A hodgepodge of culinary thoughts…
– Is DC becoming Manhattan-South? First Shake Shack and Serendipity arrived — now NY’s Bobby Flay is set to enter the fray with Bobby’s Burger Palace. What are your thoughts on Flay? Will you make a pilgrimage to try his burgers?
– Glass containers are a safer microwave option than plastic Tupperware, but boy are they heavy, especially when you’re schlepping one in your bag on the Metro. A better option — use the Tupperware to transport, then dump the food into the glass container before heating it up.
– Trader Joe’s organic gala apples are quite good, but I do notice they tend to turn mushy within a few days. Is mushiness a byproduct of a pesticide-free apple?
– Was up in Boston visiting the family a few weeks ago; when in Boston, seafood is a must. We stopped for lunch at The Barking Crab, where I had a fine clam chowder and was thrilled to wolf down a whole-bellied clam roll. Huge, huge difference in taste between whole-bellied clams and clam strips.
Also took a picture of my mom’s fish and chips. The pic doesn’t convey the size of the enormous pieces of fish. Enough for two people.
– The juxtaposition of blood and ketchup a few episodes ago on “Breaking Bad” was wickedly clever, and now whenever I see ketchup, I’m reminded of the show. Let’s hope I don’t see a box cutter any time soon.
– Can the media please get off Michelle Obama’s case every time she indulges in a burger and fries? Sheesh. A healthy, active lifestyle doesn’t condemn a person to a lifetime of solely alfalfa sprouts — it’s about moderation, balance and occasional indulgences. The people criticizing her are probably the non-moderation types who swing from extreme diet to extreme diet, only to fall off the wagon and land face first in a gallon of ice cream.
– Almond jello is one of my staple foods of summer. On a visit last year, my mother dropped off an absurd amount of almond extract and gelatin, as though we were entering a post-apocalyptic world and I was going to require almond jello to survive. All winter and spring the gelatin boxes and vials of extract have been taking up cabinet space. Until this summer… and the arrival of the DC heat. Now I have a constant almond jello rotation going; when one batch gets near the end, I start up another so there’s never any down time. Thank god for that stash of supplies.
– I’ve read that pimientos de Padron might be sold at the Dupont Circle farmers’ market. Any confirmation on that?
– Never thought I’d find myself using a Foreman Grill at work; turns out a co-worker keeps a small one in the office kitchen cabinet, which he’s happy to let anyone use. I feel like a new world of possibilities has opened up. Paninis for lunch! Fired up my first work panini the other day: smoked turkey, homemade pesto, spinach, tomato and fontina on olive bread from the farmers’ market. Set me up for a strong rest of the afternoon. A good lunch will do that.
– Speaking of work, a recent Boston.com feature listed the most annoying co-worker etiquette offenses. On the list, stinking up the microwave. Now I’m self-conscious about heating up leftover salmon. I don’t want to be “that guy.” My co-workers say they don’t notice any smell at all, but I wonder if they’re just being polite.
– I’m wary of any restaurant that names itself after a specific geographic region, as though the name lends it credibility. If you come across a restaurant in Des Moines, Iowa called “New York Pizza” or “New York Bagels,” chances are it’s going to suck. So it’s with a healthy skepticism that I sampled a slice of white clam and a slice of sausage and mushroom at Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza.
While there’s only one New Haven pizza — it’s especially difficult to replicate Frank Pepe crust without a coal oven, for example — I have to give props to Pete’s for doing a solid job. The crust captured some of the essence of New Haven with its darkened, chewy crispiness. I’d go again.
– Finally, if you missed last week’s “No Reservations” episode at the renowned (and closing) El Bulli, do yourself a favor and catch the re-runs. A great episode all around (featuring DC’s own Jose Andres as Bourdain’s gregarious travel companion). The passion, inventiveness and sheer otherworldly artistry of Ferran Adria’s food was simply mesmerizing. Bourdain and Andres looked like giddy schoolchildren, and for good reason.