Tag Archives: sauce

Don Angie

I went to Don Angie with a group of friends, so we tried almost half of the menu. I tried two cocktails; the Uncle Jimmy (Islay scotch, amaretto, bitters and lemon) and the Pinky Ring (bourbon, carpano, galliano and campari). Both were really nice.

We started with the stuffed garlic flatbread for the table.

This was delicious, especially when eaten simultaneously with their chrysanthemum salad, which is probably the best salad I’ve ever had. Easily one of the best dishes of the year (a salad!) – so good, we ordered a second.

The tonnato vitello was really nice and refreshing, made with spicy veal tartare and tuna carpaccio.

For pasta dishes, we first tried a special Sardinian dumpling in a creamy cheese sauce, topped with shaved white truffle.

Next up, caramelle.

These candy packages were a nice mix of sweet and savory. Beautiful too.

We also had their famous lasagne pinwheels. Also beautiful. And with such a thin noodle, they are actually light and delicious.

But the star of the show was the giant garganelli in broken meatball ragu. This was fucking incredible.

It reminded me of my grandma’s Sunday sauce, only with better quality homemade pasta. I crave this daily, and it is at the top of my list for best dishes I tried this year. We also ordered a second one of these since it was so incredible.

We also had the charred octopus. This was a small portion to share among six people, but it was indeed tasty.

The veal “da pepi” was like a Milanese chop. Very tasty and crisp.

Let down of the meal goes to the prime rib braciole.

It was somehow a bit dry, under cooked in parts (the center), and stringy in others (the outer edges). Bummer. I was really looking forward to this. The stuffing tasted like my dad’s stuffed cherry peppers, which was nice. 5/10.

We also had some sides: potatoes and polenta.

For dessert, we tried a bit of everything. The sgroppino was bright and acidic, the fior di latte mochi was unique and tasty, the tiramisu was perfect, and the honey zeppole were nice little versions of the fried belly bombs I loved as a kid.

This place is worth the struggle for a reservation. Get the salad, the garganelli, and the lasagne. You’ll be happy.

DON ANGIE
103 Greenwich Ave
New York, NY 10014

Bluebird London NYC

This joint just opened so I came in to check it out. They are an import from London, as the name suggests, and they are doing some really nice stuff.

First up, they have some great cocktails. Their Vesper martini, Bluebird race car cocktails (their namesake) and Thai Paloma were standout.

They do a beautiful gin & tonic too. I had several of these on the night of their grand opening party:

I tried three apps: The smoked salmon, the gin cured salmon, and the steak tartare.

Smoked Salmon: Very good quality salmon, nice and light – I can see this being a big favorite at brunch time with some toast and a mimosa.

Gin Cured Salmon: Truly inspired. Delicious. The gin really alters the flavor and texture (in a very good way). Served with pickled veggies and some mustard seeds.

Steak Tartare: Awesome. I actually found myself taking some of the cream from the smoked salmon dish and mixing it in with a bite of steak tartare here and there. It was a delicious combo!

Burger: This was so good. I loved the “Big Mac” style sauce on it. Everything really came together nicely. I am generally a big proponent of potato buns, but this brioche held up nicely since it was fresh.

Beef Wellington: The best version I’ve ever had. This is one of my top dishes of 2018 for sure. Perfect in every way. I’ve never had Beef Wellington so big, bold and beautifully executed. There are actually two more slices of this not pictured. I pulled them off the plate so you could see the cook temp better. Serves two for $85 – one of the best deals you will find for this level of cuisine. 10/10.

Sticky Toffee Pudding w/Pepper Ice Cream: Very unique. I really liked the contrast of flavors between the ice cream and the pudding. I think this would round out nicely with some citrus zest or perhaps a wedge/supreme of grapefruit or clementine. Really fun!

I will definitely be back here for sure. There are a few other steaks I’d like to try, and the space is just so beautiful that it makes you want to keep coming back for more. Look out soon for their brunch and afternoon tea services as well.

BLUEBIRD LONDON NYC
10 Columbus Circle
Third floor
New York, NY 10019

The End Hot Sauce

Pepper Palace on Chartres Street in New Orleans sells a proprietary reaper pepper and habanero sauce called “The End.”

It’s probably the hottest sauce I’ve ever had, and I can fucking take the heat like a goddamn champ when it comes to spicy shit. I had to sign a waiver before trying it. Allow me to describe what happened:

I took a small plastic spoon of the shit, maybe a third of the size you get when you take a sample of ice cream at Baskin Robbins. Just a dot, really. I placed it on my tongue and my mouth lit up with heat. To my surprise it actually had a nice smoky flavor to it. I experienced a jolt of energy, as if I just slammed a shot of strong espresso. That vibrance lasted almost a half an hour. When I swallowed the stuff, it warmed the inside of my body, as if I could feel it making contact with every surface my digestive system from my mouth down to my stomach. Heartburn, almost. Slightly painful.

Luckily I didn’t get any on my lips, and most of it stayed on my tongue before going down. I also didn’t develop any hiccoughs, to my surprise. But I can tell you that this sauce is pure insanity. If you’ve got the balls, give it a try. On our trip to New Orleans, we tried a lot of so called “crazy spicy” sauces, made with ghost peppers and reapers, but nothing came close to this shit. Crazy.

In case you’re wondering, New Orleans is famous for hot sauce. There are dozens of majorly famous brands that call the region home, such as Tabasco, Crystal and Louisiana Hot (obviously). When you walk the streets here, you are bombarded with all sorts of hot sauces for sale. I love it.

Ariake Broth, Stock and Sauce

Meet Ariake, a concentrated ramen broth, bone stock and sauce supplier. Just add water to dilute and create the goods.

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I was delighted to see that they use the correct terminology here. Bones make a stock, not a broth. This beef stock was very flavorful, but it had a bit of sweetness. I think it would grow on me after some time, but I was expecting a fattier, more savory flavor profile.

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I tried their pork broth here. Perhaps it was diluted a bit to much, or needed to be presented with some actual meat, but it felt a little flat to me. I think if presented with actual meat it might be a bit better.

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The sauces were interesting – there were many flavors!

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This one caught my eye in particular:

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While I didn’t have it with meat, I thought it was pretty good. It had a worschestshire kind of flavor, along with hints of meat gravy.

Spaghetti Pie

This shit was a staple in my household when I was growing up. It’s really easy to make, and it’s something not many people have eaten. My mom used to make it with just the cheese, spices, eggs and spaghetti, but I decided to take it to the next level with some other shit. Here’s how it goes:

SHIT YOU NEED (Mom’s Way)

  • 1 Pound of Spaghetti
  • 1 Dozen Eggs
  • 6oz Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Basic Seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, crushed red pepper, etc)
  • Half Stick of Butter

SHIT YOU MAY WANT TO ADD (My Way)

  • 1 Bag of Baby Spinach
  • 8oz Imitation Crab Meat (or the real deal if it’s in the budget)
  • 6oz Mozzarella Cheese

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Smear the half stick of butter all over the inside of a pyrex pan. Whatever extra you have can be melted and added into the bowl in the next step.

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3. Crack your eggs into a bowl and whisk together with the grated parmesan cheese and seasonings until thoroughly mixed.

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4. Boil your spaghetti, then strain (or leftovers are fine, too).

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5. Cook the baby spinach, then strain or squeeze dry (optional).

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6. Pull apart the crab meat and chop or dice coarsely (optional).

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7. Coarsely chop or dice the mozzarella cheese (optional).

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8. Add spaghetti (and the other optional ingredients) into the egg and grated cheese bowl, and mix with your (clean) hands until everything is evenly distributed.

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9. Pour the mixture into the buttered pyrex pan and spread it around so it is flat and evenly distributed.

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10. Bake until you see butter bubbles coming up from the bottom of the pyrex, or until you can poke it with a toothpick and not have any slime or ooze come up when you remove the toothpick. Typically the edges will start to get some brown happening when it is finished, and the top of the pie will start to develop some dry, crispy, semi-burnt spaghetti bits.

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Eggs cook pretty quickly, and that’s really all that needs to get cooked at this point. They’re probably halfway cooked anyway since the hot spaghetti likely hit the egg and started the cooking process already before the pyrex went into the oven. I’m thinking this is usually around 30-45 minutes for me, but I honestly never look at the time. It’s all eyeballs for me.

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Once it’s finished cooking, take it out of the oven and let it set/rest for a while before cutting into squares/cubes.

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In the meantime, you can make a nice dipping sauce out of some canned or jarred tomatoes, if you have them sitting around collecting dust. I like to use a small can of Contadina tomato sauce, hit it in a small sauté pan with some olive oil, spices, herbs and a bit of chili paste or chili flakes. You can pour it on top of your piece of pie, or dip into it with each bite.

Some people eat by hand, and others use a fork and knife.

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It really all depends on the density and consistency of the final product. If you want a more dense pie, use fewer eggs and add in all of the goodies I suggested. If you want a fluffier pie, use more eggs and fewer extras.

Guide to BBQ Styles

In case you’re from a different planet, barbecue is a culinary technique that involves cooking meat for long periods of time at low temperatures with smoke from a wood fire. BBQ pits add a distinctive smoky taste to the meat.

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Clearly we’re not talking about what you do in your backyard on Memorial Day with your Weber propane grill. We’re not talking about slapping a piece of thin, raw beef onto a hot electric mesh of metal either.

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That’s GRILLING. Never confuse it with real deal BBQ, which involves smoking a massive carcass for days on end, and the low-and-slow roasting and/or constant basting and sauce-mopping of meats for hours and hours. No my friends. This is a whole different beast. Speaking of different beasts, there’s really no limit on what animals can be cooked in this style.

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In the American south and midwest, however, barbecue has become more than just a cooking style. It’s a way of life, as is often said, and it varies greatly from place to place. Regions differ on things like sauce or no sauce, what type of animal or cuts of meat are used, and even what types of wood is burned. This page will serve as your guide to understanding these great varieties.

Texas
May as well start with the big one.  Texas has regional styles within it’s own style. Central Texas “Hill Country” is known for its old meat markets, which were heavily influenced by German and Czech immigrants. Here, the focus is on the meat, so they use dry rubs (no sauce on the meat, or it is not a primary element to the food). Beef brisket and ribs are king, and sausage links are also prominent, with pecan and oak wood being used in most smokers. East Texas BBQ is pretty much split 50/50 between beef and pork, but, similar to southern styles, what you get is usually chopped rather than sliced, and served sandwich style with a tomato- and vinegar- based hot sauce.

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North Carolina
North Carolina, like Texas, has variations within: eastern style and Lexington style (not to be confused with Lexington Steele). Three unifying things you need to know about NC BBQ: (1) the meat is PORK all the way; (2) said pork should be brushed with a spice and vinegar mix while cooking; and (3) hickory or oak wood is used in the smoker. Two differentiating things you need to know about NC BBQ: (1) eastern NC is a whole-hog BBQ, using the entire animal, while Lexington favors just the pork shoulder and ribs; and (2) eastern style NC BBQ favors an apple cider vinegar-based sauce, while the west prefers a ketchup- and brown sugar- based sauce.

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South Carolina
Here, it’s all about the sauce differences, otherwise it is pretty much the same as North Carolina. Central South Carolina is typically BBQ with a mustard-based sauce known as “Carolina Gold.” The coast is all about pepper and vinegar, and the far west and north are into ketchup- and tomato- based sauces. Preferred cuts/dishes across the state are pork butt and ham.

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Kansas City
This info holds for both Kansas and Missouri versions of Kansas City, as they are neighbors. But because of its geographic location, KCBBQ has a mix of culinary influences from all regions. And given its history as a hub for the meatpacking industry, Kansas City style BBQ embraces all kinds of meats. Everything is done “slow and low,” as they say, and usually with hickory wood, although all woods are used. Burnt ends are big here, and smothered with a thick and sweet, molasses- and tomato- based sauce, because, well, in Kansas City, “sauce is boss,” as they say.

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St. Louis
St. Louis-style barbecue consists of mainly pork dishes, a staple of which is the pork steak, which is sliced from the shoulder of the pig. However another item unique to the St. Louis area is crispy snoot. This nose and cheek cut is prepared by removing the nostrils and cooking until crispy. Similar to pork rinds, these can be presented many ways, but the two most common are either (1) covered in sauce, on a sandwich, or (2) broken into pieces and dipped in sauce.

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Memphis
Pulled pork and pork ribs are both big for this style of ‘cue. The dry rub is usually paprika and garlic, but served with a thin and tangy tomato-based sauce. Wet ribs are also prominent as well. Hickory is the choice wood, although oak, cherry, pecan and apple are all used.

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Alabama
Alabama tends to be a mixture of Texas and Carolina styles, but they’re big on sandwiches and cole slaw. They usually go with pulled pork or pulled chicken, but ‘Bama’s signature is the white sauce that they use as a topper, which is a mayonnaise and vinegar concoction.

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Kentucky
The thing to know about Kentucky BBQ is their use of mutton: older lamb and sheep. Don’t think of the word “old” as a bad thing. Lamb comes from a sheep that is less than one year old. Mutton comes from a sheep that is more than one year “old.” Kentucky mutton usually comes with a Worcestershire dip as well. Pork is prevalent here as well, but the mutton is what makes this region unique.

Virginia
I’m bogarting this description right from Wikipedia, since it is absolutely fascinating and I have nothing of my own to add to it: “While less prevalent than the other Southern styles, Virginia barbecue is a fair mixture of Carolina and Memphis barbecue. Originating in Hanover, Virginia in the 19th century, the traditional meat is pork (often Virginia ham) or chicken, although more gamy meals contain venison or squirrel. Unlike Carolina barbecue, the texture of meat is sweeter and finer. However, it does contain the smoky blend of Memphis barbecue. During Thomas Jefferson’s tenure as ambassador to France from 1784-89, he engaged in lengthy letter correspondence with James Madison regarding the preferred game for Virginia barbecue. While Jefferson exhibited a general preference for venison, Madison insisted that smaller critters were more consistent with the smokey flavor of the sauce. The key ingredients of Virginia barbecue are bourbon/wine, vinegar, peppers, corn, and a tomato-based sauce.”

California
I’ve decided to pull this directly from Wikipedia as well, since I never knew California had an official style of BBQ: “The original use of buried cooking in barbecue pits in North America was done by the Native Americans for thousands of years, including by the tribes of California. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries eras, when the territory became Spanish Las Californias and then Mexican Alta California, the Missions and ranchos of California had large cattle herds for hides and tallow use and export. At the end of the culling and leather tanning season large pit barbecues cooked the remaining meat. In the early days of California statehood after 1850 the Californios continued the outdoor cooking tradition for fiestas. In California a well-known barbecue dish is grilled tri-tip beef rump, sometimes cut into steaks. The Santa Maria Style BBQ, originally from the Central Coast of California, uses a portable ‘towed’ trailer version frequently seen at farmers markets. The old Mexican Ranchos of California would cook tri-tip over a pit of red oak, and simply season it with salt and garlic to enhance the flavor. It was served with pinqinto beans, pico de gallo and tortillas.”

Hawaii
Often overlooked is the luau, a polynesian tradition and celebration where whole hog is cooked. The centerpiece of any luau is kalua pork, which is a whole pig that is roasted in an imu pit – an underground oven traditionally made with lava rock – that cooks the animal for several hours, low and slow. The pig is ceremonially wrapped in banana leaves to impart sweetness and lock in moisture before being placed onto the coals.

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Hybrid Styles
Many other states, like Oklahoma, Arkansas and Georgia, are essentially hybrid forms of BBQ that exhibit techniques and flavors from the surrounding geographic areas of influence. New York City, on the other hand, is beginning to develop its own unique cultural hybrid BBQ style, as various African, Asian and Latin American immigrant communities weave the flavor profiles from their heritages into the American culinary tablecloth, so to speak. A true melting pot in every sense of the phrase, New York City has outlets for the flavors of African braai, Korean kimchi, Indian curry, Middle-Eastern cumin, Mexican mole and Brazilian churrasco/rodizio, just to name a few. In time, I see NYC as being a place where the boundaries of BBQ are expanded to a global level, as New Yorkers currently seem to be taking BBQ – something uniquely American – and applying it to various cuisines from all over the world. When that happens, everyone wins. Especially my stomach.

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I realize that many BBQ aficionados might find my overview above to be a bit rudimentary. There’s so much more to know, and not even just about the meats. One could easily spend an entire day learning about the various side items that go along with American BBQ, for example. As a matter of fact, one of the most thorough and enjoyable resources I have come across for BBQ is a book called Be The BBQ Pitmaster, by Will Budiaman. This book is good for history, detailed discussions of the various regional techniques, tips for wood selection, smoking instructions, and even recipes from well known pit masters in each region. It’s a one-stop-shop for all your BBQ research and cooking application needs.

And if you are wondering what wines to pair with your BBQ, check out THIS ARTICLE by Bro BBQ.

Lastly, to see my small but growing collection of BBQ reviews, click on over to “The ‘Cue Review” now.