Jump to content

Aaron Deacon

participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Aaron Deacon

  1. Turns out the bourbon in the Smokin' Choke is actually smoked, rather than fat washed. Smoking the bourbon: Making the Smokin' Choke:
  2. Yes, huge second on both counts....in trying to remember all the little thank yous, I omitted two very large ones.
  3. Wow, what a tremendous weekend! Many thanks to all those who made the trip to Kansas City. Sorry to take so long getting this written up. Lidia's, Manifesto, bluestem, and the Crums all met or exceeded my expectations, which isn't always the case with these sorts of events, and for that I'm especially appreciative. The weather also cooperated beautifully, especially Sunday morning, when we feared a more typically sweltering late July day. The BBQ tour wasn't as logistically problematic as I'd feared, but Arthur Bryant's was off its game, unfortunately. That's becoming the case more frequently, I still really enjoy it when it's on, but our group didn't get one of its best efforts. LC's easily puts out my favorite BBQ in town, and while I found it very good last Friday, on its best days, it's even better. The beans in particular, seemed a little sweeter, a little less meaty and spicy than usual. OK Joe's was better than I remembered, solid BBQ though still not my favorite. A previous visit caused my wife to describe it as “BBQ for people who don’t like BBQ.” I’m still not completely sold, but you can’t argue its popularity. And Woodyard is just a jewel of a place...love that big outdoor smoker, patio, and special thanks to Frank Schloegel for making a special trip (after the guy at the counter called and told him we'd showed up) to come chat for a while, and then giving us all some sauce to take home. (An aside…I wish we’d gone to Smokin’ Guns, I’ve been a couple times in recent weeks, and their ribs are worth the trip, different than LC’s, more competition style, but with a great, spicy rub and nice texture.) The dinner on Saturday night was my first such event, and what a crazy, madcap, wonderful one it was. Great food and fellowship all around. It was such a pleasure to meet you all and so much fun to cook together. I also want to extend some additional thanks to all those who weren't attendees, but helped make the whole weekend possible (some have been mentioned above since I started writing this earlier in the week). --All the folks who hosted us throughout the weekend of course—ChefCAG, the Crums, Ryan at Manifesto, Paula at Studio 2131. --Extra props to Ryan for swinging by on Saturday to whip up an item from the yet-to-be-released Manifesto menu: the Pisco Spice Trade. This may be my favorite Manifesto drink yet. --Also to Alchemist from The Violet Hour for donating some of his summer bitters and sharing the recipe for the Part & Parcel, which I mixed up while Ryan was serving his drink. --To the local brew behemoth, Boulevard Brewing Company, which pitched in some Single-Wide Pale Ale and Saison, even though I failed to pick them up on time. Boulevard brews were still well represented throughout the weekend—dividend picked up a good variety for Saturday; there were a few Smokestack series in circulation at Lidia’s; at BBQ and bluestem on Friday; and the stout was featured in Fat Guy and torakris’s tempura batter. --The Market Master at City Market who gave us some interesting history prior to our shopping. Finally, a huge thank you to moosnsqrl for being such an amenable and complicit partner in this madness. I’m amazed, looking back, at what a compatible planning pair we seemed to be. It’s been a real pleasure. Oh, and one other unintended consequence of having people come to your city for this event is how well I’ve been eating since you all left. My brother was served a delightful short rib dinner for his birthday earlier this week; the kids have greatly enjoyed our shrimp curry; white lotus smoked salmon and cream cheese; BLTs with ronnie_suburban smoked bacon; more BBQ than I knew what to do with. It’s been delicious, and finally, I believe, gone. Oh, and finally, Saturday recipe. I can’t take credit for any of the good parts of the griddled cornbread/pulled pork dish on Saturday, though I can take credit for taking these two superb pieces and mucking them up a bit. Zeemanb produced the delicious smoked pork butt. My wife cooked the cornbread on Thursday, and came up with the simple genius of griddling leftover cornbread in butter with salt and pepper. Such an obvious use, I hesitate to even say “came up with” because I’ve no doubt this has been done for ages, but I’d never seen it in all my cornbread-eating years. We now eat it frequently for breakfast with maple syrup and maybe some sausage. And it can make a great savory course too. I added a little tomato sauce to Zeemanb’s pork (tomatoes, onions, salt, pepper, Mexican oregano). Atop the pork were fresh green zebra tomatoes and fresh corn from the market, a little cilantro. Also cooked some purple hulls with some of Ronnie’s bacon and some market onions. A little okra crumble on the side, okra (unrinsed, soaked in buttermilk, Tabasco, salt, and pepper) tossed with corn meal and fried in the leftover tempura oil. The griddle corn bread was what I really wanted to highlight here, but I got caught up in market fresh adornment. Oh well. The pork was wonderful. Cheers, Aaron ETA: There's a little of this upthread, but I'd love to hear more about what else those who came early or stayed late ate while they were here.
  4. Longaniza was the other unnamed sausage--I didn't try it but it looked terrific. And yes, the picadillo, what a pleasant surprise. I find it so hard to order anything but the pastor here, I really haven't plumbed the depths of the menu (though one time they were prepping some bacon-wrapped shrimp that looked delicious). But the picadillo...often just a serving of lightly seasoned ground beef, here was a real picadillo, like you might use for stuffing peppers of something, gently seasoned with garlic and spice, but more of the flavor coming from the finely diced carrots and potatoes, all coming together in a rich, velvety sauce. Sort of like tacos de bolognese Mexicano, or some such bastardization. They were delicious. Appreciate all the thank yous, it was really a blast to put together and enjoy the weekend, and meet so many interesting and enjoyable people. I've got part of a more comprehensive post written that I'll post as time allows.
  5. I had a very nice meal at the Boiler Room last month, second the recommendation.
  6. Al-Habashi had a big bag a month or two ago, you might be a bit late in the year though now, no? [Edit: Scratch that, those were green almonds, sorry.]
  7. First of all, I'm incredibly pleased to hear about the lardo cure! Second, ChefCAG, not sure if you're worried about throwing the planners or the local BBQers under the bus, but if it's the former, please don't worry at all, I'd love to hear what you've got to say and have spent plenty of time gazing at the underside of a bus. Finally, to the question at hand, I take the point, but I freely admit I enjoy a pretty broad food chain. I would (and do) serve CAFO pork to out-of-town (and in-town) visitors. Along with a few racks of ribs, I smoked two chickens today I bought at Hen House. One at $1.69/lb, regular chicken; the other Good Natured Family Farms, $3.29/lb. I planned on reflecting on the comparison in more detail but regardless, I'm just not going to cook very many $16 chickens. I am moved by Michael Pollan's account of hand-processing chickens at Joel Salatin's farm. And I understand his plea to go meatless more often so the meat you buy can be better. I'm not there yet. And I don't think it's fair to single out BBQ. The fact is, most restaurants are served by the industrial food chain. I'm not about to give up all the Thai, Chinese, Mexican, German, etc. restaurants that aren't committed to the principals of sustainable agriculture. There are multiple ways of preserving worthwhile foodways, and I think farming and animal husbandry are among them but not definitive. There are cultural aspects of food preparation that are worthy of preservation and advocacy, and I'm willing to support those, even when they use factory chicken or pork. But, I do really appreciate the call to action here, in that I like the idea of being more proactive in encouraging KC BBQ restaurants, for example, to branch out a little. Some friends ordered a whole bunch of wagyu briskets from Arrowhead Meats several years back, and I know at least one made its way to the smoker of one of Chicago's better commercial pitmasters. I think the idea of talking to some of our local joints about cooking some heritage-type meat is a terrific one, and time allowing, it's something I'll look into. (Or if anyone else wants to take up this cause, please, let me know.)
  8. Stopped in at the lounge tonight with my sister, a very nice fish tartare duo new to me on the menu, and a couple new frites sauces (green goddess which I liked, "BBQ sauce" not so much). Also note, though, a pricing change, only martinis (and I believe vodkatinis) are $7 now, rest of the cocktails are priced as listed. I certainly don't mind drinking $7 martinis, though I'll miss the $7 negroni.
  9. Now we can congratulate ChefCAG on another nomination: http://www.jbfawards.com/nominees.html#restaurant
  10. I believe Three Floyd's is about 45 minutes driving. There's a thread on LTHForum, I think, about a trip to their brewpub (though I can't seem to access right now) with attendant site-seeing or eating if you're up for that. I might suggest Flossmoor Station, a brewpub in a suburb south of Chicago that has some stuff bottled too and gets high marks from beer connoisseurs. Jolly Pumpkin, I could always find that stuff at Uncorkit! in Streeterville, though it's been several years. It's an odd little shop, if it's still there (and it's right across from Fox & Obel if you're interested), it's not worth a special trip nor is the selection mindblowing, but they tended to keep a few unusual things around....like the Jolly Pumpkin. You can also get that in the KC area, by the way, at least on the Kansas side at the Mission Batson's (Bam Biere and Bam Noire have been stocked for a while). For Binny's, I'd hit the Ivanhoe branch for the best beer selection. The south loop branch is good too, and they have a tasting bar to boot, usually with a couple interesting handles. There's a new local brewer called Metropolitan that I've heard encouraging things about, all lagers, I believe. They also sell a lot of Lagunitas in Chicago, which I don't see around here...Brown Shugga is a terrific beer. New Glarus is also worth seeking out, though I can't right now recall which are their standouts (though they're all good).
  11. I'm intrigued by the Middle Eastern deli. Does it have seating, or is it carry out only? ← I'm guessing it may be Olive Cafe & Bakery. Never made it out there myself, but I've been advised by a couple of local cabbies that they make the best pita in the area, and they said it was out toward Bannister. The owners of Olive opened the Gyro House or whatever it's called just across from Costco, so you can taste their food without in town without the long hike, thought the Linwood menu is pretty limited. Tasty though. I'm also a fan of the Yummy's Choice guy who operates a lunchtime gyro and falafel stand at the new downtown Cosentino's market.
  12. It's been at least 5 years since I've eaten at Flatiron, and even though I'd heard accolades back when...I didn't even think it was "very good." Doesn't necessarily reflect what it is currently, but I've never thought of it like bluestem. (In other Omaha news, though, I heard a good report on the newly opened Boiler Room.)
  13. Yeah, that's kind of what I mean...now it's showing up on mainstream blogs in what seems to me a misleading way, for example: http://leisureblogs.chicagotribune.com/thestew/ [Edit: Or Omaha chef gets James Beard nod. Isn't that overstating the case just a little?] Whatever. Good luck to you, Chef, in any case, hope you make the next 2 cuts!
  14. This is sort of a new wrinkle though, right? Not to take any credit away from these fine chefs, but I don't recall ever seeing the list before the five finalists (which were always called the nominees, if memory serves) until last year, when a sort of informal, and lengthy, list of "potential nominees" was circulated. I'm not sure if this is a deliberate or happenstance way of expanding those honored, but the list of "nominees" seems a bit of overkill. (One web site suggested this is mostly a way of the Beard Foundation "owning" information that was leaked last year. Seem a reasonable explanation.) Any idea what the methodology is for selecting this list of semifinalists? Ah, answered my own question, kind of:
  15. Are these actual nominees, or sort of, nominees to be nominees?
  16. I heard somewhere, can't vouch for certain, that Yummo sells Souperman soups during the winter.
  17. The Star reports Delaware Cafe has closed.
  18. I'm certainly up for a visit.
  19. I saw you perched at the end of the bar, but you ducked out before I could stop by and say hello... I had the cassoulet, which was satisfying, if a little undersalted (or maybe just underhammed). And a nice plate of smoked salmon. And most importantly, a Sazerac and a Negroni. I don't make it here often enough, but it remains my favorite spot in town for a drink.
  20. Geez, what is this, the walk in each others shoes thread? I had a terrific Negroni this past not-sure-when, followed by a Van-recommended Perfect Manhattan as well, though I thought what made it "perfect" is equal parts sweet and dry vermouth. Anyway, concur on both. And with that, I'm off for a drink.
  21. That's great news. I had tried to order one of these two, probably about the same time frame. I think at that time the problem was that they didn't have any rye. Classic or no, I've found bluestem to have the best cocktails in town.
  22. Huh, I figured it was meant to be his statement on how to make cocktails, the right way to do it, his "manifesto." Could be something more mysterious, though...
  23. The Indie. It is a pretty cool space, but everything is served in plastic cups. Somehow my $8 Maker's on the rocks was a bit less satisfying that way.
  24. I haven't been to Lotus of Siam, but I get the sense that Chicago's top spots compare favorably. I know there are some discussions to that effect on LTHForum, and there may be here as well.
  25. You may be right. My in-laws tried to make one a few weeks back, and they wouldn't take it. They ended up at the Leawood Room 39 (to mixed reviews) and noticed a lot of empty tables in North when they walked by.
  • Create New...