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Sunday, November 27, 2011

That Place That Really Had A Big Influence On Our Lives

So, why so cryptic.  Sometimes, I don't like to name names.  Seinfeld reference, if you're old enough.  Anyway, I'm just going to write about this place that we went to for dinner when we were in Nola.  Both the Food Pimp and I worked there.  I worked there for 4 years from pantry chef (lol) to saute and grill to sous chef.  The FP worked the grill and saute station the first time.  The second time he became chef.  I don't want to directly name the place because I know people do google searches on restaurants.  I don't like to call attention to my true identity to people who don't already know I write this blog.  I don't want anyone I know to necessarily find it by chance, you know?

So, honestly, I wasn't too excited to go there.  I mean, we only had so much time in New Orleans.  I would have liked to go to an old favorite or to an exciting new place.  But, when we go to New Orleans, it's really all about the FP.  I'm not being sarcastic.  For me, I just love being there.  I'm such a bad friend (and family member) I don't really keep in touch with people outside of facebook.  So, when we go to Nola, the FP makes the plans.  I might try to make plans to see my one good friend, Ms Snowbliz, and maybe one or two other people, but the FP makes all the calls and texts.

Anyway, we were going to meet our buddy, Mr. Don't Worry It's Early, and his boyfriend.  This is the friend who offered their second bedroom for us to crash in.  Until the FP reminded him that we would have our cats.  So then Mr. DWIE said, "Oh, probably Sassy won't like that then.  She's a cranky old bitch."  So we didn't stay with them.  LOL.

So, we ordered some wine, we had some tapas.

Okay, so this first thing was sent out to us.  Blood sausage pate.  In a tube that you would dispense toothpaste or bengay from.  Blood sausage.  It looks like a tube of poop!  Funnily enough, it was pretty damn tasty.  Just not a tasty presentation!

Foie gras pate.  Very nice.  I liked the pate a lot.  Something was wrong with the pickles, though.  They were a little too sour - not enough salt.  But, that's just my little old opinion.

Grilled artichokes with this feta relish.  So fuckin good!  The char on the (canned) artichokes made them that much more yummy.  Yes, they were canned.  We know because we were told so by the chef.  But they were really good, nevertheless.

Classic dish - coriander tuna with avocado relish.  Okay, so the vinaigrette makes the dish.  This was the small portion, but I felt they could have not been so tight with the relish.  And the relish seemed to be all avocado, no tomato or green onion.  Now, don't get me wrong, I love love love avocado, but I like to have a lot of sauce and a lot of relish with things.  Some might say I drown my main ingredient with my accompaniments, but I like things with lots of ... stuff.

Sauteed sweetbreads with serrano, criminis, sherry beurre blanc.  Classic dish.  Pretty much the same.  The FP pointed out how they didn't really press the sweetbreads though, the way they used to.  That way, the little pieces crisp up evenly on the outside, creamy on the inside.  They were still really good though.

gambas al pil pil - shrimp with smoked paprika and garlic oil.  Shrimp were cooked nice enough.  I just thought it was okay.  What's the point of all that sauce though.  I don't know if we had any bread at that point - Mr. DWIE was eating all the bread.  Sure we could have asked for more.  But I always loved the original shrimp dish - sauteed shrimp with garlic, capers, basil and white wine butter sauce.  So fucking good.

Here's a photo from my spot at the bar.  I am a little pissed, because on the roof of the facade, the owner got these amazing Gaudiesque lights installed up there.  They are amazing.  I didn't take a picture of them.  After dinner, the staff was just hanging out, and everyone was so busy getting drunk and shooting the shit that I forgot to ask him about them.   That was a long night.  A loooooooooooong night.  I was pretty tired, and the smoke in the bar that we went to after was bothering me.  I can't handle smokey bars anymore!  We left the bar about 2 hours after I was ready to go back to the hotel room.  Not that it wasn't nice seeing everyone, but I was pretty sober at that point, and everyone else was just getting sloppy stinkin drunk.  It's not fun or amusing anymore for me to be around that.  Unless it's someone who is amusing when drunk.  Most people aren't amusing to me anymore when they're fall on their face drunk.  God, I'm such a fuddy duddy!

Anyway, our meal was overall, very delicious.  I can overlook the aspercreme tube only because the stuff inside was so good.  Obviously, if you want to know the name of the restaurant, it's on the tube!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Nola pass by Friday

So, we slept in.  The most sleep we had in a week or so.  Nice comfy bed, central ac.  For those of you who have the luxury of central ac, you probably don't understand how nice it is to have it.  Anyway, we walked around the quarter, got coffee at CC's, and then we pretty much went to Coop's Place.  The place we had been dreaming about.  The one place that we absolutely MUST go to every time we are in New Orleans.

It's a dive.  It's dingy.  It's dirty.  It's not the most appetizing place to go to, especially during the day.  They prep food out in the courtyard out back.  But it's delicious.

So, we knew what we wanted.  Well, we discussed everything, and we came to an agreement.

House salad with green goddess dressing:

This is the shiznit.  The dressing, that is.  It's green goddess dressing.  Doesn't sound exciting, right?  It is though, it really is!  There are any number of things I could eat with this - french fries, boiled potatoes, boiled shrimp, cucumbers, crackers, potato chips, okay, mostly potatoes... but it's delish!

Fried crawfish with a side of remoulade sauce:

I had been craving fried crawfish ever since I saw some on a Popeye's commercial a week or two prior.  That's how my mind works.  I get some food fixated in my head, and I can't stop thinking about it until I have it!


Okay, well, this sucked.  It was thin and bland.  Basically, it seemed like it wasn't ready but they served it anyway, and they dumped a bunch of file and other stuff in it to try to compensate.


As the FP says, it's not made in the proper tradition from a culinary point of view.  The rice is too mushy and overcooked.  But the flavor.  It's so fucking good.  It's really just some of the best jambalaya around.  I don't care what kind of culinary background whoever came up with this shit had, he or she is a genius.  And it tastes pretty much the same every time!


So, later, we went to see our friend and her new baby boy in Oschner, the hospital by the riverbend.  So, of course, on the way back, we needed to stop by Cooter Brown's for ersters (oysters).  Vince, the guy who has been shucking oysters there for I don't know how long, was still there, shucking away.  We got two dozen of the most perfectly shucked, plump, delicious, sweet, just briny enough gulf oysters.  Just wonderful.

We also got a link of boudin.  OMG.  Boudin.  Rich and flavorful and just delicious.

New Orleans.  If you've never been, you should go.

Coop's Place
1109 Decatur Street  
New Orleans, LA 70116-2605
(504) 525-9053

Cooter Brown's
509 South Carrollton Avenue  
New Orleans, LA 70118-1005
(504) 866-9104

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Traveling Food

(So, I started this post on last Thursday.  Sorry I have been absent from the Pork Porn Pages with all the stuff going on and the lack of internets.  We should be getting our service hooked up tomorrow, though!)

So, we've been on the road since Tuesday.  Here's what we've eaten:

Snacks packed for the trip:    Trail Mix with fruit, nuts, chocolate and yogurt covered peanuts
                                             Archer Farms strawberry and pomegranate granola bars
                                             2 packs Jack Links Beef Jerky
                                             1 case cans Diet Coke
                                             3 assorted vitamin waters
                                             bottled water
Lunch Tuesday :  Blimpie attached to a gas station - I got 6 inch turkey on wheat, FP got 6 inch beef on white - white bread was a little raw

Dinner Tuesday:  McDonald's - FP got a Big Mac combo with fries and blue powerade,  I got 20 mcnuggets and fries -  nuggets were very old, and too many were fried at once, some had the soggy spots from overcrowding

Wednesday morning:  breakfast at the hotel - FP- yogurt, coffee, OJ, orange   Me - coffee, yogurt with half a stale muffin crumbled into it, and a hard boiled egg

Wednesday lunch:  Wendy's at a gas station -  FP - chili and crispy chicken caesar salad,   Me - Monterey Ranch Chicken Sandwich (bun, lettuce, ranch sauce, cheese, chicken patty - needed more stuff)  and a cheeseburger

Wednesday dinner:  Taqueria Jimador - FP - shrimp and beef fajitas

Me - barbacoa gordita  and el pastor gordita

Thursday lunch:  McDonald's -  FP - burger,  me - Fries

Thursday snack:  Andouille sausage from the crock pot at a Chevron -  this was like the best thing the whole trip!!!!  I mean, the casing was tough and leathery and wrinkly, but the filling was tender and so juicy and so delicious.

Thursday night:  Jackson's on Magazine.  So, it Sugar Magnolia when we lived in New Orleans, but it is now called Jackson's.  We wanted to go to Coop's, but our friend who never had eaten at Coop's didn't want to go.  I understand that it's a nasty dive bar, but the food there is delicious!  Anyway, Jackson's was a nicer atmosphere.  The food...not so nice....

Okay, the mussels and fries were tasty.  The mussels came with a nice tasso wine sauce.  The mussels were not really served conveniently for sharing.  It came in a big bowl and we got little side plates - like square b&bs, no spoons to get the sauce out though.  So our friend offered to deshell all the mussels.  I thought it was strange...but they seemed to want to eat it that way.  So we watched her remove the shells and put them on a plate and leave the mussel meat in the bowl.

The FP's chicken and sausage gumbo, with what you can see was a very dark roux.  The waiter explained that is was a dark roux.  The flavor was okay, it was kind of separated.

The waiter, by the way, was the most interesting thing about the dinner.  He had a rather...intriguing...accent?  We were trying to figure out if it was his real voice or if he was just doing it for shits and giggles.  Our friend guessed that it sounded like the teacher on South Park.  You could also say he sounded like a Seth McFarlane character... like a banker type or something.  Anyway, it was very very distracting.

Here is my washed out picture of my shrimp and grits.  Cheddar grits were great.  Shrimp was grilled, mostly mealy, some were a little soft...like maybe a tad bit under.  The sauce.  I'm sorry, the sauce was horrendous.  It was like a tangy nightmare.  So, as the FP pointed out, it was like the chef was trying to make something similar to  Emeril's BBQ shrimp sauce, but it was way too reduced or too much worcestershire.  Ugh.  I tried to eat what shrimp were palatable, and I ate the grits.

Here is the washed out picture of the FP's shrimp romesco.  You can't really tell, but it's a similar appetizer sized version of the shrimp and grits.  Shrimp and grits and shrimp romesco ain't the same thing ya'll!!!!!!!  Okay, well, they were slightly different.  So, it had balsamic drizzle all over it, like a chain linked fence. instead of the tangy nightmare sauce I had, it was a different tangy mess.  And the cheddar grits, which as I said were good.  The FP's shrimp were the same mealy crustaceans.  And then the "romesco".  It was a yellow bell pepper sauce that seemed to be a chunky pepper puree without a trace of nut flavor in it.  As everyone knows, romesco is a pepper, garlic, olive oil type sauce.  It needs the nuttiness to make it yummy.  

Anyway, let's not dwell on the nasty part of the dinner.  We had a nice bottle of wine, good mussels, great company, and interesting service.  Our friend's sister did get this amazing looking jerk half chicken that she said was really good.  So, if you go there, maybe get the jerk chicken.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Home On The Range

So, I sat down to write this, but I was lured into the kitchen by the siren call of the Nutella.

I knew I should not have bought this, but I kept seeing it in the store.  So, I pretty much have to eat a slice or two of bread with nutella on it every day, usually in the afternoon.  I can't help it.  And I usually want more than one slice, but I literally have to hold myself back.

Anyway, getting back to the topic.  Last Wednesday was the FP's last show with his band at the Ruby Room.  He has such a big influence on the band, that they have most likely disbanded.  Okay, it wasn't all because of him, it just seemed like a logical time for the band to split up.  Anyhoo, we got there early because some dumb person who obviously knows nothing about running live shows told them they had to load in at 6:30 pm.  So we got there around 7pm.  So, the FP, the band leader and I went to the Range, which is the restaurant at the front of the strip.

So, this seemed to be one of those doomed to fail locations.  I mean, it is large, with a loft or mezzanine level and very visible.  The first restaurant was a middle eastern place.  I think we ate there once.  I don't remember anything wrong with the food, but the place was always empty.  And they would never let anyone park in the parking lot in the spaces in front unless they were going to eat there.

So, then, the Ruby Room bought the space and opened up the Ruby Kitchen.  I guess it was supposed to be a more classy upscale loungey place with comfort food.  The hot dogs were bad.  I don't remember exactly what was wrong with them, but not good.  That's all I ever had from there.  But the place was even slower, if possible.  And I think the hours were weird.  Like they opened late, and at first tried to stay open late.  But then no one ever went in there, so the staff was cut, and the hours were cut.  I did read on the internet that the meatloaf cupcakes were good.  I guess not good enough to keep the place open.

The next thing I knew, there was some sports bar in the place.  Another total decor change.  Very sports barred up with the beer and sports signs and TVs.  But I don't even know how long that place existed.

Cut to last week.  Total image change again with the new restaurant, The Range.  So, as you can probably guess, the place has craft beer and an organic, all natural type menu.  The place looked great. Different colored wood panels and barbed wire and chicken wire and stuff.

So, anyway, since the FP was playing a gig, he didn't want to fill up.  So we split a burger.
Mushroom swiss burger with housemade bread and butter pickles and sweet potato fries.

So, the fries were limp and sad.  But they tasted like sweet potatoes and I was hungry, so I ate them all.  Guess I should have gotten the handcut potato chips that Bandleader got, they were way better.

The mushrooms were a melange of yummy cultivated varieties - it looked like there were oyster lobster shrooms in the mix.  It was really good.  Way more exciting than the usual button mushrooms, and they were cooked very nicely.

The pickles were the really big hit though.  Interestingly enough, they tasted a lot like my pickles I used to make - the same proportions of sugar, vinegar and salt, and that pickling mix.

The burger was seasoned and a good quality meat, but it was overcooked. :(  We asked for medium, and it was medium well, closer to well.  It still tasted good though.

So, we had a few beers too, they had Green Flash Hop Head Red, and I had something else... Stone Pale Ale, I think.  Just standards.  Although, soon, these will not be my local beers!  :(

So this place looks like it has something good going.  Hopefully it will be able to break the curse!

The Range Kitchen & Cocktails
1263 University Ave
SD, CA 92103


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I Just Don't Get It!

So, my palate must just be way off.  So, we went to South Beach Bar & Grill last week, to catch the sunset on the beach, and to enjoy beer and food while looking at the Pacific.  So, we went to South Beach in OB.  I have heard people say that they had the best tacos, and I guess the place has won awards.  And it was tuesday, so $2.50 taco Tuesday.

So, the upstairs area was full, and it didn't look like the upstairs patio was open.  So, we got a table downstairs where we could still see the ocean.  It didn't really matter though.  The sky was so overcast that we didn't really get to see the sunset. And we had hurried to get to the beach on time.  :(

So, we got some beers and we ordered some food.

So, here was the fried baby octopus.  So, the first most obvious thing is that it was deep fried with no dredging or batter.  So, we were open.  The first one was too chewy.  The second I had was smaller and more tender.  The sauce it came with was just cocktail sauce.  We ate kind of a lot because we were probably just hungry, but the cooler they got the more inedible.  So, last time I had the octopus cocktail which was not good.  So they just seem to not do octopus well.

So this, while it was a huge portion, was too big.  It was ceviche cocktail.  So, it was mushy, and it was sweet from the tomato juice or ketchup.  So, once again, we ate it, but it got grosser the more we ate.

Chips and salsa and guacamole.  Salsa was like weird.  It was made with canned tomatoes.  It definitely wasn't the worst thing on the table, but not great, to be sure.  The guacamole was like the best thing.  It was made with one or two avocadoes, plenty.  So, we used it to make the other food taste better.  The guacamole was the first thing to go.

So here are the famous award winning fish tacos, no cheese.  I got the fried ones, because I remembered something about the grilled fish being underseasoned or something.  Then I remembered.  They use a whole fish fillet for the tacos.  So the big piece of grilled fish was kind of bland.  I had to make sure not to get the cheese on it, because it was just like cheddar and monterey jack or something, which I do not think goes on a fish taco.  The condiments on the fish taco are good, and the fried fish was good, but it's just too big.  The tortilla fell apart after a while.  Sure, for $2.50 each, it's a good deal, but I can't help but think that the price for the portion colors the opinions of those who say it's the best fish taco in San Diego.  It's good.  It's better than a lot of fish tacos I have had.

But I wouldn't call it the best.  It was the best compared to the fried octopus and the ceviche cocktail.  Luckily, the server was cool and gave us the happy hour prices, even though I think happy hour was technically over before our order was put in.  So, at least we didn't spend a shit load on food we didn't like.  But I think there was nothing wrong in the execution of the food.  I think they made everything as they intended.  I just personally did not like the ceviche and the octopus and the salsa.  I just don't get it.  Maybe that's part of why I need to leave San Diego.  Maybe if I did open a restaurant here no one would like my food.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A picture is worth.... $11.50?

Not much to write today.  Home cooking:

 Arroz con pollo.  Man, I love this stuff.  I could say I love it as a very very very close second to paella! I love paella.  But when the Food Pimp makes arroz con pollo, it's really almost as good as his paella, and cheaper too!

So, I have been roasting chicken so often, because it's easy and it's cheap.  This was a hispanic type of roast chicken with coriander and new mexico chili powder.  About 30 minutes before I pulled the chicken out of the oven, I threw in sliced onions and garlic.  Ten minutes before pulling it out (feel free to insert a dirty joke here), I put in chick peas and (frozen) green beans.  They just bathed in the chicken juices. Yum.  Chicken juice bath.  All the dogs in the neighborhood would be chasing me if I did that!
Black beans were simple.  Onion, garlic, coriander, tomato sauce, salt and pepper.  Then, I took the leftover polenta from the Newman's Own demo #2, and I diced it and fried it up like home fries.  I gotta say, it was a pretty good dinner.  Toot Toot!  (my own horn)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Crispy Pork Gang

2 weeks ago, we were in LA.  It's like we go there all the time!  Well, short trips.  Anyhoo, the FP's band had a gig up there, so we stayed overnight.  So, I was starved by the time we left the venue.  We were looking for a place to eat on the way back to the hotel, and we found Tommy's.  So we stopped there and got like 6 pounds of food to go so we could eat it in the hotel.

So here is the chili dog.

Here are 2 shots of my chili cheeseburger, which was actually better that the chili dog.  That is a surprise, because I love hot dogs, but the burger tasted better than the hot dog.

Here are the, you guessed it, chili cheese fries mess.  They were a mess.

We were starving, but we didn't eat all of it.  That's a lot of chili.  You would never want to eat this stuff sober, that's for sure!

So, the next day, we wanted to eat Thai food, since we had never been to Thai Town in LA.  So we drove around a bit randomly looking for a place, when we finally just parked on Hollywood Blvd and picked a place at random.  We didn't even know what the name of it was until we were leaving.  If we had known the name, we would have definitely went there.

So, we ordered.  And we waited.  We waited a while.  But we weren't gonna get pissed because it was taking long.  Maybe that was a good sign.   And we noticed that the credit card machine was not working, so we would have to get cash out.

Here's part of the menu:

So, it was a warm day.  So I got a mango bubble tea.  Yum, bubble tea.

We got panang curry.  That is our favorite thai curry.  I think we ordered it 5 spicy, so I think it wasn't as curried and strong as it could have been.  I think we should have ordered it 7 and it would have been better.  Still a good flavor though.

Holy shit!  Holy crap!  Holy Mary mother of Crispy pork!!!!!!!!!  Pork with mint leaves!!!!! OMG, this blew away any pork with mint leaves that we have gotten at Sab E Lee in the past year.  It's gone down at Sab E Lee, which made this shit taste even more amazing probably.  The pork was like chicharone crispy.  It had the mint and the chilis and the green onion and the sauce.  Deefuckinglishus.  I mean, one of the best pork dishes I have ever had.  Ever.  Perfect really.

BEST - PAPAYA - SALAD - EVER.  Sab E Lee was always way better than anything I've ever had anywhere else, but this was better than Sab E Lee.  This was like the last thing that showed up at our table because they were making it to order.  I had seen someone in the kitchen grating the papaya.  It tasted so fresh, but the flavor of the sauce was clinging to the papaya.  This shit is so good.  I wish we could go there and get this one last time.  SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good!

Here's the decor in the place.

So, here's the facade of the restaurant

Of course we would have eaten there!


Crispy Pork Gang
5253 Hollywood Blvd.
at N Hobart Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 465-9796