon, I realize that both servings combined don't measure up to one of Vaccaro's, size-wise, so I felt less-bad about it. Oh, who am I kidding - when do I feel bad about eating something that tastes so good?

Monday, September 01, 2008

Crush, Part Deux

Mr Minx and I grabbed some dinner at Crush again tonight and I'm happy to report that it was just as good as the first time we went. He got basically the same thing I had last time with the addition of a romaine salad with bleu cheese and bacon. I had the soup of the day, a gazpacho with avocado and zucchini, the fried oysters, and an arugula salad with bleu cheese, pecans, and poached pear. Apart from the soup needing a pinch more salt, everything was fab.

I'm already planning our next visit. :)