Showing posts with label waffle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label waffle. Show all posts

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Dining with Doug and Karen

A few months back, my Table Set co-host Andy Windak was invited to join TJ Miller as guest chef on the Nerdist podcast Dining with Doug and Karen. They were so impressed with Andy's whimsical and heartfelt spread that they invited him back for another round. And this time, Andy asked me to join him and create a beverage program to be paired with his Breakfast for Dinner menu.

The guest co-host on our episode was Tim Heidecker of Tim & Eric fame and most recently his film The Comedy, making the total three wisecracking comedy folk to please.
No pressure.

We were given Meltdown Comics' green room to stage, where I set up a makeshift bar (which seemed to elicit excitement from the podcast's cocktail-loving producer).

I was most excited to serve the first drink, a shot to be served alongside Andy's amuse bouche. It was the first idea I experimented with once I knew the theme was breakfast, elevated: A Bloodless Mary. The concept is pretty simple, really: Infuse the spirit with tomato rather than clog the glass with thick juice. I picked cherry tomatoes from my garden and steeped them in gin for a week. The resulting liquor was golden and heady with a sun-kissed tomato cologne, bright and familiar on the palate with a lasting umami quality. I mixed the gin with lemon juice, bacon bitters, a dash of Crystal hot sauce, black pepper and celery salt, then served in frosty lemon-pepper ice shot glasses. Instant breakfast party!

Andy's amuse was a delicious Benedict Bite of homemade English muffin, fried speck, poached quail egg, and scratch hollandaise.

For round two I knew Andy was injecting some Latin love, so I mixed up a Dirty Horchata cocktail. Here I infused smoky Mezcal with Stumptown Guatemalan coffee beans, shaken with horchata and cocoa mole bitters until frothy, garnished with freshly shaved cinnamon.

The horchata was served alongside Andy's Chicken & "Waffles" -or- Coq Au Vin Chilaquiles, a composition of duck-fat-fried corn chips, braised chicken, salsa, queso fresco, cilantro, and a waffle fried egg.

What breakfast menu would be complete without the iconic Mimosa? For a seasonal twist I used dry French brut hard sparkling apple cider in place of bubbly. For the juice element I froze popsicles of fresh orange and brown sugar with a rosemary sprig "stick." The brut cider nibbled away at the ice pops slowly releasing and blending the flavors.

The corresponding course was Andy's fish course. He served Shrimp and Grits Poutine - Fish fumet gravy, butter-poached shrimp, grits "waffle fries," and bacon fat rouille.

For dessert I went with a coffee-replacing Breakfast Beer. Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast (oatmeal stout brewed with coffee) enhanced lightly with Amontillado and Pedro Jiminez Sherry, garnished with a Stumptown coffee bean and freshly grated nutmeg.
Andy matched the robustness with his Hallowaffle - A pumpkin waffle, Count Chocula ice cream, maple bourbon syrup, chocolate whipped cream, and maple bacon crumble. As a bonus round he also brought out Booberry and Frankenberry ice creams. Nuts!

Overall I think our creativity was appreciated, though pushing the envelope always results in a few confounding reactions. Listen for yourself and imagine what it all must taste like while listening to other people sip, chew and slurp. (*wink*)

Listen to our episode of Dining with Doug and Karen

Photos by Ted Houser

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Croquer: Emeril's

After a long HOT walk through the French Quarter, it was time to duck into a cool air-conditioned niche for a bite, and definitely a drink. For our first meal in New Orleans, Michael and I decided that a few of the lunch menu items at good ol' Emeril's New Orleans sounded too good to pass up. Just a short jog up Tchoupitoulas St. from the Quarter, Emeril Lagasse's first restaurant (opened in 1990) and a flagship for the downtown warehouse district scene is clearly a NOLA institution.
The room is airy and light, contemporary by '90s standards, but aging acceptably. The service and table setting is strictly classic, which I always appreciate, one server handing the menu while the other lays your napkin. The attention to detail in service throughout the entire meal was truly impeccable.
Within a minute a server appeared with a basket, retrieving two small items for each of us, a sweet potato roll and a piece of cornbread. While the sweet potato flavor was secondary (or rather, undetectable), I always enjoy a good cornbread, and Emerils' was no exception.
Since this was our first NOLA meal, we weren't going to skimp -even on lunch- and agreed to share a starter. The Abita Root Beer Braised “Fresh Bacon” Salad appealed to both of us, with Red Cabbage Slaw, Crisp Yucca, Radish, Shaved Jalapeno, Goat Cheese, Pork Cracklings and Citrus Vinaigrette. The salad unfortunately suffered from superfluous flavors, trifling cubes of yucca and aimless jalapeno, the smoky delicious pork cracklings dwarfing the mild flavor of the bacon.
We held higher hopes for our mains, which did not disappoint. Michael's "B.L.F.G.T" -comprised of Benton’s Bacon, Butter Lettuce & Fried Green Tomato on Brioche with Boiled Gulf Shrimp and Pommery Mustard Aioli- was brilliant. I'm not sure if I will ever feel satisfied from a BLT without fried green tomatoes from here on. The house made sweet potato chips were also addictive.
But the winner (and what got me to Emeril's in the first place) was Darian’s Chicken & Waffles. Here Fried Organic Chicken is layered on the plate with Sweet Corn-Belgian Waffles, Watermelon Slaw and Crystal Hot Sauce Syrup. The dish is stunning! Aside from my initial disappointment over the slaw (I visualized julienned watermelon - got cabbage slaw with several watermelon chunks), the chicken was crispy perfection, the waffles just fluffy enough, and the maple syrup packing some considerable heat. We were supposed to split the two plates, but I had trouble in the le'go my eggo department.
I left Emeril's smiling and sated, ready to walk and sweat off some calories in anticipation of my next meal...

800 Tchoupitoulas St. New Orleans, LA 504.528.9393
Emeril's New Orleans on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Croquer: Roscoe's House of Chicken N' Waffles

You don't have to be an Angeleno to know about Roscoe's House of Chicken N' Waffles. So tell me how I've managed to live in or around Hollywood since 2005 and never been until late? At any time of day or night you can always count on a scene outside of the wood-sided Roscoe's on Gower in Hollywood, post-bar crowds at times larger than at the clubs. So what's the deal?
Chicken and waffles: A delicious holy union conceived in Harlem, brought to LA in 1975 by the original Roscoe's, nailing several firsts in the local restaurant scene (then hardly much of a scene at all). Its originality has seldom been surpassed, as Roscoe's (now with five locations) remains a cornerstone of quintessential quirky LA culture.
I recently met my friend David for breakfast while he was in town for work, coincidentally staying just around the corner from Roscoe's. Neither of us had ever been, and both favor a hearty breakfast. We got our early weekend start with some bold coffee and some very full bellies.I always appreciate when dining establishments put their specialty right there in the name, because, as a Libra, it doesn't leave much room for indecision. Always order the specialty - that's my motto - especially upon a first visit. Chicken and waffles it was. Not sure I was feeling peckish enough for Herb's Special (1/2 chicken + waffles), I went for the abbreviated Scoe's Special of a 1/4 chicken fried Southern Style and two waffles. Tiny feather sticking out of my wing tip aside (yeah.. for real), the chicken was pretty good. Difficult after so recently returning from having the most incredible fried chicken of my life in New Orleans, but it was crispy and tasty. The waffles were perfectly fluffy golden delicious, not thin n' limp or thick n' crunchy like many breakfast joints. And it was a LOT of food. We were satiated. In fact I was so full that, though I was parked right out front, I was happy to walk David back down the street to his place and pretend I was just enjoying the crisp winter morning.
"Pecking Around since 1975"
1514 N. Gower St. Hollywood; 323.962.0276

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Voyager Bien: New Orleans, Day 6

Departure day was finally upon us... But that just meant more to squeeze in before heading to the airport! So much still to see! Michael and I took the historic St. Charles Streetcar to New Orleans' famous Garden District for breakfast. The trees along the avenue were covered in Mardi Gras beads from parades past and shimmered like jewels in the morning sun.The Camellia Grill is a classic comfort food institution in these parts, known for its crowded snaking single counter, fast friendly service and fluffy whipped egg omelets. The room was bustling and loud, filled with laughter and clanking plates.Once seated, our server "Sleepy" (with half-mast eyelids which I assume were his namesake) laid his sharp comedic presence upon us and shouted our orders to the open kitchen as soon as they passed from our lips. It was a sweet morning for me, I ordered the Pecan waffle w/ cane syrup, side of sausage, and coffee. Michael ordered a veggie omelet and side of grits. The waffle reminded me of Waffle House but better, and Michael's massively tasty omelet made me reconsider omelets as potentially awesome (generally a bore to me). We were full and happy, woken up from the friendly rapport and a hearty breakfast.After our meal we got off the streetcar at Washington Ave and strolled the streets of the Garden District, taking in the incredible architecture of the mansions, a blend of American Greek-revival and Creole French styles. We passed Anne Rice's home and the cornstalk fence, eventually finding Lafayette Cemetery Number 1, just across the street from the infamous Commander's Palace.Luckily the gate was open, so we got to explore the cemetery (popularly known as one of the locations for Interview with the Vampire). The above ground tombs were gorgeous...We took the streetcar back to the French Quarter to meet the guys for our last hurrah at the world-famous NOLA staple Café Du Monde.I'd been looking forward to this from day one! The scene is always crazy at Du Monde, a large covered patio chock full of tourists, manned by a quick waitstaff.Though I have a can of Du Monde's chicory coffee in my freezer back home, I was excited to have the authentic Du Monde café au lait from the source. [History: The taste for coffee and chicory was developed by the French during their civil war. Coffee was scarce during those times, and they found that chicory added body and flavor to the brew. The Acadians from Nova Scotia brought this taste and many other french customs (heritage) to Louisiana. Chicory is the root of the endive plant. The root of the plant is roasted and ground. It is added to soften the bitter edge of the dark roasted coffee. It adds an almost chocolate smoky flavor to the coffee.]
The other half of the Du Monde equation is the beignet - a square, French-style puffy doughnut, piled with a mountain of powdered sugar. Perfect duo for an afternoon blood sugar overdose.(Obviously hard to keep on your plate! The entire place was coated in sugar..)
After our afternoon treat, we made one last sweep down Decateur for last minute souvenirs and most importantly a stop where local paper-cut artist Jack Wittenbrink sells his prints street-side. These guys have been keeping Jack in business for years, with small collections at home of his whimsical landscape cross-sections of NOLA graveyards and bogs, filled with knotted roots, wild creatures and skeletons galore. The perfect keepsake encapsulating the vibe that is New Orleans, I carefully tucked my print into my suitcase alongside my Halloween costume, and readied myself for saying goodbye to the St. Philip.
With only 30 minutes left, Michael and I decided we were actually starved. We literally ran several blocks to grab takeout at the Verti Marte ("real food for real people"), a no-frills 24-hr deli in the back of a corner market nearby that had been recommended by a friend. I got red beans and rice with sausage, a massive portion that I would barely dent before the cab arrived. We ran back and sat at the table in the St. Philip's courtyard, cheers-ed bottles Abita Restoration Pale Ale and scarfed down our last NOLA meal...

I may not have gotten my drive-thru daiquiri or hung out at Jean Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop.. but I knew in my soul I had experienced the real New Orleans. And besides, if I did everything, what would I have to look forward to for next time? I exhaled pensively as the swamps flew past once again heading back to the airport, the late afternoon sun illuminating their Spanish moss halos. I closed my eyes, imprinting the moment indefinitely.

Camellia Grill
626 S Carrollton Ave. New Orleans; 504.861.9311
Camellia Grill on Urbanspoon

Café Du Monde.
1039 Decatur St, New Orleans; 504.525.4544
Cafe Du Monde on Urbanspoon

Verti Marte (CLOSED)
1201 Royal Street, New Orleans, LA; 504.525.4767
Verti Marte on Urbanspoon