EATING SUGAR PILLOWS WITH LOLA!!!

Lola, oh Lola how you continue to make me fat. Let me start by saying Lola is part of the notorious Tom Douglas fam. If you don't know who Tom Douglas is, he's one of the big guys in the 206 area. You'll hear his name a lot 'round here and that's because homie owns a shit ton of popular restaurants. In fact, right across the street from Lola he has Serious Pie, Dahlia Lounge, and Dahlia's Bakery, all of which are very reputable places. 

But let's not get side tracked from the star of the show today, which is Lola. She sits at the corner of Virginia St and 4th ave, under Hotel Ă„ndra kind of tucked away if you aren't really looking for it. For sure you won't miss the big ass wavy canopy of the Hotel though, and Lola shares the same lobby as them so you'll get there eventually. After waiting in line for 20 minutes, you'll finally look at the menu. When you look at the menu you'll think, "Damn Chris, you rich as f*ck." And to that i would say "LOL I wish bruh!" There's a built in 20% gratuity, which means tip is already included. It also means everything on the menu appears slightly more expensive. 

Let's talk about doughnuts for a minute, or rather beignets. Because real talk, these are the fluffiest sugar pillows you'll ever have on your tongue. They are made to order, so you know they're good. When you do order them, the waitress will come out with this white bag like she's going day drinking at the local park, and then she'll start violently shaking it like the bag owes her money. Turns out there's sugar and cinnamon in the bag and she's just coating the freshly fried doughnuts. Who knew? She'll serve them with the one of the lightest mascarpone cheeses (but really it has the texture of a slightly dense whipped cream) and some seasonal jam. Ours was cranberry. Not the biggest fan of cranberry, but that didn't detract from my love of their doughnuts. Try it, you won't regret it. 

 

My friend didn't want to be in the photo so I took some creative license to remove her from the panorama. I thought, well if I'm in Photoshop anyways, might as well add a few speech bubbles. It more or less sums up the atmosphere inside. I overheard the waitress apologize for that kid's food coming out late and the waitress was nice enough to put his order on the house. Just an example of their baller service.  

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And now let's get on to why I actually came here. The beignets can whet your appetite, but the Eggs Benedict is the real deal. Super rich and thick Hollandaise sauce, just as it should be. The sauce should be rich enough to dissuade you from ever trying to make that God forsaken sauce yourself. If you don't know, hollandaise sauce is emulsified butter and egg yolk, and is as fickle and temperamental as your crazy ex. Under the sauce is perfectly poached eggs, that oozes out yolk when you go for the first cut with your knife. Under that is a multilayered bavarian meats ham pile, with just the right saltiness to bring out the richness of the sauce, and thick enough to prevent the English muffin from getting soggy. If you can't eat pork, they can substitute it for salmon also. But why wouldn't you eat pork? The plate also comes with some smashed potatoes. I would consider myself a pretty big eater, and even then I couldn't fully demolish that plate of food. Yes the plate was $20, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. Treat. yo. self.

THANKSGIVING 2016!!! YU HUNGRY BRUH?!!!

Hello again! I know it's been a minute since I've last posted, but I'll just jump straight into what you need to know. First, I redesigned the site because you already know how we do. Second, I'm now in Seattle because NYC is f*ckn expensive. Third, here are some pics from Thanksgiving 2016. 

So yesterday I had a craving for some sous-vide meat, as I'm anxiously waiting (like seriously with baited breath) for my Nomiku Wifi to ship. But what is a man to do without an electric device that operates like a slow cooker? We use a thermometer and do it the old fashioned way, that's what. While I don't typically like baby sitting my meals for 2+ hours I will say this method makes a fine ass steak. Also it's Thanksgiving so I should probably step my game up, and so should you. 

First let's talk about how I set up this contraption. I used a pot, a ziploc bag, two jars, and a thermometer (with masking tape). The jars are there to hold the steaks down, and the rest acts as a water bath for the steaks on the stove top. The idea is to cook the steaks nice and slow for an extended amount of time (kind of like slow cooking). This will allow for the proteins and fat to emulsify leaving you with a baller-ass steak. Like Steph Curry status. Seriously.

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Even if the temp isn't always at 130, if its close enough you'll get results. I ended up checking in every 10 minutes or so and it turned out just fine even with it sometimes hovering at 135 or 140. I just adjusted the water and heat, and re-checked 10 minutes later (on my stove it was between medium and low). What you'll end up with is actually some pretty disgusting looking meat. It will be grey and squishy like some lint from the dryer. But that's because you cooked it at such a slow temp. What you need to do now after that 2.5 hours is to sear both sides so it gets that caramelized flavor; Maillard reaction. This will help give it an awesome crust and awesome flavor. 

A shot of the steaks right after the searing. Please note, I actually messed up because I seared it too long. Don't be like me and over sear. The steaks are already done after 2.5 hours, you're just trying to add some color. 


Ingredients:

  • steak (something with a nice marble/fat and a hefty thickness (1-3 inches)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil (shallot oil is a baller upgrade if you have some)
  • cumin (because seriously this is the definition of flavor)
  • granulated garlic

You'll probably want the following also.

  • pot
  • cast iron pan
  • thermometer (masking tape if you're thermometer is cheap as mine and doesn't have that clip-on thing)
  • ziploc bag

Directions

  1. Fill up a pot with water, should be enough water to fully submerge all steaks
  2. Put the steaks inside the ziploc bag and season with salt, olive oil, cumin, granulated garlic, pepper, cumin
  3. Try to remove all the air out (it doesn't have to be vacuum tight) *pro tip* if you zip the bag 90% and leave a small space for air then submerge everything but the zipper majority of the air will leave through that opening. Then seal the other 10%. This is called the dispersion method. 
  4. bring water to 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. When water is at 130, set timer for 2.5 hours
  6. Check on the steaks to make sure water isn't too hot or too cold (add cold water if its too hot, turn up heat if its too cold)
  7. Remove from bag, and re-season with salt, cumin, black pepper, cumin, and granulated garlic.
  8. Heat cast iron pan, and oil to smoking point, and sear steaks on both sides (about 1 min each side)
  9. let the steaks rest for 10 min before cutting and serving.
 

 
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Notice that edge to edge pink. That's why you baby-sit meat for 2+ hours. We also roasted some tomatoes, potatoes, butternut squash and dressed a salad. I'm not sure why everyone does turkey because it's clearly an inferior bird to duck anyways, but whatever. We out.

IN THE ZONE FOR SOME ZONGZI!!!

I wanted to make a quick and dirty post about this zongzi stand I found not too long ago. Zongzi, or zong, are more commonly known as rice dumplings or sticky rice dumplings. As the name suggests, it is made from short grain rice aka glutinous rice aka sticky rice, aka really tasty rice. I'm a big fan of street food, but some would say I'm a bit too courageous in my eating habits. Especially with concern in the east in regards to gutter oil, and the lack of regulation of many food carts, it's difficult to really determine what is good and what is bad. But nothing ventured is nothing gained, right?

So I was on my way to Hong Kong Supermarket when I stumbled upon this lovely sight. Two elderly Chinese ladies sitting on small stools cracking ginkgo nuts (we call them bat guo in Cantonese). These are often used in congee and other soups since they have medicinal properties. They were cracking them and bagging them up. If anyone has cracked ginkgo nuts before you would know this chore stinks, literally. They smell terrible. I usually would have kept walking, but what stopped me was this other elderly Chinese woman walked up to them and bought zongzi. In my experience, elderly Chinese women know everything, including good cheap eats. She must have been a friend or a local in the area. This picture was taken on Hester, between Mott and Elizabeth.

But being the prudent person that I am, I needed a second opinion to confirm my hypothesis. I called my mother. I asked if there was some Chinese holiday coming up that I was unaware, and sure enough there was some lunar holiday that warranted the making of zongzi to celebrate. I asked the old lady how much they were and she told me it was a dollar fifty each. oh a dollar fifty. Hold up. What? A dollar fifty? HOLDUP HOLDUP HOLDUP. A DOLLAR FIFTY?!! That's $1.50 for something that I can barely finish in one sitting. Without a second thought I bought 5. She sells them in two varieties, peanut and green bean. I prefer the green bean. Side note: to differentiate the two kinds, she wraps one with a single thread, and the other two double threads. I thought that was genius.

Typically a zongzi will include a piece of fatty pork, salted duck egg, sticky rice, and green beans or steamed peanuts. All this is then wrapped in bamboo leaves and steamed. As it steams the pork fat melts into the rice, flavoring it with the seasoned pork. It's basically amazing.

The egg yolk is hidden in this picture. The zongzi she sells are already steamed as most zongzi are, and require minimal effort to reheat, be it microwave or re-steaming. I've been told that even boiling it works since it is wrapped in bamboo leaves, the rice won't get soggy. These also store incredibly well, you can freeze them and keep them for quite a while. They were extremely delicious, both the green bean and peanut. I did find that one of my zongzi was slightly under-steamed, in that the rice was a under cooked toward the center. All the other ingredients are precooked beforehand, so I wasn't too worried about having uncooked pork. I microwaved them, but had I boiled them, I don't think I would have any complaints. She says she is there most weekends. next time I see her, I will definitely buy more.