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October, 2007 Archive


New Dessert: Papá Noel Jello


In honor of The Next Iron Chef and the contestants’ alternative desserts, I created a Christmas-colored version of Jello Salad. In my search for deliciousness that isn’t fatty or loaded with sugar I’ve been turning more and more to spices and hot peppers. I turned out a sugar free Jello cup into a bowl and put a cannelle of sugar-free Cool Whip on top. Total calories: about 20. That didn’t sell it for me though. So I deveined and seeded a Poblano pepper, cut it into brunoise, and sprinkled it over the top. It was a nice texture contrast but lacked a little heat. I would probably leave the veins in next time or, better yet, devein and seed a jalapeno or serrano. Then I could go monochrome if I wanted or switch it up with green Jello and a red pepper.

Speaking of spice, I learned a valuable lesson today. Chopped beef Mai Fun soup mixed with a teaspoon of Sriracha sauce and a whole serrano cut thin yields a soup so G-D-spicy that it makes you cough and sweat, but in a good way. My mouth was numb for a good hour after. It was only a glass of apple cider that helped. Looks like Scoville was right.


Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwiches are the New Mini-Sliders


Applebees has sliders on their menu. I think it’s safe to put a bullet in that trend and give it a proper burial. It had gotten to the point where you couldn’t pick up a cooking magazine without finding a recipe for “gourmet sliders”. Blame Daniel Boulud, blame Walter Anderson, blame whomever you want, I’m just glad the fad is over.

Now, before we’ve even had time to mourn the passing of this mediocre craze, a new one is rearing it’s ugly head. And that head is made of cheese. Grilled cheese. First the New York Times talked about grilled cheese culture in LA. Then the owners of The Bourgeois Pig got involved. Now it’ll only be a matter of time before Wylie Dufresne or David Chang starts adding “Upscale Grilled Cheese”—in the form of a deconstructed “Grilled Cheese Fondue” and a “Cubano Asiático: Grilled Cheese with Pork and Pickles” respectively—to their menus.

Count me out already. I don’t want to pay $20 for 10oz of melted fontina and manchego no matter how much its aged or what kind of life the organic fromagier lived while making it. Let’s just fast-forward to the Friday’s version and get the trend over with.


Carry Less T-shirts


Rita, a multidisciplinary Montréal design studio, has created a new series of t-shirts:

Carry less. These T-shirts are printed with every day items and accessories, the way they’re worn. Our debut series, “Beverly Hills 1980s-style”, includes a classic Walkman, roller skates, Ray-Ban shades and luckily a holster, complete with a gun.

These are cooler than cool. I especially like the sunglasses shirt, it’s the simplest but seems to work the best.

T-shirts are available in the Rita Boutique for $35.

PS. Rita follows my theory that the best URL for a mono-syllabic name or company is that word three times.




The newest motion picture project from J.J. Abrams is creating a lot of hype online. The trailer is now up on Apple and it’s ominous, vague, and awesome. Home video footage of a going away party captures what seems like an earthquake followed by a deep growl. The camera man goes to the roof with the rest of the crowd in time to witness a major explosion that rains down shrapnel across the NYC skyline. Once on the street, chaotic bedlam has set in. The trailer ends with the head of the Statue of Liberty rolling through the street after having been thrown through the sky.

The marketing behind this movie is what I find most interesting. The film has been produced in secret and didn’t have a real name until recently (before this only its codename was known: Cloverfield.) There is a web site that is frustratingly vague. There seems to be some crazy Internet connections being made across various (fake?) corporation sites and myspace pages as well. The discussions online seem to be centered around what the monster in the movie might be. Some say Godzilla but international licensing seems to suggest that to be false. Others are claiming Voltron which, to me, makes no sense at all. There’s a solid theory suggesting Lovecraft characters or at least allusions to them. Personally, I hope they never show the monster which would be much, much creepier.

This is classic Abrams. I love what this guy does with viral marketing. All this reminds me of The Lost Experience. He really relies on fans to figure out his secrets, leaving digital breadcrumbs for them to follow across many sites that don’t appear to be anything other than blogs, social network profiles, and corporate sites. Even with the information discovered so far, Abrams suggests that the best is yet to come.

I’m excited about this movie. That promo poster (above) is creepy as hell. It’s got some good actors in it, with a lot of unknowns. I noticed Lizzy Caplan in the trailer which got me all a twitter. She was great in Mean Girls and Freaks and Geeks but her standout performance as bitchy art-girl Kat Warbler on last year’s short lived sitcom The Class is what really sold me on her.


The Ripper to the Rescue

RipertWhat would you do if you knew you were never going to taste anything ever again? If you’re like this man then you’d go to all your favorite New York City restaurants one last time. What, then, would you do about securing a reservation at uber-trendy Le Bernardin? It seems you’d be taken care of by head chef Eric Ripert who is cooking a multi-course meal for the desperate foodie before his impending operation. Check out the personalized “Doomsday” menu:

White-Soy-Yuzu-Marinated Fluke; Seaweed and Spiced “Rice Crispies”
Riesling, Château Bela, Slovakia 2003

Warm Poached Lobster; Sweet-Pea-Verbena Mousseline; Chilled Grapefruit Broth
Mas de Daumas Gassac, Vin de Pays de L’Hérault 2006

Sautéed Calamari Filled With Sweet Prawns and Wood-Ear Mushroom; Calamari Consommé
Grüner Veltliner Federspiel, Emmerich Knoll, Austria 2005

Wild Salmon
Barely Cooked Wild Alaskan Salmon; Daikon, Snow Peas, and Enoki Salad; Sweet-Pea-Wasabi Sauce
Muscat Grand Cru Speigel, Jean Pierre Dirler, Alsace 2003

Wild Turbot; Shiso-Maitake Salad; Lemon-Miso Broth
Puligny Montrachet le Trézin, Marc Colin 2004

White Tuna Poached in Extra-Virgin Olive Oil; Sea Beans and Potato Crisps; Light Red Wine Béarnaise
Vosne Romanée 1er Cru Les Beaux Monts, Daniel Rion 2001

Roasted Apricots, Black-Sesame Panna Cotta, Cherry Granité, Soy Caramel
Tokaij Aszu 5 Puttonyos, Disznoko, Hungary 1999

Milk Chocolate Pot de Crème, Caramel Foam, Maple Syrup, Maldon Sea Salt

What a lucky guy. Ripert seems like a class act too, it’s really great of him to offer this. The question now would be, is it worth potentially losing your sense of taste forever if it means you get a special meal cooked by Ripert?

If Ripert looks or sounds familiar it might be his dual appearances on Top Chef this season. He was guest judge on last week’s Aspen show and he didn’t care too much for Bryan’s choice to let the diner choose the cheese.


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