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Kosher Chinese January 25, 2007

Posted by whatpushesmybuttons in critique, eating, food.
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So the other day I had something interesting for lunch…Kosher Chinese. The place is called Eden Wok on 34th btw Park and Madison.

A little fancier than your typical chinese takeout complete with semi open kitchen layout and a sushi bar. I opted for the chinese favorite chicken and cashews with an egg roll. Looking into the kitchen it was the typical chinese crew, plus an orthodox jew with his hat on and everything. Being the kitchen is hot, he didn’t have his jacket on, but still was in the get up. I just hoped his curls didn’t catch on fire!

The prices were a little high…and apparently there’s a rabbi present at all times to look over the cooking process. Someone was actually looking for the rabbi. But he was “downstairs”. Doing what rabbis do in their spare time?? Who knows.

Anyway the chicken and cashews was very good. Soft chicken, good crisp cashews. The dish was loaded with green peppers and other green crunchy things. But overall not bad. The rice was a little bland. Got brown rice. Even soy sauce couldn’t revive it. The egg roll sucked. Too rubbery and didn’t have that crunch that most true egg rolls have. Best part was the fortune cookie. Nice and crisp. Although the fortune was traditional. Complete with lotto “lucky” numbers and “learn chinese”. Where was learn Yiddish? or Hebrew? I guess you could only cross over so much. By the way, I wonder how many people play their chinese fortune cookie numbers on the lotto? Has anyone ever won a jackpot that way? Would be curious to find out.

In conclusion, I would give Eden Wok a B-. Good place to sit and eat (plenty of tables) and takeout is quick. But $8.50 for chicken and cashews and another $2 for an egg roll is a pretty penny for glorfied chinese takeout. It would make a good date place for all those young jewish kids struggling to make a buck. Or if you were still in school. Maybe you could even splurge on some sushi. Although, sorry folks, no gilfilte fish rolls or matzoh ball tempura. Now that would be Kosher Sushi!

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Melted Cheese January 23, 2007

Posted by whatpushesmybuttons in critique, food.
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Ok, so as many of you know I used to work in a bagel shop in college, on the “graveyard shift” – which in college was the 9pm-5am Friday and Saturday night shift. Although it wasn’t as much of a graveyard as it was the drunken food fest shift. I whipped up hundreds of egg & cheese sandwiches every night, along with other oddball drunken requests, like roast beef, egg and cheese and pickles, jelly, egg & cheese (don’t ask about that one).

Anyway the staple quick breakfast at any deli is the simple egg & cheese on a roll or bagel. You can add sausage, bacon or even turkey, and put the whole thing on a wrap. Either way that sandwich is pretty standard.

Anyway you’d be surprised by how many screw this up. I know most places crank out their egg & cheeses as fast as possible. But more and more delis have been slapping the cheese on the cold roll and then putting the warm eggs on it afterwards in an attempt to melt the cheese. It’s one thing if the roll/bagel is toasted so it gives the cheese something to melt into. But the eggs aren’t hot enough to melt the cheese so the result is cheese that sticks to the roof of your mouth. Some people like that, but i prefer to have my cheese down my throat instead of saving it for later.

So if you’re a deli owner or short order cook reading this…and someone asks for an egg and cheese on a roll/wrap that hasn’t been toasted, please melt the cheese on the eggs on the heating element. It takes two seconds more, but the result is a lot better. Trust me. Just ask the hundreds of hungry fraternity, sorority and college drunks I used to cook for at 3am.

Melted cheese = yummy goodness.

Sticky cheese = annoying toothpicks in the gums. Try stabbing yourself in the gums with a toothpick someday…not so pleasant is it???

I leave you with a picture of a shirt I bought at Lee and Ricks Oyster Bar in Orlando. Despite what the shirt may appear to mean…it’s actually plugging the oyster bar, which is a great, out of the way, non tourist spot for delicious oysters and shrimp. Considering its in the middle of nowhere they must spend a pretty penny to bring the oyster shipments inland but awesome spot if you’re ever down in Orlando. But beware, it’s about a 30 minute drive outside downtown Orlando. So be prepared to pay $35 in taxi fees, plus keep a cab number nearby. The only thing close, besides nothing in particular, is a gas station. And bring your worst clothing because the beer flows and shells go flying everywhere!

Back from the World of Guns January 19, 2007

Posted by whatpushesmybuttons in American Idol, food, humor, video.
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So I’m finally back from Orlando…after spending a week at the SHOT Show, which is the annual trade show devoted to all things outdoors. Guns, Ammo, Apparel, you name it. It’s a hunter’s paradise with everything from rifles, shotguns to binocs and decoys. Plus you get to play with things…it was cool picking up a $5,000 shotgun since I’ve probably only held a $5 beebee gun before!

Anyway, not that i’m turning into a redneck, but after a full week at the show i’m trying not to talk with a twing. It’s an infectious accent really. Plus can’t tell some of these people I’m a Yankee…wouldn’t be good for business 🙂

Anyway met a chef down there who was cooking up some treats. He had Elk steaks in a blueberry marmalade sauce. Really, really good. And some Venison steaks as well. Good stuff. He said he’s the best wild game chef in the country. Although we have a few good ones on staff at Field & Stream. So now I’m working on creating an Iron Chef style smackdown involving Wild Game. Actually we’re gonna pull Mario Batali into it as well since we did a feature on him and he’s a big Wild Game guy. If I can help pull that off this will be awesome. Plus I want to be a judge. hah.

Anyway besides that haven’t had much time to blog, let alone think these days…but hopefully i’ll be able to catch up with y’all soon (there goes the twang again). I’m supposed to fly out to Seattle on business soon so that’ll be cool. Especially since American Idol aired with the first two episodes in Seattle. Got me more in the mood to go out there and watch some salmon getting tossed around at the market.
Idol was Funny stuff if you haven’t seen it. The best parts are always the first few episodes. I nearly pissed my pants at some of these people. If you haven’t seen it you can check out some of the recap here:
http://www.americanidol.com/videos/view/?vid=497

Artisenal Sandwiches January 5, 2007

Posted by whatpushesmybuttons in critique, eating, food.
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Is it just me or are more and more sandwiches these days “artisenal”? I mean even your shit hole little deli has got some sort of fancy bread or ingredient mixture that looks like a French restaurant menu just threw up all over it.

I mean all I wanted today was Roast Beef. Good ole Beast…rare-medium rare, preferably Boars Head. And perhaps some tomatoes and cheese and either mayo or horseradish mayo to spice it up a bit. Just slap it on a roll and i’m good to go. But what does the deli have? “Rare Roast Beef” served on a semi toasted 7 herd induced Foccaccia bread with thinly sliced candy glazed caramelized onions, shards of some lettuce i’ve never heard of, some kind of heirloom tomato and a mayo chutney of some sorts. I mean really…how fuckin ridiculous has this gotten? I mean I know Cosi, Au Bon Pain and others make their livings off “Artisenal” type sandwiches with their fancy breads and hard to pronounce ingredients. But really, does you Average Joe deli need to get in on the fun as well?

Being I wanted roast beef I tried this special conconction. It had flavor, the bread was soft, the roast beef rare, but i nearly choked on the strings of onions. It was like a 12″ string of carmelized onion. How am I supposed to eat this normally – especially on a sandwich? Poor sandwich construction right there ruined the experience. And since the bread has flavor thanks to the concoction of whatever herds were embedded in there, the mayo doesn’t need spicing up too.

So my word of advice to the little guys. Stick to what you know. The basic cold cuts: Roast Beef, Turkey, Ham, Bologne, Cheese. Rolls and bagels, not foccaccia and organic wheat germ breads. Mayo, mustard not some mango chutney mayo or some chilean spice infused mustard that has hints of jalapeno, habanero and cumin rubbed chilis. You’ll be doing all of us and yourselves a favor. Thank you.

That’s why I’m even Steven January 4, 2007

Posted by whatpushesmybuttons in coffee, humor.
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So walking into Starbucks this am…and wait, no line??? What? Are you kidding? I mean it’s 8:30 am and there’s no line. Did someone yell rat or something? Anyway I order a Gingerbread Latte and I was told they’re out of gingerbread (they’re also out of coffee – haha). Anyway, in a mild panic I ask blindly if the Cinnamon Dolce Latte is back? YEP! Bingo! I haven’t been to Starbucks in the past month…been trying to cut back on the latte intake, that and the lines have been ridiculous so this was a semi-miracle. Anyway, wouldn’t you know as soon as I order, the line behind me is 10 people strong. For once, good timing on my part.

I get my coffee and take no more than 20 steps outside of the store when I step into a mysterious chasm. The coffee pours over the top and all over my coat and pants. Figures. Good thing I get skim milk. And that cinnamon is a pleasant smell.

But that’s why I’m even steven. One thing good = one thing bad.