Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Pambiche

Friday, October 5th, 2007

While highlights abound on the Portland tour, one in particular deserves mention. I’ve dined at some pretty sweet places and eaten some fairly exotic foods. While they’ve all been good and memorable, I found that a little Cuban place in Portland has taken the top spot in my dining history. What’s amazing about Pambiche is the unassuming atmosphere surrounding the restaurant. Walking up to, I had no idea what I was about to experience.

Sadly, I was only able to eat there once while in the city, so I can only speak to one dish, Ajiaco. Described as a “one pot meal that comes brimming with a variety of tropical roots and vegetables, corn dumplings, creole seasoned pork and beef”, this tasty meal was unlike any other food I’d tasted. Very subtle flavors and aromas with each spoonful pleased my tastebuds and tummy. And while Cuban food is not traditionally spicy, Pambiche had a homemade spicy sauce which complimented the dish wonderfully.

I am not a food critic so it’s hard to do the experience justice. Next time Portland dining is available, head over to 2811 NE Glisan and taste it firsthand. I plan on doing just that!

Slow Down and Smell The…Food?

Tuesday, February 13th, 2007

Gluttony is probably the sin I indulge in the most and, at this point in my life, I’m able to eat what I want at whatever quantity I want. This does not mean I am an undiscerning eater. Quite the contrary, I enjoy quality food and wish I was better at cooking those fancy meals. While fast food certainly kept me fed during school, now that I am out and bringing home a paycheck, I came to the decision that fast food really has nothing to offer me anymore. I ate it for the quantity to price ratio, to help keep some weight on my body for sports. Without that high demand for energy, quantity really has become a non-issue.

Another aspect of eating I feel fortunate in is that I haven’t really met a food I didn’t like. There are exceptions (like White Castle, but I have the fast-food-embargo card to play there now), but they really boil down to badly prepared food, not the food item itself. So I challenge myself when I eat to either order or make something I have not had before. This is most challenging at Thai restaurants, as I love Pad Thai; usually, those I’m eating with order it and I can get something else, knowing I’ll probably get the end of their plates when they have become full.

My cooking abilities are quite meager at this point. The hardest part for me is that I don’t like to cook for just myself. So if a certain someone could return from New Zealand, perhaps the pots and pans would get more varied use! That situation will be rectified soon, so I’ll be able to crack into that Joy of Cooking cookbook and create some tasty treats.

One aspect of cooking I hadn’t really considered before was the origin of the ingredients. Just go the the Schnucks or Shop and Save and pick up your ingredients, right? Well, not necessarily. Part of green living is working to use nature and the environment in a sustainable way, but also doing it in a way that still benefits people in other ways. It was in thinking about how to shop for food that would be raised in a “green” way that I came across an organization that is striving to promote this way of thinking. Their motto: “…counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people‚Äôs dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.” Their name: Slow Food International.

Always in search of getting more out of my experiences, I think this organization brings quite a bit of education to the table (pun intended), teaching people about the hows, whys, whats, and whens of the foods they eat. It seems pretty obvious that supporting the local farmer’s markets and co-ops. Search Google Maps for farmer’s markets near your zipcode and you’ll probably find a few; I found 6 within 10 miles of me. Who knew? I do, now.

So here’s to making and experiencing good food, knowing that you are being responsible to yourself, your local community, and the ecosystem. It certainly makes things taste better knowing you’re contributing to those causes.

What Won’t I Do For Sushi

Friday, March 17th, 2006

I had sushi for lunch a couple days ago with Ben and Mark. Now, I love sushi, and pretty much do what I can to eat it whenever possible. Not having had breakfast, I was particularly hungry. I finished my roll in record time and, having not silenced my tummy, began eyeing one of the last two pieces left on Ben’s plate. Surely a deal can be struck where I could partake of at least one of those morsels. There was.

The Bet

Wasabi Blob

The Prize

Sushi

I’ll take that bet

Eat the wasabi

Once the wasabi entered my mouth, I broke it into three more managable sub-blobs. Each one, on spreading out over my tongue and hitting my throat, felt like a kick in the crotch by an NFL placekicker. The upside was that the discomfort lasted only moments. The downside was that it still felt like getting kicked in the crotch. After much coughing, reddening of the face, and assuring a fellow patron that I was okay, the wasabi was down, the previously eaten sushi remained internal, and I began to eye my prize. Not fazed by what I had just done, I promptly dipped the morsel into my soy-wasabi mixture, thereby eliciting another kick-to-the-crotch sensation, though this time only with the power of a 1st grader. I must say, it was well worth it.

Cooking Old School

Friday, February 17th, 2006

It seems that Teflon, that wondercoat that saved many a novice chef from hours of painstaking scrubbing of pots and pans, is no longer the golden child of the cooking world. It appears that Teflon contains PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid), recently classified as a likely carcinogen by the EPA. So what’s a cooking n00b to do? Do it like the pro’s yo!

Carl Tashian gives a nice write-up of the ways to use non-Teflon pans to achieve superior cooking performance. Will certainly put these into practice as I sub out the Teflon. Who doesn’t like better prepared food? I certainly want to leet up in the kitchen!

Brown Sugar

Monday, February 6th, 2006

Not the song dude…actual brown sugar. I was making a sweet steak marinade today in preparation for the Super Bowl and found that the brown sugar I had was hard as a rock. Rather than trashing it and buying some more, I went to the trusty Internets and poked around. Here’s the remedy for hard brown sugar – microwave until it is soft and before it begins to melt. The estimates were in the vicinity of 30 seconds for a cup of sugar. To prevent the hardness occurring, apparently one should keep the brown sugar in the freezer. I am testing this theory and will approve or debunk it at a later date.

Heaven on Earth, aka Eating Sushi

Saturday, January 21st, 2006

Thanks to Gabriel, I have an insatiable appetite for sushi now. Granted, my income does not allow me to partake as much as I would like, but that makes the occasions when I do have some all the more special. For those that also enjoy sushi and the whole experience of eating sushi, this page is considered by Google to be the best page in explaining how to eat sushi, what to look for in a sushi bar, etc…

Now I need to find a date who’d be willing to try Fugu (Poisonous Japanese Blowfish)…

Sushi

Friday, April 29th, 2005

Sushi is good… For those of you who are not so thrilled at the thought of fresh fish wrapped with rice and seaweed, may I suggest you try Miso on Meramac. Now, I know what you’re thinking after visiting the site – “Why ASP?”. Certainly we would hope they would have better sense. In their defense, I think they spend a lot of time on sushi and are not current about their web options. That aside, it is a good two hours later and I still can taste the wonderful food prepared for us as we sat there.

I challenge any sushi-hater to go there with an open mind and try it out. In fact, let me know and I’ll go with you. Do bring your pocketbook though; its not cheap to convince you that sushi is wonderful.