Metropole • Cincinnati

Mon, Oct 27, 2014 by

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metropole

This week marks the launch of a campaign that’s been in the making for over a year. In that year I’ve become quite familiar with Cincinnati. There’s a lot of  Tasty that’s popping up all over town but my first trip still marks one of my favorite spots and killer dishes. Actually in this case it’s a single component of a dish. The above smoked grapes seem a simple garnish amongst the goliath, bone-in pork chop and caramelized, “burnt” carrots that shared plate space. Pulling these these fruity miniatures off the plate and giving them their own porcelain stage is the smartest move you can make. I first had one by itself. I let the smokey, grape juice run about my mouth making sure it extended the length and sides of my tongue. It’s a flavor like none other and a genius preparation. A few grapes in with some of the smoked meat never hurt the smoker and the benefit to my dish is 100 fold. It complimented the pork better than anything else on the plate, in fact, it could be reigning champ of pork accoutrements. Mighty Quinn, get on on this action. Most every other bite you can get at Metropole is fantastic. It comes out of the kitchen with much care and love and that always makes things taste even better. Check out a few of these dishes on the jump.

Go there:
Metropole
609 Walnut St
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 578-6660

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Marlowe • San Francisco

Wed, Oct 15, 2014 by

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Marlowe, Manhattan

This is a throw back from a few years ago. I dug it out of the drafts bin today because I’m planning a dinner in SF for some VIP exec types and Marlowe is on my recommend list. Thing is, since I have devoured this provolone smothered open faced sandwich I’ve been a big Marlowe fan and now a big Cavalier fan too. (more on that in a few days) One of my favorite things the restaurant had was a giant roll of butcher paper mounted to the wall. Each day they’d roll out a piece and write the specials on it. Aside from being a fan of paper on a roll, the transience of the idea matches the special food items perfectly. Marlowe just reopened in their new space at the beginning of this month. It’ll be exciting to see what they’ve done with it. With my boarding pass for SFO downloaded into my passbook, I’ll be checking out the new space and hoping to see the butcher paper roll mounted on one of their new walls. Their will be plenty of SF eats coming in the next few days.

Go there:
Marlowe
500 Brannan St, San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 777-1413

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Abigail Street • Cincinnati

Fri, Oct 10, 2014 by

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Abigail Street

In honor of this weeks project completion, I’m posting an unexpected, and almost missed, killer dish. It happened on a Cincinnati trip for an Isotoner meeting that stranded me over night. Thanks LGA. After my delay stretched to a cancellation I booked a quick Hotel Tonight room near the airport, called an Uber and was headed to the OTR within 10 minutes. That’s Over the Rhine for those not in the Cincy know. Think of the OTR as the Williamsburg, Silver Lake or Mission of Cincinnati. Converted old factories on the edge of a not so safe area has spawned a handful of stand out restaurants with more to come. On the way back to the city from Kentucky airport Open Table helped me secure a res at two of the forth coming tasties my evening would produce.

Abigail Street and Daniel Wright has their shit down. The small-ish plates menu cascades from mini tasty to hugely delicious in both size and flavor. Somewhere in the middle sits this sleeper scallop dish that shouldn’t be missed. Perfectly seared scallops with roasted mushrooms and bacon sit on top of a hearty mountain of maftoul. Maftoul is a Palestinian couscous much like, as expected, Israeli but far from the more commonly seen Moroccan version. Drizzled atop all that goodness is a smoked egg vinaigrette which makes this dish incredible. This dressing brings together the other elements in a harmonious parade of goodness like playing a Notorious B.I.G. hit on acoustic guitar and a 1990’s synthesizer. Delicate yet BADASS.

PS-More on the Isotoner project when it officially launches.

Go there:
Abigail Street
1214 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 421-4040

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This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef • Manhattan

Fri, Oct 3, 2014 by

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This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef, Manhattan

I’ve been rolling through the East Village a lot this week. The difference in the hood from when I lived off the corner of 14th and 2nd is remarkable. Not that this is news to me just that I chose now to discuss it. In those days Crif Dog had just popped up, we’d dance the night away at Plant and we’d late night munch at 7A or Stromboli. I’ll stop aging myself and spare you the sarcasm and disgusted commentary that comes with an aging, ex-East Village, resident reflecting on “How it used to be”. Honestly, there is not much to complain about. Of course, the well placed heroine addict, gaggle of onion scented squatters and random hole-in-the wall-bar-lounge-club-tattoo shop-restaurants changes the vibe, but the new regime has been focused and cool.

Amidst the single food minded set of shops that now beckon at every turn, This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef is top of the charts. Spoiler alert…Was top of the charts. Two sandwich choices is all you get. This way. A Roast Beef with Au Jus and Cheez Whiz. And, That Way. Roast Beef with Gravy and Fresh Mozzarella. (my choice above). The problem now. THEY CLOSED.

My neighborhood stroll revealed with horror that this tiny shop closed in May because of bad paper work and eviction. Discovering this on the heels of the Yaffa Cafe close (another old skool staple) is disheartening. I hope we’re not about to see another revamp of the ‘hood but given the adage, New York is reborn every 10 years…this might be the beginning of the new.

Go there:
149 1st Ave
New York, NY 10003
b/t 10th St & St Marks Pl in East Village
CLOSED

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Garces Trading Co • Philadelphia

Fri, Sep 26, 2014 by

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Garces Trading Company

Perhaps the best mozzerella in Philly, and I am sure this is going to make a stink down in the Italian Market. Let me explain. The key to a good mozzarella is fresh made curds and an old world balling technique. If you’ve ever made it fresh, you know, you can eat it immediately. Remember that time you ordered a Mozz at your local Italian deli and the hairy-eared old man walked into the back room before handing you a warm ball of cheese? Yeah, that’s because someone just made it. Probably his wife or his brother. That warmth is temperature gold. It creates a supple cheese that allows the salt and milk flavors to shine through in a way that a cold cheese never can. That’s why we love it melted on pizza. Makes sense right?

Jose Garces, a new Philly culinary hero and winner of the second season of Top Chef, has this mozzarella incubator thing down to a science. We’ve popped into Garces Trading Company several times just for this wondrous cheese ball. It is always made fresh daily and served perfectly warm. Usually it’s served with some of Veronica Foods finest olive oil (which can be purchased in house) BUT, in the case above, we had it surrounded by some raspberry compote and maldon salt. An extraordinary, in season, pairing for this lactic packing paisano.

Go there:
Garces Trading Co.
1111 Locust St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
215.574.1099

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‘Wich Hunting: Episode 15

Thu, Sep 25, 2014 by

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Yankee Stadium Audi Club – Bronx, New York

About ‘Wich Hunting: Jay and I have travelled the world eating everything from Balut in the Philippines to blood sausage in Argentina. In every destination there has always been a sandwich shop. Some were good and some were bad but they all had their unique take on this ubiquitous meal. The origin of the sandwich is highly debated and we’ll dive into that on our journey as we discover, taste and debate the best sandwiches in the world.

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Troost • Brooklyn

Fri, Sep 12, 2014 by

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Troost

Sometimes you just want some morning comfort. Sometimes that comfort needs to be a very short distance from your house to scratch the itch that is local tasty. For me, on this particular itch, it’s Troost for a croissant egg sandwich. Sadly, BK’s was the first meal I enjoyed an egg sandwich with a croissant in place of bread. Pardon me, I mean, Croissan’wich. Never-the-less, I discovered the joy of a buttery, flaky, layered softness replacement for the ubiquitous Long Island kaiser roll. That moment has kept my eyes peeled for the uncommon croissant-roll replacement. I’ve found magic in many places. Penelope’s Penny Egg Sandwich to name one.

I digress. Back to comfort. A short walk down Manhattan avenue the orange facade of Troost beckons me in to its dimly lit, sleepy mahogany decor. The half awake barista bungles my order. I manage to take my over filled coffee cup to the quiet and dark booth in the back and await the arrival of my sando. The first bite is a perfect blend of yolk, buttery pastry, crisp baby arugula and molten cheddar. A sip of joe completes the moment and we repeat. We repeat until all that goodness is stored away in my tummy and I’ve drifted into a reverie about the day ahead of me. Ya know what? I think you’ll know where you can find me tomorrow morning. Happy Saturday morning to y’all.

Go there:
Troost
1011 Manhattan Ave.
Brooklyn, 11222
347-889-6761

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Forked with Wyatt Neumann

Wed, Sep 3, 2014 by

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Wyatt Neuman

Wyatt Neumann’s mold was shattered when his jewish parents gave birth to him on Native American soil. To know Wyatt would be to understand how this is simply par for the course. His skin, garb and stride exude badass cool but his heart is as tender as the filet mignon he doesn’t necessarily find exciting to eat. His food habits are more for fuel than enjoyment. On the contrary, the conversation had over that food is of paramount interest to him. He’s a true explorer. He soaks in every moment making the best of the precious seconds he’s granted on earth. I admire his way. It’s brash, avante guard, conceited at times but with purpose…and ALWAYS with passion.

These days, his kids and wife are his world and he’s one of the best father’s I know. His creative energy has turned to focus on them as his muse. The result is amazing with his soft, tender, caring heart clearly visible through his seemingly contrasting photography. More than a quick glance reveals my point. On the jump hear what he has to say about fish heads, his kids and Montana.

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Papachos • Cusco

Sat, Aug 30, 2014 by

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Papachos-Cusco, Peru

Our Peru adventure seems like a liftime away even though its only been just over a month. To aid in not forgetting so fast I decided to marinate some beef heart, for this weekend, and post this Labor Day appropriate excerpt from our Peruvian gastro-voyage. If you are in any part of Peru close to a major city the name Gastón Acurio is very well known. If you’re in any of the major cities or tourist hubs its likely one of his many restaurants is within taxi distance, if not closer. On our first day in Peru we met up with our new friend, and editor of the popular Peruvian magazine Cosas, Raul and he raved about Gaston’s burgers. “Papachos!” he emphatically repeated, “It’s amaaaaaaazing.” More on Raul a few posts from now but his words, although met with skepticism from both Tony and I, stuck with us.

It wasn’t until Cusco that we had the moment to consider Raul’s challenge…uhh excuse me…suggestion. Still recovering from the arduous trip out to Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu, we stood in Cuscos central square and looked up at Papacho’s balcony. A single, rusted metal letter P teased us to climb up and taste as the remaining sun ducked behind Cuscos 12,000 foot peaks. We accepted and 30 minutes later found ourselves pinned to the mat struggling to free ourselves from the huge taste of these delicious burgers sleeper hold. All things considered, they rival any American burger we’ve had. You may find this hard to believe but here’s 5 reasons why.

1. The bun is perfect. A slightly crispy outside, nice shine, a few seeds. Soft, fresh and airy inside. Perfect for burger juice absorption.

2. The portion is Texan size. Gaston does not fool around with dishing out the lbs.

3. The options run from the standard American (pictured above) to Peruvian slanted to local Cusco special editions.

4. The fries. 4000 varieties in Peru. Enough said.

5. This is the clincher. An all veal burger patty. It has to be at least a 1/2 pound of sweet meat. This detail is the move that makes it such a huge contender to its American counterparts.

It’s ridiculous to go to Peru for a burger but if you find yourself in Lima or Cusco do yourself a solid and give it a taste. You can have ceviche in a few hours or anticuchos as an afternoon snack. This burger is so good that it’s a not-to-be-missed on an eaters top 10 Peru list. I never thought we’d be advocating such a farce but this burger is anything but.

Go there:
Papacho’s
Portal de Belén 115
Plaza de Armas-Cusco

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Farina • San Francisco

Fri, Aug 22, 2014 by

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Farina, San Francisco

I’m barely settled in from a monster 26 days on the road. Peru to San Fran to DC. Whew! To be straight with you, I am still gathering my balance. My desk is a disaster both at work and home. My Machu Picchu brain is long gone and the to=do list is gigantic. Tomorrow will be a kick-ass-take-names kind of day. I didn’t want another week to go by without a proper post although our Instagram stream has been doing a pretty good job of chronicling us real time.

I can’t even begin to post the tasty from Peru. There’s so much to consider. (coming soon). As I sort through that, here’s a bite from San Francisco that’s worth the stop. Grilled lamb chops served with sauteed chanterelle mushrooms. You’ll find a lot of super simple plates at Farina but you can’t go wrong with lamb chops. They barely need salt and pepper because the flavor of the meat is so big and distinct. Paired with an earthy mushroom only compliments the protein and pushes you closer to that elusive umami.

Go there:

Farina Focaccia & Cucina Italiana
3560 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Phone:(415) 565-0360

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