Thursday, February 26, 2009
I have to admit, I've only been watching the show since last season, but was instantly hooked. The challenges and harsh judging from Tom Colecio, Padma Lakshmi, Gail Simmons and Toby Young are unlike any cooking reality TV show. I mean how many times do you hear an "It was NOT good" or have a judge/model [Padma] spit out your food on national television?
Last night it was down to three chefs....
Hosea: The home-wrecker who claimed to be "all seafood," yet his seafood fell below par on many occasions. And, did I mention home-wrecker?
Stefan: The cocky European who knew he was good, but started slacking in the last few episodes.
Carla: Or, as I like to say, "Big Bird," who I honestly didn't think would make it past the first few episodes. But, she ended up being the dark horse.
Last night, nobody did superb. But, Hosea made a three-course meal that was simply better. Even though I hated the Bird and Eurofreak, I would have preferred for anyone, but Hosea to win. For the entire episode, he spent the majority of his time focusing on how to sabotage Stefan - taking all the foie gras, cavier and forcing Stefan to cook with alligator.
I just don't understand how Hosea was named "Top Chef" - WTF.
PS - In fun news, we'll be seeing Fabio as a Dr. Oetker's Ristorante spokesman:)
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Yesterday, I decided to officially celebrate Mardi Gras by traveling to a local Louisiana kitchen in the South Bay – Poor House Bistro. Yet, it seems like my idea wasn’t that brilliant since after sipping one beer and waiting nearly 30 minutes, nobody left their table. I was stuck standing in the chilly California air watching one buzznebriated woman dance to the live band. My group and I then decided to venture away from the jazz music and make our way to the nearby BBQ restaurant, Henry's Hi-Life.
I've heard about how great HHL was from some of my friends and how it's way better than Sam’s BBQ or Armadillo Willy’s, but I decided to make the call for myself.
As we walked in, we were immediately greeted by the long bar where a lovely young waitress TOOK OUR ORDER, while we waited for our table. After only about 10 minutes, we made our way to a secluded table in the back where our side salads were ALREADY waiting for us.
Unfortunately, the salads weren’t anything special – simple bagged wet lettuce with pre-made dressing; but who the hell cares since we were here for the meat anyways. As we waited for our main course, we were given a basket of amazing garlic cheese bread that was grilled to perfection.
Then, the big kahuna – apparently nobody in my group wanted to venture out, so out came five, half orders, of baby back ribs.
I have to admit, I am not a rib person since I hate getting messy while I eat, not to mention I was wearing a white top. But, these ribs were exquisite. The baby backs were accompanied by a lovely baked potato on a simple plate that had no presentation.
But, despite the lack of presentation, the ribs were perfectly cooked. A “these are so succulent…” came from my neighbor – no joke, I had laugh a little since it was so random, but true. As usual, my table also requested extra BBQ sauce, which we all smothered over the perfectly cooked ribs, which I loved.
One thing I’ve noticed when cooking ribs, or any meat for that matter, is dilemma you are faced with when it comes to fat. You love it, but you hate it; keep it or trim it? Unless you are a professionally trained culinary genius, you are left wondering – if you keep the fat, you have a flavorful piece of meat that locks in the flavor, but you may be stuck with the nasty chewiness that will ruin any eating experience. HHL was able to delicately master the challenge of trimming the fat, yet keeping in the flavor and juiciness that most fat gives grilled meat.
You can tell HHL chefs have spent a majority of their time making sure these ribs were tenderized and grilled to perfection.
In between finishing a rib or two, I tried bites of my baked potato. Usually, I don’t care for baked potatoes since most people overcook them and they taste like cardboard. These, on the other hand, were pretty damn fantastic. Each were slightly slit open and topped with chopped green onions and cheese butter. I repeat: CHEESE BUTTER. Enough said, probably two of my favorite words. I don’t think that you can get much better than that (despite the fact you may get a clogged artery if you ate one everyday, but it would be worth it).
Henry’s Hi-Life – well Henry sure is living the high life if he’s eating this way. Overall, a lovely dining experience if you don’t mind being in the heart of a desolate downtown San Jose restaurant that is a paper-napkin-I-don’t-care-about-presentation-if-you-do-get-the-hell-out type of restaurant.
In my books, HHL gets a 4 out of 5. Missing one byte mostly because there wasn’t much thought given to the salad. But, it’s all relative, if you are going to HHL, chances are you don’t really give a shit about the green side.
Name: Henry’s Hi-Life
Address: 301 West St. John Street, San Jose, CA 95110
Pricing: On average $20 bucks a person (not including drinks and tip)
Byte Rating: 4 out of 5
Monday, February 23, 2009
Best Damn Chocolate Brownies That May Give You A Heart-Attack, But Who Cares Since You'll Be In Heaven Anyways
So, I after sifting through recipes for hours, I settled on one that seemed perfect...I'd be lying if I told you I created this recipe. But, I take full credit for posting it here:
Marbled Chocolate Cheesecake Bars
Recipe courtesy Taste of Home magazine
For the chocolate batter:
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 squares (1 1/2 ounces) unsweetened chocolate
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
For the cream cheese mixture:
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
In a small saucepan, combine water, butter, and chocolate; cook and stir over low heat until smooth. Cool. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add eggs and sour cream; beat on low just until combined. Stir in chocolate mixture until smooth.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In another bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla; set aside. Spread chocolate batter into a greased 15 by 10 by 1-inch baking pan. Drop cream cheese mixture by tablespoonfuls over batter; cut through the batter with a knife to swirl. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.Enjoy! And, be sure to go to the gym after having one of these....
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
We’ve got some of the most renowned chefs and restaurants in San Francisco! Here, we’ll identify the great food shaping Silicon Valley and what to look out for.