Friday, May 15, 2009

New Gin Preview/Review - Beefeater 24

Recently Beefeater released a new premium gin called Beefeater 24. Of course, being an avid gin fan, I had to give it a try the other night. And, after tasting 24 in a couple of different drinks, I can say that I do enjoy the flavor, but it's certainly not knocking off Miller's as my personal favorite.

The 12 botanicals listed in the 24 are: Japanese Sencha tea, Chinese green tea, Seville orange peel, grapefruit peel, lemon peel, coriander seed, licorice, angelica root, angelica seed, almond, and orris root. Apparently the gin is distilled multiple times and steeped for 24 hours with these botanicals, which give it a very refreshing citrus-y element. It's a smooth gin from what I can tell, but I think for me, it lacks some of the complexity that a Miller's or a Junipero may display - likely due to the convergence of like citrus flavors.

At some point, I'll probably buy a bottle just to see how far I can take it and what applications it may serve best in. So maybe a more comprehensive report when it happens. Right now, I'm feeling that its would pair best with cucumber, mint or citrus. I like it with bitters (grapefruit, preferably), so I feel like Beefeater 24 would likely make a pretty good Vesper.

What I Would Drink With It Right Now:

Sparkling Gin Vesper:
2 Parts Beefeater 24
Splash of lillet
Dash of bitters (preferably Grapefruit)
Top of with Champagne

It's certainly a pretty nice gin and different enough to be stand out amongst some of the others. If you are a gin fan, I'd say give it a try at the bar (saw it at Absinthe the other night) and draw your own conclusions.

Wednesday Test Kitchen - Kind of...

Not much action on the Wednesday Test Kitchen considering I worked at Bloodhound that day. I do have some pics and some food related items that I was cooking this week, so I thought I'd post them for shits an giggles. It's Friday, anything goes.

On the menu:
Dashi Shoyu Broth Ramen
homemade Dashi, jumbo farm egg, meatball, pickled radish

Seared Halibut in White Chocolate Lavender Fume Sauce
(sauce strickly from Chef GabyFerrandon)
shrimp brown butter, green garlic, smoked sausage, shitake

Not particularly overly critical of my dinners, they were tasty and Chef Gaby's sauce (if you missed him at Mission Street Food last Saturday) was divine. Probably would have blanched the green garlic some first though. My noodles were just about perfect and my broth was smokey and rather intense.

Onto the pics:

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Hot Food Porn @ Bloodhound Pig-Out Event

Once again yesterday, I was rolling with the 4505 Meats and Fatted Calf at the Bloodhound Pig Out event. It was a blast to cook for a ridiculously sold out crowd - of course, until they started cornering me while I was in the middle of piling meat onto little slider rolls. I desperately tried to offer the dirty look to the hands that were attempting to reach into the pile of meat I was working with, but the animals around me were almost fearless.

I'd like everyone to first understand that I'm a red-blooded human being with all the virtues and follies that normally defines what a man should be. While I may have days where I am no more than the bluntest of objects, I am definitely not an idiot when it comes to women who think they are often infinitely cuter, hotter, cuddlier and more persuasive than they really are. Last night there were definitely more than one girl who pulled the whole too cute, "can you please look at how good I look and how cute I sound, so that you'd do me a super special itty bitty favor and give me some of that meat (literal of course) you got, so I don't have to go in line and wait." Or sometimes, some girls do the whole syrupy charade act of, "oh, can I just get some for my friends who are all really hot girls and really didn't get a chance to taste that. Really we're all hot girls that love to put meat in our mouths." Do some women really think that I am so seriously blind that I do not notice when you roll in with your own sausage party in tow? It's not that I don't think I have enough willpower to resist a woman pulling the stops to get what she wants, but give me a little more credit when it comes to sniffing out the bullshit. Make it a little more fun, throw in a little more banter and charm - I'm not looking for A-game or a skirt-hike here, but I'd definitely appreciate it if you didn't decide to mail it in. What I am saying is, I am not a pimple-faced sucker, but I still respect and appreciate the game and will reward a little bit of creativity and effort. At least, it keeps me somewhat entertained.

And for you dudes, don't even bother. Your best bet is that you were part of the sausage party in tow.

On the Menu or what I remember of it:
-Butchered Pig Meat and Parts, seasoned, grilled and served cut
-Mini Roasted Pork Shoulder Sliders
-Hillbilly "Gringo" Tacos with slice 'o whitebread
-Corndogs, dawg
-Pork Pate
-Spicy Meat on Stick (Pork)

Big Meat

Bigger Longer and Uncut Meat

The Only Vegetables Seen LastNight

Sweet Doggy Dog

Herding Pigs The Size of Shnauzers, But They're Piggies
Yippe Aye Yay ... Mini Piggie Sliders...


A Real Sausage Party

A Sea of Meat

Josh Doin' Work.
A Spike Lee Joint

An Assortment of Pig Parts on Massive Grill

Nobody Dislikes Meat On Sticks
...unless you're PETA, but they're actually robots led by a command center located inside Pamela Anderson's boobs. They're aging rapidly and now out of fashion.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

See What Happens When You Move Across The Country.

One of my former go-to bars a few blocks form my Cambridge home apparently started sponsoring aan annual bacon eating contest after I left. This video isn't ridiculously funny, but the guy who won has a pretty cool stache. There are also so good bacon quotes in it. It's more of a homage to Atwoods...

Oh yeah, the guy that wins reminds me of Gallagher, the retarded comedian.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Golden Kitchen Rules

photo from Eat Duck I Must blog

It's been an interesting weekend to say the least. I haven't dealt with so much attitude and annoyance from multiple facets of my life in so short of a period of time in a long time. And despite all the tumultuous problems, the weekend actually was a working success. Of course, the funny part is that these things are normally completely unwarranted and uncalled for. Sometimes all it takes for people to show civility to one another is to just understand boundaries and keep their mouths shut.

Recently, I've been speaking with a chef friend and we were discussing different issues that arise in the kitchen with certain cooks, chefs and staff alike. And we've always flirted around with the idea of this set of golden rules that chefs should adhere in most cases to maintain a good kitchen working environment. Here are some of the ones I've lived, known or have come from other chef friends. A first rough draft list I guess...

Golden Rules of the Back of House:

Consolidate or die. (contributed as far back to chef Cole Mayfield apparently)

The best response from a linecook is simply, "yes chef", "no chef".

Leave your work area cleaner than you found it.

It is hard to admit/ask for help, but it should always be easy to offer help regardless of what position you hold in the kitchen.

You are never above the food you cook. People do not dine for your face, people dine for your meal.

There is no such thing as a rock star in a kitchen and there is no such thing as a rock star out of a kitchen - this is absolute perpetuated Top Chef bullshit. It's nice to be known and recognized, but none of that should stand above the food.

You are only as good as your last meal/plate served/cooked.

Always ask when borrowing another cook's tools/knives and always return it in a clean condition.

Minimize your trips and time spent locating items/tools for prep.

Save the drama for your momma, bad attitudes and personal issues are not welcome in a kitchen.

There is a rule and standard for quality - the bottom line for which is the basic principle of providing safe food. Everything else is solely a reflection and mirror of your integrity as a cook/chef.

Always know how, what and why you are doing something. Ask questions in the honest purpose and sincerity of learning.

Playing victim and excuses should not be tolerated in the kitchen.

You are never past the point of learning, the second you stop wanting to learn or feel above learning is the second you should stop working as a chef.

Do NOT talk shit about the other cooks in the kitchen when you are in the kitchen.

You are allowed to talk shit about other cooks out of the kitchen, so beware of your conduct in the kitchen. Chefs talk to each other about other chefs/cooks and it normally kind of goes like this, "hey, did you ever have this guy in the kitchen with you, how was he/she..."

Never cook bacon without you pants on. (as from chef Charlie Kleinman)

Don't call in sick unless you are in jail or dead or your wife got into a car accident - all of which are acceptable. (part of which is from chef Sarah Cox)

Taste everything you are cooking all the time. Adjust/season, taste, adjust/season as necessary at every step. (as from chef Lauren Kiino, via twitter lkiino)

The spoon is your best ally and friend.

Keep your nails clean and hair short. Facial hair is okay, but nasty crusty hippie beards are not.

Clean up as you go. (as from twitter whmwall)

Do not take your sweet ass time cleaning at the end of the night, other cooks/chefs notice and will resent or lose respect for you.

You may own one station, but you should learn all the other ones - whether someone wants to show you or not.

If you are not helping someone in the Weeds or in the Jungle, don't bother expecting help in return.

Hoard towels and hide them as you need to. When asked, you always only have 1 towel left.

Clean your cutting board before you walk away from it.

It's fine to sound stupid when you ask questions, especially considering how stupid you may or may not look most of the time.

Do NOT second guess how other chefs do their prep work unless you are the sous, chef de cuisine or executive chef. Mind your own work.

Label and date everything.

"Behind, beside, corner, hot and knife" should be a few of the only things that cooks need to yell.

No leaning, no standing around, no sitting.

Keep FOH constantly moving in and out of kitchen as fast as possible.

Don't be a douchebag & mind the "bag of dicks." (unofficialy, the former Orson slogan, thank you chef Joe Zoebel, chef Ryan Farr)

Don't fuck up when your chef is having bad day (part of previous rule), be invisible.

"On the fly" does not mean "I need this redone as soon as you can in a few minutes." It means "drop your shit and haul fucking ass to git'er done, I needed this 15 seconds ago."