July 30, 2005

fan si pan

I have been waiting for the cute new (bright green! fabulous asian-adorable graphics!) "spring roll bar" to open on Chicago Avenue at Ashland. For weeks I would walk by the "open soon" sign and anxiously peer inside. Finally, after my weeks away from Chicago, it's finally open and I got to try it out.

I had a fragrant chicken deconstructed spring roll, which was pretty good, especially when you squirted on a combination of the sweet-sour sauce and the chili-lime sauce. Most anything is good with lime juice & fish sauce on it, of course, but this had some nice poached chicken and a pile of fresh lettuce, papaya, pea sprouts and other herbs & veggies. A little small, but that's for the best, as it makes a very nice light meal. Especially when you add an order of french fried green beans. That's right, battered and deep fried green beans. What could possibly be more tailor made for me, the child who at 4 requested string beans for dessert? These things are the freakin' shizNIT, as the kids say these days -- perfectly crunchy (all the way to the bottom of the cup -- crunchy that lasts, yay!) and light, with lots of nice bean flavor to the vegetables, delightful on their own or dipped into whatever sauce you choose. A great way to satisfy your jones for fried snacky goodness without overdosing on starch.

I will post a photo of the great shop logo, but I am having technical difficulties at present. Tallasiandude got me a fabulous new digicam of my very own for my birthday, so foodnerd will no longer have to rely on the grainy phone-pictures, but I can't get the downloading software to work, despite copious reading of the manual and swearing. Stay tuned.

Posted by foodnerd at 11:09 PM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2005

totally not about food, not even a little bit

I am sitting here unable to leave my living room because I am transfixed by this show on Style Network: How Do I Look? It's fashion-rific, with all the harsh but fabulous attitude of Trinny & Susannah, but with a bizarrely huge dose of psychology & relationship therapy. It's completely intense, and a total trainwreck of reality television.

Posted by foodnerd at 09:56 PM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2005

sour cherry tart

So after years of reading about sour cherries and how completely transcendent they are, but never seeing any in the markets, I finally ran across some at the Federal Plaza farmer's market this week, so obviously I bought them.

I pitted them with a star pastry tip (which by the way is a pretty efficient method), and tasted a few of them raw, expecting them to be superpuckery and not really edible, but I really liked them. They're different from sweet cherries, but in their own tangy way really yummy. I would totally eat them raw as a snack or a dessert. Which is good, because once they were cooked and put into the tart (which by a bizarre miracle actually came out right), they left me mostly cold. I mean, they're good, but just kind of meh -- they taste like a more delicious, fresh version of canned cherry filling. Which I guess is what they are, but still... kind of boring. I don't really get the hype. I'll totally buy them again, but next time I ain't cookin' 'em.

Posted by foodnerd at 10:07 PM | Comments (1)

July 27, 2005

truths you never noticed

This blurb on epicurious is interesting inasmuch as it articulates an approach to both restaurant dining and home cooking that I have held for a while, without actually thinking about it very hard (or at all). The idea is that professional chefs do very interesting things, and we can happily enjoy them and admire them, while never even bothering to try to emulate them. Rather, what we do (at least as food whores such as we are) is absorb inspiration from them, which may come out as a new technique or flavor or dish in our own kitchens as we whip up something simpler, faster and just as delicious in its own way.

Posted by foodnerd at 04:37 PM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2005

birthday goodness

While we wait for me to have enough time to post all my Euro-treats, let me tell you about my recent birthday dinner. Actually there were two. One was a trip to Blue Ginger in Wellesley, to check out the perennial hype about Ming Tsai's fusion cuisine. This was very good, and I will post pictures of it shortly, but it was eclipsed by my dinner with tallasiandude at Tuscan Grill in Waltham. We ate at the bar as we always do, and we loved our meal and our evening, as we always do. It is so nice to have a place that just the two of us go that is always so comfortable and comforting but still chockablock with cooking skill. I never take pictures of my food there, I just groove.

We started with a spicy cold cucumber soup with dill & creme fraiche, which was spectacular and the best dish of the evening, and a crespelle (thick crepe) filled with ricotta & smoked trout, which was delicious but larger & heavier than i was expecting it to be. Then we split a half-order of cannelloni filled with chicken mousseline & swiss chard, and glazed with a marsala sauce. And finally we had a beautiful chunk of cod wrapped in pancetta and pan fried to crispy delectableness and served with sauteed spinach & pan fried basil gnocchi, and the grilled hanger steak with a panzanella salad. We skipped dessert in favor of heading home to have some vanilla ice cream topped with the rote grütze I brought home from Germany: a cooked mixture of sour cherries, red and black currants, strawberries, raspberries, rhubarb & blackberries. Holy moly, yum yum yum.

Posted by foodnerd at 09:08 AM | Comments (1)

July 20, 2005

back but busy

i am back from Germany and France with many food adventures to relate and photos to share, but I am insane between now and next week so it may be awhile before there are new posts -- sorry everyone. Plus i have to catch up on everyone else's blogging... *grin* But just as a tease, there was liverwurst with a white edge of lovely fat that just melted in the mouth, fabulous fresh strawberries with black pepper and fresh mint, the best cheese fondue ever, and really good german beer. And a currywurst -- after reading Pim's post, I had to try one. Hee!

Posted by foodnerd at 05:29 PM | Comments (1)

July 08, 2005

ur-weisse indeed

Ayinger Ur-Weisse is maybe the best beer ever. It is certainly my new favorite. T brought it to the party on Saturday, and though i was stealing nips out of everyone's bottles, since T had bought lots of different kinds of spendy beer I hadn't tried, this Ayinger was by far the best. Sadly, he'd only got 4, and they were slurped up by the time I rooted around in the bucked of ice looking for one of my own. Since I am leaving for Germany today, I am going to keep my eyes peeled for it over the next week. Heh. I will return with tales of beer and pretzels and sausages and doner kebab (god, I can't wait to have doner kebab in germany again, yum!), so stay tuned in a couple of weeks.

Posted by foodnerd at 09:53 AM | Comments (0)

July 05, 2005

i guess i HAVE been busy

It occurred to me just now that this blog's 1-year anniversary came and went -- in APRIL -- without my noticing it 'til just now. Kind of cool that blogging integrated so completely into my daily life that I just do it when it's needed, sort of like laundry or washing dishes, even when all hell is breaking loose. So, um, happy birthday foodnerd, i guess. *grin* Thanks to all the people who read and comment and make my little obsession even more fun -- you guys are great, and I think of you as friends even though I've never met any of you and half the time I'm so lame I don't even manage to respond to comments. The internet is strange -- it is so public that one needs to be quite circumspect about putting personal information out there, yet somehow the most essential details of a food blogger's personality always come right through.

Posted by foodnerd at 10:44 AM | Comments (4)

July 01, 2005

rhubarb sorbet

I got some rhubarb from the parents when i was last at the homestead, and I intended to make a pie as I always do in June. But I am so busy, and I never managed to muster the energy for a pie, but Gourmet considerately provided a rhubarb sorbet recipe, so I made that instead, with the addition of a bit of alcohol for texture. It's a vaguely mauve color, and tangy sweet. It got a little frozen on the innards of the icecream maker, so i wonder if perhaps I didn't use enough alcohol -- the triple sec in the apartment smelled a little cheep-boozy, so I didn't want to use too much. But deelishus, and easy, and less fattening than pie anyway. Mmmmmm....

(again, sorry no photo. But I served this to H&J on the roofdeck, and we have learned another useful thing: rhubarb sorbet is made even better when served with 2% greek yogurt sweetened with a bit of sugar. The yogurt with sugar reminds me a lot of skyr, possibly the single most spinetinglingly delicious Icelandic food product. And every time I have had a rhubarb dessert involving dairy, it has been over the top delicious. So I think that now, just as I pretty much always have some cheddar cheese with my apple pie, I will pretty much always have some sweet dairy with my cooked rhubarb. And then I will pretend I am in England in the spring. *giggle*)

Posted by foodnerd at 01:37 PM | Comments (1)