"I suppose there are people who can pass up free guacamole, but they're either allergic to avocado or too joyless to live."— Frank Bruni

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

terribly overdue list

UPDATE: I can't believe I left of Primanti-style sandwiches at Giordano Bros! We went there to watch the Steelers-Rams game and what an enjoyable time it was. Ginuwine memorabilia from the 'burgh decks the walls; stuff that only Yinzers would understand, like a Kennywood sign and photos of old-time players unknown to anyone less than a lifetime fan. As for the sandwiches - completely legit. We ordered the classic cap n' cheese (although at Giordano's it's just hot cap), with an egg, of course. The cap was spicier than G and I remember from actual Primanti sandwiches; a definite feather in Giordano's hat. The bread was thick and soft Italian white - just really really good dense bread (they source it from Italian French Bakery). The slaw, however, is less tangy than Primanti's. We also shared an order of wings, which were not as memorable as the sandwich. Everything was washed down with a pitcher of Stella and a pitcher of some beer that was local to western PA, but it was too hoppy or something for our tastes (we actually can't remember what we didn't like about it, but usually hoppiness is my complaint...that or a beer being too citrusy.) Lastly, despite being a bar, Giordano's is lovely and family- and parent-friendly when watching an early game on Sunday morning. On nice days, the windows are wide open onto the sidewalk and plenty of natural light floods the intimate space.
I think I've yet to write a List Wednesday post in 2012. My apologies. In an effort to catch up, and to pay homage to the items in this list and per the suggestion of my Ba, here we go again with a list of food-related items: what I ate during my trip home for the Christmas holiday! (I wish I had pictures, but alas, I do not. Use your imagination.)
  •  Christmas goose! My mom is always cooking up new things deliciously. For the first time ever, she roasted a real Christmas goose; one of the many courses of our annual Christmas Eve dinner. I say real because I've always thought of a 'Christmas goose' as something of yore - something I only either read about in Charles Dickens'-period pieces or in Christmas carol lyrics. The bird was much leaner than a duck and the meat was rich in flavor. Indeed, a successful, valid and scrumptious first effort by Ma.
  • Coconut and Thai basil sorbet from Scream! This was hella good. I paired it with a scoop of saffron almond, which was incredibly creamy and toothsome despite being dairy-free. But back to the coconut/basil: it was damn refreshing and contrasted well with the almond. Both the coconut and basil flavors came through. I couldn't help but imagine it to be excellent in an alcoholic, blended libation. Tasted like summer! An excellent Temescal suggestion from Ba.
  • Cheese from Sacred Wheel Cheese Shop! You could smell the appetizing aromas of soup and hot cheese sandwiches from the curb outside the corner shop. We got 2 kinds of cheese; I can't remember them, but one had a honey-flavored rind, and hence had subtle honey notes. (Clever! So you don't have to dip the cheese in honey!) Yeah, this shop was totally a nod to gentrification (like anywhere else that sells McClure's pickles), but I look forward to trying their sandwiches and soups someday. Another tasty Temescal suggestion, Ba.
  • Falafel and samoosas from Oasis Market! My family has been making regular stops into Oasis for some years now since its opening primarily for their meat (lamb, merquez sausage), but also for their hot prepared food. I've, however, never had their falafel or their samoosas (not a typo, that's what their signs say in the store; according to Wiki, it's also an acceptable alternative name for samosas). They were excellent: hot, flavorful, crispy in all the right places. I look forward to my visits to Oasis every time I go home.
  • Torta in Concord! If I recall correctly, it was at Los Rancheros. I had a steak torta and it was huge! Complete with avocado, lettuce, tomato, queso blanco, and probably other stuff, it was satiating - I was only able to eat half and you know how I love me some steak-n-avocado sandwich!
  • Burmese at Mandalay in the Inner Richmond! This place was craycray the night we went for our Sibling Dinner. Many guessed it was probably because the other good Burmese restaurant (SuperStar?) was closed so Mandalay got the flowover clientele. Besides standard fare like tea-leaf salad, we got their Rainbow Salad (I appreciate how the waitress explained all 20 ingredients to us before tossing it), and other stuff I can't remember now. But I do remember I enjoyed the meal, despite having to wait way too long even though we made reservations online (not suggested if making them after 530pm).
  • Kouign amanns from Modern Coffee and Pizzaiolo! Thanks to Tasting Table SF, I found that there were a few places in my neck of the woods that sold these flaky, rich, sweet pastries that were impossible to find in my Northeast Corridor stomping grounds until Dominique Ansel opened up his bakery last year. My search-since-2008 was finally coming to an end! Anyway, so Modern Coffee and Pizzaiolo were listed as places that I could get my hands on some kouign amanns, so my parents and I went. Modern Coffee only had one or two, so we cleaned them out then headed to Pizzaiolo to see what they had. They also had just a couple (at most), so we bought the rest of theirs too. Hot damn was Pizzaiolo a hipster-fest. It was like Portlandia+W-burg+Brooklyn Flea+wherever else threw a big moody-but-at-times-flowery party. To their credit, though, my parents were quite pleased with their to-go cups of coffee; Pizzaiolo brews Blue Bottle. (Another note: Pizzaiolo is a pizzeria but is open in the morning, offering coffeehouse stuff, including slices of bread served with various spreads.) BUT I digress... the kouign amanns were a bit cold by the time we got home so we heated them up in the toaster oven. They came out warm and still flaky, so so buttery and rich and perfectly sweet. They were quite an indulgent and densely satisfying treat. Thank you, Bretons!

...and there you have it! What a round-up. I had this post in draft pieces for a while so I'm glad to finally get it out. Also in the draft post were the following links of excellent new year lists from the Times:

74 Things New Yorkers Talked About in 2011
45 Places To Go in 2012

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