Saturday, April 6, 2013

Ein Abendessen Gedicht

Weisswurst and Weinkraut

Get your weisswurst from Kuby's Sausage House in Dallas, then make your kraut.

Bag o Kraut, squeeze it out.
Bacon chopped, make it pop. 
Chop an onion, apple diced, add to pan with wine of white.
Sugar, pepper, caraway,
Cook it down and eat away.

Don't forget your sweet Bavarian mustard.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Night Dinner

Pink Peppercorn Osso Buco with Butter and Black Pepper Fettucini

Christmas Dinner

Beef Tenderloin with Red Wine Mushrooms, Creamed Spinach, Mashed Potatoes and Butter Lettuce Salad

A Sunday Night Italian Classic

Fettucini ala Norma and Mixed Greens with Blackberries and Fig Vinaigrette

Last Night's Dinner

Pan Roasted Halibut with Spicy Asian Green Beans

Modified Steak n Shake

Frisco Burger and Lime Broccoli Salad

Dinner at Home

Lemon Scallopini with Victor Hugo Slaw

Lunch at Home

Cordon Bleu Sandwich

Simple Dinner at Home

Linguini Carbonara

Dinner at Home

Beef Fajitas with Imitation Chuy's Green Dip
Spinach and Arugula Salads

Valentine's Day Dinner



Appropriately Pink:

Sunday Dinner

Steak Pizzaiola

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Red's Porch - Austin, TX

Not sure why, but every time I drive by Red's Porch, my first thought is a vision in my head of Sam Elliott calmly stating, "I'm Red, and this here is my porch", while welcoming guests with a sweep of the arm and a crooked smile.

My second thought is always, "damnit all does that place ever look like a Citibank".

Well, to those who know, Red's is actually BEHIND the bank.  Probably not hard to figure out, but just thought I'd clarify.

As far as atmosphere goes, this place is tops.  A two story, indoor-outdoor structure with a fantastic second level bar and porch with an even better view of the canyon-like Greenbelt with a distant view of the hills of Westlake.  Put simply, this is a small slice of vacation lake life without the lake.  It beats a drive out to Lake Travis when you're just looking for that feeling, some food, and some drinks on a nice day, and want to avoid the crowds and the scantily-but-should-be-clad boaters stopping in for some more beer at Hula Hut or Abel's on the Lake (both great spots though in their own right).  

My good friend Spike and I stopped in for a quick burger and beer yesterday after a muni round on a beautiful February day.  High hopes for the atmosphere, and tempered hopes of a great burger, we were both pleasantly surprised by all, and had a great time.

I opted for the Manimal, upgraded for grass-fed, natural beef, topped with grilled onions, cheddar, swiss and homemade Thousand Island, and Spike opted for the Smokey Goat burger, topped with "deep" smoked bacon, fried onions, and goat cheese.  And then we did what two dudes normally don't do in a public setting, we cut those suckers in half and traded so we could try each of them.  In the name of reviewing.  Glad we did.

Both very good.  The grass-fed natty patty on the Manimal had a rich, moist, and beefy flavor, complemented nicely by sweet, carmelized onions.  I'd have liked some more tang from the Thousand Island to balance the onions, as it erred toward the sweet side, though was well prepared and very good.

(picture a half pound burger on a sourdough bun with grilled onion, cheddar, swiss, and 1000 island here)

The Smokey Goat was excellent.  Bacon was as advertised and cooked perfectly.  Not crumbly and not chewy.  Thin sliced and fried onions provided a crunch and sweetness, which balanced perfectly with the soft, tangy goat cheese.  Smokey, sweet, salty, tangy, beefy.  A great combination of flavor.

Fries came with both, and while not mind blowing, were pretty good.  A bit on the cool side, and clearly just fried once, they came well seasoned with flaky kosher salt.  Dipped in a self-made-at-the-table hot sauce laced ketchup, or the side of cilantro mayo that I ordered, they rounded out the meal, as did my Austin Beerworks Pearl Snap Pils, which was just one of a large list of local, domestic and import brews available for the taking.

This is a laid back, very Austin, perfect atmosphere, where you can spend countless hours on a nice afternoon drinking beer, a decent glass of wine, or a cocktail, keeping any worries the past week may have brought, or the current week may bring, far, far away.

Sometimes you eat the bar, and...well...sometimes the bar eats you.  I'm good with either.  And this is the right bar.


Atmosphere:  relaxing lakeside bar just without the lake but fantastic views, laid back, outdoor seating, sit outside

Food:  burgers, sandwiches, home-cooking and Tex-Mex. you feel like it, you got it.

Crowd:  goooooood looooookin', young, old, beachy, swimsuits, tank tops, bare feet, canine, large groups, small groups, hotchicks, hipsters, and starving artists

When to Go:  any afternoon when the weather is nice, brunch on the weekends

What to Order:  whatever you feel like, you're there for the the atmosphere, the company, and the beer

Dog Friendly:  absolutely, they'll have lots of friends

Thai Kitchen - Austin, TX

My sincerest apologies in advance, I took pictures but can't for the life of me find them.  My descriptions will have to do on this one.  So close your eyes and imagine...

I've long been in search of a Thai restaurant that lives up to it's reputation as some of the hottest food on the planet.  The white suburbanite costume I've worn since 1976 masks my Southeast Asian soul's desire for the type of food that numbs the mouth completely and gives one the ability to map out the entire path of the digestive tract over the next hour or so as that sweet heat embarks on its long journey to the South Austin Wastewater Treatment plant and its ultimate home, the Earth from which it came from.  Combined with my midwestern dialect, it also evidently leads area Thai chefs to believe that I don't have the steel innards to handle what they can.

So when a friend recommended to me Thai Kitchen, with a menu that skips straight from a two-chile symbol rating on the normal menus to a five-chile symbol rating on the "Specialty Menu", and features such descriptive items such as Nuclear Shrimp, Crying Now, Never Never Again, Hurts So Good, Tiger Cry, Heat Treatment, and my personal favorite, Spontaneous Combustion, I figured this is my best chance.

My friend did warn me that he never actually eats there (the Bee Caves location at least), and recommended I use it only for carry-outs, and upon entry, I concur.  The place has the look and feel of a circa 1965 south Florida seafood market, which smells of the same, likely because of the large, uncapped fish tank anchoring the decor in the center of the dining area.  The walls and ceiling are a sickly lime green, certainly original paint which most certainly flaked off deadly lead when the pictures and paintings of great Thai leaders and religious figures were nailed into it in two foot increments.    That said, the owners were extremely nice, and the food was very good.

Let me back up though.  After my attendance of countless auto races over the past 27 years, before earplugs were invented up through this current period when earplugs are still referred to as "gay" by the Nascar faithful, my hearing has been reduced to something along the lines of that which little Randy must have had, suited up for the blizzard of the century for the harrowing walk to school with Ralphie, Flick and Schwartz.  My Lovely Wife Mrs. Gordo will attest.  This, along with an inability to decipher anything with an accent, the background noise of a beautiful Friday afternoon on the porch of Little Woodrow's, and an unnumbered online menu, made the telephone ordering process...well, difficult to say the least.

"Carry out, please."

"Yes.  What do you want?"

"I need one order of 'NOW PET NOW'"



"What number?"

"I have no idea."

(strange, fast noises)

"I don't know, it's called NOW PET NOW.  Do you have a word like NOW, spelled N-A-U?"

"N-A-U?  No.  (strange, fast noises)"

"Maybe N-U-A?"

"N-U-A!  PEET!   PEET!   PEET!"

"Ok, sure.  Peet.  One please."

"Bamboo.  Zucchini.  PEET!"

"Sure.  One N-U-A Peet N-U-A, one Crying Now, four vegetable eggrolls, one Ba Mi Num, and one Duck Duck Goose" (the latter not a menu item and clearly not recognizable sarcasm on the Indochina peninsula, it was met with a silence as awkward as any I've encountered).

Ordering process done, I headed to the fish market and picked up my nicely and securely packaged order, watched the incredible math skills of the patriarch, multiplying eggrolls and computing tax in his head with the speed and precision of only the upper echelon of beancounters, while the only other people in the place stood transfixed on the forty inch plasma perilously perched on the counter facing away from me and toward the spacious dining area.

So first, the Nua Pet Nua.  Stir-fried beef in Thai hot curry with bamboo strips, zucchini and Thai seasoning.  Not what I got.  I blame the language barrier as well as the fact that while Nua Pet Nua was on the online menu, it was Phat Pet Nua on the carryout menu I picked up while walking out.  What I actually got appears to have been Gang Pet Nua, which is the same, but instead of stir-fried, it's simmered in a coconut milk laced with those other ingredients.  Advertised as "it's very hot" and marked with the one-chile designation, my typical Thai experience prevailed.  Not at all.  Flavor was nice, but not strong enough, and I think some additional heat, which clearly ended up tempered by the coconut milk, would have made this a very a good dish.

Crying Now - five-chile designation with the additional warning, "These Dishes are for People Who Love Extremely Hot or Super Hot Food Only".  Now we're talking.  NOW, WE ARE TALKING!  Chicken simmered in a hot green curry, hot bird pepper, jalapeno, markroot and Thai seasoning.  BAM.  We did it.  Searing hot spice at the top end, but within range, of what I can tolerate.  Certain to take down 95% of its buyers, THIS is what I have been looking for, and THIS, I enjoyed every bite of.   Not just heat though, good flavor of green curry and of chiles.  Served over rice it needs just a little saltiness of soy to bring out its true potential, but this, this is great stuff.

The Ba Mi Num was an excellent soup, served for takeout with the noodles in a separate container, a flavorful chicken broth with the flavors of green onion and cilantro, the crunch of bean sprouts, and the meatiness of succulent duck, these things sang in perfect harmony.

Eggrolls, well, they're eggrolls.  Like the stereotype of their creators, they don't seem to travel well, but the flavor was nice, and anything that can be dipped in the stinging Chinese Hot Mustard is good by me.

All in all, a great takeout spot, and one that I'll try again.  Next up for me, the Just Say No...sliced grilled beef mixed with rice powder, seasoned well with lemon juice, mint leaves, and chile pepper.  And we'll try for that stir fry one more time....


Atmosphere:  1960's south Florida seafood market with the smell of fish since gone, uninviting, and vacant

Food:  Thai, very good at that.

Crowd:  All three of them were southeast Asian

When to Go:  Dinner, carryout only.

What to Order:  Give anything a go, but the Crying Now is a good start for heat lovers, and the Ba Mi Num a great soup.

Dog Friendly:  Trust me on this one.  No.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Nearly Healthy Dinner

Halibut with Cajun Bowtie Pasta, Spicy Green Beans and Sweet Chili Sauce

Rub that fish with olive oil and Szegd (sp?) fish rub, sear it and finish it in the oven for eight minutes, then lay it down on a bed of Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce.

For the pasta, lay down some butter in a pan with a small amount of chopped onion and garlic, soften that up, then add milk, a healthy amount of parmigiana, and some cayenne and let it reduce a bit.  When your cooked pasta is ready, add it to the pot and stir vigorously.  VIG-OR-OUS-LEE.  Add in some chopped green onions after you take it off the heat.

Beans:  butter, onion, shishito peppers, green beans, cayenne.  Enough said.

Dinner I Don't Know When

Pork Chop and Greens

Had this one a while back and honestly can't remember exactly what it was, but I'm pretty sure I rubbed the pork chop with my favorite pork rub, North Main BBQ, and olive oil, grilled it 3-4 minutes a side, and then let it rest under a foil tent with some butter on it.  Also, fairly certain the greens had something to do with collards, apple cider vinegar, bacon, butter, pepper and onion, but don't hold me to it.

Saturday Lunch

Open-Faced Roast Beef Sandwich with Giardiniara

For this bad boy, I heated up some olive oil in a small pan, and when hot, laid down half a ciabatta in it and grilled until it looked good and crisp.  Took it out, threw some roast beef in the pan, tossed it a bit then topped it with Swiss cheese and covered to melt it.  Put that together with some of Chicago's top contribution to this world and some parmigiana and was good to go.

Healthy Dinner...Kind Of...

Blackened Grouper with Pepperjack Grits

There once was a great man...a fat man...named Paul who perfected blackening seasoning.  Who am I to try to best him.  I rubbed some grouper that My Lovely Wife Mrs. Gordo's Brother (MLWMGB) caught last week with Paul Prudhomme's Blackened Redfish seasoning, then painted it with melted butter and seared the shit out of it in a skillet, finishing it off in the pan in the oven for about ten minutes.

For the grits, start with some butter and a chopped up jalapeƱo and some chopped onion.  Get that going in a pot, then add one cup of grits, two cups of milk, some salt and some white pepper, and cook as instructed by the almighty cardboard box.  While that's going, grate 1/3 to 1/2 cup of pepperjack cheese (I used some made with Hatch chiles) and after the grits are done, stir that in and serve.

The red stuff there?  That's just a dusting of cayenne.  Not necessary, but adds a little bit different heat to the dish and makes it look like I know what I'm doing.

Last Night's Dinner

Beef Tenderloin with Grilled Asparagus Fried Rice

Had this one last night, very good.  Marinated a filet mignon in a combination of chili garlic paste, soy sauce, peanut oil, lime juice and pepper, grilled it and sliced it.

For the rice, throw some asparagus (thinnest you can find) on the grill and drizzle it with some peanut oil to get a char on it.  Once those are done, let them cool and chop it up.  Put some peanut oil in a non-stick pan and add some chopped onion and sliced fresh jalapeƱos and let them sizzle and soften a few minutes, then toss in the asparagus.  Once you've got that going, crack and egg and quickly scramble it, then thrown in cooked rice and some soy sauce, turn to medium high, and let it fry for a few minutes, tossing every once in a while.  When that's done, take it off the heat and add some rough chopped cilantro and green onion, and voila!, you're done.

Paired it with a cucumber, tomato, radish and bibb lettuce salad with a dressing made of equal parts lime juice, rice vinegar, minced ginger, soy sauce, and double part of peanut oil.



Bear with me please, I'm playing catch up and can't remember what this dinner at home was.  All I know is that it was GOOD.