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Expat Russ

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  1. I must agree with all the raves about DJB. It is a gem. Please don't let the rather "dated" interior fool you. Mary Brady is indeed a Detroit Culinary Treasure who has been around since before being a Chef was cool. The fish and chips are fantastic. The help is refreshing in their knowledge.
  2. From Charcuterie: Onion Confit Caraway & Beer Mustard Sage & Garlic Brined Pork Chops (pork chops bought from butcher right around the corner from Five Lakes Grill) ....BEST....PORK.....CHOPS....EVER!!!! The onion confit matches great with them. Also served with sauteed red cabbage, ciabbatta bread, and sauvignon blanc
  3. Five Lakes Grill – January 27, 2007 Finally I made the pilgrimage to Five Lakes Grill. I had been trying to get my wife to go for over a year, but she wasn’t so enthused. Let’s just say she gets enough charcuterie at home! Well, she finally decided to take the plunge and treat me for my 40th birthday. The evening didn’t start out so well, as son stuck like Velcro to mom as we tried to drop him off at babysitter (otherwise known as sister-in-law). I helped pry him off, and we were on our way. It should be noted that crying was confirmed to be stopped approximately 30 seconds after we left. The restaurant itself is rather nondescript, but cozy and warm. There is a small bar, which is separated from the dining room area by a wall. The final kitchen area is somewhat open, though also blocked by about a 4 foot wall. You can see the staff scurrying about, but can’t necessarily see the cooking take place. We settled in to our table and ordered our usual pre-dinner cocktails (Gin/Tonic for me, Captain/Diet for wife). Surprisingly, the restaurant wasn’t packed, which was good as the waitstaff was able to be very attentive. Chef Brian was wandering around greeting customers. Alas, he didn’t make it to our table. This relieved my wife to no end, as she was afraid I was going to make a scene. Her ground rules were set ahead of time: No pictures, no cookbook signing, no asking to be given tour of kitchen…I was OK with this, but it did cause me to ask a question: Are chef’s becoming “rock stars”, and how should they be treated whilst in the middle of their “concert”. I look at it this way, if the Chef comes around, you can have some small talk, get your book signed (something I’m not really into), or get a quick picture (again, no my cup of tea)…but leave the sanctity of the kitchen alone. You wouldn’t, after all, walk on stage when Bono is mid-song…would you??? I have taken a couple of classes from Chef Brian, and he is really a genuine, down to earth, nice guy –this was also apparent from his interaction with the other guests. So now, on to the important info: What did we eat? 1st Course: Farmer’s Plate of Charcuterie Selections…Foie Gras w/ Chutney (this was OK, the foie a little pasty, much better when taken in concert with the chutney), Smoked Duck Breast with Cranberry Chutney (my favorite, absolutely magnificent smoky flavor, tender…the match with the chutney was remarkable), Smoked Pork Loin with Apple Chutney (nice mild smoke, very moist, again the chutney pairing was fantastic---catching the theme here), Spicy Chorizo, Country Terrine with Potato Salad and Bread Crisp (wife’s favorite, very nice flavor and texture)..This was a very good start to the meal…and I guess how could you go wrong as this is the “signature” starter of the restaurant. What really struck me and opened my eyes, was the way he paired each selection with the perfect accompaniment. It has given me some ideas for how to make my own meals more magical. 2nd Course: Werp Family Farms Organic Field Geens in Walnut Vinaigrette with Michigan dried tart cherries, apples, Gorgonzola cheese and toasted walnuts….Very good, fresh, not overly dressed. The highlight of this course was the Stella Gorgonzola cheese, which was striking in contrast to the mild tastes of the other ingredients. 3rd Course – Wife: Pan Seared Breast of Indiana Duckling with Confit of Leg and Thigh with Black beluga lentils, braised red cabbage, savory bread pudding and port wine currant sauce….First off, the breast was the best duck I have ever eaten, and was matched perfectly with the sauce. The lentils were outstanding (something I never thought I would say), and the cabbage (sliced matchstick thin) made mine taste like something you would get at Old Country Buffet (not that I’ve ever eaten there  ). The bread pudding was good, though not remarkable. The confit was, in our opinion a little dry and salty. 3rd Course – Me: The Glorious Pig! – did you expect me to order anything else? Again, the “signature” entrée of the master of Charcuterie. A selection of Roasted Smoked Loin, Pork Confit and Josephine’s Kielbasa with Granny Smith apple and potato gratin, shallot confit, root vegetables, hard cider reduction and sweet potato hay…Honestly, a little anti-climatic for me, I guess I was expecting the skies to open up and the angels to start singing. The loin was done perfectly and had wonderful taste with a mild smoke. The quantity of the loin, did overpower the kielbasa and confit. I would have appreciated a little more balance of the three. The confit was something I had never had before and was very good, remarkably tender, though again – a little salty. The kielbasa was absolutely magnificent, done perfectly, and with just the right mix of flavors. I ran home and pulled a batch of mine out of the freezer so that I can compare. The vegetables were all done perfectly and had nice crisp, fresh tastes. The sweet potato hay was a unique garnish that I will be blatantly stealing for home meals. I had a glass of Edge Cabernet, which was not so good at all.. 4th Course – Tasting of Deserts: Angel Food Cake (best I’ve ever tasted, I didn’t know that angel food cake could be anything other than Sahara like dry), chocolate volcano (absolutely decedent), Crème Brulee (nothing spectacular), Apple Cobbler (very good) Overall, a very pleasant experience, though I think the anticipation and waiting made it almost impossible to live up to the expectations. I think if I go again, I would probably just get a wider selection of the appetizers to get a better variety of Brian’s true calling – Charcuterie.
  4. Tonight I will make the smoked chicken and roasted garlic sausage...I'll let you know how it goes...the pancetta pictured makes me want to make a trip to the Eastern Market to get a belly...my bacon's have turned out great, so I can't imagine the joy of pancetta...
  5. It has been a while since I posted...I've been busy balancing training for a marathon with my love of all things pig. Made Brian's holiday Kielbasa recipe...I had some help grinding and stuffing. How is this for instilling good habits at an early age. Having my son help me (he is pushing the meat through while I load it in) and enjoy himself makes the food taste even better, though I'm sure this picture violates about 90 health regulations!!!! BTW, the Kielbasa tasted great.
  6. I was pleased with both Stella's and McEwen's on Monroe during a visit last weekend. Rendevous was uninspiring and Corky's not much better...was not satisfied with Memphis style ribs on this trip...now the Blues music that was something else...
  7. Yes, of course the most flamboyant cook on TV Mr. Reza himself. I watched on Sky for 2 years during my time in Germany...Can't find him or Keith Floyd on US TV anywhere...
  8. I had same Emmy thought when I watched it. It was a powerful hour of television and I believe AB's best work on TV. Other than the Pulp Fiction reference, my favorite part was the serene look on AB's face when he was in the kitchen. We all go to our happy place when under stress.
  9. For those of you in the metro Detroit area, or those willing to travel to go to heaven here is your chance to worship at the altar of the pig... Chef Brian is having an.... All Pig Dinner Recipes From Chef Brian’s Book Charcuterie Monday, June 19, 2006 First Course Assorted Charcuterie Country Terrine with Ginger Marmalade Pork Rillettes Smoked Garlic Sausage with Michigan Tart Cherry Mustard Second Course Slow Braised Hog Short Ribs With Caramelized Onion Tart, Hand Rolled Gnocchi, Guanciale and Mustard Sauce Third Course Crispy Hog Shoulder Confit Steak With Michigan White Bean and Smoked Ham Hocks, Werp Farms Baby Vegetables and Truffle Demi Glaze Fourth Course Sage and Garlic Stuffed Smoked Berkshire Hog Loin With Creamy Caraway Cabbage, Matignon Vegetables, Pancetta, Forest Mushroom Sauce and Crisp Celery Root Fifth Course Sweet Pancakes With Maple Cured Breakfast Sausage, Chantilly Cream, Stewed Michigan Apples and Hard Cider Reduction For more information, go to http://www.fivelakesgrill.com I hope to see you there
  10. My maple cured bacon was smoked with apple in the Bradley last night. Of course, I had to sneak a small nibble (OK, big chunk) after it finally got to 150 at about 1140P (makes that 5am alarm all the more pleasurable). OOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHH MY GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWDDDDDDDDDD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I made noises usually associated with other nightime activites. The bacon is incredible...we have a good butcher around here that makes his own, but this blew it away...I almost had to wake the wife up to try it (the bacon, not the other activities) It is unbelievable and I can't wait to get home from work and have some for dinner... It even looked beautiful, but I was too tired to take pics...and this with a belly that I got from a wholesale butcher in Detroit's Eastern Market (Kapp's)...can't imagine what a really good quality belly would produce. all hail the might pig !!!
  11. I'm happy to report that the pulled pork as described in the cookbook turns out perfectly in the Bradley smoker, as was evidenced by the loosened belts around the table yesterday. I used maple and apple for about 3 hours of smoking at 200-220 degrees F and then followed with 4 hours in a 250 degree F oven. Took it out and it basically fell apart upon first sight of the forks...it really takes faith to cook something for 7 hours...and further unbelievable it is so moist. I highly recommend the method to those with smokers. It was served with baby back ribs and beef brisket also both smoked. I have found a free fridge, so my next project is a curing chamber. The charcutering adventure continues... I must say that the success the board has had is inspirational...and is good to show my wife from time to time to show her that I'm not the only one sleeping with the book on my bedside table.
  12. My dad used to fish a lot and there was an old gentleman who would come down to the boat landing on his scooter from time to time and watch with some kids on bicycles the boats coming in....My dad swore that it never failed that when Nate and the kids were there, the landing would be a clusterbleep...as such, when either of us screws up something, we typically laugh and say Nate and the kids must be around...well Nate and the kids were in my kitchen this weekend!!!! I 1. Found out that 5lbs of sausage don't fit into a 5 lbs stuffer 2. 10 ft approx of casings don't equal 10 ft of stuffed casings (I can't as an engineer believe I was this stupid) 3. The metal bottom of a stuffer and Corian countertops don't make a good match...although my wife is probably now expecting that expedited granite. 4. Never chose Monday night to do your first smoking experience !!! 5. It is possible to dirty every pot/pan/dish/utensil if you try hard enough... On the bright side my jagerwurst turned out fantastic in my new bradley smoker, my duck and roasted garlic sausage was decedent, the cured salmon was gone within 36 hours, and the pork belly is happily curing awaiting its date with the smoker next weekend.
  13. I am in the middle of enjoying the gravlax as described in the book...oh dear God, i'll never buy lox or gravlax again. I brought some into work on Friday (bagel day at the office) and it went quickly, with moans of pleasure that made it sound like an office orgy. Next time I'll do it with dill instead of fennel so wife can enjoy as well (she's not a fennel fan)...wait a minute, maybe I won't I can't wait to get my Bradley so I can make Lox (waiting for new model review to decide which to get) What surprised me more than anything, was how easy it is to make something so wonderfully delicious.
  14. thanks for your feedback. i am leaning towards buying an old one...if for nothing else than i like to tinker, and besides, what is wrong with a little overkill - especially with cold smoking....the bradley forums seem to think a pid gives much better control...on a lighter note and back on subject...i'm off to butcher-packer (the store not the website) on saturday...one of the good things about living in detroit. getting some pink salt and making a corned beef. russ
  15. I've been looking into Bradley Smoker as well with plans to upgrade it by installing a PID to control temperature "automatically" and more precisely. It turns out that new models of the Bradley Smoker are coming out in May-timeframe with this feature included. I haven't decided yet whether to wait and get this for $499 or get one of the current models for $299 + approx. $100 for modifications. Lot's of good discussions about Bradley Smoker in their forums. Also, this is a very good article on how to modify a fridge for dry curing: Converting a fridge for dry curing ... I have seen this on other threads on egullet as well...I would love to do this soon...(win-win...Honey can I buy you a new fridge because I love you so much - BTW, I'm going to put the old one in the basement...that is if I can't find a cheap one around somewhere).
  16. amen jason...amen...the kitchen aid is tolerable for 5 lbs (barely)...the push plunger is ok, but i find it sometimes takes a lot of effort to push through...but the one pictured is so worth the money if you are going to do any larger amount....we typically get about 5 people together and make 5lb batches of 5 or 6 different types (25-30 lbs total)...it goes very easy with a vertical stuffer.
  17. It looks like you were using foodsaver bags...did you just seal or did you vac and seal? Looks awesome.... Also too all...in the book they mention and recommend the Bradley Smoker. I've been doing a lot of research and this seems to be a good choice (esp. for cold smoking). I was looking to buy one and rig it with a McGyver type digital temperature control so that I didn't have to hang out all day with it, but I have found that the next model will have such a contraption. Lot's of good discussion about the smoker on the forums at Bradley Smoker I still haven't decided to wait as I think I can modify current one cheaper...
  18. You might want to try calling Byrd's Meats on 7 Mile just east of Farmington Rd. in Livonia if you haven't already. I seem to recall having seen it there. T. ← Byrd's had it... Thanks..BTW the chicken sausage is awesome as they say in the book...loose with some garlic, olive oil, and pasta...can't wait to grill some soon...Had my wife help me stuff the rest...she was thrilled to watch me handle hog casings
  19. I have made several of the sausages with much success. Would like to try the chicken sausage next... Question: I have been to 4 what I consider real butchers...none has any pork back fat for sale. They all use it in their own sausage, or don't have any (???)... I'm in Detroit area, so I'm going to try Eastern Market on Saturday... Does anyone have any substitution suggestions...I don't want to make it without fat...because fat=flavor... Thanks in advance.
  20. Seldom Blues named Detroit Free Press Restuarant of Year So what do you think...I've not been to this restaurant yet, but have been meaning to if for nothing other than the views of the river and Canada and for live Jazz (not a big A.Zoljnic fan however)... Last year it was Five Lakes Grill and the year before Jeremy's... Also see below a companion piece about other "hot" restaurants in the D... Other Detroit suggestions from Free Press writer Sylvia Rector
  21. pacific rim was an extremely enjoyable dining experience for me...the food was outstanding (and i thought reasonably priced for a2 fine dining)...the service was tremendous, and the ambiance great. i love to see small restaurants doing so well in the middle of the week. my german guest was likewise very happy...i highly recommend this and the west end grill next door.
  22. Way back when, I used to live/work in East Jordan, MI...unfortunately, I was just out of college and had neither the time, nor the appreciation to eat at Tapawingo...my foodie nature was just maturing...thankfully enough to appreciate the morels that grew in my backyard...you have inspired me to travel up to my old stomping grounds from my new homebase of Detroit....good idea for the wife's dreaded 4-0
  23. ....and a large downstairs work space will be home to pastry chef Cory Barrett, a veteran of Detroit's award-winning Tribute and most recently at Okada in Las Vegas..... From http://www.clevescene.com/Issues/2005-12-28/dining/cafe.html Now we know why Cory was asking all the questions !!!
  24. I think most people don't think there are *enough* high end restaurants, not that there are too many. At least, not enough really interesting high end restaurants. General perception is that Tribute is (was?) the only really word class restaurant in Detroit - compare that to Chicago, where there are at least a dozen (probably more). ← I answered the way I did in response to this: I think there is a huge difference between high end (atmosphere and $$$) and world class...You can spend a lot of money and get a crap meal (as I'm sure everyone on here can vouch).....I would tend to agree that Tribute (honestly haven't been since change in Chef) is the only one that I have been to that I would classify as "world class".
  25. I thought this would be more in line for a documentary (ala Supersize Me) - but I'll go in with an open mind. While neither of these projects have convinced me to stop my biannual trip to McDonalds for a Supersized Double Cheeseburger and Fries, they did open my eyes. I now try to support small farms whenever I can, am much more into organic food, and think about EVERYTHING that goes into my mouth... I think the book Fast Food Nation and the movie Supersize Me, should be required for all children (and parents). I have a list of things that I believe in, and one of them is that we treat our vehicles better than our bodies... If you liked Schlosser's book Fast Food Nation, he has another one called Reefer Madness that is a very interesting look at certain sectors of the "underground" economy.
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