May 26, 2014

Sobban

I found myself at Sobban a couple of times in the past few weeks. Each time I visit Sobban, I kick myself a bit for not making it part of my normal rotation.

Chicken skin yakidori. This is great stuff: crispy, juicy chicken skin with a crunchy and cool slaw for some contrast. Nice first course, though, our chicken skins could have been a touch crisper.

Sobban's shrimp and grits. The cool thing about Sobban is that they crank out some refined dishes despite the casual setting and the diner label. Everything in this dish was well executed; perfectly cooked shrimp, smoky-crispy lardons, creamy grits, and a nice touch with the addition of the lemon zest to brighten it all up. Right on.
Spicy chicken sandwich. A nice idea, but on this day, just a bit off. A bit "one note" for me. And sloppy, which made it difficult to eat. I'm developing a pet peeve about sandwiches that are hard to get into one's mouth. This was a miss, but just slightly, and the kimchi deviled eggs, and smoked pork belly helped me forget about it. Note to self: go to Sobban more often.

May 18, 2014

General Muir Again


So I finally tried the Friday-night-only fried chicken at The General Muir. It was solid. Not the best ever, but solid. My kid loved it, so there. The twice-cooked, corn starch-coating method is well-documented here.
A side of chicken fried rice-like farro.Given my recent affinity for farro, this hit the right notes for me.

A starter of broccoli and kohlrabi over lemony tahini and goat cheese. This didn't quite do it for me. It was very raw, which is cool, but the flavors didn't quite work so well, and it wasn't much to look at.

 
The fried chicken was especially tasty with the Savart Rose Champagne I brought with me. A great Champagne that is unfortunately not easy to find.

And a leftover shot from lunch at General Muir earlier in the week. That ridiculously good chicken salad sandwich is craveable stuff. I really like The General Muir and it is finding its way more often now into my regular rotation.

May 12, 2014

Pizza!

I think if pressed, I'd probably pick pizza as one of my favorite foods. I love a good pizza. Who doesn't? Maybe some of the carb-phobic folks out there refrain from the glory of a good pizza, but life is short, eat a damn pizza now and again! I've stopped going out for pizza since discovering Kenji's skillet-broiler method on Serious Eats. Along with some 00 Caputo flour, and Kenjis recipe for Neapoltian style dough, the skillet-broiler method leaves you with a damn fine homemade pizza without having to abuse your home oven (truth be told, the clean cycle pie is hard to top when it comes to homemade pizza).
This one with hot thai chili, salami, roasted red peppers, and spinach. Good, but I used too many chilis, and they were hot, and I ruined my palate for about an hour.
Vidalia onion jam, pepperoni, and mushrooms. This one got a bit messy, but still tasty.
 The "upskirt" shot. A decent amount of char for a home cook hack like myself.
The Vidalia onion jam on the pizza above is from Hugh Acheson's recipe in his new Pick-a-Pickle book. This salty and sweet jam is flat out delicious. On anything. So tasty, you'll consider just eating it by the spoonful.

May 5, 2014

Makan Pop-Up and Ration & Dram Again

I stopped by for the Makan pop-up at Parker's on Ponce this past Friday. Makan will be opening around July 4th in the Marriot on Clairmont Road right off the square. Makan's menu will feature what they are calling "Asian comfort food," a mix of Korean, Taiwanese, and Chinese soups, barbecue and bites with a commitment to local, quality ingredients. There were limited offerings at the pop-up but what I tried was solid and very promising including a pork belly bun accented with candied pecan crumbs, which was a interesting touch. The oxtail soup picture above with mustard greens and tea eggs featured a deep, rich broth that had that perfect amount of salt that hit that sport just a notch below too much. The tea eggs were tasty, too. Look for another lunch-pop up May 15-16 and dinner pop-ups in June. I look forward to trying more from Makan.
I made a return visit to Ration & Dram last week. Last time I visited they were still waiting on a liquor license. This time, thankfully, the alcohol was flowing as the cocktails were the highlight. A standout was Troy's Bucket picture above. A bright and spicy mix of Ypioca Cachaca gin, Gallinao, orange, pineapple, and jalapeno that is perfect for the season. The Shallow Grave was also quite good.
I'm not really sure what's up with the food at Ration & Dram. On both visits, I've had some very mediocre food. Some of the dishes just aren't well-thought out, and there seems to be a lack of execution. But what the hell do I know? I've never run a restaurant. The calamari above was chewy, with too much cornmeal coating that leaves an appetizing taste/texture in the mouth. A redeeming factor was the tasty charred rep pepper gravy.
This carbonara with kale and sausage just didn't work. And the kitchen forgot about us and efter waiting about 30 minutes for this course, the nice manager didn't make us pay for it. Did you ever cook pasta, drain it, and then forget about it, leaving it to congeal into a limp and tasteless mass of gluten?  No? Me neither, but I think that's what happened here. Not to mention the ground sausage overcooked to the point of being little balls of indiscriminate crunch. It was not a pleasing plate of food. So far I'm batting zero on food at R&D. Ha! R&D, exactly what their kitchen needs. Arf. I'm here all week, folks. Be sure to try the veal.