Wednesday, November 23, 2005

I just finished running my first holiday retail gauntlet. As everyone knows, the holidays are busy for retail jobs and Murray's was no exception. It was definitely an...experience. All in all, I came out with no damage done. I held my own and managed to get through without having to ask too many questions (really, the only ones being about PLU #'s or location of cheeses that moved). But, it was harsh. We ran out of all but our most bland bries (which is saying something, as we carry about 3 or 4 different kinds at any different time)..then, when those ran out, we started promoting our triple-cremes as an alternative (of which we had 3 different kinds, as well)..only to run out of those. This was how busy it was. We were running out of stuff left and right and by the end of the night, the normally overflowing cheese case was looking more than a little scant. I ended up having to switch some of my holiday cheeses based on this. So, unfortunately, no one in the house will get to enjoy the Brie de Meaux (probably the best brie out there) I planned on bring home. I tried to choose some good alternatives which I hope everyone will enjoy.

Though I admit some sick part of me really enjoyed the onslaught of people and having to hustle, I am glad to have tomorrow off :)


A bit more on our trip to Rosa Mexicano (see previous blog entry):

I was actually suprised by this meal by my loving wife, who made reservations there in celebration of our seven year "getting together" anniversary.

We started out meal out with their famous guacamole, which they make tableside. At $14.00 an order (which feeds two), you are paying as much for the theater of it as the dish itself. The waiter's hands move about accurately and oh-so-quickly, it's truly fun to watch. It's then served in the traditional molcajete in which it was made.

We also got a bottle of wine to share (their bottle prices were very reasonable, making it truly more economical to get the whole bottle). It was a Petite Syrah from Southern California and, though I was nervous at first (since hotter climates tend to yield sickly sweet wines), it was a good bottle. It had a bit of tannins, not too much and only a little bit of the blackberry I thought would overpower it. Genevieve liked it, as well, but somehow I ended up finishing most of it and was just a little tipsy ;)

For our meals, Genevieve got a stuffed poblano dish, which was very tasty. I ended up getting one of the specials (it was "chocolate month" on their list), a pork enchillada with a chocolate-tinged sauce. It was excellent and very rich.

We finished the meal off by splitting a chocolate souffle, served with a tomatillo sauce (which was, despite the weirdness, really good. The citrus taste of the tomatillos worked really well with the chocolate). It also had a scoop of ice cream on the side, though I can't remember what it was.

Though certainly a step-up, price wise, from your average mexican place, the flavors, the atmosphere, and the service was all well above average and made it all worth it :)


Monday, November 21, 2005

I know it's been awhile since I blogged last, so I'll try to take everyone up to speed.

School has been going well. I've finished module 2 (of 6) at school. Module 3 began with a little breakfast cookery and now we're on to simulation line cooking. I have to admit, I was very nervous about it, though my fears were completely unnecessary (as I've been a line cook before, so it's nothing new to me). Overall, it's been going very well.

Work, as well, has been going well. I've picked up an extra day a week for the holiday season. I worried, at first, that the extra time would be too much, but it's really been not that bad. I enjoy work and the people I work with. I only hope I'm doing well there, to them. I get to give my cheese knowledge a twirl at home this Thanksgiving in preparing a cheese plate for dinner. I won't reveal my list yet, but it's sure to be some fun stuff :) I work tomorrow and wednesday, both of which should be crazy busy. But, I kind of like it that way. The time goes by way faster.

Since the last post, Genevieve and I also celebrated our 7th "getting together" anniversary. We've now been an item for 7 years :) To celebrate, we went out to this Mexican restaurant, which I've owned the cookbook from for quite awhile: Rosa Mexicano. I'll post more on this later....

Unfortunately, not too much has been happening outside of that. Genevieve and I have gotten some work done around the house and I've been watching lots of horror flicks and playing video games. Thank you tivo and Dreamcast.

Oh, so I am on my ..who knows what number..attempt to make these meringues. I've employed all the techniques I've learned in class and still the last batch flattened out. It's all a bit frustrating. I'm here, paying lots of money, learning classical french cooking techniques and I still can't keep a meringue up in oven. Here's hoping this batch turns out better.

I'm kind of babbling now, so I'll end.
Oh yea, I'm looking forward to coming home for Christmas. Seeing friends and family. I can practically taste the Great Lakes beer now ;)


Sunday, November 06, 2005

Just for Adam, my first New York Burger report.

I'd heard of the joint, Island Burger from the Food Network, even before we moved to the city. It is supposed to be one of the best burger joints in the city and, with over 60 different burgers on the menu, it had a stack of expectations to live up to.

Genevieve and I both ordered a malted shake, sandwich (obviously, she got a veggie one which I will not report on here) and split an order of guac, salsa and chips.

The malts were excellent. Genevieve even went so far as proclaiming them "better than Tommy's!", which is saying something considering we both consider Tommy's to serve the best shakes in Cleveland. The ice cream was rich and tasty and thick enough to cause some trouble getting it through the straw, but not enough your mouth hurt when you were done.

The chips dish was kind of wasn't bad, but didn't do anything for me and the chips, themselves, were overly saltly.

Now..the main course, the burger. I ordered mine seasoned with cajun spices and topped with bacon, blue cheese and avocados. It came out, a bit over my request for medium, but once I bit into it, I didn't mind. The burger was juicy, spicy and fact..taste of real meat (as opposed to bad burgers, which taste like cardboard). It was also a horrible mess, with avocado sliping and sliding everywhere. Did it overwhelm it's bun, leaving it a soggy (but yummy) mess? Eh..not so much. Though the bottom bun all but disappeared, the top stayed with it till the end (read my Stevenson's blog for more info on this). I don't fault the burger for this though. The bun was just too substantial, too much for it to take on. Now, would I call it better than Stevenson's? I don't know. I would more call it different. Stevenson's, or most Cleveland places, would not offer such "fancy toppings" as avocados, their ticket is with basic, down to earth, burgers. Island Burger is looking to offer something more. Definitely a tasty burger, any way you eat it.


Saturday, November 05, 2005

You know those tv channels which seem like nothing but Top 10 lists (-ahem- Discovery channel)? Well, though I've done it numerous times in the past, I'm doing it again, as well. Another top 10 listing to suck up blog space.

Top 5 Cheeses (that you should try...if you eat cheese ;)
My Favorite Cheeses (currently)
In no particular order

  • Cabrales - Blue cheese wrapped in leaves. Saltly, crumbly and pungent (though not enough to knock you over). Everything a good blue should be.
  • Monte Enebro - Goat's cheese. Semi-soft and ooh so goaty, it's kind of an aquired taste. I still do more 'tastings' of this at work than are needed ;) Not too sweet like younger goat cheeses either.
  • English Farmhouse cheddar - NOT bright orange, NOT sold in a brick. Real cheddar. Even has a little mold in it. Yummy. Taste this and you'll never go back to Kraft.
  • Rocblue - Yea, I know, another blue. But this one is *way* different from cabrales. Has the buttery taste of brie with some of that blue twang. A perfect combination.
  • Brie de Nangis - Speaking of brie...this is brie the way it's meant to taste. Absolutely exploding with mushroom flavors. Nothing about this cheese is subtle.
  • Fiore Sardo - I had to sneak one hard cheese in here. A spanish cheese with a nice nut and herbiness. I recommend this to people who want a good grating cheese that's not Parm.

Next week..I learn to count.


Thursday, November 03, 2005

A quick eye update..
My eye is doing fine and pretty much completely healed.

Today at school went very well. I aced my quiz (100) and managed to fillet a fish like a ninja (umm..that means really well).

Not much else to report.