Friday, May 25, 2012

Chips/crisps, the challenge of home manufacture

If you choose to make chips/crisps at home, there are some pitfalls (similar pitfalls restaurants can face, but more on that later). If you make them at home in a FryDaddy, the heat it accomplishes is set and unchangeable, so you cannot really be suave in chip-making unless you vary the thickness of the chips to match the temp, which is too hot for thin chips. In this cooker, the best you'll get are very nice chips if you let them overbrown so as not to be soggy, and throw some herbs in the oil along with the potatoes. And SALT!!!

If you use a modulated-heat method, such as oil on the stovetop, you can fry on somewhat lower heat and achieve a golden brown, crispy crisp/chip.

Which brings me to restaurants: So many fry their fries/frites/chips (that last int he British sense) at too low a temperature, and end up with soggy brown fries with a bitter texture, rather than the delightful, fluffy and resilient frite of one's dreamlife: That golden brown crispy fry with a steamy potato inside, quite ready for the mayonnaise into which it really should be dipped. Hate mayonnaise? No fear, there's vinegar there for you to have an also finishing effect.

Vinegar makes the world go 'round, unless it's good mayonnaise.

Bistro Jeanty, Yountville, CA

Last catch-up post of this batch, departing from the vegetarian respite of the past couple of posts: Lunch at Bistro Jeanty in Yountville was delish.

Marrow, generous, with toast...

Lentils, a little al dente, which is good — infused with pork belly and floated with a little foie. Some of the last foie in CA for awhile I hear.

A trip to the Cheeseboard in Berkeley, CA

All this cheese, and a cooperative, too!


Since it's been a little bit of a meatfest over here as I catch up on some posts, I thought I'd offer some vegetal balance: What an amazing pea salad served as room service at Meaddowood in Yountville a couple of weeks ago, at the height of spring (there.) Everything was so fresh and crisp!

Yes, yes, playing a little catch-up on posts. Sorry about that.

Here's a ridiculous product being aggressively sold at Market Place on 4th Street in Berekely. Perhaps the buyers regretted their purchase and just wanted to clear it out?

Rose petals in a jar, for "sprinkling over a lamb roast" or whatnot. $15— per jar.

In that vein...

If you're looking for soul food and find yourself in Columbia City (Seattle) please take the time to visit The Silver Fork for a burger that has !!! after the name (hot links on top) or a bone-in pork chop sandwich. You won't be sorry! Don't worry about the sketchy people in the parking lot, they have problems of their own :-( and shouldn't be a bother. I haven't been lucky enough to return for awhile, but here's a recentish write-up in the Seattle Weakly [sic] and their photo (credit Steven Miller).

Cold, rainy barbecue

Not known for its barbecue, Washington nonetheless strives to dish up some of that sort of goodness. Word has it some really great specimens used to be on offer underneath the 520 overpass on Northup Way in Bellevue. Dixie's Barbecue was the lovechild of a gent — Gene Porter — from Mississippi who named his hotter-than-hell sauce "The Man," and those who survived a tiny taste of The Man were given a bumper sticker to that effect.

Alas, 2010 saw his demise, and neither The Man or the man are around anymore. (Apparently you CAN take it with you.)

The joint perseveres nonetheless, and though I can't say the BBQ sauce is not too predominant and sweet, and the brisket a little on the tough side, it's nonetheless a pleasure to darken the door, order lunch, and feel the awesome past and better days of the place. The images below will show you why, when you go to Dixie's, you feel a million miles from Washington State, the Eastside, and its shadow of a software giant.

File under: Go at least once, miracles can't last forever, and have fun.