Tuesday, July 19, 2011

SteakFest: Parts I, II, and III

Though I haven't gone back to confirm the exact wording (mostly out of shame), I think I may have previously made a statement on this blog along the lines of:

"I don't eat a lot of red meat"

My humblest apologies, but I must revise that statement, to the following:

Steak Steak Steak!
(said in the style of Tracy Jordan from 30 Rock)

"They" say you shouldn't eat steak all the time. But when someone *cough* K *cough* sends you a bunch of steak recipes that all make your mouth water, what's a girl to do?
Make them on adjacent Saturday afternoons, right? Right.

Part I

Topped with Avocado Relish

Before Ann and Chip arrived for our gluttonous and amazing Fourth of July weekend, we made two huge piles of perfectly medium rare broiled steak and smothered it in avocado, tomato, red onion, and lime juice. Super light and refreshing.

Part II
Similar, but with several important additions

"California" Steak Salad with Plum Vinaigrette
Because anything with sprouts is automatically "Californian"

This plum vinaigrette is a game changer. It's just equal parts plum sauce and red wine vinegar, some minced garlic and a little oil. That's it. Nothing else. I've started putting it on everything. Grilled Chicken. Spinach and Goat Cheese Salad. I'm even toying with the idea of savory pancakes that I can use this as a sort of "syrup". But let's focus on the plate at hand.

Carrots, Green Onions, and Guacamole along with the vinaigrette on top of these piles of sprouts and steak and goodness.  I liked this one because these are elements I never would have combined all together.

I originally thought Steakfest as over at this point, until:

Part III
This one is a doozie.
Very possibly the best steak I have ever had.
Filet with Honey Carrots and Buttermilk potatoes from Ruth's Chris Steakhouse
It originally came with two HUGE prawns on top, which I wasted no time devouring.
(Disclaimer: this is a picture of a carry out container. It didn't seem like a super smooth move to take a picture of my food in the middle of an upscale steakhouse midday, so I squirreled half of it away and ate it at my desk in the afternoon. Some days, it's difficult to convince myself that I don't have some sort of eating disorder.)

I have several bosses, all of whom are amazing and just a teeny bit goofy. CW is a little tightly wound but also hilarious, Big B is self-sufficient (and he calls me BA, which I LOVE), Little b is like the little brother I never had. And C is just a laid back North Dakota boy who tells me just about every single day how much he appreciates me.
Remember that big project I was finishing at work? 
It's finished.
And it went VERY well. 
C asked me to go for lunch as a thank you for finishing the project, and suggested Ruth's Chris. 
Oh. Hell. Yeah.
I have never been in a place as nice as as that, let alone on someone else's dime. 
I ordered it medium rare, and the waiter warned me that they tend to cook it more rare. 
I said "BRING IT ON". 
He smiled. Most likely out of mockery, but I was too busy salivating over the visions of filet dancing in my head.
I didn't even need a knife for the steak, it practically cut it self. 
It was the perfect lunch: I love great food and I love to hear how wonderful I am. 

Given the choice between steak and misery, I'll take steak. Every time.

Simplicity: Another thing to put goat cheese on

I had this blueberry vanilla goat cheese that I wanted to eat. I didn't have crackers, and I'm not quite at the point in my life where I can eat a log of goat cheese straight up and not be completely ashamed of myself.

I did have a pear, though. 

Try it.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

You and Me and the Soup'll make three. Or more.

Work has been sort of rough.
I'm on the cusp of completing my first major project, which involves a lot of me yelling at my boss "Help me to help you!"(playfully, mostly). I won't bore you with the details.
So I've been going in early, and staying late, and developing a flat spot on my forehead where I constantly bang it against my desk.

So here's what K and I do to unwind: a midweek shopping and soup date

Chicken Noodle Soup at P.F. Chang's

Our waitress looked like Joan of Arc.
(Side Note: I love this soup so much that I've almost perfected its replication, but still can not capture the original in all its sodium-filled glory. Tangy, spicy, salty with mushrooms, tomatoes, and pin rice noodles that are completely impossible to find anywhere. It really is delightful. and I can eat it for 3 meals because they bring you a literal vat of it)

Or  revive an old favorite with a new, protein packed twist
Chicken Kebabs with Tzatziki

Or we make a Fake Hofbrauhaus meal on a lovely Sunday afternoon

Chicken Brats, Yogurt Smashed Potatoes, Steamed Broccoli, Double Chocolate Stout
(We've been planning this for months, as a way to avoid Hofbrauhaus' atrociously expensive and calorically outlandish fare, as well as the general patronage of Hofbrauhaus. Success.)

Or we just get some coffee, thoroughly confuse a very well-intentioned barista with our homanticism, sit outside, and make very awkward punny conversation with a lonely Jewish man in Squirrel Hill while surveying the spoils of our wildly successful CD Exchange excursion:
Sound of Music (VHS), Mary Poppins (VHS), Bottle Rocket, Seasons 1 and 2 of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and TLC's CrazySexyCool
(Once upon a time, I really enjoyed the show How I Met Your Mother, and bought the first four seasons. After a recent viewing of HIMYM, I realized that I'd really rather have money and more shelf space than continue to own 4 seasons of a show that I can't stand anymore. So I packed them up and brought them to the CD exchange where I got almost $40 in store credit. Hence the haul you see above. A classic 90s album! A Wes Anderson movie! Cartoon food! Julie Andrews in not one but TWO horrible wigs! Who wants to come over and watch some of these gems with me? Eh? EEEEEEEEEHHHH???)

It's easy for me to allow myself to get overwhelmed. Instead of doing that, I think I'd rather focus on moving towards these moments of deliciousness.
K says that the secret to happiness is being happy. 
So Here I am. Being Happy.

Simplicty: Good Morning

In the spirit of doing something different, I've been waking up early.
For this:
I sit on my porch and  have a cup of Steel Cut Oats with blueberries. Lately I've been adding flax and cinnamon too.

It's just a delicious little thing.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Good Run

You know how sharks have to keep swimming all the time, or else they die?
That's kind of how I feel recently.
And by "swimming" I mean "driving to Philadelphia for a weekend to eat myself into a coma"
This one was pretty epic.

Philly Take Two:

A Running Club (is that really the name of this band?) gig at the Gryph
(look how happy that drummer is)
Followed by!
Local Burgers from Christopher's

I'm beginning my journey towards locavorism. True, it doesn't make much sense to drive 5 hours to get a local hamburger, but you have to start somewhere, and I prefer to start at Christopher's. This is one of the best burgers I've ever had (Sorry, BRGR), and the perfect follow up to a great gig by some of my favorite musicians. It didn't hurt that I paired it with an Allagash White. Beeeee-autiful.

So, O is pretty amazing. He's jumped on the running bandwagon (after having initially scoffed at me DON'T WORRY I'M NOT HOLDING A GRUDGE OR ANYTHING), and has lost a ton of weight. He looks incredible. And I am super proud of him. He does have this bad habit of totally indulging me, though (which, honestly, I totally love), which results in things like:

Assorted truffles from Eclat including Single Malt Scotch Truffles.
(You should probably stop what you're doing and find a way to get to West Chester right now for some of these. UNBELIEVABLE. We stopped and got this box while taking a lovely sunny stroll through the town. Honestly, I've not a person who craves chocolate very often, but I havent been able to stop thinking about these. Everything is made in house on the premises.)

White Pizza at CPK in the King of Prussia Mall
(We used to tool around the KoP Mall a lot in college, and it turns out we haven't kicked the habit. I'm not complaining. Though I did have a supremely awkward encounter with the salesclerk at the Gap. She told me I have pretty eyes?)

Oh, And

So we got a little carried away. But life is for the living, and this place was stupid good. I don't regret a single bite.
Here's the run down:
Ginger Martini. Kobe Beef on a Hot Rock, Crispy Duck Breast (the other breasts in the picture are decidedly not crispy), Shrimp Tempura and Spicy Tuna roll with Aioli, Green Tea and Tahitian Vanilla Gelato, and Summer Fruit Fondue. And one very happy banana leaf.
I don't really know if there's anything else I can say about this. So I won't say anything.

The next day, before heading home for traditional family dinner (see my previous Kebab post), I had dinner with other people who make me feel like family, Mom, Pops, G, L

And Toby, the wonderCorgi

(The hummus is from the Mediterranean Deli in Forks Township and it is better than any hummus you have ever had. Ever. Guaranteed. I had my first sour ale, which is a problem, because it's all I ever want to drink now. And other assorted deliciousness.)

I've never lived in Philly, but it always feels like coming home.