Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Food's the Thing

I've put off reviewing this place because of one bad experience with a waiter, but I keep going back, so I think I should tell you about this restaurant called DISH.

Usually, we have a lovely time at Dish. The atmosphere is very warm and inviting, most of the waitstaff is very kind, and the food is always great. Home style American cooking is the Dish specialty. Brunch on the weekend is pretty crowded, and reflects the popularity of dishes like "Cornmeal Johnnycakes" or "Havarti Cheese, Asparagus, and Tomato Omelette", both of which I have had and loved. A lunch or dinner might include "Old School Cobb Salad", "Applewood-Smoked Bacon Cheeseburger", or "Cider-Braised Beef Brisket", quality classic American Fare. Dish serves up big plates of thoughtful and delicious comfort food. One bad experience with one bad waiter won't keep me away. You see, the food's the thing.


DISH
734 Foothill Blvd,
La Canada, CA 91001
(818) 790-5355

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving, the Gorgefest that is an American Tradition.

This year several little ones have brought together a fresh configuration of family members that are usually scattered to the winds. The gathering was a treat and the wee ones, a joy. The meal was strong on the traditional with a bit of adventure, too. For the first time, we had a Heritage Turkey, a bird much closer to those found in Pilgrim times than the ones we buy at the supermarket today. I found this turkey to be really tender and juicy. The meat was served with a cognac reduction sauce which complimented the poultry completely. This was the best part of the meal for me. It took a lot of will power to keep from taking a second helping. I tried to be modest in my gluttony this Thanksgiving. A Sweet Potato Soufflé in individual ramekins and an excellent Mushroom Dressing stood out as pleasant twists on the standard dishes.

For my part, I made a Pumpkin Cheesecake, another slight deviation from the regular fare. Never having made any kind of a Cheesecake before, I was pretty pleased with the results. Here are two things I learned about Cheesecake that you may be interested in; one cheesecake is made of entirely too much cream cheese, and two, cheesecake can be sliced with dental floss – preferably not mint.

Topped off with some exceptional wine (Sea Smoke), this Thanksgiving was superb. I hope a meal this good becomes a long standing tradition.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Patio dining on the Strip

October in Las Vegas is my favorite month. The sky is blue with lots of sun and the days are in the mid 70’s. It was such a day that I was running around town with Mother of Food doing errands and shopping. MoF suggested that when we stop for lunch, it should be outside to take advantage of the beautiful weather. Because we had some shopping to do at the Fashion Show Mall I suggested the restaurant Stripburger. Located on the northeast corner of the mall, we would have a view of the Frontier (soon to be imploded), Trump and Wynn plus people walking the strip. Stripburger is completely outside and very casual and can be entered from the strip. Since we were shopping inside we were told the easiest way might be to go thru Cafe Ba Ba Reba - same owners. The hostess at the cafe suggested it might be easier for us to eat on the patio at Cafe Ba Ba Reba (less walking) and she would bring us the Stripburger menu. This was a good suggestion because now I could look at two menus.

The Stipburger serves burgers, chicken sandwiches, salads and fries and onion strings. It’s bar serves huge drinks (32-oz. raspberry mojito); beer and soda shop shakes to add shots of Kahlua. Cafe “B’’ is a tapas bar and restaurant with both indoor and outside seating. The patio is directly across from Wynn with great strip views. We looked at both menus and decided to order one item from each. A burger with blue cheese and those onion strings on top, and a Spanish pizza. The burger was good but the pizza was the highlight of the meal. At first I was a little hesitant about ordering a pizza that didn’t have pepperoni and sausage on it and since when does Spain make pizzas. This pizza had a thin crisp crust covered with baby spinach, raisins, pine nuts and a little Manchego cheese; and it was delicious! The menu has a great variety of big and little dishes, pitchers of Sangria and fabulous sounding desserts. I am going to stop now but look forward to returning to the Cafe Ba Ba Reeba and doing a more comprehensive review.

Location - Fashion Show Mall on the Las Vegas Strip

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Food as Art

Do you like Plush toys that look like food? Family of Food does!
Stuffed a Plush Food Show is Nov. 15th, 2007 at Munky King on Melrose.
Since this is an event, I am not putting it on the Food as Art List, but it is definitely Food as Art. Here is a link to the Munky King website:
Munky King Show

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A Treasure Trove of Cooking Shows

I was doing some exploring this morning and found a treasure trove of cooking videos on Youtube. Youtube allows anyone to upload content, so you can find many unusual sources of cooking related entertainment, that you may not be able to find at the video store or on TV. I will try and highlight a video from time to time on this site. The first one I will bring you is a recipe for Nann, a traditional Indian Bread from Manjula's Kitchen.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Deli Experience Continued

It's fitting that the first Cleveland restaurant to make the Family of Food Map is Corky and Lenny's. Our whole family relied heavily upon the arts of this deli and restaurant when we lived on the East side of Cleveland and I'm sure those that still live in town still do. Whenever my grandfather would take me to Corky's he would buy a bar of Halavah for us to split on the way out. I don't love Halavah as a Candy, but sometimes when I go to Canter's in Los Angeles, I see Halavah on the counter on the way out and want to buy it for my Grandpa.

Canter's Los Angeles is also now on the map. As you can see from the previous post, my Dad loves this place. Many a late night Husband of Food and I would grab a Reuben and some Blintzes or Kugel in this Fairfax Deli. So close to Hollywood, we would often see a star or two. Now we live in the San Fernando Valley and we rarely get over the hill for a sandwich. Maybe we'll take the trip. It's worth it.


Corky & Lenny's

27091 Chagrin Blvd
Beachwood, OH 44122
(216) 464-3838


Canter's Fairfax Restaurant

419 N Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 651-2030

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Deli Experience

In recent years I have cut back on deli foods (corn beef, pastrami, chopped liver, knishes with gravy and even brisket) for health reasons. So when I break down and decide to have some deli, I want the whole megellah (full experience). All of my senses should be engaged. I love the enticing aroma of garlic dill pickles, smell the hanging salamis as I walk past the meat counter. I check out all the pastries for dessert or to take home after the meal. A good deli has a hostess to seat you. She will tell you to wait whether the dining room is empty or full. No matter how busy the restaurant is, you will hear chatter. Noise is part of the deli atmosphere and so are the waiters and waitresses. My favorite waitress was named Goldie, she was like my mother , telling me what to eat and scolding me if I didn't finish it. Of course the food is paramount, it's why we're there in the first place. Great delicatessens have huge menus with everything from breakfast to dinner and dessert. Sandwiches are overstuffed served on freshly baked rye bread, pumpernickel or kaiser roles. G-d forbid you should order corn beef or pastrami on white bread with mayo from Goldie. She probably would throw you out! Deli's are not romantic settings, but sharing a Reuben sandwich and a peace of cheesecake is real love.

Canter's in L.A. on Fairfax delivers the real deli experience. So when they opened a branch here
in Las Vegas at Treasure Island I was excited. Major disappointment!!! The design is somewhere between an airport lobby and a doctor's waiting room. The whole operation is efficient and almost maintenance free. You stand in line to order from a limited menu and they give you a number. They do bring your food to you. It is served on plastic disposable plates with plastic tableware. The tables are stainless steel and some of the ceiling fixtures look like they came from a Starwars movie. The room is cold (no global warmth here). The good news is the sandwiches are good but I miss the full deli experience.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Thanksgiving - common problems - simple solutions

problem
You know that you have more requests for white meat than dark and would like to have beautiful slices of turkey breast to serve when you bring out the platter
solution
Make a turkey breast the day before. Refrigerate overnight and it will be very easy to slice. Warm in oven after other turkey is out and resting.

problem
Should you cook stuffing inside the turkey?
solution
Most professional chefs don't. Some feel there could be health concerns. The bird's cooking times will vary. They cook the stuffing separately where they have more control and usually warm it just before serving. Instead stuff the turkey with chopped aromatic vegetables ( onions, celery, carrots) maybe some garlic cloves even things like cut up lemons and oranges.

problem
How do I cut calories or make the dishes lighter? Some people seem to always be on a diet. How do I satisfy these people?
solution
Forget about it! Let them diet on the other 364 day's.

Halloween with the Kiddies

Our one year old twins are too small to eat candy, but we wanted them to enjoy the Halloween festivities going on in our neighborhood. We dressed them in their costumes, a dragon and a monkey, and answered the door for the trick or treaters. They really loved seeing all of those kids. When we would close the door after giving the candy, the babies would want to open the door back up to go out with the other kids. We did venture out to one house, our next door neighbor's, mostly to check out his elaborate decorations. We refused the candy for the girls, but the givers insisted. So, Mom and Dad were each treated to a snack sized candy, which we promptly traded with each other. The girls had a great time, even without the candy. This goes against the Family of Food creed, but I'll say it anyway; sometimes, food isn't everything.

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