Monday, December 21, 2009

Getting freaky with the French 75

If a nice glass of wine is the person you want to marry, then a cocktail must be a capricious fling or better yet, a kinky escapade. Please let me introduce you to my very special friend the French 75. It's essentially cognac and champagne tarted up with a little sugar and lemon. Refreshing, delightfully inebriating, yet classy and grown up in all the right ways and ready to slap you around a bit. Originally concocted by World War I flying ace Raoul Lufbery, it was named after the 75mm French artillery canon, which gave quite a jolt to anyone nearby. Currently showing at the bar at 5 & 10.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Flamin' Anus hot sauce

Calling all hot sauce collectors! Here is your holy grail. Ok, some people can't cope with the label but I think it's nothing short of brilliant. Lovingly crafted by multi-talented artisan (and waiter) Bob Fernandez using Stigler's Farm tabasco peppers, smoked paprika (hence the "smokey butt"), vinegar and salt. Aged one month as mash and "open top" finished for one week. I tried some on grits and got a super warm, palate encompassing heat that pleasantly lingered on the middle of my tongue. Seriously hot but not stupidly hot. I have yet to see if it lives up to it's name. Only six bottles produced. If I play my cards right maybe I can get one next year...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

When citrus reigns SUPREME

One of the things I look forward to every winter is all the great citrus fruit piling up at markets at great prices. Red rubies, navel oranges, blood oranges, satsumas (one of the best tangerines) and all their wonderful kin. A great way to expand your citrus horizons is to learn how to cut supremes. A supreme is a citrus section that has been cut out to exclude the outer peel (and pith) and the separating membrane. It's not hard to do, and kind of fun, but you do need a little practice. Once you have a nice little pile of these babies you can store them in the fridge and throw them into salads on a whim or use them to accompany raw, smoked, or seared seafood. Don't be afraid to go savory with salt, pepper, olive oil, hard cheeses, balsamic, avocado, etc. They are also great to just eat alone as a snack or dessert. Kids that won't even look at a grapefruit will gobble these down like gummy bears. Here's a video of how to turn your paring knife into a citrus saber with Syd Barret's Baby Lemonade in the background. enjoy!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Shift Log

There are few antics to report from last night because we were so jamming. From 7 to 9:30 there was an ass in every seat. The patio was packed with a six course wine tasting dinner with rivers of 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape flowing (including two bad-ass whites, ignore white CdP at your own peril!). Then a fifteen top of twenty somethings descended like a flock of starlings. The house was buzzing and everybody brought their A-game. No drama, no raised voices, great looking plates flying out of the kitchen at an alarming rate, drinks flowing off the bar (nice work Sarah!). You couldn't even get into the dish washing station cause there were two or three people in there unloading at any given moment. Then, suddenly at 10:30, the place emptied out all at once, like after a concert or something. It was kind of weird doing our closing work without the soft din of a few late tables riding out a nice dinner. Oh well...the machine had done it's job...time to turn it off and go home...

Spatchcock--the breakdancing turkey

Need to cook a twelve pound turkey in an hour and ten minutes? Spatchcock that sucker. My mom (who keeps me abreast of what's going on in Martha Stewart world) hipped me to this. A Spatchcock is a game bird or small chicken that's been butterflyed for easy grilling but the same technique will work for a twelve pound gobbler on a half-sheet pan. You need some poulty shears but you will save time, oven space, and end up with a moister bird. Check it:

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Secret Sip

Secret Sip is a wine guessing game we play after our shift at 5 & 10. Under a shroud of secrecy, resident wine dork (sorry...Wine Director) Steve Grubbs pulls something out of the cellar, decants it, and then makes us wait like an hour (which seems like an eternity at 10pm) for whatever he's opened to put on it's makeup and get presentable. Just when we've all given up hope, five glasses appear and we all scurry off to our little sipping dens. Eyebrows furrow, non verbal savouring sounds are emitted, and we slowly sneak up on, stumble over, or completely sidestep the wine's true identity. What's great is we get to try some high-end stuff without laying out too much money (we find that splitting the cost of the bottle and buying it from the restaurant does wonders for job security). So that's the Secret Sip protocol. Tonight's victim is detailed below