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eG Foodblog: bmdaniel (2011) - Going off the diet in Dallas and Chicag


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Purple potato gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce? At a Japanese restaurant? :unsure:

I want to see your kitchen pics. :smile:

Well, it was a Japanese purple potato (I forget the name - started with an M) - still, a mistake.

Kitchen pictures incoming!

Edited by bmdaniel (log)
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Realized I haven't said much about Chicago - as a little tease, I'll mention that our two dinner reservations are probably two of the three toughest we've ever gotten (went to El Bulli on our honeymoon in 09).

I was wondering when you were going to mention Chicago plans.

Schwa? Next?

I think some would say Alinea, but we didn't have problems either time we went.

Looking forward to seeing you enjoy your time here.

Hit Alinea last September (had a babymoon in Chicago right before Charles was born) - our favorite restaurant meal ever. Reservations not terrible as long as you can plan in advance.

Won't comment on the guesses!

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Purple potato gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce? At a Japanese restaurant? :unsure:

Well, it was a Japanese purple potato (I forget the name - started with an M) - still, a mistake.

OK, fine. I'll accept that. Sorry it didn't work.

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Okay, the kitchen. We really like the house we are renting right now, but not wild about the kitchen. It's galley style and just a bit too small. Also, there is no vent/exhaust to the outside, just a recirculating vent (what's the point?). I don't think we would ever live somewhere without a proper vent again.

A couple of views on the whole thing (Apologize for the clutter - I married a packrat)

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The range and stove - serviceable but nothing special (with the fan as a glaring issue).

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Coffee Bar - you can see the espresso machine mentioned above. Also, you can only see one of the containers in this shot, but there's a blendtec I picked up at the SXSW sale (thanks eG) that I love (and use to make Nikki smoothies most mornings since she doesn't like coffee).

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Pantry shots

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Freezer shot - the whole middle shelf is taken up by Charles's food

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Couple of fridge pics - the white paper packages are the short ribs and lamb shanks from this week

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Sous vide station - I've got the SVM Fresh Meals bubbler heater, which I love. Kerry - the vacuum sealer is a Weston Pro - it's basically just a souped up foodsaver. In retrospect I regret getting it - I would've rather spent a bit more and gotten a chamber vac. That said, it's a pretty solid edge sealer.

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Edited by bmdaniel (log)
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One of the worst things about moving from Houston to Dallas was the lack availability of good cocktails. In Houston, we were spoiled by Anvil, which I think is on par with any cocktail bar in the country. Compared to that, Dallas didn't even really have a place to get a decent drink. It's become less of an issue now that I am much stricter low-carb (and also led me to build out a much more comprehensive home bar) - still, it would be nice to have a good spot to go out for craft cocktails in Dallas.

Recently a new bar opened up in Dallas called Cedar Social - I've heard good things about their cocktail program and have been looking forward to checking it out. Today I got the chance to swing by after work and have a couple of drinks.

Started with the Belleview - this was a house drink with Death Door Gin, R&W apricot, house spiced dolin dry, and lemon juice. Very light and refreshing.

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They also had a menu section for drinks from other high-end cocktail bars (in addition to house drinks, punch bowls, and classic cocktails) - I tried a Faithful Scotsman from Death and Co, which I hadn't had before. Scotch, Matilde Peche, Cumin Syrup, lemon juice and pineapple juice - also very refreshing (suprisingly so for a scotch based drink).

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Very excited by my first trip here - quality, well-made cocktails in Dallas! Looking forward to coming back and exploring the menu further - based on this vist, highly recommend it to anyone interested in cocktails.

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Coffee this morning (worst art yet)

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Have to go to Houston today for a quick business trip so probably no updates until after our dinner at Lucia this evening. Very excited about it - we've only been once, but it may have been our best restaurant meal in Dallas.

I'll try to get everything posted before I go to bed tonight so I can get all caught up before we leave for Chicago (but no promises).

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Just got a text that my flight is delayed, so thought I'd go ahead and try to get dinner up.

First, a couple of pre-dinner drinks. Trying to use up the grenadine, so made my wife a Boston Cocktail (which I found courtesy of Evergreen Dan's Kindred Cocktail site):

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Gin

Apry

Lemon

Grenadine

Sweet, but my wife really enjoyed

I made myself a Monkey Gland:

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To my taste, this cocktail needs some acid

On to dinner itself - trying to use up everything that I have left led to a bit of an odd trio - pressure cooked pea and carrot risotto, squash panzanella, and crash potatoes

Prep started yesterday morning when the storm woke me up. I decided to parcook the carrot portion of the pea and carrot risotto.

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Liquid made from a bag of frozen carrots, some white wine, and some chicken stock blended in Blendtec

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Start risotto traditionally - sautee onions in butter, add rice and toast (using carnaroli here)

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Add liquid, put on lid, and bring up to pressure

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Cook at pressure for three minutes, then rapidly cool with cold water, and spread on frozen sheet pan to cool - put covered in fridge

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Pea risotto was same story - here is the pea liquid. Only difference was I made this one at dinner time, so cooling step unnecessary. Both were finished with butter and parmesan

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Cooking squash and carrots sous vide - shooting for about 185. Squash bagged with sherry vinaigrette, carrots bagged with butter and honey

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Squash in ice bath after cooking for 30 minutes

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Cucumber and onions marinating in vinaigrette

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Boiling potatoes for crash potatoes

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Bread ready to be toasted for Panazanella

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Finished dinner pictures:

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Pea and carrot risotto

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Squash panzanella with cucumber and red onion

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Crash potatoes (got a lot of purple ones, didn't photograph great

Overall came out well - only negative was that I had some scorching on the pea risotto and so there were an unpleasant number of crunchy rice grains mixed in. I don't know if the pressure cooked risotto was as good as a traditional, but it was certainly easier!

We had some leftover cobbler and ice cream for dessert.

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Loving your blog! All these at-home craft cocktails make me somewhat ashamed of my standard vodka & tonic (Scotch rocks in the winter). I've never been a huge Dallas fan -- am some 4 hours to the east of you, and go frequently for business -- but Central Market could change my mind.

Do you ever go to Cafe Brazil? There are several in town, particularly one near SMU that I try to visit when I go. Great breakfasts, and their house coffee is astounding. I always buy several pounds to take home.

Re: cappuchino art. Next to the last one, that someone called a sumo wrestler, immediately struck me as an apple, with a moth perched on one side.

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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You are living my dream, successfully eating carby food and then pulling back and dieting. I'm pretty sure I'm incapable of that. Last night's dinner looks awesome, really each dish looks like a winner! (And so have many of your other meals.) Really enjoying your blog.

"I like 'em french fried pertaters." (Billy Bob Thornton as Karl, in Sling Blade.)
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Patti - thank you! That meal was it for my cooking on the blog - from here on it is restaurants. Good thing too - I am pretty sure if I made another mess in the kitchen, Nicole was going to kill me.

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Ben - I am so enjoying your blog! The Modernist stuff is so fun to see - I've been reading the thread and it's great to see it in action. I'm very intrigued by your low carb method - I think you are really on to something there (I mean, obviously, since it's working for you!) and I'm giving it some thought. And I'm sending a big hug for Miss Deliah! We are 'pug people' (our Otis passed away some time back, but we still compulsively pug spot!) - no sweeter breed anywhere and so helpful at clean up time :laugh: !

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Not a happy camper - ended up being delayed for over 5 hours today for less than 2 hours of total flying. Got back to Dallas 3.5 hours late, way past any chance of making it to Lucia - had airline peanuts and leftover stroganoff instead. Bummed I didn't get the chance to show off what I think is the best spot in Dallas - oh well, c'est la vie. Hopefully Chicago will make up for it (I admit, we should not be starved for good food this week).

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Not a happy camper - ended up being delayed for over 5 hours today for less than 2 hours of total flying. Got back to Dallas 3.5 hours late, way past any chance of making it to Lucia - had airline peanuts and leftover stroganoff instead. Bummed I didn't get the chance to show off what I think is the best spot in Dallas - oh well, c'est la vie. Hopefully Chicago will make up for it (I admit, we should not be starved for good food this week).

Bummer! I was so hoping you would make it back in time, but we really needed the rain down here. I am so enjoying your blog and looking forward to the report on your visit to Chicago.

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Not a happy camper - ended up being delayed for over 5 hours today for less than 2 hours of total flying. Got back to Dallas 3.5 hours late, way past any chance of making it to Lucia - had airline peanuts and leftover stroganoff instead. Bummed I didn't get the chance to show off what I think is the best spot in Dallas - oh well, c'est la vie. Hopefully Chicago will make up for it (I admit, we should not be starved for good food this week).

Bummer! I was so hoping you would make it back in time, but we really needed the rain down here. I am so enjoying your blog and looking forward to the report on your visit to Chicago.

Had to wait for the weather on the way down, but the way back was just mechanical! Very frustrating. I did neglect to mention that I had a pretty good malt at the terminal while I awaited my fate from Pappas' Burger. You could do a lot worse than Houston Hobby airport food in general.

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Ben, really enjoying the blog, thanks.

Don't miss The Violet Hour while you're in Chicago...certainly one of the best craft cocktail bars anywhere.

I'm an Aeropress geek myself and wanted to mention the Coava metal disk filter. It has made a huge difference for me in terms of depth of flavor of the resulting 'presso'.

True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

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Ben, really enjoying the blog, thanks.

Don't miss The Violet Hour while you're in Chicago...certainly one of the best craft cocktail bars anywhere.

I'm an Aeropress geek myself and wanted to mention the Coava metal disk filter. It has made a huge difference for me in terms of depth of flavor of the resulting 'presso'.

We hit the Violet Hour last September - loved it! I don't know what I'm going to be able to do cocktail-wise this time. My parents are coming up as well and taking babysitting duty on Charles during our dinners, but figure out the logistics for cocktails might be hard (would really love to go to Aviary as well). Might have to wait until next trip.

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Breakfast this morning at Luna Tortilla Factory. This was our first time there, but they have been making tortilla's since 1924. I read a good review of their breakfast taco's recently so we thought we'd check it out.

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Getting ready to start making tortillas

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The Tacos

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Potato and Egg

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Chorizo and Egg

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Spicy Bean - not too spicy, but beans were excellent

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Bacon and egg

Overall the tacos were pretty good - I'd like to come back on the weekend when you can get a taco in a flour tortillas fresh off the line.

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Ben, really enjoying the blog, thanks.

Don't miss The Violet Hour while you're in Chicago...certainly one of the best craft cocktail bars anywhere.

I'm an Aeropress geek myself and wanted to mention the Coava metal disk filter. It has made a huge difference for me in terms of depth of flavor of the resulting 'presso'.

We hit the Violet Hour last September - loved it! I don't know what I'm going to be able to do cocktail-wise this time. My parents are coming up as well and taking babysitting duty on Charles during our dinners, but figure out the logistics for cocktails might be hard (would really love to go to Aviary as well). Might have to wait until next trip.

Aviary seems to be much more accessible than people initially thought it would be. After the first few weeks I've rarely heard of much of a wait outside of peak times on Friday-Saturday.

If you're anywhere in the area, I highly recommend The Whistler for a low-key, no-nonsense establishment with a short but impeccably made cocktail list and one of nearly everyone in Chicago's favorite bartenders, Paul McGee. A bit more centrally located to the usual hotel district is Sable, headed up by Violet Hour and Moto alum Mike Ryan. They have a jaw-dropping spirit selection and put them to great use.

True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

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Aloha! Been enjoying reading your posts! I just read all 3 pages at once as I am holed up in bed and hope to get out by Saturday! I've been making some great meals one handed as I had a nasty fall in the kitchen Sunday night. I look forward to your Chicago visit. I am from there and had a wonderful time last month. I hope your weather is better than mine was! But it's such a great city it doesn't matter what the weather - well maybe not horrendous blizzards or tornadoes! You probably will but I love the Hancock Tower Signature Lounge for a nice drink. We really enjoyed Sprout twice so far so maybe you might too. Looking forward to your further adventures! Aloha & A hui hou!

"You can't miss with a ham 'n' egger......"

Ervin D. Williams 9/1/1921 - 6/8/2004

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Thank you oneidaone! We are very excited about Chicago as well - just finishing packing up and then off to the airport.

We went to the lounge at the Hancock Tower last September - amazing view.

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Ben, thanks for blogging, it's been great reading.

I am marvelling at the offerings (and prices) of the tortillas and masa at Luna's Tortilla Factory. What did you think of their offerings, now that you've eaten there? Nothing like that up here in the Northeast, very jealous.


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I too was wondering about Luna's. There is nothing like that here at all ;-( We do have one place "La Raza Mercado" but they do not carry fresh tortillas. I was drooling reading that post. Your meals have been making me very jealous! Keep up the good work and eating!

"You can't miss with a ham 'n' egger......"

Ervin D. Williams 9/1/1921 - 6/8/2004

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