The List: Five Napkin Burger

September 30, 2009

Five Knapkin Burger

Burgers are no longer just burgers. Whether it’s been the economy playing a role or maybe even more the ever growing popularity of jazzed up comfort food, burgers have become the talk of the town. How can I be so sure…Enter Martha Stewart.

I’ve never really been a Martha follower but I know many that live and die by her recipes and suggestions. But when I heard that she was having a burger episode, I knew I had to check it out. With the likes of Daniel Boulud, Pat LaFrieda, and Bill O’Donnel (Corner Bistro) appearing to discuss their preferences in burgers, I knew this was more than just Martha. And man, was I pleasantly surprised to see Andy D’amico show up to discuss his Five Napkin Burger. A burger which I’ve been meaning to try for a long time…

I have been to two other Andy D’Amico restaurants (Marseilles and Nizza) and have loved them both. I have not however been to Nice Matin, the restaurant where his newest restaurant, “Five Napkin Burger” gets its name. The burger in question had been on the menu at Nice Matin, and with the spark of the new place, the quality had to be high. I finally made it to FNB last week and having seen the deliciously thick all chuck patty topped with carmelized onions, comte cheese, and rosemary aioli on the show, I wasn’t about to try anything else. That is until I saw this….

Five Knapkin Hot Dog

Are you serious! The Five Napkin Dog, an 8 oz kobe beef hot dog topped with mustard, cheddar, relish, tomatoes, onions, pickles and jalapenos was too appealing to resist. Luckily for me, I was eating with a few others who went for the burger. But back to the hot dog. I never order hot dogs at a restaurant. They are either puny and regular, or not really hot dogs. Sure I understand that a sausage is the same idea, but if you say hot dog, I want hot dog. This version was not only huge, it was delicious. With such savory all beef flavor without really any of the grease. You’d think after chowing down on such a big hot dog, you’d feel a bit nauseous. Not I; not even after I ate a third of one of the burgers.

Martha was dead right including the FNB on the show. This burger is thick, juicy and really delicious. And Andy’s suggestion that I remembered right at the last minute is spot on. He says they laugh when people reach for the ketchup. It sounds ridiculous right? It’s a burger, so put ketchup on it. Well give this one a shot with out because the combination of flavors is spot on. And just with the hot dog, the juiciness doesn’t end up as heaviness. The bun is a great compliment soaking up all the great flavors and the french fries are crispy and salty as the should be. The portions are great, the prices are reasonable and if you’re in the area, you have to give this one a shot. I’m sure the other options are great as well, but it will be tough to stray from their Five Napkin classics.

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Learn Something Food Everday: Eat More Fish?

September 29, 2009

carrots

LSFE: One of the biggest problems we face in our lives, is the day to day confusion and anxiety surrounding our food decisions. Grass Fed, Organic, Local, Conventional, Gluten-Free, Whole Wheat, Trans Fats, Vegan, Free Roaming, Omega-3’s, are just a few of the labels we’re being bombarded with constantly. Some would rather ignore it all in hopes that their faith will be repaid with quality product, while others believe no one can be trusted. But neither thought process is all that beneficial, to the individual or to the environment. Well, how can we possible know what is healthy for us and whether or not our ecological impact was high or low when so much we hear is contradictory. Well, I believe that the only way to eat well is to eat smart. And the more we know, the more confident we’ll feel navigating these tough decisions.

Once a week, I’ll be posting a “You Learn Something FOOD Everyday” discussion about some pertinent food topics. I’m not an expert, but I am an enthusiast. So join in on the conversation by leaving your comments and feel free to suggest issues that you find in your everyday food lives:

All Fish Are Not Created Equal:

tilapia

I hate to start off with a negative one, but this story was really the impetus for these postings. (Remember I promised this discussion a few posts back.) We’ve all been hearing the suggestions to eat more fish, and most of us have listened. Stories of Omega-3’s saving us from our health problems, and fish being the best source have been pushing Americans toward their local seafood monger more than ever. But in a theme that becomes all so clear (and even more obvious) not all fish are created equal. In this following study done at the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, the benefits of our fish heavy diets have been called into question:

The Tilapia Study

Maybe more recently the skeptics of farm raised fish have become extremely vocal. But would you agree that the reasons for their skepticism seem to never be discussed? At least not in detail. So do you know what is so different about farm raised fish? Well I didn’t truly understand it until a few months ago and it’s a bit disturbing. If not all, most of our farm raised fish are now being fed CORN. Yes that’s right, corn. And just like our beef, which are not fit to digest the kernels (although we feed them corn anyway), the diet is conducive to fast and efficient growth. Except, with this efficiency comes the major problem. As this study suggests, the diet may be leading to a high percentage of Omega-6’s instead of the healthy and beneficial Omega-3’s. Just like in beef production.

Now is the problem as big as the researchers have suggested? There is probably no definitive answer to that question. Comparing a tilapia filet to a 80/20 hamburger patty may end up being fair after more research has been done, but does that mean tilapia will kill you? And is that really a responsible comparison? It’s not to say you should never have a tilapia filet (I have never seen wild tilapia) but next time you go to your fish monger, maybe pick something else. That is until we stop feeding our farm raised fish corn.


Sunday Funday

September 28, 2009

Buffalo Chicken Tenders

I can’t tell you how much I love watching Football on Sundays. But I’ve never been a big fan of going to the bars for the games. I know it’s a little lame, but most of the time, I’d prefer sitting on the couch with a good beer and some homemade snacks. But I do miss the bar food…

Saturday night when I was making dinner, I realized I had bought too much chicken. Normally, I’ll cook the leftover chicken and use it for a meal or two during the next few days but then I remembered about Sunday. It was time for some homemade buffalo chicken tenders. Now I love wings just as much as the next guy, but anytime I’ve made them at home I’ve been dissapointed. I think when you make them yourselves, you realize how little meat you get for your efforts. But that’s not the case with the chicken tenders.

And why mess with proven success. I used panko bread crumbs for my tenders and pan friend them, tossed in a little Frank’s and paired with the regulars. This snack, some cold beer, and a few football games later, I was happier than ever to enjoy the games on the best seat in the house.


Mexican! Whoa Oh! Food Coma!

September 24, 2009

Mexican Food Logos

More and more I’ve been hearing the gripes on the Mexican food in New York. This may come as a shock to some of you, but apparently all those favorite places of ours, aren’t all that traditional. Despite having not been to Mexico, or much of anywhere for that matter, I guess I can sort of understand. I mean, when Anthony Bourdain says it, it has to be true right? He’s just as smart as the internet…

Traditional or the American version labels aside, I don’t know a single person who doesn’t love chowing down on Mexican food. It’s the ultimate comfort food, familiar and satisfying. I’ve mentioned my passion for Mexico Lindo before but this isn’t about the many restaurants that line the streets of Manhattan. I want to know what your favorite fast food mexican joint is? I have my favorite, but I’ll keep that to myself (wouldn’t want to skew the poll). And don’t just vote on convenience. If there’s a Chipotle in your office building (pretty soon there will be a chipotle on every block) don’t just vote for the regularity. And if you’re wondering why Taco Bell has been left off….we’ll have to have that conversation in private. Go Moe’s! I mean, good luck to everyone.


Seasonal Soups

September 22, 2009

Cabbage and Brocolli Soup

Like I said yesterday, you aren’t taking full advantage of your Roasted Chicken dinner if you don’t make a stock out of the leftover bones and meat. There are some great, and even affordable boxed stocks out there but nothing beats homemade. What I love about making a stock, is that by adding in ingredients outside of the traditional, you can really create unique and flavorful broths every time. This batch, I added fennel and some leftover mushrooms to add a bit of earthiness and complexity.

I’ve always loved soups but hated being disappointed with bland or overly salty store bought or even restaurant/deli offerings. That’s probably the reason I’ve grown so fond of making my own. And with the cooler nights upon us, nothing spells comfort like a big bowl of soup.

Taking some of end of the summer seasonal brocolli and red cabbage at the farmers market, I wanted to make something hearty enough for a meal. That’s when I spotted the grass fed ground beef which look unbelievable. Keeping the flavors simple to take advantage of that local beef, I made some amazing meatballs that worked perfectly with this soup. A little spice, a handful of basil, some fresh tomatoes, and my homemade chicken stock, this soup was ready to eat! I can’t wait to enjoy the leftovers.


Jeans and Sweater Weather

September 21, 2009

Roasted Chicken Dinner

Although the farmer’s market is still inundated with heirloom tomatoes and Mother Nature has decided to give us at least a few more warmer days, Fall is in the air. And I’ve always been a big fan of fall. Having played hockey my whole life and having cycled through college, the shorter days and the cooler nights have always brought out great memories and excitement. The smells, the colors, and the food all go together to make this my favorite season (although I probably have said that about every season) or what my friend calls “jeans and sweater weather”.

And what says Fall more than a Roasted Chicken. One of my favorite dishes to make and also one of the simplest, Roasted Chicken is a true test of a home cook. How well do the subtle flavors of the aromatics make their way into the chicken, and more importantly how well cooked is the bird are the two factors I always consider. I roasted this chicken with rosemary oil and lemon along with a liberal seasoning of some of my favorite spices. Pairing the chicken with kale and swiss chard as well as a mushroom “hash” made for an incredibly earthy and comforting meal perfect with some red wine.

And for those of you who don’t buy into the difference in chicken flavor from the mass produced Perdue versus the local free range variety, the Roasted Chicken is the best test. You will not believe the flavor that is packed into the more expensive bird. And just remember to use your leftover bones and aromatics to make a stock the next day ensuring the best bang for your buck! What are your favorite fall dishes?


My Favorite Comfort Food

September 17, 2009

Mussels!

There’s something about a big bowl of mussels that makes me so happy. Although not at all traditionally thought of, mussels may be my number one comfort food. Paired with a little pasta and some crusty bread, nothing goes better with a great beer or a glass a wine when you need something warm and delicious. Last night, comfort was on the menu…

One of the greatest parts about making mussels is the simplicity in making them great. Not only do the mussels take just a few minutes to prepare, they aren’t all that expensive (I got 2 lbs for $6). The preparation is routed in the broth in which the mussels cook in. I made mine with fennel, red pepper, garlic and onion along with a white wine seafood broth leftover from the poaching liquid I used last week. Other great additions are hot peppers, curry, and even a great beer. But ultimately, it’s the plump and juicy mussels that contribute so much flavor to the dish.

But make sure you serve them individually, to ensure you enjoy your mussels at a good pace. Otherwise you’ll eliminate conversation, put your head down, and make sure you get your share! They are just that good!


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