Thursday, 11 July 2013
Tuesday, 23 October 2012
Ariel Pink must have been particularly hungry! Here he is on Food Gold, hosted by Elliot Aronow, quite possibly the most dull, unplanned piece of cooking programming I have ever set my eyes upon...Ariel stays true to his lyrics, but no lettuce onion or tomato, nor does any bread come his way. Fucking hell, talk about unplanned! I think this guy just happened to have a camera and was wandering down in SoHo and saw Pink and forced him into a kitchen where he knew some guy that had some food on hand. I mean, shitstains! A schnitzel should at least be pork! i know ariel is a jew (last name: Rosenburg) but come on, he doesn't sing 'i'm eating chicken schnitzel.'
Being the truly wise man he is, he eats half the thing then exits kitchen door right like he truly doesn't give a fuck! Brilliant!. Then host Elliot, in bombast hipster form, gives props to the chef and talks ad-lib into the camera with a mouth full chicken. Stick with the music!
Here are the lyrics:
Tuesday, 16 October 2012
El Mejor Chile En Nogada Del Mundo M.R.
|finding this sign, quite an achievement|
|bright and colourful and overflowing with el grito swag!|
|So this is what the best on the planet looks like...|
|It's Rich. Rich Rich Rich!|
|So that's where the beef and pork and beans and onion and banana and apple and pear and almond and acitron and cinnamon and tomato were hiding...|
The Poblano chile, is grilled and peeled, and in the case of Chile en Nogada, it is mild in taste and only the very largest and best shaped chiles are selected. Once they are ready, one or sometimes two, depending again on the size factor, are stuffed to the brim, to near explosion actually. This magical stuffing consists of nearly 50 ingredients. The cornerstones of this mix being beef and pork mince with three types of beans, onion, banana, apple, pear, almond, acitron, cinnamon and tomato. The result is a very sweet, rich and fragrant taste which is complimented brilliantly by the walnut cream and the garlic infused rice (an invention from Chef Adalberto). The walnut sauce, is a simple yet rich sauce that has a slight french injection to it, again courtesy of Chef Adalberto. Made from Nuez de Castilla (Mexican walnuts, which obtain a slightly different taste from your ordinary everyday walnut), fresh sheep milk cheese, milk, cream and a good splash of brandy, gives the sauce exactly the richness it needs.The pomegranate providing a bit of bitterness and texture to the dish. Without the pomegranate the dish would be lacking some much needed body and texture on the palate and is liberally distributed upon the plate. Otherwise it would be like eating a big old sloppy, meaty, creamy mess, not that there's anything wrong with that when it tastes like this one! The nicely shaped deep fried platano (banana), tops the plate in order to symbolise the Penacho, a native Aztec head dress, that you generally see older male natives wearing as they prepare for El Grito with traditional native smoke ceremonies and dances in the Zocalo. And of course rounding off the dish is a little mexican flag flying strong on top of the white covered mountain of stuffed chile Poblano. Cheesy? Yes. Patriotic and definitely Mexican? Yes.
|The Penacho. I think i prefer the fried banana version personally.|
|The all important Dried Ancho Chile and Chile Poblano, spot the differences?|
He tells me the secret which sets his mole apart from the Jose-blo junk you might get elsewhere. The mole chillies are picked and cut and dried from fresh right on the very farm where he gets them from. It creates a more divided taste in the dish. First the sweet of sugar and chocolate, next the palate pleasing taste of 57 different herbs and spices that make up the rich taste of the mole, then followed by the spiciness of these specially picked and dried chillies to finish the palate. 'It's a taste you dont ordinarily get from your average mole because they buy the cheap dried chillies from the stalls at the mercad.' Adalberto claims. And his claim is the truth! All you have to do is order Mole rojo elsewhere and it will start sweet and end sweet on the tongue.
Thursday, 11 October 2012
|Hustle Bustle upon the Zocalo (main square) in Centro Historico D.F.|
|Keepin' it clean...handy location by the entrance/exit|
Miguel (the Mexican translator), tells me that if I'm interested in food, I have come at the perfect time for the Mexican National Dish, Chile en Nogada, which is only available seasonally from the end of August until the beginning of October. Like many locals here in DF, their willingness to help you and show you the best that this city has to offer travels through miguels viens heavily. He is immediately on his iphone, searching for me. what for, I dont know exactly. Then he is excusing himself from his Japanese counterpart, getting on the phone with one of his friends. He tells me that he is finding out where the best Chile en Nogada in the city is. I am trapped for a few minutes, furthering my knowledge of how great it is to be an architect in Paris and how tomorrow morning some poor bastard will be sitting beside this Japanese guy in first class all the way back to Paris, his knowledge will be far more extensive than mine in the field of how important this fucking guy is. He will be a professor in the field, perhaps earning his PhD before the plane lands safely at Charles de Gualle. Not to worry, Miguel is back, asking for use of my moleskin and pen. He quickly goes to work, writing it all down for me as it is being dictated to him over the phone: 'chile en nogada...independence day...el grito...la poblanita...colonia san miguel chapultepec...'
|Miguel, hard at work on his iphone, Bohemia lookin' good!|
I drown myself in a few more of these Bohemia Obscuras. At 5.5%, they go down dangerously smooth, i accompany it with some papas a la francesa (the cheapest option in almost any drinking establishment, though you will have to ask for it, it is unlikely to appear on the menu...) Opera Bar is not the place to come to for a few cheap ones, its has a much more relaxed, regality to it, like something expertly hacked right out of Champs Elysees and placed amongst slowly sinking and crumbling buildings. The decor, highly Francophonic as well. It makes sense that Miguel took his Nipponese Parisian here. But at 37 Pesos ($2.80US) per Bohemia, you are paying for your surroundings and the cordial barman in his suit and bow tie.
|quite the francophonic interior|
The house Mariachi band comes out of the woodworks. I cease scribbling in my moleskin. Sink back the remainder of my Bohemia, pay the cordial man, and head for the door. First getting a good squeeze of that Purrell. And off i get, to find the best Chile en Nogada in DF. Little did i know it would be even better than that!
Wednesday, 10 October 2012
Wednesday, 26 September 2012
Los Angeles. Nothing to report here...all is a little too safe...all is a little too unclean...even on the clearest of clear evenings.
As it almost always is whenever I arrive for a stop over in Los Angeles, the outskirts of the city are a-light with flames. Yes L.A. is burning again. I decide that my one afternoon and night in Los Angeles should be fittingly lit up as well.
I check into my airport hotel, the four points by Sheraton lax, a mid level hotel, not too much but certainly not a rotten suburban druggie slum like last time (holiday inn Inglewood, thanks powers that be for that one!). Upon check in, I cab it to Venice beach, to my favourite dive sports bar right on the boardwalk, Danny’s, always good for a few beers and a quality certified angus beef pastrami sandwich, cant be beat! And it's only a stones throw to the Venice Skate Park!
I meet two friends, both Czech immigrants to the US, both hockey and beer nuts, we whisk the afternoon away, them talking about the triumph of the kings a few months back and how they still play roller hockey against Lucky Luc. I tell them I’m staying at the four points Sheraton lax, they quickly murmur to one another in mother tongue, and come to the conclusion that we should all go there, they have a bar there that serves the best selection of local beers in all of California and a premium Belgian selection too. We jump in a cab and head back through marina del ray across to lax.
The bar, we find, is called Brewster’s, how fitting...like naming a steakhouse, rancher's, or a vegetarian restaurant, gardener's.
First up, is an extensive beer menu, covering over 100 bottled brews. Including locally crafted beers from all over California. Some from as close as el Segundo, a mere few miles from lax. Also thrown into the mix are some west coast beers from Oregon and Washington State. And, just to show that they can compete with the big boys, there is a liberal helping of craft and traditional beers from all over the planet, including Canada, Mexico, Germany, Ireland, United Kingdom, and a generous amount of bottled Belgian delights.
|i done got me the THIRST!|
Beyond this, there is a tap menu including 10 exquisite tap beers. We all try the pescadero pilsner from the Ballast point brewing co. (4.6%, 16oz (1pint) for 7usd)
One menu item catches my eye, the 'I dare you' hot wings. A combination of jalapeño, Habanero and Serrano chilies, concocted into a smooth sauce with lime juice, spices and a pinch of salt and sugar. To eat one pound of these wings in less than two minutes, you receive fifty percent off your entire tables bill. At first I think that maybe I have drunk far too much quality whiskey and taken too many huffs upon Cuban purritos in the afternoon in Venice to make a valid attempt, but with a little bit of old fashioned Czech banter (ie: calling me a fucking pussy for ten straight minutes) and a great deal of beer courage, I decide to order them.
At first the young Hispanic waitress tries to deter me, saying I should have the regular wings, they are much better for 'you' (wow! racial profiling! like a white man can handle the Mexican heat). I tell her no, that I will be going for the 'I dare you' two-minute challenge. She kinda laughs, 'well, I suggest that you have a blue house citra pale ale to match the hot sauce.' The citra pale ale is from the el Segundo brewery. It’s the best beer to calm down the intense chilified flavour (5.5%, 7usd/pint). The blue house is light and fruity with hints of lemon peel and orange, with a hoppy finish, yet seems to leave the pallet feeling rather fresh. They know what they are talkin' bout...
The wings appear before me, absolutely smothered in the beaming vibrant orange sauce. You can feel the scolville scales breaking as your mouth and eyes begin to water simultaneously. I have a moment of silence before the clock begins. My Czechs full of laughter and shitty attempts at moral support.
|Habanero (rate 200,00 to 350,000 on the Scoville scale) Serrano (rate 8,000 to 23,000 on the Scoville) and Jalapeno (a laughable 2,500 to 8,000) Saucy!!!|
The clock starts, I dive in!
The first wing goes down a spicy treat, I grab another one instantly after putting the down the first meatless bone. 'Shit! Its a builder!' I look at my Czechs, as they laugh uncontrollably, telling my, 'ay, c'mon day-veed, hurry facker, hurry the fack man!' Suddenly my lips are on fire, as I mulch into the second wing, my entire pallet going up in flames, but it tastes damned good besides the immense heat. 'Hot as fuck but tasty' I say to the waitress and she stands non-chalantly watching the clock, obviously this is nothing new to her, a drunkard attempting to burn his stomach out for a few bucks off the bill. After the second and third and fourth, I am getting rather teary eyed and I can feel my body beginning to sweat in its regular sweaty places. 'Sweet Christ!' one minute left and I’m half done, I drink a bit of the watery blue cheese dressing and gun in for the remaining four wings. I make it with four seconds left to spare. The Czechs are pleased, I am dying, the beer, doesn’t seem to be helping in any way, my lips burning, my tongue continuing to get hotter and hotter. I’m laughing and crying. A good sign, I think. I feel a ball of fire coagulating in my stomach, engulfing everything it touches. Its odd and a little painful and secretly pleasing.
The waitress, gathers the two bartenders, tells them I did it, then wanders off to the kitchen pass, and starts blathering in Spanish to the chefs, who all come out and are smiling at our table. I feel kinda important for some reason, but mostly I feel like I’m getting in touch with my Jewish heritage, getting half off the entire bill.
Soon the main bartender and one of the young Hispanic chefs come over to the table and discuss the quality of the sauce with me and congratulate me on my efforts.
We all have a few more beers, me sticking with the Blue House citra pale ale, hoping it will take the heat away. Then we split the house cubano sandwich (roast turkey, bacon, ham, pastrami, napa cabbage, pickled jalapeños, Monterrey cheese, chipotle sauce and lime mayo). In American fashion, the sandwich weighs roughly a kilogram. And the bun aint very big! It comes with a giant pile of spiced potato wedges. Just to be a hero I ask for a side of the ‘I dare you’ sauce to go with the wedges, just to make sure the Czechs still think I’m crazy after all these years.
I finish the night with my favourite Canadian beer from my favourite Canadian brewing company, a trios pistoles (9%, 341ml 9.5USD).
The next morning the burning pit in my stomach is faint yet noticeable, I check out and head over to lax, off to my next destination, ready for any heat that can be thrown my way (good thing too, 'cause I'm headed here).
And hey! if you are lucky enough, be there on the third wednesday of every month, when they do free tastings! plan your L.A. layovers accordingly!
Sunday, 26 August 2012
In a protoplasmic attempt at food writing, i originally sold a certain hipster american foodie print juggernaut on this story, but i went stale or they went fresh, so i shat the bed one night and decided to go rogue. i draped my inspectors cape upon my hunched shoulders and began this speil in the glow of the midnight rain of a wellington monday morning...
It's 4:47am, our options for drinking any further are becoming compromised to only a selection of the best (worst?) that courtney place has to offer. Yes, the golden mile! The golden mile shouldn't need introduction to locals, but for those not privy to its fantasticalness, try this for the goods. We started here, as we always do, then onwards on any given Thursday or Friday or Saturday night, there may well be a little bit of this or this, we're usually good for a jug or two here, and then wander onto the beaten track for a few quality ones here and if things are looking a little faded or confused and desperate, this might happen, where i have been told time and time again; 'don't touch the lights!' There are others too, but forget them all. They are merely brief stops before the final destination. no, i dont mean the puke filled gutter that is Inglewood place. or some diseased whore plantation. or a soft pair of thighs. or the comfort of your own cookie crumb filled sheets. I refer to the one and only late night authentic chinese haven that is KC Cafe. Wellington's only credible late late night dining spot.
|A regular site for late night Courtney Place: Former colleagues being arrested outside night clubs...|
For a city who's closest chinatown is a three hour and twenty minute flight away, life can become difficult for those who need that late night fix to clot up all the beer and rum and whiskey and egg whites and hendricks soaked cucumber before the next morning rises and reality, that cruel bitch, kneads back in yet again. KC Cafe is the only option for those of us that 'pffft' at the thought of a saw dust laden big mac or vaguely consider a quintuple cheeseburger with a giant battered onion ring on top, but then plummet back to the realisation that burger king stopped doing that sorta thing a long time ago now. for those that are brave enough, there are some bai-marie's at a chicken chop shop just down the road from KC. that could leave you a bit worse for ware than the seven rum shots and absinthe redbull that will be caving your head in the following sun up. TRUST ME.
KC does authentic Northern Chinese Cuisine, with a sporadic mix of Chinese and Malaysian Classics throughout the billboard sized menu that goes from floor to ceiling. You can order anything from the salt and pepper duck heads, to sambal whole king prawns, to chili pork, to, decidedly the go-to dish, braised beef brisket with noodles.
Once the food arrives, it will be plowed down and devoured like the fantastic mr. fox's we all are. the long distance trip that is dish to chopsticks to mouth can be quite the shit fight. The table slowly turns into an omaha beach aftermath, with many, many valued capsicums, onions, noodles, greens being left behind, in the battle against drunken hunger. It looks a little like this:
Then comes that part of the night when its all over. The elderly chinese man with his red bucket comes along to wipe the linoleum clean of the savagery just bespoke upon it. You feeling a bit more sober, have a good look at the old man and his task and look around the table to see everyone holding in their laughter or shame as frantically as a mouse on the run.
|holding the laughter...not an easy task at this stage of the evening|