Friday, February 24, 2006


Dining Quote of the Week

From Amanda: "Now I like stuff, but there's too much stuff in this cous cous."

We're off to New York in just a few minutes. Surely there's something good to eat up there.

Friday, February 17, 2006


The Way to a Man's Heart

Amanda and I never go out for Valentine's Day. When you eat out as often as we do, the prospect of long waits, crowded dining rooms, hurried food and jacked-up prices just isn't so appetizing. For a number of years we would get a DVD and have a picnic on the floor. The past few years Amanda has cooked a romantic dinner to eat at the table (dining room, not coffee).

She made a salad with spinach, arugula, endive, cranberries, walnuts, goat cheese, and a vinagrette that included, among other things, roasted onion and vanilla bean.

She made filet mignon (rare, of course) with balsamic syrup and chevre and roasted fingerling potatoes.

And for dessert, she made--from scratch--a carrot-orange cake with cream cheese frosting.

With dinner we had a bottle of Rusina 2003 Alexander Valley Zinfandel. Of course, I got to drink almost all of it, since she'll only drink a little bit in her "condition."

And to make sure I hang around, for a Valentine's gift she gave me a bottle of 2003 Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape "Les Origines," which will be perfect to drink in 10-14 years.

(I gave her jewelry that she wore the next day.)

Friday, February 10, 2006


That "Four Things Meme"

So Ms Molly has tagged me for the four things meme. I will try to stick to food.

Four Jobs I've Had
1. Dishwasher. The summer between graduating from high school and going to college I worked at the Pizza Inn in Pleasant Grove. My coworkers thought I was a sheltered nerd who didn't know the first thing about having fun or talking to people. I thought they were depressing drunks who had reached their pinnacle in life by their early Pizza Inn. None of us were wrong.

2. Dishwasher/sandwich maker/cashier. While most folks got college work study that entailed sitting at a desk and reading, I somehow got KP at the Pirate's Cove, the Southwestern University snack bar. While the backdrop and equipment were similar to Pizza Inn, all of us at the Pirate's Cove had taken Dr. Score's intro. to philosophy class. It helps to have something in common.

3. Waiter. Before working at Franki's L'il Europe, I didn't know shit about food, even though I had been a certified food handler for several years. Everything I needed to know I learned at Franki's. At Deep Ellum Cafe I got to pretend I was cool for a while because I worked and drank with tatood and pierced-nippled former and future drug dealers. I almost gave up teaching to stay in the restaurant business, but a well-timed conversation with the just-divorced alcoholic manager of Trees convinced me that day jobs are the way to go.

4. Barista. The summer between my two years at SMU I worked the Starbucks at the North Park Barnes & Noble. Yep, it's as bad as you imagine.

Four Movies I Can Watch Over and Over
1. Eat Drink Man Woman. Probably my favorite food movie. I will never get tired of the scene when the father gets called in to the hotel kitchen to save a banquet and it's shot as if he were a surgeon: jumping out of the taxi, underlings putting on his coat for him, asking "what's the problem?"

2. Big Night. If this movie doesn't make you like food, then nothing will. The cooking scenes preparing for the party are great, but also pay attention to the very long shot at the end that covers an omelette from the breaking of the eggs to the serving.

3. The Empire Strikes Back. I'm a white American male born in the 70s, so this is pretty much a given.

4. Giant. I have to be careful with this movie, because once I see even a minute of it, I have to finish it. If I'm flipping channels at midnight and happen upon the opening credits, I am compelled to stay up until three to see it through. (I apologize that the second two aren't food movies, but I guess you want honesty, right?)

Four Places I've Lived
1. Dallas, Texas.

2. Houston, Texas.

3. Georgetown, Texas (I hope college counts).

4. Um, another part of Dallas?

Four TV Shows I Love
1. Arrested Development, which dies tonight.

2. Sports Night, which died a few years ago but was thankfully released on DVD.

3. Everyday Italian, for reasons that have nothing to do with food. Amanda calls Giada de Larentiis my girlfriend.

4. Iron Chef. Most people get tired of Iron Chef after the novelty wears off. I never get tired of it. I even love watching episodes I've already seen.

Four Highly regarded and recommended tv shows I've never watched a minute of
1. Freaks and Geeks.

2. The L-word.

3. ER.

4. The X-files (Okay, I've probably seen two or three minutes of one episode, but it was accidental).

Four Places I've Vacationed
1. Costa Rica. Our 10-day honeymoon took us to four different places in Costa Rica. Everything in Costa Rica is three and a half to four hours away from everything else.

2. Belize. Trey and Renee got married there last April. Fantastic fish.

3. New York City. I've been at least once a year for the past ten years. I'm going in two weeks and again in April.

4. Napa Valley. Amanda's sister lives there. How lucky is that?

Four of My Favorite Dishes
1. Ossobucco. I prefer it served over mashed potatoes. Pasta or rice are okay, but polenta is unacceptable.

2. Foie gras, served any way. Best: seared, with apples. I've heard of chefs who like it for breakfast, but I've never tried this. If I had to live on a single food item for any given amount of time, this would be it.

3. Nobu's miso-soaked black cod.

4. Whataburger's #4 with cheese.

Four Sites I Visit Daily
1. The New York Times is my home page.

2. Slate magazine.

3. Amy's Robot

4. Found Magazine's "find of the day"

Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now
I'm home with my wife on a Saturday afternoon, so "right now" there's no place I'd rather be. But for the spitit of the question:
1. Drinking Shiner Bock in the Texas Hill Country.

2. Wandering around the Hudson Valley, but not until Spring. (When you're in the Hudson Valley, eat at Cripple Creek, if it's still there.)

3. Visiting shrines in Kyoto.

4. Eating my way through Vietnam.

Four Bloggers I Am Tagging
It's a basic principle of mine not to pass these things on, so I'll tag four bloggers I don't actually know. In fact, I'll find four blogs I've never even heard of.

1. Dog Bytes (a Houston Chronicle blog about pets)

2. Mad as Hell (dedicated to getting rid of W)

3. Inida Uncut (picked randomly from the Blogspot home page)

4. Rohypnol for me lady (a random friend of my brother)

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