Is the concept of brunch on life support or did it die?🍽

I love brunch, I mean just the concept of it brings me joy, its breakfast, but wait it’s lunch, but hold on as I get carried away, I can have both breakfast and lunch on one plate, I can have pork bacon and seafood ravioli all together, so basically I am taking my taste buds on a wild ride for the afternoon.

What I love most about brunch is the plenty, I mean what makes this life experience so awesome is the options. When you think about it, that is what we humans strive for, the ability to choose, what is right for me may not be right for you, and in this case what tantalizes your taste buds may also make my mouth water or it may not, and no matter what direction you choose its all ok, because it’s brunch.

However something in the world of brunch has changed tremendously, and since we are all blaming everything on the pandemic I guess brunch has fallen in that pot as well and I guess that makes sense. The traditional brunch has food open to everyone, with people staring and picking at the same food at the same time, which could’ve been hazardous in the eye of the Covid storm. But now that we are slow walking out of covid nation, brunch is endeavoring to make a comeback. But in the midst of the comeback, these establishments like the Christiana Hilton in Newark, Delaware really endeavored to hit the mark, and I believe they have seen what the mark looks like, but somehow when they shot their shot that dart moved a bit to the left and not to the center.

After not being to a brunch for over 3 years my level of furor was on high, I did what any self-respecting foodie would do, which is I did not eat until brunch, so that can I eat with no guilt and a slight amount of gluttony that is always acceptable for brunch. I had my eating system already planned out in my mind, because although I can have everything on one plate, I like to always start with breakfast items. For me breakfast items are omelets made to order which they had, waffles and pancakes made to order which they didn’t, and crepes and french toast which apparently was canceled and clearly left me baffled. I mean these foods are foundational, these foods are the building blocks to any phenomenal brunch, to leave them out is, I am just going to write it…a misstep.

The Christiana Hilton did have short rib with gnocchi on the brunch which was tender and really good, they also had chilled shrimp and mussels with cocktail sauce, the shrimp were a nice size, perfect for holding and dipping, the mussels were sweet and briney, and although I am not fond of chilled seafood, they were simply delightful. The brunch also included seafood ravioli, veggies, salmon and couscous, and a carving station with pork tenderloin, but no roast beef, nor a chef with a big tall hat carving the meat, which is essential.

I have a standard by which I measure all brunches and as I write this I think it may be an unfair standard, but nonetheless it is my standard all the same, and that standard is The Buffet at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas. Now I must confess that I haven’t been to The Buffet since the pandemic, but I am pretty confident that the experience has not been downgraded, I mean it is Vegas after all. The Buffet is the best brunch buffet hands down. The presentation of the food is layed out so beautifully, which is where the Christiana Hilton coud have taken notes, in Vegas they truly understand the eating of the eyes before tasting with the tongue.Everything you could ever want, from breakfast to lunch is there, the Chef with the tall top hat is even there, they have even tapped into my love language which I am fully convinced is pizza is there. There is never an instance at The Buffet where you leave with the statement, “I wish they had….” and more importantly you never feel short-changed.

Christiana Hilton you left me wanting, you left my palate teased and not fully pleased. Now don’t get me wrong, brunch was not bad by no stretch, but the brunch lived in a land of fair, and I am looking to visit the land of exceptional. I want my eyes to dance because there are so many options, I want to tell myself I have to eat in phases, because it so much to choose from, I want to top it off with dessert that is plentiful, slightly exotic, yet conservatively noticeable, but at the same time all together amazing.

Christiana Hilton come up higher, make your execution tighter, make your options more bountiful, and your dessert more delectable, here is some great advice I give to you Christiana Hilton at no charge…never let good be a replacement for great🍽

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! 🍽

I Rant

There was a time when going out to eat was a luxury, a big to do. I mean you planned the outing to the restaurant, settled on what to wear, and made sure you were extra cute. Now on the tail end of the pandemic…maybe, the onset of Uber Eats and DoorDash going out to eat has now been deemed common. Now when you go to a restaurant they are asking you to scan the qr code at your table to get your menu, like I just entered the drive thru line at Jack in the Box. How unrefined, how undignified, how common.

Restaurants are supposed to be environments of class, the place where we set aside our phones to be present in the moment, unless of course you are an on-call neuro-surgeon, but for the most part a place of sophistication, where the servers are attentive, they bring me water without asking, and they are acutely aware of the attention vs’ annoyance ratio.

Why do I rant? I rant because, the patron is not treated like a patron anymore, we are given sub-par service, below average experiences, and not hot food.

You see Mister or Mrs restaurant owner, dining is about more than just food, its about the ambiance, the service, the attention to detail, simply put dining out should be an experience and not treated like a stop over place we choose instead of choosing Chick-Fil-A. You are treating your patrons like their monies aren’t hard-earned, like the patron doesn’t deserve to be treated special and a acknowledgement that out of all the places the patron could eat, the patron chose you.

Its super funny, how service and experiences get downgraded, but the price is always upgraded, tell me how that is fair?

If for some reason you are not sure what the ultimate service and food experience is, I will implore you to follow the Las Vegas model. Every person is treated like the just won a purple chip at the table, take heed because its a game changer.

Do Better.We deserve it.

A Twix Between Two🍴

Fall is a special time of year, it’s like the prelude to hibernation season. It’s cool outside so you don’t quite want to be outside. It’s getting progressively darker earlier, and when you are hungry all you can think of is something reliable, something with substance, something comforting, and more importantly something familiar.

When you are looking for something familiar you start to focus on the desire of your tastebuds, once you locate that yearning, then you go to the next phase of finding where the yearnings of your tastebuds is within a five mile radius of where you are. Then this is where it gets tricky, once you have located your food desire the likelihood of that craving being within a five mile radius is almost nil. So you move on to the next best option, you begin to think on the following: what place kinda resembles what you are coveting, will this new place that is in close proximity have the same menu items, will it placate in you what is required on this cool fall evening?

Now is the time in the blog where I reminiscence just for a moment. There is a take out spot in West Philadelphia called Dwight’s BBQ. Dwight’s is a hole in the wall, the service is bad, the wait is long and horribly unacceptable, they run out of food constantly, but they have the best dang bbq, mac and cheese and collard greens ever. There is never a time that people aren’t waiting outside, complaining about the things they have run out of, but when you take a bite of those ribs, you forgive them each and every time, hence they are still open. So needless to write, when I tried this new place called Zoagies in Bear, DE I used my Dwight’s as my food frame of reference.

Zoagies is a food truck that was recommended to me by a neighbor and is quickly being recognized as an IG sensation. So first up on the dining menu for me is the half of slab rib platter with two sides. Now if you have been following me for a while you know I love a good system and my system for ordering ribs is to order pork, because if you gonna go in, go all the way in. Everyone knows that pork is the super meat, it has all of the feels, all of the flavor, all of the fat and all of the goodness, contingent upon if it’s done right.

The ribs came perfectly slathered with what I assume was homegrown barbeque sauce, because it was completely balanced with flavor, delicately sweet, gracefully tangy, and loose in texture which did not resemble any type of bottled barbeque sauce. Visually the ribs had the proper amount of char on each rib, when I bit into my first rib I thought….not bad, I took another bite and reckoned pretty tender, not falling off the bone, but totally acceptable, on the third bite I asked myself where is the smoke, I was kinda counting on the smokiness to coat the inside of my mouth, but it didn’t. On my next rib, I concluded this is not in the neighborhood of Dwight’s, could Zoagies live on the same block as Dwight’? probably not, but maybe in the vicinity thereof. To write plainly the ribs were fair, they weren’t bad at all, if someone brought me some ribs from Zoagies as a wonderful gesture because they knew I didn’t feel like going out, I wouldn’t be mad, I may not have not been thrilled, but I certainly wouldn’t be sullen either.

Next up was the mac and cheese which is the only fitting accompaniment to a rib platter. The mac and cheese was cheesy, but not moist. It is some type of magic that happens with excellent mac and cheese, the wizardry happens when there is a slew of cheese, yet the mac and cheese is moist, the cheese is not tight, but its not loose either, again its landing in the realm of perfection and only a few have the goods to produce that type of goodness. This mac and cheese was undistinguished, it was on the dry side, not so much on the unflavorful side, but not on the creamy side either. Basically it was living in the land of take or leave it. I will take it if there are no other suitable sides, but I may leave it if something else strikes my fancy.

Last up was the string beans, the best way I can describe these veggies is to write is was the kindest slow burn, let me elaborate. On the first bite, I asked Jesus how could something be so bland. But endeavoring to follow the federal guidelines that states that a healthy adult should have two to three cups of veggies a day and coming to terms that I was extremely deficient in following that guidance, I continued to eat. As I continued to eat it was almost like I was eating time released flavored string beans. With each new bite, I started to get something new, the vinegar was coming through, the sweetness of the white onion slices they added was giving me life, the minced garlic was packing a small punch, and then with each passing chew, I found myself feeling very amiable toward those string beans, they gave my tongue a graze of goodness, that was subtly delightful.

If I had to give Zoagies a report card, I would give them a “C” and to be clear I am giving my menu choice a “C,” you see the ribs are not Zoagie’s signature food, their signature food is the fried hoagie, you read it correctly it’s a hoagie yet somehow the bread is fried. I cannot give details because I have never had it. I also want to write that a “C” is also known as space and room to improve and the potential is definitely there. A small tweak in this or that can make those rib platters a game changer. So keep striving Zoagies I have faith in you🍴

Tenderness over Everything 🍴

Whenever I have heard the phraseology, “I am going to place this on the back burner” I have always concluded that whatever was going on the back burner required less attention, that its ranking in the list of importance was low on the list. In life there are some things that are indeed worthy of going on the back burner, but I am not quite sure that short ribs are one of them, but “The Back Burner Restaurant” in Hockessin, Delaware sure does think so.

If you have been reading my blogs for awhile, you know that I have my own thought process for most things. Some of them make sense to only me and some I truly believe the world should adopt in an effort to make the world a better place. One of my thought processes is that whenever you go to a restaurant and you ask the waitstaff, “how is the short rib?” the first response should never be that it is super tender. Why is this important? It’s important, because when you go to a restaurant, tenderness should be a given, not a selling point. It should stand to reason that as a Chef your basic 101 training for meat such as short rib, that tenderness is essential. an absolute non-negotiable, a statement that should not be uttered, because it is as commonplace as having a fork and knife on the table. The proper response should be surrounded all around the taste, the flavor, and the wallop of seasoning that should inevitably explode in your mouth on every bite.

So by now I assume you must have guessed it. The first and only thing up for today is The Back Buner’s Short rib, that was merlot braised, accompanied with a side of gorgonzola smashed red potatoes, and roasted asparagus. So right off the bat, the short rib was fork tender, no knife required, the color was so chocolatey brown and dreamy that hesitation to take my first bite was not even a consideration. However, upon the first bite I tasted nothing, almost to the degree that I thought my tastebuds were betraying me, so being the respectable and gracious blogger that I am, I immediately assumed it is me and definitely not the food, so I take a second bite and again repetition of the banal short rib ensued. Needless to write my vivacity for this short rib began to wane. Using my lightning fast mind, the thought to dive into the mashed potatoes took hold of me, so I dove in, but again the ho hum lack of flavor continued. Where was the saltiness from the gorgonzola, where was the slight pungentness from the cow’s milk cheese, where was that earthiness? I don’t know where it was, but it certainly was not in those mashed potatoes. Whenever a restaurant opts to tell you that they are using red potatoes, it would seem that a bit of the peel of the red would be in the potato, if for no other reason than aesthetics.

Still not fully convinced that my gustatory cells were working to their optimum levels I go back to the short rib, and with the next bite disappointment engulfed me yet again, reiterating that The Back Burner restaurant had truly treated this short rib like Baby in Dirty Dancing; they left this short rib in the corner and ignored it. They forgot that tenderness should not be exchanged for flavor, that the two should dance together in harmony. They ran away from the prime opportunity to showcase flavors on another level, they left a space open for greatness to overtake the short rib, all because they ranked tenderness over everything. It was clear that this meat was left on the back burner, it was disregarded, it was treated like a third-rate food, as opposed to the star it could have been.

I will mention the asparagus, because it was on the plate, but to keep it frank it had no place here either. It was another missed moment, it could have been an asparagus where young children begged their mother for more, but instead it was another vegetable a child will continue to ignore until well into their 50’s and only then, because it’s green and it’s the responsible thing to do.

Back Burner Restaurant from reading this it may seem like this was a complete fail, but it wasn’t, the potential is there, I am sure there is a dynamic flavor profile in the Chef that is eager to come out, I believe that you have a freak flag that wants to show that short rib who is boss if you would just let it fly and stop putting everything on the back burner🍴

Fair Finds🍴

State, county, and neighborhood fairs is one of the favorite American pastimes similar to baseball. It is a time for the community to come together to hang, to shop, and to eat, and the annual Arden Fair in Wilmington, Delaware is one of the best. Arden is an eclectic community, full of artisanal and artistic finds, and a time where dilettante is celebrated for a few hours on a Saturday afternoon.

When people go to fairs, they look for the standard fair foods, snow cones, ice cream, funnel cake, and hot dogs. But the Arden fair opted to slightly up their game just a smidgen this year. They decided to give the community foods with a bit more brio, foods that packed a punch, and was sure to be illustrious. So this year, they made a fine choice by bringing in food truck, “Krys Soul Kreations” based in Newark, Delaware.

First and the only thing up for this tasting was the seafood eggroll. Whenever I see eggrolls advertised, I think of small gulf shrimp, a ton of cabbage, a requirement to eat quickly or it will taste stale, and no flavor. So needless to write I was skeptical and mistrustful. Despite my contrary inclination, my tendencies for seeing something that looked wrong and my ability to make it seem right prevailed, so I ordered.

The fried eggroll with large shrimp, salmon, and crab, was positively perfection. Made to order, the shrimp were large, sweet, and cooked impeccably, the crab had a consistency of a creamy and cheesy crab dip, had me in a tizzy to get to the next bite. Yes you read, that the seafood eggroll also had salmon, but in my continued efforts to always keep it a buck with my readers, I have to scribe that the salmon got lost. I couldn’t taste it, yet I never got the feeling that I missed it. If you are a salmon eater like me, you know salmon has a tough time competing with other seafood, sauces, and cheesiness. The delicacy of the salmon is designed to be a party of one in order for it to be the star of the show.

Despite the absentee taste of salmon, this eggroll was decadent, it was mouth warming, it was fried with a nicety that caused me to smile, and caused me to develop a desire to have Krys Soul Kreations at my next personal event, well done Krys Soul Kreations, well done🍴

Ooey Gooey Goodness🍴

If you follow me you know I love mac and cheese, if you are a true follower you know I have a very specific criteria for how I believe mac and cheese should look and of course taste. There are many restaurants who have opted to place mac and cheese on their menus, and for some that has been a triumphant decision and for others it has been a major fail.

It is not on every restaurant visit, that I start off feeling hopeful, that optimism takes over, I usually walk in a restaurant feeling very dubious, with my palate walls up high, and with a guarded tongue just in case the restaurant was not what was portrayed on Insta or I had built up in mind, but then came MadMacs. 

MadMacs of Newark, Delaware started off with the key ingredient to a mouthwatering evening and that was with the waitstaff. My waitress was the most delightful, the most smiley, the most menu informed, and more importantly she carried within her the  experiential taste knowledge, which in most cases is priceless.

The first and only thing up for the evening was the Cajun Mac and Cheese, with sharp and swiss cheese, crab, shrimp, bread crumb topping, and old bay. As you read this it may read oversimplified and nothing to write home to Wolf Gang Puck about who is in my opinion the king of all things Mac and Cheese, but I promise this is a complicated mac and cheese compilation. Whenever you opt to place seafood inside of mac and cheese there are two things that can go wrong; one the seafood can get lost in the cheese and your tastebuds cannot even recognize it being there or the dish can be overtaken by the fishiness and the foundation which is the mac and cheese gets lost, but when you find the balance between the two baby, you have something I am going to coin right here and right now and that is “cheese gold.”

This mac and cheese was made of everything right in the world, tender noodles, ooey gooey cheese with multiple cheese pulls, perfectly cooked no skimping on the size shrimp, briney crab, of course all of it very buttery, and in case you forgot you had seafood old bay that grazed the back of your throat on every swallow was an absolute eye closer and mouth pleaser.

MadMacs not only did I feel welcome, but you brought down the walls of my palate, you brought me everything a mac and cheese was supposed to bring, which is: pretty to eyes with the golden color the cheese, comfort to the mind, a gentle acquaintance to the tongue, a warmness that screams it is safe to eat of all these calories, and just downright heavenly, which made me smile with each bite. WIth the many options of the mac and cheese I have officially chosen you to be my go to spot for my local hankering for mac and cheese…well done MadMac well done🍴

Small but Mighty🍴

Tapas are small dishes and the definition actually comes from the Spanish word for appetizer or snack, but when I translate it, it comes across as my opportunity to try more things on the menu with less guilt, and that is a wonderful thing.

Tapas are typically very savory dishes that have one goal and that is to pack a punch, because the chef fully understands that you are only going to get one to three bites from each dish. Tapas are not a place that you expect to get full,  the objective is not to get satiated, but to simply get gratified.

So the restaurant for today is Bacari PDR in Playa Del Rey, California and first up was Hunters Mac and Cheese made with five cheese fondue, toasted panko, white truffle oil, and scallions, which translates to…fair, not amazing, on the verge of good, but needed something a bit extra. The scallions were extremely large in proportion to the tapa portion, although piping hot on arrival, no cheese pull, and although I totally see where the chef was going with making the cheese a fondue, it just didn’t seem to follow through to the end.

Second up, Fried Chicken Sliders that were cornbread crusted on a hawaiin roll, stacked with long pickle slices, slaw, and aioli. The cornbread crust added a pleasurable amount of crunch, a hawaiin roll that always adds a hint of softness in texture and a diminutive amount of sweet, the pickles although toothsome seemed to create a harmony for the slaw, and all together this translated into a gratifying two biter.

Third up, Oven Roasted Bone Marrow with capers, panko, salt and pepper with a side of crostini, in layman’s terms that is what the waitress gleefully called beef butter. When scraping the marrow out of the bone, getting the almost gelatinous like texture on the bottom and broiled til lightly crunchy on top was the most scrumptious delicacy I have encountered in quite some time. Beef butter sounded so appropriate because it conveyed all the feels: creamy, salty, beefy, savory, slightly greasy to give your entire mouth the opportunity to dance at the party. If I had the opportunity I will go back to get this dish over and over again.

Fourth up, winter scallops with carrot parsnip puree, melted leeks, crispy capers, and white truffle oil. Whenever I order scallops from a restaurant what I am really doing is delving into the skill level of the chef. Scallops are a very difficult seafood to execute, one false move can produce a rubbery ball that is simply inedible, so when they are done right which means they are seared perfectly on the outside, no drying on the inside, yet maintaining its level of brininess, the chef in my opinion has hit a homerun, when you couple that scallop with a crunchy caper, I am totally prepared to get some poms poms and scream your name.

Last up, pan seared walnut crusted salmon sitting atop herb bulgar. To be honest the walnuts did not come through for me, if I had not read it on the menu, I would have had no clue they were even present on the fish, however the salmon was cooked extremely well, the taste was not fascinating, nor was it unmentionable, the bulgar did not necessarily provide much other than texture. It certainly was not a fail, it was far beyond a passing grade, but it definitely wasn’t superb.

I have always been team, tapas especially because it supports my waistline and my psyche, you get a bunch of food, yet with small bites, you feel like you did a menu tasting, and your figure does not suffer. That combined with the food being a solid win, I feel good in my soul and my stomach, well done Bacari PDR, well done🍴

Science & Nature 🍴

I have always had a respect for bakers especially seeing that I myself am not one. Baking is such a science, so exact, no teetering to the left nor to the right like stovetop cooking. It is super essential that measurements are spot on, that the ingredients you pick are not only in season, but the most premium for the dessert at hand, and when those things are not aligned, then you have something short of a mess.

I typically do not blog about desserts and not because I don’t eat dessert, because I certainly have my fair share or else I wouldn’t be having the daily discussion about whether or not I should go to the gym today or not;  but when I am blogging I tend to focus on main meals, and to be quite honest I throw shade on dessert and I don’t give them the props they are do, but today that stops and it stops now. 

Today’s trip was all about dessert from the Sweet Red Peach in Inglewood, California. I first heard about the Sweet Red Peach from Chef Duff Goldman, you know the guy on Food Network? Well to commemorate Juneteenth, Duff decided to shout all of the black owned bakeries that he deemed imperative that you check out in certain states, and when I knew that I would be in Los Angeles the Sweet Red Peach was first on my to do list. 

First up, the blue velvet cake, yes you read correctly blue velvet cake. People often favor the red velvet cake, but the blue velvet cake is basically the fraternal twin to the red velvet cake. They look a little different, but they are still from the same egg that split in two. Cakes in my estimation are a tricky thing, and not everyone executes perfectly. For me the cake to frosting ratio is super duper important, oftentimes you find cakes where the layer of cake is so miniscule and the icing portion is a behemoth, and when that happens the whole thing goes to pot. But the Sweet Red Peach had the impeccable quota of both. The more than right size of cake and the precise amount of cream cheese icing was divine. The cake was moist, it was the perfect amount of sweet, the icing had the right amount of tang for balance, but more importantly it tasted homemade.

If you are a dessert eater your nose and your palate knows the distinct taste between homemade and store made. It is super hard to convey with pen to paper, but homemade goods have a special aroma, that store bought doesn’t, homemade has a special taste of care and delicacy that store bought doesn’t, and homemade somehow taste cozy, it somehow gives me the simulation that my big breasted grandmother is holding me in her bosom with one hand and feeding me cake with the other, it was positively one of the best blue velvet cakes I’ve had.

Second up, the chocolate chip cookie. Chocolate chip cookies are like baseball. It is truly America’s favorite pastime and right up there with apple pie for being America’s favorite dessert. But not all cookies are created equal, and not all bakers can master the favorite cookie, and there are plenty and I do mean plenty of masquerading out there. With the level of cookie imposters it’s hard to choose who is going to be legit. I find myself leaning toward the large cookie, the cookie that has the best aesthetic, but even with that you can be fooled. But when I took my first bite of this Sweet Red Peach chocolate chip cookie there were no charade games being played here. This cookie with a mix of milk chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate was savory, it was sweet, but there were no chocolate chips as the name suggest, I believe they used shards of chocolate so you could get a visual of the different chocolates and also get an understanding that it was going to be decadent and that they symmetry between sweetness and smoothness went hand and hand. Each time I have a chocolate chip cookie, I put it through the refrigerator test. I want it to be slightly chilled, a little firm, but not crispy, and I want it to stand up to each bite without crumbling. I put this cookie through my test and it passed with flying or should I write edible delight colors. After taking it out of the fridge I was able to get more of that chocolate goodness in every bite that resonated to biting into a chunk, the center of the cookie was still homemade chewy, and the edges had a small crunch. In one bite I got all my palate desired in this life, sweet, savory, chewy chocolatey, and crunchy, to sum this up, this was a win win.

Last up, the namesake, the peach cobbler. Now when making peach cobbler I think it is essential that the baker be part scientist, part a God-fearing baker who totally understands that the good Lord has made fruit for humans to enjoy in this earth and when the two come together heavenly things tend to happen. There are alot of peach cobblers out there, some super sweet like eating melted jolly rancher syrup, some with too little peaches, some with not good crust, some just simply not understanding that it’s the peach here who is the work horse. But the Sweet Red Peach understood thoroughly who was the star of the show and who had the obligation to work the hardest to make this production a success. 

The crust was thick enough, but not doughy, it was nicely sweetened but not overly so, it was golden brown on top to signal me that this has been made with all the love their heart had to give. The peaches inside were just the right slice, no a slither, but a gratuitous slice, the peaches were sweet all on their own like I picked the peach from the tree myself. When peach cobbler is cooked correctly the peaches secrete their own nectar, their own sweet juice that graces the bottom of the cobbler, it’s not a syrupy fest where the peaches are overtaken by the syrupy juice. No, these peaches had a specific job to do and the baker let them do it, no extra sugar here, the sweetness was so satisfying I didn’t even need a glass of water to remove the sweetness that lingered on my tongue. This was peach cobbler, not candied sweets assuming the character of peach cobbler; this was the namesake dessert and it did the name justice, it was simply delectable.

Well done, Sweet Red Peach, I plan to visit you more than I should, but every bite is worth the extra time in the gym🍴