Sunday, November 30, 2008

Bistro Chef Job

Sorry to hear that Chef Filoni is out at Parc. Seems like the main complaint about Parc is the noise level, chef could help that by keeping customers word holes busy. I got the impression that he was doing pretty well and that the bakery especially is rocking.

Good Luck to Chef.



It seems like American style bistro cooking would be more legit to practice and more likely to be executed with integrity. Even in Paris they struggle to 'keep it real' some of the spots in Philly are ridiculous. We are in America and we have American ingredients to create American cuisine. It wouldn't even be any harder to Disney-fy. American stuff has its natural charms.

A while back I read about breeding efforts to create mini bulls and steers that would equate to smaller steaks, chops etc. Well they are not at market yet. I am wondering how it works with customers at the new steakhouses. Folks who work at desks and eat cowboy dinners how do you enjoy a 1500 or 2000 calorie plate when biologically about 1/3 of what's served is appropriate?

St. Agur and Fettuccine

Talluto's noodles are amazing but you must get the cooking time right. Here is fettuccine with St. Agur from Whole Foods and a few of their pork cutlets, on sale @ $6.99/#.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Cooking

My sisters did really well cooking up T'day supper yesterday. Sister #1 made a very full flavored and low fat squash soup. I made lobster banh trang, and my other sister made turkey, stuffing, and roasted veggies including kale pockets filled with mushrooms. We also had a few Greek dishes including the most fun to say food word I know:
γαλακτομπούρεκο. Pronounced gah-lacto-borey-ko, galaktoboureko, comes from the words milk (γάλα in Greek) and bourek (the Turkish origin word Burek for pies, so in effect it conveys the meaning "milk-pie" or custard pie.

The 2-6# lobsters pictured yielded enough meat to made 16 very generous rolls served with peanut sauce, cucumber, radish and some crispy lotus root.

Lychees are from Hung Vuong while shopping Thanksgiving morning.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I give thanks for the gift of nature's incredible bounty. Thanks for the human effort, inspiration and passion that transforms nature into culture.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Bison Flat Iron Steak Frites

Whole Foods South St. sells the flat iron for $7.99/#. It's a delicious deal at that price.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bison Short Ribs

Finally grabbed a few pounds at Whole Foods $5.99/#. These were extremely meaty flanken style bison short ribs. 2- 4 rib sections weighed 2.75#. I had no experience so I used guidelines from on-line recipes. I rubbed them with ancho chili and garlic, juniper berries, thyme, marjoram, and moistened with olive oil and OJ. Seared 4 minutes each side then roasted slow and long covered with chicken stock.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Chicken Francaise Fingers

I didn't make fingers but I told my chef bud that Fran Fingers would be a inventive break from Buffalo Fingers.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Steak Frites

We rarely make fries at home. On Thursday I made some to go with this strip steak from Whole Foods. We drank a Navarra (grenache). The plate was delicious. These homemade fries excelled any fried potatoes I've had recently. They were almost enough to erase the memory of the nightmarish 'frites' served at Caribou Cafe.

Organic on 9th St

Just noticed this spot.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Cornichon Continued

I finally broke out these beauties. Chillen since July they were choice, crisp and distinctively flavorful. I used a few to make tartar sauce for a batch fried cape may scallops.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"Firesale" Joe B. @ The Bean

Great stuff hanging in the Bean.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Reading Terminal Market (mis-)management

Ousting Olivieri may be the main accomplishment of the past few years for the management crew at RTM. 750k was all it took to remove a successful, long term vendor.

Anyone who shops there much must wonder: why spend 3/4 of a million dollars giving the ax to someone who was widely respected when there is no reliable fish vendor, a single organic vendor, and certain establishments are loaded with critters ? Priorities seem driven by pettiness and abysmal vision and judgment.

Which brings me to
Giunta's Prime Shop, natural and organic. I was in RTM yesterday and noticed the "organic" signage. Now I don't work for the USDA or anything but i checked Giunta's case pretty carefully and I found one legit organic item out of maybe 50 or 60. I asked the counter person and he had no clue what was organic.

Posting an organic sign and selling non-organic is deceitful, it's plain wrong. It's a slimy business practice to mis-lead consumers. Shouldn't it be managements' responsibility to verify the claims of vendors? I gave a call to RTM management today. The person who answered attempted to deflect my question so I had to leave a message with Paul Steike. I asked if it is policy to verify the claims of vendors. I'll report back when he returns my call.

I could be wrong about the whole thing. Maybe Giunta is able to somehow source organic items and sell them as cheaply as conventional. It could be that Giunta has all this organic stuff and feels it isn't important to inform customers of the sources.

Lastly Giunta's prime shop seems like another mis-use of a word that has specific meaning. I did not see any item in the case with a prime USDA stamp on it, so if nothing is prime and really nothing except for one bagged chicken is organic seems like BS is the product.

UPDATE: Paul Steinke returned my call this morning (11-11). He was friendly and candid in discussing my concern. Paul said that he too questioned the veracity of the organic signage and that he's working on it.
Update: Message from Mr. Giunta 11/23:


Since opening Giunta's Prime Shop two years ago, I have been proud of the high quality of the all natural, hormone and anti-biotic free meats sold, both organic as well as non organic. We carry a range of products to appeal to the variety of consumers who shop in the market each week.

Your experience with our staff who was uninformed of the organic products we sold was unfortunately and certainly not to the standard I want my customers to experience. Thank you for making me aware of this situation.

I would welcome the opportunity to discuss in more detail your comments regarding the products sold. Please feel free to contact me via e-mail or via the store directly at 215-627-6175. Thank you, Charles Giunta. "

Reply to Mr Giunta 11/24:

Dear Mr. Giunta

I sincerely apologize if I mistakenly claimed your signage is misleading. The reason I concluded your claim to Organic is bogus is because the term includes conforming to a stringent set of practices. These include separate knives, saws, cutting boards, and tables as well as storage and handling requirements. Most importantly the distributor for the products must be certified. I didn’t see these procedures followed when I visited, I found no info identifying your organic supplier and I couldn’t find a CQI stamp except on a bagged chicken.

If your business adheres to these practices would you please provide some documentation or post it at your shop? Daily logs and QAI certification docs would immediately dispel any questions about the “Organic" status of your products.

With reference to “natural, hormone and antibiotic free” promotional information about the feeding and source of the products would be both informative and good for business.



Update 1/19/09. Here's a bit of follow-up from blogger Rob Libkind.

Lobsters $7.99/# at Cape May Lobster House. 6 pound critter was perfecto, lively and filled out.

Slaw and taters with the steamed lobster, ah ya.

The champagne was a deal we found in Marblehead. It was an excellent compliment to this dinner.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Whole Foods Market-- Surprise

No pics because of some tech issues.

Still be advised the AK King Crab at WFM is spectacular the price $24.99 is steep but it's an exotic item and it's never been frozen and it's been shipped and handled carefully-- the quality is extraordinary. There was glisteningly beautiful grouper filet there as well $19.99

The surprise part is that the house made braciole (pork) in the meat case were a complete deal at $5.99/#. It's hard for me to say but they were every bit the equal of Ritner St Cannuli braciole, really amazingly delicious.

The Bison ribs that were advertised during the week, they never showed. The 50c. chesapeake oysters though are still there, delectable and a steal at that price.