Category Archives: appetizers
Scenes from the AC Food and Wine Fest 2013
AC Food and Wine Fest: Blues, Brews and BBQ
There were many events at the AC Food and Wine Fest this year. The Blues, Brews and BBQ event was hands down the best one! Even tho it was, no lie, 900 degrees out and this thing was held in the parking lot across from the Showboat Casino, even tho the guys using smokers and grills made it 200 times hotter and even tho the big tents were no help from the heat, it still was a blast!
Yes, there was a band and yes, there was a lot of beer. But hey, I went for the BBQ!!
First up was Devil’s Alley. They are a, surprise, bar and grille in downtown Philly at 19th and Chestnut Sts. Chef Brian Fidiam come with a something offbeat, but still awesome! Spicy Dry Rub Wings. Now when I say these things were moist, tender and delicious, believe me. I ate, well, I coulda put their kids thru college. Let’s just leave it at that!
Next up was Smokin’ Betty’s, a place down at 11th and Sansom sts, in downtown Philly. They brought their signature Riblets. Now, some of you might remember places like Applebee’s who would have all you could eat riblets. these are not that! Not that! Not even close! The sweet sauce mingles with the porky goodness and the fat disintegrates right as it touches your tongue. Again, I think I ate a whole table’s worth.
Also, I cannot go much further without a shoutout to some neighbors of mine I ran into and went to a few events with! Maureen is a huge fan of the blog and her kids (All grown up now. I am so old!) love going to food events. Also, a shoutout to Brigid’s boyfriend Joe who bought a 5 gallon oak barrel in which to brew beer inside! I want to see how that turns out! They also kindly showed me some of the more awesome things I’m writing about today! So, hats off to Joe and the Ramseys!
Paula Deen was big and loud at the event and she cracked everyone up. As you can see in the picture, she’s lost a bunch of weight, as has Michael. She was really loving talking to the crowd, got onto the topic of her Diabetes and having to eat better and lose weight. Her son Bobby has been helping them eat better (and she plugged his show “Not My Mama’s Meals”, in which he remakes some of her recipes in a way that won’t kill you…as fast), which has helped with the weight loss, but she didn’t put a big shine on the whole thing. She basically pined what we all feel, that weight loss is hard and sometimes you just want that donut, but you gotta stick to it. Sometimes tho, have that donut! Am I saying Paula Deen, Queen of Butter, was being realistic? Yes, I am! Good god, anything is possible I think.
Paula also brought along her Braised Beef Brisket. I have never actually tasted anything she has made (or, as it was probably at this event, supervised the making of), and this brisket was pretty fantastic. It had a great crust on it and the sauce had a kick but with a smokey backend. It was right on!
This little puppy melted the socks right off my feet. Local Smoke BBQ brought their world-famous Smoked Jalapeno Poppers. When I saw the sign, I was intrigued. However, I have a problem with Jalapenos these days. You see, I’m getting kind of old and certain things just, well, tie me up into knots. They turn my body into a festival of terror. I actually start twitching when I see seeds sometimes. Once I was assured there were no seeds, I dug in and wowza! A hollow Jalapeno stuffed with a cream cheese and pulled pork filling, wrapped in dry-rubbed bacon and slow-smoked to perfection & served with BBQ ranch dipping sauce. Pop that sucker right in your mouth and your eyes immediately roll to the back of your head. You need to sit down. The layers of flavor melt all over your mouth. These things are a National Treasure. These things should be on every tv show in the land. These things are amazing.
Tyler Florence was in attendance at the fest as well. He brought up Paula and then later came out and mingled amongst the sweaty unwashed. When I say this guy was the nicest fellow I have come across, believe it. I approached him, told him my blog name and said maybe he should check it out and he repeated it back, and said he would. I got the feeling from him, well, he just might. He then asked if I wanted a picture and I snapped one of just him and then he insisted we take one together (of which I will spare you of because we both look like we just climbed out of a pool). I felt bad for him, he was wearing that chef coat and he was soaked all the way thru. But he stayed and took more pics, talked to people, signed autographs and all. I know they all get paid to be at these things but the guy is a trooper (and just as cute in person as he is on tv).
Zac Pelaccio is a world travelin’ dude. He’s written a book called “Eat With Your Hands” and pushes that exact idea: to get into with your food. He also owns 2 restaurants: Fatty Crab and Fatty Cue. This guy knows what’s what.
Zak was working with Amstel Light and made a Pork Burger with Twig Farm Goat Cheese, Citrus Mayo, and Onion Jam served on a soft rye burger bun.
It was juicy and very well seasoned. However, I am not a fan of goat cheese. I keep trying and trying but no go. The Ramsey’s really liked it tho, it seemed. I really wanna visit one of Zak’s places tho, they sound amazing. You can order a half pound of deep fried bacon!!
The biggest, brightest part of the day was from Dinosaur BBQ! I didn’t think it was the same one in Harlem, from which I have heard many fantastically awesome things from people I know. They didn’t mention that on the menu, they just mentioned Newark. Turns out, it was! And oh my dear mother of all that is good and holy on this planet and the next, this thing was transcendent.
Look close at the meat, you’ll see the smoke ring. Look closer and you’ll see how juicy that meat was. Look again and see the amazing sauce they laid on there. I walked away looking like a toddler who fought a plate of spaghetti and I did not care. Not one stinkin’ bit. It was that good. I was sweaty, tired, and covered in bbq sauce and it was some of the best BBQ meat I have ever had. Unreal. UNREAL.
Whew! So that was the Blues, Brews and BBQ event! I left there seeing BBQ everywhere I went. I should say that two of my favorite beer companies were there as well, Anderson Valley and Pyramid Brewing! Check them out when you get a chance, you will not be disappointed!
Thanks to the AC Food & Wine Fest crew for having me and thanks to Joe & The Ramseys for hanging out! It was a blast and I can’t wait for next year!
Atlantic City Food & Wine Fest: Pool Party!
For the past few years, the Food Network, along with Caesar’s Casino (and their other casinos: Showboat, Harrah’s & Bally’s) and a ton of sponsors, have thrown a huge Food and Wine Fest in Atlantic City. It’s a bunch of events over a few days revolving around food, booze and some music along with a bunch of Food Network personalities. It’s really a great excuse to meet some famous people, try some new foods and have a great time in AC. This year, DidjaEat? was invited to come and enjoy the festivities!
They started the weekend off with a Thursday night party at Harrah’s, at their cool indoor pool area. They try to advertise it as a pool club, which makes sense since the pool doesn’t seem to go over 4 feet in depth. No one actually went into the pool, except one chef who accidentally lit his pants on fire. The quick thinking DJ, DJ Vito G, played “Disco Inferno” just as the guy emerged out of the pool (would I have played “The Roof Is On Fire”? Probably. But then again, I am pretty lowbrow.). It was all I could do to not dive in because it was about 900 percent humidity and I drove down from Philly in my car with no AC.
The whole point of the kick off party is to give everyone a taste, literally and figuratively, of what the fest is offering this year. So, the Blues and Brews BBQ guys were serving up some pork tacos, the Re-Define Cheesesteak guys were serving up cheesesteaks and, well, you get the point.
Speaking of the BBQ, the Blues, Brews and BBQ guys had a big ol’ roast pig out on the table for all to see, along with some grilled corn (I took a skip on that because I cannot stand it when it gets all jammed up in my teeth, but it looked pretty awesome.) and delicious pork tacos. I had many, many of those. Unbelievably good! I can’t wait to go to that event and stuff my face full of BBQ!!
The DJ, who I mentioned above, really did a great job. I normally cannot stand loud dance music, but he mixed in some great old stuff and got people dancing in front of the DJ booth. The last hour, when people had really started feeling all the free drinks, busted out all the old stuff, starting with Bell Biv Devoe’s Poison and slid right thru all that late 80’s, early 90’s stuff. He knew his demographic and ran with it.
Even Anne Burrell was having a blast. While they kept her sort of behind a rope (to keep from people totally swallowing her up), she was dancing, having a great time and did not say no to one person who wanted a picture with her (and you had to use a flash because of the lighting, I can’t believe she wasn’t blind by the time she left). When the DJ played a special request of hers, she almost lost her mind. It was cool to see someone famous actually enjoying themselves with the fans, alcohol or no alcohol. I think Andrew Zimmern was supposed to be there too, but I didn’t see him.
Speaking of having a blast, the SteakHouse guys were not messing around. They had Dirty Grilled Flank Steak Bruschette with Jersey Tomatoes (note: if you have never had Jersey tomatoes, seriously, go get some.), a Goat Cheese spread and microgreens. I loved it so much but I would have liked it better without the Goat Cheese. I don’t know what it is with that, but I get a very weird after taste that makes me gag. I wonder if that’s what it’s like for people who can’t eat cilantro? I don’t know, but the rest of it was mouth-watering.
There was a stand that was all about the desserts. Oh yeah. Mini strawberry shortcakes, mini chocolate awesomeness, raspberry & berry with a gel in the middle and even a cool green gelee’ that looked like a votive candle but tasted like clouds.
The chocolate thing in the corner was almost mind bending. It was layers of chocolate with a hard chocolate base. So good.
My favorite thing is one I actually didn’t get to take a picture of, I ate it too fast. It was a tiny brownie type cupcake with caramel in the middle. It was topped with some sort of whipped cream and dusted with caramel dust. Unreal.
One of the more delicious of the savory things was something we don’t eat too much of on the east coast down below New England: The Lobster Roll. Usually the Lobster Roll is chopped lobster mixed with some mayo and maybe some relish and served on a bun that’s not unlike a hot dog roll. Well, they made an appearance at the Pool Party in Parker House rolls! They were absolutely amazing. Buttery, fresh and packed full of lobster meat. I had many, many of these (“Lady, she’s puttin’ my kids thru college!”).
Another thing I had that is a favorite of mine that I was expecting to appear somewhere close to this fest is the Cheesesteak. I am from Philly, I live in Philly and I think I swallowed a bit of Philly one day when I was sleeping with my mouth open. It was either that or a fly, I can’t tell. Either way, I know a cheesesteak. I can point you to not only good cheesesteak places (and no, not Pat’s or Geno’s. Those places are tourist traps. If you are from Philly, the only time you go there is if it’s after 2 am and you are shitfaced. Seriously.), but specific ones in a certain area of the city (ie: going to the Northeast? Hit up Chink’s on Torresdale Ave. Going to Roxborough area? Hit up Dellasandro’s, etc. etc. etc.).
Cheesesteaks are on the upswing these days, called “Philly Cheesesteaks”. When I see that, I get suspicious. It usually means that the people making them aren’t from Philly and might not know what they are doing. It’s easy to screw up something so simple to make. There was a stand making cheesesteaks on Parker House rolls and Cheesesteak eggrolls.
The bun was nice and fresh and I get that they are doing a new spin on the cheesesteak (“Redefining Cheesesteak”) but the meat was a little too chopped up for me. It sort of reminded me of the cheesesteaks from high school. I applaud the effort tho, and the servers and the guys working behind the table were super nice, very efficient in the plating and overall looked like they were having a good time.
The cheesesteak eggroll was a little different. The cheese was not inside the roll, as they were appetizer sized eggrolls, not what you think of when you think eggroll. But, considering how many had to be made, it makes sense. It would have cost them a bazillion bucks to make full size ones for all those people. They were tasty tho, and served with the cheese at the bottom of the cup for dipping (later on they used paper boats, but the little cups I thought were cool.).
They fried them to order and were blazing hot but still pretty good. I could give them some tips on putting cheesesteak in things, as I used to make some kick ass cheesesteak pierogies. Gimmie a call, guys!
So, after sitting down and relaxing for a while, I made one more trip around the pool and decided my time at the Pool Party had come to an end. I think it was when the DJ played “Ice, Ice, Baby” but I could be wrong. I had to rest up for the rest of the weekend and digest all the awesomeness I had consumed over the course of the night. On the way out I spotted a really cool sand sculpture, smiled…and burped. Whoo, time for a nap. See you on friday, Food and Wine Fest!
Crabby Nachos Are Nacho Good
I’m on vacation this week. Some friends went to the shore with me and we went to dinner at The Island Grille in Ocean City. I controlled myself enough to not moon the Tabernacle assholes as we drove by (if you are unfamiliar: Ocean City is a dry town. The restaurants are hurting in this economy by not doing any sort of liquor and a lot of people will go to nearby Somers Point so they can imbibe. The restaurant guys came up with a plan to offer BYOB only between Memorial Day and Labor Day, but as usual, the rich douchebags don’t care about the working guys out there and lobbied enough to scare people into voting it down (by saying “The Town will turn into Wildwood” which I find to be elitist and douchey). The funny part about the whole thing is that they were saying that it would ruin the “family vibe” of OC if they let in liquor. Meanwhile, check out the recycling bins on trash day or the long lines at the 2 liquor stores conveniently located at the bottom of both bridges leading into town.) and we circled around long enough to park within walking distance of The Island Grille.
I found this place because my Mom had a magnet from there on her fridge, no kidding. The website looked nice and the prices seemed ok. They have nice outside seating as well as arctic ac inside if that’s your thing. They offer lots of seafood and pump in a lot of Jimmy Buffet music. I hate Jimmy Buffett but that’s just me. I guess it goes with the decor? Whatever. Anywho, as Julie, Cecilia and I sat down, we saw “Crabby Nachos” and ordered them immediately.
It said they came with crab and “cheese sauce”. I didn’t think much of it, I thought it would be cheese whiz, which I am a big fan of (keep your hate mail to yourselves). I could have done without the giant salad on top, but I suppose it was for color. For some reason, they used bagged tortilla chips. You might not know this but it’s cheaper to MAKE YOUR OWN CHIPS. Please take note, everyone in the food industry who insists on using these shitty chips. But, I am flexible. Perhaps they are busy and don’t have the time to do prep. Who knows.
I have to say they are not skimpy with the crap. These things have tons of crab on them. Do you like crab? I know I do (insert Will Ferrell doing Harry Carrey here). The crab doesn’t disappoint. What does disappoint? I hope you are sitting down.
Let’s start with the jalapenos, of which came out of a can. Seriously. Seriously? How about the salsa? Of which is also from a can (or, a plastic bottle). Seriously. Do you have any idea how cheap it is to make salsa? And the longer it sits, the better it gets, so it’s not like you have to throw it away every nite! You could make one big thing of it once a week and be done with it! Jalapenos that come from a can…I have no words for that. No words. Actually, I do have words: you suck.
Let’s sit a spell and chat about this “cheese sauce”. Now, I love cheese whiz. I am a Philadelphian, and it is in my DNA to enjoy a few things: Tastykakes, cream cheese, water that tastes like a pipe, and cheese whiz. I could put it on anything. I have put it on lots of stuff. I don’t want to say I have licked plates or wrappers that it might be on, because my Mom reads this and will yell at me…but I’ll let your imagination work it out.
This is not cheese whiz. This is straight up cheap ass, 7-11 nacho cheese. When I worked at the Sev, it came in a bag, and the pump attached to it. They might have it on a Bain-Marie, which is like a water bath type of thing, like you see on a buffet line. It would probably be in one like you’d see soups in. Do you know how cheap it is to buy shredded cheese in bulk? Super, crazy cheap. And that cheese is used everywhere and for something like nachos, it’s great! To say “cheese sauce”, you’d think it was something like the melted cheese sauce they use at Chickie and Pete’s for the Crab Fries. But no, no, you’d be wrong.
If this place was run by some idiot wahoos who decided it would be fun to have a restaurant without any training and they pulled this sort of thing, I’d understand. They wouldn’t know any better. But according to the website: “Andy is the chef and runs the back of the restaurant. Wife Allison manages the front of the restaurant. Andy is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University with a BS in Food Service Management and an Assoc. in Culinary Arts.”. Johnson and Wales is right behind the CIA in pumping out trained culinary people. There is no excuse for this.
So let’s see how this went:
Chips. Eh. Jalapenos. Bleh. Cheese. Ugh. Salsa. Nasty. Crab. Tasty. I don’t get it. I don’t understand. The crab is awesome, but the rest of it could be fixed so easily. Please, Island Grille, FIX IT.
Be Still My Clogged Arteries!: Fat Sandwiches in New Brunswick
I have always been fascinated by ridiculous sandwiches. Even when I was a kid and would see Dagwood, in the Blondie comic strip, make those crazy sandwiches, I was fascinated. In New Brunswick, New Jersey, there lives Rutgers University. Whenever you have a college, especially one as large at Rutgers, you get food trucks. These trucks, known as “grease trucks”, are exactly what you think they are: sandwich trucks. But these sandwich trucks spawned something interesting: The Fat Sandwich.
The Fat Sandwich is a bad meal on a long roll. That’s the best way to put it. You feel like eating a cheesesteak with a side of fries? Well, why not just put the whole thing on the cheesesteak? Maybe you wanted Jalapeno Poppers as well? Put those bad boys on there too. And maybe some chicken fingers? Yup, everyone in the pool!
So when I went to visit my friend Pat, who seems to be becoming my new food-partner-in-crime at times, we put down our beers long enough to decide to order some sandwiches. He steered me towards a place called Giovanelli’s. This place has a laundry list of fat sandwiches, as does a bunch of others. He really likes this place tho, so we ordered!
First up is the Fat Phillipino. Not a very politically correct name, but the tastiness of the sandwich makes up for it. I felt a little better about eating it because it has a lot of lettuce and tomato on it. Maybe it’s a mini-salad? Yeah, let’s go with that.
But this puppy is loaded to the gills. It doesn’t look so bad when you take a top down view of it. It looks almost tame, right? Like it’s a small sandwich? (This is a half by the way. Pat and I decided to switch halves in order to try 2 kinds. No wonder he is a graduate school graduate. I can’t even say that 5 times fast…)
Now let’s take a look at this thing from the side and I will go over the things that are loaded in here. Are ya ready? (And please, click on the picture to get the full effect. Yowza!) It’s got cheese steak, chicken fingers, gyro meat, mozzarella sticks, french fries, white sauce, lettuce and tomato. The fries were a little bit limp by the time the food got to us, but I’m ok with that.
The sandwich is supposed to have white sauce on it, but it did taste a little dry. I imagine it’s because of the time of transportation and also because of the bread and the breaded ingredients within the sandwich. How did it taste overall? It was pretty darn delicious, I have to say.
The second sandwich was the the Fat Giovanelli. I actually heard my Mom yelling at me in my head for eating this thing. The things I do for journalism! This one looks really harmless from the top, doesn’t it?
That red you see is hot sauce. It’s actually not a very spicy sauce but it does give the sandwich a bit of a kick. It also made the sandwich a lot less dry then the other ones, but it could have used more moisture. But, like I said, I think transportation and bread’s moisture sucking qualities kind of did me in a little bit. Don’t despair, beer helped.
Now check out the side shot of this thing (then go take your cholesterol meds). This thing contains: cheesesteak, chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, french fries, bacon, egg, hot sauce. I am a HUGE fan of eggs on cheeseburgers, so when I saw there was a sandwich with egg on it, I was all over it. This thing does not disappoint. The egg gives the whole thing some more moisture and some great texture when you are up against the cheesesteak meat and the breading of the chicken fingers and mozzarella sticks. And again, the hot sauce moistens up the fries a bit.
So, would I eat one of these monstrosities again? Sure. Do I think I can take on the challenge of eating 5 that one of the trucks does? No way. Will I be eating salads the rest of the week to make up for the damage I did? Probably. I’d like to try another kind of these at some point, so we’ll see what happens. But thanks to Pat Farley for being smart enough to not only graduate grad school but also to know where the good places to eat are!
Adventures in Nachos at Loco Pez
If you are familiar with me, or this blog, at all, you might know that I love nachos. I do a lot of standup so I spend a lot of time in bars, and I tend to order the nachos at almost everywhere I end up. I have had good ones, bad ones, interesting twists on them and scary twists on them. I can’t eat jalapeno seeds anymore, which sucks (they tend to turn my body into what can only be described as a Festival Of Terror), but I am game for any other kind of ingredients. So, when I heard about Loco Pez and their ridiculous nachos, I had to try them.
Loco Pez used to be a bar in Fishtown called The Crazy Fish. Get it? Now it’s a bar with some amazing Mexican food. There is a big bar in the front and a few booths in the back. This, my friends, is where the magic happens.
My friend Jess and I popped in on a weeknight to check it out. The beer selection is pretty great, and we ordered the 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon (It was on special! Yay!).
It’s a wheat beer and usually only available in the summer, so we were both pretty excited it’s back out. It’s a nice summertime beer that has a really cool watermelon aftertaste. Specifically, it tastes like a watermelon Jolly Rancher. Check it out if you can, it’s very unique and delicious.
21st Amendment is a craft brewery from San Francisco and they do something a little different: all of their beers are in cans. Cans help beer stay fresher and they are better for the environment. I am a huge fan of their “Brew Free or Die” IPA as well. Check them out, you’ll be glad ya did!
So, as we perused the menu and drank our beers, we come to the conclusion that we needed to get the “Nachos De Kenzo”. These nachos come with carne asada, pulled chicken and spicy chorizo. Three meats on nachos can’t be bad, right? I was almost sold, until I remembered I had read about ordering them “K&A Style”. This means instead of chips, the nachos are made with…waffle fries. What waffle fries and K&A have to do with each other is beyond me. (for those of you not from Philly, K&A is a stop on the Frankford El and a general section of the city that used to be a place to go shopping, eat and be seen. Now it’s a place to pick up a hooker and 15 percocets on your way back from the metadone center).
But even if they have nothing in common, I could not care less, because these things are amazing. Did I mention they also have Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Oaxaca & Cotija cheeses and Crema on them? Or that they have a giant pile of homemade guac on top that is knockout delicious? Or that the waffle fries themselves are thick enough to hold this crazy monstrosity of nacho goodness?
These are easily the best nachos I have eaten in the history of time. I actually kind of want to try them with chips (which I am hoping they make in house). The meats and cheeses blend so well together: the meats are warm and super tender & the cheeses are gooey and it all dances around some pico de gallo to pull it all together. Someone asked me if the waffle fries get soggy and, surprisingly, they do not. I am not sure how the chef pulls that of, but I am glad he does. I recommend clicking on these images to see a closeup view of these nachos. Words do not do them justice.
Get to Loco Pez and don’t waste any time doing it. Order some nachos, get a 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon and run with it!
So I realized I had a bunch of stray pictures hanging around. I am the asshole you see snapping pictures of food at inappropriate times (“I know you are having that cookie because of your low blood sugar but it looks cool”…Snap!) but not all of my pics can be a whole blog post unto itself. So, here is a roundup of assorted pics that I thought would be cool.
First up! In a previous post, I drooled all over the internet about a Prime Rib that my cousin-in-law, Bob, the firefighter chef, had made. Well, what I did not mention was that his wife Chrissy cut me a giant piece to take home. So, later on, home alone on New Years Day, I wanted to eat it. But how? I cut it up, threw it in a cast iron skillet and started to just heat it up.
In a little bowl I mixed some ketchup, A1, sriracha, worcheshire sauce and water and threw it in so it wouldn’t get dried out. Then I thought, what should I eat with it? Duh.
It was a thing of beauty. The sauce had cooked down and caramelized on the meat and the eggs were cooked but the yolks were still kinda dippy. I sat in the green leather armchair in the living room with this plate on my lap and welcomed the first day of 2012 (yeah, I had to check) with reckless abandon. And lots of meat!
I was in North Jersey doing some comedy awhile back with my friend Latice. It was a long drive and I was super crazy hungry. I ordered a burger (an aside: please don’t advertise a big giant burger and then give me a big giant…jetro frozen burger. It takes 20 minutes to make like 45 fresh burgers for the week. Salt. Pepper. Maybe something else if you wanna get crazy. It’s cheaper to buy a chubb (haha, yeah that’s what they call it) of meat from wherever you get your meat and make them yourself then to lie to me and make me angry.) and wanted nachos. I love nachos.
And what they served me made me so angry I wanted to burn the building down.
What we have here are the Worst Nachos In The History Of The World. They were over salted regular and blue corn tortilla chips with the bagged shredded cheese and old chili on them. Oh. And olives. Where are the other ingredients? They were on another plate (that I didn’t take a picture of due to being angry) in little cups. There was not enough for the both of us, which irritates the crap out of me, because nachos should be big enough to be shared by at least 3 people. THAT IS WHY THEY EXIST. Some idiot in the kitchen decides to make deconstructed nachos and then doesn’t even mention it in the menu. And then tries to pass off a frozen burger as homemade. For shame. FOR SHAME.
This is what nachos should look like:
There is everything you need there. They don’t make their own chips either, even tho it is simple, but there is height, heft and yes, DELICIOUSNESS.
(And the maraschino cherries for dessert? You really get me internet, you really do…)
My little cousin Matt turned 7 earlier this past year and he wanted a monster themed party (fitting for Matt, but you don’t know him, so this must seem very inside baseball. You’d be right. But, trust me.). So his mom Lorrie made a very cool cake and gave out these monster cake pops!
Lorrie makes such awesome baked goods that sometimes I daydream about keeping her in my basement to just make me baked goods all day long. But then I remember how silly that would be…my cellar isn’t big enough for that kind of operation. A girl can dream tho.
Anyway, aren’t they cool? The hair is oreo crumbs and the cake is a light and airy chocolate. Did I almost get into a fight with another 7 year old over one sitting on a table?
One may never know…(I sure as hell ain’t tellin’….)
I found myself out of my area of cheesesteaks and tastykakes and into another area called Brooklyn. It looks a lot like Philly but with much more annoying Yankee/Giants/Mets crap plastered to all the cards. So instead of making an afternoon out of keying cars, I ended up eating this…a red velvet donut.
I didn’t eat it when first given to me. It sat in the bag for a bit. While I do tend to write about baked goods, I really very rarely eat them because too much carby stuff turns me into a parade float. Ahem. Anywho, this beauty is from the Peter Pan Bakery on Manhattan Ave in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn. This thing was freakin’ amazing. Could it have been better with cream cheese frosting? Perhaps. But it was like eating a cupcake, a cake and a dance on a ballroom floor and I’ll take that any day.
I’ll end this hodgepodge post with a cupcake. A plain vanilla cupcake. I don’t remember exactly where I had this thing (it might have been another one of Bob’s creations), but I remember the icing. I hate cupcakes that have skimpy sugar-ball icing. They have no flavor. No panache. No…soul.
This was a perfect cupcake. Cream cheese icing. Tiny sugar crystals. It took me awhile to get down to the cupcake but ya know what?
It was a holiday cupcake and I was in love with it. And that was just fine with me.
New Year’s Eve Feast
There are some people who need to go out and roam about drunkenly to have, what they consider, a successful New Year’s Eve. There are others who need to have an epic, crazy, shitshow of a party at home in order to be successful (including, but not limited to: a painted cat, someone’s underwear in the freezer and the sofa covered in spray cheese with the lawn covered in PBR cans). And then there are some people who are content to stay home and cuddle up with their significant other whilst drinking wines, eating cheese and watching some kind of PBS special about NYE celebrations around the world. Those people should be kicked (but that’s besides the point…).
I like a one stop house party. This year, I deviated and went to a gathering of cousins up in the Northeast and then to my friends Jackie & Tim’s annual bash afterwards. Both were a great time (Jackie & Tim’s parties always rock!), but I wanted to write a little bit about the food at my first stop.
My cousin-in-law Bob likes to cook, and he really outdid himself. First up? Prime Rib!
Prime Rib, over the years, has gotten kind of a bad rap as a boring standby buffet food atany big hall occasion such as a wedding, anniversary party or anything someone’s parents have to pay for. If it is not seasoned and boring, it can be a let down. If it’s like this, right out of the oven, you just get EXCITED! (Ok, so maybe not that excited, that might just be me. I don’t get out a lot and have been single for awhile.)
Some people think Prime Rib is just Roast Beef. No! Roast Beef is made instead of Prime Rib and once you had really, really mouth watering Prime Rib, you will never blaspheme again against the lovely Prime Rib. (Bonus! Count how many times I used the term “Prime Rib” in this paragraph! Pat yourself on the back!)
A big mistake people make about meat is that they just take out of the oven, or off the grill, or even off the stovetop, and they don’t give the meat a chance to rest. Resting lets the meat relax and the juices can redistribute. If you ever cut into a steak and all the juices ran out and the meat ended up being kinda dry, the meat didn’t get a chance to rest. Feel free to smack the chef and grab some A1. This is what a Prime Rib, fully rested, looks like!
While the meat is resting, you can pop the roasting pan up on the stove and turn up a medium heat. Add some wine & stock and start scraping the bottom (the meat drippings!) of the pan to create a very cool Au Jus (or, thicken it up and make some gravy). Bob did just this, while I tried to drool on me and not the counter. I leaned in and snapped a shot!
The best part of the Au Jus, besides it being unbelievably delicious and cheaper then jars of salt filled gravy, is that when you have to clean that pan, anything that would have stuck to the bottom has dissolved into the liquid. So, really, you are just helping yourself.
Wondering what the final product looks like? How about this! Absolutely amazing! My hat is OFF to Bob! I know I ate a good 2 slabs of this buttery goodness, and even some of my other relatives, who aren’t into big pieces of meat, enjoyed it as well.
Not to be outdone, My cousin Michele made her Deviled Eggs. I don’t know what she puts in them, but she knows how to pack them. She doesn’t fill those eggs with a skimpy bit of filling, she fills and covers the whole egg with the filling! And they are fantastic!
Deviled Eggs are, again, another food that people kind of sigh when talked about. But find a good recipe and run with it! There is a reason why this appetizer (or, as we use it, side dish) has been around for so long…they ROCK!
Dessert, you say? After taking a lap or two around the block, I cleared some room and took a look at the dessert table. Homemade Pizzelles (made by Bob yet again!), cupcakes and cookies.
I love holidays, but I think my pants are glad it’s over! That is, until all the Valentine’s Day candy goes on sale…