My Creations, Places I like

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter Dinner: Sperry's

      Man I feel like I haven't posted anything since the Regan Administration, and damn it feels good to be back! Alright to elaborate on the small little post from the other day, my family (grandma included) and I went to dinner at Sperry's...scratch that it was 4 o'clock in the afternoon. For me, eating at 4 o'clock in the afternoon on a Sunday is usually called "breakfast". When my parents say were eating an "early dinner" its just code for, "plan on being starving again by 9pm". This was not the case, however, because we all ate like it was a death row final meal. Thank god I wasn't picking up that tab...

Me: Hi I would like to make a withdrawl
Bank Teller: Sure, how much would you like to withdraw today?
Me: Everything I have...

      No matter what, my mom and grandma always argue over who is picking up the bill (I don't know if I should be disclosing that information, but whatever). I don't ever want to imagine being in a position where I have to argue to pick up a bill like that...essentially I can relate it to when you land on Boardwalk in Monopoly, and there's that fat red hotel staring you in the face. You all know the feeling when you have to liquidate all your assets (mortgaging off Baltic Ave just to survive is never a good feeling). With that being said this was definitely not the type of restaurant that jacks up their prices because they have all sorts of sauces and reductions resembling a modern art painting (SPOILER ALERT: 90% of the time they use squirt bottles...)
      Everything was fairly priced, and the food was so good that it didn't need to be hidden behind all that mumbo jumbo. To clarify, I enjoy all that mumbo jumbo sometimes because I feel it shows the chef really takes pride in his artwork rather than just plopping everything together on a plate. But still, its refreshing to see that amazing food doesn't need all that, just amazing ingredients paired well together. Okay I'm getting away from myself here (when you don't blog for a while it kinda just spews out). 
      The restaurant was nice and quiet because we arrived right after the brunch rush. This was ideal because our server was able to talk to us for a while, and well...just generally take care of us. I do not know how else to explain it, but its nice when your server isn't swamped, gets to chat for a while, and makes you feel at home. Too many times, I've had servers who run around with that "I have 20 tables because the other server called in sick, please don't hate me" expression on their face. While on the subject, for all of you who take it out on your server when the service is poor: Shut up and eat your free bread! Its almost always not their fault....
      Since this is a food blog and not a Hemingway novel, lets talk some food here people! For starters the menu was just front and back, which I love. Nothing is worse than choosing something on a menu that is longer than a list of Charlie Sheen's bad deeds (Hi, welcome to the Cheesecake Factory!). Usually I skip the appetizer stage and just go straight for the entree, but everything on the menu made my mouth water like a Pavlovian dog! As an appetizer I immediately chose beef carpaccio, because its not everyday you get to eat beef carpaccio...If your wondering what beef carpaccio is exactly: it is thinly sliced pieces of raw fish, or meat: such as beef and or veal, pounded paper thin. This carpaccio was beef by the way.
       Most of you will be wondering, that if raw meat can get you sick, then how is it possible to eat thin slices of raw meat? Well what it all boils down to is the fact that bacteria cannot penetrate to the inside of the meat. So for my steak, they thinly slice pieces from the inside of the cut of meat. Think of it as eating Blowfish the way they do in Japan. The blowfish has a poisonous part on its body and if that part is not removed by the sushi chef it can be deadly. In the case of both the blowfish and my carpaccio, they are prepared by professionals so it is safe to eat. Circling the beef was a ring of reggiano shards, and drops of horseradish aioli. Top it with capers and baby ariugula, and what do you have?....uh alright I can't think of anything, just that its super awesome.       Other appetizers on the table were crab cakes, which I tried and were phenomenal, lobster bisque, salads, etc. Free bread = Pop-overs, whaaaaaatttt???

      Now moving onto the entree, let me start off by saying I'm usually a sucker for duck and lamb when I go to a nice place because I don't usually get to cook with them on my own. Naturally I saw duck breast on the menu and immediately went right for it. The duck had an ancho BBQ glaze an came with jalapeno grits, crispy onion straws (I think) and sauteed veggies. It was hands down the best duck I have ever had. Sometimes duck can be real fatty (duck is fatty by nature so theirs not much ya can do) but this duck was perfeccccttt!

      When it was all said and done I was already stuffed but I felt...compelled to see what they had for dessert since they were wowing me all day. 9 times out of 10 I skip dessert mainly because I physically cant eat any more. Everyone else was ordering dessert so I figured what the hell, monkey see monkey do right? Did I really squeeze in a "monkey see monkey do"? I'm sorry about'll never happen again

      Side note: When our server brought out the desserts she whispered to me "you picked the best one". I think she was right, just look at that craftsmanship!! Alright that's it, I'll have more posts up soon. Peace. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

I'm Baaaaaackkkkk

      My family and I went to a real nice restaurant, Sperry's for Easter dinner earlier so I will have plenty of things to share with you guys....but right now I'm f_ _ _ing'll hear from me soon

Monday, April 4, 2011

Buitoni 2011 Product of the Year

      I don't want to toot my own horn or anything (steals tank, parks it on horn) but I've been using Buitoni wayyyy before they took home the 2011 product of the year in the specialty foods category. Back in the day my mom used to get the tortellini an raviolis when she used to cook for me (my how the turn tables). Now I do most of my own cooking and I think it freaks my mom out sometimes. You should see her face when she asks, "Can I make you somethin" and I reply, "nah, I got it from here".
      One day over spring break I was looking for something to make before I headed back to school. Too tired to go to the grocery store (3 hour drive home after St. Patties in Boston...) I decided I'd use whatever was in the pantry/frig. No problem right? Wrong. Apparently the monkeys from Jumanji (yeah I went there) just raided our house because there was hardly anything to eat. I was about to give up and grab something on my way outta town when I saw tucked way back in the freezer Buitoni lobster raviolis that my mom had mentioned almost everyday like clockwork; she gives me a detailed analysis of almost everything in the frig as if I can't see these things on my own. She would be a great helper for a blind person (there's oranges! ohh and salad! I see some pork tenderloin in here also!) "I'm just being a mother" my mom usually says. I know mom, and I love you for it...but I'm glad I get to be a dad, my life will be 50% less stressful. Just ask my dad, he's sitting in a comfy chair fully immersed in his computer, and non-responsive.
      I thought, why not? So I made the lobster raviolis, which came with a garlic butter sauce. I ate and blogged about it completely unaware that those lobster raviolis would later become the 2011 product of the year!! I guess I'm ahead of the times? (Friend holds up Ghostbusters Tee shirt and shouts "YEAH RIGHT!")
      Buitoni has really stepped up their game as of late, especially with the lobster ravs. The wild mushroom agnolotti is pretty good too. I'd like to think my post about Buitoni was a major contributor to their award win. My friend Jess will most undoubtedly read this an tell me to get off my high horse; her roommate Kelsey will too, she put me in my place all weekend when I visited :)  I'll just make something delicious an they'll forget all about it...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

So My Dad Calls...

      Today, April 2nd is my dad's birthday, so him and my mom went on a bus trip to New York City through the Hyde Museum, which my mom volunteers at. If my dad was born one day earlier things would have been drastically different I think. Could you imagine having a birthday on April Fools? Yeah me neither...
      I chat with my dad for a few moments while I posted my previous entry and he tells me they're at the only Michelin Star rated Indian restaurant in the country. When he tells me this I almost s_ _ _ my pants (would you like to buy a vowel?) for two reasons: 1. I wish I was eating at a Michelin Star Indian restaurant and 2. my dad is the pickiest eater in the world so getting him to try Indian food is like trying to get a vegetarian to eat a hamburger (laughs, cuts into his veal). The restaurant is called "Devi" and the chef Suvir Saran will be on the new season of Top Chef Masters. I don't have any photos of the place but I'm sure my dad took plenty of pics because he's an avid amateur photographer...or maybe not because they were drinking plenty of wine...

Side note: Again, happy birthday to my dad. If I was to display his age here, I'm sure Robert De Niro would show up at my front door with a baseball bat...and not the De Niro from Meet the Fockers, I'm talking Goodfellas De Niro (No I'm not looking at you Mr. De Niro). My dad deserves to have a good time in NYC for his birthday because he works so hard everyday. If you ever have the misfortune of having to go to Glens Falls emergency room, don't worry your in the hands of Dr. Hahm...unless he's off that day. Then your just going to have to bite down on that bullet. Just kidding, they really do remarkable things at the Glens Falls ER. I should know, I think I set the record for most trips their from '95 to '01...Seriously, I have the schematics memorized in my head (the man with the rubber gloves was surprisingly gentle)

Side note 2: When someone new comments on my blog they don't just get a thank you from me, they get a personal shout out. All I know about you is that you're friends with my brother, but thanks for the comment Shelley! And yes, I will enjoy culinary the fullest.

Sorry Cleveland...

       I've been eating healthy the past 2 weeks, mostly veggies, tons of fruit, small portions of meat/chicken/fish an all that good stuff. To complement that I also started a daily (except Sunday) workout on the arc-trainer in the south campus gym. I go at the same time everyday with my neighbor/close friend Connor Dever once he's outta work. We hop on the only 2 arc-trainers, set our respective settings and go for an hour. Yep, I said it, straight up 60 minutes...
      Now that that's out of the way lets talk food here people! This week was restaurant week here in Buffalo and boyyyyyyy did I NOT take advantage of that! You didn't see that coming now did you? Sorry for going M. Night Shyamalan on you guys; it wont happen again. If your unfamiliar with restaurant week or haven't left your bomb shelters since 1967, participating restaurants, cafes, bistros, etc have mega deals (i like to think of them as mega "steals"...see what I did there?), specials and all that. Alright I lied, there are no bistros in Buffalo...we were just named the 8th most miserable city in America (and 2nd worst for finding a job). If you ask anyone in Buffalo about this, I guarantee this is there response: "yeah, well we're not Cleveland so..." It seems the outlook is the same if you and and a group of people are being chased by a bear; you don't have to be the fastest, just don't be the slowest...and if you are the slowest, trip the guy next to you (Sorry Cleveland).
      With that being said, I did manage to participate in restaurant week one of the days. On Wednesday some friends and I went to the Steer (the quintessential college bar) for half price flat bread pizzas. They had a wide variety of pizzas to choose from but the one that caught my eye was one with sun dried tomatoes, artichokes, pesto and braised chicken. Oh and cheese. I realize the phrase "oh and cheese" is a phrase my roommate Colin will never say ever in his life because he's allergic to dairy. Not lactose intolerant, just deathly allergic. He's a super kid, and a glass of milk is his kryptonite. Anyway, the pizza was awesome, and came on a little wooden plank. Kudos for presentation.

Side note: my other roommate Beyer got a pizza with ghost chilies on it. A few take-aways I learned from researching the ghost chili:
  • It is the 3rd hottest chili on the planet
  • Its Scoville rating, which measures the level of heat comes in at a staggering 1,041,427 units
  • To put the last bullet into perspective, Tabasco hot sauce is rated as 2,500-5,000 units...SHIZA!

Didn't know it would be that small, but I'll take it for $3.50

      I know what your thinking, "but Pete, pizza is not healthy!" Don't worry I burn over 1,150 calories everyday on the arc trainer. Don't worry I'll burn this off half way through my workout...