What I have to show for myself from Brussels — part 1

So, to be com­pletely hon­est, for some rea­son for another, I don’t have a whole lot of pic­tures from my stay in Brus­sels. I can tell you, how­ever, that I did eat really well. So this will be a nice lit­tle test to see how much of it I can actu­ally recall, no thanks to the copi­ous amounts of alco­hol, but also since I don’t have much pho­to­graphic evi­dence to jog my memory.

Like the lit­tle West African cafe, L’horloge du Sud where I’m pretty sure I ate Sene­galese cui­sine for the first time. There was the poulet in a bright cit­rus sauce, not unlike a Cuban mojo, except with a round tart­ness and not so sweet. I’d go back for the piri piri-like chili oil that I couldn’t stop eat­ing, despite cough­ing from its airy, yet intense heat that shot to the back of the throat. It brought tears to my eyes.

Then there was the red wine-braised veal short ribs I made as a thank you for my gra­cious host. Went on a lit­tle adven­ture to a fan­tas­tic butcher called Jack O’Shea to track down these beau­ti­ful short ribs. It was rain­ing. I got lost. Cabs were taken. [Read more…]

Ceviche. Not pickles. Ceviche.

A few weeks ago I had com­plained via face­book about a press release I had received from a restau­rant tout­ing “cau­li­flower ceviche” in honor of World Vegan Month (this month, FYI). I noted that veg­eta­bles mar­i­nated in an acid such as lime juices does not ceviche make. It makes pickles.

Any­way, to be fair I am not a huge ceviche (real or oth­er­wise) fan. Not that it isn’t tasty, but when I wake up in the morn­ing think­ing about din­ner (because I do that), not once have I ever thought “man, I really want to eat some ceviche for dinner!”

But I have been think­ing about this ceviche lately. [Read more…]

The Last Meal in Holland: Pancakes! Amsterdam

My last day in Ams­ter­dam I fig­ured that since I don’t smoke pot, didn’t ride a bike and am not 6 feet tall, I should do some­thing that is Dutch. So I decided to try pan­nenkoeken at Pan­cakes! Ams­ter­dam.

A 10-minute walk from Lei­d­se­plein, this cute, white-washed break­fast spot serves, you guessed it…

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Damn, Amsterdam! Bigger Bites: BAUT

Now, when I asked my friends who live in Ams­ter­dam and speak Dutch what “baut” actu­ally meant, they couldn’t exactly tell me. They assumed it came from the name of the street it was on Wibaut­straat, but the word “baut” itself was slang.

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Damn, Amsterdam! Bigger Bites: Saigon Cafe

Despite its noto­ri­ety for being a town filled with ston­ers, the culi­nary delights in Ams­ter­dam are not rel­e­gated to Bit­ter­Ballen, which I did suf­fer through the last time I was there. Here’s the famed Dutch Kroket­ten in log form, straight from the infa­mous FEBO machines that mag­i­cally replen­ish them­selves. It’s like eat­ing deep fried sausage gravy, and not in the pleas­ant way.

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Damn, Amsterdam! Random bites…

It has taken me some time to digest my recent leg of Techno Tour 2012, and as such, I’ve finally fig­ured out how to pro­ceed with both the food and the techno that I’ve con­sumed the past three weeks or so.

My first stop of my tri­umphant return to Europe was none other than the Nether­lands for Ams­ter­dam Dance Event.

But as it is in this lifestyle, food usu­ally comes before (and rarely after) the techno, so here’s a few bites that I man­aged to choke down.

As soon as I set­tled into my great apart­ment over­look­ing the IJ bay (Thanks AirBNB! ), I hit up the gro­cery store for pro­vi­sions. One of my favorite things about gro­cery stores in Europe? The sheer mad­ness of their cheese sections.


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Judging the Back of the House Brawl — I’m Judging You Right Now

So one of my favorite things in Vegas is the Sat­ur­day Night Truck Stop at Tommy Rock­ers. Every Sat­ur­day, a bunch of Vegas’ finest gourmet food trucks gather out­side of Tommy Rocker’s, a bar just on the other side of the free­way from the 15.

Every other Sat­ur­day (or so), how­ever, is when it gets really good. This is when they have the Back of the House Brawl, a friendly lit­tle com­pe­ti­tion involv­ing Strip chefs get­ting out of their state of the art, casino kitchens and cook­ing in the back of a cramped food truck. (To be fair, some of these trucks are like con­dos inside, but nowhere near what a real restau­rant kitchen is like). Epic bat­tles have taken place. Mighty chefs have fallen.

First the chefs are given the theme ahead of time to pre­pare a dish to be sold from the truck, and then after an hour of sell­ing, they are given a bas­ket of secret ingre­di­ents to cre­ate a brand new dish to pre­sented to the judges. This is where I come in. [Read more…]

Today’s Soundtrack. Lots of techno, very little food.

Today I plowed through my final story due for the Octo­ber food issue of Vegas/Rated. As it’s the food issue, I had quite a few sto­ries to file. This last one I worked on I put off because I knew it would be the hard­est for me to write — and so I set a reward for myself for when I fin­ished it. When I fin­ished my final fea­ture story, I would be able to pur­chase my ticket to Europe for a trip I’m tak­ing in the name of techno five weeks from now.

I relied on a Cocoon set from Ger­man DJ Sven Väth to help me out in this endeavor. Vath also hap­pens to be head­lin­ing the Fly BerMuDa Fes­ti­val, the rea­son why I’m going to Berlin.

Con­se­quently there was lots of techno to go with today’s work, but very lit­tle food. All I ate today, in addi­tion to my typ­i­cal morn­ing pro­tein shake and iced mocha, was one of these bad boys that I keep stashed in my desk.

World' s Finest Chocolate [Read more…]

Rainy Day Dining

This morn­ing I was awoken by a loud clap of thun­der, imme­di­ately fol­lowed by the sound of rain drops pelt­ing my win­dow. It stormed today. Rain is an unusual occur­rence any­way in the desert — but a whole day of down­pours is unheard of. Yet today Las Vegas was met with flash flood­ing, and dumb peo­ple get­ting stuck in the water because they can’t wait. Wel­come to Vegas.

Between this dreary day, dead­line and not feel­ing so hot, today was def­i­nitely a soup day. My go to soup in town is usu­ally a bowl of pho, but today I had a taste for some Hong Kong fare. After work I dragged myself to Asian BBQ & Noo­dle, a cash only shop that does… Asian bbq and noodles.

Walk­ing into Asian BBQ & Noo­dle on any given day is like you just walked into any bbq and noo­dle spot. Though the ducks are not hang­ing in the front win­dow (the restau­rant win­dow faces West where the harsh Vegas sun bar­rels in dur­ing the after­noons), they’re hang­ing behind the glass at the counter located inside the restau­rant. The menu over the counter is in both Eng­lish (well, Engr­ish) and Chinese.

Dif­fer­ent than what you’d get in say, a Can­tonese Chi­nese Amer­i­can restau­rant, which will often have weak won­tons with big floppy wrap­pers and a few veg­eta­bles, Hong Kong style won­ton noo­dle soup has won­tons which are look like superball-sized brains made of ground shrimp and pork in a nearly translu­cent wrap­per. The noo­dles are thin, yel­low egg noo­dles that are nice and chewy. The broth is hot, shrimp-ish/chicken-ish and fra­grant and soul soothing.

As I ordered my food to go, they pack­aged the won­tons and noo­dles sep­a­rately from the soup. [Read more…]

What to Eat in London (even if you’re not an Olympic athlete)

So now that Michael Phelps is now the half man-half fish with the most num­ber of gold medals in the world, can we go back to mar­veling over the calo­ries he con­sumes while train­ing (pre­sum­ably with­out the munchies)? Turns out, his 12,000 calo­ries he was pur­port­edly eat­ing a day is just a myth! (sadly, not a myth? That Phelps lis­tens to Skill-rex and Afro­jax to get pumped up for meets. No account­ing for a jock’s taste, I guess).

At any rate, if the 12,000 calo­rie day was true, I’d imag­ine in Lon­don it’s not hard to fill those caloric needs. Espe­cially at breakfast.

Dean Street Town­house is a quiet inn that serves the clas­sic full Eng­lish break­fast. It’s a break­fast I’d made a thou­sand times before in NOT Eng­land: a cou­ple of fried or poached eggs, bacon (aka “streaky bacon”), sausages, grilled toma­toes and mush­rooms, beans and toast. It’s my tra­di­tional St. Patrick’s Day pre-drinking meal, as well as a stan­dard rem­edy for the hang­over post-drinking hol­i­day. The din­ing room of Dean Street Town­house is dimly lit,with a dark wooded bar anchor­ing the space. It’s totally com­fort­able to sit and eat alone at the cozy tables, cov­ered with white linen, bot­tles of HP sauce at the ready.

Here’s my very first, legitimately-in-England full Eng­lish breakfast.

Oh! Some­thing that was rel­a­tively new to me was real black pud­ding. I’d encoun­tered it in Irish pubs where the full Eng­lish was a spe­cialty, but I never quite trusted it, and I never both­ered with hunt­ing it down for my own attempts at home. Some things are just bet­ter left eaten in their home­land. Dean Street Townhouse’s black pud­ding was well sea­soned with a creamy/gritty tex­ture, like you’d scooped a bit of ground flaxseed into savory rice pud­ding and made force­meat. And col­ored it black. I kind of enjoyed the coarse texture.The tra­di­tional sausage, or bangers, had a tex­ture unlike any Amer­i­can sausage I’d encoun­tered. It had a finer grind that gave the link an airy and light con­sis­tency. The fla­vor was sub­tle, with lots of black pep­per, but lack­ing the strong cured salti­ness I’m accus­tomed to. [Read more…]