Friday, November 5, 2010

What I Meant to Say...

(In other words, this is a compilation of recent posts that were supposed to be, but never quite were.)

Where I've been...

Getting injured by an attempt at this recipe for kettle corn: Seriously, I took a kernel in the eye. I'm thinking Metrocurean's spicy caramel corn may be less dangerous.

In and out of Denver in 36 hours, with a wedding in between: The foodie highlights of the trip were definitely the pair of restaurants helmed by a pair of chicas. (Go Denver Girl Power). At Rioja, on a Friday evening, my friend M and I grabbed dinner and wine. We shared some artichoke ravioli, delicately laced with goat cheese, and the seared scallops with vanilla brown butter - actually, it was more like I ate my dish, and then a good part of M's too. Both were so incredible, I don't remember who ordered what, but I do remember regrettably leaving behind other menu selections, including artisan buffalo milk cheese, and beignets stuffed with goat cheese and figs. The next day, after a morning spent watching College GameDay in my hotel bed, and then working out (yes, this is exactly what a mama does when she gets a day off - balances the need to relax with the need to accomplish), I treated myself to a platter of poutine (and salad, to get my veggies) at Euclid Hall, run by the same duo of awesome ladies. The crunchy apply cabbage slaw (from the "roughage" category of the menu) was a perfect balance to the rich Poutine of hangar steak, short ribs, bordeaux gravy, and cheddar cheese curds I enjoyed (pic below). Poutine, by the way, is an entire menu category at Euclid Hall, as are Schnitzels. Gotta love this concept, and the 1883 building housing the joint (see the website for a very interesting history lesson). While in town, the crew also made a point of hitting up the Peaks Lounge rooftop bar (a little chach-ish for our collective tastes - we were in and out quickly), Pinkberry - it really is sooo good, and got happy hour soup and beer (my self-determined antidote for altitude sickness) at the Ship Tavern in the fancified Brown Palace Hotel - I was staying in the not-as-classy Comfort Inn across the street.

Cooking up this Tyler Florence Ultimate Veal Piccata with the i flip for food crew before they skipped town: By the way, Tyler's recipe for arrabbiata sauce is so versatile and so seriously delicious - I use it constantly for almost any tomato sauce need. A couple of recipe edits - I could not stomach the idea of adding a half stick of butter to the noodles, so I tossed in about a tablespoon (along with about a tablespoon of parmesan, salt and pepper). It was enough, highlighting the spaghetti with the right amount of flavor and richness. Also, I forgot sauce the veal with the butter, capers, and parsley, instead just squeezing a half lemon over the top. It turns out the sauce was not necessary at all - the lemon and a little of the leftover arrabbiata sauce were perfect accompaniments. Finally, the calamari was delicious, but my frying technique still needs work - I guess not being able to deep fry properly is more of a blessing than a curse. I also notched up the cannoli with pistachio infused oil, which made the flavor all the more sublime. If you have a bit of time on your hands, including the time to make a run to the butcher and upscale market, I definitely would recommend this meal - and share your own edits - I love to hear each cook's take.

Failing to find anything noteworthy to say about Restaurant Week at WestEnd Bistro: The steak frites were acceptably good, and my tomato "soup" of ripened heirloom grape tomatoes and tomato water was refreshing, but the cream puffs were chewy and topped with what appeared to be Hershey's syrup, C found his steak tartare to be unoriginal, and the experience as a whole was rather blah. Not quite the superlative meal as our other restaurant week choice. I thought it best not to write about an experience about which I didn't have much to say; these posts have been less than stellar in the past.

Coming up with my own take on Bacon Week: C really wanted to make it out to Restaurant 3, but with childcare and available free evenings severely limiting our opportunities to dine out these days, we end up, on average, about one dinner out per month (including those with additional babysitters in tow). So, we have to properly consider our choices. I checked out the Restaurant 3 menu in advance, which included, amongst other items, a bacon-wrapped cornbread-stuffed pork chop, BLT wedge salad, and baked potato soup. No offense to the chefs, but I thought, "I can do that", and as it turns out, I could. While C entertained Baby H and watched the Redskins, I prepared a feast of pork. I did not follow any recipes, just the general ideas from the menu. It was a liberating culinary experience to cook specifically with a plan leading to a carniverous delight for C, yet not being held back by the restraints of any specific recipe construction.

Fending off the mobs at the Rally to Restore Sanity: It was really rather disappointing, from my perspective. I'm pretty sure the message of reasonableness got lost in the craziness of 200K people protesting, rallying, or just wearing the most attention-grabbing Halloween costume they could imagine. With the crowds, it was difficult to see and hear, and though other people evidently found fun signs, probably the best I saw was "Remember to check your signs for spelling and grammatical errors". The sanity concept was definitely bastardized by those with their own versions, mostly on the left, but a few overly right leaners too. Something to see, but really no inspiration to be drawn. Alas, just when I find myself disenchanted by all things political (don't worry - I will still take every advantage of my suffrage - I voted Tuesday) and thinking that my ideals are dead and I can no longer be inspired, along comes a quietly victorious (by a more than comfortable margin) Governor-elect with simple yet fundamentally smart plans for limiting government spending while still creating sustainable jobs, providing real health care (and a candidate who broaches the subject of personal responsibility in our health care - how awesome is that?!), being an environmental steward, and restoring hope and pride to a State that so severely lacks those attributes.

Where I'll be....

Enjoying a lunch liaison with C at 701; trying new spots in my hood (assuming takeout is an option), including Rustico, a bricks and mortar District Taco, and Chez Manelle (evidently the only Tunisian restaurant in the country - well, given that I now know what Tunisian cuisine is, that's clearly a must).

With the exception of those choices listed above, cooking at home: This weekend, I'm doing a Nigella recipe for braised beef shank from an episode of the Today Show. In true fashion, I don't plan to follow the recipe precisely. I'll be adding a mirepoix instead of just onions and a little less pancetta. Alongside, I'll probably do the NYTimes spaghetti squash gratin. Tonight, chicken sausage and roasted eggplant parmesan (I'm still inventing in my head - if it turns out, I'll share), served with ricotta gnocchi, also a NYTimes recipe. Probably a take on brussel sprouts too - the one veggie my parents never even tried to entice me to eat - having tried Zatinya's version, I have a wholly enlightened perspective on what I thought could only be stinky and soggy nastiness.

Whipping up recipes for a pumpkin-themed baby shower, cookie monster cupcakes for my little lion (I have policy of not posting pics of him to the blog, but let me just say he was the cutest Halloween baby ever) who turns one - yes, one year old - this month, and probably also Food Wandering's sweet potato rolls for Thanksgiving.

Blogging more on what I want to write and not what I feel like someone might want to read: If I expect politicians and media figures to hold themselves accountable for their need for attention, I can't go falling into that trap myself, now can I?! Besides, with recent posts, it's difficult to pretend this blog doesn't at least partially serve the function of an online journal.


Angela said...

Hee! I've been waiting for you to write about that Tyler Florence meal. YUM. And I disagree, I think your frying was pretty spot-on, my friend. I think I ate about a pound of that calamari by myself.

Also, I love the picture I have in my head of a identically be-jerseyed C and baby watching the Redskins together.

Miss you guys!

W. Mark Felt, Sr. said...

Thanks Angela! We miss you guys too, and hope that LA is treating you well.