Wednesday, December 1, 2010

top chef all stars

last season of top chef was a dud. after tiffany got booted, i didn't care anymore. i might have just punted on the show, except that the new season that starts tonight is an all-star season, in which they are bringing back favorite non-champs from previous seasons. that's either going to be awesome or awful, and i am willing to bet awesome.

i was talking about the cast yesterday with jennifer decamp, and here is how i handicapped the field, using little more than my wishful thinking:

first six out: the first six weeks or so weeks of any top chef season is usually spent culling the field and setting up drama between contestants that will be going deep into the season. so we never really get to know the people that go out early. this season is different because we start out knowing all the contestants, and most already went deep into their season. so here are the ones that i think will be the first to be eliminated, in no particular order:

antonia, stephen, elia, spike and both dales. i remember antonia, but was stunned to go back and realize that she made it so deep into her season, because i remember almost nothing about her. anyone who watched season one remembers stephen, with a roll of the eyes. elia was good
but i just don't see her sticking in this crowd. it will be interesting to see if dale l has overcome his lack of confidence, and it seems unlikely that dale t has overcome his overabundance of it.

i feel confident that antonia and elia will be out early. i am less sure about the guys, because three are dramatic, instigating pot stirrers. which is how they made it deep in their respective seasons. dale l is not a pot stirrer, but he seemed legitimately good, so he could stick

the middle six: my guess at the middle tier of eliminations would be marcel, angelo, mike, fabio, carla and jamie. marcel was stephen 2.0 and the runner-up on what i think was the worst season (season 2). i could never figure out how carla made it past week 3 of her season, and she made it to the final. angelo may or may not have been amazing, i could never decide whether to believe the hype. it seemed too much. ditto fabio. i love jamie, so i hope i'm wrong there. mike, meh.

the final six: richard, jennifer, casey, tre, tiffani and tiffany. all were people i thought could have/should have won their seasons. richard was odds-on fave in his finale, and while i think that stephanie kicked butt in the final and deserved to win that one, i thought richard's biggest mistake came at judges' table, when he started talking about mistakes he made, then the judges started agreeing with him. they weren't saying anything bad about him until then. granted that could have all been editing, but still.

casey was in the weird season where they taped the finale in aspen, then did a live judges table in chicago who-knows-how-long later. so she spent the interim thinking she did fine, then learned that the judges didn't like it. that was a bizarre finale. (and here's praying they don't spend this season overdramatizing the situation between casey and carla, where casey was carla's sous chef in carla's finale. it was carla's fault. totally.)

tre was the earliest to be booted off in his season among the all-stars. he got kicked off during restaurant wars because he took too much responsibility. i still don't understand that one.

jennifer looked like she was going to be awesome in her season, tearing it up in the early episodes. then one episode she was sick, and it seemed to zap all her super powers or something. she limped into the finals, but never really seemed like she would win. my guess is she'll be strong here.

tom colicchio often mentions how much he liked tiffani from season 1, so i suspect she'll be strong. and tiffany's departure from last season was sort of stunning. she was the only person in the cast that i wanted to see win.

all that said, my two favorites are richard and casey. i'll be happy if either of them win.

so, we'll see. i'm probably totally wrong.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

this week's review: paella!

went to a place called tapas garden on the beach for this week's review. loved the paella, and was even able to sit outside, in september, without dying of heat stroke. here is the link.

i made paella a few weeks ago, and i think i liked mine better, but this was good. and they had some other interesting things going on.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

is this thing still on?

most of my blog posts seem to start with an excuse as to why it has been so long since my last blog post. but this time, its a really good one. i have another blog, one for work. and i have a new job, one that modestly overlaps with what i was doing here. which is good and bad. good because my job is now related to my hobby. bad because i'm now always doing it, and i am still trying to figure out where the divide is. like, is it a problem if i write a blog post on osteria in philadelphia, which i totally should have done and now am annoyed with myself because i didn't? or frasca in boulder, which, i mean, ditto. and then ajax in aspen was a different issue, because i was actually sort of doing work while i was in aspen. so can i post something that is quasi work-related on my personal blog?

if you didn't know, my job is to write about eating now, so writing about eating as a hobby is sort of a gray area. so i don't know.

anyway, i think i will start posting links to the stories i write for the paper here, in case anyone here sees it that isn't in our coverage area. and here is one i did this week about new gluten-free restaurants in the bay area.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

momofuku ko, new york, april 12

last fall, i got the momofuku cookbook. while i usually use cookbooks as jumping off points to get ideas on some weird thing i want to do, with this book, i find myself wanting to make everything, by the book. as it were.

the book chronicles the three new york restaurants of david chang. momofuku noodle bar, momofuku ssam bar and momofuku ko. i've been to noodle bar and ssam bar and loved them both. cooking out of the book has been an exercise both of replicating favorite dishes from those places and trying things i haven't had there, since i like 1,000 miles away and all.

but ko is different. ko has 12 seats. and no waiters. and a ton of buzz. unlike the other momofukus, it takes reservations. unlike the other momofukus, it doesn't take phone calls. getting in means winning an online lottery held every day at 10 a.m., a week before the day you want to go. by all indications, in the early days, this was an improbable lottery to win. but as time has passed, some of those seats are still available a full 35-40 seconds after they become available at 10 a.m. so if you want them, you can probably get them.

i did.

ko is a couple doors down from noodle bar. the first time i went to noodle bar, we walked past it three times before we found it. i was better armed with the actual address for ko, and managed to only walk past it once. it has a bit of a speakeasy quality to the outside. there is a window and a door, and they are covered in decorative armor. on the door, there is a small cutout with a peach logo (momofuku means "lucky peach." allegedly.) it even says "ko" on the door. barely. if you look close. and are previously aware that it might.

so i walked in with my pal wayne, and it was not unlike walking into my favorite book. it just so happens my favorite book is a cookbook.

all the seats are at an L-shaped bar, 10 down the length of the bar and 2 at the end. wayne and i scored the 2 seats at the end, which is like winning the lottery twice as far as i am concerned. dishes are prepared by the 3 chefs behind the bar and handed to the diners. there are 2 wait staff on the customer side of the bar to clear plates and deal with drinks. but that's it.

there are no choices to be made. there is no menu. you sit down, are asked if you have any allergies they need to know about, and then it starts. you don't see a menu to get an idea what's coming, and you don't get a menu afterward for posterity.

i was warned by my friend christine that they frown on you taking photos of the dishes. and while i often like to take photos, i wouldn't have here even if they were ok with it. it's sort of like you're sharing a table with 10 strangers, and i only take photos when i can be stealth. there was no being stealth here. so, that's why you get the one photo of the door.

so, the food. there is no menu, not even a printed copy of what you ate afterward. so this is all from memory, and could be wrong. an overview: i liked everything except on dish. we'll get to that one.

-- amuses: we sat down and almost immediately got four small starters. first was a tiny cube of cornbread with a translucently thin slice of pickled turnip on top. then a spoon with a littleneck clam and crispy buckwheat and black garlic. the clam was in a broth that i suspect was bacon dashi. then a togarashi-dusted chicharon. very spicy fried pig skin. finally a black pepper biscuit with mirin glaze. each thing came at you with a different kind of big flavor in a tiny bite.

-- first: sashimi of long island fluke. the raw fish came with very bright english peas and a salad of sea beans and rice pearls (think rice krispies, only better, with more crunch). this course was very subtle and understated after the amuses, and wayne said it was "nice to turn down the volum," which was a good way to put it.

-- second: beef carpaccio. never had carpaccio before, and now its like people are throwing it at me everywhere i go. this one came on a rectangular plate, and the paper-thin sheet of raw beef was slice to fit perfectly in the flat of the plate. it was dressed with quark cheese, horseradish, radish greens and rice chips, which are different than rice pearls, but similar in crunchy effect. this plate looked like a painting. makes me sad that i don't have a photo of it, because i would put it on my wall.

-- third: brioche toast. we get a bowl with a piece of toast in it. it is slathered with bone marrow. there are roasted pearl onions and wood sorrel in the bowl. then the chef pours a broth over it. it's a cheese broth, made of gruyere and comte cheeses. it was like the best cheese toast ever.

-- fourth: poached egg. one of the sorta famous dishes. a soft poached egg is split open on the plate and the opening is filled with hackleback caviar. on the side were tiny potato chips, and underneath was onion soubise. onion soubise is in the cookbook, and i kind of read over it because there didn't appear to be anything to it. there is something to it. i loved the whole dish, and i think it was because of the onion. it was like candy.

-- fifth: pasta. after i had this, i presumed nothing could overtake it as my favorite. we'll see how that turned out in a minute. it was hand-torn pasta on top of cubes of sausage made of chicken and snail. i dunno, but it was good. on top of the pasta were chips of crispy chicken skin. oh yeah. there was no mention of the sauce, so i asked. it was a reduced chicken stock. it was like butter.

-- sixth: skate. this one never really had a chance with me. skate is one of my least favorite fish. i always find it unpleasantly mealy. and if that wasn't enough, it was sitting on top of cauliflower, which is my least favorite food on the planet, i think. also under there were olives and fresh water chestnuts, both of which i like, but not enough to enjoy it. there was an almond milk foam there, too. in the pantheon of dishes combining some of my least favorite foods, this wasn't bad. i finished it. but i didn't love it.

-- seventh: foie. another of the famous dishes. we make a torchon of foie gras, which is sort of like making a smooth sausage of goose liver. we freeze it. then we put lychees, reisling gelee and pine nut brittle in a bowl and shave the frozen foie over it until all the other stuff is covered in a brownish snowdrift of liver. taking a spoonful and putting this in your mouth is sort of like a reese's experience on steroids. its like, about, eight great tastes that taste great together and in every conceivable permutation. when you eat it, you taste everything individually, then the foie literally melts in your mouth, and the fat incorporates with every other thing, and makes a new flavor. in every bite. its genius. loved it. i loved it SO much, it ended up being my third-favorite dish of the night. because next came ...

-- eight: muscovy duck breast. i wasn't full at this point, but close. and when i saw this course coming, i was afraid because it looked huge. i didn't need huge. but then i realized it was duck, and everything was suddenly ok. it was the best duck i've ever had, and duck is what i order anytime i am at a restaurant that has it. not close. the meat was perfectly cooked medium rare, and the skin was cooked shatteringly crisp. so, so good. it was on top of charred mustard greens, which were fine, their bitterness counteracted the sweetness of the duck. and there was a honey-braised turnip beside, but the duck! wow. when we were served, there was no mention of the sauce, and it was amazing, so i asked. pomegranate glaze with foie gras. of course there was more foie.

-- dessert 1: spiced white wine sorbet with pear. that about says it all.

-- dessert 2: pretzels and root beer. the "pretzels" were panna cotta, so, like creamy gelatin. take my word for it. it tasted like pretzels and there was salt on top. the "root beer" was a sorbet, and also delicious. it was sitting on some sort of bread crumb, but i forget what. like mustard with your pretzels? that was there too. in the form of gelee (think jell-o). it was one of the most interesting desserts i've had, and loved it.

afterward, we talked to the chef who had been camped out near us, shawn (or sean? sorry, don't know) and told him what a great time we had. by that point, i had been awake for almost 21 hours and i was ready to collapse. but i was happy.

Momofuku Ko on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

bella brava, st. petersburg, march 18

so, i have been trying to write this post for more than a month now.

for my birt
hday, we went to bella brava, which is where my pal domenica macchia has been the chef since last fall. ever since she moved there, i have been plotting a night when pam and i went in, armed with becky and jeremy, and ordered a bunch of stuff so i could do a comprehensive post.

so on my birthday, we got becky and jeremy and went in, suspecting we were committing ourselves for the next several hours. dom knew we were coming in and we left it to her to decide what we were going to eat. as it turns out, just about everything on the menu.

here is where it got complicated for me to write about: everything was great. and i knew it was going to be. there was stuff i had had before, stuff i never had before, stuff that was on the menu, going on the menu soon, or just for us. we loved it all. so when i started to write about it, it all started seeming like a lifeless list of things we ate more than a description, and i felt like i wasn't doing it justice.

i can't be remotely objective when it comes to dom. i mean, you've read previous posts. i like just about everything. but the only way i can write anything worth reading is if i went in to the meal thinking that there was some chance i might not like it. i mean, i had concerns going into babbo. i suspected that i wouldn't find french laundry to be
perfect. i was openly skeptical as to whether i would even like alinea. and those were three of the best meals i've ever had.

but i walked into bella brava knowing i would love whatever was about to happen. because i wasn't just going there for dinner. dinner was being made for me. for me.

dom refers to me as the brother she never had, and i love that. i have to be careful about reciprocating that sentiment because it would probably really piss off my sister. but you know what i mean.

so, in list form, here is what we had. everything was great, so i can dispense with individually nothing that everything was great.

-- roasted beet salad. sliced red and halved baby golden beets with a vinaigrette. everyone else got cauliflower on theirs, but i did not. becau
se it was my birthday, she didn't even try to talk me into eating cauliflower. dom said after peeling the baby beets, she would only serve regular beets in the future. i understand. but they're so cute.

-- beef carpaccio. i had told dom that i never had carpaccio, so boom, there it was. thin slices of barely seared filet with parm, arugula, preserved lemon and fried capers.

-- two pizzas: the vegetali with roasted vegetables on it, and a sausage.

-- gorgonzola fonduta: a blue cheese sauce served with grilled bread for dipping. jeremy said he gets this whenever he comes in because he loves it so much, and after tasting it, said there was something different. he said it had a di
fferent alcohol taste. he told dom this, and she said she just got a different, better brand of sherry. this is why i hang out with jeremy bowers.

-- lamb porterhouse: tiny little grilled t-bones. she had just changed over to the spring sauce for them, a mint-pea pesto.

-- duck: always my menu fallback. love it. she has a cherry-port sauce.

-- roasted half chicken: the marsala-lemon jus was amazing.

-- crab cakes: they were huge. tiny would have been great at this point. no one could eat a whole one.

-- polenta and mashed potatoes

-- green beans and spinach

-- salmon fettucine: this was a sample of a new thing. not a big salmon fan, but am a big pasta fan. this was good.

after all that, as if we could still move, dom sent out a plate of all their desserts. the open-faced canoli is always a favorite. and the nutella cheesecake. and the chocolate torte. and the vanilla panna cotta. and a bunch of strawberries, to keep it healthy.

see, didn't that work better as a list?

all this to say, i highly recommend becoming best friends with dom and going to bella brava on your birthday.

ps: when we arranged to go in, i told dom that i would let her cook for me on my birthday only under the condition that she let me cook for her on hers. her birthday was a week after mine, but she was busy, then i was gone, but this is just to make it publicly official that it has to happen. and soon.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

sanaa, disney, feb 27

so, we had timeshare points to kill, which seems to happen a lot in february the past couple years, so we spent a weekend at the animal kingdom lodge. we stayed in the new kidani village, which is the new part of the lodge, where they only have disney vacation club rooms. so there is none of that riff-raff that only can afford to pay hundreds and hundreds of dollars a night for a room. at kidani, it is exclusively the people who paid thousands for years and years of access.

yet we still ended up with n
oisy yahoos on the next balcony over. so much for exclusive.

we did still get tremendous views of the savannah (see above), with giraffe, and zebra, and some animal that looks like what happens when a giraffe and a zebra get left in the same barn accidentally overnight. there were also various cattle looking things, and deer looking things, and elk looking things. and ostriches. as far as a
view, it was cool.

we had dinner at the new restaurant in kidani. its called sanaa, which in swahili means "work of art." sets a high bar, but it was pretty good. the web site says it it is african food with indian flavors. i honestly don't know enough about either to differentiate, but its all good. what it seems like to me is that the assumption is that the resort is african-themed, even though its really not, and that they wanted to do an indian restaurant, which would have been a perfectly legitimate fit on its own, but they needed to
justify it somehow. i don't know.

anyway, there were three things on the menu that allowed for multiple selections in each course, so we did those and split them.

there was the bread service, which is sort of what they're known for. y'know. in some circles. like among people who would know that a restaurant is known for its bread service. admittedly, it's not a big club. but i'm in it.

anyway, they have four breads and six accompaniments. you get to choose three of each. all were flatbreads. we got the naan, wh
ich is classic and plain, the onion kulcha, which was filled with sweet onion and spices, and a paneer paratha, which was very spicy. paneer is a cheese. i was looking for the cheese, but i wasn't aware of any cheese as i was eating. for the toppings, we picked the garlic pickles, which was kind of like a spicy relish, the cucumber raita, which is a yogurt-based sauce, and tamarind chutney, which was smooth and tangy. i mixed them up, trying various toppings with various breads. i liked the raita with the paratha and i liked the pickles best with the naan. i think my favorite topping was the chutney, but i didn't think it went well alone with the breads. i thought it would have been awesome on a grilled chicken sandwich or something, though.

they had a salad sampler, so we got that. they offer five and you get to choose three. we chose the chickpeas with cucumber and tomato, the watermelon with radish and lime, and the roasted beets. i have been told that i have a rep concerning beets. i'm ok with that. all of them we're really good. i am allergic to watermelon, but i am ok with it when its really fresh. my allergy manifests in my hands getting itchy. they did not. so, good watermelon.

they had a braised meat sampler for an entree. they had three braised dishes, and you could choose two. we picked the chicken with red curry and the beef short ribs. liked both. the ribs were very good, but i have no idea what was either african or indian about them. they just tasted like a good short rib to me. the chicken was all dark meat, best i could tell, which makes sense in a braise. but it was really, really tender. it was in a tomato-y sauce that was really good. we got the five-grain pilaf to go with it. you can't really beat getting five kinds of rice all at once.

thought about skipping dessert, but decided i wanted to try something. nothing jumped out, but i noticed the orange-sesame cake came with passion fruit kulfi. i remembered having a kulfi at tabla and new york and thinking it was awesome, so i got that. the cake was cool. nice orange flavor, and the top of the cake looked like one of those sesame candies, but it was soft. and the kulfi, which is sort of a cross between a frozen mousse and ice cream, was awesome. i love that texture. it's now on my list of things to replicate.

the next night, we went to boma, which is the african buffet in the old wing of the animal kingdom. usually, we get a reservation there, and we still have to wait an hour or so for our table. on this trip, we decided to go there that day. when i called in the morning for a reservation, they said we could have 430 or 9. no thanks. so we went over at 645 to see what the wait would be just walking in. they said 45 minutes to an hour. we shrugged and said sure. then we were seated in less than 10 minutes. i swear it was shorter than any wait we have ever had there with a reservation.

the highlight of that dinner was the corn and spinach pudding. never had that before, and why it was not among the desserts, i have no idea. it was delicious, and very sweet. loved, loved, loved it. the other thing that was cool was that they had pap with chaka laka. i just wanted to type that. its basically grit cakes with a chunky tomato sauce. good, but mostly a cool name.

except for the fact that we missed the cats, totally successful weekend.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

guest blogging!

i spent the past couple of days blog sitting for my pal sean daly at the paper. here are links if you're interested:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3.1

Day 3.2

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

masterchef audition, coral gables, jan. 17

a lot of people tell me i should try out for top chef or next food network star. i always take it as a compliment, but here's the thing: neither of those shows is looking for me. i'm not a chef, so i can't go on top chef. i can cook, but that is a whole different thing from what those folks do. and i have way too much respect for chef's to imply in any way that i am one.

and i have no intention of being the next food network star. there are parts of the food network that i still like, but they seem to narrow by the minute, and the kind of shows that the winner of that show usually ends up doing, its just so not me. they call that show what they do for a reason. they are looking for a tv star. not a cook. i actually stopped watching this show this year. i rarely stop watching shows.

when i demur, i find that the best way to change the subject is to say that if they ever did a top chef-type show for home cooks, i would try out.

so when a production company made a call for people to audition for a new reality cooking show for home cooks for fox, starring gordon ramsay, i kind of exhaled deeply and watched as the e-mails started popping in my mailbox.

yeah, that's what i said i'd try for.

a casting call was set for miami, and i decided to go. and since its the only way i know how to do things, i decided to jump in with both feet, without looking over the edge first.

you had to bring a dish, and there would be no promises you could heat there. so i figured that since i would be traveling 4.5 hours to get there, i better bring something that can be cold or room temp. i recently had luck with cooking with the grapefruit that grown in my back yard, so i thought that it would be fun to use those. then i thought it would be cool if everything came from right around here. and i thought of ceviche.

i got terry tomalin, the outdoors editor at the paper, to help me line up some fish. he put me in contact with madeira beach seafood, which got me a red snapper and a scamp right off the boat.

i went to gateway organic farm near my house, where the farmers gave pam and i a tour of the grounds and kept pulling up samples of stuff for me to take. i wanted some small greens that i could use for garnish. we got that an a lot more.

i wanted fresh hearts of palm, and i texted dom macchia at bella brava to ask if she knew where i could get that. she texted me back that she just ordered it and it would be in in two days.

to that point, i had been planning to do one ceviche from everything i had gotten, but decided i had too many things to do that. i decided i could do one ceviche with each fish, and pair them with each of the citrus i have in the yard (grapefruit and tangerine). but i didn't want two, so i went to saturday morning market and found stone crab and decided to make a third out of that.

so what i did is turned it into a formula. each ceviche would be fish + citrus + crunch + chile pepper + herb. and i ended up with:

-- scamp + grapefruit + fennel + red serrano + red lettuce (this would be served as a wrap in the lettuce)

-- snapper + tangerine + hearts of palm + jalapeno + beet green (this would be served in a cone i made of a baked wonton skin)

-- stone crab + lime/coconut + red onion + green serrano + mint (this would be served in a spoon made of coconut wood)

so then, i packed it up in a cooler and left for miami with jeremy bowers, because i knew he would make me laugh for the entire trip.

we got to the coral gables whole foods and it was drizzly out and there was a line of people outside with umbrellas. i had an appointment to be seen at 4, so i wasn't worried about the line. then when we parked and went to the line, we found it was all people waiting for people who were auditioning inside. they said i could go right in.

the rules said you would have five minutes to plate, so i had myself set up to be able to do that. then i looked around, and there were people who had brought their own gas burners and were clearly planning to be there as long as it took. the room was set up with a series of folding tables in a u-shape with small square work areas taped off. i got in mine and started unloading my cooler and plating.

while i did that, someone came up and took my application and asked a couple of questions. so far so good.

then i started cutting my mint, and i realized my hands were shaking. since i already lost part of a finger last year, this concerned me. i got the mint sliced and put the knife away.

once i got everything plated, a tasting judge came by. as best i could tell, there were three of them making their way around the room, and some of the people auditioning would get the attention of more than one at a time. i just got one. she asked me if i had been to culinary school. nope. she asked if i knew terminology. i said yes. she asked me what an emulsion was. i told her. then she asked me something a little more difficult, but i knew it too, and she seemed satisfied.

she tasted my scamp first. the look on her face was not good. "it doesn't taste seasoned. all i taste is fish, none of the other things you say are in there." sigh. the scamp had not been my favorite of the three, but i didn't think it was bad. and i had intended for it to be eaten like a lettuce wrap, but she had just picked a tiny piece of fish up with the tip of her spoon. i accepted the critique and hoped for better with the snapper.

"it's a little better, but i still wish it was brighter." again, she took a little bite from the tip of a spoon, instead of eating it like a cone. sigh. i mean, i understood why she was being conservative with how much she was going to eat, given that she was tasting hundreds of things over the course of the day, but ... ugh.

so then she tried the stone crab. "that's pretty good. but the red onion is too strong." well, i'll take it at this point.

she takes notes and says, "your presentation is wonderful. it really looks nice." whew! though she sort of said "looks" like it was a backhanded compliment. but i took it.

she walked away, then came back and said i was done and could leave. i was like, well, that's bad, because there were other judges i thought might talk to me, and there was a camera crew recording interviews. if i was going to do any of that, i figured i was screwed. while she was standing there, another judge, who didn't seem to be part of the tasting trio, came over and started asking me questions that were like ones on the application. i think she tasted as we talked, but she didn't comment, and the first judge watched while she did. she looked at my application and asked if "pig-wrapped pig-stuffed pig" was a typo. nope, i said, and told her all about the contest. she seemed to like that.

so then the taster lady told me again that i could go. i was still disappointed that i hadn't done the on-camera thing, so i started cleaning up. s-l-o-w-l-y. as i was cleaning up, the interview guy looked at me from across the room and said "do NOT leave until i talk to you." at which point i nodded and let out the longest internal sigh ever. so when i finished packing, i was standing there and the taster lady asked me why i was still there, and i said because interview guy told me to stay. that seemed like a good enough answer.

so i did the interview, and as i was walking out the door afterward, i was coming up with all the answers i SHOULD have given. none of my answers were bad, but they could have been better. and at least one, if i had thought about it two seconds, it could have been more interesting AND more accurate, which would have been a double bonus. i won't get into the particulars.

jeremy had been waiting outside, and said that there were several people who had gone in after me and left before. i was too dialed in to notice. but that has to be good, right? i think? then jeremy and i went back to the car and we finished most of the ceviche that i had brought. i agreed that the scamp was the least assertive of the three, but we thought they all tasted fine. and she missed out by not eating the cone. that thing was good.

so anyway, the moral of the story is: apparently, i am someone who will spend two days trying to get on a reality cooking show that i have no real information about. does anyone have any idea when that happened to me?

i left miami not knowing if i had a chance or not. maybe they would want someone who would underseason a ceviche, right? it gives them something to fix. maybe? i don't know. anyway, i felt like even if i didn't blow anyone away, i didn't fall on my face. and when i am playing that far out of my comfort zone, i'll take that.

Friday, January 1, 2010

mazzaro's, dec. 31

hey, wait a minute.

so, i went to mazzaro's to pick up some pancetta on thursday, and while they were cutting it to my exacting standards, i looked in the deli case and saw this! and without a credit, even!

not mad. i probably wouldn't have won if mazzaro's hadn't let me stand out front on a saturday morning and shill for votes. but, i have to say, if i had named mine "bacon-wrapped pork roulade sausage stuffed," i suspect there is exactly ZERO chance i would have won.

i wonder if they used orange-fennel sausage. i doubt it.

anyway, below is the original pig-wrapped, pig-stuffed pig. award winning, btw.