Saturday, September 27, 2008

Cheeseburger @ MacDonald's

It's been ten years. Ten long years. My last trip to Ray Kroc's establishment was an ironic teenage birthday party in the Mcdonald's Caboose which ended with a trip to the ball pit.

I was in Union Square last night after seeing a great show featuring bands that had their prime in the 90's and it seemed like a good idea. The golden arches seemed welcoming. It kinda went down like this. Almost like that.

Actually what happened was I ordered a cheeseburger and handed the gentleman cashier $2. My friend walked up and ordered one as well. Not knowing that I had paid for mine, he handed over $4 to the McPloyee, who put that money in the register as well. I looked the guy in the eyes and asked for the change back and he grudgingly handed over $1. I inquired about the rest and he rolled his eyes and said he'd have to asked the manager to come over and unlock the register. He then stared at me. "Well, go on" I encouraged. He waited another moment, rolled his eyes, and then finally called over the manager to get me the rest of my change.

Wall Street watch out, this young upstart's on his way...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sausage-Stuffed Sage Leaves @ craftbar

I know, I know. They look like cat turds with dippin' sauce, but these little guys are links of joy.

Although not in the immediate area, a friend and I stopped into craftbar at 20th and Broadway to dine under the guidance of the Top Chef of Top Chefs and have a cocktail before heading off to see a show at the Upright Citizen Brigade Theater. We bellied up to the bar to order drinks, but we were only playing coy, because we knew why we were there - to sample their Sausage-Stuffed Fried Sage Leaves.

The dish is simple and perfect. Semi-hot sausage nestled between two sage leaves, then breaded and fried to give it a subtle crushy layer. I could have ordered two more orders easily, and probably should have.

Monday, September 22, 2008

BLFGT @ Righteous Urban BBQ

Oh, pigs. Why are you so delicious? You do the meanest stuff to us, but we always forgive you.

I recently had a craving to be surrounded by the smell of pit barbecue. Luckily, Righteous Urban Barbecue was only 2 blocks away at 23rd and 7th Ave.

Since opening in 2005, RUB (as us in the know call it) has become the NYC go-to for delicious Kansas City style burnt ends, smoked duck, and the award winning Down Home Pig Pick'n which includes a whole pig butt. The man behind the smoke is pitmaster Paul Kirk, seven-time World Barbecue Champion, Barbecue Hall of Fame inductee, and winner of enough barbecue awards to make any livestock within a five-mile radius cower. Meat is cooked in the barbecue pit at low temperature over smoke for 14 hours or more, so the smoky spicy flavor thoroughly permeates the meat.

Now with all that introduction I feel kinda sheepish saying that I went for the bacon. I've been craving house cured bacon for the entire time I've been writing this blog and knew to go directly to the source. My favorite way to sample bacon is on a BLT, but RUB offers something that trumps that: a bacon, lettuce, and fried green tomato!

The bacon is amazing. It feels like it's melting in your mouth, and has the perfect amount of crunch. The fried green tomatoes add a zesty tartness and are perfectly fried. Add in the homemade remoulade, lettuce, and toasted white bread, and you've got yourself one fine samich. I was so full I didn't even eat more than a few of the hand cut fries that they douse in rub.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Shrimp & Cheese Grits @ Black Mountain

I recently went back to the south to visit my parents in North Carolina. They took me to one of their favorite restaurants in the charming souvenir trap town nestled in the largest of the Appalachian Mountains known as Black Mountain. When I saw that their special of the day was shrimp and grits, I knew I didn't have to look at the rest of the menu.

Grits (or hominy) were one of the first truly American foods, as the Native Americans ate a mush made of softened corn or maize. To a Southerner, eating grits is practically a religion, and breakfast without grits is unthinkable. A true grit lover would not consider instant or quick-cooking grits; only long-cooking stone-ground grits are worth eating. Hell, in 1976 South Carolina declared grits the official state food. Outside of the southern states, the reaction to grits is mixed.

The grits were great. Cooked with butter and bacon grease and then topped off with with crumbled bacon, I was in hog heaven. The shrimp were plump and tender. My only hesitation was the use of gouda. Whenever I've had cheese grits before, a sharper cheese like cheddar is used. Here the gouda just added creaminess, but no real character.

Jimmy crack corn, an' I don't care

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Oysters @ Marlowe & Sons

For me Marlowe & Sons represents a Southside Williamsburg haven for oysters and artisanal American cheese, but it's good to see that I'm not alone. It's where all the hipsters with $30K to drop on a SUV go as well. Nice parking spot, guys!

Last rainy Saturday night I went with a friend for a couple dozen oysters. Seriously. That's all I thought we were going to get. I crave their oysters like no other. I've begun reading about New York's rich oyster history and it's only upped my craving. Always the freshest and tastiest and served with a perfect, often imitated, never duplicated mignonette.

Afterward, we were convinced to try the deep-fried corn with rock shrimp gravy. I truly wish that we hadn't eaten it so quickly so I'd have a picture to show you, but I guess that means there's always a reason to go back. That led to something else, which led to something else...