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January 15, 2017

Food Thread: A Food Show Host Who Is Not A Dick?

Slutty oil.jpg

H/T to some Moron who didn't (too embarrassed?) to give his nic

I watch Guy Fieri's flagship show, "Diners, Drive-ins And Dives," mostly because some of the dishes he finds are fantastic looking, and often quite inventive. But his schtick wore thin a long time ago....the frosted tips, the silly glasses worn backwards, the stupid teenager shorts and flip-flops, and his seemingly congenital inability to swallow food. What? Oh...just watch. He never swallows. And his opinions of the food are scripted too. Nothing is the best,; it always "one of the best." Hey Guy...just say what you think? That might be interesting.

But here is another perspective, courtesy of commenter "Lizzy," and I must say, it is pleasant to read about a celebrity who isn't a total dick in real life. Here's What Happens After Guy Fieri Visits a Restaurant is a refreshing antidote to the typical celebrity chef who is an awesomely vile person to everyone except the reviewers and the high rollers who finance his next venture.


And it really seems like he genuinely cares about the restaurants and people he visits.

"Exactly one month after filming our episode, our entire restaurant burned to the ground," Bufkin said. "And one of the first people to call us -- while the place was actually still on fire -- was Guy Fieri. He wanted to see how we were, if he could help, but overall just to encourage us to get back on our feet."

I know two people in the industry who have had professional contact with one of the most famous of the TV chefs (you can guess), and both of them have said that he is a total douchebag who is incredibly rude to everyone. This story makes me hopeful that it isn't a universal attribute of famous chefs.

******

Union Square Cafe is an iconic New York City restaurant, and unlike many other pretentious and silly icons, this one has been a fine restaurant for about 30 years. They moved recently, a few blocks up the street, and it is a testament to the quality of its management that the new place is swamped...just like the old place. Totally impossible to get a reservation. And the reason? Their crazy idea that if they provide excellent food, excellent service, an elegant and comfortable setting at a relatively reasonable price, they will succeed. Who knew?

Union Square Cafe's Bar Nuts are great. And at most other restaurants the nuts are an afterthought, but at this place? Nope. They take everything seriously. And it shows. I have been a few times, mostly eating at the bar (the best way to eat at a good restaurant), and without fail the bartenders were fantastic at their craft, knowledgeable about the menu, able to serve with style and grace, and one of them even remembered me from my last visit several years before. That's a win in my book.

******

Do Not Make This!
Sea Scallops with Brussels Sprouts and Mustard Sauce Oooh...let's put together three ingredients that don't mesh well at all because we are completely out of ideas and we have a deadline!

Sea scallops are expensive ($20+/lb around here), and really good when cooked about as simly as possible. Why tart up something that is just perfect on its own?

******

17 Instant Ramen Hacks
Not everyone cooks elaborate meals every day, and this has some great looking riffs on plain old ramen.

Okay, a lot of them are stupid or silly, but there are several, in particular the first one, that are serious alternatives to the standard ramen meal.

******

Tyler Florence may not be a great chef, but most of his recipes are solid, bordering on excellent renditions of classic dishes. There are more recipes for chili than there are cookbooks in the world, but here is a really good one, and a fine place to start if you feel like elaborating on a simple dish.

Beef Chili

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 pounds beef shoulder, cut into large cubes
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
  • 1 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 10 garlic cloves, halved
  • 3 canned chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 1/2 cup masa harina
  • 3 cups shredded white Cheddar, for garnish
  • 2 bunches chopped chives, for garnish
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream, for garnish

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil. Season the beef shoulder all over with salt and pepper, add it to the pot and brown it. As it's browning stir in the chili powder, coriander, cumin, paprika, oregano and cinnamon. Lower the temperature under the meat to "toast" the spices.

In a food processor puree the onions, garlic, chipotle peppers, jalapeno, tomato paste and sugar and add it to the pot. Increase the heat to medium to steam vegetables a little and sweeten the peppers. Add enough water to cover by 1 inch, about 1 quart, and add tomatoes with their liquid.

Bring to a boil and skim off any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat and simmer until the meat is fork-tender and comes apart with no resistance, about 2 hours. As it cooks down, add more water, if necessary.

When done, stir in the masa harina. Take a potato masher and mash the chili so the meat comes apart in shreds. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish each serving with the shredded Cheddar, chives, and sour cream.

[If you don't have masa harina, use ground corn tortillas]


Contact the Food Thread: cbd dot aoshq at gmail dot com

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