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Entries in Television (7)


Searsucker, San Diego


I started with the spinach salad topped with bacon, bacon, bacon and coddled egg. Did I mention spinach salad with my bacon? Freshly assembled and brought to the pass, my spinach didn’t sit, it still had texture when it reached me. Thoroughly tossed, well seasoned, and very well garnished , I truly loved my salad. Not traditional spinach salad, this version has a creamy dressing and a cold coddled egg, rather than a hard-boiled and chopped one. I mentioned bacon right? Large pieces of bacon were everywhere, no tiny bacon bits or bacon sweepings anywhere to be found. Just large slices of crispy delicious bacon. Critically speaking, the amount of bacon was probably too much, but there wasn’t anything left on my plate either.

Second up, tuna tartare with a bit too much sirachia and taro chips. The cuts of tuna were consistent and precise and the tuna was fresh, no gummy texture. The taro chips were actually crisp and seasoned with salt. Chips can be an afterthought, but these actually were good. What I have issue with was the level of heat in the dish. I like spice and heat, but when it becomes a race to eat the next bite just to speed through the ongoing heat, it’s no longer relaxing. I did mention this heat issue to the server and she agreed that there has been some inconsistencies in the heat of this dish based upon who’s putting it together. Interesting, so she knew it and didn’t tell me until after I ordered it an complained. If I’d known about the heat or inconsistency, I would have ordered the beef tartare. 

Bacon, eggs, and toast with gravy. Talk about managing expectations. This wasn’t some simple country breakfast. This was Brioche toast, topped with crispy pork belly, poached egg, and country gravy. Sick, off-the-charts good is what this dish was. As near perfect as one could construct a dish. Each element was exactly right. The pork belly fat was both caramelized and only slightly gelatinous, with the pig meat moist and delicious. The brioche was toasted and not a bit soggy. The egg on top was just runny enough. All wonderful. Finally, the country gravy was treated like a French sauce, not some afterthought. There was color and richness to the gravy that brought out all the flavors and incorporated them together rather than smothered them.

I was impressed with the food. As a note, I ordered off of the starter menu only, not a single main entree. Seriously, I was tempted to order a second bacon, eggs and brioche. It was that good.


Searsucker on Urbanspoon


Rustic at the Coppola Winery

With low expectations and honestly my second choice that night (I really wanted pasta at Diavola, but there were no seats at the bar and a wait that included people outside) how bad could Rustic be with all the money that’s being thrown at this project? The place was packed, with up to 45 minute wait for a table and first come first serve at the bar. The bar itself is somewhat cold, feeling more like a waiting area than a warm bar.

I started with my staple evaluation salad, the Caesar. The Caesar was cold, served in a cold plate and a salad that was well tossed. A wet dressing and flavorful. Two little anchovies were placed on top. Croutons were crunchy. I’d say average or slightly above average salad with extra points going to cold salad bowl and cold crisp greens.

Spaghetti Carbonara is a favorite of mine. As I may have mentioned before, Tarry Lodge in New York is my standard bearer of high quality carbonara preparation. Rustic’s preparation was once again above average. A generous (perhaps too generous) and not quite crispy enough portion of cubed pancetta was the most noticeable item besides the pasta in the bowl. The pasta was cooked an Italian al dente and the egg mixture sauce was well incorporated and without any visible scrambled egg. I’m sure there’s a kitchen technique for making carbonara effortlessly for average kitchen cooks that doesn’t involve cracking and tempering eggs and then tossing the pasta over and over again in the egg and pasta water mixture.

Well, whatever Rustic is doing, they’re doing it well enough for me not to complain. The pasta and salad were both slightly better than average but not brilliant. I could easy bring people from out of town here for both the Coppola excellence in film legacy and a better than average meal for a reasonable price.

Rustic on Urbanspoon

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Make it So...Nerd Alert

Congratulations to Sir Patrick Stewart on his Knighthood. Star Trek fans know that Captain James T. Kirk as played by William Shatner is still the greatest Captain (or actor or both??) of the Star Trek Universe, but Picard comes in a very close second. Perhaps if Sir Patrick had played an "evil Picard" at some point in the alternate "Mirror, Mirror" universe, he would have risen to the top as Captain. Even William T. Riker played his double as Tom Riker, although not as evil as the alternate Kirk. However, in the episode "Yesterday's Enterprise" we witnessed a less diplomatic Picard in a war with the Klingons, as he jumps out of the 'big chair' and takes over the tactical station during the last battle scene, just as the Enterprise-C escapes. Shoot first, negotiate later, just like Kirk.

Yes, The Ham is a bit of a Trekkie. I can be a bit of a food and wine geek too. But food and wine geek is cool, while Trekkie isn't.

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The A Team BBQ

A-Team-Logo.svg"If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find him, maybe you can hire... T.L.'s A-Team."

Growing up in the 80's offered a wide variety of classic TV melodramas. In short, the good guys always won, well almost, and no one ever got seriously hurt. One show in particular, The A-Team (wiki facts which are funny and yes, there is going to be a movie), always had one scene before the action packed climax when Hannibal, Face, B.A., and Crazy Murdoch were captured and locked away in some barn or industrial warehouse awaiting their untimely demise. But before the bad guys could execute their fiendish plot, The A-Team would emerge from the warehouse with some home-grown, way better than MacGyver device that saved the day.

IMG_4190My father, T.L., has been locked away in the backyard sub-urban barn for a couple weeks to emerge with a home grown invention just in time for the holidays. Using a simple Char-Broil wood BBQ, T.L. has bolted on several components to enhance this BBQs functionality.

The main enhancement, featured here, is the smoker box. That's not flimsy aluminum you see from those store bought models. Oh no, this sweet baby is made from scrap steel found in our most recent garage cleaning, welded together by hand, painted Weber black, and weighs more than the entire original BBQ. Notice the main loading door handle and its customized "heat dispersion technology". You don't get that in stores. Notice the ventilation / ash removal door for easy cleaning.

But wait, there's more. Using heat-sink technology from the semiconductor industry, rising heat from the smoker box is transfered to a formed aluminum shield mounted on top of the smoker box for an instant hot plate to keep foods warm before serving. And that's not all. Remove the heat sink and place your pans directly on the surface for temperatures over 600 degrees! No safety warnings on this BBQ kids, which means it works!

But T.L. didn't stop there. Ever thought about all that empty space underneath your BBQ? Well he did. That's simply lost heat energy that any self-respecting backyard BBQ-er can't live with. So why not encase the entire bottom in aluminum and create a warming oven for bread, towels, plates, you name it (he's creating the design as I write this).

And the results? Well, the BBQ-Smoker-Warming Oven-Hot Plate by T.L. cooks pork spare ribs perfectly every time. These ribs were cooked for about 3 hours using a combination of the pine tree we cut down earlier this year from the front yard, mesquite charcoal, and some Kingsford briquettes. I used a simple K.C. Masterpiece sauce to baste the ribs during cooking. I thought the ribs were tasty.

I would say a job well done. All the components work well in their first trial.  T.L. loves it when a plan comes together....(queue the music)


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Into the Wild

I read the book by Jon Krakauer many years ago for the first time. I read it again when I was down in Pasadena a couple years ago, but I never watched the movie. This post isn't about whether the book was better than the movie. Some people watch movies others read books, whatever.

Anyway, I watched it tonight and really enjoyed it. Obviously, I still venture out and take a chance or two, no more than driving to work everyday in that metal coffin on an LA freeway (thanks Bodhi, did you know Bodhi means awakening in Sanskrit, a 4000 year old dead language, I love Point Break and PCU!) 

Chris McCandless lasted over 100 days in the Alaskan wilderness, not bad. A few quotes from the movie, some of which can be attributed to him (since my books are sitting in storage):

"Happiness is only real when shared"

"The Core of a man's spirit comes from new experiences"

"Some people feel like they don't deserve love. They walk away quietly into empty spaces, trying to close the gaps of the past."

Chew on these folks...and for some...chew longer...

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