Archive for March 20th, 2007|Daily archive page

Grilled Vegetable Antipasti

Grilled Veggies

A pizza joint near my office has this lunch special yesterday that isn’t something I typically order. I’m not really a vegetable kinda guy, but the special mentioned prociutto, salami and gorgonzola cheese, so I was in. It actually was good. Really good. I finished the entire plate and I ate veggies that I can’t remember ever eating before.

I’m not exactly sure how they made this but here’s Food Network’s recipe (the photo is from there, too, although it doesn’t resemble the recipe) for balsamic grilled veggies with my added ingredients, that probably comes close.


  • 1 medium yellow squash, sliced on bias
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced on bias
  • 5 asparagus
  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced into 1/2-inch thick circles
  • 1 red onion, sliced in 1/2-inch thick circles
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 5 thin carrots (length wise, orange and yellow)
  • a lump of prosciutto and salami
  • a wedge of gorgonzola cheese
  • grilled fresh bread
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar


  1. Prepare all vegetables.
  2. Place vegetables in a bowl and season vegetables generously with salt and pepper, and toss with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  3. Place vegetables, cut side down, on the hot grill and cook for a couple minutes on each side, or until tender and nicely marked by the grill. Place sliced bread on outer edges, just enough to char the surface.
  4. Remove from grill and toss with an additional 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Place veggies on platter and arrange with meat, cheese and bread.

What Anna Nicole Smith ate…

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you who Anna Nicole Smith’s babys’ daddy is, but I can tell you how to make some real Bahamian Conch Salad and Fritters.

In case you’ve never heard of conch, it’s the staple of the Bahamian diet. Conch (pronounced “konk”) is a large type of ocean mollusk that has firm, white, peach-fringed meat. Fresh, uncooked conch is delicious; the conch meat is scored with a knife, and lime juice and spices are sprinkled over the meat. It can also be deep-fried (called “cracked conch”), steamed, added to soups, salads and stews or made into conch chowder and conch fritters. It is known for its alleged aphrodisiac properties. The Bahamian “rock lobster” is a spiny variety without claws that is served broiled, minced or used in salads. Other delicacies include boiled or baked land crabs, which can be seen, before they are cooked, running across the roads after dark. (from Bahamas Gateway)

It’s said that you can substitute conch with lobster if it’s not available in your area.



  • 1 (2 lb.) conch, best are frozen in salt water
  • 15-20 limes
  • 1 lg. tomato, chopped
  • 1 lg. green pepper, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 lg. onion, chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • Tabasco to taste


  1. Squeeze limes and defrost conch in the lime juice.
  2. Meanwhile get the vegetables together in a large bowl. Add to lime juice.
  3. While conch is still slightly frozen, chop into 1/2 inch (approximately) cubes. Add back to lime mixture.
  4. Chill for 2 hours before serving. Stir and taste. Add hot peppers (red) as desired. 1-2 hot peppers is usually enough.



  • 2 med. conch, clean & remove skin ½ small sweet pepper
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 T. tomato paste
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1-1/4 cups flour
  • 1 t. hot sauce
  • 1 t. salt


  1. Put conch, sweet pepper, onion & celery through a meat grinder.
  2. Add remaining ingredients to make a batter.
  3. Drop batter by tablespoon into hot oil and fry for approx. 10 min. or until golden.
  4. Serve with cocktail sauce: ½ c. ketchup, ½ t. horseradish, 1 t. hot sauce, mix & serve.

The Best Burgers

Father’s Office

About 4 or 5 months ago, I read an article on the best burgers in the country. I can’t remember where I saw it (it might have been in Esquire or something…) but apparently it wasn’t in GQ because they just put out their list.

In the first list I saw, I remember Father’s Office in Santa Monica being one of the top rated, but on GQ’s list there wasn’t any mention. I actually have yet to try the famed Father’s Office burger, but being that it’s not all that far where I live, I’ll make it a point to do that soon.

Well after a googling Father’s Office, turns out it was in Esquire who made mention of it, but apparently that wasn’t the only one.

“Father’s Office is the home of the renowned “Office Burger.” The burger has earned accolades, such as “The True Burger King” from Esquire Magazine, “the burger as art,” from Los Angeles Magazine, “the Glam Burger” from the Los Angeles Times, and recently Entertainment Weekly’s “Most Powerful Burger.”

And here’s what goes into it.

Esquire Magazine crowned the Office Burger as the best burger in America in 2001. Father’s Office burger is one of the best and most unique hamburgers in America. The only catch is that you had better like the burger the way the chef prepares it or you are out of luck. The Office Burger is a patty of freshly ground dry aged rib eye. The burger is served on a baguette with arugula, a carmelized onion/bacon compote and Gruyere and Maytag Blue Cheese. I love all of the ingredients I find this to be one of the most enjoyable burgers in America. The only problem with “The Office” (as regulars like to call the place) is the attitude of the staff. The focus seems to be on the attractiveness of the staff rather than on friendly customer service.

Here’s GQ’s list as well as the LA Times do-it-yourself Father’s Office recipe. And here’s The Food Section’s LA Burger List (photo from The Food Section as well).

GQ Best Burger List

20. Hamburger Sandwich, Louis’ Lunch, New Haven, CT

19. Our Famous Burger, Sidetrack Bar and Grill, Ypsilanti, MI

18. Hamburger, Poag Mahone’s Carvery and Ale House, Chicago

17. Double Bacon Deluxe with Cheese, Red Mill Burgers, Seattle

16. Hamburger & Fries, Burger Joint, San Francisco

15. Build Your Own Burger, The Counter, Santa Monica

14. Hamburger, J. G. Melon, New York City

13. Cheeseburger, White Manna, Hackensack, NJ

12. Hamburger, Bobcat Bite, Sante Fe

11. Grilled Bistro Burger, Bistro Don Giovanni, Napa, CA

10. Number Five, Keller’s Drive-in , Dallas

9. Cheeseburger, Burger Joint, le Parker Meridien Hotel, New York City

8. Hamburger, Miller’s Bar, Dearborn, MI

7. Buckhorn Burger, Buckhorn, San Antonio, NM

6. California Burger, Houston’s, Santa Monica

5. Kobe Sliders, Barclay Prime, Philadelphia

4. Rouge Burger, Rouge, Philadelphia

3. Not Just a Burger, Spiced Pear Restaurant at the Chanler Hotel, Newport, RI

2. Luger Burger, Peter Luger Steak House, Brooklyn

1. Sirloin Burger, Le Tub, Hollywood, FL


Caramelized onions

  • 4 slices applewood-smoked bacon
  • 2 onions, sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2-3 drops liquid smoke
  • 1/4teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


  1. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the bacon until crisp, 5 to 6 minutes, then remove to paper towels to drain. Crumble 1 slice and set aside; reserve the rest of the bacon for another use. Measure 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat into a medium heavy skillet.
  2. Add the onions to the skillet and sprinkle with the sugar. Cook until the onions are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Halfway through, stir in the crumbled bacon. At the end of the 20 minutes, stir in the balsamic vinegar, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, salt and pepper. Cook for 2 more minutes. Set aside.


  • 1 1/2pounds strip steak (preferably dry-aged), ground
  • 1/2 pound rib-eye steak (preferably dry-aged), ground
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 ounce blue cheese
  • 4 ounces Gruyere cheese
  • 4 French demi-baguettes, halved and toasted
  • 1 cup baby arugula


  1. Combine the strip and rib-eye steaks and mix in the salt. Shape the meat into 4 (7-inch) oval patties, about three-fourths-inch thick.
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet, preferably cast-iron, over medium-high heat. Fry the burgers, 2 at a time, for 3 minutes, then flip. Top each burger with one-fourth of the blue and Gruyere cheeses.
  3. Cook the burgers 3 more minutes for medium.
  4. Remove and keep warm; melt the remaining butter in the skillet and repeat with the remaining 2 patties and cheeses.
  5. To assemble, place the burgers on the baguettes and top with the onions and arugula, dividing evenly.

Culinary World’s Best

Every year (for the last 17 years) the Jame Beard Foundation awards the best restaurants for a variety of reasons. This years awards were announced on Monday in USA Today.

The traditionally strong dining scenes of New York, Chicago and the West Coast were joined by markets as diverse as Durham, N.C.; Scottsdale, Ariz.; New Orleans; and Walland, Tenn.

The awards in 62 categories honor the nation’s top chefs, restaurateurs, cookbook authors, waitstaffs, journalists and beverage makers. Winners will be announced May 7 at a gala in New York that will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the foundation, which is named after a pioneer of American cooking.

The nominees in top categories:

Outstanding restaurant

(open at least 10 years): Boulevard, San Francisco; Frontera Grill, Chicago; Magnolia Grill, Durham, N.C.; Picholene, New York; Spiaggia, Chicago.

Best new restaurant

(opened in 2006): A Voce, New York; Cochon, New Orleans; Cut, Beverly Hills; Restaurant Guy Savoy, Las Vegas; L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, New York; Momofuku Ssäm Bar, New York.


Thomas Keller, The French Laundry, Yountville, Calif.; Keith McNally, Balthazar, New York; Richard Melman, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Chicago; Drew Nieporent, Myriad Restaurant Group, New York; Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Jean Georges, New York.

Pastry chef:

Will Goldfarb, Room 4 Dessert, New York; Michael Laskonis, Le Bernardin, New York; Leslie Mackie, Macrina Bakery & Café, Seattle; Elizabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson, Tartine Bakery, San Francisco; Mindy Segal, HotChocolate, Chicago.

Rising-star chef

(age 30 or younger): Nate Appleman, A16, San Francisco; Graham Elliot Bowles, Avenues at the Peninsula Hotel, Chicago; David Chang, Momofuku Noodle Bar, New York; Patrick Connolly, Radius, Boston; Daniel Humm, Eleven Madison Park, New York.

Restaurant service:

Blackberry Farm, Walland, Tenn.; Canlis, Seattle; La Grenouille, New York; Terra, St. Helena, Calif.; Tru, Chicago.

Wine service:

Bin 36, Chicago; I Trulli, New York; Mary Elaine’s at the Phoenician, Scottsdale, Ariz.; Michel Richard Citronelle, Washington, D.C.; Picasso, Las Vegas.

Wine/spirits professional

Dale DeGroff, King Cocktail, New York; Paul Draper, Ridge Vineyards, Cupertino, Calif.; Dan Duckhorn, Duckhorn Vineyards, St. Helena, Calif.; Terry Theise, Terry Theise Estate Selections, Silver Spring, Md.; Helen Turley, Marcassin Winery, Calistoga, Calif.

Hooters in the Holy Land

While the fight for Israel appears never ending, Hooters is preparing a hostile takeover of the Holy Land.

This summer, Hooters will open its first location in Tel Aviv, with plans to expand up to five locations in the next few years.

They will not be opening any locations near very religious cities, and Hooters has no plans to become kosher.

For more info, click here to read the article on USA Today.

All You Can Eat Dodger Seats

This is either a great idea or just plain disgusting, but the LA Dodgers are offering an all-you-can-eat section this year.

Although announced a couple months back, details have finally emerged.

For $35 ($40 game day), you’ll get yourself a right field pavilion game ticket along with all-you-can-eat Dodger Dogs, nachos, peanuts, popcorn, Coca-Cola products and water. Beer, ice cream, and candy are available for purchase.

While this probably isn’t the most health conscious move, you’ll definitely get the most bang for your buck if you’re planning on making a few trips to the hot dog stand.