On The Menu

Happy Halloween!!!!

Comments (0) | Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!!!! Updates from a slightly disappointing Pigalle birthday dinner will come later today.

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Comments (1) | Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Today is JP's birthday and to celebrate we're going to Pigalle! Pictures & a review will be posted later!

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Great Q&A with Frank Bruni of NYTIMES

Comments (0) | Thursday, October 23, 2008

Here's a nice email mailbag that Frank Bruni recently did:


Wish they would have said who the "foodie celebrity" was that was rude to the restaurant.

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Sunday Night Dinner

Comments (0) | Sunday, October 19, 2008

I'd give a recipe tonight, but there really isn't much of one. I made some rice, marinated some chicken strips in some World Harbor Jamaican Jerk Sauce and steamed some veggies in the microwave. I stir fried the chicken and the veggies and then just plated it over the rice. Simple and quick and easy dinner.

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Weekend Post (Steak Night!!!!)

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Not much has been going on, which means not many new posts. Work's been keeping me busy and having a bit of a cold takes my appetite down. Also, wedding planning is taking some of our free time too.

Anyway, on Friday night we had a few friends over for steak night. I wanted to take a lot of pics, but once the wine started flowing I kinda forgot about it. Here are a couple of pics though:

That first pic is of a sirloin as I sear one side. As mentioned before, I took this method of cooking steak from Alton Brown. It's the easiest way to cook steak and one of the tastiest. Basically you set your cast iron skillet in a 500 degree oven. I like to put it in once I turn on the oven, allowing the skillet to get up to a might high temperature. Whenever the oven is preheated, I give my steak a nice drizzle of oil (I used to use EVOO, but realized that the smoking point was too low, so now use vegetable oil) and sprinkle on some kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. I'll also add cumin and Montreal Steak Seasoning on both sides because I really like what they bring to the table. I try not to over-season though, because the steak should speak for itself. Then I take the cast iron out and place it over high heat on the stove top. I sear both sides for about 30 seconds each, then throw it in the oven for 3-4 minutes on each side. That gets me medium rare, but it really depends on the thickness of the cut.

I also made some of my famous spicy asparagus. These are really easy to make. Just toss the asparagus onto a saute pan over medium high heat. Toss in a few tablespoons of butter and kosher salt and black pepper. Then a few drops of habenaro sauce and cook until done...about 7 minutes. Really easy, and always a crowd pleaser. (Unless if I make it too spicy, then it can get bad...)

Our friend Jen brought a big salad and Annie brought some fried cheese balls with olives in the middle. Noah and Brooke brought some wine. And Cynthia brought some amazing brownies for dessert. Joey didn't bring anything, but that's ok because in the past he's provided so much that we'll let it pass this one time.

Overall, a damn good time. 2 sirloin shell steaks, 1 NY strip, and 1 rib eye were consumed. 2 large batches of homemade potato chips and 1 bunch of asparagus, along with some hummus and vegetable dip were also consumed. Along with 7 bottles of wine, and we had ourselves a mighty fine night.

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Pumpkin Fest 2008 (Guest Blog)

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Hello, I'm Annie, and I'm addicted to pumpkin. "Hi, Annie!"

Fall is my favorite season for two reasons, because I live in New England and it's gorgeous, and it means the return of pumpkin products. Anything pumpkin, I'm there. So when I read online about the three-course pumpkin pre fix menu offered at Temple Bar in Cambridge this week, I knew I had to go. Lucky for me, Abby was up for the challenge.

We met up at Downtown Crossing first to have a few pints at Kennedy's. Eh, it was a long day, and for me, going to Cambridge is like going to a different country, so the red line is easier to take after a few beers. We then headed off on our pumpkin adventure.

After getting off the train at Harvard Square, we headed down Mass Ave to Temple Bar. The wrong way. A kind (and good looking) shuttle driver for Harvard offered to take us the right way, and dropped us off a block away from the bar. The restaurant was nice, modern and cozy. I'd made reservations, but it wasn't crowded at all on a Tuesday night, so we would have been fine without it.

We were seated and ordered a bottle of sauvignon blanc. Yes, we got it because it was the cheapest wine on the menu, so what? It was good. The waitress soon brought out a bread basket. This too was good, if not basic: onion roll, corn bread, french bread.

The waitress then brought us an amuse bouche. It was a tiny ball of pumpkin risotto, with a dab of cranberry and a sprig of mint on top. It was very tasty (although, I must say, my pumpkin risotto is better!). It was fried like an arancini. A nice little bite.

Next was the pumpkin bisque, with an cider popover. Phenomenal! There was a definite bacon overtone to the bisque (no pieces, but definite taste), and, since I'm of the belief that bacon makes EVERYTHING better, I was happy. The popover was very good too. It had some sort of apples in the middle.

Next came the main course, duck with pumpkin gratin. Now, I've never had duck, but I've always imagined it to taste like dark meat chicken, only gamey. But I so love pumpkin that I was willing to try it for the sake of this menu. I was nervous, but Abby loves duck, so I figured why not. I was happily very wrong about duck. This was phenomenal. It was so rich and tasty and amazing! It wasn't gamey at all like I imagined. It was served over sauteed apples and onions, and a bite of duck with the apple was sublime. I'm not one for hyperbole, but I saw god in that duck. The pumpkin gratin was amazing too. I was a little curious to see how pumpkin and cheese would taste together...and it worked VERY well. So good!

For the last course, we had pumpkin souffle. We had to wait a little while for this, but it was worth it. The souffle was warm and spicy with a tasty burnt sugar ice cream on top. A great end to a great meal!

It was $35 for the three course menu (plus the amuse), and it was well worth it. I definitely got my money's worth!

Temple Bar on Urbanspoon

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Whole Foods Coupon

Comments (0) | Thursday, October 16, 2008


Go here to print off a $5 off coupon. Might not sound like a lot, but it's saving money, especially whenever you are buying multiple steaks for steak night.

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Old Link, But A Good Read

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Here's an old post on Ruhlman's blog from Bourdain talking about Food Network.


I love reading Bourdain's work and his random rants are always a treat.

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Penang (JP Review)

Comments (0) | Monday, October 13, 2008

As mentioned in a previous post we went to Penang on Saturday night for dinner. Even though Penang is a chain, it's a chain that is done very, very well. I actually thought that Penang was part of the PF Chang corporation, but it's Pei Wei, not Penang.

We've been to Penang a couple of times before, and if you go to Penang, you HAVE to start with the Roti Canai. This is basically a small bowl of chicken curry with an Indian style crepe. It's incredible. Even though ours came a little lukewarm and not smoking hot, I didn't mind. It's so good that next time I go I might just order three of them and just have that as my main entree.

The rest of the menu is really, very, well priced. I mean, rice and noodle dishes are mainly under $10! Actually, most are under $9! They have specialties entrees and some fancy seafood dishes that are between $15-$25, but that's not really all that bad for the portions they give you. Abby went with a fried noodle dish. It looked great and was more than enough for dinner and for lunch the next day for her. It was a little salty, but still very tasty. I was in the mood for head-on fried shrimp, but really didn't want to spend more than $20 on the dish. So I settled for the Mango Shrimp, and while the shrimp was not fried, nor head-on, the dish was absolutely beautiful and just as tasty. Again, the portions were huge! I must have had 20-25 peices of shrimp. Eating it with my side of white rice, I knew I'd have plenty left over. (I actually just ate my leftovers tonight over some white rice with some pickled eggplant...so damn yummy.)

Overall, I really do not think you can go wrong with Penang. Malaysian food is one of the greatest cuisines in the world, with it's mixture of Thai, Indian and Chinese tastes. Before I die I will make a trip out to KL and eat my brains out. (While I'm out there, I'd hit up Singapore too for the hawker stands.)

I give Penang a solid and consistent 3 1/2 out of 5.

Penang on Urbanspoon

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Flank Steak Taco Recipe

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Flank steak tacos, a quick easy recipe.

1 flank steak, probably 1-1.5 lbs
2 limes
1/2 bunch of cilantro
typical steak seasonings (cumin, pepper, chili powder, montreal steak seasoning)

onion and cilantro salsa
1 large white onion
1/2 bunch of cilantro
2 limes

1. In a mixing bowl, zest the limes and add it in with the EVOO and the juice from the limes.
2. Season both sides of the steak with the seasonings (pretty obvious, right?)
3. Place the steak into a ziplock back and pour in the lime and EVOO mix.
4. Toss it around a bit and let it rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
5. Right before you are about to cook the steak, mince the onion and the cilantro and place into a large bowl. Add the juice of the lime and mix. Salt and pepper to taste and put in the fridge.
6. Heat a large skillet over high heat.
7. Thinly slice the steak on the bias
8. Cook the steak, probably about 2-3 mins per side. The steak will cook quickly because they are thinly sliced.
9. Place steak in a tortilla and add the cilantro salsa, cheese, and maybe some hot sauce if you need it.

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Story from NY TIMES about Ferran Adria:


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Weekend Rant

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God damn...I really hate Texas...and losing to them really sucks. I told myself after the USC loss in the Orange Bowl for the MNC that I would not get so emotionally involved with my beloved Sooners any more. It's too much. Every time they lose I'm on the brink of tears...which says a lot since I haven't cried in a very, very long time. Serious. (Abby makes fun of me for not crying. At my friend's wedding a couple of weeks ago, my friend's were telling me that I'd cry at my own wedding. I really don't think I would. I mean, I ain't no punk-bitch. I ain't gonna shed no tear. But seriously, I don't cry.) That is not the same as not showing emotions. I showed plenty on Saturday. The entire spectrum : unbelievable joy and happiness to anger and sadness, wondering why God would let such an honorable and noble team like my Sooners lose to such a despicable ass-hat like Mack Brown. At the end of each year or a dissapointing loss, I always say the same thing, "It's only a game, it shouldn't affect my real life." But affect it, it does. Seriously, I won't visit a sports website for at least a week. I won't listen to sports radio for at least a week. This might actually up my productivity at work. My routine this morning at work normally goes like this: log into computer, shoot the shit with my cubemate, open up firefox and go to thebiglead.com, then espn.com, then collegefootballnews.com, etc, etc. Instead today went like this: log into computer, shoot the shit with my cubemate, hold back the tears as I tell him how my Sooners lost, open up firefox and go to boston.com, realize I hate reading the news, and then stare into space for 20 minutes. So maybe my productivity isn't going to improve, but the routine is definitely affected.

Anyway, other things happened this past week. We went to Masa and while I should give a big review on it, we didn't take pictures and since we were catching up with some friends we couldn't get into all the details. The food, as usual, was incredible. Starting from the best bread basket in town, highlighted by the best bread dips in town, to the incredible pork shoulder, to the Banderita shots at the end, everything that went into my mouth was incredible. However, the service was unusually slow. I mean, really slow. Our waiter looked like he'd rather be somewhere else that to serve at Masa. That didn't really affect us too much though, because the atmosphere, the company we were with, and the food made the night.

Friday night, after a very long week at work, we decided to stay in. I made up some flank steak tacos. Recipe and pics will come soon.

We also went to the Courtyard by Marriot on Tremont Street to look at their setup for a wedding reception on Saturday. It was well done. The main ballroom of the Courtyard is a lot nicer than one expects from the way the outside of the hotel looks. We were given a quote that was very reasonable, so this venue is definitely high on our list.

After our quick viewing of the hotel, I had a hankering for some fried shrimp. Not the popcorn variety either. I wanted head-on fried jumbo shrimp. Asian style one might say. Before we left the condo to go to the Courtyard we were watching Simply Ming and he did a dish with some shrimp. I think that got me in the mood for it. Anyway, we walked around Chinatown for a while looking for a place to get a decent meal, but couldn't find what exactly I was looking for. So we ended up at Penang. I'll have a bigger review coming later, but the meal was good, even though I didn't get my head-on shrimp.

More posts will be coming later today.

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Rockport, salmon, & OKC!

Comments (1) | Monday, October 6, 2008

I’ve been slacking for a while now so I figured it’s time to update. My last blog post was about our trip to LA for Suzy and Co’s wedding. The weekend after was the bye week for Oklahoma football. The Sooners got a break, so John Paul let me pick what we wanted to do for the day. I thought about it for a little while and decide to be nostalgic and head to the Cape Ann area which my family visited a few times when I was a kid. Once JP said it was cool with him (rising gas costs and all), I thought of different places we could go. Immediately I wanted to go to Hammond Castle and Woodman’s of Essex. Hammond Castle is this awesome castle John Hammond built. It’s $10 per person to get in and has a lot of cool artifacts to look at. Not to mention JH was a crazy bastard and had a few tricks up his sleeve when designing this cool place. I won’t give anything away though; you have to go see it for yourself. Before we left in the morning we made a game plan. We decided to hit Woodman’s first. The last time I went here I was 11 and didn’t eat seafood. I remembered the onion rings were yummy…and boy where they! We decided to split a shrimp plate so we would have more room for yummy seafood later on in the day. The plate came with a side of fries and onion rings (!). We order, grab some h2o, and find some seats. After a little bit our food comes and it’s just as glorious as I could have hoped. The onion rings were very tasty and the shrimp was delectable. Deep fried and scrumptious. The tartar sauce was fantastic. Normally the tartar sauce I have is made with sweet relish, but this was with made with dill. Again, so good!! After eating we head over to Hammond Castle. After we walked around there for a few hours, we decided to head to downtown Rockport. We walked around for some time and decided to get lobster. I’m not a huge fan, but John Paul really wanted it, so we decided to split one. Holy f*ck! Seriously. The only way I can explain it. It was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. (Roy Moore's...go eat there!) I swear tears were brought to my eyes. After that we walked around some more. John Paul proposed and we went home and celebrated!
I recently found a recipe from the nutritionist at my gym. It was for a maple glazed salmon. I love salmon and I love maple so I figured the combo would be tasty. Went to Foodies and bought salmon and the maple. Note: if you decide to make this, hit the local Stop and Shop or Shaws. I love Foodies, but their maple syrup will run you at least $10; it’s very tasty, but not entirely budget friendly. Here is the recipe:

Serves 4 People … Prep time: 5 mins...Cooking time: 20 mins
Maple Glaze:
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar or balsamic
2 T. organic sugar (I used regular sugar)
1/2 cup maple syrup (I ended up using more because it didn’t taste mapley enough)
1 T. hot sauce
1 T. finely diced onion
1 tsp sea salt
White pepper to taste

Grilled Salmon:
4 salmon fillets
1 t. olive oil
Salt & pepper

Cooking Instructions:
**Glaze: Heat vinegar and sugar over medium heat until mixture boils. Add maple syrup, hot sauce, and onion and bring to boil. Lower heat, simmer one minute and remove from heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
***Salmon: Preheat grill. Sprinkle salmon with oil, salt, & pepper. Grill salmon for 5 minutes preside (don’t char). Place salmon on platter. Brush with maple glaze.
Calories: 326
Fat: 8 grams total
Salt: Optional
These numbers might change since I added more maple syrup…

Wedding #5 this year…Oklahoma City! Jason + Sigy = TL4E! (true love 4 ever!)

Not many people I know (save for those from OKC) can say they’ve ever been to Oklahoma once, let alone 3 times. While it might not be a likely tourist destination, it is definitely starting to grow on me (but not so much that I’d move there…ever). Things I love about Oklahoma…the people are very nice. It’s strange to go into a place of business and have the staff actually be genuine and friendly. It’s a nice change from being here. Last year John Paul showed me an article from the New York Times about Oklahoma having the best Viet food in the USA. JP took me took me to Pho Hoa. It was great! We were seated immediately. Our pho came out fast and our cafĂ© sua dat was very tasty. In all reality (save for JP’s mom and di loan’s) this was the best pho I’ve ever had. I swear they put nutmeg in there. There was that something extra that made me go hmmm … In a good way. Amazing. I wanted to go back before we left but there wasn’t any time. Maybe next year.
Another amazing aspect of OK is the fast food. Braum’s and Sonic are two places I wish were up north…especially Braum’s. They serve amazing chocolate shakes, yummy burgers, and DIET DR PEPPER on draft!
To finish my mini ode to OKC, I will also give two other reasons I love it there…1 you can shoot people who are on your property! No joke. And when they try to sue you, the judge laughs at them and throws their claim out of court! And 2.Oklahomans hate Texass. I thoroughly enjoy when people are passionate about their favorite team. After 3 years of dating, I’ve learned to hate burnt orange and longhorns.

Not like I post as often as JP, but I’ll probably be posting less since we’re in the beginning stages of wedding planning. I will, however, try to update whenever we have a menu tasting. Wedding food is notoriously bad and I’d love to let you know how truly bad it really is.

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Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup (Not Pho Ga) Recipe

Comments (2) | Sunday, October 5, 2008

Not quite sure what the name of this dish is. My mom made it all the time and she called it "Nhou" or something similar in Vietnamese. I have no idea if it was a dish she made up herself (not that it's very complex, in fact it's very simple, but because I've never seen it made by anyone else) but I've been able to recreate it very well. The picture does not do it justice at all. The recipe is as follows:

-5 chicken drumsticks (you can use a whole chicken if you have it, or some drums and thighs)
-3 thai bird chilies
-2 cans of chicken broth
-bean sprouts
-lime wedges
-mushroom seasoning powder (my mom got me this seasoning, it's labeled "gia vi tinh chat rau cai" and you can get it at any Asian market)
-1/2 box of elbow macaroni
-1 onion

1. First start by placing the chicken into a big pot, then pour both cans of chicken broth over the chicken.
2. Add two cans of water into the pot. If this does not cover the chicken completely, then add enough water to cover.
3. Bring to a boil, then lower the temperature to medium and continue to cook until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. (For drumsticks, this is when the bottom of the drumstick is broken apart from the top, thicker side.)
4. Take out the chicken and put aside.
5. Season the broth with pepper and a few tablespoons of the mushroom seasoning powder.
6. Bring another pot to boil and cook the elbow macaroni until al dente. Drain and put into serving bowls.
7. Shred the chicken and place evenly into the serving bowls over the elbow macaroni
8. Add the bean sprouts and cilantro into the serving bowls
9. Cut up the thai bird chilies and slice up the onion and add into the broth
10. Bring the broth to a boil and taste. Should taste like how my mom used to make it. If you don't know how that should taste...well season it until you like how it tastes.
11. Pour broth over the elbow macaroni and service with the lime wedges and enjoy!

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South End, Sometimes I Really Hate You!

Comments (0) | Thursday, October 2, 2008

Man, these past few weeks on Union Park St, I've noticed that there was a lot of broken glass lying around. Abby even witnessed a bunch of cars with broken windows one morning and a police car taking note. How I was afraid my turn would be next...well this morning it was my turn.

I felt lost and alone as I walked to my car and noticed the broken glass. Immedietly I was happy that my car was still there. I see the front passenger side chair full of random items from my glove compartment and the compartment in between the front two seats was emptied out as well all over the floor. Nothing was apparently stolen. All my CDs were there, my fastlane thingy was still there too. My GPS window mount was unplugged though, leading me to believe that they were looking for my GPS unit, which I always take out of my car. All that work for nothing? These freaking crackheads should have at least taken the quarters out of my cup holders...I just don't get it. Why, oh why are people breaking into other people's cars? Are times that desperate? I mean, I understand the credit crunch is bad, but can't you fuel your depression by not hurting others? Even as I was telling the police in my report (I had to wait until 8AM before I could do this...apparently crime never sleeps, but the BPD does) what had happened, the officer was very nonchalant about it. Saying how it's getting bad in the South End all over. Ugh!

Anyway, I know nothing will ever happen to the punks that did this. And in the grand scheme of things of all that is bad that could happen in this life, a broken window is well low on the list. It's more frustrating and annoying than anything else.

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Bones Rant!

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Ok, I don't want to turn into APR and go off on a rant, but last's night episode of Bones included a misnomer that doesn't really piss me off as much as just annoys me. In that episode they said that the sperm they found on floor of the copy room was from an Asian male. They concluded that there was only one Asian male in the office so he must have been the killer. Um...I'm pretty sure that India is part of Asia, making the Asian office worker count equal to 2. Here is my letter to the Bones creative team that I probably won't ever send them:

Dear Creators of Bones -

First let me say that I enjoy your show. The characters are enjoyable and the show is always good for a few laughs. (One minor suggestion would be to have more boobies!) However, last night's episode, the one with the lady found dead in the elevator, had a line and train of thought that I had an issue with. I wasn't offended by it at all, just more annoyed. After the sperm sample was proven to be from a man of Asian decent, it was immediately said that there was only 1 Asian male working in the office. (Chip I believe his name was.) However, this was false. There was another Asian male working in the office, in fact, he even had a pronounced role in the beginning as the person getting onto the elevator last and also later taking a picture of the "hot chick". Even later, there was a joke about his ethnicity in how it would help him communicate with tech support in a foreign land. From IMDB, this man was Hamid Hirani, an office worker with Asian-Indian decent. Why was he not considered Asian? India is part of Asia the last time I checked.

I'm sure this was a simple overlook in the Bones writing team. Somehow narrowing the field of suspects down to one with only 10 minutes left in the show. I just don't see how this could be such a huge omission though. This is just enforcing the thought the only Asians are Chinese, Koreans, or Japanese. Russians are technically Asian, so are Pakistanis and Indians.

I really have no idea where I'm going with this rant. Maybe I thought that after the success of Harold and Kumar that the obvious stereotypes of all people, not just Asians. Maybe I'm the only one who thought that ignoring the fact that the Indian office dude was Asian was a big deal, who knows... Anyway, keep making an enjoyable show and please, more boobies!

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Best Burger

Comments (1) | Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I was planning on blogging about How I Met Your Mother but it seemed that Cave Cibum has beaten me to it:


Unlike Cave Cibum though, I was disappointed in this episode. I love this show, but I hate Marshal-themed episodes. His character is definitely my least favorite. More Barney all the time for me.

In any case, there was this article I found today:


And how the hell did Mr Bartley make the list? Yes it's a good burger, but one of the best? I'd put RF O'Sullivan's burger over it any day of the week. Hell, I'd probably put the burgers at Bukowski's in Inman Square above it too. At least Bukowski's you can get some beer while you have your burger. I'm glad a place in Boston made the list, but in my eyes it wasn't the right place.

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