Friday, October 27, 2006

Thursday Club 10/26/06

As per usual, Teddy raised the culinary bar with his 5 course extravaganza yesterday. We had had quite a hiatus from cooking, but Chef Hunter showed no signs of rust...

  • Curried Langoustine Soup
  • Pumpkin and Pancetta Risotto
  • Asian Duck Salad with Hazelnuts
  • Sage Derby and English Stilton Plates
  • Macerated Berries with Lime Cream
The meal was excellent, but I'll have to admit that I enjoyed the Curried Langoustine Soup the most. It was light, yet extremely falourful & proved to be an excellent opening dish, leaving Adam & I salivating! As a lover of all things pork-related, I really enjoyed the Pumpkin & Pancetta Risotto (an ode to Halloween perhaps?)

The duck was cooked to perfection & was perfectly accompanied by the light salad. We wound down the night with cheeses, Port & the Macerated Strawberries. Bravo Teddy!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Thursday Club 10/19/06

I haven't cooked for the club since the end of August, so I went into this round feeling a bit rusty. No one had done a pasta yet, so I had pretty much decided that I was going to hook up some Italian fare.

- Antipasto plate.
- Cannellini Soup.
- Pappardelle w/stewed rabbit ragu.
- Arugula Salad w/shaved parmesan.
- Chocolate dipped Macaroons.

The meal was initially going to be 3 courses, but after Teddy pointed out that only 1 course was 'cooked', I decided to add the soup. Then, while pottering around in the bakery section of my local supermarket looking for flour, I stumbled on the coconut flakes & semi-sweet chocolate; I couldn't help myself - so the desert rounded out this meal.

I invited my buddy Wax over for dinner, so we were 4 altogether, with enough wine to drown a legion of whinos.

A simple antipasto plate, it didn't require much preperation (just a trip to Gracefully (28 Avenue A). I despise this place, but I was too lazy to walk to East Village Cheese (40 3rd Avenue)) Prosciutto, Genoa salami, artichoke hearts, olives & Asiago & Pyreneese cheeses. Simple yet effective!

I had made this soup before, but this time I omitted the Andouille sausage & I added carrots to the mix. It came out suprisingly well!

We took a little break after this course. The rabbit ragu had been simmering for about 3 hours now & I needed to remove the poor little bunnies from the sauce so I could remove the meat from the bones. Adam & Teddy hit the roof while Wax & I watched the game & drank more wine.

The rabbit ragu came out far better than I could have expected. I've eaten rabbit as a child (my Dad is a huge fan) & Teddy had cooked it for one of the earliest Thursday Clubs, rekindling my love for this great meat. I plated the ragu on top of fettucini, with hindsight, I sort of wish that I mixed everything beforehand & then served it up, but oh well. I had originally wanted to serve the pasta on papardelle, but I was unable to find any.

I served the salad last to cleanse the palate after the hearty ragu. Arugula, red onions, tomatoes, a sprinkle of parmesan & O&V. Easy.

The night ended with espresso & macaroons. I could barely finish 1 by that time... We sat around watching TV & drinking fine wines into the wee hours of the morning.

All in all, it was a great meal & I think my best Club dinner offering to date. We've had trouble in the past stuffing 4+ courses down our collective cake-holes. But I think that spreading the courses out over 4 hours or so helped us the make it through the choppy waters.

Bless this mess!

Not sure what Teddy's so excited about, but it probably has something to do with a full stomach & a liver groaning under the weight of the 5 bottles of wine that we dispatched!

Wax with a mouthful of something that was once cute & furry!

Bugs Bunny.......He's What's For Dinner

The Lower East Side was this week’s destination and the man like Jason did not disappoint. Here’s what was on tap:

1 - Antipasto plate
2 - Cannellini Soup
3 - Pappardelle w/stewed rabbit ragu
4 - Arugula Salad w/shaved parmesan
5 - Chocolate dipped Macaroons

Finishing a five course meal has been problematic in the past. I don’t know if it was the portioning or we were all just ravenous, but we handily polished it off leaving only a few scraps as evidence of this delicious meal.

Each course segued excellently into the next, the highlight being the Rabbit Ragu over perfectly cooked pasta. The moist, shredded white meat (formerly Peter Cottontail) and rustic spicy sauce left me asking myself, “Why don’t I eat more rabbit?”

It was important that we paced ourselves for the last 2 courses, so we paired some excellent Italian and Australian wines with America’s favorite pastime… (sorry Met fans).

The arugula salad cleansed my palate, but left me pining for something sweet. What’s that? You made dessert too? Don’t mind if I do……

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A return to form....

Our boy Adams finally got his shit (and his laundry) together and presented plates that any TC member should have been proud of. He released the menu last Wed, for consumption the following day so we had a good 24 hours to slobber, drool, and wait impatiently.

His menu:

  • Mixed Green Salad with Bay Scallops and a Citrus Vinaigrette
  • Sautéed Chicken Livers with Grapes and Caramelized Shallots
  • Potato Pancake and Beef Tenderloin “Sandwich” with Apple-Pear Sauce
  • Vanilla Panna Cotta with Pomegranate Gelee

Some of it may sound unconventional, but I believe that was the intent. Heaven knows how the kid from Buffalo came up with some of this shit, but he did, and it was delicious. Together with some rather special wines (Bordeaux 1999, I don't remember which 'yard) and amongst good company we had a grand old time. The scallops were cooked nicely, although a little moist which wilted the salad, but they did indeed smack of the Atlantic, as any self-respecting scallop should.

I think the livers and the beef were personal favourites - The livers were flash-fried in a little oil, with shallots, and then the rich sweet grapes added at the last minute. The re
sult was a dish with serious meaty depth of flavour, a faint saltiness, twang from the shallots, and then came the sugary hit every time I punctured a grape with my teeth....What a mouthful, superbly balanced....Some crusty bread was all that was needed to mop of those yummy juices, and we scoffed the lot down like we hadn't been fed for 3 days. We drank a NZ Chardonnay with it too - liver should always be accompanied by a fruity wine I think.

But the best was yet to come. That beef. Shit alive. I'll never forget it.

Forget all that bollocks I wrote about Bobby Van's - Adams is the New Steak King. If he can replicate that beef, I never need to go anywhere else again. NSK seasoned 3 fist-sized well-aged filet mignons a touch of Kosher salt, a quick crack of pepper, and into the hot pan they went. Sizzle, Baby, sizzle. That unmistakable aroma of frying meat filled the kitchen. Stunned, and lost for words, J-Boogie and I stared motionless at NSK, while he whipped up some fruity dollopings, cooked his potato pancakes (crisp, dense and utterly potatoey). So the 'sandwich' was pieced together with a nice cap of sour cream and rosemary sprig on top. We were dying to find out what the cross section looked like, but so excited and hasty were we that we neglected to take a photo. We sliced through the meat - soft, burgundy-pink, juicy, marbled with melted fat and so fucking tasty. Words cannot do it justice. I called off my engagement to Serena, and made a serious marriage proposal to Adams. I want our kids to eat that.

Despite our obvious satisfaction (slumped in chairs, slurping wine and rubbing our rotund waists) he then launched a final assault - the panna cotta. Personally I've never made one, I don't suppose they're that difficult but regardless, our boy NSK span out a sublime example. Creamy, wobbly, crowned with an oversized pom syrup that dribbled down the sides and formed small pools of fruity goodness on the plate.

With that gone into our ever-expanding guts, we were all in a spot of bother. I don't think anybody said anything for the next hour. A few mumurs of contentment maybe, the sound of cigarettes being lit and the clatter of ice cubes in crystal.....the faint whiff of scotch in the Brooklyn night air.

Bravo. Encore.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Eat Out '06 - A degenerate's tale...

How excited we were to obtain tickets for Eat Out '06, a TONY-organised showcase of NY's finest purveyors of good grub. Especially when I discovered the 'refreshment' sponsors were Stella Artois and Chopin vodka.

They say a picture says a thousand words, so rather than waste valuable time describing the event, the camera lens recorded the following images...

Friday, October 06, 2006


I hit up Minca (536 E 5th St) with Dan (yeah, him again) for a late lunch/early dinner. I've been there quite a few times & I love the place. I brought my trusty camera to document the outing. If you're fans of Soba-Ka or Rai Rai Ken, then I suggest you check Minca out.

I ordered the Basic Ramen (which I get every time) & Dan got the Tsukemen. The noodles are cooked to perfection & topped with slow roasted pork (or you can substitute free range chicken), mushrooms, cabbage, a seaweed square & half of a soy infused boiled egg - pure heaven. Though we didn't order any today, the pork gyoza there are excellent. The gyoza are hand prepared daily & are guaranteed fresh!

My Basic:

Burp! Try as I might, I just couldn't finish it. I nearly got there, but my stomach raised the white flag.

Dan's Tsukemen:

Yet another tasty dish falls victim to Dan's bottomless stomach!

All in all, it was an excellent dining experience. The meal costed us $21 with tip (no drinks, but you do get an excellent barley tea with your meal). Normally, I'm a really picky person about eating; bad table manners drive me up the wall. What I really love about Minca is that I can let my hair down & slurp all I want. I'm handy with the chopsticks, but I tend to fling soup everywhere & I often leave covered in small dots of garlic & miso goodness.

Fuller than a fatted calf, I quickly retired back to my Apt. for some much needed sleep.

For more noodle-related tomfoolery, check out Pinknest's review of Momofuku

Thursday, October 05, 2006

S'mac down!!!!

I went to S'mac (345 East 12th Street) with Dan today. After watching the Yankees lose to the miserable Detroit Tigers & crying into my Woodpecker Cider at 7B, it was just what the doctor ordered. Again, this was an impromptu visit, so I didn't have my camera.

For those of you who don't know, S'mac is short for Sarita's Macaroni & Cheese & with God as my witness, Sarita can cook up some damn good Mac! Now, M&C has a special place in my heart, along with fried chicken, watermelon & Kool Aid - reminds me of grandma's house on Sundays. That having been said, Grandma ain't got sh!t on Sarita! I ordered the 'cheeseburger' Mac (as per the website; For the Hearty Meat Eater! Ground Beef done to perfection with onions, garlic and a hint of ketchup and mustard. Don't forget the best part - a combination of American and Cheddar cheeses) which was absolutely amazing! Topped with seasoned breadcrumbs & served in individual skillets (3 sizes; small, medium (which I ordered) & insanely large). The decor is minimalistic, simple tables, stools & chairs. All in Kraft Mac & Cheese yellow & orange - awesome.

There was a group of NYU students (I'm guessing here...) who came in while we were scoffing our Mac & one of them raised a good question. He asked if there were people who didn't get breadcrumbs on their Mac & Sarita said about 30% of people don't. The guy had this puzzled look on his face & said that he couldn't trust anyone who didn't get breadcrumbs on their M&C - brilliant!

I'll be back there to try the Gruyere Mac (which Dan had) among others. The fact that they deliver could spell the end of my M&C cravings (I used to have to order from Mama's) Sarita has a new fan...

Our apologies... all of our loyal followers who tune in for the latest episode and have found nothing but drunken 'field trips' recently.

We have unable to coerce one of our kind to cook for us recently. Apparently, he intends to correct his behaviour and make up for it with a four-course epicurian masterpiece upon his return, provided he has completed his special laundry chores for that week.
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