Friday, April 29, 2011

Smokin' Butt, refining the process with a little help from my friends...

The ritual starts the day before you smoke. You rinse, score, and rub.

The morning you're going to smoke let the pork come to room temp. I flauted food safety laws and left them in a cooler overnight with no refrigeration. I put them in the smoker at 220 at 5:45am. I let them smoke for 3-4 hours then started spraying with a mix of apple juice and cider vinegar.Per my friend Shawn's recommendation I didn't wrap them and I left the vent open at the top of the smoker. We were trying to get all of the fat to render while allowing the bark to cure to an appropriate texture that would allow us to mix it in with the meat. It adds a lot of flavor.

After letting them sit wrapped in foil for an hour we started pulling.The bark turned out just the way we were looking for it to. Nice. What's 40 pounds of butt between friends?

Big steaming smoky bowl of pork goodness. We got two of these from the 40 pounds. It was enough to feed us that night and provide bbq for my buddy's daughter's confirmation party.

Tracy and Amelia discussing the virtues of Oregon Pinot matched with dessert, which was strawberries sauteed in butter, brown sugar, balsamic and Grand Marnier over pound cake...

If you have questions about the cooking or comments, please feel free.....

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Dining Room at Wolfgang Puck in Downtown Disney

Cheryl having a, "Why not have another glass of wine" moment.

Ah, a hot summer's day in Florida. You took the trip, you made it through the crowds, you dealt with all the bullshit it took to get there. What could be better than a nice glass of sparkling rose at The Dining Room at Wolfgang Puck?Well, turns out to be a lot. The bubbly was nice, the view was great, but the food was only so-so for the money. The snapper that Cheryl got was ok. Well cooked and nicely plated.

A $44.95 steak...described as beautifully marbled, rich and flavorful on the menu. I've had better from the packaged meat section at Giant. Hate to say it, but it's true. It was half gristle.
The mashed potatoes and the greens were the high-light.

Alex liked the sushi.

Desserts were average. The carrot cake was as dense as a brick. There is a reason you shred the carrots, not smash them in a food processor. The better of the two we shared was Alex's molten chocolate cake.

Overall, I'd say your money is probably better spent in the downstairs Wolfgang Puck Cafe. The menu there is mostly pizza and sushi. We were first seated down there, even though we'd made reservations, but when we realized that we weren't in "The Dining Room" the waiter took us upstairs. Funny, but they were on a 2 hour wait downstairs and the upstairs was 1/2 full the entire time were were there.

Guess they knew better...

Stay tuned for many new posts as I recount our trip up the east coast last week.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Beck revisited...

It's the little things that make a difference.
The oysters were hand-picked by a friend of mine, Yacine. I was very pleased. Small, tasty, briney.
You can't go wrong with frites. They come with a trio of dipping sauces..I like the curried sauce, but luckily my wife doesn't. It works out for us.
I only eat mussels at two places, Beck and Le Manequin Pis. These were in cream, bacon, and truffles. Awesome.
If you get a chance during good weather try their patio.

Thanks for reading.
Brasserie Beck on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Rasika...This is not your standard Indian restaurant.

Who is the man behind the beaded curtains at this wonderful, exotic restaurant? Chef Vikram Sunderam. He takes the flavors of Indian cuisine and whips it into new textures and tastes that are refined and elegant. Lunch started out with canteloupe juice. Nice touch. A break from the usual mango. We asked our waiter to let Vikram choose what to send us. This is the Palak Chaat. Crispy spinach with sweet yogurt, tamarind, and date chutney.
This is a close-up showing the mix of textures involved. I could live on this for a while. This is the Black Sea Bass...not on the menu as far as I know, but it's marinated in yogurt and topped with something tasty. This is Dahl and a Cauliflower dish. The Dahl was great with the Naan. This is the Spicy Reshmi Kabob. Just enough heat, lots of flavor. Here we have fish done two ways...don't remember exactly what they were, but they were both excellent.

This is definitely a power-lunch spot. Note John Mantz making important calls from the curb!
The coup de grace: Sweet Chai brulee. The strawberry cut through the sweetness of the creme and the cream wasn't whipped cream, but something more akin to tart cream cheese. Knowing the menu, likely yogurt of some sort.

I recommend this place to anyone with some time and money to spare. Great service, nice looking restaurant, and definitely top notch food.

Well done guys.

Rasika on Urbanspoon

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Galileo revisited and a night on the town...

People say to me, they say, "Hey Dave, what's it look like when you do a night on the town?" Actually, I've never had anyone ask me that. However, I figured I'd share it with you anyhow. I haven't posted much in recent months because my camera literally fell apart...but I've got new gear so here we go. My pal from two doors up, Shawn, agreed to be my designated driver for the evening. Sweet!
I love watching a professional kitchen...all clean, sparkly, shining, and competent.
Hey, isn't that Chef Roberto Donna? As a matter of fact, it is!
We started out with some cocktails...a bourbon something for Shawn and a Hemingway Daquiri for me. Grapefruit juice, rum, lime...awesome.
The budino. Last time I had it I remember it being one of those dishes that actually took my breath away. This time, not so much. The flavor was there, but the texture was different. Not as creamy/silky as I remembered it being.
This is the cold marinated/poached rabbit with green beans. The green beans were cooked to perfection. It's a little thing, but it makes a difference.

This a black pasta with cherry tomatoes and soft shell crab. The crab was keeping warm under the pasta. I can't even express the simplicity, and elegance, of the dish. The crab was absolutely perfect and burst with flavor when I bit into it. This dish was a 10.
Considering that the soft-shell was a 10, this was the 11. This salmon was one of the most perfectly cooked pieces of fish I've ever had. It had a flawless sear. I wish I could cook like this at home. I've tried many times. I asked Chef Roberto what he put on the fish to get that perfect, crispy top. He told me all that was on the fish was salt and olive oil. He said it was the quality of the fish that made the difference.

This was Shawn's dessert. It was a citrus-y thingy. The green on the left was fennel poached in vanilla. Pretty cool.
I got the hazelnut semi-fredo.

After dinner drinks anyone?
A little post-comis Absinthe.

So from there we went to Blues Alley to see one of the greatest living guitar artists of our time...Tim Reynolds.
Showing off with my fancy new camera.
Can't get much closer than this to the stage without being in show business. There was a dick in the audience who kept talking to Tim throughout the show...may he die friendless and poor.

All in all, a great evening with a good friend. Dinner was fab. If you have a chance to eat at Galileo, take it. Roberto is still in top form and the service is gracious. If you go, tell them I sent you.

Until next time....

Friday, April 1, 2011

Best chicken in Bethesda...

I'm not kidding.

You will find yourself picking the bones.

The place: Don Pollo on Wisconsin Ave.

The style: Super casual, mostly Hispanic, styrofoam plates, plastic forks, canned soda.

The sides: Go for ethnic. Stay away from the mac n' cheeze....

Anyhow, I'm not going to say much more as the owners of this place don't like me very much for reasons I'm not going to go into here, and I usually don't go to restaurants where I'm not greeted with open arms, but I can't stay away from this chicken.

Check it out.

Contrary to most of my posts, Don't tell them I sent you.