Monday, November 24, 2008

Bacon Red Velvet Cake @ my apartment

My roommate and new hero, Sother Teague, made a bacon red velvet cake for his birthday. Yes, you read that correctly - a bacon red velvet cake, and it was delicious. I was on hand to document the process.

The basic philosophy behind the cake is the classic southern mayonnaise chocolate cake, which replaces the oil and eggs called for in the cake batter recipe with the oil and eggs contained in mayonnaise. The way in which the oil and egg yolks are combined to create mayonnaise yield a richer and creamier cake, or, in this instance, velvetier red velvet cake.

We fried up 1 lb. of Boar's Head Bacon in a half cup of vegetable oil and set the bacon aside. The oil and bacon grease was run through a cheesecloth and was also set aside to cool. We took two egg yolks, added a half cap of vinegar, and frothed them together. When the bacon grease/vegetable oil concoction cooled we whisked it into the eggs to make baconnaise.

We baked five cakes and then turned our attention to the cooked bacon. While the cake batter definitely had a wonderful bacon flavor, we knew we had to commit further. Sother decided on making bacon brittle. We chopped up the bacon into small bits and licked our fingers clean, then we got some water and sugar boiling, added the bacon and some butter, and poured the mixture onto a lined sheet pan.

The bacon brittle is amazing and we'll be selling it online soon. Drop me a line if you can think of a creative name for it and if we choose your suggestion you'll get a bag for free!

The cake frosting is a standard cream cheese frosting. We pulverized the bacon brittle and added it and the frosting between every layer of the cake. Voila, bacon red velvet cake.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Goat Taco @ Taco Bite

"Wow, there's a lot of goat meat on this taco," I heard myself exclaim - maybe for the first time in my life. I had just taken my first bite of a goat taco from Taco Bite located at South 4th St. and Rodney in Williamsburg Brooklyn on a rainy Saturday. My friend and I had stopped in to break our fast from the previous evening and discuss the plight of the bumblebees. While we didn't solve the bee problem, we did have some very fresh and authentic Mexican food.

The goat meat taco was served on a fresh corn tortilla and piled high with wonderfully seasoned goat meat which was tender, yet had a little crunchy char on some of the edges. I've never had goat before, but I'd describe it as a gamier lamb, but with a different set of spices. The meat was topped with chopped raw onions and cilantro and red and green salsas. Both sauces are good, but the green one is extra delicious. Overall this is quite a good deal for $3. I put them on my speed dial so I can call them from my bike on the way home after work and pick it up right when it gets done.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Roast Beef, Turkey, Swiss & Slaw @ Eisenberg's Sandwich Shop

I don't get it often, but sometimes I have a carnal craving for roast beef. Roast beef is everywhere here in New York, but since my desire for it comes so infrequently I decide to do it up right. Not only am I looking for quality, but I'm also looking for quantity. Maybe it's because my stomach is stretched from last week, but what more New York than over sized Deli sandwiches?

After diagnosing my symptoms, my attention immediately turned to Eisenberg's Sandwich Shop, an institution in the Flat Iron district since it opened in 1929. I've had the famous reuben and the weekly Thursday meatloaf sandwich special with great success and figured that the roast beef should be the same caliber. I decided on the roast beef, turkey, swiss & slaw with russian dressing on rye bread and washed it all down with a Schweppes seltzer water. This was the perfect remedy. I knew when I got roast beef stuck between my teeth on the first bite that this sandwich was going to leave an impression on me for the rest of the day. Perfectly messy and made with plenty of TLC, I bet the only way for it to taste any better would be to go there and eat it at the original lunch counter with benevolent owner Josh Konecky manning the cash register in one of his many signature Hawaiian shirts.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Dutch Croquettes @ Van Dobben Croquettes (in Amsterdam)

Well, Free Lunch Week is winding down. I hope everyone is fatter and happier for it. Just to show my commitment I'm skipping my office Halloween Pot-Luck Party and heading out to get something special and tasty (after the costume judging). More posts will follow next week, but today I'm bringing you something special. My friend Kemal in Amsterdam has been participating all week long and wrote an article for the blog. So, today he'll be posting vicariously through me and you'll be eating vicariously through him. Bon appetit:

Amsterdam – No people like gruel as much as the Dutch. The Dutch kitchen has all kinds of raw filets, uncooked fish species and warm meat gruels. My favorite meat snack is the croquette (in Dutch: ‘kroket’). I didn’t want to disappoint my American friend Todd, so I went to the best croquette lunchroom in Amsterdam.

Just in the middle of the capitals tourist area, in a desolate alley, lies lunchroom Van Dobben Croquettes. It specializes in typical Dutch meat lunches: plain bread with cold sausages, Dutch meatballs, and even sandwiches with liver. You name it and they’ll have it over here. Van Dobben is such a famous and good place, that even the royal family buys their foods from here. Therefore, the company can use the Royal logo on their name.

Their all time best seller is the Van Dobbenkroket. This is a fried meat gruel stick, with a golden crust. This thing is a delicious snack and is very popular. People eat them at lunches and dinners. They even fry smaller ones on parties: the so called 'Bitterballen'. These are gruel meatballs with a brown crust. Mmmmmm, meat.

Yesterday I ordered a croquette on a plain sandwich. Though the waitresses’ service is always very direct and sometimes even rude, they serve you well over here. My croquette ended up in front of me within a minute. The croquette was broken into two halves, each one on a side of the sandwich, with some butter under it. Together with some free, real Dutch mustard. Yes, we love our sauces over here.

My first bite went okay. Sometimes a croquette can be way to hot. In that case, you’ll burn your mouth. This one had a good temperature. And the gruel didn’t have too many pieces of meat. This means that the cook has a good mixer and good ragout.

You recognize a good croquette when you can’t guess what kind of meat’s in there. By the way, the thing can have all kinds of meat. Mostly it’s the stuff that butchers don’t use, like hoofs, ears, testicles and other leftovers. But no horse meat. Lucky for me that I couldn’t guess which meats where in my croquette. The only thing I do know, is that it all tasted damn great.

Next I ordered a Dutch meatball. They cut it into two and serve it on a plain sandwich too. Normally the waitresses put some extra gravy on the balls, but today I didn’t get any. It still all tasted good though. My glass of milk made my day. Fresh and cold. It was a good combination for lunch.

Author: Kemal Rijken (

Date: October 31, 2008

Eetsalon Van Dobben: Korte Reguliersdwarsstraat 5, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Croquette sandwich: € 2,25

Meatball sandwich: € 3,35

Milk: € 1,50

Total: € 7,10

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gourmet Sausage @ Dogmatic Gourmet Sausage System

I heard about the opening of Dogmatic Gourmet Sausage System's first store in Union Square last month, but was reminded about it in yesterday's New York Times Dining Out Section. DGSS started out as a hotdog stand in the Bleeker Street Park in the west Village in 2006. They committed themselves to serving handcrafted sausages, grilled to order, that have no hormones, no antibiotics, no nitrates, no artificial flavors or colors and are naturally low in fat. The original cart added the sausages to fresh baked artisinal breads filled with gourmet sauces and roasted them on a metal spike. The new restaurant on Broadway and 17th provides the same but in a restaurant environment.

There are a variety of meats and sauces, of which I chose the pork sausage and the truffle gruyere sauce. The susage was amazingly seasoned and grilled nicely. The baguette had a nice crunchy exterior and a chewy interior, enhanced by the intermingling sauce. Although not that big, it was pretty filling, but if you're really hungry, I'd suggest going for two. Plus, it's a better way to try out more flavor combinations.

How have you been celebrating Free Lunch Week?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bulgogi Bob @ Kofoo

Free Lunch Week continues!

Kofoo, whose name is derived from the combination of "Korean" and "food", occupies a tiny store front near FIT in on 8th Ave and 26th Street in Chelsea. This place is blindingly fast and highly addictive. It divides the locals into two groups: one that has to try everything on the menu, and one that tried one item and could never deviate because it was so good. I plan on being part of the first group.

I tried the Bulgogi Bob. "Bulgogi” (also spelled “bulgoki” and “pulgogi") is Korean barbecue; the term literally means “fire meat” or “flesh on fire.” The meat is barbecued over charcoal and usually marinated in soy sauce, sugar, and other ingredients. In this case it was marinated beef tossed in sesame seeds and served over sticky rice. Because it's been marinated in soy sauce, the meat is sweet, tender, and juicy. This was an extrememly filling meal and on any other week I would have saved half of it for another day.

On any other week....

Scotch Eggs @ The Wombat

Wow, what a crazy week already, and it's only going to get better. To kick off the first ever Free Lunch Week I'll post about brunch to get things rolling. Remember, the rules of Free Lunch Week are that you're free to eat whatever you want this week. Let me know what you get and if you'd recommend it to me. Don't worry about the impending economic doom or the slowing of your metabolism and you get older.

The Wombat is an Down-Under themed restaurant/bar serving Australian riffs on American cuisine in East Williamsburg. Looking at their menu I saw Scotch Eggs, which I have never had, so it seemed the obvious choice. For the uninitiated, scotch eggs are hard-boiled eggs encased in sausage and bread crumbs. They are deep fried and served with a sweet and savory mustard sauce. Also, they're awesome. Eggs, pork, and fried all equal a happy brunch customer.

What did you eat?