Monday, October 13, 2014

The Black Sheep - Richmond, VA

Road Trip restaurant pick! On a Sunday at about 7:00pm, there were a few tables open (no reservations here) in this fairly small, adorable, comfortable, nice restaurant, you know, one of those places that has the perfect balance of down-to-earth casual, while still being a nice gastropub.

"Arepas de Queso y Patito - Traditional fried masa flatbread, stuffed with queso & roasted duck leg meat. Served with escabeche & poblano cream sauce" - $9.00 - Oh yeah, this was delicious. I mean, obviously.

"Curry Lamb Shank Tacos - Braised lamb shanks pulled from the bone with potatoes and peas in a spicy vindaloo sauce, topped with a cool mint raita, and pickled red onions. Served with lemon and cashew basmati rice" - $16.00 - How good was this little fusion? It is one of the great regrets of my life that, after spending that night at a friend's in NJ, we accidentally forgot the third taco in her fridge. Why?!??!? :[

"USS Congress Chipotle roasted pork shoulder simmered in a tomatillo barbeque sauce with grilled pineapple & a Mexican style pickled pepper & cabbage salad, loaded into a toasted french baguette" - This was the "half" size for $12.00. You can get one that is, I guess, twice as long for $18.00. If it's hard to tell, the "half" size was a foot long. This sandwich was fantastic, especially once we added a little salt and sriracha - it needed just a little oomph to carry all those flavors to the back of the brain).

It seems clear that everything on this menu will be a hit. I decided, based on this restaurant, that I would like to live in Richmond for a while, at least if I could live in this neighborhood that's apparently called "The Fan."

Apparently some ass wipes have been stealing their fun little artworks 'cause this was written in the restroom.. twice. Come on, people.

Is this not the cutest logo?

No drafts, but the bottle selection is nice, with lots of local beers.
Like this Devil's Backbone Vienna Lager from Lexington, VA.

And of course they had to have this, all the way from England.

 The Black Sheep on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 22, 2014

European Snacks

I was recently in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, and Prague. I like to go into stores in other countries and see what kinds of different flavors and products they have. I don't think it matters much for me to tell you where various things came from since it seemed pretty consistent over these areas.

I tried this as it sounded like a fantastic idea. Unfortunately they seem to mean some kind of vegetarian bolognese because instead of a rich flavor, it was just a vague tomato onion garlic thing. I saw a couple of companies with a bolognese flavor, so if anyone tries one that's good, let me know.

There are paprika chips everywhere in Europe, everywhere. Every company has them. It's like, what is their fucking obsession with paprika? See below for answer. I tried these... eh, they were okay.

More paprika, a "Mexican Peppers & Cream" I really should have tried. I couldn't get to them all.

These looked good. Happy to see bacon's popularity is world-wide.

Cheese & Onion - Subtle, perhaps, but we don't quite have this flavor in America.

I saw a handful of meat-themed chips. I'll take the Western Style business as a compliment. They do love their currywurst in Germany.

I had to try Exxtra Deep Grilled Steak chips. They were okay, but not what you'd hope. I'd love to know in what language "Exxtra Dick" mean "Exxtra Crunchy."
Sadly, I didn't get around to trying to Intense Honey Roast Ham Chips. Maybe one day Americans will be graced with this flavor. If we can handle Cappuccino potato chips (which, in case you haven't tried them, taste like potato chips that have been sprinkled with an instant latte powder. They're pleasant enough to put in your mouth, but seeing as every other flavor in the world is better, you'd never want to. If anyone wants a 90% full bag of them, let me know), we can take on honey roast ham, hamburger, currywurst, cheese & onion, bacon, Thai Curry, and Mexican Peppers & Cream.

I just thought this was cute.

I would love to have been there for the meeting where this seemed like something to do. In what context would one buy these chips for oneself or someone else? All I could think would be one of those Valentine's Day parties single people throw for all their single friends, where this would be a funny little snack to set out for it.

I was curious to see what the difference between Classic fry sauce and American would be.

It appeared to be some kind of "lite" version and had more than twice the ingredients. Sounds about right.

"The Famous American Style Recipe" ? Well, if Americans invented brownie-cookies, I can't say I'm surprised. Proud, even.

It's a bit hard to read, but the packaging says, "Rainbow Cookies - Even the kids like 'em!" - As opposed to the brownie cookies the kids turned their noses up at? Are Dutch children regularly turning down less colorful cookies?

These treats are called "Gangmakers," which I enjoy. If you read the Wikipedia article on them, translated into English, "Gangmakers" apparently means "Pacemakers." They're basically cupcake cookies, covered in chocolate and filled with raspberry jam. I'd join a gang for that, sure.

In Germany I passed by the front of a store and saw this. Oh. Paprika is European for red pepper. Apparently in America paprika is a spice made from dried chili peppers. But for a lot of the world, paprika is just a bell pepper. Red pepper chips is all they are. Bah. 

A number of products had this little American label on them. Fried onions? Oh, that's ours? Cool. A ketchup and mayo twist though? I have never seen that in America. I know we like ketchup and mayonnaise in the US, but the rest of the world is at least as in love with these condiments as we are, so I'm not sure that one is fair. It (or its ancestor) was invented in China, from where it made its way to present-day Malaysia and Singapore, where English explorers discovered it. Some of them took it to America. It does seem that the sweet tomato recipe that ketchup became did happen in America though. So fine. Mayo, however, was invented in Spain, then taken to France, where it came into its own. 

I should mention while I'm at it that what we call Cool Ranch chips, they call Cool American in The Netherlands. Fair enough. We probably did invent that horrid flavor.

A marzipan treat that adorably looks like little potatoes, hence the name "Kartoffeln." They're tasty little things. I could see these being in a stocking, like those baggies of coal gum.

Belgian waffles are awesome at waffle shops, but these packaged ones sucked.

Due to train issues, I had to settle for vending machine food for a meal. This was the most food like, and to be honest, I was kind of happy to get to try this horrible idea, a Calzone in a bag in a vending machine, no microwave around. It tastes exactly as you should be assuming it tastes.

The brownie was okay, though quite messy. The Erdnuss (peanut) snack was the bomb diggity, a lot like a Nutter Butter.

Why do Americans not get a hazelnut Kit Kat? Does Kit Kat not think we can handle it? Same with the Wunderbar. These were both good, and they would've been great if they were done with dark chocolate.

Sometimes you want a treat but you have no words to help you and must rely on pictures. I assumed this would have a nice coffee taste. No such luck. Any coffee was what you'd call very subtle. It was pretty plain tasting but strangely addictive. Or maybe I was a bit drunk.

Who knew there were Angry Birds sodas? Maybe they have them in America too and I just don't know it.

In Prague they had lots of random Cannabis products like this, which I'm told won't actually get you high. They're just a gimmicky thing for tourists.

I still wanted to try the silly Cannabis Absinth. Don't.

The beer also won't actually get you high, and it just tasted extra bitter to m, and not in a good hopsy way. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Glenville Stops - The Most Adorable, Perfect Neighborhood Gastropub

If only I lived in Allston.. is a sentence I don't say all that often, but I said it yesterday when I ate dinner and glugged a pint London Fuller's Pride (on tap!) at Glenville Stops. the place is so cute, with a long bar wrapping the bar, another bar along the wall, and lots of tables. It's kind of coffee shop-like.

There's complimentary tahini and roasted eggplant purée with really nice bread.

Riblets: Tasty, good flavors, so much easier to eat than long ribs

Asian Burger: So good. Almost perfect medium rare. Great light bun, great Asian shit

Fries: A little greasy, but not overly
Ahi Amarillo Aioli: Really, really good

The Glenville Stops on Urbanspoon

Best Cider Donuts around Boston

Honey Pot Hill Orchards

Fresh made, still hot, apple cider donuts. The inside is actually a little doughy while the exterior is a little crunchy. It is the perfect texture situation. You just have to try them.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Neptune Oyster

What can I say about Neptune Oyster that hasn't already been said? Probably nothing, so this review is really just a way for me to remember what I've had for future purposes.

Long wait even at 2:30 on a Thursday

Warm bread served

Buttermilk Johnny Cake: fuck. Better. So good. Yes. The sturgeon tastes like tuna, except not like a vagina. Butter butter butter yeah! Butter under the caviar and a bUtter soaked cake. Turns out butter pairs really well with butter. One of the best things we've ever eaten.

Bee's river oysters ($2.90): Almost too salty, but so good
Totten inlet (Puget sound - $3.20): They got fucked up in transport, I guess. Some gooey shit happened, like a yeasty vagina, nothing like my wonderful PNW coast oyster experience in Seattle.
Thatch island ($2.80): Mm still salty. Almost gulf-ish. 
I tried having my oysters with a Guinness this time cuz I read that shit somewhere: Yes! Do this!

Anchovy cocktail: fresh anchovies, good, okay, whatever

Scallops: cooked perfectly, perfect flavor combo. Even way better than Island Creek. My wife said she'd never bother cooking scallops again. The pear butter and or baked brussels sprouts had a hint of lightly burnt marshmallow that mmph.

Lobster roll with mayo: A tiny but too much pepper, and when I'm criticizing someone on the nuance, that's a good sign. Tons of lobster, nice amount of mayo. Great buttered, lightly toasted brioche hot dog bun
Fries: Russell House kind of fries. Greasy
Garlic mayo: Whoa lots of garlic, still nice
Asked for pistachio aioli, really fun aioli

Neptune Oyster on Urbanspoon