Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Contact Methods

  • Website URL

Profile Information

  • Location
    Charlottesville, VA
  1. yeah chicago pizza and oven grinders is a 1.5 blocks away from out place...hehe. Love it! So has everyone that we have brought there... So good, salad rocks, the flat bread appetizer you HAVE to get ( covered in olive oil and awesome blends of spices) you rip it apart with those you are dining with...rip eat, rip eat, etc....its paper thin and really big around Mmmm carbs with oily goodness The pizza pot pies rock. I saw them featured on rachel rays travel food show in foor network. Saw EXACTLY how they're made.... I just relocated to Chicago and am half a block down from this place. There's a line out the door every night and Rebecca (my better half) and I assumed that there must be something to this line...something tasty at the end of it. Unfortunately, that's far from the case. We went and had the classic meat pot pie and the salami grinder to share. The pizza "pot pie" was just a mediocre crust filled with so-so meat spaghetti sauce (I'll give some credit to the whole mushrooms, but certainly not enough to distinguish the sauce) and /too much/ cheese. The "oven grinder" was a warm (not hot mind you, think sitting near the oven for a while, not in it) sub with thick slices of so-so salami (I'll admit that I'm a cured meat snob) with a ton of semi-melted flavorless provolone. On the side was a big pile of insipid partially-cooked green peppers. Needless to say, we could not understand what the line was all about. Then we gave directions to some tourists on the bus who asked if we new where it was. We gave them directions and asked them how they knew about the place... "it was on the Rachel Ray show". No wonder. -Dan p.s. We did not try the rather tasty-looking flatbread app that most people seemed to be tucking in to. It did look good...and I might even go in and try one sometime... but it will not be a prelude to an entree in my case.
  2. When I called yesterday they were able to give me a couple of time options on June 21 (I just asked for their first-available day and that's what he offered). -dan
  3. Having just relocated to Chicago, this is one of the places I am really excited to check out. I actually just called yesterday looking for a reservation and booked one out in June. Based on everything I've read, this is just the kind of place for me. Cloying service and pretension kind of put me on edge - it's just not comfortable to me. Not that I won't dine in places with them, but the idea of food at this level without it sounds fantastic. Frankly, I go out dining for the food. When I travel I'm a street-food *and* 3-star kind of guy - I want the best possible food regardless of the setting. While I see that the ambiance of a fine-dining establishment is part of the overall positive experience, so too for me is crouching on a tiny stool in a packed alley of Hanoi at lunchtime with businessmen and old ladies eating off a plastic plate. I guess what I'm saying is that no amount of service or amenities can make up for lackluster food, but that fantastic food is still fantastic to me regardless of setting. I also really like the idea of folks that want to produce food at this level, but want to maintain a hands-on approach, want the business to conform to their life (closed weekends, time for the family, etc.), and are creating the food experience that they want, not what convention mandates (huge staff, fancy decor, gentle music). That's something that I wish I had in my own life (I'm not in foodservice professionally) and can appreciate when other have created in their own. All that said, the proof is in the pudding; I'll post my thoughts after my dinner there in June. -Dan
  4. Very cool. I'll have to check that out sometime soon. I'm going car-less in Chicago, but have to travel to Wisconsin pretty frequently and will be renting ZipCars. I'll have to stick a cooler in the trunk and stock up... even though I'm living in an apartment, I brought my chest freezer. -Dan
  5. I had spotted them on the website for the Green City Market (which appears to be less than 2 blocks from my new abode), but their website indicates corn-fed beef. Don't get me wrong, I'll happily buy their meat at the market, I've just really learned to love the taste of grass-fed. -Dan
  6. So, I just relocated up to Chicago from Charlottesville (Virginia, that is) and while I'm loving city life so far, I'm having a hard time finding good beef. Ok, well, perhaps that's disingenuous. I can find lots of beef. I can even find things we didn't have back in Charlottesville like real dry-aged prime beef (Fox & Obel), great homemade sausages (Gepperth's), etc., but I can't find what I want: grass-fed local beef and local heritage breed pork. Now, I'm not trying to stoke the grass-fed/corn-fed flame wars, I'm simply looking for recommendations. Back home I had direct access to local farmers who treated their animals well, gave them space to roam (even the pigs... berkshire hogs that are given a hundred acres to roam develop great flavor and intramuscular fat). I also had an organic butcher who sourced most of his stock from local family farms. Googling, making phone calls, asking around has led me nowhere. Do I need to drive to Wisconsin and buy in bulk? I'd be ok with that, but still need a recommendation. Please send me what you've got. I really do love the taste of grass-fed beef and prefer to support local farmers who treat their animals and land well... Thanks for the help, -Dan
  7. I just noticed this as a recent addition at my local meat/cheese shop and picked some up. In fact, I'm eating it right now- it's *really* good. The texture and melt factor of the fat is just fantastic. I may have eaten better tasting ham, but this is the best texture I've come across. I wish I had my camera here to show off some shots of the marbling. -Dan
  8. So, a buddy of mine just sent me a snap he took when he came over for dinner and we had the country pate that I posted shots of up above. I also made the roasted veggie terrine (had a pescaterian over that night and didn't want them to miss this course completely) My plating skills need some work, but you get the point. Cooking up my VA country ham this weekend and will post shots and impressions (pictures of the ham-making process are here). Cheers, -Dan
  9. I was always a big fan of Matzo Brei growing up. What you need is 2-3 really good matzo recipes that you can have a stack of next to the giant stack of matzo boxes in the store. People will think to themselves "boy, that sounds good*" and snag at least a good 30-40 lbs each! Cheers, -Dan *Note: Of course, even the best Matzo-based food isn't really that good...
  10. Don't you think it should be: everyone who doesn't get sick reports back and by a process of elimination we'll know who didn't make it? ;-) -Dan [Moderator note: This topic continues here, Cooking with Ruhlman & Polcyn's "Charcuterie" (Part 5)]
  11. I'm still curing hard, I just haven't posted much recently. Some of that comes down to the repetition. I've added bacon, pancetta, fresh sausages, etc. in to my normal repertoire and now it just seems so mundane! I think I posted some photos of my ham curing a couple months ago - they're done now and I'll post some pictures of the end-results when I cook one up for the first time (planned for my birthday in a couple of weeks). Here is a shot of my first terrine (basic country pate): (this is a little one that I made as a test from some extra mixture that wouldn't fit in my loaf pan) Cheers, -Dan
  12. When I made the pastrami from "Charcuterie" I steamed it for a couple of hours after smoking, which I can attest did in fact draw out a good bit of salt and tenderize the pastrami (which after a good long smoking session was a bit dry around the edges). It was *fantastic*. I was eating pastrami with every meal for a couple of weeks. The drippings at the bottom of the roasting pan I steamed it in were fantastic as well. It did not go to waste. Along with more mundane uses, I also happen to be playing with sodium alginate that weekend with a buddy. I made pastrami dripping (fat removed, obviously) caviar and blobs and such. We made a bunch of different flavors of blobs that day and pastrami jus was definitely the best. As an appetizer for dinner I pan fried small rounds of homemade rye and layered on some pastrami and topped with the caviar. Odd? Sure. Delicious? Oh yes. -Dan
  13. I recently found that my local health food store sells dextrose. It's right there with the cane sugar, agave syrup, etc. Seems kind of odd, but I'm not complaining - it does seem silly to pay shipping for something that's <$1/lb to start with... -Dan
  14. Also thought I'd toss up a couple of pictures from my day of country ham curing. A good friend of mine, David (pictured below), has been curing his own country hams for a couple of years and invited me and a mutual friend Brad to join him this year. We ordered a stack of 5 hams from a local organic farmer we know (plus one from the pig I butchered) and set to curing. Unfortunately the hams that the farm sent us already had the skin removed. David has a small smoke house on his property (my photos don't really do it justice) that has a slightly slanted curing table, hooks from the ceiling, and a fire pit in the center - very very cool. So, after rinsing the hams off, we set to massaging in a mixture of salt and brown sugar (David doesn't do nitrates, but I added DC #2 to my mix): Once rubbed down, we set them in to their own individual piles of curing mix, tossed some mix on top, and let them sit. To the left is a 20+ pound skinless ham with sea salt and brown sugar only, off to the right is my much smaller ~15 lb ham, skin still on, with salt, brown sugar, and DC#2: Given that all of my experiences with curing thus far have involved bleaching down work surfaces, sanitizing mixer and grinder parts, etc., this whole process was a bit odd. Obviously this is how hams have been cured for a long long time (as evidenced by David's awesome smoke house - who knows how old that thing is) and I shouldn't worry about it. That said, definitely a bit odd. So, right now the hams get flipped and rubbed down every few days. After 4-6 weeks we'll wash them off, hang them, smoke them, and then let them hang and cure until we get hungry and can't take it anymore! Cheers, -Dan
  15. Thanks for all of the kind words. The mixture itself was ground using the coarse plate on the KA grinder. I held aside a little bit of back fat to dice by hand to vary the texture a bit. All of the meat and fat was from a pig that I got from a local organic farmer - Tamworth breed, I think - that in and of itself was a cool experience - I went out to the farm and butchered it with him. Definitely learned my way around a carcass... The beef middles came from Butcher-Packer and are quite a bit different than what I was expecting. Instead of see-through thin hog casings, these have thick white walls that are just barely translucent. Creepiness factor aside, they're super easy to work with. I used my Grisly stuffer with the widest filling tube and just packed it on in. I tied them off in to individual ~14 inch lengths, as my curing chamber isn't that tall. Here are the sausages just after stuffing - definitely not an appetizing scene: Given the exterior hardening issue I had with my lomo (which, FWIW, I had stuffed in to an inedible collagen casing hoping to help slow down the drying - maybe next time I'll just rub it with some lard and hang it without a casing), I was definitely worried about case hardening, but it all worked out Ok. Total drying time was about a month and a half. Cheers, -Dan
  • Create New...