Sunday, January 17, 2010

Reckless Eating.... Done Dirt Cheap.

Last Sunday it was off to Boston for a day of gluttonous eating with Nolan, Dietz and Drew. We got an early start in Drew’s Hummer, and I was put in charge of holding the EZ Pass for the ride down (a duty which I took VERY seriously).

The first stop was Chau Chow City (Essex St.) in Chinatown for Dim Sum. The minute we rolled in, it was like “Assault Lunch.” We were encircled by 3 carts as we put our coats away, and 30 seconds later we had 8 items on the table. 2 minutes and 37 seconds later that number grew to about 15. The relentless assault continued until we had to firmly call an end to the madness.

Now it was time to enjoy some tea and assess the table. We had several different kinds of dumplings, fried shrimp, marrow bones, 6 unidentifiable but delicious things, sweet fried sesame balls, mystery meat (shrimp?) on sugar cane, pork & chicken buns, gyoza, sweet bean curd wrapped something, and other stuff. 15 minutes and 45 seconds into it, we were done eating. Our entire bill was $49.00.

We then sauntered around on the coldest day of the year (I broke out my "winter look") to different markets in the area, which were all pretty close together. We found one shop a little of off-the-beaten-path that was selling live turtles and frogs, among other things. There was also a gigantic market, where we spent about an hour wandering around in awe. I purchased a Chinese chef knife, a meat cleaver, and a cutting board (which we will discuss shortly). These places are incredible, with every meat product you could ever want and fish killed to order. While we were waiting in line I found little cakes in the shape of pigs for 99 cents. Naturally, I found these delightful and purchased a few. As I was paying, one of the employees from Ginza town on Forest Avenue walked in. He asked Dietz and I where we’d been, but I didn’t have the heart to tell him that Miyake has ruined Japanese food anywhere else for me…

We head to Somerville to stuff our face with Mexican food. Tacos Lupita (Elm St.) is first for pork tortas (messy and delicious sandiches, pictured below) and chorizo tacos. It is here that I begin to find out the hard way that having several large horchatas (spiced rice milk beverages) while on an eating spree can slow you down severely.

We then head over to Cantina Mexicana (Washington St.), which was kind of disappointing. They only had table service and the tacos were fairly bland despite being almost inedibly salty. The waitress amused me, however, when she dropped the check and THEN asked if we would like anything else. I'm pretty full at this point but we decide to hit one more spot.

Tapatio (Broadway) puts me over the edge. I order a carne asada burrito, another horchata, and a few tongue tacos for the table. Everything is delicious, but I'm in serious pain by now. I decide to go smoke a cigarette while Nolan spends 15 minutes waiting for the bathroom. After a quick trip to the liquor store, we decide to call it a day.

The ride back is very quiet, Dietz falls asleep while Nolan drinks an entire pint of Jagermeister. I get home and take the plastic off of my new cutting board, which then leads to me to believe that it is made from "vintage outhouse wood." It smells fucking awful. Granted, it only cost me 14 bucks (It did seem a little too good to be true), so I try washing it and then oiling it for a few days. Now my whole kitchen stinks, and I ponder throwing it away. This decision is solidified when Dietz tells me that there has been a problem with wood coming from China as of late being infested with dormant beatles.

Lastly, I'd like to share with you the product of the day, Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Deathmatch - An Alcoholic's Fantasy Land

Looking back on some of the drink lists we've had at Deathmatch, i'm still pretty blown away. I thought i'd share a couple of my favorites:

Deathmatch Last Meal - April 19th, 2009

The Wine: (More than 92 bottles worth if you do the math!)

*12 x Broadbent, Vinho Verde N/V
*Bellenda, Brut Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene “San Fermo”, 1.5l
*Bellavista, Brut Franciacorta Cuvée, 1.5l
*Perrier-Jouët, Brut Champagne Cuvée Belle Epoque “Fleur de Champagne” 1990, 3.0l (Jeroboam)
*6 x Lustau, Amontillado Jerez Puerto de Santa Maria “Almacenista Jose Luis Gonzalez Obregon” N/V
*Georg Breuer, Riesling QbA Rheingau Rüdesheim Berg Schlossberg 2004, 3.0l (1 of 30 Produced)
*Dr. Bürklin-Wolf, Riesling Spätlese Trocken Pfalz Forster Kirchenstück 1997, 1.5l
*St. Michael-Eppan, Sauvignon Alto Adige “Sanct Valentin” 2004
*6 x Bodegas Aragonesas, Campo de Borja “Coto de Hayas” Rosado 2007
*Estancia, Meritage Alexander Valley 1989, 1.5l
*Tramonti, Chianti Classico 2004, 3.0l
*Nicolis, Veronese IGT “Testal” 2001, 1.5l
*Poggio Amorelli, Toscana IGT “Oracolo” 2003, 3.0l
*Domaine Henri Perrot-Minot, Chambolle-Musigny Vieilles Vignes 1999, 1.5l
*Domaine Jean Chauvenet, Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru Rue de Chaux 2001, 1.5l
*Louis Bernard, Châteauneuf-du-Pape 1999, 1.5l
*Domaine de Vieux Télégraphe, Châteauneuf-du-Pape “La Crau” 1997, 1.5l
*Château Lamartine, Cahors Cuvée Particulière 2004
*Bodegas Alejandro Fernandez Tinto Pesquera, Ribera del Duero “Janus” Gran Reserva 1995
*Château Musar, Bekaa Valley 1999
*Hanzell, Pinot Noir Sonoma Valley 1990, 1.5l (Signed by Bob Sessions)
*Marchesi di Barolo, Barolo “Grande Annata” Riserva 1988
*William Hill Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 1990, 5.0l (Imperial)
*Librandi, Val di Neto IGT “Gravello” 2003
*Tenuta Il Poggione, Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 1997
*Ridge, “Geyserville” Sonoma County 1999, 1.5l
*Fauchon, Sauternes “Réserve” 1995, 375ml
*Foreau, Vouvray Moelleux Domaine du Clos Naudin 1995
*Wegeler-Deinhard, Riesling Spätlese Mosel-Saar-Ruwer 1990
*Friedrich-Wilhelm-Gymnasium, Riesling Beerenauslese Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Trittenheimer Apotheke 1989
*Fonseca, Reserve Porto “Terra Bella” N/V
*Château de Montpezat, Coteaux du Languedoc “Palombières” 2003
*Condado de Haza, Ribera del Duero 2001
*Mt. Difficulty, Pinot Noir Central Otago 2004, 1.5l
*Etude, Pinot Noir Carneros 2004
*2 x John Duval Wines, Shiraz Barossa Valley “Entity” 2005
*Niebaum-Coppola, Zinfandel Napa Valley “Edizione Pennino” 1999 (Signed by Francis Ford Coppola)
*Masciarelli, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo “Villa Gemma” Riserva 2000
*Marchesi di Barolo, Barolo Cannubi 2004
*Jean-Luc Colombo, Cornas Les Ruchets 1998
*Bollinger, Brut Champagne “La Grande Année” 1999

The Beer:

*G. Schneider & Sohn, “Wiesen Edel-Weisse” Hefeweizen, Kelheim, Germany, 20l (1/6 Barrel)
*St. Bernardus, “Abt 12” Quadrupel, Watou, Belgium, 20l (1/6 Barrel)
*Harviestoun, “Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12” Old Ale, Clackmannanshire, Scotland, 40l (Cask)
*Castle Eggenberg, “Samichlaus Bier” Doppelbock, Eggenberg, Austria, 3.0l
*24 x Geary’s, “Wee Heavy” Scottish Ale, Portland, Maine, 12 oz. bottles
*24 x Geary’s, Imperial IPA, Portland, Maine, 12 oz. bottles
*12 x Anheuser-Busch, “Bud Light Lime” Beer, 12 oz. bottles (F’n Spider)
*6 x Falstaff Brewing Company, “Ballantine XXX” Ale, 16 oz. cans (F’n Gerry)
*Lots x Pabst Brewing Company, “Pabst Blue Ribbon” Beer, 12 oz. bottles, 12 & 16 oz. cans

The Hooch:

Lillet, Apéritif Blanc, France
Cointreau, Triple Sec Liqueur, France
Cock-Russell & Co., “Boodles British Gin” London Dry Gin, England
Lucid, Absinthe “Supérieure”, France (we drank this out of Gerry's prosthetic leg)
Leblon, Cachaça, Brasil
Herredura, Tequila “Silver”, Mexico
Don Julio, Tequila “Reserva de Don Julio” Blanco, Mexico

Deathmatch Japan - March 7th, 2008

1x Daimon Shuzo, Mukune "Shadows of Katano" Junmai Ginjo Nigori, Osaka, Japan, 720ml
2x Echigo Shuzo, Echigo Hana-Bonbori Junmai Ginjo, Niigata, Japan, 500ml
48x Gekkeikan Sake, Zipang Sparkling Junmai, Kyoto, Japan, 250ml
1x Gekkeikan Sake, Black & Gold Junmai Ginjo(?), Kyoto, Japan, 720ml
1x Gekkeikan Sake (U.S.A.), Light Gekkeikan Futsu-shu, California, United States, 750ml
1x Hakutsuru Sake, Hakutsuru Japanese Excellent Futsu-shu, Hyogo, Japan, 720ml
1x Hakutsuru Sake, Hakutsuru Superior Junmai Ginjo, Hyogo, Japan, 720ml
1x Kaetsu Shuzo, Kanbara "Wings of Fortune" Junmai Ginjo, Niigata, Japan, 720ml
1x Kasumi Tsuru, Kasumi Tsuru Yamahai Ginjo, Hyogo, Japan, 720ml
2x Kiuchi, Kikusakari Tarusake, Ibaraki, Japan, 720ml
4x Kiuchi, Kikusakari Tarusake, Ibaraki, Japan, 900ml
3x Kiuchi, Kikusakari Asamurasaki Red Rice, Ibaraki, Japan, 720ml
2x Kiuchi, Kikusakari Kurashizuku Junmai Ginjo Usu Nigori, Ibaraki, Japan, 375ml
1x Kiuchi, Kikusakari Kurahibiki Daiginjo, Ibaraki, Japan, 375ml
1x Kiuchi, Gekkakow Vintage Junmai Daiginjo 2002, Ibaraki, Japan, 375ml
1x Momokawa, Silver Junmai Ginjo, Oregon, United States, 750ml
1x Momokawa, Pearl Junmai Ginjo Nigori Genshu, Oregon, United States, 750ml
1x Nanbu Bijin, Nanbu Bijin "Ancient Pillars" Junmai Daigingjo, Iwate, Japan, 720ml
1x Ozeki, Ozeki Karatamba Honjozo, Hyogo, Japan, 300ml
1x Ozeki, Osakaya-Chobei Daiginjo, Hyogo, Japan, 300ml
1x Ozeki Sake (U.S.A.), Ozeki Nigori, California, United States, 375ml
1x Ozeki Sake (U.S.A.), Ginjo Premier Ginjo, California, United States, 720ml
1x Saiya Shuzoten, Yuki No Bosha Limited Release Junmai Ginjo, Akita, Japan, 720ml
1x Saiya Shuzoten, Yuki No Bosha Akita Komachi Daiginjo, Akita, Japan, 720ml
2x Sasaichi Shuzo, Madoka Honjozo, Yamanashi, Japan, 720ml
1x Sudo Honke, Sato No Homare "Pride of the Village" Junmai Ginjo, Ibaraki, Japan, 720ml
1x Takasago Shuzo, Takasago Ginga Shizuku Junmai Daiginjo, Hokkaido, Japan, 720ml
2x Tatsuuma-Honke, Kuromatsu-Hakushika Snow Beauty Nigori, Hyogo, Japan, 300ml
1x Tatsuuma-Honke, Hakushika Yamadanishiki Junmai, Hyogo, Japan, 300ml
1x Tatsuuma-Honke, Hakushika Junmai Ginjo, Hyogo, Japan, 300ml
2x Yamamoto Honke, Genbei San No Onikoroshi Futsu-shu, Kyoto, Japan, 180ml
1x Yamamoto Honke, MizunoShirabe Ginjo, Kyoto, Japan, 720ml
1x Yamamoto Honke, MatsunoMidori Junmai Daiginjo, Kyoto, Japan, 720ml

32 Sakes, 16 Breweries, 16 Styles, 10 Prefectures and 2 States, 91 Bottles, 38 Liters

Monday, January 11, 2010

3 Things To Make Winter Easier...

If there’s one thing that I truly despise about winter, it’s shoveling snow. There are several reasons for this:

* We have a big driveway and lots of sidewalk and other shit to deal with.
* Contrary to popular belief, I’m wildly out of shape.
* I don’t actually own any “winter” clothing, which means I shovel in jeans, a wool car coat, and leather shoes. I just recently became the proud owner of gloves and a hat (see Montreal story).
* One time I was drunk and yelled at the city plow-guy and told him to go fuck himself, so now they make sure to leave an extra-large banking at the end of our driveway (sorry Dietz, but then again what were we doing out shoveling at 11 pm!?)

The one positive thing about the whole snow shoveling experience is that when I do something that burns 300 calories, I find that it's easy to justify going out to lunch and consuming 1800.

Here are 3 things I've discovered to make winter a little easier on us....

Menudo at Tu Casa (above)

Available on Sundays only, this is perfect cold weather food. It’s got a deep, earthy broth with yuca, corn, pig trotter, and lots of tripey goodness. Enjoy 4 Pacificos to help wash it down (it IS Sunday, after all!)

Pho at Saigon

I’ve had it several times, and each time it gets better. Many people say that they like it more than the pho at Thanh Thanh 2 (see several of my previous posts), and I would have to agree. The reasons for this are:

* The broth has incredible depth and you can really pick up on the cinnamon and star anise notes.
* The pieces of beef tendon are large,rich, and creamy.
* They serve saw-tooth herb, one of my favorite accompaniments and something I haven’t seen since Huong’s closed.
* The beef meatballs are the best I’ve had.
* They serve a dish of spicy sate on the side.
* They open at 9:00 a.m. so you can have pho for breakfast (this is a big one for me).

Soft Tofu Stew with Kimchi at Happy Teriyaki

It arrives at the table so friggin' hot that all you can do is warm your hands over it for about 7 minutes. During this period you watch the egg cook in the broth and repeatedly burn your mouth trying to taste it. It's well worth the wait - every time.

I would like to include an R.I.P. for La Bodega Latina. Though the market it still there (and is still great), the food is pretty much done. There was just nothing quite like a plate of ox-tails, pigeon pea rice, and fried plantains washed down with an orange Jarritos on a snowy day - we will miss you.

Friday, January 1, 2010

What Happened A Year Ago? Part One: January

In my usual style of labeling things "part 1" and never creating "part 2," I will tell you about what happened (or was about to happen) one year ago today....

After working all night and getting about 2 hours of sleep, I head off to Montreal with the boys from Local 188 for the now legendary “Teddy Bear Picnic.”

We make one quick stop on our way out of Maine to eat brunch, shoot guns, and drink mimosas - just to ease us into the mood for what's to come.

A few hours later I am confronted by Canadian border police and presented with my criminal record (“Can we speak with Mr. Ricchio please..”) After a “donation” of two hundred dollars cash, I am awarded a waiver and allowed on my way - crisis averted.

We arrive and immediately get to business - drinking and poutine. I finally buy a winter hat and gloves (which I didn't own prior to the trip) after Jay accuses me of being dressed for "Boca Raton."

The main focus of this excursion was our dinner at Au Pied de Cochon, which Jay and Matt not only treated us to but also let me do ALL of the ordering. As you would expect, I didn’t fuck around:

9 of us ate the following:

Foie gras Cromesquie (which we still lovingly refer to as “fun cubes”)
Venison tartare x 2
Foie gras poutine x2
Foie gras stuffed pigs feet
Duck in a can
Foie gras and apples x2
Foie gras and blood sausage tart x 2
Foie gras maki roll x 2
PDC “Happy Pork Chop”
2 whole roasted Guinea Hens
I think there may have been some salad, but I’m not sure..

We washed this down with 11 bottles of assorted Rhone wines (Gigondas, Cote Rotie, St. Joseph, etc.)

At the end of it all Chef Martin Picard, who wasn’t at the restaurant, randomly showed up and poured shots for the whole table. I think our server may have called him about the drunk and crazy assholes from Maine, and he had to see for himself. All in all, it was one of the best dining experiences of my life.
The entire trip featured epic debauchery – I had already been drunk for 2 months straight going into it. At one point I declared that I was “surprised at how much money I had left” right before I rolled into a strip club – where I proceeded to insist on having 2 girls at once for dances in a private room. An hour later I retracted my initial statement....

Of course there were the “M&M’s” and the "GET IN THE FUCKING VAN” incidents, but that’s another story for another blog (where you have to be 18 to enter). We finish the trip at Schwartz’s deli (for the second time) where we gorge on smoked meats and fries.

On the way back we find trouble once again at the border. I don’t think anyone was impressed with our inability to stop laughing while presenting our passports (I may or may not have been talking about kick-fucking prior to pulling up), and we were instructed to come inside. When asked if we were in “some kind of band like the Dropkick Murphys,” Spencer replied “That all depends, do you like the Dropkick Murphys?”
Jay creates one final incident on the drive back when he purchases about 300 chicken wings “for the group” when “the group” had clearly purchased their own food. Jay proceeds to attempt to eat all 300 wings out of spite and stops around 22.

I think I slept for a week when I got home...

Just long to enough to rest up for Burns Day!

With the aid of our real-life Scotsman, Garry, we set out to make Haggis and drink scotch until we could no longer stand. We were successful in all of these ventures – with a screening of Trainspotting to boot. I proceed to insist on talking (yelling) in my Scottish accent (which Garry says is “better than his”) for the rest of the evening and into the next day.

This pretty much set the stage for what kind of year it was to become....