Pork Butt, Bom chicka wow wow

Pork Butt, Bom chicka wow wow

food slideshow - be careful, some pics maybe xxx rated!

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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tita Pork Porn

So, weirdly enough, one of the top google searches that leads international websurfers to this blog is "tita fuck porn". I don't know what that is, and I really don't need to. Anyway, I guess it closely resembles tita's kitchenette, tita pork porn, tita's food porn, etc. There. Now that I wrote all those titas, they will be clicking several links that lead to this page. How disappointing. This tita fuck porn must be excellent. I wonder if tita is a name, or it's tita as in aunt. I'm not gonna look it up though, sounds very spammy.

Anyhoo, being kind of ocd, I feel the need to post about things chronologically, when possible. So while I'd like to write about Thanksgiving, I have to write about Tita's, first.

So if you haven't heard of Tita's, you must have never have read this blog before. So if that's the case, Tita's Kitchenette is a point point joint in National City on 2720 E Plaza Blvd. which has mostly meat. Yummy, fatty rich, stewed, grilled, roasted meats. There's some fish and whatnot every once in a while, but mainly meat.

So one day, the Food Pimp was craving Tita's. I believe it was last Sunday. So we went there. Very late - noon. We were worried that it would be packed. It was, but they were replenishing the steam table, so no worries. When we walked in the back door (oh no, I hope that people googling for back door porn don't come to this page - they will be sorely disappointed. Oh no, I shouldn't have written "Back Door Porn" because now when people are googling for back door porn, they will probably come up with this page because I've now written back door porn 4 times inadvertently. Oops!)

Let's start clean. No more porn.

So we went in the side door where the ice cream freezer is. On the table to the left were stacked 4 roast pigs in boxes, ready to be picked up for catering, I assume. I would love to be going to that party!

So as we were waiting in line patiently, I daydreamed about getting a roast pig for my birthday, which is coming up next month. The FP said, so we can pick one up and the 4 of us can just gnaw on it all day. So I had a vision of me, the FP, and our two cats, Stinksy and The Fuzz lined up at a pig carcass, devouring it like lions.

So finally we got to the point where we could start to see the steam table. The fish on the end always look so good. They look crispy. But I never want to gamble on them. So I just covet them each time.

Anyhoo, I was disappointed, because I didn't see any lechon or sisig. I figured they used it all for that order. Then we moved up a few places in line. I spied it across the room. Everything went silent. Time stopped. Everyone else and everything else was a blur. There was the sisig, at the far end. A big pile. I was happy. Then time resumed.

There were about 4 people serving that day, which always makes me nervous, because someone always gets skipped. And I am always a candidate for that, because I'm me. So the guy in front of me ordered. Then there was a long break between that. We were already halfway down the steam table, and no one took my order, as I looked longingly at all the wonderful food. Then the lady behind the FP started ordering. I don't know if I said out loud or just to the FP, we haven't ordered. Then the lady behind me saw my unhappy look and realized, so she told the lady that we hadn't ordered.

So I ordered. Then somehow my food got moved ahead of the guy in front of me, because he was ordering bbq or something. So they asked if that was all. I said that the FP's food was with mine as well. He was still ordering, so this caused confusion. Finally, it was okay, and we got our food. Then there was no table. The FP said we were going to have to go home and eat, which would make for a torturous drive home. So we were filling the styrofoam containers with fish sauce and garlic vinegar and putting lids on, when the people at the table right there by the condiments left. So we got a table.

Finally I could relax and enjoy my food. But some kid was yelling. That was really pissing the FP off, which in turn irritated me. But we tried to hunker down and enjoy our filipino treat anyway.

kare kare with pork hock.


sisig x 2

Do I really have to explain the taste to you? If you read the blog you know. If you are not familiar and you are from San Diego area, then you should go experience this food firsthand.

Okay, I'll explain a little. The kare kare. It's pork hock or oxtail usually braised in a peanut sauce. They serve it with shrimp paste (bagaong), but I'm not always in the mood for that. Let me tell you. The pork fat just melts. In the mouth. Just sublime. Really. And the flesh was delicious as well. And the sauce, just peanutty enough, but not too much. And the veggies were not cooked to death.

The sinigang. It's really all about the broth. Sour, but not overly sour. Just pleasingly satisfying. One of the ultimate comfort soups whether you've had it before or not. The green bean and beef is really secondary, although good. The beef was very tender, but, it just is a flavoring for the broth, really. You almost want more broth and less stuff. Really. That's how good it is!

The sisig. Well, we both got it. It tastes kinda like ceviche with roast pork. It's just wonderful. When it's just made, the pork fat is still crunchy delicious goodness. Don't get me wrong, if you eat it as leftovers, it's still delish. If you want to make someone fall in love with you, make them some sisig. If that doesn't do the trick, then you don't want them anyway.

Monday, November 24, 2008

masa disappointment

So, the other week I decided I was going to try to make tamales. I love tamales, but I some time this year tasted a very delicious tamale, so now, all the others are just okay in comparison. Here's the blog: http://thefoodho.blogspot.com/2008/06/el-salvadoreno-revisited.html I was going to attempt to steam them, to see if they would be lighter than boiling. So I bought premade masa from Pancho's and I bought ground pork - of course. I made my mole sauce, then I cooked the pork with it. I added some seasoning to the masa, maybe salt, pepper, cumin and coriander, I think. Anyway, I wrapped the tamales in banana leaves, and I forgot to wrap them in foil packets.

So then I was going to steam them, but the FP took the pasta pot for cooking class. That was a big bummer. So I tried to rig a steamer.

Yeah, I know it's weird that I love asian food and all, and I don't have a bamboo steamer. I know. I'm not sure why. I'm sure if I had had one, at some point the FP would have started using it for cooking class and eventually worn it out, lost it, or broke it. That's what happens with our stuff.

Anyway, what does one need to cook? A bunch of fancy expensive stuff from Williams Sonoma? Nah, not really. A chef knife. A cutting board. A pot. A saute pan. A baking pan. A peeler is nice, but I suppose, you could peel things with a knife. I have trouble though due to my arthritis or carpal tunnel problem in my hand/wrist. I swear. I'm not being a pussy or anything. I remember when I worked at the Mango House, we would make this mango curry. It was so good with the jerk pork chops. But we had to peel a lot of mangoes. I'm not sure how many, possibly 12 cases? Anyway, it sucked. It hurt. But I was a martyr for the profession. I really don't know what it is that I have, since I never go to the doctor, but it doesn't feel good, and it makes me feel old beyond my years.

So getting back to my steamer. I had a smaller pot. I had a metal steamer basket. So I set the steamer basket on top of the pot. I had some turkey stock that the FP had left over, so I put that in for liquid. I put the tamales in and covered the top with foil. And even when I covered the top with the foil, I didn't think about wrapping the tamales. Maybe I did think of it, but I was lazy or thought I'd try it without the foil. But it seems like I should have, because that's the way I've done it in the past.

After 20 minutes, I checked the progress. It seems that there was steam leaking out of the foil. The tamales didn't seem to really be steaming at all. Then a while later I checked. I looked at the pot, and all the liquid had evaporated. So I gave up and put more turkey stock in the pot and boiled the tamales instead. They were dense and glutinous. The mole was good though, really hot though. So I tried to make a pupusa. It was actually not too bad.

So I guess I'll try to recreate the mole recipe, because that was the thing that tasted good.

Red Mole

1 onion sliced
4 cloves garlic smashed
3 ancho peppers rehydrated
4 new mexico peppers rehydrated
20 oz canned tomato
3 inches ginger
1/4 c golden raisins
1/2 c brown sugar
1 oz cocoa
1 black tea bag
1 T cumin
2 T coriander
1 oz salt

So I sauteed the onion and garlic. Then I added the peppers with some of their liquid. I let it come to a boil, then turned the electric stove down, which takes several minutes.

If you want instant gratification, do not by an electric stove. It's kinda funny because I once said I would never live anywhere with an electric stove, and what did we do, move into an apartment with an electric stove!

Then I tea bagged the mole. Why tea? Well, I wanted coffee, but we didn't have any. I wanted that dark bitter caffeiney taste. So I let the tea steep a bit, then I squoze the liquid out of the tea bag and mailed it to Dennis Kucinich.

Then I added the rest of the ingredients. I let them cook for a few, then I poured it all in the blender and made a fiery authentic sauce that takes me back to that trip we took to Mexico. What a long journey, yet so amazing. The perils, the boredom, the anticipation, the uncertainty, the excitement. You know, getting on the trolley downtown and riding all the way to the border and crossing by foot to another country?

Anyhoo, I browned some ground beef and thought of having a hombrewich night, but alas, I didn't have any hamburgesa buns and only a little ground meat!

Sunday, November 23, 2008


So I try not to post about work too much on here, but I found this blurry picture I took of a guava last week. Sometimes people bring food from their garden and I have to find a way to use the stuff. I'm scared to ask how it's legal. I hope the board of health isn't monitoring my blog....

Anyhoo. I made a dessert special last night, but we were so busy that I didn't have time to put it up as a special. Apparently, the Community coupon magazine came out this week, and that is why all those grey haired folk probably came early. The coupons accounted for a third of our business last night, which made it busy. Otherwise it would have been kinda busy but not crazy.

So getting back to the guavas. Most people don't like to eat them straight because of all those annoying little seeds that can't possibly be digested. But they smell amazing. Like flowers. They don't taste very balanced though. They are flowery, but not very sweet or tart. Insipid. That's a good word. But the smell. It's amazing. I wonder if there's a guava perfume. It would probably be too strong though.

So I hollowed out the guavas. Then I made 3 different fillings for them. So on each plate there were 3 guavas. One with chocolate mousse, one with lemon curd and one with ginger rice pudding and macadamia nuts. Then I made little crooked like short dough cookie sticks that I put in them. I don't know why I didn't take a picture, but it was very Dr. Suessesque. Anyway, I'm off for 2 days, so I'm interested to see if they sell any while I'm off. I'm not going to post the recipe, because I got the lemon curd recipe on the internet, I kind of guessed at the mousse, and the rice pudding was - well, rice pudding. Arborio rice, milk, slices of ginger and sugar. The short dough I also got off the internet. So anyway. Southern California. Such a weird growing season here. Heirloom tomatoes in November? Fragrant guavas too? No carrots though - besides baby carrots. Weird stuff.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Beef Porn, Chicken Porn, Veggie Porn

So, last week, we had some groceries that we had made. These big beef shanks were getting skanky in that pink plastic bag, so I cooked em up before they were unusable. I didn't have much inspiration, so I went with a standard method of cooking - philippine adobo style, oh yeah!

The Food Ho's Skanky Beef Shanks, Adobo Style

4 nice big beef shanks
5 cloves garlic, smashed
4 inches ginger, short julienne
1 onion sliced
1 t black peppercorns
3 bay leaves
1.5 c white vinegar
1 c soy sauce
1 c brown sugar
.25 c fish sauce
salt and pepper

So, season your meat. Get your DO (that's a dutch oven to you non -The Soup - watching readers.) nice and hot. Put a little wee bit of oil in. Put your shanks in. Go away. For like 3 minutes. Let them do their thang. Then come back, turn them over and go away another 3 minutes. Come back. Take the shanks out. Put in you garlic and ginger. Let them get toasty. Then add your bay leaves and peppercorns. Once the bay leaves start to turn golden, or the peppercorns start popping, trow your onions in. Let them get nice and soft. Then add in the vinegar, soy, brown sugar and fish sauce. Let it come up to a boil. Put the shanks back in. Lower the heat to medium low. Then just let the magic happen. You'll know when it's done. Don't try to eat it sooner, because you will be disappointed!

So with the adobo, I hwipped (that's a Family Guy reference, for you non- Family Guy-watching readers out there) up some simple veggies.

The Food Ho's Healthy Veggie Accompaniment to the Skanky Beef Shanks, Adobo Style
1 pack oyster mushrooms, pulled apart with the hands - not cut with a knife, please
.25 # green beans
about 4 handfuls chinese broccoli - stems cut into 1/2 inch pieces, and leaves rough chopped

So, get your saute pan nice and hot. Put a little oil in. Put in your broccoli stems in and toss em around. Let them go for about a minute. Then add your oyster mushrooms. Toss those around, let them start to brown. Then add your green beans. Toss them around, and let them go for about half a minute. Then add the broccoli leaves. Toss them around, then add about 1/2 inch of water to the pan, and some salt. Cover it. Let it steam for 2 minutes. Then it's done. Eat it. I swear, it will taste good, even though it doesn't seem like much.

So we happily ate the shit out of that meal! Then the next day the FP bumped up the adobo by throwing some chicken in there, and cooking the hell out of it in the beef shank sauce. In a good way. What? Yes He Did! That is some illegal looking chicken and beef porn if I've ever seen it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Andre's the Giant Restaurant

So, I have heard of this place, and Caninecologne suggested it as well, so we went to Andre's last week. It's on Morena Blvd, off of Sea World Drive. Maybe it's not a giant restaurant, but it seemed so big. There appeared to be 2 or 3 dining rooms.

We went right around noon. There was a big group of cuban men there, so it's got to be good, right?

So the menu was not too complicated, which is always good for me. I was torn though (yeah, I know, I'm very indecisive and I always say this when we go to a new place) between roast pork and a cuban sandwich. The FP was getting the Ropa Vieja, of course. So I think we had just had some pork the day before, so I opted for the cuban. Yeah, I know, the cuban is made with pork. But it's in sandwich form, which is very different than combo plate form. They're like two different types of meat.

Anyhoo, it started to get a little busy. It's weird going out to eat during "lunch time" when almost the rest of the good old US of A eats. I don't like it. I like to be an early bird. Next thing you know, we'll be eating heavy stews and stuff at 8am. Oh wait, we already do that.

So, I forgot to mention that we also got a meat empanada and an order of yucca frita. Those came out first. I love the way the empanada is totally homemade looking.

The empanada had a nice flaky pastry. And the picadillo was good. Pretty standard, but good. It's kinda like a good meatball. You know, it's ground beef with seasonings. As long as there's not too much or too little of something in it, it's delicious. I was also debating on getting the picadillo sandwich - the sloppy jose - I guess you would call it. I was glad I didn't get it. Because while it was some good picadillo, it wasn't spectacular.

The yucca was nice and crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. The FP told me that these were frozen, like regular french fries. I have nothing against frozen fries. Sure, it's cool to do fresh handcut fries in certain situations, but there's nothing wrong with a frozen fry. So the yucca was okay, but it was plain. It was missing something. Then it dawned on me - mojo. So I asked for some mojo sauce. He brought it back fairly quickly, which was nice.

Whenever you ask for some kind of special side thing after you order, it's usually a pain in the ass. Let this be a suggestion to you fellow diners. If you know that you are going to need extra vinaigrette, mustard, hot sauce, tomato slices, mayo, a side of rice, a cup of fruit, extra gravy, a side of brie, avocado, toast, butter, whipped cream, chopped garlic, rouille, the little condiment carousel, or whatever, then order it when you order your meal. Of course, if you forget to order it, I guess that's excusable. Unless it's a habit. There are those diners, you know who you are, who routinely wait for their food to be dropped, and wait for the server to start walking away before they say, can I get some ketchup. Or my favorite are the ones who say, I asked for ketchup, when they did not. Or even better, the table that one by one asks for extras. Like the first person asks for ketchup. You come back to the table with ketchup, then someone else asks for mayo. You bring mayo, then they ask for hot sauce, you bring that, then someone says, I didn't want cheese on my sandwich. But they did not say that when they ordered.

Sorry. Didn't mean to get side tracked. Where was I? Oh, mojo sauce. garlic. And oil and salt and pepper. A little acid. Sounds simple. It is. But delicious. And quite tasty on yucca fries. It made them 90% better. Not that they were bad.

So as people's food kept coming out, it all looked really good. We were excited.

So then the main courses came.

The ropa vieja. This is like the spaghetti and meatballs of cuban cuisine. Or maybe the empanada is? For some reason I have this craving for spaghetti and meatballs. You know, I want to go to a cheesy old timey type italian restaurant and get the big serving bowl of spaghetti and meatballs.

Getting back to the meatballs, I mean the ropa. Beans and rice, ropa vieja. Standard plate setup. The ropa was not cooked to mush like at Tropical Star. But it was almost the opposite. It was as if it was cooked in a pressure cooker with water. Then at the traditional stage of doneness, it was pulled apart. Then to order, it was dunked in sauce and heated. It hadn't absorbed the flavors. Not bad, just not exciting the way cuban food is stereotyped to be. It wasn't like the ropa vieja was doing a cha cha cha in my mouth. Maybe a macarena.

So then there was my cuban sandwich.

You may be saying to yourself, she put the wrong picture up, I don't see a cuban sandwich there. Or you may be saying, did someone call that thing in the picture a cuban sandwich? Okay. I am definitely not an elitist or a purist or a traditionalist. (Although if you seem below me or like to fuse different components of different cultures or philosophies together, or you try to do things outside of what is considered the norm of societies standards and morals, you will most likely infuriate me and I will be certainly prejudiced against you.) But there are certain representations that need to be upheld or clarified. If I go to a cuban restaurant and order a cuban sandwich, I expect a fairly standard cuban sandwich, unless otherwise noted on the menu description.

So what is a fairly standard cuban sandwich? Well, it's on cuban bread, which is like french bread. I won't go into the minutia of why it's different than french bread. That's for a different blog. Anyhoo. Cuban bread. Roast pork. Ham. Swiss. Mustard. Pickle. Then press. Of course, there are variations depending on where you are, salami maybe. Lettuce, mayo and tomato (dressed as we say in nawlins). But anyhoo, that's the basics.

So what was conflicting with my "cuban"? Well, the most obvious element was the bread. It was some kind of smallish dense sesame seed laden dense baguette, not pressed. Just sitting there, like some kind of cold bastardized version of a croque monsieur. Why sesame seeds anyway? What the fuck were they doing there on my supposed cuban sandwich?

Okay, let's try to get through this. So some cold dense hardish baguette. It was very high too. As in, it was not pressed. One of the amazing things about the cuban is how you get all that flavor into a very flat amount of warm space. This is why they sometimes take a long time in the corner grocery store. That was a place in nawlins that had great sandwiches of all creeds and nationalities.

Getting back to Andre's cuban, not even an attempt at a press. Not even a half assed burn mark on the bread. Just cold and high.

So what else? Well, it had swiss, it had roast pork, it had ham. It had mustard. It had 2 thin bread and butter slices on pickle on it, spread about 2 inches apart. Which means that about 3/4 of the bites I took from the sandwich had no pickle, and the ones that did had a very slight taste of pickle because they were so so so thin. Pickle is one of the key elements that make it a beautiful national sandwich to behold. Pressed sandwich, good roast pork, a nice helping of mustard and lots of pickle. Pickle in every bite. It's just as important as the proteins in the list.

I can say that it was a big enough sandwich. With that dense bread it was very filling. And I had had a headache before we got to Andre's so I did scarf it down.

But what started out to be so promising turn out to be (not) flat and not a samba in my mouth.

So, unfortunately, I'm going to have to give Andre's a rating of \/\/ 4 chopsticks. It was pretty pricey, although they did have all kinds of different specials going on for lunch and every night for dinner. But I probably won't go back there for a while, being the po food ho that I am.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Meal Fit For a Food Ho

So, Sunday morning, we were talking about how we bought all these groceries, but didn't have any fixins for breakfast. So the FP came up with an idea, so he whipped it up while I sat on the couch zoning out to Sunday morning pregame or Meet the Press, or whatever was on. I'm not a football fan or a politics fan, but the FP is, and it's very relaxing to just half watch TV. TV was my best friend growing up, so I like the reassuring drone of it. So next thing I knew, he handed me this plate.

So basically, it was pork meatballs in a red mole sauce, and pigeon peas with mexican longanisa over rice.

I know enough to write a recipe, but I'll ask him if he can give you a rundown...Well, he's busy - working a lot this week - so this knockoff guy, the Food John said he'd stand in for The Food Pimp.

Oh, hey guys! What's shakin? This is the Food Pimp (actually the Food John impersonating the Food Pimp) coming atcha. Please, please, hold your applause til the end. (Does a spin and a finger point) So yeah, I was going to go for a 2 hour run, but instead I decided to cook a heavy kinda mexican breakfast. I'm the only person I know who can do a 180 like that. Sometimes I do a 360 though, because I change my mind again and end up going for the run instead. (Does another spin) But yeah, I just kinda cooked the sausage with the usual stuff and the pigeon peas. I'm very happy to say that they now have pigeon peas at Pancho's. Before they were hard to find around town, but now there's an expanded Goya section on the last aisle. So for the meatballs, it was just a kinda bastardized mole. You know, there's no rules for mole. It's like gumbo. Everyone makes it different. I made the pork meatballs with ground beef, I mean, ground pork, seasonings and egg - really simple. You know, a meatball. That's a spicy meatballs - I mean, that's a picante meatball. (It's mexicanish food, so I should use a mexican accent) I got the idea because the pork meat was so fatty that I thought they would be perfect for meatballs. Let me tell you. (Looks to right, then left) They were. You might be wondering why I had to do the side to side check. That's because these meatballs were so good, I don't think they're legal. So if the Fuzz comes for me, you'll know why. No, not my cat, the Fuzz, the cops. Did I show you a picture of the Fuzz? No, I don't believe it, hold on...

There's my precious perfect angel! Look at how sweet she is. When I come home, she runs and jumps into my arms. Okay, she doesn't, but I wish she would.

So, anyway, mole. I whipped up a mole type sauce, new mexico chilis rehydrated in water, garlic, onion, ginger, almond, cocoa, oil. So you know how chefs on tv say that everything they make is delicious - well they lie. But in my case, (looks to right, then left) this was delicious. I'm not saying that everything I make is delicious. But most of it is. Cooking is a scam. You just throw stuff together and make it taste good, and people pay you for it. And if you crack jokes while you're doing it, they eat it up! Literally and figuratively. Thank you, thank you.
Now you can give me that round of applause. Tell you what, you can even give me a standing ovation if you like. Not too long though - the Food Ho hates it when I follow her around stealing her sunshine. That's just one of the risks of being married to such a charismatic guy. It's not my fault, is it?

Monday, November 10, 2008

catching up with the food ho - there's a certain theme to this, but I can't quite put my finger on it....

So, I'm kinda backed up with a lot of meals. Guess I'll have to do a montage of in home cooking....pardon me if I end up putting up pictures of food I've already posted about. I just realized the dates on the camera are all wrong...

So this is a chicken and chick pea stew. I think it was from maybe a month ago or longer.

So this is the chicken curry and cactus and chick pea salad that the Food Pimp made during the time when he ate that bad clam..... The onion relish was so damn hot that I could only eat a teaspoon of it....

Oh look! Something different. This is a chicken, I mean chick pea and ground beef stew.

This appears to be a veggie stew with... chick peas in it.

Okay. Something different for a change....chick pea, oops, I mean chicken curry.

This is.... guess... you'll never get it. No, not chick pea stew. It's caribbean chicken stew. This one was really good. I remember. I liked the cabbage garnish with it.

Wait, how did that one get in there? That's American Chop Suey, no chicken, no chick peas.... but it does have tomato in it....and almost all of the preceding dishes had tomatoes, so there is some kind of connection.

Last, but least, Albertson's fried chicken. It smelled so good, but it was completely sogged out by the time we got home with it. And do you want to know what we ate with it? Huh? Of course you're dying of curiousity, you little cats...

YES WE DID!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Good Old Fashioned Pork Porn....Giggity Giggity

Oh Baby!

So, I thawed out the pork roast and roasted it before work. OMG! IWSFDITIWSM! It was a couple of pounds. I think we ate it in 2 meals, maybe. Okay, I realize the pictures don't do justice. It looks dry, but, if you were only there.....

Roasted Pork Butt Lazy Ho Style

1 pork butt roast
4 cloves of garlic
2 oz Tony Chachere's Seasoning Salt
1 T oil
1 oven
1 roasting pan
1 sharp chef knife
1 very large plate
1 - 2 very large appetite(s)

So I'm not going to repeat this. It's very complicated so pay close attention. So what you do, is you preheat the oven to about 375. Then you slice the garlic into little slivers. You coat these little slivers with some Tony’s. If you don’t know what Tony Chachere’s Seasoning Salt is, just Google it in another web browser tab. I’ll wait. There, did you find out what it was? Okay, getting back to the task at hand. Make little slits in the piece of meat all around on both sides, like your mamma used to do. Take the seasoned garlic and jam it in the slits. Take the rest of the Tony’s and liberally coat the roast with it. Don’t be afraid. It will bite but it won’t make you bleed. Coat the roast with a little oil and drop it on the roasting pan. Throw the roasting pan in the oven. After about half an hour, turn the oven down to 325. When it’s done, take it out. You can use a thermometer – or you can wait til the juices run clear. I use the latter method because I never calibrate my thermometers….

So this is the hard part. Let that puppy sit for like a few minutes. You want the juices to redistribute back into the meat evenly. You can pull a piece off with your hand to get a preview, but don’t go hacking into it as soon as you take it out. Now after 5 minutes, take your very sharp knife and slice nice thin slices. What? You say you want a big hunk o meat? Well, then cut a big hunk. But then, that’s not following the recipe, is it? If you want, cut yourself a big hunk, and a sliver. Taste both. Tell me which is more rewarding and sublime to consume. If you say the big hunk… well then you’re just wrong. As for what to serve it with…whatever you want. We made a mélange of beans, onion, tomato and rice of course. It was pretty delicious as well.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tropical Star So Close, Yet So Far

So, we have had the same practice space for a long time now. And all this time, we didn't realize there was this south american restaurant/store really close by. I hate myself for being slow to realize things like that.

This is how horrible my memory is. We went to find this place a couple weeks ago. I forgot to write or print out the address. I said, I think it's on Balboa. But I think I was looking up other things, like a furniture store we never went to, or something. So the FP was like, are you sure it's not Clairemont Mesa? And for some reason, I felt like it might be Clairemont Mesa. So we didn't find the place and went somewhere else... I can't remember where. 99 Ranch Market, mayhaps?

Anyhoo, I mapquested it last week, and we went there. It's a little tienda/cocina in a shopping center. I don't speak spanish, but there is no other way to describe it. Here - look at the pictures:

So the menu was pretty big for such a small place with like 6 tables inside and 1 outside. It was kinda warm in there - like in the tropics, very authentic. I assumed they did a good take out business. So I had pretty much predetermined what I wanted before we walked in. But I looked at the menu anyway.

The FP wanted what I was getting, so he got ropa vieja instead. I got the Lomo Saltado, of course.

So there was a guy by himself and two women ahead of us. We watched him bring them their food, which looked really good. It was torture. Then our food came. The lomo came with fries AND a cone of rice too! Double starch!

So the Lomo Saltado. According to the internets, it's steak marinated in like soy or wine or vinegar. I guess I have an affinity to the dish because it has that soy vinegar thing going. The first bite of lomo saltado actually needed salt. So I picked up the salt shaker that the FP had already tried to use. The salt was all caked in there. They had all that rice available and they didn't think to put any in the salt shakers. As I continued to eat it, I noticed there was more salt on the bottom layer, so if I mixed it, it was fine. The big chunks of cooked tomato were great, because they kinda added to the sauce of the dish. It was perfect. I didn't both too much with the rice, but when taking a bit of lomo, fries and rice, it added a creamy aspect to it that was good. I must say, I do prefer fried yucca with this, but these fries were pretty perfectly cooked.
The ropa vieja was a nice little combo plate, although the amount of ropa vieja looked a little small the way it was put on the plate. The salad looked bigger.

I didn't taste the salad, but the FP liked it. I think we had been eating a lot of meat and starch lately, so he welcomed the roughage, if you know what I mean. I really don't recall the taste of the black beans, but I do remember the plantains. The FP is just lukewarm about plantains. I love love love them. But these babys, the FP told me how great they were and gave me two. He had about 5 -6 on his plate, and he ate the rest. This means that he really loved them! They were nicely crispy carmelized on the outside and sweet and soft and starchy on the inside. The ropa vieja was too vieja. Usually, one braises the meat to a certain point, and then you shred it by hand and put it back into the sauce. This meat was cooked to the point where it shredded by itself and it was kinda starting to disintegrate. It was really tomatoey and sweet too. Not the best ropa, but the plate overall was pretty good, considering. I really liked my lomo, though. So judging on these two plates, I'll give a chopstick rating, because I don't know when we'll have money to go back. To split the difference, I think I have to give it a \/\/\/ six chopsticks award. Give me yucca and plantains with my lomo no extra charge and I'd probably have to change that....

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Bizarro pseudo- Texas Style Chili

So, as you dear regular readers may know, we've been makin groceries as they say in Nawlins. So we had a pork roast and a beef roast last week. But then the Food Pimp had his scary bout with foodborne illness, so I froze the meat. A couple days later when he was starting to feel better, I took out the beef and put it back in the fridge.

So we were makin groceries for one of his cooking classes, and I figured, hey, I'll make chili with the roast. You know, kinda Texas style, except with beans. So I got some stuff for it.

Do you ever decide to do something on the fly, and then you don't properly think it through and then you come home with the wrong groceries or without some things that you needed?

This is what happened to me. So I made this weird half assed chili. It tasted weird. It was a little better the next day, but still weird. Not quite chili - like.

Then the FP came home with leftovers from one of his classes. Ground beef and macaroni. So we added that to the mix. So then it was a bit more chili like, but freaky chili. But we ate it all, so it must have been good.

The Food Ho's Bizarro Psuedo- Texas Style Chili Mac

1 onion diced
4 cloves of garlic smashed and roughed up (give em a good scare so that they'll take you seriously next time)
1 chuck roast diced (and don't trim off all that fat like you want to)
1 32 oz can crushed tomatoes (I always pick the brand that's on sale - I'm a discriminating shopper with a cheap palate)
1 c beer or wine
1/4 c vinegar
2 T any random chili powders you have in the cupboard (just don't disturb the indian in there - I mean the Native American)
1 t bitters
1 T worcestershire (because that's all there was left, otherwise, I would have put more)
2 T chili powder blend
2 T salt
1 can white beans (republicans)
1 can black beans (democrats)
3/4 # ground beef
2 c cooked elbow noodles (why not knee noodles?)

So, I sauteed the onion and garlic, then I threw in the meat. Better to brown the seasoned meat, then saute the onion and garlic. You know, get the meat really really dark seared brown, not cafeteria food brown. But I made it cafeteria food brown. I think I was kinda in a hurry making it before work. Then I added the chili powders. Well, I think I did. If I didn't, I should have. Then I added wine and vinegar, worcestershire and bitters. Why bitters? Because I saw it in the cupboard and I thought I'd use it. We used to use it to make pepper pot at the Mango House. Then the crushed tomato went in. This is where I realized how weird it was. First, I didn't get any bell pepper. What a travesty. Then I realized I only got crushed tomatoes - no whole or diced. That made a difference. It was like some tomatoey beef thing. So I added lots of chili powder and salt and let it cook. When the beef was getting tender, I dumped in the beans and let it go another 10 - 15 minutes. It was weird. But it was okay. We ate it over rice, which is tradition in my family. But maybe it would be better for dinner.

So then later on, the FP brought home the ground beef, and we dumped that in and brought it to a boil. Then we heated the leftover macaroni and ate the chili with that instead of rice. It was better. Pretty good. But not the regular chili I used to make. Next time, I'm going old school with the chili. No messin with Texas...