Friday, February 27, 2009

Deweys is what I thought it was. Pleasant Clean Pizza Dining

Finally found some time to hit up Deweys Pizza in Grandview that just opened this week. My sister and her boyfriend swear by it down in cincy. I've had it maybe 3 times and it's been pretty good but I qualify it as specialty pizza rather than my typical pizza preference which is normally cheese or 1 topping pizza. We ordered a cheese pizza to start with as a rule of thumb to get an honest take on the traditional elements of pizza: cheese, crust, sauce. It was pretty good. I could have used more sauce and the crust was under-cooked.

slightly undercooked cheese pizza.

We then split a large pizza that was half-hawaiian/half ryans inferno which was their specialty pizza of the month

half hawaiian/ half ryan's inferno pizza

I hate to say this but the hawaiian pizza was nothing extraordinary at all. Save your money. Get grandads, adriaticos or even donatos.

Ryan's inferno was a buffalo chicken pizza that was decent. I believe it had chicken, celery, red onions, and maybe a white ranch sauce?

I left the place a little underwhelmed -- but i also did not get to re-order the green lantern and try it again. It's nice to have another change of pace pizza dining option in Columbus. On a typical dining in pizza day i still prefer hound dogs or grandads but this place would be good for date night and non-dive-dining experiences.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

morning star grillers...remixed

for dinner last night i decided to mixmaster ice out a twist on a veggie burger classic.

1 Morningstar griller crisped up to perfection.
Sabra extra garlicy hummus
1/2 toasted wheat pita
cous cous bean salad comprised of kidney and pinto beans
goat cheese salad with mixed greens, yellow peppers, and tomatoes

simple. different. and tasty as funk.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Goat Cheese Breakfast Weekend...

As we have eased back into cooking...I seem to have a crucial ingredient each week...kinda like Iron Chef's secret ingredient. Normally it's something that I have that due to excessive quantity needs to be used in a number of recipes...looking back -- 1 week it was brussel sprouts and I was able to serve it in a number of ways throughout the week. Then it was zucchini, squash, corn tortillas, chorizo, and chihuahua cheese. This week it was goat cheese. I knew it could work in salads but what else? I didn't really get beyond salads but here is what i did with it over the weekend.

so check this for Saturday morning:

We have 10 Ore-ida mini tator tots. 5 on the side. 5 underneath an egg served over medium. There are some goat cheese crumbs between the egg and tator tots. The egg is topped with 2 lean pieces of bacon. On the side is a yellow tomato, orange pepper salad with onions, seasoning, lemon juice topped with goat cheese and green onions. I love tomatoes with eggs. This meal was for the books an all time favorite. Definitely going to be making this for my parents.

alternative shot, slightly out-of-focus but no flash so you can see the color better. It's beautiful!

Sundays breakfast:

Okay so not all my concoctions turn out amazing but since i rarely if ever use a recipe who can blame me. I'm just glad Betty eats it and supports my creative concoctions. The above meal consisted of Israeli cous cous browned in bacon fat and cooked in chicken broth topped with bean cakes consisting of: kidney beans, pinto beans, spices, green onions, bread crumbs -- then topped with an egg over medium. The accompanying goat cheese salad consisted of cucumbers, yellow peppers, onions, and seasoning with a vinegar base. Pretty eclectic and perhaps too ambitious.
The overall reviews were positive but this meal had a tough act to follow from the previous days. The cous cous was still bland even after being browned in bacon fat and chicken broth -- so in the future I'd probably not include it. The bean cakes were good but lost it's flavor with the bland cous cous. Salad was tasty though.

put an APB out on Buttercream with Freckles and Butterscotch Black Brownie...Jeni's Ice Cream

So as I was saying we strategically hit up Spagios after work. no wait to get in and enjoy a relaxed dinner. We left and stopped in and got some snickerdoodle from Stauffs before it was on to the real meal for the night. Jeni's ice cream. I don't need to tell any Columbus folks about Jeni's ice cream. We all know what's up. I was alarmed to see that the new seasonal flavors did not include my favorites for the past couple of months. Buttercream with Freckles and Butterscotch Brownie were both absent from the menu. I knew this day would come...but I just didn't think it'd be this soon.

I drowned my sorrows in a triple scoop of: dark cocoa gelato, a pecan flavored one, and shoot i can't quite remember...might have to go back so I can recall. off the charts as always. i still miss my favorites...but i suppose i can move on.

lobster bisque euphoria...Spagio's

Betty and i have been pretty good over the past 2 months about not eating out during the week. On the weekends we've been hitting up some new joints and trying to mix up where we dine. Last month we hit up the refectory bistro which was tremendous...and also went to Vino Vino...this weekend we decided we'd try Spagio's. i alway thought it was an Italian restaurant but they consider themselves to be "European and Pacific Rim". I've never been to the restaurant but have eaten at the cellar.

We were pleasantly surprised with our meal with the highlight being the lobster bisque. Oh man was this good. We also split some appetizers: the shrimp, lobster, and jumbo lump crabcake was delicious. Pricey however -- for $13 you get one cake. The delicate lobster sauce on top was the real treat as the texture of the crabcake was a little too chewy for me. Betty and I dipped our bread rolls into the leftover sauce until it was all gone. We also split the French Charcuterie Plate. My oldest sister hipped us to Charcuterie when we visited her in Portland last year. To be honest -- i think i just like to say Charcuterie more so than I enjoy the type of meal. Our plate came with 2 pâtés that were pretty tasty. A lot of this food is new for my palette but I compare it to liverwurst. The hams were tasty as were the cornichons -- that are just mini pickles. The cocktails were pretty good. I think the Refectory has the best bombay sapphire dirty martini with blue cheese stuffed olives though. We each also enjoyed some wine that was more up my alley. I also give props on the bread. It was crusty and warm but did not rip open the roof of your moth like some other places. All in all not a bad place. Not in a rush to go back but it is near Jeni's ice cream and Stauff's -- which was part of the strategy in deciding to try it out.

we started with the cake and charcuterie first...

Then i was just too curious about the lobster bisque...who has soup second? Cholesterolking does. That's right. This lobster bisque is heaven.

3 reasons I can't quit outback...Outback Steakhouse

i like a nice local restaurant as much as the next foodie...but there are some chains that have some of my favorite meals -- in this case Outback Steak House. no we don't get the steaks from there. as promised below -- the 3 reasons why I can't quit outback steakhouse

1) fresh honey wheat bread. it's good. they bring out as much as you like. in this case since we are dieting in some sense we limited our selves to 2 loafs -- each one has 310 calories

2) great blue cheese pecan chopped salad. this was a new item a couple of years ago and is wonderful. blue cheese, spiced pecans, lettuce, with some kinda vinaigrette. off the wall. <569>

3) my favorite place for affordable yummy seared tuna. comes with 2 tasty sauces. a creamy ginger soy sauce and a wasabi vinaigrette. <260>

the wife and i even had a glass of wine each to wash down everything. is there anything wrong with not ordering steak and beers from outback? i feel slightly self-conscious ordering it -- but it does not disappoint. i also can't think of a place in columbus that has better seared tuna. akai hana is pretty good, barrel 44 comes with a cracker, lemon grass not so much...let me know of some good tuna $8.50 nothing is coming close.

turkey enchiladas...

as you may eventually notice I'm a big fan of mexican and south west food.

i used the leftover ingredients from my chorizo enchiladas to make some extremely delicious tasting turkey enchiladas

one thing i learned from this latest cooking expedition is a simpler way of doing black beans.

I didn't drain them this time. I poured them in a sauce pan and let them heat up over medium heat. I added 3 bay leaves, some of the turkey fat and that was it. the bay leaves gave a very subtle taste to them that complemented the rest of the meal.

Monday, February 16, 2009

underwhelmed at el meson for valentines day...El Meson

the picture above is of El Meson's salmon stack. My sister swears by this meal and i finally decided to take betty to this place for valentines day. We were already going to be in Dayton for my niece's 1st birthday and I suppose i had rather high expectations for this restaurant that specializes in Central American cuisine.

My thoughts:

1) the place was packed and definitely popular.

2) the place seemed charming initially until the subpar service made me take a closer look at the rather cheap attempts to create some exotic, tropical motif. the dimly lit place could have used some candles at the table.

3) i ordered a tequila cocktail that was supposed to have tequila and some type of caperberry juice added to it. they were out of caperberry and the drink had already been poured so I elected to drink it...but essentially my warm up cocktail was straight tequila. - the right move would have been to alert me that they were out of caperberries before the delay in getting and pouring the drinks so i could elect to get something else.

4) we probably made a mistake ordering the shrimp appetizer with guacamole because it ended up having similar plating and ingredients as the salmon stack.

5) on to the salmon stack. it's presentation was impressive and it tasted pretty good. the plantains at the top were wonderful but as you made your way to the bottom the potatoes aka Patatas Alioli aka potato salad with mayo and garlic -- took over the taste . we were instructed to demolish the stack and mix everything together...and it tasted good...but $28 good? perhaps we were tainted by the service...but it taste more like a $15 salmon stack. after some discussion with my sister -- it was suggested that I like my food spicy...but that wasn't my complaint i just like my food tasty...betty suggested that if the stack was smaller than the flavors would have mixed better and we would have had more plantains in each of our bites.

6) the waitress was supposed to bring us an extra plate that she forgot to do.

7) our second round of drinks did not come back until we were finished with our food.

8) What is the point in having a card that is supposed to assist with service if the waiting staff does not pay any attention to it? There was a card at our table that was suppose to assist in your service -- you were instructed to place the card at the end of the table if you needed service. Betty did so twice to no avail.

9) when all is said and done. i'd try it 1 more time and see if having more moderate expectations changes my review.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

chorizo enchiladas...the next day

well. we got back from the gym around 6:45...the enchiladas were out of the oven and plated by 7:45PM. i still have to upload pictures. this was my first time cooking with chorizo but here was my reactions to the meal:

  • chorizo has a pretty strong, salty, smoky taste that overrides the taste of any subtle/accompanying spices.
  • i liked the meal yesterday in the sense that it was an out-of-the-taste-box-recipe for me. i've really been trying to extend the food, ingredients, and tastes that i cook with this year since i felt like the last couple of years i had become so routine and typical. with that being said I'm not sure i would cook chorizo in an enchilada format for the future. i think it would work great for breakfast
  • the black beans did not turn out as tasty for me this time around. i think i probably got too fancy with all the spices i added into it. originally i had planned this meal around refried beans so i think that was part of it as well.
  • the zuccini, squash, and onions were delicious.
  • i think i overcooked the enchiladas because i waited to long to start grilling the veggies. i had them in the oven for about 25 minutes at 375 but could probably have had them in for 15 minutes or so...
i'll post pictures asap.

chorizo deconstructed:
chorizo deconstructed



Wednesday, February 11, 2009

iron chef columbus...

i finally transferred the photos from iron chef columbus. a friend of ours decided to have a monthly potluck following loosely the format of the food network show iron chef.

the secret ingredient was rice.

i created a rice cake in the spirit of a crab cake. i think officially i called it rice cake with deconstructed remoulade.

rice cake key ingredients: brown basmati rice, pinto beans, blue corn tortilla chips, death valley kettle potato chips, cilantro, monterrey jack cheese, and a slew of spices.

the remoulade consisted of 2 sauces. one was a simple sourcream sauce with my heatwave spices mixed in. the other sauce was a rice wine vinegar and sake salsa of sorts with corn, onions, and tomatoes.

the cake is topped off with a death valley chipotle chip.

i'm not sure if i'm super competitive when it comes to cooking...but how can you hate on the plating and use of the secret ingredient? i finished second.

here are some photos:

the competition:

vennison stuffed peppers with rice.

fried chicken and waffles on the left. the waffle were made with a rice flour. the chicken and waffles won go figure. they tasted amazing!

betty made kheer crispies. i mean how are you going to have rice as the secret ingredient and not have rice crispies. the twist on the recipe is after the indian dessert called kheer which is a rice pudding. cardamom, nutmeg, and almonds were added to make it taste yummy

all in all it was a good time. we have talked about this month's secret ingredient being an orange...but we're all struggling to find time in february for it. let's see how it goes.

no lc tonight.

as we segway into normal non-lc eats again i definitely have an increased excitement for cooking. this week i purchased a number of veggies from whole foods to play around with along with some chorizo and corn tortillas. on the menu for tonight:

chorizo enchiladas with seasoned veggies.

game plan:

1) take the chorizo out of the casing it's in. brown it and when it gets tender add some trader joes enchilada sauce

2) microwave the tortillas. prolly looking at 3/serving. i cook them pancake style ever since my santa fe trip.

3) line the cooking pan with enchilada sauce. and then layer the tortillas and chorizo with some dabs of enchilada sauce and cheese.

4) for cheese i'm using extra sharp cheddar and a chihuahua cheese.

5) for the veggies. i'm slicing and sauteeing squash, zucchini, onions and seasoning them with my heatwave seasoning served over refried beans and potentially topped with cilantro and green onions.

stay tuned for pictures.

Friday, February 6, 2009

1st month of 2009 over...

yesterday marked the end of the first month of the LC diet...i started the challenge weighing in at 183 lbs. i am currently at 169.5 lbs. so that puts me down 13.5 pounds after a month. i honestly did not think i had that much spare weight to lose.

my wife has let me cook a couple of times this week. i stopped at whole foods and picked up fresh veggies. brussel sprouts, shrooms, yellow pepper, tomatoes, spinach, and 2 yukon gold potatoes, and some bacon.

the first night we had halved brussels with potatoes served with a spinach feta sausage with a side of sauteed shrooms, onions, and peppers.

the next night i shredded the brussels and make a spinach salad with tomatoes in a lemon-santa fe dressing along with a spinach-feta-sausage hash with onions, mushrooms, and peppers.

i'm kinda about reinventing the same cooking item into different meals...