The Scavengers Guide to Haute Cuisine

This book was an eye-opener, Steven Rinella’s The Scavanger’s Guide to Haute Cuisine.  Rinella, a hunter, (at first haphazardly) tries his hand at preparations by the famous French Chef Auguste Escoffier from his classic tome Le Guide Culinaire.

Rinella discovers that Escoffier often used items not available to the typical 21st century consumer.  Ingredients like pig bladders, squabs, song birds and turtles were common to his menus at the turn of the last century.  His universal preparation of Animalia  appealed to the sensibilities of Rinella as a hunter, a scavenger and a cook.

Rinella’s success with a recipe for wild trout (Trout au Bleu) from Le Guide Culinaire converted him completely.   Rinella resolved to spend a year hunting and gathering ingredients for a three day Escoffier feast for his friends.

Steven Rinella’s book confronted me with the theory that certain tastes, textures, flavors and smells are no longer consumed or even available to contemporary humans.

Fauna that  humans have been preparing for generations have fallen out of favor for industrially sourced  livestock and fish.  It was only in the last few centuries that humans started to exclusively dine on cows and chickens and pigs (all to the detriment of the environment).  A whole universe of creatures inhabit this planet.  Rinella’s book concludes with a nod to the importance of biodiversity.  We all can help preserve biodiversity by investing in every creature of this planet for food, not just a handful of domesticated ones.

The Scavenger’s Guide to Haute Cuisine is available on Amazon.com.

San Diego Eats: Bluewater Seafood Market & Grill

Seared Ahi tuna taco at Bluewater Grill in San Diego, California.  One of the best fish tacos I’ve ever had in my life.  This place is legit.  It is a seafood market that offers a variety of fish prepared three different ways: tacos, sandwiches and whole plates grilled or fried.  The tacos are super cheap (only about 5 dollars each).

They have a very unique and straight-forward method of ordering here.  You pick a fish, pick a seasoning, and pick out how you want it on your plate.  Their website explains it all right here.

I also sampled the Alaskan halibut and the grilled shrimp, both were amazing, but the seared tuna was the clear winner.  They LOADED up the taco, it was like a seared tuna steak on a taco.

Great food, great city.  Bluewater Seafood Market and Grill 3667 India St (between San Diego Ave & Winder St) 

Hop Sausage is Beertasic

A sausage infused with what is normally the beer brewers spice- hops! This is from Hamilton’s Tavern in San Diego

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There is an incredible beer selection here with abundant taps flowing forth delicious suds. Hats off to the staff keeping the taps clean and cold. Numerous IPAs were at the ready.

The food here is a huge draw. Especially the massive grilled cheese sandwiches made here on Texas toast, mine came with an array of pickled peppers on top, fantastic. I also recommend the pork wimpie sandwich which had cranberry apple coleslaw to top it off, another winner!!

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Steak n’ Shake Opening in Manhattan

The midwestern burger chain Steak n’ Shake appears to be opening up in Midtown, Manhattan right next to the Ed Sullivan theater, where they film a TV show or something.

Should we as New Yorkers be excited? I don’t know. It seems like Manhattan is turning into a Midwestern strip mall. There’s a TGI Friday’s in Union Square now of all things. I’ve always wanted to try a Steak Burger, but there’s something about the fact that you needed to fly to St. Louis, Missouri that added to the appeal. Similar to the joy of picking up an In N Out burger when you get off the plane in California. Negative proof.

Sliders at White Manna in Hackensack

Happy Monday Proof-Readers!

This weekend I investigated White Manna in Hackensack, New Jersey. This minute lunch counter has become a ubiquitous stop on every food show on television. It has been covered by the Food Network and the Travel Channel as well as food blogs such as A Hamburger Today to name a few.

The question is, should you believe the hype?

Not taking into account the burgers, I had a really great time here yesterday. The place was PACKED including a hockey team from Philly that stopped in on their way home from the turnpike. It was quite a scene! The wait was long, but everyone was really friendly, nice, happy, and having a great time… Bound together by a mutual love of greasy burgers.

As you can probably tell in the photos, these small belly-bombs are grilled on a flat top and smashed down onto a bed of onions. The only topping options are pickles onions and American cheese.

The texture of these burgers was amazing. Imagine a super cheesy, messy, little meatball on a pleasingly soft dough-ball of a potato bun. However, I think something might be missing. Let’s call it seasoning. A little salt? A little pepper? Something needs to spice up this rather bland sandwich besides the onions. The ingredients are quality, but I really didn’t see what all the fuss was about. I honestly think they could be done better.

Having said that, I had a fun experience here that was very unique. It was fun crowding around the lunch counter, joking around and socializing with strangers on a lazy Sunday afternoon. The burgers were nice… A HUGE step up from White Castle, and you don’t feel guilty eating them. They are cheap, super cheap; and rather substantial. I could only do 4 regulars with cheese fries on the side. I think it must be those potato rolls! Proof positive.

White Manna 358 River St Hackensack, NJ 07601

Seamless Takeout Map of NYC

Check out the super-cool takeout map of New York City with percentages of cuisines ordered and also average tip percentages! This is fun to play around with. I was amazed that Greek food is so tightly concentrated in Queens, I order souvlaki no matter what neighborhood I’m in!

It’s safe to say that Pizza is still the city-wide unifying takeout choice of New York City! How is that separate from Italian food though?