Do My Eyes Deceive Me🍴

My grandmother always said “baby don’t let your eyes be bigger than your stomach, for all it does is breeds waste,” and I am here to write she has never lied. But we live in a culinary society where it is a similitude of Texas. Bigger is better and more is the way to go. But I think I understand the marketing behind bigger; when things are bigger it almost acts as a blinding effect, and it perpetuates sensory overload, and for some reason you cannot judge rightly, and the reason you cannot is your other senses have become temporarily frozen.

When these situations occur it is absolutely vital that you turn your focus up to the highest level, because if you don’t you will be visually enthralled, but delectably challenged.

Jacob’s Pickles on the Upper East Side of Manhattan has an intriguing name and they are bordering on being a marketing genius, so let’s breakdown the experience accordingly. Jacob’s Pickles does not take reservations for parties of 6 or less and the wait staff have opted to wait on the tables at a tortoise pace so I asked myself what does this methodology create? One, it creates lines outside and an image that this restaurant is popping so much that people will wait for up to 2 hours for a seat. There second genius move is the loud music, and not just any music, music by Drake, Nicki Minaj, and some other people whom I don’t know their names, makes it appears that Jacob’s Pickles is not only trendy, socially engaging, but will definitely give you an opportunity to bob your head while your wait. And Imma tell you for the first few seconds you are definitely vibing and the beats are really hitting you, but as soon as you have to consistently say, “huh, what” to your social counterparts more than twice, then you are forced to move in extra close to them, because you cannot hear what they are saying, and you find yourself becoming horse because you are forced to speak at a higher octave, then it dawns on you that no one is dancing, this is not a club, and everyone is sitting and eating, therefor the music should not be this loud, and only persons singing is the wait staff then, that vibe that you initially had becomes a fleeting a moment.

So now it is time to sit and this crafty marketing strategy strikes again, because after waiting for an hour and twenty-five minutes I am absolutely famished, so I am completely onboard for the bigger is better concept. My brain and my stomach is telling me no matter how much they bring I will eat every last drop, I mean I have not even drank any water because I did not want use any stomach space unnecessarily.

First on the menu would be exactly what you expected, fried pickles. I am pretty confident that in 2016 in the land of food tv and cooking channel everyone is keenly aware that a pickle is simply a pickled cucumber. Now when it comes to pickling some people simply just do it better than others. I am not really sure how the whole pickling process works, but i do know that the end result should not be that I think I am eating a cucumber. Jacob where was the saltiness, how come my throat didn’t get tickled by the brinyness, and why was it so firm that I felt like the process to make it a pickle only started while I was waiting for almost 2 hours for a seat.

Second up, the special of the night, macaroni and cheese chicken parmesan. What exactly does this dish breakdown to being is normal mac and cheese, with marinara sauce, and a breaded chicken fillet.

When this dish came out in its cast iron pan, piping hot, patchy scorched pieces of cheese from being under the broiler, my eyes lit up like stars. My first thought was who are they bringing this dish too, me or a family of four and two how in the world would I ever be able to tackle this Fred Flinstone meal. 

So I developed a strategy, I was gonna work my way in starting from the sides. The pasta noodles were penne, and perfectly el dente. The cheese was beautifully gooey and gave me the whole string effect in all of my 7 bites that I ate, and the chicken was very tender. 

The first bite I thought, “this ok,” but if you have been following me on this blog, you know my quest in food life is to find more than just ok. Second bite, I am feeling the same. Third bite, it has happened I start to think this is good, but I am still not where I wanna be on the euphoria scale. I take several more bites and not only am I stuffed but I have an epiphany. That epiphany is that maybe the mac and cheese chicken parmesan was to hot for me to enjoy to its fullest capacity, maybe all the flavors had not settled in the right spot yet, maybe this dish was better as a leftover. Leftovers are funny, some dishes can be good on opening night, but on the second night it really puts on a show. I get this effect with stuffing and my dad’s spaghetti and meatballs. So in my efforts to ensure that I was being fair, I ate it a day later. 

 A day later, after reheating properly in the oven, i still got the same effect of cheesiness and girth, but what I didn’t get was anything beyond thinking this was “simply ok.” Which is kinda synonymous with being dull and leaving me with unfulfilled palate.

Jacob’s Pickles you remind me of the too cool for school kids and nothing about this blog is gonna make you change your marketing campaign, but I will tell you to at least to try to increase your seasonings and your flavoring so when the visual sensory overload comes to an end, what you are left with is the best tasting meal on the block. Patrons feeling like they had adequate food service where time is concerned, and non-bleeding eardrums.

A Posh Price🍴


Whenever you choose a meal, you also evaluate the price alongside what meal of the day it is. For me I spend the least for breakfast, also minimal for lunch, and it is dinner where I have the propensity to spare no expense. But even when doing this evaluation I take a look at what I am getting, is the meal in proportion to the price, is the serving size they are giving worth it’s weight in potatoes. 

So when I went to Smorgasbord in Manhattan’s Seaport for lunch and chose to purchase lunch at Fletcher’s Brooklyn BBQ and spent $14.00 I weighed what I would get. What I got was a bbq pulled pork sandwich with a side of slaw, potato chips, and a bottle water. Now on the onset it seemed quite expensive for a lunch, but I thought maybe bbq is different here in New York, I mean when I go to Famous Dave’s BBQ for the same thing I will spend $6.99. So it got me to thinking in light of the fact that I had never been to Fletcher Brooklyn BBQ, maybe the portion is bigger and more importantly maybe the taste is better than Famous Dave’s, so I will go on the splurge.

Upon first sight and bite what I realized is that I had been hustled, I would even go as far as to write I had been hornswoogled. Whenever you eat bbq there a few key components that are extremely essential: tenderness, smokiness, and robust flavor, and only one of the essentials were fulfilled and that was the tenderness. The slaw was just simply shredded cabbage, no sauce, no flavor, just a ketchup size cup of shredded cabbage, so insignificant that it seemed unfair to call it slaw. In my mind I was chanting a song “Oh smokiness, oh smokiness, where art thou!” Maybe Fletcher forgot it, maybe Fletcher cooked this pulled pork in a crock pot and tried to give me the 52 fake out and call it bbq, or maybe this was simply subpar bbq with a Manhattan price, where the establishment hadn’t decided that for $14.00 for lunch it should be absolutely superb and mouth shattering good. A meal where when the splurge is made, the eater feels like this sandwich was absolutely worth every penny and its weight in potatoes.

Fletcher’s Brooklyn BBQ maybe you need to take a lesson from Famous Dave’s and make me imagine that with every bite a big fat man is out in the back slow cooking bbq with cedar wood chips and coals, because it’s simply that good.

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A Side Piece 🍴

This gallery contains 2 photos.

Most days I awake wondering how my food day will go, what will I eat, what will I be willing to forgo in an effort to fight the bulge or at the minimum to maintain the continuous efforts of my legs not getting any bigger.  So I salivate at the moments when I can get … Continue reading

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Not So Sweet🍴

This gallery contains 6 photos.

Its funny how restaurants get a branding from the public and it is that brand that defines you, it tells the world who you are and sometimes that public branding is often very difficult to understand, especially if you haven’t hired a branding company that focuses and streamlines that brand for you. TJ’s Sweetie Pies … Continue reading

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Sugar Pepper 🍴

           Soul food is supposed to be mind food, it should be food that provokes the mind, that causes your will to go limp due to the goodness, and sparks an emotion that floods you with happiness and memories of safety and love. If the “soul food” doesn’t invoke those feelings then is … Continue reading

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Dear Palmier🍴

        Dear Palmier! Every so often you come across a treat that seems like it is not only good for your tastebuds, but it is also good for your soul. Its like every time you take a bite the speckles of sugar have a way of making you smile and the buttery back drop … Continue reading

A prelude to the big day🍴

   
   

It so funny how when the holiday approaches, suddenly your have a hankering for all your favorite foods, and it is not only due to the taste, but somehow you are craving that feeling of home, that feeling of family. You all of sudden want pie everyday, collard greens from your from your favorite aunt, and macaroni and cheese from your momma. 

So just to indulge your impulses of needing home and home cooking you start to seek of out places that can potentially satisfy or at the least hold you over weeks or days before the big holiday.

So I decided to check out Pies and Thighs in Brooklyn, New York. My first attempt to this restaurant met me with people outside waiting patiently in the cold, and tons of people on the inside, food looking absolutely scrumptious, but unfortunately I was unable to wait. 

Round 2, to the same location, but on a different day and different time, and was comforted by being able to get a table right away, good timing was all, we simply walked in as someone was walking out. No, Pies and Thighs does not take reservations only a name on a notepad upon arrival. 

First item on the dinner table “chicken in a box” which consist of 3 pieces of chicken, one wing, one drumstick, & one breast, with a side of collards with shredded pork, and a side of cornbread. After a long, tedious, slightly inattentive wait, beautifully golden, super crispy fried chicken has finally graced me with its presence. Only it was the grace of God that I did not return the food, slam my fist on the table, and declare to the waitstaff that I had been hoodwinked, flimflammed even. Yes the chicken was piping hot, yes i heard myself crunch with my initial bite, but what I didn’t get was any flavor, sure it wasn’t detestable, and to be honest how often are any of us eating detestable food, but we are definitely eating fair food which is the complete antithesis to good and good being the enemy of best. 

Next up collard greens; it is my personal opinion that people who can cook delicious greens have been endowed with an annoiting from God, and upon first bite you will know if God has graced them or if they are working in their own strength. Well i have to write, own strength was working here, sure the greens was tender, not cut up in small enough pieces for my preference, but nonetheless cut up, spicy and vinegary. Although I realize that vinegar is a staple in most collard green recipes, i never expect the vinegar to be the prevailing taste, especially since you have the shredded pork inside of it. I mean where is the smokiness from the meat and where is the savory flavor, clearly absent. 

Third up cornbread, I refuse to deliberate over this cold, dry, over cooked, square piece of distastefulness 

Fourth up, macaroni and cheese, made with cheese sauce, lightly seasoned, however, no texture, which homemade mac and cheese should always have a certain texture, just to convince you that you are not eating cheese from a can, and again not detestable, but definitely not delectable.

Finally apple pie, simply because I felt remiss for trying the thigh or wing without the pie. The crust was flaky, buttery, and actually delightful. The filling appeared to made from scratch, cinnamon very evident throughout, but nutmeg seemed to be lacking, and we all know that it is nutmeg that brings an apple pie together. The apples weren’t tender enough, i am assuming that a baking apple wasn’t used, which isn’t a fatal flaw, but your cook time will increase tremendously. Needless to say I felt like I was eating pie from a local bakery other than eating pie from my kitchen which is exactly what I wanted to be tricked into thinking.

So to sum it all up, I was deceived by Pies and Thighs, the people waiting outside, the long list of names waiting to enter was all a smokescreen. The small space has a gimmick, the service is slow, which keeps the people waiting and the perception of being the hottest chicken place in Brooklyn going. 

Sure the food looked comforting, but it did not give me the similitude of home, it did not comfort me or give me the prelude to Thanksgiving that my palate desired. The food was not horrible it was absolutely edible, I would even rank it fair on the food richter scale, but the truth is, who wants to go out to eat fair food, you wanna eat delectable amazing food, food that makes you smile, that encourages you to brag on them, food that makes you rave and return.

Creme De La Creme

  
  
Oftentimes when people hear the word lobster they immediate begin to think the creme de la creme of seafood, the granddaddy. The often flock toward toward it because they have heard that its sweet and succulent, and all of that is true, but does that mean you dont have to do anything to it all? I guess there are circumstances where you dont have to do anything, I mean if you were on a boat and grabbed the lobster out of the water, cooked it immediately, and then cracked it open, I guess then maybe you wouldn’t have to do anything at all. But I am under the firm belief that in most cases a little seasoning, no matter how creme de creme is always necessary.

First up at Ed Lobster Bar in Manhattan, New York the fried pickles. Buttery and tangy sliced pickles, relatively good eating and very difficult to mess up, one of the quintessential bar foods. Second and last up the corn and lobster bisque. It was a nice thick texture just as bisque should be, it was hearty which is exactly what you show expect, it had admirable amount of lobster which as well it should, after all it is called corn and lobster bisque, but was the lobster sweet? Who knows, was it buttery? Honestly I have to write, no. What it was though was bland, no distinguishing flavors, no star of the show which should have been the lobster, no smiles generated after each spoonful, it was simple just a hearty bowl of soup with some stuff in there, which I guess is appropriate for a rainy day, but clearly the chef thought just because it was lobster once you put it in the pot nothing else was required, no tender loving care, just nothing. 

Well lobster I am not fooled by your creme de la creme lobster status, I will not let your bourgeois take me over, forcing me to think something is extraordinary when its really not, like I wrote earlier seasonings go a long way. Now think on that Ed’s Lobster Bar, think on that.

Voila🍴

   
    
 
Its the time of the year that we all wait for; the time of the year where we put our exploratory tongues in action; its also the time of year where we eat like a baller on a budget…its Restaurant Week NYC.

First up on my journey was DGDB Kitchen and Bar. Most times the prix fixed menus are simply put…sucky and I always find myself straying to the regular menu in an effort to find something to tantalize my palate, but not so this time.

1st course Grilled Panzanella Salad, a combination of goat cheese, seedless olives, & tomatoes with a vinegarette. Now it is here where I struggle, because I am not a tomato liker or lover, but I am a goat cheese and olive lover, so in mind the two items I would enjoy immensely would dominate the plate, unfortunately I was more than wrong. It was packed with tomatoes, sprinkled with little olives and the goat cheese was smudged on the side of the plate, which I assume was for decoration. A few bites of olives coupled with the smidgen of goat cheese, and a crouton was mildly satisfying, but definitely not a slam dunk, and not completely delectable, but indubitably at no fault to the chef, it really was all due to my disinclination toward tomatoes.

2nd course Grilled Shrimp and Grits with chorizo, and the word that comes to mind with this dish is voila, flawless even. Plump shrimp, buttery, scallions atop, and the hearty amount of chunky chorizo. Now for all the chorizos lovers out there, you know that chorizo can be cooked and served in multiple ways. Sometime you find it in small squares, sometime just a sprinkle for smokiness sake only, and sometime simply rubbery, but not here. This chorizo gave me absolute sausage, spices visible and savory, a real sausage texture, and cooked to a tee. The topper was the corn kernels which was a constant reminder that you were eating grits with each bite, the grit crowning moment. The grits in itself could have been a smidgen thicker, but this is certainly a personal preference not a default on the side of DGDB.

3rd course a plum tart, yes plum, with blackberry ice cream, or should I write eat it slow and savor the thinly sliced sweet plums, laid so ever delicately on a tart crust with no custard, which was the absolute grand prize for me. I think most tarts are visually appetizing, I always vacillate on whether I should try again, maybe my taste buds have changed and this time I am going to like the fruits swimming in custard, but my taste buds have not changed in this area, so this custardless tart was a tart from heaven as far as I was concerned. The blackberry ice cream with the toasted almond brittle was completely superb. The crunch of the brittle with ice cream, was amazeballs and somehow the perfect blend of sweetness on all sides, no water needed to wash it down.

It has been a minute since I have had what I call an absolutely delightful meal, one that makes me smile, one that makes me brag, and one that made my eyes close just a bit with satisfaction, well done DGDB, well done.