Posts Tagged ‘thank you slashfood’

have it your way.

21 March 2009

with the opening of big daddy’s burger bar in december 2007, frank scibelli’s stable of restaurant franchises grew to three, preceded by mama ricotta’s and cantina 1511. after tackling italian and mexican cuisines, the newest concept showcases the most american of foods (if you don’t count hot dogs and, maybe, apple pies), the hamburger, and allows its patrons to create one specific to their individual palates. those previous restaurants make cameos here, as a hamburger with housemade mozzarella, pesto, vine-ripened tomatoes, and olive oil, and a black bean burger with green chiles, cheddar and monterey jack cheeses, avocado, and chipotle ranch appear on the menu.

while similar burger joints exist, i think this represents the best incarnation in charlotte. while they collectively allow one to choose toppings a la carte, big daddy’s competitors do so in such a confusing way that the meal invariably costs twenty dollars by the time one is finished ordering. in an effort to combat this sticker shock, big daddy’s menu contains more suggested combinations, thus one can select an entree and add or subtract a few ingredients without worrying about being surprised by the bill. the prices also include a side (french fries, sweet potato fries, house slaw, onion straws, tater tots, or housemade potato chips). on friday, saturday, and sunday, for an additional charge, they serve french fries cooked in duck fat, which doesn’t alter the flavor much; the change is more tactile, the fries are crispier.

i’m sorry that i’m one step away from sounding like a generic website — i just need to add something like, come join us on saturday nights when the patio gets jumping. before i change directions though, i should tell you that your options include beef, turkey, chicken, and buffalo, as well as portabella mushroom caps and black beans for those who prefer something other than meat.

there is another burger bar, located in las vegas’s mandalay bay and owned by hubert keller, where one can order a kobe beef burger named after a fourteenth century italian composer whose love for fine food was legendary. the rossini is topped with sauteed foie gras, shaved black truffles, and a madeira wine reduction on an onion bun. for your sixty dollars you also get skinny fries and, i think, a blowjob. luckily for those that cannot make it to vegas (or are sane enough not to drop that much money on a burger), i’ve found a recipe courtesy of saveur.


the case of the missing wine.

26 September 2008

after a long day of doing mostly nothing i made gnocchi with chicken and peas. i improvised on the sauce: milk, heavy cream, a block of blue cheese that needed to be used. it turned out pretty well as the saltiness of the cheese was diluted by the milk and cream. i’ve always had a knack for sauces, probably owing to my patience and meticulousness, rather than a knowledge of ingredients and their properties.

i decided to have a glass of wine (and soon after i was finished with that glass, the rest of the bottle). it was not in the fridge. like anyone in my situation (i say that to comfort myself, but, actually, i doubt it’s the case), i checked the garbage can and found my poor bottle of white wine, emptied of its contents and tied up in a plastic grocery bag along with the remnants of a six pack of light beer. my friend, though that term is becoming more frayed as time passes, drank it while i was away. i’m not particularly interested in talking about inconsiderateness, even though this is the person for whom i stopped eating nuts, for fear that i would accidentally bring something into the house that would lead to face-swelling and throat-closing, even when there was absolutely no chance anyone other than me would handle these groceries. i would alter my favorite recipes and check the panels of food containers to make sure someone hadn’t slipped in god’s only begotten nut a cashew or the sweet buttery kisses of macadamia or, and this was the worst for some reason, pignolia (yes, i mean pine nut, but i’m a proponent of not using the word nut as part of a nut’s name, like using filbert in place of hazelnut. plus filbert sounds like the name of that underdog uncle or cousin for whom you cannot help but root.) this is not what i want to talk about, because i will soon forget or forgive these injustices as i’ve forgotten and forgiven everything else. in short, if my heart were a nut, and if the size of a heart directly related to its capacity for forgiveness, then it would be a coco de mer. if my heart were an inedible nut and all that other stuff still applied, then it would definitely be this pecan in brunswick, missouri. (notice how having a twelve-thousand pound pecan only makes brunswick the pecan capital of missouri, not the world. at any rate, i think a road trip is looming. put the coffee on, mrs. james.)

what i actually wanted to write about here was the wine, which i researched after its disappearance, mostly so that i could be even more outraged. it comes from a region in california, between san francisco and los angeles, originally named el paso de robles, the pass of the oaks, which, in a decade, will be as well known as napa valley. the wine is named for another place in california, tres pinos, or three pines. the final spanish phrase on the bottle, tierra blanca, is not, so far as i can tell, a place in california. it is, however, the site of a major battle of the mexican revolution, where pancho villa overwhelmed jose salazar’s troops, who were more disciplined and had more artillery.

okay, maybe i don’t want to write much about the wine, because, honestly, how much can i write about wine i’ve never tasted (my sister determines a wine’s quality by the label: put a cute little fox or llama on the bottle (and charge $10 or less) and she’s yours).

instead i want to concentrate on this idea of oak and pine sharing the same turf. these trees were dichotomous, always at loggerheads, never growing beside each other, and the more digging i did, the more i learned about their uneasy shared history. to wit: during the american civil war a battle took place in henrico county, virginia. the two-day battle, in which both sides claimed victory, was the second largest battle in terms of casualties, about eleven thousand, up to that time. among the union soldiers it was remembered as the battle of fair oaks station, while the confederates called it the battle of seven pines.

from a tiny acorn comes a mighty oak. that is, keep stealing my wine if you want to experience northern aggression first hand.

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