Friday, November 16, 2012

The Restaurant Review Heard 'Round the World

The douchiness that is Guy Fieri
I am not a food critic nor have I ever eaten at one of Fieri's establishments. After watching him on the teevee, I don't plan to, either. Granted, the dude has some serious knife skills, but IMO it takes quite a bit more to attract and keep customers. From seeing his alliterative Big Bite program, I know that he throws 15 different [hot] spices into nearly every dish. No doubt flavorful fare should one be a 3-pack-a-day Camel smoker – which I am not.

Honestly, I don't see why he's so bent out of shape over Pete Wells' review inthe New York Times. Some platitude regarding “kitchens” and “heat” comes to mind.

Maybe his food is great, I don't know. Nor am I likely to, as I am so repulsed by his idiotic catch phrases and ludicrous posturing that I can neither stomach the idea of watching anything he is on or venturing into one of his establishments. On his even more alliterative program Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, I admit that I like the concept. Yes, travel around the country to showcase small Mom-and-Pop establishments that are local legends. Excellent idea, gawd-awful host. The last thing to make me yearn for a certain burger or bowl of chili is a mouthful of it wandering down the no-doubt purposefully styled goatee and bowling shirt fetish that adorn Fieri's somewhat rotund being.

Fieri adds that he doesn't “normally” respond to critics. No, no, of course not. To appear upset because someone didn't care for your product (into which apparently you and some sponsor have sunk more than a few bucks) would be unseemly and not in keeping with The Brand. Enter, then, Food Network interns charged with the thankless task of defending him and silencing his critics.

I can well give credence to Mr. Wells' review because based on what I've seen of Fieri's persona, television programs and various endorsements, it all just fits. Food Network long ago stopped having anything to do with good food or learning to cook. It has become a Mecca for “personalities” shilling branded merchandise (of which Food network stands to get a cut). Sorry Food network, but you have become a victim of your own misbegotten programming choices. I will not go one of Fieri's establishments, whether the mega-trough facility in Times Square, college campuses or Santa Rosa.

Kewlinary Krewlinites everywhere – that Wells review was MONEY!!

Nein, danke.

Hmm. Just found this on the New York Daily News site:
“It's a great way to make a name for yourself -- go after a celebrity chef who is not a New Yorker.”
Somehow I rather doubt that Mr. Wells needs to "make a name for himself by "skewering the low-hanging fruit that is Mr. Fieri. In fact, this makes me wonder whether this review was paid for to stir up a controversy, and hence, business.

Ya think?
“I thought it was ridiculous; that to me was so overboard,” Fieri said on NBC’s “Today” show of Pete Wells’ critique.
“It's a great way to make a name for yourself -- go after a celebrity chef who is not a New Yorker.”

Read more:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Top Secret Recipes!

Okay, is it just me, or is there something a tad questionable about a guy who has made his name by publishing "Top Secret" versions of chain food putting those recipes behind a paywall?

Sunday, November 11, 2012


My local MegaLoMart usually offers a meat item they call Carne Asada. What they mean is of course the thin-sliced meat people would season with chile molido and lime to make the product that would then go into tacos, burritos and so forth.

It occurred to me that this meat could be used to make Stroganoff. I had mushrooms but no sour cream. Casting about for a solution, I decided to make a bechamel in place of the sour cream and it worked like a charm. Here's how I did it:

I cut about 1 pound of the thin carne asada steaks lengthwise and then crosswise into small pieces. Seasoned with some salt and pepper and then browned it over fairly high heat. Removed from heat and set aside.

Cut an onion into fairly small dice and sweat them over pretty low heat until soft and translucent. Add a minced clove of garlic and continue to cook for another minute or so. Place 8 ounces of sliced mushrooms in the pan, adding a tablespoon or so of butter if necessary to prevent sticking. Cook over medium heat until liquid has been released and cooked away and set aside.

In the same pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and stir in 2 tablespoons of flour. Cook over low to medium heat, stirring constantly, until flour is somewhat browned. Whisk in 2 cups of milk and continue to stir until thickened. Add 1-2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard and a teaspoon or so of Worcestershire sauce, or to taste. Return mushrooms, onion and meat to the pan until all is warmed through.

Serve over hot noodles and top with chopped Italian parsley, if desired. Serves 4.