Category Archives: Restaurants

The Spices of Life

I noticed this daily wordpress prompt, and was immediately inspired. Like the Ketchup prompts have instructed lately, I wrote this in exactly 10 minutes.

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Growing up, I was never a fan of spice. When my dad made his famous chili it had to be mild or no one would eat it. I would sometimes get into BBQ sauces and they were a little vinegary, but as far as heat, I didn’t even put pepper on my food. Even in college I wasn’t so daring. I do admit going through a bottle of KC masterpiece sauce every month during those days. In fact by the end of that time, I was also popping pepto-bismol and dealing with what would be severe acid reflux. I had to do on a bland diet and upgrade to Prilosecs for a while, and blandness became a habit. Pretty much was my personality as well!

Then I turned 30 and everything changed. Suddenly I loved pickles. And suddenly I loved spices.

My girlfriend at the time made a mean salsa verde. Essentially smoked jalapeno peppers cilantro and other ingredients. I went to Indian restaurants and insisted that the Shrimp Vindaloo be extra spicy, essentially not to tame it down for the white boy. One time after stressing that the Pad Kra Prow be cooked with extra chili oil, the Thai restaurant waiter ‘playfully’ taunted me with the pitcher of ice water, which he would pour into a very small cup.

To bring the point home, if the adrenaline wasn’t pumping and I was not getting a food ‘high’, it wasn’t hot enough. Even my father couldn’t believe it, and by that time, his own tastes had kept the chili milder. His signature dish, and my mother’s chicken cutlet batter began receiving spoonfuls of chipotle sauce, and sandwiches got a dab mixed in with the mayo.

In my recent trip to Chicago, I went to Frontera, and with the boldness of a blood orange margarita, I generously slathered the house bottled chili sauce on my tortillas, and while spooning up the last of the salsa provided with my appetizer, I belatedly thought – waitaminute, this is habanero sauce isn’t it. Survey says – number one answer. Or number two. Yeah WordPress you wanted to know.

I have calmed it down a bit these days, but I do like my spice. Pepper is now a friend. I make a nice buffalo sauce for wings (but really its easy) and a little Franks or Durkees is on hand for a slice of pizza.

It’s still about the flavor though, spicy doesn’t have to be deadly.

Then again, I haven’t taken the challenge at Brick Curry house. Doubt I will. The description I got from a friend was something along the lines of ‘hurting’. But hey, he got that t shirt.

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Filed under Food, Restaurants, Writing Challenges

Memorable Month – January

I resoluted 12 photo entries – so what was memorable through the first 31 days of the new year?

• I started off the year making popovers.
p0p0v3rs
Though technically I started NYE, it ran that long since the recipe made nearly twice as many as it claimed, and they take about an hour each batch! No worries, they were eaten throughout the night with butter, salt and washed down with champagne.

• I didn’t take pictures of the snow, since I am sure you have no interest in seeing any more.
b0wts However, my new boots, which I had just ordered from LL bean hours before they completely sold out (really, I checked back later, no sizes left!) and which arrived before Christmas, made their debut in the early January snowstorm. They have performed perfectly well since then and absolutely worth the investment, as I plod through slushy curbsides and subway platforms.

What happened to my old worn out boots that still fit like a glove?
m4zb0wt Still safe under the watchful eyes of Max.

• Pizza at Lombardis with a friend who came to NYC for a workation.

Yes her other hand says 'Time'. Don't worry, she's nice!

Yes her other hand says ‘Time’

Haven’t seen her in almost 8 years – it was great catching up. The pizza was good, a little too expensive for toppings (homemade mozzarella was $4), but a small fed 2 people well on a cold winter night. The Sangria helped as well!

• Gussie the cat found a blue string that has become her most favorite thing ever. c4tst Watching her play with it has become my most favorite thing ever.

• I found this brilliant red wine, recommended by my preferred wine shop just a few blocks from my job (they know how to interpret my gibberish).
redwine It goes for around $16. Not too dry or fruity, with a deep red color. It is full bodied and ‘meaty’ as the label claimed (no overt berry or other flavors, which was ok) with a quick clean finish, no lingering tannins. It went perfect with pasta, savory sauce, meatballs and fried eggplant. I get a lot of flack for my red wine choices, but everyone loved the ‘simple’ fullness of each glass.

Already looking for, and making, the moments in February!

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Filed under Cats, Life, New York City, Photo Blogs, Recipes, Resolutions, Restaurants, Reviews, Uncategorized, Wine

Ketchup With Us #15: Playing the Fool

Ms Mel and ODNT want you to tell us the best prank you ever played, saw executed or were the butt of yourself Ketchup With Us

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A relative from the ‘burbs suspected our favorite Italian restaurant was a certain type of ‘family owned’. So I called him up April 1st, that ‘you were right!” an incident, right out of the Godfather, had just taken place and was all over the news. His concern was where he would get veal marsala from now on.

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Filed under Creative Writing, Humor, Ketchup With Us, Life, Restaurants, Writing, Writing Challenges

More whine, less cheese

Wining- Right now a bottle of Kendall-Jackson Summation (white) blend is half-done, after several nights of single glasses. It’s as promised, semi-sweet, no dryness, an underlying honeydew & mild honeysuckle on a creamy base, just a touch of spice to finish and bring me to reality. Not overly fruity, and a clear light yellow. I had this with a medium spicy Manhattan clam chowder; the pairing was ok, though I did not alternate hot soup with chilled wine. It did not clash with the meal, and a glass afterwards cleared my palate. I would drink this again, as I do like it better than the chardonnay, which has a darker yellow color, heavier ‘feel’ in my mouth/tongue and strong perfume/flavor of citrus fruits that does not pair with pasta or fish at all, for me. Perhaps I would pair that with a fish with something like a chutney or mango salsa. Will try it – all in the name of research!

Wreading – Star Wars: Choices of One, Timothy Zahn. An unofficial sequel to “Allegiance”, this book takes the adventures of Zahn-created characters (Mara Jade, Thrawn, the rogue stormtroopers) into a little more depth. Clearly attention needs to be paid to the contexts of ranking, status and mindsets of the characters. As this story takes place between “A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back”, it’s technically ‘filler’, but has it uses in the Expanded Universe.

Whining…in Dining– I wrote a letter to Starbucks, asking why they raised the price of regular coffee the same 10 cents as the skinnydoublemochafrappocrapo with whip- which costs over twice as much, and requires several more steps/equipment/ingredients than my plain ground bean beverage. I won’t be buying SB until I have an answer – will post the letter, and response if I get one. Also wrote a positive/negative letter to Popeye’s; the positives were that the place was clean, and the shift manager had her place running like a well-oiled machine. No attitudes at all. The negative was that they still managed to forget the biscuit in my 3 piece meal deal. The biscuit seals the deal; hell I would have preferred they left out a piece of chicken over the biscuit. Or even the beverage/cup, since I rarely drink soda anyway! Again, will wait on a response.

Wrecipes – I found one for buttermilk biscuits. Yes I will attempt it. I need closure.

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Filed under 50 Books in 2012, Books, Complaints, Compliments, Food, Reading, Recipes, Restaurants, Whining, Wine