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Manolo's Food Blog - Part 28

Lady Gaga: Legend, Singer, American Dining Activist!

My god, what did we ever do before we had the technological capability to MST3K red carpet events in realtime? Also, the woman has a point.




And don’t ask about dips.

Black and White and …

Sometimes Monday needs nothing more than a super-cute little video from Kate Spade New York to remind us that delightful food is essential to a life lived in technicolour (but how many calories are in a rainbow?). And for your delightful, post-rainbowcake espresso, the Kate Spade Larabee Road demitasse set would put the sun back in the sky even in February, if only for a moment.
Kate Spade Larabee Road demitasse set

BB Quest!

Oh jeez, there goes the party

Oh jeez, there goes the party

I’m back! Didja miss me?

During my recent and entirely (I assure you) involuntary hiatus from food and beverage products of a kind which are not delivered via intravenous drip, there was one thing and one thing alone which I craved, and I craved it both morning and night, at noon and at the witching hour, and indeed at every moment in between. Yes, it seems that a mandated cessation from oral gratification of the most basic kind has a predictable, and inescapable result.

BBQ craving.

The nurses tell me this isn’t a surprise to them. The dieticians told me nothing, because if they were in the business of paying attention to patients, they’d be providing better food, wouldn’t they? You sam hill bet they would. But no matter how many sucrose-based, saline-encrusted chemicals they pump into your arm, they can’t deliver taste or satisfaction. Curious, though, that I craved protein the entire time; I wasn’t exactly working out the whole time.

Which reminds me of my friend Christi, who used to live in North Carolina, home to Duke University, which boasts the most advanced obesity-research center in the world, ringed entirely by BBQ restaurants. She walked into one once, asked “What kind of meat is it?” and was told, “Barbeque.” That, apparently, settles that. Ah, the mysteries of American culture.

All of which is just so much preamble to the question: What can you tell me about good old American barbeque? I went out today to Vera’s, “Vancouver’s best burgers,” specifically to satisfy my craving for saucy, meaty goodness (the burlesque shows don’t open till 7 around my hood) and was, to say the least, disappointed. There was slime. There was meat. But there was no piquancy. There was no smokiness. There was no detectable level of carboniferious goodness. Ou sont les scorch marks d’antan?

I understand that in some esoteric enclaves such as San Antonio and North Carolina, BBQ is something of a religion with its own fractured family tree of orthodoxies. As I wouldn’t dream of stepping on anyone’s orthodoxies, I’m wondering if any of you are secret or not so secret acolytes, and if you wouldn’t mind enlightening us.

Besides, I’m too damn lazy to Google it.

Gino D’Acampo, the truly naked chef

Oh my. Oh my goodness. My, my, my, my, my.

Hunky Italian chef Gino D’Acampo is a big man, and a total hambone. When he loses a bet, he doesn’t shrivel up, he antes up. Here he goes Jamie Oliver one better by becoming a truly Naked Chef, and never mind the risks to life, limb, and little buddy.

From TheDailyWhat:

Long story short, Italian chef Gino D’Acampo made a promise to viewers of ITV’s This Morning that, should the show win a National Television Award, he would return to cook sans clothes. Well, they won, and he did.

That takes sfere, and, as you can see, Gino is a man who knows where to draw the line, who’s not as likely to run something up the flagpole and see who salutes as he is to carry his cowl where the sun don’t shine. Of the three of them on-camera (and the vast, multitudinous horde swarming around off-camera) only one person keeps his cool when the heat is on and the dial is turned up to 12. He barely cracks a smile even as his boneheaded cohosts pull boner after boner during this simple segment on preparing gammon and mushy peas.

Yes, Gino D’Acampo is the obvious weiner.

First Floor, going UP!

and going down, the hatch that is.

I know, I HAD to use it and I’m sorry already, okay?

Anyway, this is just a quickie cocktail post about my new favorite cocktail, which has actually usurped the place in my heart formerly held by my beloved Negroni.

As some of you may know, latterly my liver and I are barely on speaking terms, and I’m drinking less like a sailor than like a … I don’t know … I don’t actually have any cultural reference points for people who don’t drink like that. What can I say, I’m Irish! Anyway, I’m definitely preferring my cocktails on the lighter side lately, and this one has all the complexity and bittersweet charm of the Negroni, but without the vicious kick.

The Bon Marché cocktail was invented on a blustery night last week by my favorite bartender, Mr. Jay Jones, who’s newly installed as bar manager at Market by Jean-Georges in the Shangri-La hotel. Yes, in Canada we have our good restaurants in hotels. We just gotta be contrarian that way.

Anyway, it was invented specifically for me when I said I’d leave it up to him. “Sweet? Bitter? Creamy?” Bitter. Hey, I gotta be me. And so it was, and delicious it is, enough to make a whole blog post out of, trust me.

You make this just like a Martini, meaning you have to chill the glass, so do that first. I know you, you don’t store your glasses in the freezer, do you? Chuck some cubes into it and fill it with cold water while you putter around going “do we even HAVE orange bitters?” and it’ll be cold enough by the time the drink is mixed.

Bon Marché

  • 1.5 oz Beefeater 24
  • 0.5 oz Campari
  • 0.5 oz Giffard Abricot Du Roussillon
  • 2 dashes Fee Brothers’ West Indian Orange Bitters
  • lemon zest

Mix over ice, stir until chilled, strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with lemon zest and yes, you squeeze it over the drink before you plop it in and if you’re in the mood, wipe rim the glass with the zest as well. Since this is a hot pink stunner of a cocktail, a clear glass is essential for showing it off, but cut crystal will bring out the tones better than a classically minimalist one would. Keep the purist glass for purist Martinis, and try this gorgeous, po-mo Wood Grain Martini Glass from that very po-mo collective, Waterford.

Wood Grain Martini glass by Michael Aram for Waterford

Grilled! Cheese! Washed! Rum!

Shawn Soole by Vancouver Foodster

Shawn Soole by Vancouver Foodster

UPDATE: Golly, just look how influential we are: it got in the New York Times today!

Well, what do you know? The humble ManoloFood blog has permeated the highest reaches of the Cocktailosphere and influenced Liquid Revolutionary Shawn Soole of Clives Classic Lounge, one of the best bartenders on the fair shores of the Pacific. Yes, undoubtably in response to our epic post about the world’s poshest grilled cheese sarnies, he’s been moved to create the masterpiece of cocktail curiosity known as Grilled Cheese Washed Rum.

And we have a world exclusive on the recipe:

You start with an amber, not too aggressive rum (specifically the lovely Mount Gay) and make yourself a super cheesy, super buttery grilled cheese sandwich with whatever bread you want. Make two, because you’ll want to eat one, silly! Crumble the spare up, soak it in the rum for 4-6 hours, covered airtightly which to me means pyrex pie tins with plastic wrap secured by rubber band. Don’t use plastic; it’ll absorb all the aromas! And metal is risky; stick with glass or pyrex.

Strain the crumbly bits out of your booze and toss them. Freeze the rum so that the fat solidifies and then break it off. If you freeze it too long, just let it sit on the counter a bit till it’s softened and you can pull the fat off in a sheet. This is almost as much fun as picking a scab, and with no pain! And it’s hardly gross at all!!!

So far, so awesome.

Now put it through a coffee filter a couple of times to get the last of the cloud-making bits, and what you’ve got left is your deliciously salty, deliciously savory, artisanal grilled cheese washed rum. Sounds crazy, tastes savory. It’s unusual but it’s also very, very good.

Cheers! For more sandwich-based beverage recipes, see this roundup of sandwich-in-a-glass cocktails made for National Sandwich Day, November 3rd.

Who Knew?

Chef Boyardee isn't in the kitchen tonight

We've found the problem: Chef Boyardee isn't in the kitchen tonight

It’s your own fault for booking on a Monday, rube!

In related news, Chef Boyardee was a real chef, and he never would have gone near PG-13 crap like Zoodles!

Food for Thought