Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Rookie Brewing Adventure - Success!

Yesterday it was about failure, but today I'm here to gloat.  After 5-ish weeks of waiting, the jalapeno saison was released for consumption.  First, the essential, everyone drank, no one died.  Second, the more essential, it tasted awesome.  Right out of the gate, the first thing you notice is the smell of jalapeno.  It was unique and, you know, earthy.

The taste was very light, with spicy notes (shut up Kyle).  It finished clean, and while it's hard to know the actual alcohol content, I think it was above the standard 5% ABV.  It was a fantastic first experience brewing beer and I'm not sure if it was good by chance or method, I'm just glad it was good.  Everyone, except Kyle, really seemed to like it.  Kyle kept asking why it didn't taste more like cider, despite my attempts to explain the different between cider and beer.  I've still got one 15 ounce bottle lingering in the fridge for a special occasion, or until I need that Grolsch bottle.

Also, if you're a beer drinker in a space equal to or greater than 500 square feet, you should definitely buy the kit and get to brewing yourself.  So much fun.  So gratifying.

What's next?  I'm glad you were planning to ask, but couldn't because this is largely a one way medium.  On Sunday I brewed up a batch of Tripel and I've been advised by my beer brewing mentor, Neil, to let it sit because it can only get better.  I'm not sure my patience will hold out, unless I buy a new gallon carboy to get a second batch of something brewing.  Also, I bought proper sanitizer and used it when I prepped for the new batch.  Second also, despite the post time, this post is fueled by Magic Hat Hex.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sometimes You Fail - Last Night's Dinner

Last night I made dinner.  Chicken breast with penne pasta in a white wine, cherry tomato, and asparagus sauce.  It was awful.  Like damn near inedible awful.  I could see Gordon Ramsey yelling at me, asking if I respected myself and my girlfriend for feeding us something so bad.  Yet this is part of cooking, particularly if you are an amateur like myself.  Sometimes things go awry, but I want to go back to the scene of crime and figure out what happened in the hopes it wouldn't happen again.

I've made a number of white wine cream sauces recently and they've been turning out really nicely.  I'm getting the hang of it, but they are always pretty thin and I've been racking my brain to try and thicken in up.  Inspired by some recent reading about the master french sauces I decided I would make a roux to add to the sauce in the hopes of thickening it up a little.  So I prepped my roux (2 tablespoons butter & 1/8 cup flour) and left it over low heat.

The chicken I was using was the Perdue Italian seasoned chicken breast.  It was an oversight on purchase, but still needed used so I dropped the chicken in a hot frying pan and cooked it up.  As the chicken cook, the Italian dressing that has been marinating the chicken starting to cook away until it was burning to the bottom of the pan. Once the chicken was one I threw in some sauvignon blanc (Barefoot) to deglaze the pan, but all the burnt Italian dressing came up as well turning the white wine from orange to brown.  I dumped the pan, trying to get most of the brunt bits out, then attempted to deglaze again with more wine.  I threw in some garlic and let the wine reduce, then I tossed the wine into my roux.  It all seized up and became a paste.  Like any reasonable chef I decided to throw in another 2 tablespoons of butter to try and thin it a little.

Turning back to the frying pan I threw in chopped asparagus and let that go for a few before tossing in the cherry tomatoes.  Little salt, little pepper and they were sauteing nicely.  Pasta was cooked.  Chicken was keeping warm in the oven.  I dropped my veggies into the still too thick sauce and then tossed in the pasta.  Globules of sauce were catching on the noodles.  Panic set it.  I grabbed what was left of some chicken broth and dumped it into the sauce pan, stirred a few times, plated, and served.  And then that first taste, that horrible, regretful first taste.  The wine and cheery tomatoes gave everything a sour taste.  It permeated everything.  The only bright spot was the chicken which was in good shape and pretty tasty, but it was a fail over all.  But with a failure should come lessons learned.

First, I need to add maybe a slight dollop of roux to my sauce not add my sauce to a 1/4 cup of roux.  Second, I shouldn't have tried to deglaze a pan with burnt Italian dressing on it.  That's the decision that set the whole meal toward disaster.  Third, cherry tomatoes were a poor choice.  They are just too sour.  If I had been committed to using them then I would have needed some heavy cream and probably even some sugar to cut through that initial sour taste.

I share this failure with you all because you can't be afraid to fail.  It sucks.  It's crushing to work on a meal only for it to be awful.  And even if my girlfriend told me it "wasn't that bad," I know the truth.  You just learn from the mistakes, remember were things went wrong, and try to never do it again.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Away Game: NYC

I took a trip to NYC over the weekend and spent an evening hanging out with a grad school buddy who is from the city (Brooklyn to be precise, and he is).  He told me to meet him at Zum Schneider at Ave C and East 7th in what I learned was Alphabet City (I thought that was DC) to enjoy a Bavarian Beirgarten.  It's a pretty small place, but a solid beer selection and after a few Reissdorf Kolchs we decided to head across the street.

So we went catty corner to Edi & The Wolf named after shortened versions of the chefs names for dinner and more beer.  Edi & The Wolf is an Austrian restaurant that doesn't have a biergarten feel, but certainly a lot of crossover appeal in the beer department. At this point I relinquished beer drinking decision to my buddy and was not disappointed.  He'd been there before and knew the lay of the land.

For dinner we started with an ode to pork, getting the cured pork belly and the baby back ribs.  The pork belly was as expected, little delectable bits of cured bacon with diced apples to cut through the salt.  It was good.  But the ribs, they were great.  Fall off the bone tender with a sweet glaze and house made mustard with that potency that distinguishes real mustard from yellow mustard, they were fantastic.  After the ribs were gone I may or may not have just eaten some mustard on its own.

By the time the ribs were gone I had consumed about 2.5 liters of beer (those handy lines on the glasses helped me keep track) and what would have otherwise been enough food felt lacking so we moved on to entrees.  My buddy got the organic chicken, while I got the veal wiener schnitzel.  His chicken was this perfectly wrapped and cooked mini chicken roast.  Meanwhile, my wiener schnitzel was outstanding.  It came with potato salad, cucumber with dill, and lingonberry jam.  Everything just worked.  These were classic Austro/German flavors at their finest.  The potato was great with the schnitzel, as was the jam, and the cucumber was a great side to go with a fried piece of veal.

I also have to say the service was fantastic.  My buddy has a reputation of being a bit loquacious with wait staff, but our waitress and the hostess both parried back and forth with him.  Our waitress warned me about the good, not great-ness of the pork belly, but I didn't listen.  Suffice to say I asked her opinion for my entree.  After all that food and a fair bit more beer we decided to head to Brooklyn to see a friend of my buddy's band play.  This was my first time in Brooklyn.

Now as a consequence of having at this point an indeterminate number of liters of beer, I don't know where we ended up.  In fact, I don't think the place had a sign, it was just a small venue with a narrow concert space, stage, and a small bar in a side room back into the building.  It was a cans only kind of place, but we made do.  Meeting up with a couple of my buddy's friends we were greeted with shots of I think Jameson (my true friend and downfall of late) and more beer, and then more shots, and some conversation, and then more beer, then one last shot...or two.  Having started this drinking at about 5:30, but midnight I was pretty much done and so we wandered to look for a cab and thus my NYC adventure ended.  Great beer in some cool little neighborhoods.  Excellent food, but mostly awesome people.  From the waitress we harassed to the excellent folks I met in Brooklyn some quality people all around, and that's what drinking, cooking, and eating is all about.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Quick and Easy Fish Tacos

My girlfriend was visiting her family over the weekend and they sent her back with a bag of some great looking jalapenos so we were talking about what to cook for dinner last night and settled on fish tacos.  This is something I've done a few times before, but I think I got it right last night.  So here's my recipe for fish tacos:
Fish Tacos & Lime-Cilantro Rice

Fish Tacos
.75lbs - fresh tilapia
2 - vine ripened tomatoes
1/2 - white onion
1/4 head - red cabbage
2 - small jalapenos
1 - avocado
1/2 - lime
1 cup - cornmeal
1/8 to 1/4 cup - cilantro
Olive oil

Lime-Cilantro Rice
1/2 cup rice
1/2 lime
1/8 cup cilantro

I made the rice first because I knew it could sit.  Make the rice to the instructions on the package, and then just as I took it off the heat I added the juice of the half lime and threw in the 1/8-ish cup of cilantro, stirred, and then set aside.

The next step, and to be sure the most time intensive, was dicing up all the vegetables.  I did a small dice on the tomatoes, onion, and jalapenos.  Next I did a thin chop of the red cabbage and put all the different elements into different little bowls.
All diced and nowhere to go

After all the dicing and chopping I took the tilapia and put a little sea salt and pepper on both sides.  Then I split the tilapia at the middle seam turning three tilapia filets into six strips.  I poured the cup of cornmeal into a reusable Chinese food container and dredged the tilapia in the cornmeal until it had a nice coating but wasn't caked in cornmeal.  I put some olive oil in a frying pan and let it heat to almost smoking and then put three of the six pieces in the pan.  They only took about 2 minutes per side and then I repeated with the remaining fish.
Avocado, tilapia, and rice.

My girlfriend cut up the avocado and we plated up and enjoyed.  The rice turned out okay.  I think I put in too much cilantro (and thus would say 1/8 cup versus a 1/4 cup) or maybe not enough lime.  Obviously the rice is a rip off of Chipotle's rice, but that didn't make it a poor option.  The fish came out exactly the way I wanted in no small part because it was fresh.  Frozen tilapia would have crumbled or I would have been inclined to heat the hell out of it because it was frozen.

I will tell you this secret for great fish tacos.  It's all about dredging, whether it's corn meal or flour, a very light coating to the fish takes care of excess moisture and gives it just a slight crispiness.  Without it, the fish can be mushy.  With a full on breading you lose the fish in breading and oil.  Start to finish, less then 90 minutes and cost around $25 for two people.
I went back for seconds.
Just one more picture for good measure.  I put a little Nali sauce on this one to give it an extra kick.  Happy cooking and remember, anybody can make this.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I Ate This: Dungeness Crab Breakfast Burrito

I enjoyed this delicious breakfast burrito at the market at the San Francisco ferry terminal.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Rookie Home Brewing Adventure

A couple months back my girlfriend got me a home brewing kit from The Brooklyn Brew Shop.  The Brooklyn Brew Shop's unique angle is giving anyone the set up to do small batch home brews.  In this case, it's one gallon at a time.  They even include the mix with just about everything you need to get to brewing.  It was definitely a great gift for your blogger here as it is not by accident "Drinking" comes first in this blog, but my creativity had previously been stifled by uptight roommates.  (Yes, I just called out fully 50% of my readership)
Drinking a beer while brewing beer.
A few weeks ago, before the advent of this blog even, I made my first batch and set it to ferment in the carboy (jug) for a few weeks.  The recipe said two weeks, but I gave it 2.5 on the hopes it would up the alcohol content a little.  So, with my girlfriend out of town last Thursday, I invited my buddy Ben over to help me bottle the contents of my gallon jug.
A jug of beer

For this, my first attempt, I was making a Jalapeno Saison.  Now, that sounds super fancy and thanks to Wikipedia, I know a Saison is "the name originally given to low-alcohol pale ales brewed seasonally in farmhouses in Wallonia, the French-speaking region of Belgium, for farm workers during harvest season."  What makes this a Jalapeno Saison is the addition of (you guessed it) a jalapeno at the end of the brewing process.

You will also notice in the above picture a swingtop beer bottle.  This is (and all the bottles I used) are 15oz Grolsch bottles which allowed me to skip buying a capper and caps.  I didn't discover these bottles until I had drank about 3 six packs of pry top bottles in anticipation of the bottling.  Some mistakes can be hard on the liver, but good on the heart.

You'll also notice what appears to be sand at the bottom of the jug.  It's the yeast, called trub, which is a word that accurately conveys the grossness and the lack of desirability that it get into you bottled beer.  So, to avoid getting that into your bottles you have to siphon the beer from a jug to a pot, where additional sugar was diluted with water, and then from the pot into the bottles.  This was definitely the tricky part and not a one person operation.  In the end, though, Ben and I managed to get the beer into bottles with a minimum of trub.
Nectar of the gods or failed science experiment?

And so now, here they sit to ferment a further two weeks before I throw them into the fridge and cool them down.  The recipe had some pretty explicit (and to my mind onerous) sanitation instructions that I skipped so all these weeks of waiting (5 from brew to taste) could just be a waste of time.  But that's part of the fun.  I'll let you know what it ends up tasting like, good or bad.  I'm interested how the jalapeno ends up being tasted it the beer.

This is my first of what I anticipate to be many attempts in brewing beer.  If you've got any interest, I really encourage you to get the Brooklyn Brew Shop kit.  It's a great size for a small space.  Almost all the ingredients are included, and the instructions are damn-near idiot proof.  In time, I hope to discard the training wheels of the recipes.  For now, thought, I'm happy to minimize the errors I could make.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Away Game: San Francisco

Over the next few months I'll be doing some travel to various locales in the U.S. and elsewhere.  Figured I'd eat some delicious food on the way and tell you all about it.  When I'm outside DC, it's the Away Game.

I was in San Francisco this past weekend and grabbed dinner at Tadich Grill on Friday.  Tadich Grill is billed as the oldest restaurant in San Francisco having been founded by in the 1800s as a tent coffee shop by two Croation brothers and evolving from there and eventually finding a home on California St just a couple blocks from the Embarcadero.

The first thing you notice when you walk in is the age of the establishment, not in a run down, call the health inspector kind of way, but in a "I just went back in time" sort of way.  The next thing you notice is the massive counter that runs the depth of the restaurant.  On the other side of the counter are small table and then even a few booths which would provide a good degree of privacy for a small group.  Also of note, all the waiters (I didn't see any waitresses) wear white coats that reminded me of front of the house butcher coats and ties. Even the bar backs wore ties.

I grabbed a seat at the counter and every seat comes outfitted with a quarter loaf of sourdough bread, butter, and water.  They had a good number of wines available, but I'm more of a beer guy so I ordered a Stella Artois (they also had Sierra Nevada and a couple other beers on tap).  It was a bit chilly on the walk over so I asked my waiter if I should go with the shrimp bisque or the seafood cocktail, I planned to follow up whatever I selected with cioppino so he recommended the seafood cocktail.

I was not disappointed.  San Francisco is renowned for their seafood cocktails and this one was a delicious medley of bay shrimp, Dungeness crab (including a couple whole claws), and a massive prawn.  There was cocktail sauce dabbed over everything, but not soaking everything.  The cocktail sauce had a fantastic bite from the horseradish and I didn't feel shorted on the portion despite the $15 price tag.

Next came the cioppino, a dish native to San Francisco and despite the name not at all Italian.  It's a hearty fish stew and in this iteration there were clams, mussels, bay shrimp, prawns, Dungeness crab, halibut, and sea scallops all combined with a tomato broth that consisted of tomatoes, celery, onions, and some basil and oregano.  It's served with a couple hulking pieces of garlic bread.  In a word, the dish was amazing.  The broth was clearly tomato, but that acidic edge that can make a tomato broth or sauce unpleasant wasn't there.  In fact, the broth reminded me of a light, bean free chili broth.  The whole dish had a seafood chili quality, but I don't want to overstate that taste or turn you off if you're not a big chili person.  It was a seasoning that sat in the background and never over powered the seafood.

A couple more things to note. First, the prawns were again huge, as were the sea scallops.  The scallops were the highlight for me.  I tend to think a well cooked sea scallop is the best bite of seafood you could ever eat and that's what surprised me about this dish.  When you consider the sea scallop being tossed in a hot broth (hot enough to open mussels and clams) you'd think the scallops would get over cooked.  Far from it from what I saw yesterday.  Maybe they threw the scallops in at the last second, but the exterior showed that light rupturing you see along the edges, but no browning.  Inside it was that perfectly soft consistency that tells you the heat just barely got here.  They were so delicate and flavorful it's hard to describe.  When I was finished, I was very full (good thing since the cioppino set me back $30), but it was the right choice.

Overall, I give the restaurant high marks on the atmosphere and that commitment to a time since passed.  The food was fantastic.  The seafood was fresh and flavorful.  The wait staff were helpful and patient.  In fact, my only knock would be the prices.  I think for the food I got my money's worth, but eating at an old west lunch counter basically and racking up a $45 bill just don't seem congruent.  If you decide to go, go with deep pockets so you can get the full experience.  I would definitely go back to get that cioppino again if even for just those two scallops.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Just Keep Stirring

Sundays tend to be the best days for me to try something even remotely ambitious in the kitchen.  During the week, the lack of time necessitates a hasty meal, but Sundays are for exploring.  Folks who know me might be surprised to learn I've never made risotto before.  It's not a hard dish, but a time intensive dish that requires near constant attention.  A couple weeks back I bought some Trader Joe's Arborio rice so I could try my hand at this oft admired Italian starch.

Whenever I set to do something like this I look for recipes online, just to get a sense of the steps, and what is supposed to happen.  I'm usually less concerned about measurements in any exact since, because I take more of a "food as jazz" approach.  So I found this recipe for an asparagus risotto, but my girlfriend likes broccolini and Harris Teeter always has it in stock, so I thought I'd mix it up a bit.  I'm also a big fan of mushrooms, so I picked up some cremini mushrooms to go in their as well.

To start, I chopped up the broccolini into 1.5 to 2 inch pieces that I then blanched in boiling water for a few minutes and then put them into an ice bath.  This is basically what the asparagus recipe called for and the green color the broccolini took on once hitting the ice bath was fantastic.  Next, I washed the mushrooms and halved them.  I melted a tablespoon of butter in a frying pan, melted it, and then threw the mushrooms in on med-high heat.  After sauteing the mushrooms for about 10 minutes, giving them some good color, I set them aside.

I took about three and a half cups of chicken stock and got it heating up on the back burner, per the recipe.  I think took three more tablespoons of butter and melted it in a saucepot at med-high heat and then tossed in two diced shallots. I turned the shallots through the butter until about translucent (just a couple minutes), then I tossed in a cup of the Arborio rice and turned it in the butter letting it take in some of that heat for a couple minutes.  Next I added a half-cup of Bare Foot Sauvignon Blanc (I use Bare Foot as my primary cooking wine, it's cheap, but I'd drink it on it's own, which is the test of any cooking wine).  I kept stirring the rice until it soaked up all that wine, which took less than two minutes and from their I added the simmering chicken broth a half to three quarter cup at a time stirring almost constantly.

I say almost constantly because I took the frying pan I sauteed the mushrooms in and brought it back to a medium/med-high heat and dropped in two chicken breasts (I have a mental block about a meal not having a  protein).  So at this point, I've got chicken browning in a fry pan and I'm stirring the risotto with every free moment I have, while also monitoring a loaf of Grapenuts bread I had baking in the oven for breakfast the next day.

The Arborio rice is really quite remarkable.  It sponges up any moisture incredibly fast and you have to keep it moving to avoid scorching it.  And so it continued until I'd put in about 3 cups of the chicken stock in and flipped the chicken breast in.  I tasted some of the rice and it had the texture, I think at least, you're looking for.  It was very soft on the outside with just the slightest resistance in the center.  The chicken breast was done and resting, and I took the risotto off the heat.  At some point doing all that stirring I had managed to grate about a half cup of Parmesan cheese.  I took the bulk of that and sprinkled it over the risotto, stirring it in.  I used a fine shred and the cheese melted away in the the risotto with ease.  After that, I threw the broccolini and the mushrooms back in and stirred a little more.  After plating the risotto and the chicken breast, here's what it looked like.
Broccolini & Mushroom Risotto w/ Chicken
Overall I think it turned out pretty well.  It lacked a little punch, but I couldn't decide if that was just how a risotto should be, if I had under seasoned, or if the vegetables I had couldn't stand up on their own.  The Parmesan flavor definitely came through though, which is one of my favorite flavor.  Now, if you're a Top Chef watcher (or just know risotto really well) you'll notice my risotto has Trae's disease.

Trae, the chef sent home after restaurant wars in Season 3 and sent home after a lackluster risotto during Top Chef All-Stars, was sent home during All-Stars because his risotto wasn't creamy enough.  It stood up on the plate.  Mine did too, and I think I know why.  There are two reasons.  First, the rice could have tolerated a little more chicken stock, probably another half cup or so.  Second, I pulled the rice off the heat at the wrong time.  I pulled it right as it has finished soaking up the last half cup of chicken stock I threw into it, versus right after adding a bit more chicken stock.  This is a minor thing that didn't impact taste, but certainly texture.

Overall, I think it was a successful attempt and I was able to crank it out much faster then I feared (the whole process took about 90 minutes from first cut to eating), but as with any first attempt there are lessons learned.  I've still got plenty of Arborio rice and my girlfriend asked why I didn't just use the asparagus because she likes that more then broccolini, so I'll be making more risotto in the weeks ahead.  I hope you find a random risotto recipe and give it a shot.  It's really not complicated, it just takes the right rice, enough chicken stock, and a lot of stirring.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Bar within a Bar

I went out for drinks last Friday at a place called Last Exit.  It's a speakeasy style joint and it is literally a bar within a bar.  It's nestled inside Tonic: Mt Pleasant with a sign that was unlit when I walked by.  That may have been the point.  A hipper friend picked the place (because it's about 2 block from her apartment), and I expected a nondescript door, but honestly had to call her once my girlfriend and I arrived because I saw no doors, no signs, no placards, nada.

After figuring out where it was, I immediately liked the basement party darkness the bar emanated.  If you've been to Tonic, either Tonic, you know it's a pretty straightforward sports bar atmosphere.  The contrast in styles just by crossing the threshold was a bit jarring (I'm predisposed to like sports bars), but I dug it.  This, combined with some great, comfy lounge furniture and I was sold.  There were a few high top tables as well, if you wanted the over the table intimacy that comes from being in a dark bar.  But for me, heaven was the old, comfy chair I decamped to for the evening.  Seriously, I didn't leave that spot for several hours and if not for the call of nature I wouldn't have moved all night.

The drink menu is an interesting mix of cocktails and beers.  Given the vibe of the place and the comfort of the chair, I opted to start with a cocktail and tried out the Sazerac Willie.  It was a great mix of whiskey and bitters.  I had been concerned the absinthe might take the drink over, but it sat in the background adding a different dimension to the bitters.  And so I drank that in 5 minutes because it had been that kind of Friday and followed up with a Violetta.  It is essentially a mint julep, and is supposed to come with chocolate chips.  I passed on the chocolate.  Violetta is part of the Infusion section of the drink menu, which is what I think Last Exit wants to be the drinks you come back for.  There were some great combinations on the menu, but at $10 a drink my tab was running up and it'd only been 20 minutes.  I drink quickly.

I shifted to beer to help out my wallet and my liver.  You can't go wrong with $5 sixteen ounce draft Natty Bos.  Natty Bo being the hipster beer of the moment (sorry PBR), and the lowest ticket option it made sense for my overall plan.  However, there were a number of great beers available and an option for any discerning beer drinker (which I am not).

They also serve a number of small plates and I have to admit I was not excited.  Tonic for brunch in solid, but my last few dinner at Tonic: Mt Pleasant have been...well, bad.  Still, my compatriots craved sustenance and I kept my apprehension to myself.  I didn't have all the dishes they ordered but it doesn't matter because I know what the best dish is, the pate.  Seriously, ridiculously, magically delicious pate.  I've made pate before, it's not hard to make, but it's hard to get right and they got it right.  I spent five minutes wondering what was in their pate that wasn't in my pate that made theirs head and shoulder ahead of mine.  I never figured it out, but I did finally grab another slice of bread and slather it up.
Remnants of the pate

By around 11:30, I was two cocktails and three 16oz Natty Bos deep.  The cool temperature in the place, combined with the imminently comfy chair was conspiring to put me to sleep/pass out.  I nearly did, but we closed out and I left drunk and noticeably lighter in the wallet.  That said, I plan to go back.  The cocktails were great, the service was excellent, the pate was a moment, and the atmosphere straddled the line between upscale and pretentious.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Welcome to my blog

Hello to you, lonely blog search wanderer, or one of my friends regretting that association now that I have another outlet with which to share my random thoughts.  When I looked around the blogosphere, I noticed something.  There aren't enough blogs about food.  Okay, maybe there are, but I'm not contributing to any of those and thought I'd start one for my self.  So beyond the obvious topics of drinking, cooking, and eating, what am I going to be writing about here is:

I've been going to bars since before I was 21 and I've enjoyed many of them.  I'll be talking about different drinks, beers, bars, and my own home brews because life is too short and you can detox when you die.

I am an amateurish cook with no formal training and very limited skill.  You will be able to see my creations and here how they came to be triumphs or tragedies.

You can't cook all the time, and sometimes you don't want to.  So I'll throw in some restaurant reviews, but also just great meals with great friends.  My palate is the refined one of a Midwestern who's mother believed in only Lawry's Seasoning Salt.  Please take that limitation into consideration.

Along the way, I hope you learn a little more about cooking and maybe find a new spot to eat or drink.  Hope you all enjoy.