Friday, June 27, 2008

Southern style in Southern Slope

Like a muggy night in a colonial house in a steamy Louisiana swamp surrounded by the omnipresent threat of hungry, thrashing crocodiles, anointed with occasional wafts of frying peppers, the pungent whiff of hot sauce, and the sweet fresh notes of a freshly cut watermelon, Grizzly toiled over the hot stove, trying desperately to save the corn fritter mixture, while we, the hungry crocodiles, looked on, willing him to perfect the dropping of the mixture into hot oil. Perhaps the climate in the kitchen was responsible for the nonconformity of the mixture - Brooklyn was 90F, and the air almost suffocatingly thick with moisture. Thanks to Pistol Pete, who arrived in the knick and confidently whipped up a mixture of cornflour and milk, Grizzly was able to save the batter and we all felt relieved, knowing that we would eat soon.The first course then, a stunning plate of corn fritters with cooling dip, was delicious. With a crisp jacket and foamy interior, they'd formed golden nuggets of knobbly goodness with a deep roasted corn flavour and satisfying crunch. Paired with the dip, a gooey mixture of sour cream, onion flakes and chives, they were divine. I'm sure I speak for everybody else at the table when I say I could've eaten them all night. Sensible chaps are we though and with much willpower, we were keen to save some digestive juices for the forthcoming dishes.

To refresh us after the first course, we were served a bowl each of watermelon soup, spiked with red onion & sriracha. The green flashes of mint like a Dunlop sneaker and the almost effervescent sweetness of the melon in the soup helped balance the heat nicely. Marvellous second course.
While his cheap knife slashed at the rear end of a lump of pink protein, Grizzly took great joy in chiding Grant about deveining shrimp, a process which removes the bitter shitter from the wee beasty, and a process which Grant had not undertaken at a previous meal. Despite rigorous 'quality control' from Chef Grizzly, my shrimp still had dark, worrying flecks in them. As I looked down to my plate, my shrimp waved their unwashed arses at me. The 'Jambalaya Tower' (not to be confused with Jeremiah Tower), a dollop of creamy rice replete with red pepper and green onion with homemade fennel and paprika sausage, was bloody tasty despite the fecal matter.

Of course, no meal of Grizzly's would be complete without a pork dish of some kind. Tonight's was a spiced tenderloin, with a 'sangria topping' and ‘crisp potatoes.’ Honestly, there was not enough pork to feed a small child, let alone 6 pissed up blokes braying for meat, and I only got the somewhat drier ends of the tenderloin. My dining companions reckoned the bit in the middle, the stuff I missed out on, was marvelous and ‘cooked to perfection’ as one of our friends said once. The ‘crisp’ potatoes instantly turned into a sludge the moment the ‘sangria topping’ of cooked fruit hit the pork, it’s juices trickling down and rendering all the work Grant had done to crisp them up useless.

I didn’t get to find out how many empty bottles Adam had disposed of the night before, so I can’t really say with any conviction how many bottles of Baileys he’d put in the dessert in addition to the Viennoise fingers and a heap of chocolate ganache. Rich, creamy, decadent, delicious, and a great cocktail idea. If one were to take the fingers out, and shake the remainder over ice with three good jiggers of Stoli, that might be the ideal after-dinner drink.

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