Sunday, May 27, 2007

A few months ago, Kerrie and I were at Jungle Jim's (as we so frequently are) and I picked up a bottle of Rieme Traditional Limonade Artisanale. After we got home I stuck it in the cooler and sorta kinda forgot about it.

Jumping ahead, one night I made Steak Frites and we had this limonade with it. And let me say, it was freakishly amazing.

But wouldn't you know it, the next time we went grocery shopping there wasn't any left. I realized, thinking back, that it was a sale item on a display near the front door to promote a quick sale. I dragged Kerrie back to the French section of the store, but all they had was a sickly yellow lemon drink that I was NOT about to go near.

So the quest began, a mission if you will, to create my own version of this amazing drink. It was a sparkling beverage, very light and only slightly sweet. The beauty of this lemonade was that it wasn't sugary and "sticky" tasting. Amazingly enough, I came up with a recipe very quickly without much effort at all and it really came close. So close, in fact, that I'm not really worried about finding this product ever again.

Sparkling Limonade

1 Cup Sugar
1 1/2 Cup Water
1 Stalk Lemongrass, Chopped
1 T Lemon Juice
1 T Lime Juice

Sparkling Water

Combine Sugar and Water in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add Lemongrass. When Syrup has cooled, strain into a bowl and discard lemongrass. Add Lemon and Lime juices, then refrigerate until ready for use. Mix with Sparkling water in a rocks glass.

* - I use a plain 'ole squeeze-bottle to store the syrup once it has cooled.
* - The ratio of Syrup to Sparkling water that I use is small. Maybe 1/10... I don't really measure, I just watch how much I pour into the glass.

Tomorrow, for Memorial Day, Kerrie and I have decided to watch the Die Hard Trilogy. It's just not a Holiday without Bruce Willis blowing some shit up.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I'd like to start by saying that this weekend was NOT a leisurely trip up north for the fun of it.

The truth of it all was that Kerrie's dad had a mild heart-attack and we (Kerrie, her sister and I) packed up and headed to Cleveland.

Her dad was being held at the Cleveland Clinic which, as you may or may not know, is within spitting distance of Little Italy. So on Saturday, while they were transferring Kerrie's dad out of the ICU to a regular room, the three of us drove over to Little Italy for lunch. Ah Little Italy... One of the few places in this world that continually entices me with it's treasures.

To start, Kerrie, Sue and I drove down one of the side-streets and walked up to Corbo's Bakery. Whenever I make the trek to Little Italy, I must get a batch of Corbo's Lemon Biscotti cookies. There is truly nothing like them. I have had success making my own before, but like all things we try to mimic - It was never the same.

Once, during a trip to Little Italy, I missed my window to get these ethereal cookies and just about went on a killing spree. yeah, they're THAT good.

After I made my mandatory stop at Corbo's, the three of us went to Mama Santa's for Pizza. Their Pizza, I will say with no remorse, is my favorite of anywhere I've ever been. The sauce is slightly sweet with the perfect tang, and the dough is crispy without being "thin". Mama Santa's never fails to please.

After our meal, which was (and always is) incredibly cheap, we walked down the street to One of the greatest bakeries on Earth: Presti's.

Truth be told, I've had full-on daydream\fantasies about working at Presti's, toiling away making all the amazing desserts, pastries, and breads they offer. Yeah, Presti's can actually get me to daydream about WANTING to work.

I enjoyed a perfectly frothy cappuccino and a chocolate covered canoli while Kerrie and her Sister split an amazing Cappuccino Cream Brownie.

The only bad thing about going to Little Italy is knowing that eventually you will have to leave. Eventually, we had to leave...

Kerrie and her sister seemed to enjoy their trip immensely, and we barely scratched the surface of what Little Italy has to offer. All the amazing restaurants and shops and, at some magical point in the summer, street festivals continually draw me in and I'm glad I got to share it with them. Now I'm not that crazy guy who rants about that neighborhood in Cleveland...

Friday, May 18, 2007

You know, I'm kind of a bitter cynic. I regularly refer to most of my co-workers as a bunch of junkies, ex-cons, hillbillies and single mothers. To lend my claims an air of credibility I now offer this pictorial review of my workspace...

My Locker...

My boss, after taking his position a little over a year ago, started referring to me as "Scarecrow". I originally thought it was a reference to the Batman character and because I'm gangely and like to fuck with peoples minds. Not so much... In truth it is because he thinks of me as a "protector of the food", much like a scarecrow in the field. My response:

Our glorious Catering Supervisor:


Thank her for what?

Cartering? Does that have something to do with Habitat for Humanity?

Good advice...

Product loss:


Guided instruction:

Sometimes the best instructions are the most obvious ones...

So there you have it. A day in the life of Me. Welcome to my particular slice of Hell's Rhubarb Pie...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

It was a good weekend for me food-wise. As always, I am a firm believer in the most simple but good-quality food. Ultimately, that's the beauty of Jungle Jim's; anything I want, I can pretty much get. It acts as a muse, and I'm never running short on ideas...


Steak Frites with Green Beans


Balsamic Chicken Sandwiches with Garlic Pepper Mayo & Arugala


BBQ Angus Burger with Tobacco Onions & Peppered Bacon

To round things out, Kerrie and I went to Graeters for breakfast yesterday then hit Sonic for dinner. Plus, this morning, we had Huevos con Chorizo for breakfast and I made a Focaccia Pizza with Pepperoni, Prosciutto, Capicolla, and Italian Sausage for dinner. I'm finally starting to feel the effects of the changing weather. It's consistently been warm here for about three weeks and that's helping me get back into "warm-weather" cooking. More grilling and lighter foods all around...

"It's gonna be a good summer..."
Robert DeNiro, Goodfellas

Jane's Addiction - Ritual De Lo Habitual (Original artwork)
Backbeat - Soundtrack
Information Society - HACK
Wu Tang Clan - Wu Tang Iron Flag

Monday, May 07, 2007

I'm having a dilemma.

Recently, I told Kerrie that my goal for the summer was to avoid chain-restaurants at all costs. Ambitious? Sure. Earnest? You betcha. Utterly fucking stupid? Yeeeeaaahhh. That sounds more like it.

I realized, quite quickly, what I would be giving up. And almost immediately I started coming up with rules. Like: Coffee doesn't count. Yeah, don't even TRY and mess with my caffeine intake; It's not cool. And what about local chains? Like Larosa's Pizza or Graeters Ice Cream? Nuh-uh. I'll be stick with my favorite pizza thank you very much.

But it got worse. I started thinking about some bigger chains too. Like Sonic. I love Sonic. Sonic was MADE for the summer months. (Well, it was for those of us NOT in California...) And Cinnabon! I love Cinnamon Rolls, and Cinnabon is a classic.

So as you see, I backed myself into a corner. It sounded intense and brilliant when I said it but it was really just one of those "cool" trendy-BG-art-student statements that I should have kept to myself. Or, better yet, I never should have come up with it in the first place.