Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Satiety thy name is tasting menu

Yes, it's been too long since I last posted. There has been many a delicious meal. There has been baking (pumpkin cake, cranberry nut bread, even macarons.) There has been the incorporation of a candy thermometer into the rotation of kitchen tools. This is serious business. But if I think of any of that for too long at this moment I may explode. Literally, my stomach may erupt.

I am writing in this moment merely to document a feeling that I am usually too exhausted or tipsy or just plain satiated to note when it happens, but which is a really remarkable feeling - that time after eating an astonishingly large meal, where your belly is expanded with a post-term food baby, your intestines throb, and your mind whirls with dizzying thoughts of the food ingested. It's a rare feeling and one that while it should be kept at a minimum is one to be savored. Being full is a privilege and not to be taken for granted. And while I am in no way wealthy, as I enter into this new year, I realize how lucky I am, and my full belly reminds me of it.

So, although it seems unfathomable now, I know that tomorrow I will be hungry again - and probably more than usual since my stomach is now so stretched. And I hope that as I go back and remember the eight plus courses (oh that risotto with pork and braised red cabbage, oh that oxtail consomme, oh my goodness that absurdly rich creamy cheese from Burgundy whose name I can't remember, oh Lord that foie gras), I hope that I will also remember this feeling of fullness, that slight whiff of guilt, and that ultimate feeling of absolute luckiness that I got to enjoy such a decadent meal.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Impulse Buy(s) - a mini-road trip to San Jose

Last Saturday, to help ease me back into California living, Daniel humored me with a trip down 280 to sample some of what San Jose has to offer. We didn't have much of an agenda, so with only iPhone Google Maps to guide us, we stumbled on to some tasty finds. Here's the day in pictures:

Our first stop was Mi Pueblo Food Center, which from online reviews sounded like an open-air market, but was in reality a big grocery store, specializing in Mexican, Central American, and South American products.

A pretty yummy chicken tamale. The chicken was a little dry, but nicely flavored

We bought a container of salsa. Although the man at the counter assured us it was the spiciest, it wasn't that hot, but it had a nice, smokey flavor to it.

Some chipotle hot sauce. Because we currently have approximately twelve open bottles of hot sauce in the fridge, I have restrained myself from breaking into this. Not sure how much longer I can resist.

Next, we headed over to Little Saigon, or so it was known before the great San Jose naming controversy of 2007. No matter what you call it, this area is known for its sizable Vietnamese population, which is apparently the largest outside of Vietnam.

First we hit the grocery store, where of course we were forced to make a couple of impulse buys...

A fried onion paste, which is INCREDIBLY salty, but has already added some powerful oniony flavor to the savory casserole bread I made on Sunday.

Mackerel in tom yum sauce. Yet to try it, but I love small, canned fish.

I also love small, packaged, fried fish. Anchovies with sesame seeds! I really am kind of in love with these. Daniel bravely tasted them but wasn't sold. I think I'll sneak some into a salad and see what happens...

Here's what we didn't buy...

In fact just one look at this can of slimy, preserved bananas was enough to get my gag reflex going. Ick. Here's a close up.

Double ick.

From there we went walked down the shopping center concourse to a little take-out joint specializing in meat substitutes. As we know, no one does meat substitutes like the Asians.

I'm honestly not sure what is in this cup. We couldn't decide what to order, so the nice woman behind the counter made us a mix of gluten-based goodness. The resulting sampler was very chewy, a little sweet, and when topped with loads of sriracha, very yummy. While we would have naturally erred toward large amounts of our favorite hot red condiment, we did so with even greater abandon on the recommendation of a kind older gentleman who was himself enjoying a Styrofoam cup of mixed gluten.

This is ban boc lac chay. Very gelatinous rice gluten (I think) wrapped around little bits of tofu.

Finally, we headed over to the indoor shopping mall across the street, which seemed to specialize in jewelry shops and Vietnamese appetizing stores, where we purchased two baggies of beef jerky. One hot and spicy for Daniel and one fruit cured for me (in honor of the delicious fruit cured pork jerky that my Nina introduced me to.)

While there was a big food court, nicely appointed for the holidays, we decided to forgo it.

I was craving a salad, and since I had yet to capture the obligatory "Daniel eating a sandwich in the car" photo, that needed to be remedied...

And so, with banh mi in hand, we journeyed back north to SF to catch up on Mad Men.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Fast Food - Num Pang

I'm about to write something that may make me lose my license as a lover of the city life (and it's not that I haven't been paying my rent, despite the scary chalk drawing above).

Sometimes, I really resent brunch, which is not a popular opinion being that this weekly or for some bi-weekly late-morning festival of gluttony is among the most important rituals of city living.

That's not to say that I don't like the food. I love eggs. I love potatoes. I love breakfast meats. And every now and then I even pancakes. I also love that it makes eating lunch food before 1 PM not seem strange. However, eating a big meal at 11 AM always throws off my eating for the rest of the day. I get hungry again at about 5 PM, which confuses me. Should I eat a snack? Hold out for dinner? Eat an early dinner (dunch?) I'm in a tailspin.

But every now and then it leads to serendipitous experiences, as was the case last Sunday, when Daniel and I found ourselves in need of a snack while wandering around the East Village at around 4:30. Should we eat? Hold off for dinner? What to do? I did a quick mental rundown of places in the area that I'd wanted to try, casual enough that we could get something small and tasty enough to be worth our time - and then it hit me - Num Pang, the Cambodian-style bahn mi joint on 12th Street. And we were off...

It's a very hipster little shop, with kitschy chalk-style drawings (see above) in the upstairs sitting area, which also proudly overlooks a parking garage - huge (though slightly grimy) picture windows give you a full view of people validating their parking passes below.

You have to order and pay outside though, which would be frustrating on a cold, rainy day, but would also make it a very speedy take-out option, especially at more prime time eating hours.

The menu of sandwiches, all served banh mi style on French bread with pickles and herbs and mayo, was overwhelming. Each one sounded amazing - from the roasted cauliflower with Chinese and Thai eggplant spread to the grilled king mackerel with leeks to the lemongrass chicken liver pate. They even had a veal meatball sandwich, which was thrilling because Daniel never gets to eat Asian meatballs due the ever present porcine effect.

In the end though, we went for one of the specials - a ginger braised brisket with all the trimmings - pickles, cilantro, carrots, and mayo.

This was some good sandwich. The bread had the perfect French crackle, made even more satisfying with a nice toasting. And oh that brisket - this was meat that you could serve at a Seder with pride - incredibly tender with the perfect sweet, sour, savory blend that so well befits brisket. The cilantro/carrot/pickle mix added the more traditional South East Asian sandwich flavor really hold there own with the richness of the beef and all in all it made mouths happy...

I was less thrilled with the side of market pickles that we ordered. It was a nice idea - a mix of watermelon rind, rhubarb, celery root, and turnip - but the pickles had no snap to them, neither in taste nor in texture. They were flaccid and overly sweet.

Still though, the sandwich split between two made for a perfect late afternoon snack. One recommendation for future outings to Num Pang - either eat upstairs and enjoy the surly chalk drawings and happy parkers below, or take your food to another stationary location, because while the sandwich holds together nicely, it is a messy beast. We left no napkin in our wake -

Monday, November 9, 2009

Impulse buy - A little bit of Liddabit

I have a (reasonable) amount of self-control both regarding buying and snacking. I try not to buy things that I don't need and I try to not to eat when I'm not hungry. However, once I end up inside an interesting food store, I am the queen of the impulse buy - interesting looking pastry at the counter of a coffee shop? I've got to try it. Crazy sounding vegan jerky at the register of a bodega? I want a sample. Beautiful looking fruit jel candy at Green Grape Provisions? Whom am I kidding?

So when heading home from Fort Greene this evening, I was tempted into buying a Concord Grape fruit jel made by Liddabit Sweets, a small New York-based candy company.

There were many delicious looking Liddabit items at Green Grape, including a pecan pie candy bar, which looked delicious and a candy bar called "the king," which was so intriguing that I almost bought it. Thank goodness, something prevented me, because when I looked it up upon returning home, I learned that it has banana ganache. Bleh. Bananas. The horrors. (In another banana incident today, I got into one of those awkward back and forth shuffles today with a woman on the subway platform. You know the type, when you're walking toward each other and where you can't decide who's going to go one way and who's going to go the other? Awkward, but not terrifying, unless your urban dance partner is holding a half eaten banana. Then it really is a grave situation because you just don't want to get too close...)


I descended into the subway at Lafayette street, and took a nibble.

It was very sweet (it was concord grape afterall), but it had a pleasantly firm, chewy texture, with just enough jello-y give, and the after taste was really nice and - a really fresh grape flavor. I would definitely have a liddabit more

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Three of my favorite things

From my visit to the San Francisco last weekend - three of my favorite things in one place.

1. A turkey sandwich (from the yummy deli on Guerrero and 19th Street)
2. Our ScionXB Otis (looking a little worse for the wear in my absence, I must say)
3. Daniel (today's birthday boy)

Hopefully this marks a return to your regular Food on the Frontal Lobe reports. Sorry for the recent dearth.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

What you need the next time you're making sushi for Rainbow Brite

It's been far too long since I've done regular posts. I've got an iPhone full of pictures that I'm dying to blog about, but by the end of the days recently, I've been a bit too pooped to post. Which is why I'm only now getting up this recap of the New York Mutual Trading Company Japanese Food and Restaurant Show that I attended a couple of weeks ago.

The show was fun; full of lots of restaurateurs checking out high tech rice cookers and plastic sushi trays and hundred dollar wasabi graters made of shark skin. I especially loved learning about all of the different kinds of knives - for fish, for sashimi, for veggies, etc. What I loved even more, however, was the food booths. A mix of the sublime (the richest, most umami miso ever) to the silly (you'll have to wait for the end of the post for the aforementioned Rainbow Brite sushi accessory.) Here were some of my favorite things:

Every kind of Tsukemono (Japanese pickle) you can imagine

A vegan sushi made of tofu, sesame, and loads of mayo (there was also a wasabi version which I liked better)

This was the miso stand. I've been all about fermentation recently, and miso goes through one of the most fascinating fermentation processes in the world. Soybeans ferment in enormous wooden casks topped with piles of stones for up to 30 months.

These mochi were so rich and delicious that the man handing them out had to cut them in quarters lest eager samplers devour all of his wares. I especially loved the mango.

This sucker was just for show, and I arrived too late to this booth to sample his buddies.

Joseph and his roe of many colors.

Shrimp ironed into sheets, used to wrap sushi. Twas not my thing.


Fake sample shrooms

And finally, day-glo nori for the Rainbow Brite roll. The orange kind looks like American cheese.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fast food: Pickle on a stick

I am of the theory that there are a few types of food common across almost all cuisines - sandwiches, savory pies, dumplings, pickled vegetables, meat on a stick.

However, I do not know that every cuisine has mastered the art of the fusing of two of the best of these ubiquitous food forms. Here in New York though, the work has been done, and thus, while Daniel was visiting last week, we were able to sink our teeth into that veritable sign of advanced culinary culture - pickle on a stick. This one was sauerkraut flavored, sold on the street by Horman's Best Pickles of Glen Cove, NY. It was crunchy and sour and satisfying. Everything a pickle should be. Plus, did I mention it was on a stick?

Oh, and fine, I'll do it, there was a little excitement today. A mention on a New York Times blog. Even my stoic (but dear) mother the Midwesterner used five exclamation points in her email congratulations to me. NY Times Baby. (Her words, not mine.)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Lucky Duck

Turkey bacon is a lovely idea, but we all know it's a sorry substitute.

Here's what Daniel has waiting for him when he comes to visit next week...

Courtesy of Chelsea Market.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Outer Borough Eating Club - Friends, old and new at Sripraphai (and one enemy)

Back when we really lived in New York and had our beloved Saturn Willie (God bless the original Willie Randolph) for taking wild rambling journeys in search of the best that the outer boroughs had to offer in the way food, there were many, many trips to the great Thai palace, Sripraphai (or as Daniel and I lovingly call it, Sri.)

A brief pause to remember Willie Jr and his Mets plates

Given the sheer number of times we visited Sri, it is a bit odd that it's never turned up on this blog. But perhaps it became so fixed in our restaurant routine that I took it for granted. Well no longer. While there are certainly good Thai restaurants in the Bay Area, none has yet lived up to Sri. This is in part because of the restaurant's extensive menu, in part because they are willing to really make things "Thai spicy" if you assure them that you can handle it, and in part because (imagine me shaking my head here) of something akin to alchemy. Maybe it's fish sauce?

During our recent two week sojourn, before I returned to my beloved city without my dearest eating companion, Daniel and I schlepped out on the 7 train (oh where are you Willie?) and visited our old friend Sri for a late lunch.

As always, the place was crowded, although since it was already three, we didn't have to wait for a table. We decided to go all out and get two appetizers and two entrees, a mix of old and because I was feeling daring, new.

Here's what we ate:

Som Tom (Papaya salad) with the dried shrimp on the side:

The verdict: This is our signature Sri dish. We order it every time we come because it is the best som tom I've ever had. And this day was no exception. The papaya was perfectly shredded without those weird big pieces that sometimes get thrown into the mix. There was plenty of sour, sweet, super spicy sauce without being too overly dressed. It's such a uniquely refreshing dish in spite of the extreme spice. Plus, although he doesn't love sticky rice, Daniel capitulated and allowed me to order some and so I had big hunks of sweet, glutinous rice to pick up with my hands, pair with the spicy slaw, and therein create little bites of heaven.

Special shredded barbecue chicken salad:

The verdict: Again, spicy, sweet, and tangy. But now with chicken! Even better with the sticky rice than the som tom. Thai salad is the best salad.

Panang curry with chicken:

The verdict: This is Daniel's current favorite (it used to be the cashew nut chicken), and it really is a supremely good version of this dish. It's rich and sweet, with a kind of gingery, sort of flowery flavor, which I recently learned is from galangal, a South East Asian cousin of ginger. I love how the Sri version has that pretty drizzle of coconut milk on top.

Thai noodles with ground fish meat, curry sauce & fishball; served w. fresh vegetables

The verdict: For my main course, I decided to try something new, and asked the waiter to help me choose between the fish maw soup and this dish. First he tried to discourage me from the fish maw by telling me that it was made of "the inside of the fish" (it's the bladder folks), but when he saw that was only getting more interested, he quickly informed me that it was a Chinese dish not Thai and that I shouldn't get it.

So, I told him that I wanted the N-14, the dish above. "No," he said. "Only Thai like that. It's too spicy." I was sold.

And, boy, oh, boy, am I glad I fought for what I believed in. This stuff was good. I ended up eating it like soup, dumping in the accompanying hard boiled egg, noodles, cilantro, and veggies. It was spicy, but not overly so. But it was a kind of rich, really complexly flavored tomato broth with bits of glorious ground fish and of course the ubiquitous Thai fish balls that have a texture somewhere between gefilte fish and a hard boiled egg white and a tamale. It was really aromatic and fresh tasting. I loved it.

I loved it because I love Sripraphai. It is my friend.

Here's who is not my friend. The teenage boy who sat down next to us with his father, who was, admiringly, attempting to broaden his son's supremely narrow food horizons.

From the moment this kid sat down, he complained. This place is disgusting. I'm not eating anything that is touching fish. I'm not eating anything that has mushrooms. This looks like cat food. That smells disgusting. Why would you bring me here?

God help him, the father promptly ordered himself (and the kid) a beer.

The boy kept looking over at Daniel and me, eyes wide with pure revulsion at what we were eating. And because he was so unpleasant to be seated near at this our return voyage to our darling Sri, I ate with a gusto generally reserved only for foie gras and South Carolina barbecue. I mmmed and ahhed with every bite. I closed my eyes and slurped the noodles, and I ate every last bite. This boy needed to be schooled. And I was going to show him that what his precious little stomach couldn't handle, that of this 5'4 dirty blond could put away in spades.

After we left though, I started to wonder if maybe this kid had a particularly sensitive palate, and that maybe, with some proper help and years of therapy he could be a really great eater. Maybe below his extreme and vocal distaste for certain foods was actually lurking great passion for food that just needed to be awakened. I mean I hate bananas with a loud and vocal vengeance. And probably that I despise them so much reveals that I have the capacity to love other foods with equal gusto. Maybe this kid is the same as me. Or maybe he's just a big wuss.

Who cares? When we left, Daniel and I stopped at the refrigerator cases and bought beef jerky. And we ate it with bravado.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Headache and the city

One of the difficult elements of life as an itinerant or frankly of life as a city girl in general is that sometimes when you're out for the day, you're out for the day. It's just too much of a pain to get home. Even if you are paralyzed by a throbbing headache while on a fruitless trip around the city to search for a replacement for a coffee pot that you broke while benefiting from the generosity of a lovely brother and his lovely partner.

In such an instance it is too difficult to imagine getting back all the way across the Bridge, so you use a little ingenuity to fight the pain between your temples. What do you need in such a situation? Caffeine. Perhaps a little nosh. And some drugs.

Here's my little relief picnic, enjoyed on the platform of the 2/3 while heading down to J&R to try to find this coffee pot.

The bad news? J&R didn't have it and the one I bought instead didn't work.

The good news? Cheddar flavored popchips, iced coffee, and two Tylenol do wonders for an aching head.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Bread Project- Yogurt-Zucchini Bread with Walnuts

Before leaving for this three months sojourn of food writing, girl book researching, and couch hopping, I wanted to bake some bread to exercise those muscles before what has the potential to be a bread dry spell (which is better than a dry bread spell as that would just be lots of croutons.)

I had wanted to do some sort of luscious yeast bread for a really big hurrah, but that week in San Francisco before coming back to NY was so hurried and frantic that quick bread was all I could muster. That I chose to do a zucchini bread might come as a surprise to those who know me since zucchini has long been one of the few vegetables that I somewhat actively avoid. My distaste is nowhere near that approaching how I feel about bananas, and I will happily eat the suckers with certain preparations or to avoid being rude, but that texture, which is prone to slippery sliminess is just not my thing.

However, when I saw this recipe in b for Yogurt-Zucchini Bread with Walnuts, I was intrigued, and I thought, why not? I'm being bold in my life decisions, I might as well be bold in my bread as well. Here's how it turned out -

Looks good, no? Moist and shiny. That's the jalapeno chutney glaze that I added to give it a little more kick. I also made a few other alterations because when I tasted the batter it was a bit sweeter and blander than I wanted. But the end result was very satisfying. Good for dessert, breakfast, or a little snack. Especially with some of that aforementioned Roquefort spread on it...

Here's the recipe. Adapted from Food and Wine with my alterations in italics.

Yogurt-Zucchini Bread with Walnuts

-1 cup walnut halves
-2 cups all-purpose flour
-1/2 t baking powder
-1/2 t baking soda
-1/2 t salt (I used 1 t salt)
-3/4 cup plus 2 T sugar
-2 large eggs
-1/2 cup vegetable oil
-1/2 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
-1 cup coarsely grated zucchini (from about 1 medium zucchini - I used 2 small)
-3/4 cup low-fat grated cheese
-jalapeno chutney (for brushing on top as glaze)
-a dusting of sea salt

1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Butter and flour a 9-by-4 1/2-inch metal loaf pan.

2. Spread the walnut halves in a pie plate and toast them for about 8 minutes, until they are fragrant. Transfer the toasted walnuts to a cutting board and coarsely chop them, then freeze for 5 minutes to cool.

3. In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl, mix the sugar with the eggs, vegetable oil and fat-free yogurt. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients along with the grated zucchini and toasted walnuts and stir until the batter is evenly moistened. Fold in the cheese

4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes (in my oven it took about 1 hour and 20 minutes), until the loaf is risen and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

5. Using a pastry brush, brush on about 2-3 tablespoons of jalapeno chutney (any other slightly savory/tangy chutney or preserves would also work). Add a dusting of sea salt if desired.

6. Let the loaf cool on a rack for 30 minutes before unmolding and serving.

Zucchini on Foodista

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

We Want Food - Necessity is a Mother...

In my current life as an itinerant [insert nebulous professional label here], I am faced with a two conflicting issues.

One - I'm trying to save money, fighting every inclination to splurge on the delicious foods tempting me at every turn. Instead I've been packing lunches and making simple, inexpensive dinners (breakfast is an English muffin as always.)

Two - While I know where I'll be staying the week after next, I don't have next week solidified yet. (Don't worry, there are couches to crash on if need be, I'm just holding out hope that this other more stable possibility comes through.) Given this, I don't want to buy too much food because I don't know precisely where I'll be schlepping it.

The results of this tension have been some very odd gastronomical mash-ups, as I try to use all of the ingredients I have before purchasing new ones. Tonight's creation - savory English muffin French toast with an Asian brown sauce and roasted turkey. It sounds strange. Even disgusting. And as I was creating it, I thought, oh Lord, this could be inedible. However, wonder of wonders, it was really delicious.

Here's what I did. I beat an egg and then added a little black salt, a little cumin, a pinch of cayenne pepper and a good dose of ground black pepper. Then I soaked the English muffins in this egg bath before throwing them into a hot pan. I poured the leftover egg mix over the English muffins while they cooked, so they each developed a nice ring of eggy crust. Once they were cooked, while the pan was still hot, I removed them and threw in the turkey so it could crisp up a bit. This is where the Chinese brown sauce inspiration struck me. I poured about an eighth of a cup onto the turkey, and because of its sugary, corn-starchy nature, it quickly started to brown (well brown more) and then caramelize, clinging to the turkey in an ooey gooey sticky fashion.

I then removed it from the heat lest it burn, spread a little hummus onto the eggy English muffins, topped them with the caramelized turkey, and then added a dash of hot sauce. Weird? For sure. So good that I'll admit to having used my fingers to wipe any lingering remnants of sauce off of the plate? Definitely.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Fast food- Taco Chulo provides respite a little combobulation

So I'll admit to feeling a little discombobulated of late. I was in SF. Then in SC. Then in NYC. Then back in SF, and now here I sit back in Brooklyn. I'm really excited to be here, working hard, but I'm a little Daniel-sick and as I said a little discombobulated.

This sense of confusion began when Daniel and I visited the city for our recent two week sojourn. Here I was in a place I know so well, for a relatively extended period of time, but without really living here. It was odd. And being the food oriented person that I am, I sought a sense of grounding in some of my old favorite New York flavors - hummus, challah, date bars, and bagels.

While Time argues otherwise, I find that when I feel a little anxious, I crave comforting familiar foods, so boy was I in luck two weeks ago when I was able to treat a little low-level anxiety with one big old burrito - courtesy of my old friend Taco Chulo...

For the three years that I lived in Williamsburg, the El Gallo burrito, featuring savory tender chicken in a spicy salsa blend of guajillo, ancho, and morita chilies, was a staple of my diet. While I am now quite devoted to the veggie burrito at La Taqueria in San Francisco's Mission, my heart still belongs to Chulo. Back in the Williamsburg days, I would get home at night, see if my beloved roommate Ariel, an equally commited El Gallo fan, was game, and then we would place an order for delivery. Easy as one-two-three. Until the day that the brains behind Taco Chulo had the gall to remove our friend from the menu.

Now this could have led to utter devastation, but the gods were smiling, and armed with a now probably quite valuable relic of a menu and the knowledge that the folks at Chulo will allow you to "pimp" your own burrito, we were able to recreate the glory that was El Gallo, and our tradition continued unmarred.

So when I entered Taco Chulo for the first time in over a year, I felt hopeful that my craving could be sated. I looked at the menu and struggled to remember exactly what had gone on the burrito of my dreams. The waitress came, at first bold enough to try to remember my order, but when she realized that I was going to list what I wanted ingredient by ingredient, she wisely got out her pad.

Satisfied that I had ordered correctly, I sat back to read my book and to wait. A few minutes into my relaxing read, however, I had a terrible realization. I had forgotten to ask for cabbage instead of lettuce. I scurried to the counter to alert the waitress of my grave error. She looked at me, in my state of burrito-induced panic, a little strangely. Was there a glimmer of concern in her eyes? Or was it fear? I didn't care. I needed that burrito to be just right. Could she do it? Was there time? Finally, sensing the urgency of the situation, she hurried back to the kitchen. She'd see what she could do.

A few minutes later she emerged with this...

Ah, it was perfect. Cabbage and all. A comforting combination of the crunch of the said member of the Brassica oleracea species, the chewiness of the tortilla. The whole pinto beans adding a little pop to the the satisfying bulk of the potatoes. Salty, spicy, and a little sweet. Utter perfection.

And in the hopes that if enough people hit up Taco Chulo and order my dear El Gallo, they might reinstate it. Here is the list of ingredients:

Taco Chulo's El Gallo Burrito (RIP)
-whole wheat tortilla
-pollo rostizado (chile-spice-rubbed chicken)
-potatoes (NOT RICE!)
-whole pinto beans (NOT REFRIED!)
-marinated cabbage
-salsa seco
-cilantro, onion, radish
-cheese and crema optional

Go, try it. It will bring you comfort.

Monday, August 31, 2009

If you are what you eat, this could be Daniel three months from now...

While I am very, very excited to be in back in my old NYC stomping grounds for the next three months, learning the tricks of the trade of food writing and working on a couple of other projects, I am feeling incredibly sad at being apart from my dear Daniel. We love the idea of being bicoastal, but in the future, hopefully, this dream bicostality will involve periods of unicostality, that is two people on one coast, not one on either.

Anyway, as he drove me to the airport this morning, we discussed his food options in my absence, since I am the primary font of the food we eat, in restaurant choices and in grocery lists and in actual preparation. When I asked about how he might feed himself, he gave me a list of possible options.

Here are some ideas he had that I agreed were acceptable:

Quorn, our longest-lasting friend from our stint in Ireland, a fungus- based meat substitute, Naturally, Daniel likes them dipped in ketchup.

Five, five, five dollar foot long. "Turkey, toasted, with avocado, please," says Daniel.

This is the staple of our diet even when I am around. Without me, Daniel's new nickname may very well be Chickpea, or perhaps if we're feeling adventurous - Garbanzo!

When combined with a variety of fruits and vegetables, some lean (non-chickpea derived) protein, some good calcium, and a nice, healthy breakfast, these choices are just fine. But I'd feel a lot better if I were with him, heating up said quorn nuggets, whipping up a little spicy ketchup to accompany them, and throwing in some baby carrots and celery just for good measure.