Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cooking With Jenny: Chinese Hot Pot

Disclaimer: For those who just recently started following the Hungry Heretic you should know that although I love food and I love cooking, I am no professional chef. In fact, the majority of the dishes I make (and share with yall) are my favorite recipes because they are both tasty and easy to make! That being said, this blog is not a tutorial for a pro chef, merely a means of sharing fun and easy delicious recipes (and restaurant reviews of course)! 
Now that that's out of the way, on to chinese hot pot! Growing up, my dad used to make this traditional chinese soup about once a month, and it was my absolute favorite dinner he made. I've included his recipe below, but I made a little last second chinese hot pot of my own the other day that veered away from his recipe a bit. For my recipe I used 1 onion, 1/2 a green cabbage, 1 can of oyster mushrooms, hot pink flowery fish cake from Hong Kong Food Market, instant pho paste, "better than bouillon" chicken soup paste, and udon noodles. But if you'd like to make this dish I'd recommend following my dad's instructions! 
Chinese Hot Pot Recipe by Alan Sklar: 
1.In a wok or if you do not have a wok then in a large pot, bring several cups of vegetable or chicken broth (using bullion cubes or packets of powdered broth) to a boil.
2. Once boiling add mix in one or two raw eggs.
3. You can put in hot sauce and/or Maggi Sauce for better taste.
4. Then add and cook in the broth all or any of the following:
Bok Choy (baby or otherwise)^
Broccoli^
Carrots^
Napa Cabbage*
Ginger (cut into small pieces)
Garlic (cut into small pieces)
Mushrooms (of all kinds)
Onion
Snow Peas
Scallion
Fish Cakes (from Chinese store)
Chicken/Tofu
Dumplings (from Chinese store)
Any kind on Chinese noodles»
^ Put in first so it cooks through.
* Put in towards end of cooking so it does not get too soggy.
» Goes in to cook at very end --  after you have served first helping.


Below is a sped up video of my hot pot preparation as my first video installation for the Hungry Heretic! I hope yall enjoy it, all feedback is welcome! 
video
If the video doesn't load you can watch it on youtube- Hungry Heretic: Chinese Hot Pot.  Enjoy!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Viewer Poll: Video Blog Posts

I recently had the privilege of meeting Michael Dunaway, a director who's producing & directing a documentary on food in New Orleans (but that's another blog post all together). During our 2 hour conversation about food, writing, New Orleans and the like, he inquired what I ideally would like to do with my life, a typical discussion post graduation. 2 beers into the conversation and with little else in my belly, my answers became more and more honest. When discussing whether I'd like to continue writing about food I found myself saying that I'd rather have a television show.  To be honest, I was even surprised to hear my own answer. But Michael was thrilled to hear it and convinced me to give it some thought. Though I think it would be awesome to be the next Rachel Ray/ Anthony Bordain, I'm pretty sure this pipe dream is far out of my reach. But nevertheless, I've been entertaining the idea of starting short video blog clips (the director's idea) to go along with my regular posts. 
At the moment I don't have any idea what the theme or concept of the video segments is going to be, so I'd like to hear my readers' input! What do you think I should dedicate these short clips to? Are you opposed to the idea all together? Should I make the clips non-food related, dedicating video time to crafts and household tricks (like Martha Stuart)?  Or would you rather see footage of the restaurants I review? Let me know what you think! 

Redemption, New Orleans Style

My new article for MyNewOrleans.com, Redemption, New Orleans Style just came out. It focuses on Redemption, a new restaurant in Mid-City that I was dying to go to for months! Lucky for me, one of my Birthday surprises was lunch at this beautiful restaurant.

Here are some pictures to peak your interest:
The yellow lighting will make much more sense if you read the article, I promise!
See how I like these Prawns del Lago
Or this lovely house Redfish special
And these lamb lollipops! 
Check out all this and more here: Redemption, New Orleans Style, Enjoy!

Redemption on Urbanspoon

Friday, July 29, 2011

Never Before Seen Pictures!

If you want to see never before seen pics all you have to do is "like" my page on facebook: HungryHeretic and ogle at the many photographs that fill my photo albums! Here's a sneak peek of what you may find:
The coolest beer bottle I've ever seen. Wen I saw it at Martin Wine Cellar I knew I had to buy it. Viru Beer is a pilsner-style beer from Estonia, cool right?! It looks better than it tastes, but for 2 bucks it's totally worth it. I kept the bottle to use it as a little flower vase!
Here we have the largest specialty supermarket I've ever been to. Restaurant Depot has everything from styrofoam boxes and to go bags, to huge packs of fresh herbs and produce. 
This is how big their carts are, its like gourmet Costco!
The only catch is you need a Louisiana business licensee (or 591C3 non profit papers) to get a membership card. 

All you have to do is "Like" HungryHeretic on facebook to see more! Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Banh Mi Paradise

My new OffBeat Magazine article: Banh Mi On A Budget is out, and boy do I have some pictures for yall! The captions explain the basics, but the real info is in the article, check it out!

Here we have a gorgeous shot of the No. 1 "French Cold Cut" Banh Mi from Dong Phuong Oriental Restaurant and Bakery.
The rice flour french bread discussed in Banh Mi On A Budget
The outrageous Dong Phuong menu, with 17 different types of Banh Mi! 
(Note the Buy 10, Get 1 Free sign!)
House-cured pork cold cuts at Dong Phuong. 
Pate and Aioli, which garnish most authentic Banh Mi po boys. 
The out of this world sweet sauces served on only a select few sandwiches. To find out which read Banh Mi On A Budget!
Instead of dressing these po boys with the usual mayonnaise, tomato, lettuce dressing, banh mi are garnished with traditional Vietnamese ingredients including: cilantro, jalapeno, cucumber and pickled carrots and daikon, Yummmmmmmm!
Chinese Sausage from Dong Phuong.
Vietnamese Sausage from Dong Phuong. It really looked and felt like a raw hunk of meat that was somehow preserved in a seemingly inedible manner. But it tasted really good!
No. 4 Chinese Roasted Pork from Dong Phuong, one of my top two favorites. 
Dong Phuong Oriental Restaurant & Bakery on Urbanspoon
Hong Kong Food Market, another Banh Mi provider that you can read more about in Banh Mi On A Budget.
Hong Kong Food Market on Urbanspoon

Change of Scenes! Banh Mi from Eat Well, the convenient store on the corner of Broad and Canal that serves incredible BBQ pork po boys.
Eat Well on Urbanspoon

Pho Nola's "NOLA Combination" Banh Mi. Spectacular.
Pho Nola on Urbanspoon
So if you want to find out more about these awesome vietnamese po boys check out Banh Mi On A Budget and let me know if I missed your favorite spot! 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mixology Mayhem

In case you were not able to attend Tales of the Cocktail, the mixology festival, which occured this past weekend at the Monteleone, you can still find a minorly-pretentious, extra delicious mixology cocktail in the city! For those who do not already know, “mixology,” or “molecular mixology” is the term for the art and science of creating cocktails. There are many watering holes in town that serve tasty drinks, but only two follow the mixology trend that is sweeping the nation, those being Cure and Bar Tonique

Cure is located uptown on Freret Street in a rather beautiful brick building. The high ceiling bar is quite striking on its’ own, but nothing compared to the vine covered courtyard attached to the cream colored building. Tonique on the other hand, is located on Rampart Street downtown, right across from the Louis Armstrong Park. It too is a brick building with tall ceilings, but unfortunately there is no courtyard to be found. Once owned, by the owners of Delachaise, Bar Tonique has similar decor even down to the chalkboard menus, which hang high on the brick walls. Both Cure and Tonique have rather large cocktail menus, holding recipes for strange new concoctions that seem to overshadow a simple gin and tonic.  
Each offers a miniature book filled with long lists of enchanted drinks. Tonique’s menu is organized in somewhat of a scientific fashion, placing their drinks into lists categorized by spirit. The bars similarly mimic the scientific theme with their strange manner of mixing cocktails, using droppers and tiny glass beakers to create their cocktail science experiments. With all the gadgets and knickknacks behind the counter, these bars almost look like old fashioned pharmacies, which makes sense for Tonique, who rumor has is it, originally wanted to be named Apothecary.  
These beaker-esque glass bottles hold things as commonplace as lime juice and simple syrup, and as rare as elderberry essence and orange flower water. They also utilize house-made basil and ginger infused simple syrup and have a raw herb supply that contends with a whole foods isle. Each bar garnishes their fancy drinks with these fresh sprigs of mint, spearmint, basil, and things you and I probably didn’t even know existed. 
This was a particularly fun article to research and I think I made the most of it. I happened to go to Cure during their fabulous happy hour, which serves 5 dollar simple cocktails from 5:00-7:00 every day of the week. Of course, I couldn’t pass up this awesome deal so I ordered one of their Pimm’s Cups, a classic drink that most gin lovers adore. As a gin enthusiast I was very pleased with my cucumber infused light and summery drink. Nothing about it really tasted all that different from the Pimm’s Cups I’ve had at other bars and restaurants, but it was quite good. Unfortunately, the happy hour cocktails seem to miss out on the crazy mixology add-ins, but they are still exquisite cocktails.
When I visited Tonique I knew immediately which drink to choose, their “Blanche Dubois” was calling my name. As a Streetcar Named Desire fan, they had me at the name of this cocktail, but when I read further, their menu description continued to steal my heart. Fresh strawberries, mint, Death’s Door gin, Senor Curacao, house-made orgeat, and lemon juice, definitely a “girly” cocktail (a name I hate), but I must admit that those are my favorite. The Blanche Dubois was delicious, subtly sweet and tart and perfect for a hot July afternoon. It also had a larger dose of liquor than I anticipated. Beware: it’s not as girly as it sounds, swig back a few of these and you will definitely be stumbling a bit. Aside from their fabulous Tennessee Williams inspired cocktail, Bar Tonique has just about the prettiest ice cubes I've ever seen. Granted, that is quite a strange compliment, but these large perfectly square, crystal clear cubes really did add some pizzazz to these cocktails.
Between Cure and Bar Tonique, there are not too many differences. Obviously their cocktail menus provide variety of different house-made concoctions, but both have such extensive menus that you really can find something you like at either bar. However, their drink specials luckily do not conflict with one another. Unlike Cure, which has a daily happy hour between 5-7, Tonique has a daily special of one drink a day that is discounted all day long. Wednesday is the only day that has a time restraint. Every Wednesday they offer 30% off select bottles for wine tastings between 6pm and 8pm, not bad. 
So if you’re bummed you couldn't attend Tales, head over to Cure and Tonique and order up some spectacular mixology cocktails!
Cure on Urbanspoon

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Salu: Small Plates and Wine Bar

I've been hearing about Salu, a small plates restaurant on Magazine, for months now. Most of the hype I've heard is about their fabulous Happy Hour special, which offers an entire pitcher of delicious Mojitos for just 10 dollars, Monday through Friday from 3-7. Their mojitos are really fabulous, but I wasn't entirely won over by the cuisine. I can't say anything about their paelle, but their small plates are a little hit or miss. One of their better mini dishes is the wild mushrooms with sherry cream. You will love this 5 dollar small plate if you are a fungus lover like myself, but it's definitely not enough to fill you up. 
If you're looking for something more substantial to eat with your pitcher of Mojitos the 7 dollar grilled skirt steak over brandy mushroom cream sauce is not bad. The texture isn't phenomenal, but the flavor of the sauce is good. 
The better option for meatier small plates is the 8 dollar chicken with spinach, roasted peppers and portobello mushrooms. Clearly Salu likes mushrooms as much as I do. 
Their fried food is where I was disappointed. When I saw duck and manchego flautas on their menu I was very excited to try salu's version of this lovely spanish dish, but when I finally took that first bite they tasted more like egg rolls than flautas. 
The 7 dollar empanadas had a similar issue, tasting more like pizza rolls than any empanada I've ever had. Seriously, it was strange. 
Nothing was terrible, but nothing was spectacular either (aside from the Mojitos). The real issue was the cumulative price for small portions of not so great food. These 5 dishes would be either a good sized snack for two people, or a filling meal for one. That being said, the total of the five dishes above was $32.50 not including, dirnks, tax, or tip. The drink specials are still incredible, but their food pales in comparison.  
SalĂș on Urbanspoon

Friday, July 22, 2011

Kosher Deli+Bacon=Yum!

Coming from a Jewish background, I am quite the fan of good old fashioned kosher Delis. You would think that living in New Orleans wouldn't give me many opportunities to indulge in this nostalgic vice, but you are wrong. This lovely city has two such Delis, one a legitimate kosher restaurant called Kosher Cajun in Metairie, and one faux kosher-"style" deli called Stein's Market and Deli in the Garden District. Though it makes my parents very sad, I much prefer the unkosher, bacon-serving version of these two restaurants. As if that's not bad enough, my favorite sandwich there is the Southern Animal Foundation (S.A.F.), which mixes milk and meat and has bacon... oops! 
This incredible sandwich is comprised of honey turkey, Nueske's bacon, avocado, cucumber, with your choice of cheese (I like Swiss) on wheat bread, yummmmmmm. Try it, you won't regret it!!! 
Stein's Market & Deli on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Creole Creamery

If you're like me, and you love nothing more than ice cream and strange food concoctions, go no further than The Creole Creamery. This may in fact be my favorite place in the entire city, which can be validated by the friendly staff. I like to show my face at least once a week, but when I'm feeling blue it tends to be around 3 times a week! My frequent visits are due in part to the fact that one of my childhood best friends works there (Hi Michal!). But I fell in love with the Creamery long before Michal started working there.

They serve up just about the strangest flavors you could think of. I thought their Fig & Goat Cheese flavor was odd years ago, but its seems they have only become more wild and crazy over time. Just this summer they came out with a Foi Gras flavor - seriously! And it was good. Due to the expensive key ingredient a sample of this exotic flavor is 50 cents, but honestly that's about all you'll probably want. It tastes incredible, but foi and ice cream are about the two heaviest ingredients I can think of, together they are a heart stopping, artery clogging mastermind, but pretty darn tasty. 

One of their classic flavors (and my 2nd favorite) is Creole Cream Cheese. When paired with their Lavender Honey (my #1 favorite) it is out of this world. But really all of their flavors are awesome! Even the alcohol infused ones. 
I'm such a fan of their newest flavor: White Chocolate Truffled Popcorn that I wrote a whole article about it for OffBeat magazine. Click here to check it out!  
So if anyone ever wants to take me out for a treat, you know where to go! 
Creole Creamery on Urbanspoon

Extreme Makeover: Website Edition

Now that the Hungry Heretic is getting more publicity I figured I had to spruce things up a bit and make my website nice and fancy like all my favorite food blogs... so with my limited knowledge and endless patience, I figured out how to make a page bar! As you can see, there are now pages which organize both restaurant and recipe by cuisine. I am planning to also create a tab that organizes restaurants I've reviewed by neighborhood, but that one may take a while. But that's only 3 more tabs and I can have up to 9 more!

So I need all of my trusty readers' help thinking up more idea of what to put in my fancy new site. Here are some examples yall can vote on: "Photo Gallery"- of the best pics I've taken, "Favorites"- Restaurants/Bars..., "Mishaps"-photos and mini descriptions of food gone wrong, "Contact", "Guest Blogging Corner" (where any of my readers can submit their own food discoveries)... there are so many options! If yall think of anything crazier/funnier/trendier/etc let me know and I'll use your idea!

So the next time you're bored in traffic you know what to think about. You can tell me your ideas by just commenting on this post (on blogger or facebook), tweeting it to me @hungryheretic or email me @ hungryheretic@yahoo.com!

Happy Eating everyone!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Jamaican Vibes Restaurant

For those who don't know me well, I have a guilty pleasure to share with yall. I LOVE Reggae, all things Jamaican, and of course, Bob Marley. This rasta love began when I was a small kid playing with my mom's old tape player. Among the piles of old terrible albums I somehow managed to find a Bob Marley tape from the early 80's. From then on I've been hooked. The rhythm and soft melodies trapped in Rasta lala land, and to be honest, I never want to escape.
Along with my love of Jamaican music, my taste buds have followed suit. As someone who adds hot sauce to already "spicy" dishes, Jamaican jerk is one of the few things that is spicy enough for me and still maintains a really good flavor even with that extreme kick. So of course, on our way back from Florida we HAD to stop at Jamaican Vibes Restaurant, an unassuming shopping center eatery located in Mobile, Alabama. As soon as we walked in I knew I was in good company. Between the Bob Marley music, and the many pictures of the man himself, it was clear that the owner and I have similar interests. When I went to the counter to order the friendly man behind the counter took the menu away and asked me one important question, "Do you like spicy or seasoned? " (seasoned being the nicer word for you cant handle the heat!). Without hesitating I answered spicy and he told me to sit down and he would take care of everything. For future reference if anyone ever says this to you, just say yes (unless you have dietary restrictions). The chef knows best, if he tells you to order something, get it!
As I waited for my surprise meal I sipped on some incredible Jamaican juices and listened to the soothing reggae, my kind of afternoon.
Within minutes I was staring at a feast of jerk chicken, rice and beans, cabbage, corn bread, and a delicious sweet and spicy sauce. Everything was fantastic, and there was so much food! Definitely enough for two meals, and it was only 10 dollars! I cannot recommend this place more, it was fantastic. Relaxed, easy, affordable, and though the word isn't used often to describe restaurants, it was HAPPY!

Jamaican Vibes Restaurant on Urbanspoon