Though I don't eat a lot of dessert, I am one of the legions of fast eaters who will follow Popeye's into most any culinary battle, so I had no problem imagining a genre-redefining Mardi Gras Cheesecake experience. The reality? A bitter disappointment.
I love the original Totino's Pizza Rolls, because everyone does. Adam professed his adoration back in 2010, and ever since it's been burning me up that I have nothing to add ... until now! Because Totino's has new flavors, but unfortunately, this
Today is my wife's birthday, which would be my favorite day of the year if it fell during a more reasonable month. It's hard to be unabashedly enthusiastic about any day with a high temperature of 28 degrees, but it helps when the day in question is spent celebrating the existence of your favorite person. It helps further when the celebration is centered on eating and drinking and giving gifts of pickles and skirts.
We did it, guys. We made it through all 50 days of January. The worst is over. We endured a full miserable month of cold and darkness and we have emerged onto the glorious other side where groundhogs promise sunshine and Beyonce sings during Sunday supper. It's not dark out at 4:00 in the afternoon anymore, and baseball sort of starts sort of soon. All is right with the world. Almost.
Oh lookie here, a trio of Taco Bell Loaded Grillers, the new 99-cent wraps. Loaded Grillers come in Spicy Chicken, Beefy Nacho, and Loaded Potato format, and they're mostly all right. Let's break 'em down.
Last week the city sent out census confirmation forms on which both my wife and I were listed as "students." This is incorrect. She has an actual job-job with health insurance and an employee cafeteria and unlimited Post-It access and the whole deal. I am less traditionally employed, but even though I conduct rigorous peer-reviewed pot pie studies, I am not affiliated with a formal academic institution.
Like all elite athletes and abject slobs, I understand the importance of staying well carbohydrated; fruits and vegetables are cute, but I stick mainly to the grains, and I take those mostly in the form of beer, whiskey, and pasta. But despite my gravitation toward the crummier end of the natural foods spectrum, I could still make a case for the humble (and rarely fermented) oat as king of grains.
I fired up the oven, strapped on my orangest sweatpants, and got down to business. It's a four-way battle between the "hot and spicy" wings from both Banquet and Tyson, and the Buffalo-style wings from T.G.I. Friday's grocery division and Perdue.
This weekend my wife and I spent an inordinate amount of time discussing denial. It's a tricky business, because admitting to denial tends to undercut the operation, and what a very important operation it can be. For instance, we live in Boston, where the temperature's been 100 degrees below zero every second for the past two months.
There's a lot of value to be found in ordering high-end versions of typically humble restaurant foods, and I suppose it's possible that the same rule could apply in the grocery store. Actually, I know it works in the condiment aisle, where the $4 mustard is leagues better than its half-price shelfmates. Why can't Annie's Rising Crust Organic Supreme Pizza be worth the ... wait? What? $10.99 for frozen pizza?* All right, let's investigate.
I like history in general, because it seems important to know what went down before I started paying attention, but I'm not a nostalgist. As pertains to beer, I have no interest in reliving the days before reliable carbonation and decent bar dishwashers. I don't want to go to a Prohibition reenactment fantasy camp any more than I want to bleed to death on an old-fashioned pull-tab. But I do wish I was on the scene at the beginning of the modern American craft brewing movement, which is why I was excited to learn that Samuel Adams has teamed up with Jack McAuliffe to recreate New Albion Ale.
I got a flu shot the other day, even though I am a paragon of health and I have very little contact with the short and sneezy subset of humanity that spreads disease via finger paint snot art and sociopathic disregard for personal space. I got flu-proofed the other day because Bottom Shelf research director Emily told me to, and I do what I'm told when all it requires is a 5-minute pit stop on the way to the ham store.
It's time to compare chicken pot pies from Boston Market, Stouffer's, Marie Callender's, and Swanson. Find out which one we liked best.
This weekend Bottom Shelf research director Emily and I are going to Original Portland to drink great beer and pretend not to notice how cold it is, because that's the deal you make with yourself when you go to Maine in January.
The new Dunkin Donuts Turkey Sausage Breakfast Sandwich appeals to my glutton-on-a-diet sensibilities on multiple fronts. For starters, I've long since made peace with turkey sausage as an acceptable facsimile of the better, porkier version.
Serious Eats pays me a million dollars a week, which would be enough to float most boats, but my insatiable thirst for life's luxuries—caviar, student loans, electricity—requires a million and a hundred, so I work one night a week as a bar bouncer.
Burger King's new Philly Original Chicken Sandwich features a lightly-breaded chicken fillet topped with bits of bell pepper and grilled onions, American cheese, and cheese sauce. Overall it's not bad, but it's not particularly good either.
Either I was being a big, dumb snob or the chain restaurant cocktail game has improved dramatically in the past couple of years, because these days you can get a perfectly good mixed drink at some of the aggressively decorated quesadilleries that we all love to mock and the honest among us love to (very occasionally) gorge ourselves at. My wife works near Boston's sole T.G.I. Friday's, so we stopped in last week to investigate their two newest drinks, the Bee Sting and the Grey Goose Cooler.
From time to time I'll catch a smug Internet thug disparaging the very notion of single-serve frozen entrees. "Oh ho ho, how sad, you want beef stroganoff but don't feel like cooking all day, you have a pet and your pants fit weird." Phooey. It's perfectly reasonable for a happy, well-adjusted person to let the freezer do the prep work every now and then. With that in mind I tracked down lasagna with meat sauce from three leading purveyors of health-conscious (or at least health-marketed) frozen food: Healthy Choice, Lean Cuisine, and Weight Watchers' Smart Ones.
Now that the longest week of January is behind us—the annual seven-day period when we try in vain to recover false memories of hobbies that don't involve heavy cream or deficit spending—I finally have the courage to contemplate what is shaping up to be a mostly dry month. I've never spent January on (or even anywhere near) the wagon, but in a concession to the ravages of time and rum, I've decided that this year I need to do some serious physical restoration before the February mayhem rolls around.
A reminder of the worst things I drank for the first and last time over the past 12 months.
New Year's Day is my favorite holiday. I really like New Year's Eve, too, but by the last day of December I'm pretty well burnt out on bourbon and cheese and jeez, listen to me, I guess the will to live too? But you know what I'm saying. December's great but it can grind a body down.
It was a pretty fair year here on the Bottom Shelf. As I looked through the archives, I found far more (relative) hits than misses. This could be because I burned through most of the truly disgusting novelty stuff in 2011, and it could be because my tongue has been slapped so silly by this job that I can no longer tell right from wrong. But let's say it's because cheap liquor quality is trending upward. At any rate, these are some of my fondest memories of another year trolling the depths.
Some of the losers made this list due to overambitious or ill-conceived fixings mixing and condiment matching, while others just plain old sucked. Much as it pains me to bite the industry that feeds me, duty compels me to point out the food that needs avoiding.
It was an up and down year for the fast food industry. Here are some of the bright spots in an uneven year, featuring lots of chicken and more oatmeal than you might expect (which is to say, some oatmeal).
If you're eating or drinking something at my house between April and October, it's going to have strawberry in it. Strawberries go well with just about every spirit, fruit, and herb, so they're as at home at the bar as a lemon or a lime.
The Portuguese soup of caldo verde (literally "green broth") is about as simple as it gets when it comes to vegetable soups, yet its simplicity is the key to its comforting success. At its most basic, starchy potatoes are simply simmered with onions and kale until the kale is tender and flavorful, the onions have melted into the broth, and the potatoes completely disintegrate, thickening the soup into a rich, thick stew. My goal here isn't to replicate the original but to riff off it and come up with something equally tasty (and more vegan).
I've seen every season of the Bachelor, from the first limo filled with squealing girls to the last sponsored diamond ring. But this year, I'm watching the show for all the right reasons. Because I think I could see myself falling for Ben. We're, you know, on a journey, and I know the process works, and I'm not here to make friends. So what's-her-butt can just back off. Why am I so sure of this connection, when we've only known each other, well, a minute or two less than he's known the other 16 girls he's dating? Because Ben The Bachelor is a winemaker.
With December creeping in we're about to get into serious winter weather—you know, cold, snowy, let's-stay-inside kind of weather. This is when I reach for the warming whiskey. But just because you're stuck inside doesn't mean you shouldn't do it up.
In September I moved to tropical Singapore—about as far away from cornucopias and pilgrim hats as you can get. Without a gourd in sight, I sulked for a week from having missed a proper Halloween pumpkin carving, so I've been determined to not let pumpkin pie season pass me by too. After locating a grocery store that specializes in ingredients for displaced expats such as myself, I snatched up the last few cans of pumpkin puree and got to work.
In a restaurant, you can ask a sommelier for wine advice, but when you cook a Thanksgiving feast at home, you probably don't have a somm on hand. So we dialed up a few of our wine expert friends to find out their Turkey Day wine advice—what wines to buy, what wines to avoid, and what bottles they're looking forward to opening to sip with stuffing, mashed potatoes, and a table full of relatives.
If Albert Einstein came back to life and found himself in Portland, Maine, he might enjoy sitting under a rainbow umbrella in Silly's backyard garden. "As far as we can discern, the universe is a very silly place," he once famously said. That quote inspired the name of this kitschy, chilled-out townhouse eatery. Inside there are pom-pom-covered light fixtures but the backyard is really where you should be on a bright day.
When I was invited by the Washington State Wine Commission to check out Eastern Washington's grape-growing areas in mid-October, I figured the grapes would be picked already, and we'd probably be looking at stripped-bare vines and smelling the sweet, bready aroma of juice fermenting into wine in the cellar. But it's been cool in the Northwest—so cool that harvest was just beginning when I arrived.
] I hope she checked it for bedbugs.
Unassuming, humble farmers' market pizzas in Honolulu are topped with homegrown tomatoes, fresh pesto, and homemade mozzarella. But these simple ingredients add up to one the most expensive pies I've ever sunk my teeth into.
Never before has an evening at a cocktail bar been such a theatrical experience. My expectations were high after hearing the hype surrounding Aviary, the recently-opened hotspot of chef Grant Achatz and business partner Nick Kokonas (other projects include Alinea and Next). Visions of smoke, mirrors, and white-coats working in laboratories floated through my head...It turns out I wasn't that far off.
In the world of upscale ice cream, salted caramel is the new black. Every parlor with a pedigree has a version, and home ice cream makers practically write it love poems. I won't be the first to say that salted caramel is one of those perfect foods best left unmolested by other flavors. But I can't leave well enough alone.
Finally, I can stop my search for the cutest doughnuts in the world. Check out these cat-shaped doughnuts (with almonds-for-ears) from doughnut chain store Floresta in Kawasaki, Japan. If cats aren't your thing, there are also bears, bunnies, pigs, frogs, and more. Follow @floresta_mama on Twitter to keep up to date on the latest cute animal doughnut creations.
I attended the Culinary Institute of America, studied classic French technique and graduated with a degree in, I kid you not, Baking and Pastry Arts. Up in Hyde Park, they don't teach what I'm about to share with you: the secrets of Culinary Time Travel. Leave the DeLorean in the garage, preheat your oven to one point twenty one gigawats, and rev that Kitchen Aid to eighty eight mph. We're going back to the Eighties. First stop, Oreos, circa 1981.
If you haven't noticed yet, we're big fans of Cutty's, husband and wife team Charles Kelsey and Rachel Toomey's sandwich shop in Brookline. It's the epitome of a neighborhood lunch spot: super friendly service, talented, smart, and hard working owners, staff that seem genuinely proud of their work, and of course, awesome food. My new favorite on the menu is their Saturday-only slow-roasted Pork Rabe ($8.95). Based on the Philadelphia classic, it starts with pork shoulder that's cured overnight in a salt and pepper rub before being slow-roasted.
The day we've been waiting for—the Serious Eats All-Star Sandwich Festival—finally approaches. Tomorrow, July 23, we'll be out on Governors Island eating fine, fine sandwiches from some of New York's best chefs; washing it down with an awesome selection of beer and wine; and, most importantly, meeting all of you fine folks. Here's everything you'll need to know before we see you on the island.
Serious Eaters can be vegetarians, too, and we don't want our meat-abstaining friends to miss out. We've got a meatless lineup to keep you happy.
Sometimes I tell people that I like baking, but in reality I think I just like eating chocolate chip cookies, and the only way I can guarantee chocolate chip cookie-derived happiness is by baking them myself. Ad Hoc's chocolate chip cookie recipe is my go-to dessert for birthdays, parties, pot lucks, and the like—not to the point that I have it memorized, but it has the honor of being written on a small piece of paper taped to my refrigerator.
The natural choice of spirits for a light, vegetal cocktail is vodka. To brighten things up a skosh, I infused crisp Monopolowa vodka with thick swaths of orange zest, removed with a potato peeler (taking care to leave the bitter pith behind).
Sure, we all know what to do with a bottle of gin and a bottle of tonic, but there are many more delicious drinks to mix up with gin—and summer is the perfect time to try them. Here are nine more unusual gin concoctions, from Will and Kate's royal punch to a luscious savory cocktail with cream of coconut and curry powder (don't knock it till you've tried it.)
The cocktail menu at Craftbar features some of the best herb-infused cocktails we've ever tried; Skiba uses spirits and liquors to bring out the essential character of each herb, from sage (with bourbon and Benedictine) to cilantro with jalapeno and mezcal to rosemary and lavender with gin. Check out the drinks and get the recipes to make them at home »
[Via: lolmart.com] It's incredible that no one has thought of this before! We have the genius (Tyrel) at terrodactyls.com to thank for subverting the iconography of the food pyramid. Viva la pizza! Buy one before the USDA shuts down this website....