March 2010

Quick Bite: Manny’s Uptown Mexican… in Addison.

We dropped by Manny’s Uptown Mexican Restaurante in Addison (across the street from Snuffer’s on Midway) to enjoy the patio weather and some lunch. Comida? “What’s Spanish for “lunch” I know milk is leche…?” (That’s a bastardization of a movie quote – good luck guessing that one.)

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^We enjoyed the Brisket Queso; ^CK got the #11 – I happily devoured a bite or two.

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^I went with the Two Beef Burritos: ^They came with one Sauce and I added another: the Tomatillo, and the Pica-Pica – a nicely fiery and flavorful choice, mealy with dried red jalapeños. Pretty good stuff, I’ll be back. They have half a dozen other interesting sauces… the Chile Vinegar is calling me.

Manny's Uptown Texmex on Urbanspoon

The Macaron Post

I made these:

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So there. 

Recently a little post over there on SideDish featuring some well-intentioned (but rough-hewn) examples of this classic french confectionery sparked a rather entertaining debate (and here) on whether one is to pronounce them macaron or macaroonThomas Keller, Pierre Hermé and I say macaron. Whatever – it inspired me to dig out this story, one that I held from posting.

A few months ago, my friend brought me back a dozen macarons from Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery. I'd never really had a good one before, I guess – 'cause I was floored by the incredible textural experience and almond laced flavor of these little buggers.

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As a fun way to thank my friend, I learned how to make them!

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^ A key part of the process is to "age" the egg whites needed for the batter – that's right… these sat out at room temperature for 24 hrs. ^Then you need ground almonds or "almond flour."

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^ For the classic pistachio macaron, ground pistachios are added along with the standard confectionary sugar. ^ Here, additional granulated sugar is tinted green with food coloring to enhance the appearance of the final product.

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^The colored sugar is whipped into the egg whites; then these are incorporated with the almonds, pistachios and confectionary sugar. 

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^ For a "cappuccino" version of the batter, I added ground espresso beans to the sugar and omitted the pistachios.

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^I found out that I didn't have a pastry bag – so I did the baggie trick – meh… imperfect rounds – even after the obligatory smacking down of the trays.

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^All this trouble and precise baking are in aid of producing these little "feet" at the bottom of the cookie. I kind of over-achieved on this batch, but the crisp shell and moist, airy interior were well produced. Traditionally, a filling of ganache, buttercream or jam is sandwiched between two cookies.

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^I made some blueberry buttercream to fill some of the coffee cookies; ^and a pistachio buttercream for that type.

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^I also made a violet buttercream for some of the pistachio cookies – awesome. Far from perfect, but not too shabby!

Banh Xeo at Nam Hua Vietnamese Cuisine, Garland

I love me the Vietnamese food. Phở is often the cure of the day, but delving deeper into the cuisine offers further delights. A great place to experience these is Nam Hua in Garland’s Saigon Plaza.

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Sure they have a nice phở (and sometimes you really need a nice phở):

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Chanh muối, a kind of salted Lime (or Lemon)-ade. ^And these delicious Grilled Mussles – with cream cheese and scallions.

But I’m here for the Banh Xeo.

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Bánh Xèo means “sizzling cake.” It’s a savory rice flour pancake/crepe/omlette with pork, shrimp and sprouts. You wrap it up in lettuce leaves and dip it liberally in Nước chấm - a sweet and acidic fish sauce. Frickin’ good.

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Ask for the translation of the back page of the menu for the goods. Enjoy!

Nam Hua Vietnamese Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Above the Fray: Chef John Tesar’s Food

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While I wait to be able to tell you what I know (and why I am excited) about what Tesar has up his sleeve – I thought I would remind everyone about a certain detail lost in the vitriol backing up the local blogosphere: Tesar can cook. Here is some of the food I enjoyed during his previous stint in Dallas:

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Here's hoping we will have this stuff locally again, soon.

Mansion Noir: Sexy Food in the Shadows. Bruno’s Charcuterie.

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I was once again slinking around the bar at The Mansion recently…

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LK and I sampled some of the tempting new cocktails under development while chatting up chef Bruno Davaillon. When I asked what was new, I was well rewarded:

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^ Charcuterie from Bruno’s family recipes. Nothing went to waste from this little piggy – and not a morsel remained on this plate.

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^ That Thursday, after enjoying Somm Michael Flynn’s Wine Chat, I was able to enjoy the Head Cheese once again, this time with Black Truffles; along with a little Squab, Foie, and Duck with Sunchoke and Truffle Purées. …Damn…

Savor tha Flava. Quick Pics: Savor Dallas 2010

I was able to run by the International Grand Tasting portion of the 2010 Savor Dallas event last Saturday night. After a maddening parking adventure, I made a mad dash to take some snaps, sample some of the goods, and chat with some of my chef pals. Then I found Jay Liddell at The Macallan table and became distracted discussing the Mac 18, for the umpteenth time… no matter – here are just a very few bites from the over 60 restaurants participating.

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^ A Pork Belly dish by Estevan Galindo, Hattie’s Restaurant; ^ Grilled ‘Mongolian’ Lamb Chops, Hunan Eggplant, Chili-Mint Vinaigrette – Sara Johannes, Five-Sixty by Wolfgang Puck.

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^ Dali Wine Bar chef Joel Harloff and his Wild Boar Orecchiette dish.

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^ From Suze Restaurant‘s Jeffery Hobbs – Steak Tartare and Grilled Cheese. I want a jar of this relish.

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^ Paul Peddle of Pyramid Restaurant at the Fairmont served this Duck presentation.

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^ The guys from Kenny’s Woodfire Grill in Addison served up a ton o’ Ribs; ^ Here’s The Second Floor Bistro Exec. Chef J Chastain’s Asian Beef Short Rib.

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The ladies from Empire Bakery and the delightful Paula Lambert of Mozzarella Company; and her delicious Cottage Cheese.

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^ The gregarious Pascal Cayet of Lavendou offered Lobster Bisque and Escargot en Croute.

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^ Ceviche by Dallas Fish Market; ^ and a Beef Carpaccio dish from Dallas Chop House‘s Kenny Mills.

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^Bolsa‘s Bleu Cheese stuffed Dates with “Zip Code” Honey; ^ and a bite from Kenichi.

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^ From Bruce Ross of The Tower Club: Cauliflower and Horseradish Panna Cotta with American Sturgeon Caviar; ^ and La Duni‘s Cuatro Leches Cake.          

Check it: Bacon Jam. Yes, Bacon Jam.

A couple weeks ago I couldn't help but note two references to Bacon Jam on facebook during the same day. I think one mention was by my pal Claudia Young, an excellent eater – the other from a former Top Chef contestant. Eventually I gave in:

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A quick Google yielded some ideas. I did some picking and choosing and came up with a plan.

I diced some thick-cut applewood smoked bacon and sautéed it in butter with some shallots. After the shallots caramelized I added garlic, brown sugar, sherry vinegar and Sriracha. Then some chicken stock…

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That cooks down for a while – then goes in some espresso! Man, the house smelled – decadent.

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This stuff is crazy good! I leave it to you to figure out what to put it on – I ate most of it straight from the jar! Caramelized pig parts iz goood.

UPDATE: The dish Claudia mentioned that started all this was: sweetbreads, candied kumquats, bacon jam at craftbar, Atlanta. …Dang.