Archive for April, 2009

Empty Wallet Thursday

Posted in failure on April 30, 2009 by kingbiscuitpants

I sit here at my computer pounding out my latest ramblings missive after a week of fairly uneventful eating (though one of my customers at work gave me some absoultely astounding eggplant & zucchini ziti to take home that I must get the recipie for) while procrastinating doing some character sketches for a project I’m working on.  With Shu at work & an empty wallet I’m feeling a little stir crazy as I watch the kids and try to motivate myself.  My income right now is somewhere between insulting & comical and the job hunt is an exercise in futility.   But much like my general feelings on voting (with the exception of this election), the effort at least earns me the right to complain.  Things can be far worse and to quote Meher Baba “Every day is a gift, that’s why we call it the present”, though I’d be lying if I said I made the best of what today had to offer.

2:36 am musings

Posted in rants on April 28, 2009 by kingbiscuitpants

I got home early  tonight (I usually don’t get home till after 3) knowing I wouldn’t be able to wind down so I emptied all the vegetable scraps & bones from the freezer and tossed them & seasonings into the trusty pressure cooker and am turning them to stock.  I know it sounds odd but it usually takes me 2 hours to wind down & that’s just the right amount of time to get that taken care of.  Tomorrow I intend to finally get around to braising the veal sweetbreads that Shu’s chef/boss/restaurant owner so graciously gave us so the stock will come in handy.  Today was not particularly out of the ordinary, got a minor car problem fixed, then a nap,  then the usual degredation of redneck bar cookery.    I’m dreading tomorrow as I have to bring all 3 kids to the dentist, the list of things I prefer to that task include being set on fire so let’s leave it at that.  One of my stupid cats just knocked down a dining room chair so I chucked an ice cube from my water at it with considerable force & accuracy.  Sigh…  Stupid, destructive little beasts.  Good thing that they’re cute otherwise I certainly would have eaten them by now; then Shu & the kids would be rather mad at me.  Of course as I type this one of my cat-tards has climbed into my lap and started purring.  I swear the only time they display any sign of intelligence at all is when I’m considering them as a potential food source.  Already there is a comforting scent of stock coming from the kitchen so it gives me an illusion of productivity as I await the embrace of sleep.

Old Heidelberg- Restaurant Review

Posted in Food on April 26, 2009 by kingbiscuitpants

This isn’t so much a restaurant review as much as it is a gushing love letter. My mother had hit for a few hundred dollars at the casino so she rather graciously gave Shu & I some cash so we could have a date night without the kids; since that hasn’t happened since early August we graciously obliged (thank you mom). We racked our brains (and by we I mean Shu) and decided to finally try this little place we’ve been passing by for years but had never gone to, this place being Old Heidelberg.

It’s a little stand alone building bookended by a German deli of the same name that makes all of their sausage and other goodies, located off State Road 84 in Fort Lauderdale. When we walked in we realized that the place was hardcore. The interior decor looked like the house in Snow White & the 7 Dwarves (in fact on the way out I saw a rather cute antique statue of such), the waitresses were dressed in traditional Bavarian manner & the waiters wore tuxedos, the entire staff seemed to be German (or at least forced to use a thick fake accent but that would be weird so I’m pretty sure it’s the real deal), and there was an old guy on a tiny stage playing accordion & singing. “OK,” I thought, “this is going to be very good…”

The service was professional, competent, prompt and incredibly polite; the bartender being particularly delightful (I regret not getting her name, very nice lady) and we had our menus before the wood of the booth we were sitting in had finished groaning from accepting my considerable girth. Upon viewing the menu we were beset by option anxiety, everything looked fantastic and to decide amongst that panorama of Deuischland delights was daunting. After much deliberation we had decided upon splitting the Sausages sampler platter as our appetizer, I ordered the Spanferkel, which is a roast portion of suckling pig & Shu chose the Bavarian Roast Duck; for dessert we chose the Rote Gruetze, which is a delightful parfait like assemblage of marinated strawberries & cherries in a vanilla sauce.

The height of good cooking is the elevation of a simple thing, that was proven when we received our appetizer. The sausage sampler came with sides of German potato salad & sauerkraut; now the sausage were delicious, I expected that, but what blew me away was the potato salad & the sauerkraut. My first taste of Old Heidelberg was a casual forkful of the German potato salad and it blew me away. It was simple, likely cooked in stock with a hint of vinegar; miles away from the heavy handed celebration of mayonnaise that passes for potato salad for most of America, a delicious item I intend to try to replicate at home. As you might guess the sauerkraut also was similarly stunning, again cooked with some assemblage of stock & obviously made from scratch. Our next course was a cup of potato soup (we had the choice of salad or soup with our meal) which was pleasant, subtle and used bacon with both taste & restraint.

When the main courses arrived we were very optimistic & that optimism was not unrewarded. My Spanferkel, came with red cabbage (which I love in general) an absolutely perfect, let me repeat that, an ABSOLUTELY PERFECT, potato dumpling and mashed potatoes. It was just so damn good, the pork was fork tender, perfectly seasoned unctuous & wonderful. Shu’s Bavarian roast duck was cooked to similar superlatives, the skin was crispy and the whole of the flesh was permeated with the sweetness of raisin & redolent with cinnamon, the stuffing for the duck was like the best coffee cake ever & I mean that in the best way possible; the sides were the same except that she received sauerkraut instead of red cabbage. The Roe Gruetze was the perfect dessert, not that I don’t desperately want to run rampant through the rest of their dessert options, it was palate refreshing yet still rich, the flavor of the cherry & strawberry offset perfectly by the luxurious vanilla sauce, the perfect end to that meal. After dinner we retired to their bar to digest and enjoy a nice cup of coffee and the pleasant banter of the aforementioned bartender.

If any of my readers live in South Florida do yourself a favor and go to this place, it’s simply wonderful. One of the things that made it such a refreshing & enjoyable experience is that it was so different. You simply don’t find German food in South Florida, don’t get me wrong you can find fantastic food all over the area, and most of it is really great Hispanic or Caribbean, which I enjoy with great relish; but despite the absolutely sublime production of our dinner at Old Heidelberg, it was also the refreshing change of pace and scenery that made it all the better. Visit this place it is definitely worth it, a dinner for 2 will cost at least 50 bucks before drinks & tip (and if you tip these people under 20 percent you are a horrible person because they are really good at what they do) but it’s an experience you will remember. It was the first time I have gone there I intend to return soon, dragging friends in tow.

Here is their info if you want to learn more:

Restaurant, 900 State Road 84 Ft. Lauderdale FL 33315 954-463-6747 bavarianforest@cs.com

Deli, 914 State Road 84 Ft. Lauderdale FL 33315 954-463-3880 www.oldheidelbergdeli.com

 

The restaurant hours are Tuesday to Friday 12 noon to around 10pm, Happy Hour 4-7pm

Saturday & Sunday they open at 4pm closed on Mondays.

TV Shows You Watch Alone

Posted in rants on April 23, 2009 by kingbiscuitpants

I’m not talking about anything naughty, but what shows do you tend to watch when no one else is around? It could be a guilty pleasure or just a show your signifigant other hates.

Right now for me it’s repeats of MTV’s “120 Minutes”, I DVR it and watch it either when I get home from work or if noone’s home. I watch it because I’m an old fart bass player who’s very nostalgic for the 90’s.

Alsoo “Ghost in the Shell-Stand Alone Complex”, I tried to get my anime obsessed kids into it but I guess it was too cerebral.

“Cowboy Bebop”, possibly the greatest show ever, certainly the best soundtrack (I actually own some Yoko Kanno albums-she did music for “Ghost in Shell” as well)

Also “Classic Albums” on VH1 Classic.

When I was growing up 3 shows I always was alone watching were,

the original Tom Baker “Dr. Who”
“Blake’s 7”
& last but certainly not least was “Red Dwarf”

The reason I was alone whenever I watched them is because they were on PBS at around 1 or 2 am and I would have to have the volume way low so I wouldn’t get in trouble.

So what do you guys watch when noone’s watching?

GI Joe Resolute- For Once Something in this World that is Good!

Posted in rants on April 23, 2009 by kingbiscuitpants

When in was a kid I loved GIJoe; not from the cartoon (though it had it’s moments, like “There’s No Place Like Springfield”), not fron the toys (though to this day I would stab a stranger in the eye to own the USS Flagg playset), but from the supremely badass Marvel comic that was out at the time. 

I’ve hence read that every story meeting was a pitched battle between the writers who wanted to do brutal & vaguely “realistic” war comics ( like the great Frontline Combat released by EC in the 50’s) and the toy company.  It was a groundbreaking book (especially the legendary “Silent Treatment” issue) eventually broken down by pressures from Hasbro.  Despite various godawful rehashes and now the live action movie that looks like the only redeeming quality of which is that they cast the great Ray Park (he played Darth Maul and kicked ass at it–yeah I know the prequels were pretty weak but that was a hell of a Jedi fight & the coolest piece of music by John Williams ever) that there was no hope for my much beloved franchise.  Then there was sadness…

Low & behold a few months ago a grainy youtube clip gave a glimpse of the badassery I knew GI Joe could have mustered and like a junky waiting for a fix I waited in rapt anticipation and was not disappointed.  Let me say this, those who know me know I am a horrendously brutal critic, to the point of being obnoxious, but I LOVE THIS!!!!  

THIS IS THE GI JOE CARTOON I HAVE WAITED 25 FUCKING YEARS FOR !!!!!!

It so far has lived up to all my drooling fanboy fantasies and I reccomend it with much gusto.  The characters use real weapons, main characters ACTUALLY DIE on both sides and best of all NO SERPENTOR.  Check it out if you haven’t I like it even more than fried pork products; yes it’s that good.

http://www.adultswim.com/video/?episodeID=8a25059520b3d89e0120b49221340025

Another Soup Day.

Posted in Food, rants on April 23, 2009 by kingbiscuitpants

It seems that every time that I call my friend Gregg I’m making soup, I’m almost dreading calling him because he’ll say, “So, what are you up to?” and I’ll say sheepishly, “Making soup…”  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, soup’s tasty & it’s Thursday so the fridge train is making it’s last stop at leftover junction.  Right now I have a pressure cooker of vegetable  stock bubbling and hissing on the stove, I decided today was a perfect day to make it since I was sick of the freezer bags of vegetable scraps falling out every time I opened the door to get ice.   So now here is my universal super secret soup recipie.

Ingredients:

Stock,

All the random crap in your refrigerator.

Season to taste.

What is getting dumped into the pot tonight (because I’m sure you simply couldn’t life without knowing) is some leftover oxtail stew, the last of the vegetable cous cous, a bunch of chicken wings, a few unfinished containers of mixed vegetables, and some chicken trimmings from work…  As well as any other crap I want to make sure gets used.  I mean this is tongue in cheek (and if I had either of those in the fridge they’d be going into the pot as well) but it’s my failsafe way to try to prevent food from being wasted & it also is enjoyed by everyone since I’m usually able to make extra and share it with family & friends.  And what is the point of this post you might ask?  Come on you know me better than that.  There isn’t one.

Simple Vegetable Cous Cous

Posted in Food on April 21, 2009 by kingbiscuitpants

This is a delicious & easy side dish that is versatile & goes with most things, you can use any bag of frozen mixed vegetables you like, it is also a great way to use up bits of leftovers that aren’t quite a serving, meats included; the rule of thumb being throw meats in with the liquid to cook the cous cous, and vegetables , well in with the vegetables.

Ingredients:

2 cups cous cous,

1 cup of any stock,

1 cup water,

3 tablespoons olive oil,

1 cup of white wine,

salt to taste,

1 onion diced,

2 cloves of garlic or equivalent,

To make this is simple, take 2 pots, to one add the stock water and 3 tablespoons of olive oil, to the other add some oil, the wine and the diced onion and garlic, when the water & stock boil add the couscous and cook in the liquid according to instructions, in the other pot sweat the onion & wine mixture and toss in the vegetables, when both are done season to taste & combine. Easy. & a crowd pleaser, you can also use the resulting mixture for stuffing if you are so inclined.