8.27.2008

Bluehour


If you were lucky enough to be one of their customers last Saturday night you would have seen that Bluehour is the latest restaurant to have a bunch of Jackasses protesting about Foie Gras being on their menu. I'm not going to spend any time talking about the dorks that spent their Saturday night protesting this fine restaurant, I don't want to waste my breath, and its my understanding that they don't have anything to do next Saturday as well so they will once again be at Bluehour disturbing folks while they are trying to eat. I can only hope that the Chef decides to host a Foie Gras dinner that night! Go picket KFC you bunch of Hippies!


I ended up at Bluehour for lunch last week and had a wonderful meal. Before our Sandwiches arrived, we were served a Amuse Bouche which consisted of a BLT Oyster on the half shell and demitasse cup filled with Roasted Corn Chowder and topped with a big fat slice of Black Truffle.


I went for the Reuben and it was excellent, awesome bread, house cured Pastrami, killer Kraut, Gruyere, Russian and some of the best fries in town, it was the best Reuben I have had in a long time! My buddy went for the burger and I will probably go for that next time, it looked tasty with smoked bacon and pickled vegetables. The food was superb, the service was excellent and the dining room is beautiful, I will certainly go back soon.


250 NW 13th
Portland, OR 97209
503.226.3394

8.24.2008

Taqueria Colima in The Couve


I rarely make it over to Vancouver and when I do, it's normally a quick trip, in and out as quickly as I can.  It's not because I dislike The Couve, its quite simply because I am yet to have a good experience in Vancouver, I haven't spent enough time there to really give it a chance.  I am waiting for a reason to make the trip through what can be some pretty nasty traffic, back to Vancouver to a great meal and I just haven't found that reason yet.  When I read about Taqueria Colima, I was stoked, I love tacos and am always looking for some good Mexican Food, I don't remember where I read about it, either in Mix or Portland Monthly, I need to find out which one it was and make it a point to not trust whoever it was that recommended this place, it's not that it was bad, it just wasn't anything special.


There were far too many red flags at this place, I should have turned around and written this place off, but for all of the red flags, there were a few things that it had going for it too.  This place is in a awful location, I passed it by a couple of times before I finally found it, parking sucks, it's kind of sketchy inside, but I don't consider any of those things necessarily "bad," the big problem I had was the lack of Carnitas.  I ended up getting a trio of Tacos, 1 Carne Asada, 1 Pollo, and 1 Pastor, they were OK, but nothing special, there are a dozen Taco carts in Portland that have way better tacos and they are right around the corner.  This is a good neighborhood Taco spot, I'm sure the other stuff on the menu is solid, but not having Carnitas kind of threw me for a loop, all I can say is that it's no TACO TOWN!


Taqueira Colima
Somewhere in Vancouver?

8.23.2008

Anasazi Bean Burger


I am the opposite of a Vegetarian and rarely eat anything that is considered to be"vegetarian", I eat a ton of salads and drink a V-8 every morning, but when it comes to Tofu, TVP, Soy Milk, Brown Rice or Quinoa, I can do without it!  But I do like Legumes, and Anasazi Beans are one of my favorites.  Anasazi Beans are one of the more well known heirloom beans out there, and have even been spotted on the menu of  a local fast food restaurant recently.  One of my favorite bean burgers is at The Moontime in Coeur d'Alene Idaho, they have perfected the art of making the perfect Anasazi Bean Burger, I have worked a long time I my recipe and I like to think mine is pretty damn good too!


8.17.2008

Aebelskivers


If you aren't familiar with Aebelskivers, they are similar to American pancakes but you cook them in a funky little pan and the end result is a round, bite size "pancake."  I have only had them at Dutch restaurants and they are always served for breakfast in place of pancakes.  My understanding is that in Denmark they aren't served for breakfast but are often paired with Mulled Wine.  I cook them for breakfast and my son loves them, I make him some plain ones and then get funky with the others, my favorites are stuffed with Sausage and Havarti, Ham and Goat Cheese, and Raspberry Jam.


The ingredients are about the same as Pancakes, flour, sugar, baking powder, etc., I have read recipes that call for Yeast, but the recipe that I have been using for many years doesn't use Yeast, and I am happy with my Aebelskivers so I don't try recipes.  The pan you cook these in is the important part, mine is cast iron and holds heat very well, I think I bought mine at Otto's in Woodstock.  If you decide to go out and buy the pan and become a Aebelskiver Freak like me, make sure you buy a solid Cast Iron Pan, no plastic handles, and season it every day for a week, every different way that you have ever heard of seasoning Cast Iron, with Salt, Butter, Crisco, Pan Spray, Grape Seed Oil, whatever, and when you do get around to cooking these things, make sure you use a ton of Pan Spray because these want to stick and once they do, you are kind of screwed until you can season that pan again. 


8.14.2008

Bouchon - Las Vegas


There are only a handful of American Chefs that have the respect of every Chef, Line Cook, Restaurant Manager, Server and Restauranteur in the business and Thomas Keller is one of those Chefs.  He has remained true to what he is all about and hasn't sold out to the Food Network, yet.  I have heard rumors of a frozen food line, dishes and knives all with the Keller stamp of approval on them, I guess that I will just wait and see what happens, as long as he doesn't turn in to Rachael Ray, I will still dig him.


So when I made my business plans to travel to Las Vegas, my first thought was, what night will I eat at Bouchon?  I flew in on Sunday, and Monday night I headed over to Bouchon for what was to be one of the best meals I have ever had.   


While I sat at the bar and waited for my table, I sipped on the best Gin and Tonic that I have ever had, it was made from Old Raj Gin and House Made Tonic Water, it was delicious and at $15 each, I had to stop after my second, but luckily, my table was ready.  It must have been luck, but they gave me the best server in the place, he was awesome, made suggestions and was exactly the right amount of chatty and professional.  


I kept things pretty simple with my meal, it was my first time to Bouchon so I had to try the Steak Frites, but to start things off I had a nice salad of Mixed Greens, Red Wine Vinaigrette, Warm Goat Cheese and Herbes De Provence, it was damn good.  I then went for the Steak Frites which was a bitchin Flat Iron Steak with Maitre d'hotel Butter and some of the best Fries I have ever had.  Top notch meal, drinks and service, it was excellent.



Bouchon
in The Venetian
3355 Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89109
702.414.6200

8.12.2008

In-N-Out - Las Vegas


I rarely write about the food scene outside of Portland and I know that those of you who dig In-N-Out don't need to be reminded of how much it sucks that we don't have one here, and those of you who don't dig In-N-Out aren't really interested in hearing anything else about this over hyped fast food burger joint.  But while in Vegas I only had two meals that were worth me being in that awful town and one of them was at In-N-Out, I will talk about the other one later.


In-N-Out is simple and tasty, burgers, fries, Coke and Shakes, that's it!  As always, I went for a Double Double and Well Done Animal Style Fries and it was as good as I remembered, it had been a little over a year since my last Double Double and I wasn't dissapointed.  There is a funny little "not so secret menu" at In-N-Out that isn't posted anywhere, but if you know it, you can get some extra tasty eats.


8.10.2008

Q Tonic Water


About 8 or 9 years ago I discovered good Gin and went on a bit of a Gin kick, for a couple of years I decided that I needed to taste all of the best Gins and other than sipping on a nice glass of Miller's, I usually found myself ordering a Gin & Tonic. Tonic Water in general is pretty damn sweet and I am certain that the stuff that comes out of the gun contains a ton of corn syrup and as we all know, lots of alcohol + lots of sugar = bad hangover! So when I realized how much I missed Tanqueray 10, Miller's and Bombay, I immediately went on a quest to find good tonic water. So although I got wind of a few different Tonics out there, what I decided to do is to make my own, there are a few bars in Portland that are doing it and I had the best G & T that I have ever had last week at Bouchon in Vegas and yes, they make their own Tonic. But until I perfect my own Tonic, I will be driving to Foster & Dobbs to buy these little bottles of Q Tonic. This stuff is tasty, for me it goes well with Tanqueray 10, a bit of Ice and a lime. In my opinion, Q Tonic is the best on the market, it's sweetened with Agave and is made with all natural ingredients. Go check it out!

Q Tonic
available at Foster & Dobbs on NE 15th

8.07.2008

Tasty Summer Salad


Although raw vegetables are tasty in their own way, in my opinion vegetables always taste better when they are cooked, the sugars come out and the flavors develop.  So even when a salad is on the menu for dinner, depending on the product I have to work with, I will usually roast or saute some of the vegetables.  This was kind of a "black box" type of salad, I had to go with what I had on hand and fortunately I keep some decent food in the fridge.  So without describing everything exactly how it was done, here is the salad that I had for dinner.

Organic mixed greens tossed with fresh herbs and a leek vinaigrette, topped with roasted artichoke hearts, bacon and palm sugar caramelized carrots, finished with herb and Hawaiian sea salt crusted goat cheese.  

Tasty tasty salad and it has two of my favorite ingredients, bacon and palm sugar!

8.06.2008

Roake's


I drive by Roake's at least a dozen times a week and recently saw a line of people outside waiting for their burgers, I decided to stop because if all of those folks are standing in the sun for a burger, there must be something to it, right?


This is a strange place, I didn't really know where to order and the ladies working the window didn't seem too keen on helping the Roake's Virgin understand how shit works.  After finally ordering and waiting about 15 minutes for my food, I went on my way and headed home to enjoy my tasty burger.  Well, the burger wasn't nearly as tasty as I had hoped, maybe I just didn't order the right thing, it was bland, nothing to it.  Luckily, I ordered some Coney Fries, and they delivered, the fries were great, the chili was good, the tomatoes seemed fresh, the cheese could have been melted a bit more, but it was fine.


So I don't really know what to say about Roake's other than my first experience wasn't awesome, but I will go back and try it again because this is the kind of place I usually dig, actually I have heard that the other location is better, so maybe I will have to travel North for my next visit!

Roake's
18019 SE Mcloughlin Blvd.
Milwaukie, OR 97267
503.654.7075

8.02.2008

My Top 10 Cookbooks

After spending way too much time trying to figure out what my top 10 cookbooks are, I decided to list the top 10 cookbooks that I always find myself reaching for.  These are books that most Chef's probably have on their shelves and I believe that the majority of these books should be read by anyone that is interested in food.  These are all great books that I reach for when I need ideas, need some reference, can't remember some random recipe, just want some good reading and most importantly, need some inspiration.  So, my top 10 Cookbooks are:


The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller


Bouchon by Thomas Keller


The Joy of Cooking by Rombauer, Becker and Becker

The New Professional Chef by Culinary Institute of America


Culinary Artistry by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page


Sauces by James Peterson


James Beard's American Cookery by James Beard


Culinaria: The United States by Danforth, Feierabend and Chassman


Crust and Crumb by Peter Reinhart


The Professional Pastry Chef by Bo Friberg

There are plenty of Cookbooks in my collection that didn't make this list but certainly deserve a spot on any top 10 list.  Books like On Food and Cooking, Craft, Larousse Gastronomique, anything by Alton Brown or Escoffier, any of the Saveur or Food and Wine Cookbooks and of course Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child.  I have a ton of amazing cookbooks, but as I said before, this particular list is all about Cookbooks that I love and always find myself looking at.

All of these books can be found at Powell's!