Monday, February 22, 2010

Valentine's Food Night Preview

I know I'm in the minority here, but I cannot stand previews. Previews at the movies, previews on TV that show what's coming on the next episode of my favorite show "24", previews of anything that gives away anything more than a tease. I went to the movies last weekend, and the previews were 23 minutes long*. That's a bit excessive, don't you think? Previews have become the bane of my electronic media existence. I understand they serve a purpose in that they attract new viewers. They say "Hey, look how funny this movie is going to be" or "Hey, look at the scrum Jack Bauer has gotten himself into THIS time".

* Yes, 23 minutes. I timed it. Twenty. Three. Minutes. I think there is something like 23 minutes of content in your typical half hour sit-com. I can deal with and actually enjoy a couple of previews, but after one or two SHOW THE FREAKIN' MOVIE ALREADY!

Is it really necessary to give away so much during the previews? Less is more. Previews should be like the Amuse Bouche. A little statement that wets your appetite, teases you, shows you what's possible, but doesn't spoil your dinner. Last weekend I saw a preview for a movie with the Guy from 300 and Friends Gal and the jist of it was that they were lovers, but not anymore, and now he is a bounty hunter, and she has run afoul with the law somehow, and now he needs to haul her off to jail, and she hits him in the neck neck with a taser, and she wears short skirts, and he wears a towel as he's getting out of the shower, and he chains her to the bedpost, and she chains him to the bedpost, and the Mafia gets involved, and they get into this massive car chase, and AHHHHHH !!!!! Cripes, if I wanted to see such a ridiculous movie in the first place I wouldn't NEED to any more because I've seen everything there is to see! I've seen him, I've seen her, I've seen them, I've seen their dilemma. But of course what what I'm TRYING to see are 10 foot tall blue computer generated human/alien hybrids with tails battling rocket ships with bows and arrows while riding on the backs of monsters that they have "bonded" with via their special nervous system that extends out the end of their magic hair braid. Obviously.

Less is MORE. Show some restraint. Quality, not quantity. If you have a quality product, people will take notice, and they will come. Channel the Amuse Bouche. Wet the appetite. And people will come. They will most defintely come*.

* Wow. Is that a goose bump inducing monologue or WHAT?! That movie hits me right where it counts. Fathers and sons, James Earl Jones, "...and it'll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters". I could be wrong, but if that speech doesn't move you, or doesn't make at least one hair on the back of your neck stand on end, then there is something wrong with you, my friend.

What I'm trying to say here is.... previews suck.

So naturally, I give you... a Preview of the Food and Wine at the Valentine's Food Night! A preview done right, of course. A few photos, and a few words* to hopefully wet your appetite for subsequent posts. So enjoy the Amuse, and check back later for the Main Courses.

* As for the words, before continuing I suggest you find your inner Don LaFontaine. No really... click on the link. And turn up the volume. OK? Good. Commence preview Amuse...

"In a world, where people gather and bottles of spine tingling wines flow, like so many juice boxes at a Girl Scout Field Trip...."

"... and with that wine, various Food Stuffs descend from the heavens (or, Whole Foods)..."

"... and are transformed before your very eyes into dishes so shocking, they can only be described as.......... DEECE...."

"Only one group of dedicated, impatient souls would DARE open wines YEARS before their time..."

"Food Stuffs and wines and fabulous company like this can mean only one thing; another FOOD NIGHT has transpired, and is coming............ to your interweb machine!"

"Tyler is ready....."

Are YOU???.............................

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Calling all Valentine's Food Night Participants...

Before I begin documenting the happenings at the Valentine's Food Night, there is a little housekeeping I need to do. We are going to start a running feature here at Food Night. Those in attendance will vote for the Gold, Silver and Bronze Medal winning wines of the night. And you most definitely can vote the a wine that you brought. Additionally, participants will vote for their favorite food course of the evening. Won't this be fun?!


If you attended Food Night on 2/13, please cast your ballot in the Comments below for your Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal winning wines of the night. Then while you are at it, toss out what was your favorite course of the evening.

If you are having trouble remembering what we drank, here is a little reminder...

And if you need a refresher on what we ate...

In the future, we'll collect this information at Food Night, so as not to use up interweb bandwidth that could be used for far more important pursuits. Like this.

Thank you. Posts on Food Night details coming to your internet machine shortly.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

To the cook, go the Leftovers

Invariably, the day after Food Night my kitchen looks like a grenade went off at the Sigma Lamda Delta Alpha Beta kegger* on Halloween. And the worst part of it is not the dirty dishes, it's the fact that... aw, man... Food Night is over. Kind of like the day after Christmas when you were a kid. That day, and the day after my birthday, I recall being the worst days of the year. The mental hangover, the knowledge that you are a full YEAR away from the joy and jubilation those days bring, was always a drain that day after. But on the bright side, there were the toys you got to play with that lessened the disappointment. Similarly, the day after Food Night has it's own set of toys.... Leftovers!

* A kegger where the cheap beer is replaced with Priorat, Chateaunuf du Pape, Bordeaux and Chardonnay. Which happens from time to time, I'm told.

You remember the pickled tomatoes? Yeah, no leftovers there. Every one of those flavor grenades had it's pin pulled, so to speak. However, I couldn't bring myself to toss out the brine I pickled them in, so it sat in my fridge for a few days. And then I remembered that in that brine were some strips of meyer lemon peel. What a treat that was, to discover that after a few days, the peel had become really intense and bursting with flavors from the brine! Almost like a poor-man's version of the preserved lemon that Sameh garnishes dishes with at Saffron.* Leftover lemon peel. Who knew?

* Sameh and his restaurant Saffron deserves a post of it's own. I'm sure that'll happen. For now, please know that the preserved lemon he GARNISHES his dishes with is about the best thing you can eat. It's a foodgasm, and if I have to explain what that is to you, then just nevermind. And it he uses it as a freaking GARNISH. Yeah. Dude has some game in the kitchen. To say the least.

What we did have after the Truffle Food Night was leftover venison. And the sauce, the silky rich sauce. The chards of leftover venison and the plethora of sauce called for one thing; pasta. So after work one Tuesday night, I brought the venison back to life in a skillet full o'sauce, and then tossed it up with some goat cheese, chili flakes and cilantro.

Deeceness ensued........

One of the best things about braised meats is that the deliciousness factor of said meat increases as it chills in the refrigerator post-braise. Flavors intensify. Textures meld. Goodness is amplified. I don't know the science of what is occurring, but rest assured it is good (eats).

Just another reason to braise more meat.