TV Food & Home Food 🍽

I don’t know if you knew this about me, but I love the Food Network, I mean I watch it on Saturday’s with the same giddiness that I watch a limited series on NetFlix. I watch it with such awe and intense inspiration to the degree that I’ve been known to duplicate what I have seen on tv during holidays or special occasions. What I think draws me to the Food Network is the passion, these people love food, they love every aspect of food, they smile when they speak about it, their hearts are filled with so much joy each time they utter a detail, and I am here to write to you these people are my tribe.

The Food Network hosts are friends in my mind who totally get my bliss when I am eating, but sadly there is a small shortfall when I am watching these hosts cook, especially when they cook a thick cut of beef. I often find myself thinking or saying out loud to the tv, “they know that meat aint seasoned enough.” I have totally rationalized that maybe they are consciously or unconsciously being mindful of my cholesterol or blood pressure, and that I need not to forget that this is tv food, not necessarily that tv’s host real life recipe. I mean I am completely confident that the meat Sunny Anderson makes is gonna be full of robust flavor, no salt or pepper needed on the table, because baby you aren’t gonna need it, because I totally have you covered kinda of meat.

I think it is totally plausible that the Redfire Grill & Steakhouse in Hockessin, Delaware has too been watching the Food Network, except that when they saw the host cook on the show and sprinkle a tiny bit of salt and pepper on the meat, and then tasted it with pure ecstasy in their eyes as if they were be blown over by the flavor the Redfire Grill chef bought it hook, line, and sinker, and I can tell this is true by the taste of the Boneless Short Rib. 

I have a theory that whenever you go to a steakhouse, they are telling you upfront that  beef is their area of expertise, yes they may have a few seafood items on the menu to appease the non-carnivore, but their love language is cow. 

The Boneless Short Rib came with chipotle creamed corn and crispy onion straws. Now just so that we are on the same page, here is what you need to know: boneless short ribs are generally fork knife tender and this was, short ribs are commonly smooth on the tongue and this rib checked that box too, and short ribs are most definitely not skimpy on the meat, but where they were not very munificent was the seasoning. Maybe the chef at the Redfire Grill & Steakhouse worked from a school of thought that the meat in itself was the star, that he dare not have it compete with any other flavors, maybe the chef wanted to make sure that with every bite you took you never forgot that you were eating beef, and to that end, he succeeded. I absolutely felt like I was eating beef with every bite, but I was eating a beef that needed some more love, the chef’s infatuation with the cut of the meat was not translated in the taste and the potential that it carried to be sapid to a degree that could make all Food Network hosts blush from internal glee was an opportunity missed.

So what does one do when they find themselves in a food quandary? Do they send their food back? God forbid no, that ho-hum boneless short rib didn’t rise to that level of aggression at all, so the answer now becomes taste what else is on the plate. When I tasted the chipotle creamed corned I was beyond pleasantly surprised, this was not your grandmother’s creamed corn, no this was living in the neighborhood of mexican street corn, it wasn’t mushy, it had texture, it wasn’t completely creamed by no stretch, there was whole corn kernels in every bite, but the crushing of that corn released a sweet creaminess inside that was so delectable it created in me a solution to my flat short rib problem. I would take a piece of short rib, then before heading to my mouth a forkful of chipotle corn and top it off with crispy onion straw, and when I did that I experienced not an exquisite taste, but one that landed in the realm of satisfying. Yes, my palate mission was accomplished, but I was unable to carry out my long-established methodology of eating, one of which I may give in another blog post.

So you see there was a savior here and it was the corn, it rescued me from my tender, meaty, yet flavorless rib. That corn calmed me when my tongue egged me on to cry out preposterous, that creamed corn reminded me that the solution of the diner is not dead and it can be found in this meal too if I would just lean in just a little more, and the moment leaned into that corn, I left Redfire Grill not feeling like this was the Resurrection meal that Jesus would have have meant for me, but also not a meal that He would have condemned, but only because of the corn.

Redfire Grill & Steakhouse, let me give you a tip I learned by watching Food Network, and that is, tv cooking is not restaurant cooking and seasoning your food is important or dare I write essential, taste before you serve and if you would want more seasoning if you were home in your kitchen, then gosh darn it add more seasoning for the people, I am confident the patron will thank you. 🍽

Re-Gaining my Faith…In Restaurants that is 🍽

I don’t know if you have ever wondered if God hears only the serious prayers and ignores the rants (see my previous blog posting) that you make when a particular situation has gotten you so frustrated you can spit; well I am here to tell you He hears them all, and He is willing to send a friend to help restore your faith in the very thing that has caused you the greatest angst. 

The restaurant that has helped ignite the flame of my faith is Marzano Ristorante in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania an absolute beauty of an Italian restaurant and to boot it is BYOB (Bring Your Own Beer). As I write this you are asking why is this important, well I don’t mind sharing, its important because people can only drink what they bring themselves, and most likely patrons aren’t bringing in hard liquor, no one is mixing Hennessey and soda at their tables, and small opportunities for drunkenness or Will Smith moments happening at the table simply because someone had too much sweet juice and got a little slick with the lips has a high probability of being avoided.

Marzano Ristorante reminded me old school service, upon entering the hostess grabbed menus not an announcement of a qr code and walked us to our table, the waitress was more than delightful, inordinately pleasant, and I am totally convinced a restaurant savant. How do I draw the line from courteous and kind to savant, well let me share; she carried no pen, no paper and in a time-honored tradition of the dignified restaurant, she not only remembered the specials of the day without error, she committed to memory our menu orders without a misstep from start to finish.

First up on the table was the grilled octopus with arugula and plum tomatoes. No these were not calamari rings, this was the sliced octopus’ steak, charred to perfection allowing the sweetness and tenderness of the octopus to shine, and with drizzled olive oil sprinkled ever so slightly when taking a forkful of the octopus and arugula it was the lightest pre-cursor to the next item.

Second up, Barbaietola in layman’s terms a fancy salad, that included mixed greens with poached pears, walnuts, and goat cheese. Now prior to this I had never had a poached pear, I never even considered having a poached pear in my salad, but it was a fanciful thought that simply worked. The poaching liquid must have been either a red wine or a highly concentrated balsamic vingerette and it caused the taste of the pear to be very pungent and to be honest some bites were a bit overpowering for me, but when you got a taste of both the pear and the goat cheese, the creaminess of the cheese cut through some of that acidity to make the dish more balanced on my palate.

Last up, the pan grilled bass fish with mixed vegetables; when I took my first bite my first thought was its Springtime. No the air outside didn’t feel like spring, as a matter of fact it was cold and raining simply because old man winter wanted to have a temper tantrum and not let Spring be great, but the taste of that fish was so light, so flaky, so delicate, so wistful during the mouth feel, I felt slightly transported to the month of April when the weather screamed October. The mixed vegetables were a good not great concomitant. You know mixed vegetables are difficult to make superb, in my opinion unless you are willing to make them live on the border of unhealthy and unfruitful, they will always remain in the land adequate. 

Nonetheless, the meal in its entirety was light, it was flavorful, the service carried it over to the next level, and I am looking forward to going back to try my next item. Well done Marzano Ristorante, well done! 🍽