Tuesday, April 8, 2008

One Good Move..

Deserves another.

Well my friends as promised here is the announcement.

I have been working on another location for this blog for a little while now, as I'm not all that happy with the content of this one or the options available to me here.

So.. Without further Adu ...

Please Jump Over to the New Blog!

I look forward to seeing you all there.

ps- not to mention the spam I get here.. geesh

Monday, April 7, 2008

24 Little Hours

About this time tomorrow I plan on making an announcement concerning this blog and its future, and the future of the content which is being written.

Stay Tuned...

When Spam, Isn't...

I got a random email today that for all purposes should have gone into my spam folder.

Unknown Name, Multiple Receivers... but it seems fate is not without direction.

Turns out the mail was from one of the three operators of a site aptly named..

Just One Plate.

The site is fantastic. Beautiful pictures paired with recipes and 10 interview questions from some great Chefs.

I've spent the bulk of the evening drooling and eyeing the recipes.

Check it out, you wont be disappointed!

Image Rights Belong to Max Wanger

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Much to do about Nothing...

The lack of posting on my part is in turn due to two reasons:

A) New job is taking up a lot of time, as is getting situated with the new area.

B) Working on something new, and hopefully exciting.

The new job is decent. Good folks doing decent food so there's nothing to really complain about, or for that matter nothing to get really excited about either. Hopefully the latter will change in the coming weeks.

But to keep you entertained till I reveal what I've been up to, here's our good friend Chef Ramsey eating interesting foods with James May of Top Gear (Great show i.m.o.)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Lot More Sun...

After some to and fro with job offers I was finally given a offer (that was retracted at the last minute) that I couldn't pass up. Thankfully this one was also I Miami, so plans changed very little.

I now find myself in a city that loves food almost as much as it loves suntan lotion, so the next few months should be rather exciting and interesting for me.

With that being said the blogging idea for me is about to take on a drastic change as well. Things are in the works, but I can say with confidence that it wont be close to what its been so far. I really haven't been happy with my writing or my content to date, and as they say... If your not happy with something; Change it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Now That's a Happy Meal

A friend sent me a link to this:


Now, I'm not endorsing ripping anyone off, no matter if its a giant evil corporation or not.. but you have to admit, its pretty funny and slick.

Shady...but slick.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Pot Shots at Chefs?

Weird news story came across the wire today..

Chef Paul Prudhomme grazed by bullet while setting up outdoor event in New Orleans.

I seriously hope this was just a strange event and nothing more..

Monday, March 17, 2008

Case of the Missing Fish

Linked to me this morning by a friend..

Chinook Salmon Vanish

Not good folks, not good at all.

Food Fight

I logged into my email this morning to see my friend Josh's status message:

"Greatest thing EVER..."

Followed by a link to this video:


The conception is ingenious. Every major American military conflict re-enacted through the the foods of the countries involved.

From the creators of the film:

"Thank you everyone for all the amazing feedback and postings about the film on the various forums of the interwebs. Great comments. Before and after the film was completed, the friends I screened it to fell into two camps: You Should Have Captions and You Shouldn't Have Captions. I felt that if I added captions it would be too easy. Besides, if the viewer read the synopsis beforehand, it would be more fun trying to figure it out while watching. However, there are also people who watch it without reading the synopsis...and they usually catch on to the analogy by 9/11...but even then, much of everything else tends to get lost. Regardless, I hope it entertains whether one's clued in or not, because some of the action and food representation can be pretty obscure even to the keenest of historians, foodies, and foodie-historians."

Check out the homepage for this video here.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


I don't know how he finds a lot of this stuff but..

Bob del Grosso found a video of Chef Cheng at the Culinary Institute of America giving a lecture and demo on deboning a chicken.

Now you should watch this video twice; the first time pay attention to what shes doing with the knife, the second listen to what she says..

Now, If youve watched it twice I want to point out two things

1- Shes moving at quarter speed for her, she can debone a whole chicken in record time... its insanity.
2- Yeah thats rights, she said 30 chickens a day for 3 months, and it still probably wont be enough practice.... Can you imagine spending 3+ months doing 30+ whole chickens a day? At the start of the video she mentions she used to do 100 chickens a day..That my friends is devotion

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Great Debate: How Do You Do That BBQ That You Do So Well?

I was eating at a local place, Greenmount Station Restaurant and Lounge, enjoying typical Bar-esq food when I ordered a side of BBQ sauce in which to smother my Old-Bay covered fries. I would go on to complain about Old Bay, but it is Maryland and that's not the main topic... but...

When the BBQ sauce arrived I noticed the "Style" right off the bat. Its loose consistency and light reddish color led me to immediately assume it was going to taste a lot like flavored ketchup, to which I was correct.

I must have had an expression of disappointment on my face that was so obvious a blind man could see it because my friend and long time dining companion took one look at me and said..

"Not the kind you like is it?"

She's not wrong, but at the same time not right either. There are so many styles of BBQ and BBQ Sauce out there, ranging from Carolina style to Northern Style sweets, that its hard to say "I hate this style". But in all honesty the style that tastes like flavored ketchup to me is the biggest disappointment ever.

Without missing a beat she stole the sauce from me and used it herself exclaiming "I hate BBQ Sauce, but I looove this style!" which lead to a long discussion about styles of BBQ, Why she hated BBQ sauce so much, and why I disliked that style so much.

For me, if I am going to order a side of BBQ Sauce or BBQ' d something I sure as hell don't want it tasting like ketchup. If I wanted Ketchup, Id just order Ketchup.

So I thought I'd come home and pick the brains of what readers I do have and see what people think about BBQ Sauce/BBQ in general.

As usual during The Great Debate the poll is posted on the right hand side, and Id love to hear why you chose the style you did!


It was brought to my attention that I may have to give a brief description of the difference between each style. Keep in mind that almost every state in the US alone claims to have a unique style, but I am going to stick to the most common. So here it goes:

California- Used on everything from Pizzas to Portobello Mushrooms this style contains an acidic and sweet quality taken mostly from the use of citrus fruits like Oranges and Pineapples when the sauce is prepared.

Georgia- Famous for its Pork BBQ, Georgia style is based on ketchup, molasses, bourbon, garlic, cayenne pepper, and other ingredients to form a sweeter style sauce with a kick of acidity.

Kentucky- Home of so many BBQ Cook-offs it should be a state sanctioned sport! The style here is a mix of tomato and vinegar base with strong oak and smoke flavors.

Kansas- Claimed to be the "Worlds Capital of BBQ", Kansas BBQ is without fail one of the most recognized and respected styles to date. Kansas City style uses a sweet, spicy sauce with a tomato base.

Carolina's- Now I know someone is going to yell at me for putting the two into one section, but for the most part they are similar. Vinegar based BBQ reigns most common here.

Texas- Ahh yes, who could forget Texas. Beef, Beef, Beef, and some pork. From what I've tasted and gathered most Texas styles are Tomato based with added vinegar for acidity.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Like Looking Into A Crystal Ball

So I'm sitting here watching Anthony Bourdain get his butt kicked on the line at Les Halles, and I cant help but wonder how many years till I'm standing where he is?

I'm laughing and talking with a friend about the episode and I'm think to myself "I better watch it, Karmas a .." well you know.

Watching the anxious looks on the cooks faces at the "FNG", Seeing him pace nervously before the dinner rush, and watching him stress over the lack of space in which he has to cook numerous dishes is the truth of it.

But in all honesty she says to me:

"so, maybe I'm just a fangirl...but I really think this is one of the most quality shows on tv, period."

And I think she's right on the money. Besides the normal programing on the show, it really shows the quality to do a show like this and to do it the way he did. Its like an Idiots Guide to Working a Line.

If you didn't catch the episode, I highly suggest you do. And next time your in a "Turn and Burn" restaurant, you might be moved to say Thank you.

Thanks Tony, Even if that steak did come back undercooked I think you did a decent job.

Check out Tony's Blog post about why he chose to do this episode here.

Nope Not Dead...

Just been busy shifting myself from New York to destinations unknown.

I did however have time in the last week to drive up to Harrisburg, PA to tour the TRÖEGS Brewery with some friends.

Still sadly lacking a camera I wasn't able to snap any pictures but was none the less impressed with the operation. Harrisburg has a long standing history with alcohol brewing pre-prohibition, and in the years following there have been a slew of small brewers popping up to try to revitalize the craft in the area. In my opinion Troegs is one of the ones doing it right. Focusing on 5 good year round brews they also offer numerous seasonal brews, one of which has become a very well liked and respected brew; Mad Elf Ale.

I've heard a good friend rant and rave about Mad Elf for years, but didn't realize it has such a loyal following. On top of that the work and love they put into brewing it is impressive. They brew the limited stock for up to 2 months... that's a long time to wait for a glass of beer! but don't worry its worth it.

Like some of their bigger co-horts like Yuengling, Troegs is only available within a certain distance from the brewery.

"Bars, Restaurants and Retailers throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region; PA, VA, NJ, DE, MD and NY"

So if your ever in the area, and your looking for a good pint look for Troegs and if you ever find yourself in Harrisburg stop by the brewery on Saturdays at 2pm for the tour!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

What Goes Around..

I got home and reconnected to my digital drug dealer (The Internets) just in time to catch Bob posting THIS little number.

"Members of a U.S. House oversight committee are expected to order the owner of the Southern California slaughterhouse involved the largest beef recall in the nation's history to testify on Capitol Hill.

Members of the Committee on Energy and Commerce's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations were expected to vote Wednesday to subpoena Hallmark/Westland Meat Co. owner Steve Mendell.

Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., said Monday that Mendell would be required to testify on March 12. Mendell was a no-show at a meeting of the subcommittee last week.

Mendell did not immediately return a call for comment."

I think Bob said it best...

"Stay tuned for nothing to change."

Who knows Bob, maybe we will get lucky and something will change? and the wee ittle leprechaun hiding that gold I've been looking for is gonna show up any day now.... really.. he will!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Exit Stage Left..

Well I am proud to announce that my time at the Culinary Institute of America has come to an end.

I am officially a Alumni and will be relocating to a warmer climate soon. *Crosses Fingers*

Please excuse possible lack of update over the next week as my tethered love affair with the Internet will be severed.

Talk to you all soon!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Kitchen Tool?

or medieval torture device?

Bob del Grosso was kind enough to send me an email today asking me if I had any idea what this was...

The concept of which drove me nuts all day, as well as some chefs here. I was walking around campus all day with a picture of this "device" asking every chef, instructor, and stewarding personnel I could find if they had any idea what it was.

So far a general consensus of folks has been its one of three things:

A) A device used to open shellfish and mollusks

B) A device used in Ice Carving

C) A medieval torture device (You'd be surprised at how many times I head that throughout the day)

The one thing that leaves a lot of questioning is the clasp looking piece at the head of the handle.

Thanks to Tyrone B for finding this oddity in his kitchen aboard Mercy Ships and driving us land lovin cooks bonkers with it. Why suffer insanity alone when you can share huh Tyrone?

Heres a few more shots of the "Mystery Tool"..

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Best Mistakes

are the ones that net you newfound knowledge. Such is the case in finding Lisa Hamilton.

If you remember last week I posted a bit about Chris Cosentino Astor Center "Head to Tail" offal tasting dinner, and I snagged a picture from Michael Ruhlmans website that I thought was done by Michael Harlan Turkell. Turns out I was wrong.

Chris Cosentino was kind enough to email me quickly in reference to a correction, and sent me a link to her page.

I haven't had a chance to look at it in detail until this evening, and I suggest you give it a few moments of your time. Lisa Hamilton is not just a great photographer of things culinary, but also an author. She has written a few books, one of which I am very interested to get my hands on; "Farming to Create Heaven on Earth," explores the Japanese spiritual farming and food movement called Natural Agriculture."

You can tell that there is love and respect for food there, so go check it out!... besides she's got a great shot of tripe and pigs heads! who doesn't love that?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Like Ice Cream?

Better buy a beehive then.

In THIS article from CNN.com Haagen-Daz claims that the disappearing bee colony problem in America (Named the colony collapse disorder  or CCD) will have a direct and substantial effect on the products companies like them can produce.

This isn't a new subject, debate and study on why Bee colonies have been shrinking rapidly has been in the news for over a year now, but I think this is the first time were seeing a public company react directly to this issue.

Like dairy prices, Honey prices have also risen slightly over the last year as a result of issue. I've read articles claiming the source of the problem stems from everything from Global Warming and Air Pollution to Cell phone signals interfering with bees natural radar. Whatever the cause, hopefully we find out soon... cause I dont know about you but I cant live without my Chunky Monkey.

Friday, February 15, 2008

So What's Good...

So what's good about working in the food service industry on Valentines Day?

..Leftover Champagne. And not just any Champagne, Taittinger.

During the Winter, Spring, and Fall the Culinary Institute of America hosts numerous dining events (Called "Dining Series") and yesterday just happened to be a Champagne Tasting and Dinner.

Here's a brief copy of the menu:

Champagne Taittinger

2 1/2 Centuries of Tradition

Escoffier Restaurant

Thursday, February 14, 2008

~First Course~

Venison, Cherry Sausage, Lentil

and Pinot Noir Chocolate Sauce

NV Brut Prestige Rose

~Second Course~

Kobacha Squash Soup with Oyster

1998 Comtes de Chapagne Blanc de Blancs (En Magnum)

~Main Course~

Roast Duck Breast & Leg Confit and Port Wine Reduction,

Braised Cabbage with Cranberries, Morbier

2003 Comtes de Champagne Rose


Praline and Caramel Gateau

NV Nocturne Sec

After service was over we had a chance to taste all the Champagnes. I'm a big "Bubble Head" so I was excited to try them.

The Brut Prestige was mild with a bit of acidity that I could imagine would go very well with the fat of the sausage.

The Blanc de Blancs was very very good, have a mild acidity and very strong flavors.

The Comtes de Champagne Rose was the favorite of the majority of the guests, One gentleman I was serving said "It was almost neck and neck by itself with the Brut Prestige, until I tasted it with the Confit. The pairing put it over the top."

Now, being that I am a "Bubble Head" and having a sweet tooth I was excited to try the desert Champagne. Surprisingly, even as a Sec, the wine was not at all sweet, but more acidic. I remember hearing a lot of guests claim that the pairing with the Gateau was superb so I snuck a spoonful from a leftover plate and tried them together. The acidity of the wine helped cut the sweetness of the desert and even brought out the sweetness in the wine.

All in all, it was a good night to be a CIA Student.




The New Way to Fish...

..and its not that smart if you ask me.

In remote Jamaican valley, a grim redefinition of 'fishing'

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Offally Good

You have to give great credit to a chef like Chris Cosentino who has become famous for his work with Offal (Parts of animals usually discarded after slaughter IE Sweetbreads, Brains, ETC).

Turns out he's considered something of a guru on the stuff these days. So much so that he's hosting an Offal Tasting and Q&A session at the Astor Center in NYC.

At 250 dollars a pop the dinner doesn't come cheap, but the chance to get there and see this stuff used by talented hands is something one just cant say "Nah don't think I can make it" to.

If your in the NYC area and bored on the first Tuesday of March, I invite you to book it and enjoy it (Or squirm in your seat, either way its gonna be great.)

Chris Cosentino photo by Lisa Hamilton

Monday, February 11, 2008

I Hope These Guys Dont Work For You

I get some strange emails sometimes, but one with just a link to this:

Had to be shared.

Slow day in the kitchen fellas?

The Root of It All

I was visiting a fellow classmates room yesterday, catching up and making idle chat on an otherwise boring day when I spied a copy of Shel Silversteins' "Where the Sidewalk Ends" on her bookshelf.

Aghast that she actually had a copy (Mine I left with my son) I picked it up and began thumbing through it.

I have always loved his work but never paid much attention to the topics of which he so amusingly wrote. I began to notice the amount of food related poems in the book and in my head began to remember that many of his other books did have a number of food related poems or short stories as well.

I used to read "Where the Sidewalk Ends" cover to cover, over and over as a child and cant help but wonder if I somehow subconsciously convinced myself of my love of food.

I have adopted his Poem "Recipe: How to Make a Hippopotamus Sandwich" as my header as both a tribute to his work and to make the connection between my love for food and his fun works.

And now I will leave you with another of his pieces that had me smiling as I left my classmates room:

"Thanksgiving dinner's sad and thankless
Christmas dinner's dark and blue
When you stop and try to see it
From the turkey's point of view.

Sunday dinner isn't sunny
Easter feasts are just bad luck
When you see it from the viewpoint
Of a chicken or a duck.

Oh how I once loved tuna salad
Pork and lobsters, lamb chops too
'Til I stopped and looked at dinner
From the dinner's point of view."

-- Shel Silverstein

Funny Video

What if we were made of chocolate?

Sugar Refinery Update

Sadly 6 employees of the Sugar Refinery that exploded yesterday were confirmed killed by the explosion. 2 are still missing and scores of others are badly injured.

They (investigators) suspect the explosion was set off by two factors:
-The sugar dust in the silos became to dry
-There was some kind of electrical charge (Possibly Static)

I've tried to do a little more reading on the subject today, and as Gary Allen was so kind to point out in response to the original post:

"Sugar is a fuel (remember that it contains 4 calories per gram... calories are a measure of stored energy). Any fuel, when mixed with the right amount of oxygen, can explode. Dust explosions, especially in flour mills, are an ever-present danger.

Conversely, if the oxygen/fuel ratio is not right, the fuel will just burn without exploding. That's why you can set liquid gasoline on fire -- but if there are gas fumes, lighting a match gets everyone's attention in a flash."

Im thumbing through that Sugar Refinery Manual I posted before just to try to get more info on the subject.

My heart goes out to the families effected by the tragedy.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Interesting News Story

Interesting news story came across the wire to me just now, thought Id share it.

A Sugar Factory in Georgia this evening was rocked by an explosion.

One of the most interesting quotes from the article:

"As far as we know, it was a sugar dust explosion," Imperial Sugar CEO John Sheptor said.

Wait a second, Sugar dust is explosive?!

Strangely enough it didn't take much digging to find this:

"Generally speaking for a sugar dust explosion to occur four conditions must be fulfilled simultaneously; (1) Significant oxygen must be present to support combustion (2) concentration of sugar dust must be within explosive limits (3) the ignition source must be hot enough to ignite the sugar dust cloud (4) The ignition source must release enough energy to ignite the sugar dust cloud."

Even more fascinating to me then that info is this little nugget of knowledge:

"..the values of ignition source temperature may vary between 350 and 850 (degrees Celsius)..."

That's 662 to 1562 Degrees Fahrenheit!!! That my friends is insanity.

I tried searching for what the exact explosive element is in sugar dust but have yet to find it.

Thankfully no one was killed (that's been reported) and there were a few injures.

For more info on sugar dust and its refinements check this out;

Handbook of Sugar Refining: The Manual for the Design and Operation of Sugar Refining Facilities

Monday, February 4, 2008

Neat Little Video

Pure insanity, In food form.

http://view.break.com/326501 - Watch more free videos

These guys are pounding out Mochi.

Thanks to Cha Xiu Boa for this one, man I love this guys taste.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Product Knowledge

When you work with food there are often times you come across foods you don't recognize, or in this case, foods you recognize but come to realize its not what you thought.

During prep for Family Meal the other day I came across a package that I thought contained Couscous but a closer look at the item itself and the package had me confused.

I decided not to use it that day, unsure of its true nature and tore off the label and placed it into my pocket.

Upon returning home I jumped on the Internet and did some searching. The label stated the product was really "Fregula Sarda" and what little I know about speaking foreign languages I realized Sarda had to be a descriptive. So away I went with searching Fregula

It didn't take long to find some information on the product. Turns out I wasn't too far off thinking it was Couscous. Fregula is actually considered "a tastier cousin to Couscous". After further searching I found the term Sarda refers to Sardinia, the second largest island off Italy.

Sardinia has a torrid love affair with the history of the Mediterranean. Home generations of sailors its no big surprise the island had been occupied by numerous Empires, Peoples, and Cultures. Its here we find where Fregula and Couscous have their connection. Its rumored that Couscous made its way from the Maghreb, The northern most tip of Africa containing such countries as Morocco, Algeria, Libya, and Egypt.

The Mediterranean has been heavily influenced in its culture and foods from the spread of the Ottoman Empire. Spain, Italy, and even France have to submit that some of their culture comes from the spread of the enormous and influential Islamic Empire.

When Fregula arrived in Sardinia they faced the same problem that most products face when spreading across the world. Limited resource of the material used to make the original forces adaptation of the recipe to suit the region. Its then that Couscous became Fregula.

Still using Duram Flour like Couscous, Fregula uses Semolina flour. Semolina is the processed and ground Duram Wheat grain. Easier for them to obtain in Sardinia, Semolina is used in the process of making dried pastas.

These days Fregula is used in numerous applications, often a substitute for Couscous. Most famously used cooked in a Fumet , fish stock, with clams, muscles, and fish and served as a soup.

Treat Fregula almost the same way you would Couscous. The most basic preparation is done by dropping the pasta into boiling water or stock for 7-10 minutes.

For class we boiled it in stock for 10 minutes, removed it and spread it on a sheet tray and toasted it slightly in the oven to dry it out and add texture. We then prepared an assortment of beans, carrots, and fresh herbs. After the Fregula was dried out slightly, we heated butter in a saute pan, added the veg/herb mix then the Fregula. Sauteing it slightly to add color and flavor we presented it much like a pasta salad.

Take notice if you use Fregula you will need lots of salt. The pasta tends to soak up a lot of salt and pepper.

Friday, February 1, 2008

In-Humane Video

Many of you have probably already heard about or seen this but...

I just watched the video and have to say, its just plain cruel.

Normally I get on the defensive against all these "Humane" video's (IE all the Foie vids) but this one deserves its time in the sun.

So follow this link to the video.

Be forewarned it is very tough to watch, and very graphic.

But some items need to be taken note of:
-The company commiting these acts apparently supplies the meat to schools in some states, including Maryland.
-The company also supplies meat to elderly and needy programs
-They are using "Downed Cattle" for meat. These animals are either to sick, old, or weak to move.

Immediately after the release of the video Westland Meat Company posted this on their website.

What can you do to help?

-Go to the Humane Society of America web site and follow their links.
-Write to the USDA and ask them to focus on monitoring cattle yards more closely.
-Write to your elected officials in State and Federal Government and ask them to put pressure on the USDA to step up inspections and to investigate more thoroughly the companies that are signed contracts to feed our children.
-And most importantly be aware of where and who you are getting your meat from. The shorter the distance between the farm to your plate the better life will be. It’s harder for folks in more populated areas (IE New York City) to do so, so if this is the case buy from trustworthy vendors.

Things like this should never happen, but sadly it’s a reality the lax controls do cause occurrences such as this to happen. Step up, demand action be taken, and remember for all the BS anti-meat propaganda out there, there are some cases that need to be paid attention to.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Yogurt, the other white health food

I have my E-mail set up to send me hits on various topics like Foie Gras, Food Trends, Food Photography, Recipes and the like.

This morning it yielded an interesting story involving Yogurt and how recent studies have concluded the bacteria and microbes found in yogurt help our digestive track.

Now this should really be common sense, I mean I think everyone who's ever taken high school science classes knows that our stomach and intestinal track include a worlds fair of bacteria and microbes that help digest and ingest food.

Taking a closer look at yogurt, again thanks to our good friend McGee, we see that the main cultures found in yogurt are:

"Lactobacillus delbrueckii subspecies bulgaricus, and streptococcus salivarius subspecies thermophilus. Each bacterium stimulates the growth of the other, and the combination acidifies the milk more rapidly then either partner on its own."

The article also makes note of Lactobacillus acidophilus while is the same family as delbrueckii and is used in many countries to assist in the yogurt making process.

I suppose we should be expecting a rise in coverage of this topic in coming months, but then I think back a year or more now only to realize that during the Health Craze Sway of the early 2000's we saw a lot more yogurts advertised heavily by food companies. Increased pressure to get children eating right led to items such as Gogurt (Yogurt in a tube) and Trix Yogurt, both produces of Yoplait. If you notice at the top of the article is a picture of a dietitian with her daughter, holding a box of the stuff.

I guess the real thing we need to watch is, eating yogurt will help our digestion greatly, perhaps lowering cases of colon cancer in years to come, but do we have to do it with added sugar and preservatives?

only time will tell on that one. Now if you don't mind, I think ill go smother my fruit in some yogurt for good measure!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Its the little things...

Take for example, every time I go to clean out my Spam folder in gmail the web link bar at the top gives me links to SPAM Recipes....

Spam spam spam spam... wonderful spam, joyous spam!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Pro's and Con's

There something to be said for going to the Culinary Institute of America. There are, obviously, advantages to attending. Decent food, drowning in food/food talk/food thought, expansive resources at your disposal. But the one thing that has always irked me about this place is that it the Culinary just seems... well, out of place.

The campus sits on Route 9 between the towns of Poughkeepsie and Hyde Park (Home of the FDR) on a stretch of the road that seems to work as a wooded bridge between the two towns. A small stone fence runs the length of the road till the trees cut away exposing the staff parking lot and the back of the main building to view. A small security booth breaks that stone fence then returns to the trees. If your not paying attention or just unaware there's a good chance you will miss the view all together.

The campus itself is beautiful, but with a few other colleges in the area (Marist, Cornell, Vassar) you would think the town would have a lot more to offer. Now its only an hour train ride to NY City, but the city is expensive and the train ride can get bothersome at times. The towns of Hyde Park and Poughkeepsie don't boast much of a night life, a few bars dot the area and one club are the most exciting thing around.

The area is historically swamped. FDR's childhood home sits less then a mile up the road, as well as one of the last remaining Drive In movie theaters left in the country that still operates, though only during the spring/summer/early fall.

As a foodie the bulk of my entertainment is spent dining out. Whenever I go to a new place the first thing I check out, even before I look for theaters, parks, or anything of the sort are places to eat. What's the hottest spot? Who boasts the best food?

Here at the CIA, the scariest thing to me is the fact that besides a few locations dotted some distance from the school there is really no great place to eat. There are establishments, but nothing that stands out and makes me say "I want to be a regular here". Every town needs one of those spots, that place you can go and stuff yourself on comfort food on a bad day, or a place to take visiting friends and family to show them a good time.

Even with the CIA down the road from each town it seems there is no great desire to have such an establishment('s) pop up. There seems to be no drive no desire, and I guess its mostly because the residences look at the CIA and say "We have 4 Restaurants and a Bakery there, why do we need more then that?".

But on the weekends, when boredom and hunger occupy presidence on me I'm left wishing for a place to go. A place that's warm, with great food, awesome service, and stability.

I suppose I should be thankful for the fatty-stomach filling food I get to eat during the week, but there's still the feeling like not having a few places to go is a shame in a place with such a highly respected cooking school just down the road...

.. and one more thing, because I have to say it, What's with not being able to get a pizza delivered to this place? I mean a good pizza, and not any place is open past 10?! oui.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

All Aboard, Next Stop Writers Block


Nothing like two weeks off and mind-numbing boredom to seize up all brain function.

The holidays have now come and gone, and its no great miracle that we've survived another year of fatty foods, teeth-rotting sweets, and our families. Some of us, perhaps myself, found refuge in the sweet loving embrace of food to coupe with the joys of returning home like some holy pilgrimage that must be conducted every year.

If only I spent my time wisely; reading, studying, planning for my future. nay, I spent my days stretched out in bed sleeping in, staying up late watching movies, and planning events and happenings with friends we both know will never happen.

But with all that said and done it's good to get away sometimes. Good to remove yourself from your passion for a very short time to recharge and renew. The problem is, it never gets away from us.

You find yourself drifting off in daydreams of dishes yet made, dinner services yet befuddled, and Chefs yet to scream and throw pans. Its kind of like, oh I don't know, "The Night Before Christmas" only, its not Christmas, and its not sugar plums dancing in my head but Chervil, Sauce Anglaise, Beef Top-Round, and other classic preparations.

But as always, all great things must end. Not that I'm complaining. Dare I say that I was almost over-joyed to be returning to school. Ok, maybe not over-joyed, but lets face it doing nothing for two weeks is pretty damn boring.

Now the final clock is ticking. Six weeks remain between me and educational freedom. The days are long and hard, Nights are even longer, spent running from Pre-Grad party to Pre-Grad-Drink-Till-You-Speak-In-Tongues-Party all the while wondering...

What in gods name am I going to do when I'm out of here?!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

It Lives!

Im still alive.

Lots going on here as I get back into the grind. New posts will be coming soon.

Until then Heres something to keep you entertained....