Friday, October 29, 2010

A Better Cranberry Condiment

Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away, and it's time to think about the cranberry options we cooks and diners have. I agree with this writer at Serious Eats who much prefers cranberries served as a thick or chutney-type consistency, instead of the gelatinous "cranberry sauce" that comes out of a can. SE's Kerry Saretsky admits that the latter is "iconic Americana" but the former is tastier.

His observations are followed by this recipe for cranberry chutney with crystallized ginger.

This recipe is another one of my favorites -- cranberry sauce with dried tart cherries. (You can use canned tart cherries if you can't find the dried variety.) The cloves in the recipe add a nice twist.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Eats in D.C.'s Atlas District

Last weekend, I visited Washington, D.C.'s H Street corridor -- a neighborhood in the N.E. quad known as the Atlas District. The area is definitely gentrifying, and the city has committed to run an electric streetcar down H Street. But my reason for visiting the area was to check out a few new eateries that I'd heard about.

First, we had brunch at the Liberty Tree, on the north side of H Street between 10th and 11th Streets. It was cozy, and they had an awesome selection of beers on tap. If wine is your thing, they've got it, but the choices are fewer. They serve a brunch on Saturday and Sunday that runs until 3 p.m. That's a nice option to have: sleep in and eat whenever you want.

The food at Liberty Tree was good -- nothing fancy or refined, but good. I had the lobster benedict, and it was quite tasty. My friend had pizza, and he gave it a grade of B-.

For a sweet conclusion to our brunch, we walked a few blocks east and then across the street to Dangerously Delicious Pies, located at 1339 H Street, N.E. This place sells entree-style pies as well as dessert pies. The dessert pies include multiple kinds of chess pie (chocolate and coconut, for example) and the other standards: apple-crumb and pecan, for example. They also sell quiches. You can buy any of these by the slice or by the entire pie.

Although most of the buzz about Dangerously Delicious Pies has been positive, one of the knocks against the place is the prices. It's true that $6.50 per slice of dessert pie is on the high side. But the pecan pie I tried was excellent. The savory pies (entrees) are $7.50 per slice, which is the same or less than what you'd spend to get lunch at a Cosi or Au Bon Pain.

And here's a piece of good news: Dangerously Delicious Pies is open 7 days a week for those of us who need to regularly get our pie fix. If there is one gripe I have about DDP, it's that they should have at least 1 or 2 more fruit pies to choose from. From what I've seen and heard, pies such as blueberry or peach don't seem to be on the menu. Maybe it's a seasonal thing or maybe I've been looking at the wrong times.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Pizza Penalty

Joseph Jacobbi, who operates a restaurant called Casa-di-Pizza, gave a judge an opportunity to deliver a one-of-a-kind verdict.

In the wake of Jacobbi's conviction on sales tax fraud, a state supreme court judge ordered the Buffalo, N.Y. pizzeria owner to provide 12 free pizzas once a week to a homeless shelter in the city. And to keep providing the gratis pizzas for one year.

"I will leave the choice of toppings to you," the judge told Jacobbi.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Not Just for Breakfast Anymore

No, I'm not talking about a glass of orange juice.

Scrambled eggs are the dish that I'm dishing about. I've enjoyed them for dinner a number of times, and I never felt like I was slummin' when I devoured them. As this article reveals, the New York Times' Martha Rose Shulman also thinks scrambled eggs make for a tasty supper.

I'm particular about how mine are cooked -- "exactly 30 seconds beyond salmonella," my spouse sarcastically declares. That's an exaggeration, but I do want my scrambled eggs to be moist, not as dry as the Sahara desert. I hate it when I get served eggs that are dry.

Fresh chive and tarragon are marvelous herbs to add. But pick only one of them.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chefs Don't Earn Impressive Salaries

With fewer Americans eating out at fine-dining establishments these days, it's not easy for people to find jobs as restaurant chefs. And even those who already have those jobs may not be doing all that well financially.

The website Chow produced this bar graph listing the average salaries of three workers -- a school bus driver, a trash collector and a chef de cuisine. The chef's estimated salary ($56,868) looks pretty decent. Until, that is, you divide that salary by the total number of hours that a chef de cuisine works.

Yikes! This has me feeling more sympathy for the executive kitchen staff at such restaurants.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Review: Bistro Cacao

This week, I finally got around to trying Bistro Cacao, located on Massachusetts Avenue in D.C.'s Capitol Hill neighborhood. On the whole, I was pleased.

The menu offers many of the entree choices you'd expect in a French bistro. The menu isn't large, but my fellow diner and I enjoyed everything we tried. I ordered the onglet (hanger steak) with a shallot and wine sauce. The beef was of a high quality and properly cooked, and it was superbly complimented by the sauce. The wine list is large enough without overwhelming a diner. Bottles are priced fairly; some are expensive, but most are within reason.

The ambience of Bistro Cacao has a Victorian style without being too frilly. It's especially nice for people who are taking someone out on a date. Couples can dine seated on nice wing chairs from tables flanked by classy red curtains. One complaint I have is that the restaurant's menu is choices are not accessible via its website.

The bistro has plans to open a wine bar soon, although it's not clear to me where within its current premises, the wine bar would be situated -- so stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

One Less Choice for Pulled Pork BBQ

What? Can it be so? I just heard the news that Lindsey's, my favorite barbecue place in Arkansas (my former state of residence), was forced to close after a fire.

Ugh. I will be traveling there in the coming months, and I had been looking forward to paying a culinary pilgrimage there.

I guess the best remaining choices are Sim's, Whole Hog, and a place called Mr. Mason's (which I have never tried, but hear is excellent).

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pumpkin Pancakes

As we move into autumn, one's thoughts turn to pumpkins. And for that reason, this recipe caught my eye: Shopshin's Pumpkin Pancakes.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Almond Joy

I like almonds and enjoy eating them as a snack every now and then, but it came as news to me that almonds are classified as "stone fruits." (Frankly, I remain skeptical about that.)

In any case, I still took this 5-question quiz at the website MonkeyDish.