Sunday, February 22, 2009

Blood, spuds and fire

I really do love British cuisine, but it can be a bit like eating things on a dare. Case in point, blood sausages. They're a fantastic delicacy that strike many people as completely disgusting, understandably. I don't know how I ever ended up on this unusual food jag, and I'm not sorry to be on it, but I do understand the reaction I occasionally get when I describe what I'm cooking or eating.
All that being said, I decided to combine my love of blood sausages with my love of the grill. The Brits aren't known for grilling (too much rain, probably), but these sausages work great over hot coals. Throw in a few English bitters -- another British staple under appreciated in the old colony -- and you got yourself one hell of a meal. Check it out at D.C. Foodies.
The Washingtonian just released their list of the best bars in the city. I grabbed a copy while picking up a pound of coffee and some chocolate covered bacon (see above). I haven't cracked the issue yet, but I'm ready to be disappointed. I've become such an opinionated ass about such things that I fear I'll nit pick all their selections. On the other hand, the bars and restaurants I like, I really like. So maybe I'm right after all.
The reason I haven't gone through The Washingtonian is I'm trying to finish Brewing Up A Business, the book written by Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione. I'm pitching in at a beer dinner he's hosting this week and want him to sign my book. So I figured I should be able to say something about it if he asks. It's an interesting book, particularly it you're thinking about opening your own brewery or brewpub.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Volunteering rebuttle

After a couple recent attacks on the dry martini, a top three greatest cocktail, I had to weigh in. Hey, if you want to ruin your martini by pouring a bunch of vermouth in it, be my guest. But the dry martini is hardly a trend that is on the way out. Check out my screed at D.C. Foodies.
I've also started volunteering at a D.C. cooking school, CulinAerie (if it sounds familiar, I recently took a knife skills class at the school). Saturday, Valentine's Day, was my first night. Five hours on my feet making sure a room full of couples were happy and following the chef's instructions. I'm sure it was because it was my first night, but I felt completely inept. I wasn't sure what I needed to do and I didn't know where things were. Chef Holt and the other volunteers were happy with my efforts, but it was a C+ night at best. Afterward, I was wiped out. It's been a long time since I spent that much time on my feet. Despite how tired I was, I struggled to fall asleep that night because my calves and feet were just aching. Man, God bless professional servers.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Smoke, oysters and homage to Jose

Inspired by Washington's own Spanish chef Jose Andres, I rediscovered my love of shucking oysters. OK, so I never actually had a love of shucking oysters. My first outing a year or so ago didn't go too well. But thanks to Jose, I've found a way to unlock that terribly obstinate shell and learn to enjoy the experience. Check out my latest efforts at D.C. Foodies.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Knife Class or Frenching the Julianne

So I took a knife skills class over the weekend at D.C.'s newest cooking school, CulinAerie. It's great set up and I had a hell of a lot of fun playing around in a kitchen filled with professional equipment. Not only that, but it turns out there's a lot I don't know about kitchen knives. I hold them wrong, I use small cutting motions on occasion, I slice tomatoes with a bread knife; my screw ups go on and on. Well, no more. Well, maybe some more. I really don't mind cutting tomatoes with a bread knife. It does an awful nice job. Anyway, I did a write up of the class for D.C. Foodies.