Sunday, February 28, 2010

From The Inbox: Blizzards Are Gone Update

It's been a long time folks. And that's in part because we've been buried under so much snow that stores everywhere have been low on key supplies. But have no fear, the gang still eats. And we eat well. There have been few sightings of Ms. Vertical and Pocahantski, but we'll fix that soon enough. I think there might be a trip to see why the Holly's parking lot has fewer cars than the new place toward the 50/301 split.

Pocahantski chimes in with this story on the explosion of porky goodness in the restaurant world.
Until a few years ago, fine dining meant eating high on the hog. The phrase refers, literally, to the traditionally finer cuts of meat above the belly, such as the top loin, choice ribs, and “Boston’’ roast, which is actually the shoulder.

Then things began to change. To the shock of certain patrons, parts of the pig previously regarded as unfit for hot dogs (or so we are told) started appearing at upscale eateries. Pork fat with names that needed serious rehabilitation (lard, suet, fatback) started getting bigger play from celebrity chefs. New York restaurateurs Mario Batali, Anthony Bourdain, and David Chang paraded lard on TV and in their own kitchens.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

We Know Jack('s) - In Canton 'Hon (Plus Other Random Saturday Appetizers)

Watch this!!!!

No, really. Do it. It's ROLLER DERBY. And you get THREE food adventures to go along with it. Plus $3 PBR and Natty-Bohs. But only one beer per person in line (which defeated the purpose of one person going to get a round, and was THE only glitch in the Charm City Roller Girls extravaganza).

Saturday in Bal'mer with The Quiet One and the J&L Gang? Yeah, I can do that.

Wine tasting and raw oysters at Chesapeake Wine Market first? Yeah, I can do that too. Slurp, slurp peeps.

And eight whites. Sips, people, just sips. And The Quiet One, J from the J&L Gang, and I each popped 18 little sweet Chesapeake bay tasties.

I'll share with you that the second wine we had, the Cedric Buchard Pinot Noir Brut NV Infloresence (a champagne y'all), was the winner by far. Bubbles and oysters. My cup runneth over (or at least I wish it did).

Doors open at 6 for the derby and we have time to kill, so up to Canton Square we go. Mama's on the Half Shell was packed so we headed over to Helen's Garden for apps and cocktails.

If you have the chance you should do the same. Especially in the summer when the doors on the bar are open and the breeze is rolling by as you sip a Sancerre waiting for your Burger Au Poivre to arrive. Yeah, gotcha, didn't I?

And last Saturday, we got THIS:
Indeed dear readers, that is goat cheese "hugged" by prosciutto on a tasty little nub of french bread with slivered...almonds? No, that's garlic folks. Damn tasty, spicy, slivered, and sauted garlic with the rosemary and the honey/olive oil/balsamic. GO GET SOME (if you can, since it was the appetizer special, but they should just keep making more of them). The bread was chewy, the goat cheese just warmed enough to melt and held together by the barely crispy prosciutto. And then you dip that in the honey, rosemary, garlicky goodness and get to eat it? Oh my...

I don't have any pictures of dinner because a) it was a bit dark at the bistro and b) we were too interested in the delicious Claret and fantabulous food that kept coming out of the kitchen and dropping down on our table.

Turns out our server's wife just made the Roller Derby squad this year. She's still practicing and hasn't been in a bout yet, but it'll happen.

Jack's is classic bistro tucked in around the corner from the square. Guiness braised filet with cheddar/jalapeno grits. Sous vide strip and frites (and they won't let you order it any other way by medium rare, good on them). Mac n' Cheese n' Chocolate for an app. Creamy shells in a perfect cheesy/creamy sauce with a dusting of cocoa powder on top. 147-degree poached eggs with pork belly. Mmmmm.

Turned out the two tables on either side of us were post-derby folks too. We're trying to convince Jack's to have a post-game special since it's only a block from the arena. We'll keep you posted.

Friday, February 5, 2010

From the Inbox: Special Rome Edition

This is one where you get to go to Rome. Sort of. And really only if you can read AND use your imagination-machine.

The Quiet One is in Rome. And you will benefit because laughter extends life, and...well:
Dear self: In the future please remember the physical strains of walking at least 6 miles and climbing the 328 stairs to the top of St. Peters' Cupola will lose the battle (and war) to a 7:30pm espresso.
There was, sadly no picture of said cupola. Nor were there any other words or images in that message. See, I told you reading AND imagination-machine.

And brave traveler. Because if you've been to Rome you know it's either 1) get in cab and live in fear you'll be t-boned by another cab, or 2) walk and live in fear you'll be struck by a pinwheeling cab after it was t-boned by another cab. Either way you're in fear, but the gelato helps!

Ms. Quiet One also tells us of Amarone and Osso Bucco. And we drool. You will note, astute reader/looker (yeah, I called you a looker. And you deserved it SEXY!!!) that there is no marrow in that there shank bone. Yeah, it was there when the plate was put down. What? You think we don't rock the marrow in the 97-mph crew?


Remember what I said about laughter?
All the missing bone marrow is happily in my tummy :)
Before you get too jealous about the foodie missives and food-porn thoughts of marrow, just remember that The Quiet One started her trip by providing weather reports!

There will likely be more missives from Italia. We will provide them forthwith. And you will remember of course that the connection here is that The Quiet One had to drive on I-97 to get to BWI to take her flight. Good luck to anyone trying to do that today!