Sunday, December 13, 2009

Mmm... Asada

This isn't really a Christmas song but it does mention December. I don't know whether to love or hate Vampire Weekend. I guess before hearing this song I was only indifferent because I was simply unimpressed.

This track has definitely changed my mind. Give it about 58 seconds and you'll be hooked. It reminds me of waiting in line for tacos past midnight when I go back to LA for the holidays.

Thanks to the bzablog's unofficial correspondent to the hipster world-- 'lil grumbles, who posted this vid recently on Facebook.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ray's Hell Burger

The first snow of year fell as we followed our noses across a strip mall parking lot in Arlington, VA. The entrance to Ray's Hell burger was virtually unmarked aside from the laminated menu taped up next to the door. It's your typical no-frills burger joint. The burger spoke for itself.

Behind every great burger is a carefully chosen bun. At RHB the buns are spongy, soft and moist. They soak up the juice from the burger well. I usually don't like seeds on buns, but the poppy seeds on the brioche buns at Ray's add a perfectly subtle hint of flavor. Like a kaiser roll, these buns are round on both ends almost making for a horizontally symmetrical burger (if not for the cheese and other tasty toppings).

Any burger lover can tell at first bite that these are made to perfection. The patties pack enough flavor to make you want to eat them plain. And if not for the abundant options of grilled savory goodness they offer as trimmings you just might.

I'll save you time and give you the two reasons you must go to Arlington before you die.

1)The Burger of Seville: seared foie gras, Sauteed mushrooms, Bordelaise sauce, white truffle oil.

2)The "Let's Get It On" burger: Applewood Smoked Bacon, Swiss & Vermont White Cheddar Cheeses, Cognac & Sherry Sauteed Mushrooms, Grilled Red Onions, Sauteed Peppers, Roasted Garlic, Lettuce & Tomato

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Tis the Season

The temperature is dropping but the spirits are rising! Get in the mood and start listening to Christmas songs (don't say you hate them either). Every Christmas I load some seasonal tunes on to my iPod and play them until I inadvertently start speaking in melody with a crooner voice. Give Fiest and Fleet Foxes a rest already and put on some festive tracks for chrissakes... literally.

This is Coldplay with a warm rendition of a holiday classic that always makes me think of friends I won't be seeing around the holidays. I've been lucky enough to meet and have some great times with kind friends from various places. With so much going on it's unlikely that I'll get a chance to spend time with you all this holiday season. So here's one for all of you who won't be in or around LA or NYC this holiday season.

The Return of the TOP 10 LIST!

I'm back. After taking a 4 month hiatus to hit the books for the LSAT and settle into my new digs in the nation's capital I have officially got my groove back. The new posts I've got coming up are sure to be plump and delicious (like Angela Basset's lips).

In the past few months I've been making weekly trips to the supermarket. While trying to cook at home more I've come to the realization that you need some pretty *obscure ingredients to put together good food at home. I'll usually find myself one teaspoon short of cumin, or a sprig of rosemary short once dinner time rolls around. Ever since I had to leave the kitchen and run down the street for some dried onion flakes while my ground beef was browning, I have made it a habit of collecting different spices whenever I make trips to the market, even if I don't need them for anything in particular in the foreseeable future.

Here is my list of top ten condiments/spices/sauces to have in your pantry. I've selected them for there versatility and overall flavor they add to a meal.

In no particular order:

1. Kikoman Soy Sauce - Forget the "Reduced Sodium/Light" kind. Go with the original recipe. They didn't achieve "300 Years of Excellence" by going easy on the salt.

2. Frank's Red Hot Sauce - It's like the White Out of cooking. When all else fails.. cover it in Frank's Red Hot Sauce

3. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes - They aren't just good for pizzas. Try them in pastas or on broccoli

4. Dried Rosemary - It doesn't go bad in a week like fresh rosemary and seems twice as potent

5. Balsamic Vinegar - If you can afford to dish out the cash for the real stuff (thicker like a syrup and aged 25 years) then the possibilities are endless. I'm not talking about the stuff they give you at Soup Plantation either.

6. Oregano - I couldn't really tell you what this does to food in general. I've used it two or three times to make some lemon chicken. I think it's the stuff they sprinkle over home fries. (?)

7. Ground Mustard - One of the secrets to my sloppy joes

8. Lea Perrins' Worchestershire Sauce - a few dashes for your burger patties or whenever you use ground beef

9. Liquid Smoke - This is like magic. It makes everything taste like it's been licked by flames on the grill. I wonder what would happen if you put it in a dessert?

10. Tarragon - Still haven't used it. I bought it because it sounds like a planet from Star Wars.

*Note: I am a novice in the kitchen when it comes to preparing anything that requires more technical knowledge than grilled cheese or sunny-side up eggs. I acknowledge that ingredients that I consider "obscure" might be commonplace in your kitchen.... So cut me some slack.