The Park Slope Gastronome

Back in Park Slope.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

cheese break!

My coworker Matty K returned from his homeland Wisconsin with some delicious treats to share with the office. He put together two beautiful plates.

Jim's Blue Ribbon garlic summer sausage, local crackers that tasted of Lipton vegetable soup mix and cubes of sharp Cheddar make up the first platter.

And little squeaky, creamy curds and crackers imprinted with "Dare Dare" on platter two. I think he did an excellent job on presentation. I'm off to get seconds!

Edited 7/29 @ 2:42 PM: I neglected to mention that this cheese was from the Carr Valley Cheese Company, the big winner at this past weekend's American Cheese Society competition. Matty K is quick to note that Wisconsin, or should I say, Wisco, won 91 ribbons compared to California's measly 46.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

green chile in new mexico pt 2 - burger vs. burger

Hmmm, we're in Santa Fe. What should we eat? Green chile cheeseburgers of course! We first tried Bert's Burger Bowl, which was a stone's throw from our hotel. These guys opened their doors in 1954 and claim to have invented this burger.

Dan manages to smile even though he is not happy with me making him pose in front of the joint.

We both ordered the house specialty and I got onion rings on the side and a lime coke to wash it all down. The mister got fries and a cherry coke. The patty was on the thin side and adorned with cheese, green chile, onions, pickle and mustard. There were no tomatoes due to the salmonella scare. I think they had a sign up explaining this.

Here's a shot of the lovely couple. The onion rings were awesome, perfectly crisp with a good balance of batter and onion. I just wish there were more than 6-7 to an order. The fries left much to be desired and it kills me to say this because Bert's is such an institution, but the burger did not live up to the hype either. The patty was overcooked and not moist at all.

But those onion rings!!!

The following day, on our way out of town to El Paso, we tried the Bobcat Bite, which is on the Old Las Vegas Highway (once a part of the old Route 66). I can't recall where I first heard about this place, but I've been dreaming about this burger for a long time. It's run by a husband and wife team, and on this afternoon, a person who I imagine is their son was working there as well.

Again, we opted for the green chile cheeseburgers, cooked medium. Instead of chips, we split an order of home fries. Everything was cooked to order and we got there during a brisk lunch service, so had a little wait for our food. We ordered the home fries extra crispy and they came out as such. My only issue was that once again, I tasted "butter flavored something." I don't know if it was oil or margarine, but in this case, at least the potato seasoning helped to overcome that strange flavor.

This is an entirely different beast than Bert's burger. The burger is 10 ounces of meat (ground daily in-house!) and the patty alone is probably thicker than a Bert's patty plus bun. On the side were a couple pieces of crisp green leaf lettuce and two slices of bright red plum tomatoes.

The cross section reveals a perfectly cooked medium burger. This thing was oozing juices and the heft of the meat completely crushed the bottom bun. I liked the use of white American cheese over standard issue orange. It was almost a perfect burger... The meat was a little underseasoned; an extra dash of salt and pepper would have made for a knock your socks off burger. Even so, it was still a very, very, very good burger. I managed to finish it, though that last bite was really tough.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, July 20, 2008

green chile in new mexico pt. 1 - enchiladas and eggs

Green chile is EVERYWHERE in New Mexico. Our first taste came in Albuquerque, at the Frontier Restaurant, a dive-y institution that sits right across the street from the University of New Mexico. We originally wanted to head to Monte Carlo Liquors and Steakhouse, but they were unfortunately closed on Sundays.

I got an order of the green chile stew, which had a really fierce heat level. It was a lot hotter than I expected. The stew had chunks of vegetables like potatoes and little nobs of ground pork. I also got a little side salad, which was pretty basic, but had a sprinkling of sunflower seeds which lent a saltiness and nutty crunch to each bite.

Accompanying my food were warm and fluffy homemade flour tortillas.

Dan got a half order of chicken enchiladas with green chile. It was pretty substantial and again, really, really firey. To wash things down, we ordered the intriguing sounding "raspberry rush" which turned out to be really bad, overly sweet raspberry flavored lemonade.

Exterior shot of the Frontier, established 1971. Afterwards, we drove over to Isotopes Park to watch the home team take on the Triple-A affiliate of the Mets, the New Orleans Zephyrs. Instead of spending the night in Albuquerque, we drove back north to Santa Fe.

Our first meal in Santa Fe was breakfast at Tia Sophia, just a few blocks from our hotel. I went with a breakfast burrito smothered in what else, but green chile. Tia Sophia's green chile was milder than the Frontier's, probably a good thing for our stomachs.

The insides reveal a carb love fest of has browns and bacon.

Dan ordered the huevos rancheros with blue corn tortillas. My dish was better so I shared. He asked for his eggs over medium, but they came out more like over easy and the entire dish turned into a runny mess. Also, it wasn't apparent from my food since everything was mushed together into a salty, cruncy, chile covered, delicious mess, but his potatoes tasted like they were fried in some sort of fake butter or butter flavored oil. I was not into the taste and much to my chagrin, it would be a recurring theme in Santa Fe.

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, July 19, 2008

mile high nachos and a chili cheese coney kick off a roadtrip

I flew into Denver and met up with DMR, Balgavy and Erik who were on the last night of their Pioneer League excursion. After they picked me up t the airport, we drove around trying to find a Chik-Fil-A. Balgavy was given bad intel and we wound up at some mall that not only did not have a Chil-Fil-A but didn't even have a food court. Boo.

Beef nachos from Coors Field in Denver, CO later in the evening. The chips were bordering on stale, but overall a satisfying ballpark concession. Toppings included marinated beef, cheese sauce, a corn salsa, pickled jalepenos and sour cream. I think it cost $6.50. The chips at the bottom got a little too soggy.

After the game we walked to the Wynkoop brewing company. Erik caught up with an old college friend and the rest of us tucked into some warm pretzels with mustard and queso.

Oh, I nearly forgot, I had to change planes in Cincinnati before touching down in Denver. I loved the food options at CVG! First I had a chili cheese coney from Gold Star Chili. I was still hungry so I then hopped in the Chik-Fil-A line and ordered a chicken sandwich.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

i think liquid nitrogen is burning a hole in my stomach

Top Chef 4's Richard Blais, he of faux-hawk and "banana scallops" fame, was at the Garrett Popcorn store by my work to make some frozen popcornsicles. These were formed with Garrett's delicious and oddball combination of caramel and cheese popcorn and then dunked in liquid nitrogen to harden. It was great to see the sweet and salty balls emerge from the container of nitrogen. I thought I was at a Rush concert. The texture of the popcornsicle was weird - hard and cold like a sno-cone, but also a little crumbly like a granola bar or a brick of dry oasis. I would have liked a little more cheese popcorn in the mix. I enjoyed it, but three hours later, I have a bit of a tummy ache. Thanks to Balgavy for the head's up and Joe for letting me use his photos since I didn't have my camera on me.

Labels: , ,