Archive for the ‘International’ Category

Foldable BBQ

Fold BBQ

I saw this on Mighty Goods and thought I’d share.

This is one of those “why didn’t I think of that” things that is a brilliant idea. A foldable BBQ. Why not? And such a simple design!

I’m assuming you just fill it with coal or something burnable, light it up and get to work.

It’s available in the UK so shipping might be a bit much, but it converts to only $40 US. Might be worth it if you don’t have room for a BBQ at your place or want something that’s ultra portable.

Order it here.

Taix French Restaurant

Taix

Taix French Restaurant

by Anthony Vargas from The Rockit News 

My last trip to France was a drunken blur. After drinking heavily on the Eurostar from London and de-training at Gare du Nord, all I remember is the urine soaked Paris Metro and a near death experience in a Mercedes taxi cab. I do, however, recall some great food and, luckily, one does not have to drive far to experience the same.

Amongst the hipster dives, old cop hangouts and paisa clubs of Echo Park lays the pride of France. Taix Restaurant has been serving hearty French fare since the days of de Gaulle and not much has changed since the Fourth Republic. The pronunciation of Taix can vary depending on who one asks. The restaurant itself refers to itself as “Tex” while my Francophile cronies beg me to say “Tays.” Darlene tells me the reason aix in aix-en -provence is pronounced “eks” is because of the vowel that follows the x so that Taix is pronounced “Tays” by itself and one pronounces the “X” only if it is followed by a vowel. Confused? Let’s eat!

Looking for a suitable restaurant to take a date before a show at Spaceland or the Echoplex? This is the place to go. Flying solo since you couldn’t even give away that extra Keane ticket? Go anyway. You might just meet a lonely French ex-pat who won’t know any better.

Parking can be tricky in Echo Park so just go ahead and valet the Citroën before heading into this rambling restaurant. Past the entrance, to one’s right is the 321 Lounge, which often hosts live bands and the occasional Tiki Extravaganza. Continue past the lounge and go to the podium, where you might wait a minute before a host arrives.

After being seated, just lean back and take a look around. The dining rooms are, in my opinion, reminiscent of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion and others seem to share this view. There have been numerous times where I sat within sight of several well-heeled gothic couples whose ghostly visages fit in perfectly with the décor.

One can order dinner either à la carte or, for a few dollars more, a complete Taix dinner, which adds soup, salad and sherbet to your entrée. It is quite a bit of food for one person to handle.

Start with the escargots de bourgogne (1/2 Dozen for $9.95). These are served with the proper utensils and are warm and buttery. Plus, it’s great way to make your dinner companions cringe. Who would have ever thought of escargots in Echo Park? If you opt for the Taix dinner, try the famous clam chowder. They give you enough for an invading army, so don’t fill-up just yet.

Our waiter, Bernard, was a most amicable and proper fellow. He is a fond reminder of a more civilized time where waiters were highly trained individuals who did their job expertly and were not seeking a Hollywood movie contract. If Bernard isn’t too busy, he’ll spend some time chatting. A great guy!

The côte de porc grillé or grilled pork chops were amazing. They were so large I thought they had served me a New York steak or Porterhouse by accident. The caramelized onions and wine sauce were just right and the miniature carrots went well with the almost too tender pork chops. The chicken dinner with its lemon butter sauce is the specialty. They also did a great job with pâtes aux fruits de mer, which were scallops, shrimp, clams and fish on a bed of linguini. The wine selection is very affordable and well worth buying by the bottle. The martinis are cold and the size of a pond.

In Los Angeles, food, like clothing and vocabulary goes in and out of style. With the closing of L’Orangerie in Los Angeles and the bulldozing of Marcel and Jean-Claude’s in Montebello, French food must be out of fashion for the time being. Readers of The Rockit are above all that, so I’ll see you at Taix Friday night before we hit Underground at the Echo across the street.

Taix French Restaurant
1911 Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 484-1265
www.taixfrench.com

The Paul Giamatti of the Culinary World

SPAM

A recent article on NPR had me wondering what Spam really is.

Spam is the Paul Giamatti or John C. Reilly of the culinary world, an everyman food that lacks the charisma or looks of a leading ingredient, but consistently makes all other ingredients taste better. (from NPR)

Spam luncheon meat is a canned precooked meat product made by the Hormel Foods Corporation. The labeled ingredients in the Classic variety of Spam are: chopped pork shoulder meat with ham meat added, salt, water, sugar, and sodium nitrite.

Varieties include: Spam Black Pepper, Spam Less Sodium, Spam Garlic, Spam and Cheese, Spam with Bacon (Hormel bacon), Spam Spread, Spam Fritters, Spam Lite (containing pork and chicken), Spam Golden Honey Grail (named after “Spamalot” and Monty Python’s Holy Grain, Spam Hot and Spicy (with Tabasco sauce), Spam Hickory Smoked, and Spam Oven Roasted Turkey – the latter is a halal food, meaning that it is permissible under Islamic law, and is especially popular in Muslim markets.

Introduced on July 5, 1937, the name “Spam” was chosen in the 1930s when the product, whose original name was far less memorable (Hormel Spiced Ham), began to lose market share. The name was chosen from multiple entries in a naming contest. A Hormel official once stated that the original meaning of the name Spam was “Shoulder of Pork and hAM“. According to writer Marguerite Patten in Spam – The Cookbook, the name was suggested by Kenneth Daigneau, an actor and the brother of a Hormel vice president. At one time, the official explanation may have been that the name was a syllabic abbreviation of “SPiced hAM”, but on their official website, Hormel denies this and states that “Spam is just that. Spam.” The fact that the originator was given a $100 prize for coming up with the name, however, still appears on the site’s Spam FAQs.

According to Hormel’s trademark guidelines, Spam should be spelled with all capital letters and treated as an adjective, as in the phrase “SPAM luncheon meat”. As with many other trademarks, such as Xerox or Kleenex, people often refer to similar meat products as “spam”. Regardless, in practice, “Spam” is generally spelled and used as a proper noun. (from Wikipedia)

But what can you make with SPAM that actually tastes edible, perhaps, even good? Here are a couple that sound good, both from NPR.

Photo from Flickr.

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SPAM MUSUBI

More Spam is consumed in Hawaii than any other state in the U.S. By far, Hawaiians’ favorite dish is Musubi, a ready-to-eat Spam snack that resembles a large piece of nigiri sushi. In Hawaii, you can buy Musubi in nearly any convenience store or grocery store for between $1 and $2. This is adapted from a recipe on the Hormel Foods Web site. (Makes 8 servings)

Ingredients

  • 1 12-ounce can Spam Classic
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 3 cups cooked white sushi rice (found in the Asian section of supermarket)
  • 1 package hoshi nori (Japanese dried seaweed, available at Asian markets)

Directions

  1. Slice Spam lengthwise into 8 equal pieces.
  2. In a shallow dish, combine garlic, ginger, brown sugar and soy sauce. Place Spam slices in the mixture and let sit for 30 minutes. Remove and pat dry.
  3. In a medium-sized skillet, fry the marinated Spam slices over medium heat, 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned.
  4. Moisten hands and mold rice into 8 thick blocks with the same outside dimensions as Spam slices. (You can get a perfect block shape by using a special plastic Musubi mold found online or in specialty stores in Hawaii.)
  5. Cut nori into 8-1/2 inch strips. Place Spam slices on rice blocks and wrap individual nori strips around each middle.
  6. Moisten one end of nori slightly to fasten together. The remaining marinade may be used as a dip.

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Or for the really gourmet SPAM enthusiast…

Lobster Thermidor Aux Crevettes with Mornay Sauce, Truffle Pate, Brandy, Fried Egg and Spam

Don’t expect to earn your third Michelin star with this dish. But any diners who are also die-hard Monty Python fans will be delighted. (Makes 4 servings)

Ingredients 

  • 4 lobster tails
  • 16 jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, scalded
  • 1/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 1 12-ounce can Spam Classic
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 can truffle pate (found in gourmet food stores)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or peanut oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to broil.
  2. Place lobster tails into large pot of boiling water. After 3 to 4 minutes, add shrimp. Cook another 3 to 4 minutes until lobster and shrimp are done.
  3. Remove from pot. Drain and rinse under cold water. Using kitchen shears or carefully with a knife, remove but save lobster shells. Cut lobster meat and shrimp coarsely into 1/2-inch pieces.
  4. Heat 4 tablespoons of butter in skillet over medium heat. Add onions and saute about 4 minutes, until translucent. Add flour and stir, cooking for another 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Whisk in brandy, then hot cream.
  6. Remove from heat and add Gruyere and half the Parmesan cheese, stirring frequently. Add lobster, shrimp, paprika, salt and pepper.
  7. Arrange lobster shells in a casserole dish. Pour lobster shrimp mixture over shells and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Broil on high until golden, 3 to 5 minutes.
  8. While waiting for the dish to broil, slice Spam into 8 pieces. Fry eggs over medium heat, then remove. Fry Spam slices until light brown.
  9. To serve, place each lobster shell on a plate. Top with one or two slices of Spam and then a fried egg. Serve truffle pate on the side.

THE REAL TACO TOWN!

Double Roll

Slashfood had a little article on a Japanese Pizza Hut creation called the Double Roll. The Double Roll takes the stuffed crust concept to a new level by adding hot dogs and pepperoni to the crust like tiny corn dogs or maybe pigs in blankets, then throws on peas, corn and miniature hamburger patties as toppings. It reminds them on that SNL skit “Taco Town.”

If you haven’t seen the Taco Town skit, go here, and download one of the versions. But if you’re curious as to what it is…

A crunchy all beef taco smothered in nacho cheese, lettuce, tomato, and special Southwestern sauce; wrapped in a soft flour tortilla with a layer of re-fried beans in between; wrapped in a savory corn tortilla with a middle layer of Monterrey jack cheese; wrapped in a deep fried gordita shell smeared with a layer of special ‘guacomolito’ sauce; wrapped in a corn husk filled with pico de gallo; wrapped in an authentic Parisian crepe filled with egg, gruyere, sausage and portobello mushrooms; wrapped in a Chicago-style, deep-dish, meat lover’s pizza; rolled up in a blueberry pancake; dipped in batter and deep fried until it’s golden brown; and served in a commemorative tote bag filled with spicy vegetarian chili. (from Food Facts)

If you think the fictional version is pretty disgusting, then check this out.  Some guys decided to feed their friends by creating the real thing. You can see their blog about it here.

Royale with Cheese?

Tamago

That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Sure, you probably know in France that McDonald’s serves the Royale with cheese (thanks to the famous scene in Pulp Fiction) but did you know that McDonald’s all around the world offer a number of different items catering to their cultures?

Ok, you might’ve known. But you might not know exactly what they serve.

Here’s some of your McDonald’s options in countries all over the world.

digg story

AUSTRALIA

  • Pasta Zoo Happy Meal: Available in Australia and New Zealand, the meal includes 10 pasta pieces (filled with cheese and vegetables) with Zoo Goo (Italian pasta sauce), pair of small plastic tongs, a toy, and a milk drink with a ‘Sipaah’ flavored straw (chocolate or strawberry). It is aimed to be a healthier alternative to the current Cheeseburger or McNuggets Happy Meal. This was added to the menu on January 17, 2007.
  • Deli Choices’: Released in Australia in October 2004. Choices include
    • Breakfast’:Bacon and Egg, and for a limited time Deluxe Breaky Roll which includes bacon, sausage, egg and Swiss cheese with spicy tomato sauce
    • Lunch: Chicken Tandoori, barbeque Roast Beef, Turkey and Cranberry, Chicken Caesar and Thai Chicken.

BRAZIL

  • “McCalabresa” sandwich has been recently launched. It is made up of a sausage patty and seasoned with vinaigrette sauce. Inspired in a popular street foodsanduíche de calabresa). The “Cheddar McMelt” (a version of the patty melt ( sandwich) is also available on the Brazilian McDonald’s menu. This popular item consists of a whole wheat bun, a hamburger patty, diced onions, and warm, melted cheddar cheese.

CANADA

  • The McDonald’s menu at Canadian restaurants is similar to that of American restaurants. It contains the traditional food items, deli sandwiches, salads, breakfast items, desserts and a “Value Picks” menu.
  • McDonald’s restaurants across Canada have a “Value Picks” menu of sandwiches, desserts and more for $1.39 CAD each. Started in Mid 2006, the Value Picks menu has replaced the McDeal campaign, where a sandwich of the day was available for $1.79.
  • In some locations in the Maritime Provinces of Canada McDonald’s offers a lobster roll called a McLobster (McHomard in French). In the province Quebec, McDonald’s also offers poutine which is fries with gravy and cheese. In Toronto, McDonalds has sold pizza called the McPizza in the early 1990s.
  • Most Canadian locations also feature Toasted Deli Sandwiches: Sandwiches featuring deli meats and vegetables on french or whole wheat rolls.

CHILE

  • In Chile, customers can add avocado paste to any sandwich, less the McPalta (Chilean Spanish for: McAvocado) whose basis is the avocado paste along with lomito or pork. Cheese empanadas are also sold at all McDonald’s locations in Chile under the same category as fries.

GREECE

  • A favorite local sandwich in Greece is the Greek Mac, consisting of two burger patties wrapped in a pita with yogurt sauce, tomato slices, iceberg lettuce and onions. The sandwich is also offered in Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Spain, Cyprus, and Portugal.

HONG KONG

  • McDonald’s sells chicken and pork burgers, fried chicken wings and nuggets. In some restaurants, a separate counter sells ice cream and desserts to pedestrians. Some restaurants have a section for the McCafé. Apart from the general menu, it also promotes some other foods seasonally or longer, like spicy french fries, the Shogun Burger (a pork bun served with Japanese Teriyaki sauce and cabbage), Grilled Chicken Burger, twisted macaroni breakfasts, salads, soups, pineapple or red bean sundae, pineapple pies, taco flatbreads with pork, beef or chicken, rice fan-tastic (a burger-like entree with rice patties in place of buns) and many others.

INDIA

  • Beef and pork products are not served to cater to Indian religious sensitivities. Chicken (that too, only non-Halal) along with fish are the only meat products used.
  • The Big Mac is replaced by the Maharaja Mac, which was originally a mutton burger, but is now a chicken burger.
  • In India, vegetarian and meat dishes are prepared in separate areas of the restaurant in respect for vegetarians, and cooks preparing vegetarian dishes wear distinctive green aprons.

ISRAEL

  • McShawarma (shawarma served in flatbread) and McKebab (kebab served on flatbread). This was made famous in an advertisement based on the McRoyale scene in Pulp Fiction.

JAPAN

  • Teriyaki McBurger: Ground pork sandwich with mayonnaise, lettuce, and teriyaki sauce.
  • Ebi-Chiki Set: 2 shrimp nuggets and 3 chicken nuggets.
  • Ebi Filet-O: Shrimp burger similar to a Filet-O-Fish.
  • French Fries can be purchased in barbecue, seaweed, and Italian basil flavors.
  • Ume Nuggets: Chicken McNuggets with sour ume sauce for dipping.
  • Chicken Katsu Burger: Breaded chicken sandwich flavored with soy sauce and ginger.
  • Salsa Burger: Breaded chicken sandwich with salsa,
  • Koroke Burger: Sandwich with breaded mashed potatoes, shredded cabbage, and katsu sauce. Served with or without cheese.
  • Tamago Double Mac: Hamburger with 2 beef patties, pepper sauce, bacon, and a poached egg. Served with or without cheese.
  • Green Tea-flavored milkshakes
  • Macaroni and Cheese Burger

KOREA

  • Has the Bulgogi Burger (pork patty in bulgogi marinade, as of 5/07), McBingsoo(Korean Shaved Ice), as well as the Shrimp burger similar to Ebi-Filet-O in Japan. Also interesting is that there is a deposit levy charged on cups (100 Won) which is refunded on return of cup to any McDonald’s location for recycling or reuse.

MOROCCO

  • The McArabia is sold in the Middle East. In 2005, the McSahara was briefly sold. Moroccan McDonald’s also sell “deluxe potatoes” which can be substituted for French fries and are thick-cut spicy potatoes. In late 2006, the Chicken Mystic, L’Ptit plaisirs (small pleasures), and 280 gram Recette Moutarde (Mustard burger) were all released.

NEW ZEALAND

  • New Zealand’s Kiwiburger was a local burger based on what are commonly called ‘Jumbo burgers’ from local fish and chip outlets. It featured a beef patty, tomato, beetroot and a fried egg. The Kiwiburger remained on the menu until 2004 when it was replaced with “The Boss’ – which features 2 quarter pounder beef patties, but is without beetroot and egg. Due to popular demand, the Kiwiburger was returned to the McDonalds menu in May, 2007.

PAKISTAN

  • There is a Spicy McChicken burger that has chutney in it. There is also a McChutney Burger, a meatball sandwich called the McKofta, and strawberry custard pie. A pineapple-flavored sundae, pineapple pie, and a mango-flavored milkshake are seasonal menu items. Also, McArabia was recently introduced, with a chicken patty rolled up in Pita bread.

SWITZERLAND

  • McDonald’s serves mini calzone, a kind of stuffed pizza.

PHILLIPINES

  • McDonald’s sells spaghetti (to compete with local fast food franchise Jollibee), which is called, unsurprisingly, McSpaghetti. In 1993, a popular combo featured spaghetti with fried chicken wings. Also unique to the Filipino menu is the Burger McDo, a ground pork burger served with a Thousand Island dressing like sauce to cater to local tastes. Also sells “Rice burgers” chicken fillet or beef burger served in rice toasted to shaped like buns.

POLAND

  • In Poland, there was a sandwich offered for a brief while called the “McKielbasa.” It was not very popular and soon withdrawn from the menu.

SPAIN

  • Chilled gazpacho is served in sealed plastic cups.

After viewing a lot of the international sites, I’ve come to the conclusion that Poland has the coolest site and the Volcán de Chocolate from the Argentina menu is the dish I want to try the most. Although the Tamago Burger does look tempting.

Info collected from mcdonalds.com, this article, and the McDonald’s Wikipedia entry. The photo I found is from the McDonald’s Japan website, but this site had a few other McMenu items.

Single Guy Chef

Oysters with Matsuhisa salsas

Great post by a10 over at Good For Party. If you’ve never been to Good For Party, check it out. Really cool site. I’ve even decided to start sharing some of my blog posts with them.

But GFP has a great blog (and site!) going on over there, and a10′s recent post on the Single Guy Chef is a great one! Why haven’t I known about this site?!

According to the Single Guy Chef…

So…it comes down to this. I am a guy that loves, as I like to say, “throw down” in the kitchen. Preparing and sharing great food and wine with my friends and loved ones. Hopefully, you will find some recipes, menus and other things to try.

Now, I will acknowledge and give credit to the recipe’s creator. I don’t pretend that they’re mine but throughout my years of cooking and entertaining, I’ve learned some tricks that will hopefully work for you too!

The site has some great recipes on it, and the Single Guy Chef really takes the time to break down the cooking process, and posts step by step photos along with his posts.

And according to a10…

With a nouveau Asian flair, singleguychef.com posts his masterpieces as well as favorite recipes from around the web with his own embellishments added to the mix.

Asparagus with salmon roe and grilled oysters with pico de gallo are dishes easy to make and excel in presentation and taste. Folks will be talking about the party’s food for years and a dinner date where you serve up oysters and mussels has serious big pimpin connotations.

Hot Rice – Just Add Cold Water

Hot Rice

I saw this on Boing Boing and thought I’d post it cause it’s pretty damn cool. Apparently Japanese scientists can do just about anything, including turning your cold tap water into piping hot water able to cook rice.

An environmental consulting firm and other developers here have come up with a non-perishable food pack that creates steaming hot rice with the simple addition of cold water.

The group has recently introduced the product, named “Hotto! Raisu,” to the market.

By subjecting rice to 4,000 times normal atmospheric pressure, the developers were able to preserve rice for long periods in a soft form that holds moisture. When water is poured over an exothermic agent in the pack, steam warms the rice contained within, and after about 15 minutes, the dish is piping hot.

Officials say the product could be useful in areas that have been hit by natural disasters, when electricity is often unavailable. The product is not cheap, costing 10,000 yen for 30 packs with pickled ume plums, but its producers say they are ready to work on new ideas.

“If our sales increase, we want to work at developing new side dishes,” one official said.

Article and picture can be found here.

And according to yumsugar, right now the product is decently priced, (10,000 yen for 30 packs, or approximately $85 for 30), but I don’t know if that’s cheap enough to be ideal for natural disaster zones. Either way it’s still absolutely awesome.

I agree.

Gold Restaurant by D&G

Gold

When I first read about Dolce & Gabbana’s Gold Restaurant in Milan, I immediately thought of this.

But apparently it’s no joke. It’s D&G’s first attempt at a restaurant.

The ultimate symbol of money and luxury: gold. As a general rule I prefer silver myself, but there’s no denying the impressions of wealth and glamour that gold brings to the picture — whether it’s jewelry, clothing, or restaurant decor?

Yep, Dolce & Gabbana opened a new restaurant in Milan with smooth and shimmering golden accents everywhere. Gold Restaurant serves international Italian food, and has several levels including a downstairs bistro that opens at lunchtime and a more formal upstairs that serves dinner only. According to the website, the golden theme isn’t necessarily intended to represent money and luxury (yeah right), but more importantly gold is “an upbeat, sunny color” that signifies a “taste for beauty and for sensual pleasure.” It is bright and beautiful, I’ll give them that. Now, how’s the food? (Luxist)

The website is much more flashy than the photo above.

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