Category Archives: Eats Meats West

Le Cirque

Well, well, well, what do we have here…Le Cirque for lunch?  How indulgent!  Let’s just get this out of the way: it was restaurant week.  Many of our complaints probably stemmed from that fact, not that it’s a valid excuse, but since it’s our first visit we have no control against which to compare.

But let’s back up a bit.

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Pork Shoulder

I have called my mother literally 17 million times asking for the same pulled pork recipe, and without fail I always not only forget it but also consciously adjust aspects to fit my needs at the time.  So instead of pork shoulder or butt, I’ll use a tenderloin.  And instead of cooking for 6-8 hours in a slow cooker, I’ll simmer it for 3 hours on the stove.  The result is always something vaguely resembling pulled pork but with an asterisk.  Well, enough is enough: it was time to prepare [as close to] traditional [as I could muster] pulled pork!

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Blue Crab Boil

If there’s one thing living on the east coast has taught me, it’s that crabs just love amputating each other if it means the chance of escape. Well, I’ve learned other things, but most pertinent to this entry is the amputation thing. Maybe they’re upset because I was about to boil them to death. “Well stop making yourself so delicious,” would be my response. This time of year they’re super cheap ($15 for a dozen, though the two of us needed only six), but I still never think to go out of my way and find them. They’re always an afterthought. Anyway, J requested, and I delivered.

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Sour Cherry Vodka

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Johnny’s Famous Reef Restaurant

Ugh, I know what you must be thinking: “How could you ever consider this cumstain of an establishment as anything resembling a restaurant — much less one worthy of review?”  Well, to answer your question: We were returning from a Hudson Valley road trip, and this Bronx island was a nice stopping point before switching drivers and heading into the chaotic New York City landscape.  Also, watch your dirty mouth.

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Spicy Shrimp

This is a simple preparation of pan-fried spicy shrimp, so I’ll go over just a few of the interesting steps — namely the marinade and the frying preparation.

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Rutabaga Parsnip Puree

What could have turned out to be a fibrous inedible mess was saved by the kitchen’s most racist accessory!

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Kale Chips

It’s that time of the year when your CSA unloads on you yet another pound of kale.  “Mmm, kale and beets.  I’m so glad I joined this CSA.  Nothing says summer like week upon week of beets.”  I don’t actually belong to a CSA, because in Brooklyn it’s like $600 a season, but it’s still the authentic feeling I get when I see kale.  Still, having 1) once again being smitten by the beauty of kale, and subsequently 2) realizing yet again “fuck, I have to eat this,” yet also 3) I need to stop being such a fatty queen; I decided to buy them and try kale chips.  It’s the best of both worlds!

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Sue Perette

For our third and final stop of Brooklyn Restaurant Week 2010, Funny Nurse and I thought we’d try Po for brunch.  Unfortunately, some douchey owner felt it necessary to open 30 minutes late and smoke outside instead.  Well then why did you leave the door open?  So that we could embarrass ourselves by halfway walking in?  Why does your website say 11:30am?  No thanks.  So instead we trotted up to Sue Perette, which is ostensibly some random French place a block away, which also happened to be participating in Restaurant Week.  Though the prix fixe seems a good deal, I never received my salad or coffee to accompany this triple-decker sandwich, which also took kind of a while to come out.  The fries were oddly thin and not satisfying.  It was like eating nothing.  Plus, I think the waiter was crying.  Or it could have been allergies…but the point is that something was off.  On the other hand, the boozy drinks are crazy cheap, and at least there were no strollers.  Kind of a throwaway, but the price is right.  I’d love if they could alter the light fixtures to appear less like they are two seconds from falling on me, since they seem to be held in place with some stray wires and a bit of luck.  But to each his own.

Stan’s Place

For our second stop on the Brooklyn 2010 Restaurant Week tour, J and I checked out Stan’s Place, which serves New Orleans cuisine.  We first past it early in the morning on our way down Atlantic Ave towards Fort Greene and returned around 4pm because their prix fixe menu seemed the least disagreeable and most promising.  As it so happens this particular Saturday turned out to be a welcome preview of the spring to come.  Unfortunately, we were a bit early for dinner and too late for brunch, but curiously they offer a “pre-dinner” menu.  I kind of wish more places did this.  Think of it as happy hour for food.  Stan’s Place’s “pre-dinner” menu is comprised of various snacks, salads, and sandwiches.  J ordered an oyster po-boy, and I tried the shrimp po-boy.  Call us shellfish queens, if you will!  As you can see we washed them down with a healthy carafe of peach sangria.  My po-boy was simple but hit the spot, and at $10 there was little I could complain about.  Sure, the prior strenuous walking coupled with the sangria probably were contributing factors to my overall hunger.  But on the other hand, I think the total bill with tip came to something like $40, which is ridiculously low.  All in all, a perfect lazy Saturday afternoon.  I’d go back.

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Brooklyn Flea: Kumquat Cupcakery, Asia Dog

As you can no doubt see, the [official] flea market of Brooklyn is like no other.  It’s currently housed in the old bank within the Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower, which is one of Brooklyn’s tallest, most phallic edifices.  For whatever reason the Williamsburgh Savings Bank abandoned this namesake astoundingly ornate structure so that a gaggle of fauxhemians could sell vintage clothes and tweet about their child’s achievements in soccer.  But I’m not complaining.  The literally underground food scene is showcased in the bank’s original vault.  It was tough to pick just a few places at which to eat – what with the Red Hook Lobster Pound calling out with its sweet succulent lobster rolls – but we settled on a hot dog and a cupcake.  Specifically, Asia Dog is mildly famous in Brooklyn, at this point, but I’ve yet to sample their wares.  I asked what the classic toppings were and was directed to the “Vinh,” which is in the classic Vietnamese banh-mi style (aioli, pate, cucumbers, pickled carrot & daikon, cilantro, and jalapeno).  Washed down with a little hibiscus iced tea, this loaded dog was very satisfying.  Feeling refreshed but not bloated enough, we scoped out the sweets tables.  Immediately the tiny (and $1) cupcakes from Kumquat Cupcakerystruck our eye.  With a healthy hunk of bacon on top of a maple frosted vanilla cake, how could it be any better than this?

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La Lunetta

For Brooklyn Restaurant Week J and I started with Lunetta, an Italian joint on Smith Street that’s been on my list for a while.

The interior’s cozy and that vaguely modernly rustic chic we’ve all come to expect these days.  That and children chanting.  Loudly.   Here’s the deal: I’ll naively pretend I can enjoy an adult evening free of screeching spawn, and you naively pretend that there is something left of your adult life to salvage.  We ordered a potato croquette, a white been bruschetta (literally slice), fried chicken, a pasta with lamb, lemon cake, and a chocolate budino (basically a dollop of gelato in an espresso).  The croquettes faired well in the crunchy/gooey dichotomy but were a little lacking in the flavor department.  Basically just potatoey.

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In which I try to explain Asian marinades whilst wine-drunk.

Oven-roasted broccoli and Roma tomatoes
Salmon filet
Asian glaze for both

I’m not quite sure if this salmon turned out overdone or just right.

The charring was limited to the skin and was obviously a result of the glazing.  That was the point?

And herein is where I attempt to explain my marinade, or at least, what my wine-drunk mind imagines the definitions of the ingredients used to make it:

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Char No. 4

Eats Meats West has yet to eat at Char No. 4 for dinner, always seeming to do brunch and/or booze instead, and…that tradition continues.

After an extended scrutinizing of the menu, we were told the specials were a beef brisket hash, sour dough French toast with maple butter, and a chorizo omelet.  We ordered all three in varying amounts.  I tried the Bloody Mary, with its house pickle and smoky whiskey.  It was a little fruity but overall fine.  Right before our food arrived, a huge group of people, led by Rat-Tail from Project Runway, coagulated at several tables behind us, blocking the fire exit.

I will tear my way through your bohemian enclave, Rat-Tail, and make no mistake about that!

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The Breslin

While we waited for our coffee – itself a wait for our unnecessary Breslinwait – in the Stumptown Coffee inside the Ace Hotel, J texted me “This is so douchey.” Was he referring to the taxidermy display in the lobby, or was he thinking that waiting on The Breslin three times in one season is overkill?  If you haven’t already noticed, we’re not big on waits at Eats Meats West.  But alas, we had guests in town, and it was determined that brunch was a reasonable means to give The Breslin another shot.  Ostensibly, we went because the English Breakfast had been voted best in the city by NY Mag, plus they seemed to like the three-cheese sandwich.  To back up a bit, the fake short supply of tables was in full effect, though to be fair we were seated faster than our quoted 30 minutes.  Right away there were some stumbles.

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Hibino

Hibino, the jig is up!  Sure, you can put “pork sauce” on anything, and it will be wonderful, but ain’t no amount of shrimp toji maki gonna make me forget about this aquarium decoration hot mess of a salad you call seaweed.

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Clover Club, Prime Meats

Despite earlier setbacks Funny Nurse and I recently finally made it to Prime Meats (albeit with quite a wait…more on that later) for more than just chitchat with the maitre’d.  But first, FN and I donned our best drag makeup and headed over to Clover Club for a cocktail, as it was just past 5pm.  Clover Club was, as usual, not that crowded.

The waiter asked if we’d like to sit at one of the many tables at the front, which was swarming with – you guessed it – yuppie spawn.

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Roast Chicken, Zucchini, Gravy, Cheese Bread

Whole roast chickens are really not difficult at all.  I’m not sure why there is such a preoccupation with them, but maybe it has something to do with the perceived need to intricately dress and stuff them.  Literally the only stuffing ingredients for this chicken can be found on this cutting board.  A roughly chopped onion, some smashed garlic cloves, thyme sprigs, a few slices of butter, and salt & pepper.  I generally prepare all of these things first, and I make sure to put the salt and pepper in a separate bowl.  This is to keep the prep area as clean as possible.  Yes, after touching the raw chicken I touch the onion, garlic, thyme, and butter too; and yes, I’m going to wash the cutting board anyway.  I just find that when rubbing the skin and sprinkling the cavity of the bird with salt and pepper, it’s a lot easier and cleaner to not have to deal with salt and pepper shakers.  You’re basically going to be fondling the hell out of the bird, and you don’t want to have to stop to wash your hands every time you need to crank…the pepper mill.

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Pete’s Waterfront Ale House

While it may seem like at  Eats Meats West our food-habits are often – if not almost always – dictated in some part by our love of booze; this isn’t necessarily the case.  Well, maybe there is some truth to that.  Ok, so it’s probably a contributing factor to our love handles.

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Boqueria

Sometimes at Eats Meats West, we find ourselves unexpectedly in a restaurant with no camera tagging along.  Maybe we were meeting a friend for congratulatory drinks after work, and/or maybe we couldn’t be bothered to search through our murse to see if the backup camera just happened to be on hand.  This was one of those nights, and as such, there are sadly no pictures to elaborate upon this retelling of one meal at Boqueria.  In any case, everything but the artichoke + mussels + shrimp dish was just great.  The Valdeon-stuffed dates had so many different textures; they were smooshy and salty with occasional chunks and some sort of meatyness coupled with a good degree of sweetness.  It sounds gross, but trust us, it was delishination.  Well, to be fair if they were any bigger they would probably be a gross mess in your mouth.  The potatoes bravas are a standard, and per usual they were well made and as simple as they should be.  You really can’t go wrong with them when ordering tapas.  The seared lamb dish had a surprising amount of herbyness, but otherwise it wasn’t a very memorable plate.  The bread on which the meat was presented was kind of pointless and indeed a bit troublesome to force into your gaping maw.  The toast that came with the mussels/artichoke/shrimp dish was perhaps its only redeeming feature, on the other hand.   The flavors of the shrimp and mussels were lost in the broth, which itself had an odd bittery sour aftertaste, perhaps from the artichokes?  It wasn’t appetizing and was fortunately our last plate.  I drank a gewürztraminer, sauvignon blanc, muscat cuvee; which was pleasant.  A Gramona “Gessami” Blanco from 2008, to be exact.  The menu for some reason abbreviates the grapes, so sauvignon blanc is listed as “SB” and cabernet sauvignon as “CS.”  We get it, Boqueria; you’re trying to be cute.  But these are grapes…not US states.  We aren’t there yet!

Golden Unicorn

We have no idea what is on top of that dumpling.  Alien embryo?

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The Breslin

Ah, The Breslin.  So many free tables, yet still a wait.  Why?  On a rainy cold Tuesday even.  Perhaps our presence swung the balance away from the fratty Northface guys who seemed to be ingreat abundance, so we had to wait.  Or perhaps it’s standard practice to feature table after empty table, yet comment on how “unusual” it is that we got a table “this quickly.”  Yah thanks, snarky waitress.  Also, you’re a waitress!  We were seated in the upstairs section, which is cool – I guess.  Except for that drippy pipe.

At least there’s another bar, and you’ve somewhat of a view.  On our way upstairs we walked past a very large table, feasting on what looked to be a whole pig.  I must have missed that on the menu.  Instead we dined on the mussel soup with curry butter toast, the onion and bone marrow soup with parmesan toast (they like toast points, apparently), a Caesar salad, a pear salad, and a burger.

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Miriam, Los Pollitos

J and I ventured recently to parts east [of Cobble Hill] to the much-loved, over-strollered, mildly-hipster Park Slope.  Specifically, we wanted to revisit two former foodie haunts, neither of which were operating in Cobble Hill (or never were).  Miriam specializes in Israeli cuisine and stiff, fruity cocktails.  Or so we thought.

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Pumpkin Seed Shrimp, Snap Peas

Note to self: “Maine Shrimp” are red when raw, so when you see ‘em in the store and think you’re getting a ready to go shrimp cocktail, think again.  Won’t make that mistake twice!

In tonight’s Experimental Monday’s, we experimented with pastes, the logic of which being that a straight batter might be too overpowering for such a small shrimp, and yet a marinade might actually overcook the tiny shrimp (if it were acidic enough).  To me a paste is somewhere in between.

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Hibino

Shrimp  Toji Maki
Niku Miso Tofu – Homemade Tofu with Miso-Meat Sauce (Beef)
Fried Oyster Roll – with Avocado, Cucumber, Tobiko and BBQ Mayo
Scallion Yellowtail Roll
Tuna Roll
Yaki Saba Bo Sushi – Round Pressed Bo Sushi with Lightly Grilled Mackerel, Shiso and Shaved Kelp
Soy Pudding

I loved how the fried oyster roll is constantly considered a “special” and included on the chalkboard.  It has literally never not been a “special” when we’ve gone.  It is always on the chalkboard.  Always.  Can they just go ahead and put it on the laminated menu, or what?  I mean, you have a blog!

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Joe’s Ginger

Eats Meats West is just not that into soup dumplings.  Or at least, we’ve never had any that really spoke to us in a transcendent way, as they seem to come off when so many others describe the ones from Joe’s Ginger and Joe’s Shanghai.  They’re just a generic meatball with some melted gelatinous broth.  Big whoop.  But I digress, and I’ve covered this already in great detail.

Let’s back up a bit: The day was Chinese New Year, and it was fast becoming the year of the tiger.

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Shake Shack

Why it’s taken this long for EMW to write-up Shake Shack, no one can really say.  Perhaps it’s just been ass-cold this winter, and eating hot dogs and burgers in the middle of a snow-covered park in the middle of Manhattan isn’t all the appealing.

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Jing Fong

Joining our 4 train on the way to Chinatown was a man playing Whitney at top volume through his cell phone.  And not an iPhone, a Blackberry, or even generic featurephone. Like straight up a random cell phone.  No headphones, no preaching to accompany it – just straight up holding his cell phone to his ear blasting the theme fromThe Bodyguard while we all pretended not to notice.  Had he been obviously of the ‘mo variety, I might have let this kind of thing go.  You know, maybe he’s like returning from a fruitful night of hooking it.  But he wasn’t.  He seemed otherwise very normal.  In fact, he was slightly scary in his city “realness.”

There’s nowhere to hide.

Don’t make me close one more door.

I don’t want to hurt anymore.

Stay in my arms if you dare.

Something something soprano screaming up and down the scales!

I have nothing.  Nothing.  Nothiiinnng…if I don’t have youuuu.

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Meaty, Meaty Breakfast

Mmm; meaty, meaty breakfasts are the best!  The more meat the better.  The meat in question being turkey kielbasa, which yes, is a bit of a cop-out.  After last failing to watch a hashclosely enough, we thought we’d give it another try here at EMW.  Plus, we’d received these nifty silicone poaching pouches for Christmas and needed an excuse to try them out.  Note to self: read directions first.  Apparently, you have to spray them with oil before cracking the egg, because otherwise it’s difficult to get the egg out.  Also, the oil possibly distributes the heat better.  I was a little scared to undercook these, and the tops looked so runny the whole time, that I actually overcooked them.  “Why is the hash in a ring formation in the pan,” you ask?  It’s definitely a neurosis, but some part of me believes the interior of the pan is just that much hotter than the rest.  You want the food to cook as evenly as is technically possible.  “Evenly” being the key word.  And yes, that is a cat hair.  They’re everywhere.  Get over it.

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The Grocery

This was going to be EMW’s first post about Prime Meats, but when Funny Nurse and I arrived at 6pm we were told the wait was an hour to an hour and a half.  Hell to the fucking no.  That’s almost as bad as Trader Joe’s!  We naively lingered in the entrance area for a hot second while some random visiting mom gave her phone number to the maître’d; apparently, she was going to wait.  The point when they started to bond over her 317 Syracuse area code was the point when we realized it was just not in the cards.  We scurried across the street over to Buttermilk Channel, which is actually not very high on my list, and they too were full.  Nearly about to call it quits and eat in, FN and I gave The Grocery a call.

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Mary’s Fish Camp

Where IS the door to Mary’s Fish Camp, anyway?  Too hard to tell.  Thankfully, our colleagues knew the way in, or else Eats Meats West may have given up early.  It was Monday night.  I mean, I’m just saying it was almost a deal breaker.  No sooner did we cram our fat assess into the wall-to-wall tables did we recognize Peter Dinklage two tables away.  Oh, you don’t know Peter Dinklage?  You know, that guy from The Station Agent.  We slowly stumbled over the wine list as we recounted our lives over the past few months.  J gave his usual “I’d like something with a smoky buttery oakiness” requirement, which was of course in jest.  I swear the waitress did actually use two of those adjectives to describe the white we eventually chose.

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Golden Unicorn

What kind of host would Eats Meats West be to our guests, who have proven how ready they are for trying new things, without a stop to Golden Unicorn?  We’ve made no secret of our admiration for dim sum at Golden Unicorn, and sure enough there were no complaints today.  This time, though, J and I were trying to cater to two newbies while still getting all of the requisite dishes (shumai, chow siu bai, shrimp noodles, baked custard buns, and lotus leaf rice) out of the way.

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The Chocolate Room

Following Aburiya Kinnosuke and a long cab ride (one where the video screen won’t turn off – what’s up with that anyway?), we ventured to One Girl Cookie.  I don’t know how I lost track of this, but apparently they no longer do the late night dessert flights with paired wines.  WTF.  We unceremoniously left and headed down to The Chocolate Room, which was incredibly crowded, even for a Saturday night.  It was only around 8:30pm too.  In any case, we were eventually seated.  J and I went straight for the brownie sundaes.  I chose the coffee ice cream, which was heaven, paired with a glass of Rosenblum Late Harvest Zinfandel.  Odd combination?  Yes.  Also, I thought it would be a cold white wine.  Sue me, it was a craving.  No, turns out it’s a warm sweet red wine.  Whatevs.  In any case the waitress was ill-impressed with each of our choices, but she was nonetheless friendly and helpful.

Aburiya Kinnosuke

Oh, Aburiya Kinnosuke.  If Eats Meats West were granted a last meal, it would surely be from you.  Your myriad of inexplicable sauces wouldn’t deter us.  Nay, they would enliven us!  Often we would ask you what this or that sauce was.  “Oyster,” it probably sounded like.  Or maybe it was “worcheschestire?”  Obviously, neither.  Your partial English notwithstanding, there are few places that compare in our mind.  Just look at the relative lack of non-Japanese people.  That’s always a good sign.  The curious robata grill, encircled by whole fish skewered on vertical stakes, imparts the most amazing char.

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System Error

Eats Meats West has been experiencing prevalent computer issues (aka, a virus) over the past week and a half and will be back shortly with lots and lots of new content.  Sorry for the delay, the five of you.

Boca Lupo

Bocca Lupo is exactly that restaurant Eats Meats West for some reason never seems to remember is right around the corner, despite all of its great qualities.

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BLT Fish Shack

Eats Meats West didn’t really go into BLT Fish Shack expecting Le Dome or anything.  The original thought was to ensure compatibility with a Gramma’s tastes.  It is the more casual and less expensive version of its upstairs cousin, BLT Fish, after all.  In New York “casual” often means you can untuck your shirt and not wear a belt, but you have to iron first and wear a matching watch.  That was the expectation for the food.  BLT Fish Shack is not that kind of casual.  It’s Times Square casual.

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I mean, I feel like there may have been a surfboard on the wall.  Speaking of Times Square, check out the giant cheesy garlic roll!  Despite all this, the lobster roll was delicious.  It’s my first one, so judgment will be reserved for now.  Double meh on everything else.  One musical and a short walk later, we chanced upon an outdoor30 Rock filming, including Tina Fey.  Ahh, New York…

Fried Chicken Sandwiches

When you have several liters of infused oil sitting around, you don’t waste it.  Eats Meats West believes in the power of boneless, skinless chicken thighs.  They’re juicy, hard to overcook, small, cheap, and of course flavorful.

A batter was made with equal parts beer and flour, which was flavored with some cumin, coriander, garlic, onion, salt, and pepper.  Beer batter is such a good standby for dinner, because it doesn’t require multiple steps (flour –> egg –> more flour/other starch).

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Venison Burgers

It didn’t start out this way, a “Mis-Adventure,” that is.

Funny Nurse and I had recovered from the holiday break and came into some ground venison.

You know, like when your friend is like, “I have some venison I need to get rid of.”   Happens all the time.

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Ocean Jewels

Yes, we went there.  Queens.  Again.  In the same weekend.  It’s been two years since Eats Meats West ventured all the way out to Flushing, and the last time was also expressly for Ocean Jewels.  I think we’ll repeat this trend, given the fact that it takes almost two hours to travel there from Cobble Hill.  You actually pass through the Manhattan Chinatown on your way!  And on this very special weekend for the 7 train, you can’t go all the way to the end (the stop we needed), so we all had to take a shuttle bus.  Apparently, there is tennis and baseball (and basketball…or something) in Flushing.  I guess I should thank the MTA for forcing me to take the shuttle bus, or else I never would have known.  Once off the bus, we grabbed some cash, and I was charged a non-ATM fee by my own bank!  Racist.  A cacophony of monkey and/or tropical bird noises echoed out of an underground garage along the way.  It was either an escaped pet or someone’s lunch.  Who can be sure, really?  No stopping us!

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The Breslin

What does a scrunchie + a bumpit = ?

If you weren’t imagining a breaded and deep-fried strip of braised lamb dipped in malt vinegar, then youwere a lot like me – that is, before my recent visit to The Breslin.  Nestled inside the new Ace Hotel, theBreslin is yet another venture from April Bloomfield of Spotted Pig fame.

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Henry Public

Here at Eats Meats West we’ve made no effort to hide our admiration of Henry Public.  From the vintage late 19th/early 20th Century furniture to the ample cocktail menu to the sinfully juicy turkey leg sandwiches – what’s not to like?  The cheeseburger is on the salty side, which I liked.  Sometimes the atmosphere at Henry Public is just a little too…how do I put this…Brooklyn.  It’s just like, is that couple next to the fireplace really making out in front of us [at brunch], really?  Is that other couple with the high-end baby stroller really talking about their novel?  Seriously?  Is that French I hear from the group in the corner?  Definitely.  I mean, I’m kidding, and actually it’s what makes BK so great.  It’s like everyone grew up and became successful, but didn’t lose the idiosyncrasies that made them unique.  Also the trees.  We have trees.

Sripraphai

“Sripraphai” is much too difficult for Eats Meats West to spell, much lesspronounce, so it will be referred to exclusively as “Stripper Pie.”  Close enough.

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Pacifico

Sweet Bajebus, when did Pacifico start taking credit cards!?!  Because out of theshort list of issues Eats Meats West has with it (occasionally being crowded, prone to bad weather, sometimes an umbrella might collapse on you, etc.) by far the biggest complaint is that it is cash only.  Or at least it was.  We found this out only because the blind date next to us finished first and tried to pay with an Amex.

We were of course judging them the whole time.

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Buffalo Meat Loaf

No, that’s not a mirage; a recipe was in fact followed, for Eats Meats West has actually never put together a loaf of meat!

Perhaps not surprisingly, Epicurious lists this recipe in a group of simple healthy meals.  I was a bit skeptical about the side dish (roasted quartered tomatoes and shallots) since they mostly seem to just be along for the ride, but they were actually a great compliment.  Tomato [ketchup] is of course a traditional accompaniment to meat loaf, and I liked how this preparation didn’t try to fiddle with the basic flavor qualities of the fruit.

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That’s a nice way of saying the fridge was dangerously low on ketchup, but in all seriousness the added bonus of using shallots and tomatoes in a deep roasting pan (the recipe calls for shallow for some odd reason) is that when it comes to the deglazing those brown bits left over aren’t wasted.  I’m not sure why the author of this recipe instructs the home chef to deglaze with water, and not wine or even stock for that matter.  I feel like that would be too thin.  Plus, surely, you would pair this dinner with a dry red wine (which we did).  And if you’re wondering where we found the ground bison, so were we!  Luckily,Staubitz carries bison burgers in its freezer of horrors.

Stuffed Chicken Breast, Green Beans with Pepitas

A certain someone has recently suggested that I might want to actually describe how I cook these dishes (the nerve!), and maybe even post recipes.  This presents a number of issues, not the least of which is the general rule that I don’t use recipes.

I don’t use recipes.

It’s sort of my thing.

Wow that came out really douchey (which it is).

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It’s not at all to say that I’m a genius cook who can come up with anything on the spot; on the contrary, in my mind I have a very limited repertoire and often make bad – if not inedible – dishes.  And not using a recipe isn’t for lack of confidence in other cooks, it’s more so the issue of experimentation.  Meaning, I cook for lots of reasons, but above all it’s the experimental quality of home cookery that draws me back time and again.

Moving on…tonight’s two dishes came from Epicurious.com, my go-to source.  I skimmed the recipes a few hours ago, made a shopping list, and then put it together in the kitchen from memory.  Certainly, this strategy doesn’t work with baking, and sure enough I’m not a great baker.   But I find it’s a proven strategy for meats; once you learn how to site the correct temperature, you can fiddle with the herbs and vegetables surrounding it.  “Site the correct temperature?”  Wow, that doesn’t make any sense, does it?  I’ll try to explain my method in more detail in later posts, and it’s perhaps a subject for a separate day anyway.

In any case, despite my heavy investment in commercial-grade Calphalonpans, I’ve actually never shoved one in the oven.  This feature, being an unusual and major selling point for a nonstick pan, would surely have come up before – but no.  I decided to get over my fear that something dire would happen.  Perhaps the Teflon would sublimate into mustard gas.  Perhaps my face would melt off.  Who knows?  As long as you don’t go over the rated maximum temperature (in the case of Calphalon Contemporary, I think it’s 450 or maybe 500), there’s no problem, basically.  Of course, I’ve yet to clean this particular pan, but I’ll leave that up to the cats.

P.S. Pepitas (aka, pumpkin seeds) are SUPER RIDIC high in fat, yet they are commonly referred to as a healthy food.  This is perhaps for their high iron, protein, polyunsaturated fat, and blah blah other stuff content (which can be lessened when cooked).  Maybe someone could explain this to us.  I feel tricked.

P.P.S. It don’t hurt to have a sharp knife, despite the omnipresent threat of cutting your finger off when cleaning it, when stuffing a chicken breast.  Surprisingly, you don’t really need to worry about “sealing” the chicken flesh with toothpicks or something because it’s 1) already pretty sticky and 2) has a substantial enough mass.  Forgot to mention that.

Holiday Food Porn

There were just too many holiday meals to recount individually in detail, and admittedly this is more of an experimental gallery showing off Eats Meats West’s new Canon T1i.  The dishes (some produced in-house, others provided graciously by family and friends) included fennel seed-encrusted pork loin, mustard roasted red potatoes, horseradish sauce, peppermint ice cream pie, chicken Marsala, egg rolls, and strawberry cake.  So without further adieu, presenting the Eats Meats West Winter Holidays 2009 Food Porn Gallery:

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