Top Chef Texas Season 9 – Episode 9 (There’s the Rub)

Top Chef Texas Season 9 Episode 10 - There's the Rub Recap

Tonight starts in Austin with the chefs hanging around a table discussing Heather’s dismissal.  Good riddance.  There’s a knock on the door and one copy of the seminal cookbook Modernist Cuisine, written by Dr. Nathan Myhrvold is delivered.  Study up boys and girls.  This cookbook – five volumes and about $500 bucks on Amazon is supposed to change the way people think about food.  It’s a gorgeous work.Top Chef Texas Season 9 Episode 10 - There's the Rub Recap

The Quickfire is make a dish best representing your take on modernist cuisine.  Tough.  There’s all manner of crazy stuff going on in this book.  Everything you can think of in the general purview of molecular gastronomy and then some. Continue reading

A Road Trip to Seattle – Day 4 (Missoula, MT to Seattle!!!)

A Road Trip to Seattle - Day 4

We’re home!!!  We left Missoula this morning after a fantastic breakfast.  Thanks Marriott!  It wasn’t your typical free continental breakfast, rather we had to pay a few bucks for the privilege.  Well worth the expense.  We both had eggs made to order. I had biscuits, gravy, hashy-looking potatoes, oatmeal, and a lovely pot of tea.  Very relaxing, very filling, and worth the little bit of money that was required.  Sun poured into the dining room, the little old lady who was working was dynamite, and it was deserted.  No screaming kids, no annoying conversation.  Just a nice breakfast.A Road Trip to Seattle - Day 4

The mountains around Missoula are incredible during the daylight.  They circle the city.  They tower over the city.  As an exciting bonus I got 89 octane gas for $2.99 a gallon.  It’s sad that I can’t remember the last time I paid three bucks a gallon for gas.  That it was mid-grade and in the mountains of Montana was all the more surprising. Continue reading

A Road Trip to Seattle – Day 3 (Bismarck, ND to Missoula, MT)

Day 3 Road Trip - Missoula

We left Bismarck after another mediocre hotel complimentary breakfast.  The waffle machine was stuck on scorch setting, anything placed inside it turned black in under 20 seconds, leaving the inside still gooey.  Oops.  I had an unidentifiable muffin and a bowl of oatmeal.  Nothing spectacular and it forced us to make another McDonald’s stop.  I have not eaten in a McDonald’s in a decade and all of a sudden I’m there once a day on this trip.  I didn’t even attempt to order a tea there.  Not wanting to get involved anymore in training their employees.

A Road Trip to Seattle – Day 3 (Bismarck, ND to Missoula, MT)

On the road from Bismarck was truly a primer in rapid transit.  The speed limit is 75 through North Dakota and Montana.  The roads were clear, empty, and lacking in constabulary influence, for the most part.  For the first two hours we chugged along at an even hundred miles an hour, averaging 95 miles an hour for two hours.  Not the best plan for maintaining good fuel economy but it put quite a dent in the overall necessary total for the day.  We passed into Montana in short order.

Our first stop was Miles City, Montana.  The population is something akin to 8,000.  For a city so small it’s produced quite a few notable natives and residents.  Must be something in the water.  It’s all centered around a single two lane strip of businesses.  Nothing to really look at but we were on fumes pulling in and there were a few places to eat.  We left with a full tank and a box of fried chicken.  Health food again!  I am going to have to three times a day for weeks to work all the grease out of my system.

On our first trip cross-country we made a stop at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park – otherwise known as The Badlands.  Very cool place is all manner of big large expanse of hills and plateaus and valleys and whatnot.  We even saw a herd of wild horses.  How neat!  We meant to stop again this time but it was closed.  Not so much.

We blew past Billings, Montana’s largest town.  We stopped there last trip and didn’t feel an urge to return.  The high speeds of we were able to maintain meant we only stopped twice before getting to our end destination for the day.  That was a nice change.  Our last stop was in Bozeman, which seems like a pretty cool town.  It’s painfully beautiful surroundings make it a place I’d actually consider living if it weren’t smack dab in the middle of absolutely nothing whatsoever.  I know that’s part of the attraction but it is a hell of a long way to anything else.  Looking down the main drag you are presented with mountains close enough to touch on pretty much every side.  It’s gorgeous.  After a brief stop, gas-up, windshield washer top up, and a stretch, we were mobile again.  The final slog was into Missoula at the farthest edge of Montana.

Road Trip Day 3 - Missoula

Missoula is a pretty big town (for Montana at least.)  It’s the second largest city in Montana and is in between two rivers and the convergence of FIVE mountain ranges.  That’s a lot of geographical formations.  What I’ve seen seems fairly nice, the people are always friendly, and the cops have never bothered my funny little foreign car with Massachusetts tags, so there’s a lot to like there already.

A Road Trip to Seattle – Day 3 (Bismarck, ND to Missoula, MT)

We ended the day with a bottle of wine and a slow evening in the hotel.  Gearing up for tomorrow where we’ll be driving the slowest and most harrowing parts of 90 – through Idaho and the we’ll undoubtedly hit snow coming through the Snoqualmie Pass in Washington.  Breakfast tomorrow we’re actually paying for but it seems like they might produce food I won’t get mad about.  That’ll be a great start to the day.  And we’ll be home. Back to the studio.  I can cook, and bake, and make all manner of things that I can write about.  Nothing will make me happier than that.

A Road Trip to Seattle – Day 2 (Wisconsin to Bismarck, ND)


A Road Trip to Seattle Day 2

Today was another early one, out the door at 7:45.  We ate breakfast at the hotel (hard to pass up complimentary breakfast.)  Certainly better than some continental breakfasts I’ve had, nothing to gloat about.  I hate it when they have a decent selection and none of it is very good.  More mediocrity isn’t a good thing.  Not that we were staying in a particularly big town.  So I suppose anything is really good.  I had a bowl of oatmeal, a few chocolate-ish donuts, and I filled my giant Starbucks cup with tea.  Mediocre breakfast and a quick stop for gas and we were road ready.

Wisconsin passed by in a fog.  Literally.  Not a fearing for one’s life fog, but a fog nonetheless.  Somewhere around the middle of Wisconsin is a proliferation of indoor-outdoor water parks.  It coincides with the Wisconsin Dells area – which seems to be one of the larger tourist draws for Wisconsin.  They all seem to cluster the highway and seemingly require great quantities of steam to keep everything hot.  Each one of them was burping great clouds of vapor.  We didn’t really stop for much of anything.  The first time we crossed the country we found a little place that had fried everything.  We had a brief visit which included, among many fried goods, fried cheese.  Not mozzarella sticks, but more along the line of battered cheese curds.  Nom nom nom, indeed.  We blew right past that place this time at about three hundred miles an hour.  Oh well. Continue reading

A Road Trip to Seattle – Day 1 (Rhode Island to the Wisconsin Line)

A Road Trip to Seattle - Day 1

Again today, and most likely for the next few days, my updates will be less food and more travel oriented.  Deal.  We logged 1100 miles today.  Passing through New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.  All behind us.  We just crested the border into Wisconsin and we stopped for the evening.

Food on the road is a bit difficult when you’re cruising through at a quick pace.  If we had more time we’d stop for more of that great road food that you always think about.  As it is we’re barely stopping to do more than hit bathrooms, gas up, and grab some quick grub.  Someone should be summarily shot for the utter garbage that’s offered at most rest areas. Continue reading

Post Holiday Roundup…..

A wonderful holiday was had by all.   Actually we’re still having holiday celebrations.  After days and days of this Christmas, that Christmas, and food here, there, and everywhere; we’re ending out celebratory roll out with a night at my other half’s grandparents in upstate NY.  It was a really nice quiet evening.  We made Beef Wellington for dinner (try finding Foie Gras in Clark Mills, NY.)  Yum!

We did a nice Christmas Eve slash Hanukkah dinner at the other half’s parents.  They always have Brisket, Kugel, Potato Latkes, among other things.  It’s my fifth Hanukkah dinner and I’m always looking forward to it.  That brisket rocks my world.  The latkes are fantastic (matzo meal does wonders for potato pancakes) and I never had kugel before I started being part of the family.  It’s all good.  The morning after we have a breakfast casserole (another Grandma Irene recipe.)  These are all things I’ll have to cover at some point; all worth their own posts.  Thanks to the in-laws for being the most generous people on the planet earth.  You’re fantastic.

Christmas morning/day we had at my mom’s.  This was a small dinner (just my mom, brother, the boyfriend, and my mom.)  My mother doesn’t know small or low-key when cooking.  So it was fairly epic for four people.  I wizened up and got out the camera out for this meal.  Here’s a few pictures.  MMMM.Mom's Christmas Dinner Continue reading