After the suckitude that was yesterday’s lunch, I wanted something good and decided to try something new-to-me, a local Viet restaurant. While I won’t speak to certain fish sauces, the food is good and can be downright excellent. The last truly good I had was about ten years ago in Philadelphia.
That changed today. GreenLeaf Vietnamese Cuisine in West Lafayette, IN, is good. The Pho was something I wish I had found this winter. In fact, the Pho Tái Bò Viên was good enough I just about tipped the large bowl up and just drank the broth that way at the end. The beef balls and steak were good, but the combination of it (and some extra peppers and a bit of lime) was quite tasty.
The spring rolls I got as an appetizer were made fresh, and the peanut sauce served with them devine. Not your average spring roll, and a reminder of what a good Vietnamese spring roll can be.
Service was excellent, and my host/waiter/etc. (he seemed to have multiple duties) gave good information and suggestions, and service.
This I can recommend, and I will be going back soon I hope to sample more.
Oh, as for yesterday, let’s just say that I went to a place I hadn’t been in a year (consider it the worst of its particular ethnic cuisine in the area) to give it another try. Net result was a lunch that ended up sending me home from work, and had even the dog asking to stay out in the heat and away from me. You won’t find it on any of my food lists or reviews, that’s for sure.
GreenLeaf — recommended.
Sorry for the silence, but the day job has taken some interesting twists of late, and the charity work has taken most of the time not claimed by the jungle/lawn. That said, I do have some new to share after a trip this weekend, so stay tuned.
Even with the price increase, three-buck-chuck may not be great wine, but it is a great value for the price. Against bargain wines it more than holds its own, and can do fair against some that sell for $10-$15 a bottle.
They are well worth checking out, and I’m glad I had the chance to try them again.
Here is something I dreamed up and tried a good while back. Still play with it every time I try it. Some of the measurements are very approximate, as I was (and am) winging it.
covered container large enough to hold whole chicken
1 whole chicken
.5 to 1 gallon orange juice
mushrooms, assorted types
honey (sourwood if available)
2 bulbs garlic
.25 to .5 cup frozen/fresh green peas
fresh ground pepper
truffle oil (optional)
The night before you want to cook the chicken, place it in the container, pour in orange juice to completely submerge, put on cover, and put in refrigerator. Roast the garlic bulbs whole, unpeeled. Easy method is to put bulbs on aluminum foil, coat with olive oil, wrap well in the aluminum foil, and put in toaster over at app. 350 degrees for a few hours. You can also go ahead and prepare 1 cup of dry Basmati rice per directions, store in refrigerator. I used white truffle oil in the rice.
Before cooking, clean, slice or chunk, and saute mushrooms in olive oil and butter. Add some of the mushrooms to the rice, along with slivered almonds (anywhere from a few to .5 cup) and peas. Cut tops of roasted garlic bulbs and squeeze roasted garlic into the mixture. Add pinch of salt and some fresh ground pepper. Use this to stuff the chicken. Pull the chicken from the orange juice, stuff, and place in roasting pan.
Combine app. 1 cup of honey with .5 cup of the Grand Mariner and 1t – 3T of good chipotle powder. Mix well, and brush this on the chicken. Cover, and cook for one hour at 350 degrees. Uncover, brush more mixture on (or pull up from bottom of roasting pan and baste), and cook app. one more hour until temperature at the center of the chicken/stuffing is at least 160 degrees, basting often.
An interesting option is to put loads of slivered almond in the bottom of the roasting pan, and let them cook in the juices and glaze.
Spending time with my local spirit provider is a bad thing I’ve decided. And it’s a good thing too. It’s bad on my wallet, but I’ve been exposed to some new things and some good things.
One of the good is Sobieski Vodka from Poland. It was recommended as a good vodka for mixing, and is a bargain indeed at the price. The taste has is clear, fairly clean with just a slight hint of a sweet note to it. There is a slight edge of sharpness, but is on par with my memory of a major national brand in that regard.
It is not truly as sipping vodka (Luksusowa potato vodka from Poland is my preference for a plain vodka, while Three Olives chocolate is a favorite in flavored), but does indeed make an excellent vodka for mixing.
Maybe even today, but no promises. Sorry, life has been interesting, now to see if good interesting or in terms of the Chinese curse.
More soon. Promise.
Street food: often some of the best food you will find anywhere, though it can be a bit of a gamble with problems later. I’ve heard about Indian street food, even seen bits on TV about it on various travel shows. Now, thanks to an enterprising family, I’ve gotten a small taste of it.
Shaukin Indian Fast Food is in south Lafayette, at the corner of 350 South and Concord Road. A couple of people I know from India had highly recommended it to me, and last Saturday I finally had the chance to try it.
The restaurant is small, and is geared towards to-go orders. That said, they have a small table, almost a coffee table, and several chairs where you can sit in cramped delight. From the moment I came in, I was made to feel welcome and the host/proprietor spent a good bit of time talking to me and explaining the different options.
At his suggestion, I explored three dishes: Chicken Frankie, Samosa Chaat, and Dahi Vada.
Chicken Frankie is chicken and vinegar-soaked onions served in a flat bread wrap. It was tasty, tangy, and could be described as an Indian version of the soft-shell taco to someone unfamiliar with Indian food. Nice, not too much, and the spices were strong without being overwhelming.
My favorite of the day was the Dahi Vada, lentil-based “balls” with curd and spices. The flavors were fantastic, and showed what can be done with spices when used fresh, right, and in the right amounts. Not hot, but rich with strong flavors and delight.
The Samosa Chaat was my second favorite, even if the samosa could have used a bit more thawing. The combination of hot samosa with the yogurt, three different chutneys, chickpeas, and onions tickled the senses, while the flavors played well with each other. Taste, texture, temperature — the senses were all used in this delightful dish.
Also, many places claim to serve Lassi, a popular Indian drink made with yogurt, but few truly do. Shaukin does the real thing (or as close as the food police are going to allow), and the Salted Lassi was perfect with the food. Think I’m going to have the Mango next time…
My one complaint is the location — I wish it were closer to downtown or even north of town, as I don’t get south all that often. I may well make it a monthly visit just to sample the rest of the menu, as the Chilli Paneer and Pav Bhaji are calling to me. If you want Indian street food without having to worry about playing health roulette, then go visit this unique and delightful establishment.
It probably shows my lack of experience in the full world of port, but I only recently seem to have become aware of Smith Woodhouse ports. At least I can’t find any references to it in my notes (nor can I find all my old notes, but that’s a different tale).
Given the introduction that was a bottle of their Lodge Reserve Porto, I will be exploring further. Despite my strong preference for vintage ports, this was an outstanding blend, full of good flavors and a maturity that I was not anticipating. So much so that I am contemplating splurging on a bottle of their vintage port to sample.
Yes, posting has been off. As mentioned previously, I’ve been involved in the creation of a food-related non-profit. It is incorporated, and yesterday almost three quarters of a pound of paper went to the IRS to request 501(c)(3) status. Preparing that package has been a challenge, to be polite, and all anyone can do now is hope that I made few mistakes, that the IRS has few questions and grants the request for expedited processing, and that the charity is indeed given tax-exempt status.
More free ice cream soon, promise.
Sorry for the lack of posting, but between work and trying to file for 501(c)(3) status life is busy.
That said, last night brought about a treat to end the day. Some morel mushrooms unexpectedly arrived in my kitchen, so I decided to:
1. Roast two bulbs of garlic at 300 degrees for a couple of hours. Easy to do, just cut the tops off the bulbs, coat with olive oil, wrap in foil, put in the oven, and cut it on. Set time, walk away.
2. Already having a smoked pork chop for dinner, I cooked up some potatoes and mashed them with roughly one bulb of the roasted garlic, some cream, a bit of smoked salt and sea cream salt, and some sweet butter from Normandy.
3. Cleaned and sauteed the morel mushrooms in sweet butter from Normandy, sea cream salt, and a small amount of ultra-light flavor olive oil. These were fresh and at least semi-local, and the flavor was magnificent even before cooking. The goal is to enhance, not cover.
4. Carefully reheated some asparagus that I had wrapped in Prosciutto ham and grilled (froze the leftovers, what few there were, and saved for a time like now).
5. Enjoyed with a glass of Boggle Old Vin Zinfandel.
That’s the way to end a long day of a long week. More soon I hope.