Salad’s Got Nothin’ on this Mutton!

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Food tastes better when you know that Teddy Roosevelt ate there before you.  The mutton chop above is from Keens Steakhouse in Midtown.  This historic steakhouse is conveniently located right by Herald Square making it an easy stop-over point before going out to a show at MSG or hitting up Broadway. 

The decor is phenomenal, the interior features dark aged wood that only can be that colored by decades of pipe and cigar smoke from within.  Quite ironically you cannot enjoy a post-meal puff anymore due to the good Mayor Bloomberg’s policies, but the relics of the past remain, including Babe Ruth’s, Albert Einstein’s and Theodore Roosevelt’s personal smoking pipes.

How was the mutton chop you ask?  So juicy, so delicious that it amazes me that it isn’t usually offered as a menu staple at New York City steakhouses.  The porterhouse for two was no pushover either.  However, I feel if you go to Keens, you need to experience the uniquely featured mutton chop.  Skip the creamed spinach however, something was way off there.  Proof.

Mama Juana

 

 

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Don’t be confused by its illicit sounding name.  Mama Juana is actually a traditional spirit found in the Dominican Republic.  The name comes from the French “Dame Jane” or “Lady Jane” which was then transformed to “Mama Jane” or “Mama Juana.”  The name probably came from the short and squat bottle normally used in the preparation which in English is referred to as a demijohn.   The ingredients include various herbal sticks, roots, and aromatic tree bark that are first soaked in wine for a week.  The wine absorbs some of the bitterness of the aromatics, and is then is tossed out.  The bottle is then filled with a dark rum and sits again until the flavors are fully absorbed by the rum.

When I was on a recent trip to Santo Domingo the locals praised it’s aphrodisiac effects, and some of them seemed absolutely thrilled when one of my female companions joined us and imbibed some of the sweet cordial. 

The taste is reminiscent of a sweet and fragrant version of a port wine or a brandy with a bit more of a medicinal aftertaste.  It is a perfect accompaniment to a nice cigar which is how I enjoyed it.  Proof.

McItaly Burger Battle

McDonalds has launched the “McItaly” burger with a huge amount of backlash from the boot-shaped nation.

The argument is that the all-Italian ingredient burger is not representative of the history and culture of Italian cuisine.  With the advent of the slow-food movement which itself began in Italy, I tend to agree. 

According to their website:  “Slow Food is a non-profit, eco-gastronomic member-supported organization that was founded in 1989 to counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.  To do that, Slow Food brings together pleasure and responsibility, and makes them inseparable.”

Here is Slow Food’s reaction to the new hamburger.


Britain Phasing Out the Pint Glass

From the nation that brought you fox hunting, The Clash, powdered wigs, and of course football hooliganism…  Here comes the hooligan-proof pint glass.

Parliament is making the pint glass as we know it obsolete.  Here is the article from our friends at the BBC that explains this move.  Apparently there are so many drunken brawls in the UK (Nearly 87,000 injuries are caused by glass attacks each year in England and Wales…)  in which pint glasses are used as weapons, the British government has to step in and require shatter-proof glasses.  It’s slightly scary and sad that the pub culture in Britain  requires this law to be implemented.

On the bright side, it would be fairly easy cleanup if your glass is dropped during a raucous karaoke version of Sid Vicious’s My Way.

Homemade Pizza Pie!

Making pizza is one of my favorite past times.  Here are a few snaps of a pie I recently baked.

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Above is the pre-baking stage.  I spread on a very simple sauce made of crushed San Marzano tomatoes, garlic, basil, salt and pepper, and of course oregano.  I used some of the pre-packaged shredded mozz because I feel that  it melts better, but I also added generous amounts of fresh.  Also I sauteed some mushrooms, and layered on a few fresh basil leaves.  The dough is made out of… okay I cheated.  I bought a ball of dough from my local pizzeria.  It was enough for a huge pizza and a gigantic Stromboli (not pictured).  All just for the low, low price of 4 bucks!  Beats the grocery store any day.  I must add that the taste and consistency of the dough of course is beyond comparing to any kind of grocery aisle imitator.  The crust came out buttery, chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside.

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Above the pie is happily sizzling away in the oven.  I recommend using a pre-heated pizza stone if you have one and having the oven on high heat.  This will make your crust much crispier.  The best way to know its done-ness is by lifting it up and checking the bottom of the crust.  (Yes I own a pizza padde, it’s the best way to do this.)  As soon as it is brown and crispy you should be good to go.

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The finished product.  Just a dusting of pepperoni slices on the pie this time because I was sharing with a vegetarian.  Next time I will make sure to have some Parma ham at the ready and to invite some fellow omnivores over for supper.  Proof.