Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Spotted Pig

314 W. 11th Street, New York

The Spotted Pig is one of those places in NYC that I've been meaning to visit for a long time and last night I finally decided to go, bringing along 2 coworkers of mine.
The SP is one of those places that comes with a lot of hype, especially with its list of high profile investors and I was hoping it would not disappoint.

I started off with the Chicken Liver Toast, which was delightful. The pate had a nice creamy texture with a very gentle liver taste. It defiantly wasn't one of those 'in your face' liver pates. I was even comfortable enough offering it to a coworker, who actually enjoyed it. It was what any good appetizer should do, provide some foreplay to the main event.

Everyone talks about how good the burger is at Spotted Pig and if I learned anything from my visit to Interim, it is to start with what the restaurant is known for.

Chargrilled Burger with Roquefort Cheese & Shoestrings

I had my burger medium rare, which I'm happy to say came to me at a perfect medium rare. The beef was tender and flavorful. The Roquefort cheese was the perfect complement as did the toasted brioche bun that held its own, with all the juices of the beef patty.

The shoestring fries, with rosemary and garlic chips, were the perfect side. Unlike their heftier cousins, they didn't fill you up. They didn't steal the show, no matter how you wanted them to. The consummate wingman.

April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman have done a great job putting together the loungey gastropub. Hopefully I'll have a chance to go back again and try other items on the menu and visit their other child, The John Dory.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Catfish Banh Mi

Banh Mi from Baoguette

It's official. The catfish Banh Mi from Baoguette is my current favorite Banh Mi. The traditionalist's will disagree, but there is something magical about the sticky spicy mayo based spread and the oily catfish. Now don't get me wrong, I still love the great traditional Vietnamese sub but every time I walk into Baoguette, I can't help but not order the catfish.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Pefect Saturday Morning

Is there any better way to start a beautiful Saturday morning than with a quick run, followed by a couple cups of smooth mellow coffee and a deliciously fresh doughnut while watching my Celtics play the Bulls.

The coffee is Aged Sumatra from Peet's Coffee. I usually like my coffee nice and strong, but I'm loving this medium roast for its mellow flavor. And once you start paying attention the flavors are pretty complex. There's a slight sweetness and a delightful herbal and woody undertone. It is truly a great session coffee.

Doughnut is from Bouchon Bakery, which I've written about previously and is even better fresh.

Coffee and Doughnut


Friday, April 17, 2009


Yesterday, I came home to a signed copy of Michael Ruhlman's Ratio. I've only had a chance to read the introduction, but I'm excited dig into it. So far it describes everything that I've wanted to learn about cooking. I've always loved tinkering with recipes, to see how food changes minus an ingredient, plus another.

Signed copy of Ratio

What I hope to get out of Ratio is a better understanding of some basic principles and ideas. And then yes Mr. Ruhlman, I'll let the ratios guide my inspiration.

Signed copy of Ratio


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Interim Restaurant & Bar

5040 Sanderlin Avenue, Memphis

My trip last week to Memphis will probably be one of my last. The work I was doing there is, for the most part, finished and as much as I've learned to enjoy Memphis, its not a destination I plan on seeking out.

Since I was only spending one night, I decided to forgo my usual trip to Gus's and instead head to Interim Restaurant & Bar. Chef Jackson Kramer is a 2009 James Beard Foundation semifinalist for Rising Star Chef of the Year. I could not pass up the chance to eat his food, especially since I probably would never have the chance to again.

I sat at the bar and while perusing the menu ordered a sazerac, which was smooth and crisp. A great start to the meal, along with the warm crusty break with freshly whipped butter. I was already starting to like the place.

To start, I had the Macaroni & Cheese Casserole. The herb and parmesan crust blended in great with the macaroni. The entire dish was cheesy,light, and buttery. The Tripp country ham added just the right amount of saltiness. Overall, its probably one of the best Mac & Cheese dishes I've had. The entire composition worked so well.

For the main event, I had the Roasted Colorado Lamb. The lamb was cooked beautifully and; the merguez sausage was a crispy & salty bit of perfection; the grits were nice and creamy but with an odd after taste; the asparagus was salty and a bit overdone. The overall dish didn't gel together well.

My biggest issue was that the flavors of the lamb did not come through in the dish. Quite frankly, you could have substituted it with a filet mignon and I wouldn't have noticed. Come to think of it, the dish would have been better with a NY Strip. At least the cow would have held its own in the dish.

The real star of the dish was the merguez sausage. I could not get enough of it. It worked great with all the components. Too bad it wasn't meant to be the main component.

Would I go back? Yes. Just for the mac and cheese. I'd probably try the burger or the duck breast next time. Too bad they aren't in NYC or Boston so I'd have the opportunity to give them another try. Interim is a nice break from the usual dinner fare I get in Memphis, but at the end of the day I made sure to hit up Interstate BBQ in the airport before I left.


Saturday, April 11, 2009


The second my friend mentioned she wanted to attempt to make her own cake doughnut after an inspirational at Parkers Maple Barn in New Hampshire, I quickly thought of the doughnut recipe from the French Laundry. After looking at the recipe and seeing the glorious picture, I began craving them. Its just my luck that the Bouchon bakery in the Time Warner Building makes them. Unfortunately for me, they are ussually only available on the weekend and I'm almost never around during that time. But since I frequent the Wholefoods there a lot, I figured I would check frequently just on the off chance that they had made some for the day. On my second attempt, I was successful.

Doughnuts from Bouchon Bakery NYC

And soon after I was home with two beautiful doughnuts. Both nice and cakey. Both perfect for dipping into a nice cup of coffee. Now I just need to get off my lazy ass and make some for myself.