Friday, January 27, 2012

Dunn's River Inn

Ever heard of I started messing around with it several months ago. You shop for participating restaurants in your area by zip codes. It will give you a price for a certificate of greater value. For instance you might buy a 20 dollar certificate for 10 dollars. Anyway a couple of months back I thought I should check Rockville Centre where I stay while in NYC. I found one place and it was a place I'd never heard of. Dunn's River Inn, it was a good deal and so I bought the certificate.

The other day I decided it was time to check it out. It's located north of the Long Island Railway on Park. It turns out it is a Caribbean place. The owner is a delightful Jamaican woman. The menu looked good and the choices were tough but an appetizer of shrimp and the ox tail for the main course.

The shrimp are called spicy shrimp. The waitress gave me a warning.

"they are really hot."

OK, well this is New York City, and most of the ethnic places tame it way down. Making the clientele happy with bland. I told her not to worry I like it hot. Well, it was. Not just hot but in a very flavorful way. They were so good I forgot to take a pre-picture. The aftermath looks messy but it makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

By now I was pretty excited about this new found place and the main course was still to come. I've only had ox tail one time previously and I was underwhelmed but the menu made this sound good and certainly exotic.

It's arrival made me salivate with the aroma. Wow did it smell good wearing a hearty brown gravy sauce.
It was so delightful. A great choice I'd eat again. If you've never eaten an ox tail give it a whirl. You may be very surprised. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Harry Potter in Manchester?

I realize I'm about the only person who hasn't read Harry Potter but I do enjoy the movies. While in Manchester I was drug into a pub and forced to have a pint.  I know it's a terrible thing when you have to go to the pub in order to see all your best friends. But sometimes...  Anyway, while looking at the taps trying to make the drink decision I noticed something special.  What do you know??? Hobgoblin! 

The beer was good but it is an English Ale, what would one expect?  They do the ales well. The bar maid wasn't all bad either as one of my colleagues brought to my attention. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012


How many times have you finished a great meal and said, "I'm stuffed!"
We stuff turkeys by putting "stuffing" in the cavity. If you get a cavity the dentist doesn't stuff it but he "fills" it. Of course I felt all filled up when I decried, "I'm stuffed."

At any rate whether you are filled or stuffed it is a good thing, well most of the time. The key is a good stuffing.
While visiting Barcelona recently I ate a stuffed mushroom. It was a nice portobello and was really not in my mind so much stuffed as filled, or more precisely covered. Buried in heavenly bliss.

It is wise to eat seafood when in a coastal town so a Seafood stuffed mushroom sounded wonderful and it was. A crab and shrimp based concoction with plenty of garlic and swimming in the mushroom juice and lemon butter.
This was also a "stuffed" dish. Stuffed shrimp. But I wouldn't say stuffed but more like covered. In fact when I thought about it for awhile, that was when I decided the mushroom was also covered. The shrimp had a crab based stuffing covering the little shrimpy shrimp. But very tasty!!
Needles to say when I was done I was stuffed with stuffed things. After getting filled up I wiped my mouth so I was no longer "covered" in my dinner just simply stuffed!

Go to the kitchen and stuff something, fill it, or cover it, and then get stuffed!

Friday, January 13, 2012


In general Germany is a wonderful country with great hearty food. The capital city is Berlin and it captures a feeling of modern cosmopolitan culture while still keeping the reminders of the past.
Check point Charlie is a reminder of where east merged with west. A place where a gate in the fence was nervously watched lest a war would break out. Remnants of the wall remain near by as a stark reminder of the former separation. During my first visit about 6 years ago it was visually very obvious where East Germany stood but capitalism and prosperity have given way to new construction.
A famous landmark is the Brandenburg gate. If you listen closely to the stone it still vibrates with a "hale Hitler". Not too far from here is the unique Holocaust memorial. Behind it is a quiet parking lot with a sign saying this was the location of  Hitler's bunker.

In this cosmopolitan city oddly enough finding a German restaurant isn't easy. However on the second street behind the Holocaust memorial is a great one serving all those hearty specialties. The calves liver was wonderful.  Sorry no pictures of it.  Go see Berlin it is beautiful. I'm sorry to say Delta is no longer flying there.  Makes me sad.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Best Mashed Potatoes

Flying international is not only just about the layovers. There are some other nice perks. One of these is that the company feeds me a business class meal. Actually they get pretty old fast.  There are about 4 menus with 4 choices.  One of the choices is always a vegetarian pasta, which for the most part are extremely bland. There is always a beef dish with some kind of sauce. The beef is of a nice quality however sometimes it gets over cooked before it gets to the plane. Since all these meals are partially precooked.

One of the dishes is a chicken breast topped with caramelized balsamic vinegar onions. On the side are blue cheese mashed potatoes. Of coarse you can't expect a boneless skinless chicken breast to be edible at 35 thousand feet, which it often isn't unless you have the jaws of a Pitt bull. I just scraped the onions onto the potato and discovered a great combination.

When I do this at home I mash the potatoes with butter and sour cream and part of my blue cheese. I like red onions and as I cook them in some oil, I liberally add balsamic vinegar. Towards the end of the cooking process I also add some sugar and let them caramelize. They get so yummy.

Now I place the potatoes on a platter cover them with the onions and top with blue cheese and bacon bits. Sometimes I put some green onions on top too.

This is a real crowd pleaser. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Chicken Piccata

The Italians do some amazing stuff with pasta. For me personally I think of the pasta as something to catch the sauce. Most of you are probably thinking red sauce, but don't forget about the Alfredo sauce. But there is also the Piccata,  I'm not Italian, but I definitely like this dish. 

Start with boneless skinless chicken breasts. Next time you want to insult someone just tell them ,"You remind me of a raw boneless, skinless chicken breast!" That should show them.

The good news is you can fix the chicken. First it needs a good beating to put it in it's place. Probably we all do at times!
Now is your opportunity take out any frustrations you may have for that skinless boneless chicken breast of a person. Just go after it with the meat mallet until it is a little over a quarter inch thick. 

Now you get to dredge it in bread crumbs. I like the Italian flavored ones. So now that you have beat the meat to a pulp you can pretend you are rubbing salt and sand into the wound!!! Well crummy bread crumbs. It is just so very therapeutic to cook!

Now you need to cook them in some hot oil. You don't need to kill them at this point since they will simmer in the sauce for awhile later.
While your letting the oil do it's thing you can grate off some lemon zest. OK so why does the peel become zest? Make some great grated lemon zest peeling stuff.
Make some chopped garlic. Half dozen or so.
Remove your breasts from the hot oil. (sounds like some wacky health/cosmetic self help thing) In the skillet saute the garlic a bit then put in the zest and juice from a couple of lemons. Add chopped parsley capers and a cup of white wine. Add a little chicken stock and put your breasts back in. Cook down for a while and then serve over pasta. Spooning on this sharp sauce that is just too yummy.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


It's a great privilege to be able to live anywhere and still be able to get to work. We have guys living in Europe and all over the US. Alaska, Hawaii, and probably Asia, and Africa. You name it, even Texas!

Of coarse if you choose to live near your base it simplifies things. Not too long ago I got stuck in Atlanta. I got up early the next morning and went to Memphis (No not Egypt). I had a couple of hours to kill before the DFW flight so I thought lunch was in order, I deserved it. I got this great pulled pork sandwich feast and literally "pigged" out. There were several BBQ restaurants in the airport and they appear to all be pretty much the same. I would recommend you try one if you find yourself stuck in the Memphis airport.

My flight had a mechanical problem and was on a delay so I went to American's DFW flight's gate. It's a nice courtesy the airlines do for the employees of other airlines, allowing us to fly standby for free. They were nice and gave me and a bunch of other commuters seats. Then the nightmare got worse as delta passengers started showing up in droves.  We weren't the only ones who checked American's flight schedule.  Delta did too and sent about 50 some odd passengers down the hall to join us. We eventually got bumped so we went back to our wounded Delta flight only to find out the plane was fixed.  Fantastic news but since there were no passengers left there seemed to be some further questions.  It just kind of sat there and eventually we figured it out.  It had canceled due to lack of interest.  At least American had another flight in a couple of more hours.

Now it had been about 27 hours since I first landed at JFK. I was kind of feeling sorry for myself missed flights the day before, hotels, broken airplanes, oversold flights...

So confessions of a food lover. In an effort to appease myself I bought the big rib platter...couldn't finish it. Well it was only 2 or 3 hours since I pigged out on the sandwich. Sometimes eating is just comforting.  I eventually got home about 9pm. Oh yes the life of glamor!

Pig out in Memphis

Friday, January 6, 2012

My Idea Of Pizza

Everyone likes pizza but pizza is an extremely broad topic. If you're in New York a "slice" is a thin soggy crust with a bit of cheese on it. Personally I don't even consider cheese pizza as pizza. It is cheese bread or something.

If in Chicago a pie will be a thick crusted well dressed chunk of calories. Personally I'm not a thick crust kind of guy. The toppings on the Chicago pie are a plus.

In various parts of the world the main topping is corn. No thank you, not for me, I'll eat my corn as a side dish. In Africa you can get a great pizza out by the hotel pool. The sausage is a little different. Perhaps better to not ask too many questions. You may not like all the answers!

Some would never consider a mixture of seafood topping a pizza crust, but it is one of my Italy favorites. Speaking of Italy it is usually the brick oven variety. Sporting a crisp thin crust. They also often top it after baking it with a salad. Usually a rocket or other spicy green. Another trick to watch out for is an egg baked on it. Could be good or bad, you decide.

In the states you always find the crushed red peppers to top it off and a little spice. If you need it and are going on a round the world pizza tour you will need to bring it with you. Italy will have hot pepper oil. It's fine to jack up the heat but you wind up with an oily pizza.

A couple of my favorite pizza haunts domestically is the Bridge View Brewery in Portland, and the Rockbottom Brewery in Salt Lake City. While on Long Island I find myself ordering the Villa Maria Special substituting onions for the peppers and specifying well done.

Yes there is plenty to say about pizza but my favorite is home made. This was an effort in creativity which resulted in this masterpiece.  It was about an inch and a half thick. No kitchen sinks but just about everything else except corn.
Whether it is a Totino's cheese or Beau's monsters of all pizzas,  there is a slice somewhere out there just perfect for you.