Texas Might Not = BBQ🍴🍴

A wise person once said that assumption is the lowest form of knowledge, and I for one believe there is no truer statement. I always attempt to use this bit a truth as a rule of thumb in life, but somehow I let all my sensibilities fail me when I entered in Dallas, Texas. Somehow the state slogan "everything is bigger in Texas" & all the food networks that highlight bbq in Texas, bamboozled me.

There a few staples you look for when getting great bbq, usually it is a relatively hole in the wall, they tend to serve you food in styrofoam, and there are rarely any substitutions for platters, and the Baby Back Shak covered all of those basis, but clearly these parameters are no indication of great bbq.

When I think of great bbq I think of smoky, a grill like taste, with an amazing dry rub that is not only crispy on the outside, but somehow infused on the inside, and of course tender.

The Baby Back Shak had a fair dry rub, and the meat was absolutely tender, but not grill tender, it was the kind of tender that comes from boiling the ribs first, then grilling them, which somehow in my world is cheating. I mean real authentic bbq should have have a pit like taste through and through, so in my book this Texas bbq left me feeling hoodwinked. Now granted I dont know for sure that they boiled the ribs, because there are no menus, except for the meat choices written on the wall, but I have eaten enough of my mothers boiled first ribs to know the taste when I taste it.

Sometime the sides with bbq can help you overlook some errors, kinda makes you wanna forgive the cook for not being true to the bbq game, but the potato salad had way to much mustard and not enough of anything else that I could not give out any redemption of sin in this area. Usually platters come with two sides, so I also had the baked beans with bits of ribs, which is kinda like chili, and this was spicy and quite appetizing, but unfortunately not enough to make a recommendation of Baby Back Shak, because after all its a rib joint, not a chili joint.

Well as a Oprah would say use every opportunity as a teachable moment, so the lesson learned is that just because you are in Texas doesn’t mean the great bbq is a guarantee.

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Starbucks & Coffee Bean Enough is Enough🍴🍴

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Dear Starbucks & Coffee Bean-

For years you have convinced your patrons that grabbing a hot tea from your establishment is the same as really having tea, just because you have a few varieties of tea you have convinced your customers they are participating in a exotic experience…but you lie.

Going to high tea or even dare I write night tea at Bosie in the West Village of New York City is where tea drinkers have an experience, where the list of teas seem infinite with the multitude of green teas to the organic roobios teas. But it is certainly not just tea that cultivate the experience, tea is just simply the base note, its the scones you receive, and although they were not hot, but room temperature here at Bosie, they were certainly fresh and tasty served with jam and whipped butter, Starbucks & Coffee bean you are presenting scones in a cold refrigerator, blasphemy I write. But its not just the scones either its the choices of tea sandwiches: egg salad, chicken salad, crab salad, that are cut into triangular shapes with the crust off the ends, that you eat interchangeably while drinking your tea in a dainty cup…Starbucks & Coffee bean you dont have dainty cups.

At a real tea they serve mini desserts like green tea pound cake, which I wasn’t a fan of, because the taste was to pungent, but it was the thought that counts, but the lemon pound cake they served was delightful and perfectly portioned out as only tea time does, and as a bonus Bosie Tea Parlor offered fresh baked macaroons, a plethora of flavors to choose from, and I opted for the “rose” flavor, not only was it fuchsia in color but it was delicately sweet.

So Starbucks & Coffee Bean I implore you to stop trying to steal the tea time experience from your patrons; and patrons of these establishments if you are exchanging a real tea time for for a quickie at Starbucks or Coffee Bean, stop and enjoy a real tea time experience I promise you wont regret it, I am confident that it will bring you the calmness of a chamomile tea and the luxurious feeling of a lavender tea.

Signed,

Brioche With Beckham

It may be small but it carries a big stick🍴🍴

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Tapas is the absolute perfect solution to the “I am hungry, but it is to late to eat dinner,” and the best spot to get tapas in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is “Valanni.”

Valanni offers an array of dishes to satisfy the palate, like the classic fried calamari with roasted peanuts, sirracha aioli, & pickled peppers; now I must admit after a series of eating calamari how different can it possibly taste, what new spin can actually be done, and the answer is none, but when you dip the calamari into this sirracha aioli all of a sudden you have and old bride who decided to spruce up a little and bring back the spice into the relationship. Then there is the “grilled lamb marguez” which in laymen terms is grilled lamb sausage with onions and peppers, and in Brioche terms absolutely divine, the lamb wasn’t gamey, but subtle in taste, with a backdrop of spice from the peppers and onions…HOME RUN.

Now if you didn’t know whenever you go to tapas a restaurant this is the perfect opportunity to order multiple dishes, have your table filled with all types of delectables, and not appear gluttonous. With that being written the list goes on to ordering “spicy pulled chicken empanadas” with machego, cilantro, and chipotle horseradish aioli, the chicken was tender, spicy, and the dough which can truly make or break your empanada experience was flaky and light. Now on to the most interesting tapa of the night the “figs in a blanket” which is bleu cheese, applewood smoked bacon, marcona almonds, wrapped around a fig, the sweetness from the fully ripe fig and the saltiness of the bacon, the creaminess of the bleu cheese, made my eyes roll back in my head; chef John Strain knocked this idea out of the park with its execution.

Now I love Israeli couscous from Trader Joe’s and I fancy myself in being able to make a good bowl of this stuff, but when I tasted the couscous at Valanni, I came to my senses and I realized I am no chef and Trader Joe’s should not be misconstrued for restaurant food, because it was fluffy, mine is fluffy but not Valanni fluffy, it was seasoned with more than butter and Mrs. Dash, which is what mine is, needless to write theirs were way better than mine.

Now I hate to write this and because it grieves me I will keep this short, the pan seared lump crab cakes, they weren’t horrible, they weren’t inedible, but they were full of to much filler, and where there is more filler than there is crab well…what you have is not delectable.

Valanni you have done a fine job in the tapas world and I confident that all the late night snackers of the world will thank you.

SAY CHEESE🍴🍴

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I have always viewed cheese as a delicacy, a slightly enchanting food, whimsical, and yet romantic, and you will be able to partake in all of of these qualities at “Wedge + Fig” in Old City Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

All of you cheese lovers know cheeses have different levels that can go from salty, to pungent, to smooth, to rich in flavor; depending on what you are in the mood for you can capture this desire and when you pair them with wine or honey or sweetened cranberries, you have officially entered into a wonderful afternoon that the last dog days of summer were made of.

Not only can you select from a mirage of cheeses at “Wedge + Fig, ” but I opted for my favorite cheese…goat cheese. This was not the crumbled goat cheese you get from Trader Joe’s this was a drunken wine rind goat cheese cut in wedges, where I paired it up with prosciutto, and as a compliment of the restaurant served with almonds, cranberries drizzled in honey with a side of sliced baguette; the cheese was light with a hint of saltiness, with a backdrop of a pale white wine flavor.

“Wedge +Fig” even attempted to entertain the child in all of us, by having a grilled cheese bar, where we ordered grilled cheese on house made pumpernickel, sautéed onions, and black olives. The combination seemed strange when integrating the black olives with the sweetness of the pumpernickel, but together the taste was absolutely gratifying. Whenever there is a bread, it is always fitting to order salad, just to make the calorie intake somehow balanced…so curry chicken salad on a bed of field greens it was. The chicken was shredded, with smoked almonds, dried apricots, celery, onion, and sweet maharaja curry, was made to perfection.

I love when lunch hits the spot, it is especially great when everything is working on all cylinders, beautiful day, quaint atmosphere, and food that makes you feel giddy like a drinking lemonade on a summer day…well done “Wedge + Fig” well done!!!!