Sunday, January 23, 2011

Four Lickles and Yahtzee



Some friends and I got together on Saturday eve to throw back a few adult beverages and to engage in heated Yahtzee death matches. I decided that this was an opportune time to inflict my Four Lickles on some willing (sort of) test subjects. If you haven't been keeping up, here is a frightening picture of the red and briny bastards.



I cracked open the jar in my hosts kitchen and within seconds the entire ground level of the house was filled with watermelon pickle stink. The smell spread quickly, I was reminded of mustard gas or some other vile implement of war.

I boldly began the testing phase by fishing out a Four Lickle and breaking it in half to get a looksy at the level of Four Loko/Food Coloring penetration.



As you can see the red Four Loko brine penetrated almost to the pickly core, implying that the creations would be fill of watermeloney, caffeine-y, boozy flavor. My merry band of compatriots each steeled their bellies, girded their respective loins, and fished out a worthy pickle. Here is a friend of mine bravely wielding his chosen prize.

Imagine sucking two or three watermelon Jolly Ranchers and then going to town on a gherkin and you will have a pretty good grasp of the Four Lickle experience. It was a slightly interesting blend of tart/fruit/sour/sweet/salt flavors, not altogether pleasant, but also not entirely vomitous. Being undeterred by the relative failure of the Four Lickles proper, we lined up a round of brine shots.



Proof of our courage, as if you needed it.



And that my friends, is that. The end of the Four Loko Pickle odyssey. Sort of anticlimactic as most of my experiments tend to be. I do have an idea that mayhaps will save the whole deal, does Four Loko Pickle relish sound pretty good to anyone? Anyone..?...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Mr. Dave Dog (My Semi Original Creation)



Lest you think I am being completely original here, let me start off by giving credit where credit is due. For this particular creation, I was inspired by the Ditch Dog of the Ditch Plains restaurant in NY. They do a hot dog covered in macaroni and cheese which seems to me to be a wonderful idea. So when I had tons of leftovers from my latest project (Capital Region Style Hot Dog Chili Mac Cheese), I thought I might try my hand at some hot dog wizardry.

I ventured out into the miserable weather (fist shake at the Upstate NY weather gods) and wrangled up a couple Stewart's Deli Dogs



I got one dog with sauce, one sans. Although there is hot dog chili inside the mac cheese, I thought a little extra might not be out of place.



I spooned on a hearty amount of the Hot Dog Chili Macaroni and Cheese onto both of the dogs and then finished with a dash of bread crumbs.



Macaroni and Cheese and hot dogs are a marriage made in heaven, this has been known for centuries. We have only further proof here with this creation which I have decided to adopt as my own personnel hot dog style, The Mr. Dave Dog (I also have a sandwich, The Hungry David).

The Deli Dog with the extra chili on it was better. It served as glue to hold the mac cheese on and also added next level hot dog chili flavor. Just looky here, as if you need further convincing that this gut wrenching little bastard was delicious.



That is all for now. By the way, I haven't forgotten about the Four Lickles. I am simply waiting for a suitable gathering of associates for a taste test so that I can get a varied cross section of opinions.

I Declare That I Have Invented the Capital Region Style Mac Cheese! (Hot Dog Chili Maccaroni and Cheese)

What happens when a pound of good ol' Upstate New York aged cheddar,



meets with a bottle of Capital Region Style Hot Dog Chili,



inside a tray of fairly vanilla mac cheese?



I declare that Capital Region Style Mac Cheese is created! Huzzah!



The idea for adding Hot Dog chili to baked maccaroni and cheese came to mind as I was discussing the infamous Chili Mac of Army DFAC fame with a buddy. Anyone who has thrown on the old green pajamas for any amount of time will be familiar with this chow hall staple (I think they still even make it in MRE form). Anyhow, I thought that putting the hot dog chili straight onto noodles might be a little plain, so I went with the mac cheese concept.

I started with my usual, fairly standard, bechamel + cheddar maccaroni and cheese recipe (i.e. not that different from what you might find on the back of a Ronzoni box). I don't really have too many secrets to making mac cheese. I do cook the roux a little more than many might (it adds a pleasing nuttiness), and I always add about this much dried mustard powder-



I find that dried mustard is a very crucial ingredient and I was a little heavy handed with my dosage this time to play to the Captial Region dinky dog theme. I kind of folded the jar of Charlie's sauce into the pan of noodles as I was going for veins of chili throughout the dish. I thought that throwing it straight into the bechamel might make for an unappetizing color and appearance.

I topped with more shredded cheese before baking.




Does anyone else, when shredding cheese, decide that the little nub that is left at the end (when you have come to the point where you are worried about shredding your knuckles) is the angels share and should be immediately consumed?



Anyways, the whole mess went into a 375 oven for about 39 minutes. It came out a little less brown and crunchy than I am accustomed to, I attribute this to the added moisture from the hot dog chili. Notice the pools of red grease (nectar of the the hot dog gods which our forefathers worshiped in strange ceremonies behind closed doors), so characteristic of Hot Dog Charlie's particular sauce.



With bated breath I dug out a corner spoonful (my favorite) and threw it on a plate.



Folks, this was very, very tasty. The Greek spice profile of the Hot Dog Charlie's sauce seems to be accentuated in this application. The Capital Region Hot Dog Chili Mac Cheese has a kind of Pasticho feel to it. You get a vinegar tang with a punch of onion that perfectly accentuates the sharpness of the aged cheddar. I would make this again, and I think that you should try it too. Mayhaps this dish will be my legacy, a gift to the future.

By the way, just wait until you see what I plan on doing with the leftovers. Mu. Ha. Ha.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Double Brown Sandwich. Mr. Dave's Unoriginal Homage to the Obvious.



After imbibing 2 or 3 adult beverages over the course of my Saturday evening, I woke up with an especial jones for greasy food. I am by no means a regular McDonald's consumer (you can read about my first Big Mac here) and it struck me that I haven't actually sat down in one of the joints since childhood. I decided that it was time to reconnect to the golden arches. I get strange masochistic urges to punish my gut on Sunday morns, don't ask me why. Today one of my little ideas struck me while I was ordering.

What do you call the bastard child of 2 hash browns and 1 egg McMuffin? I call it the "Double Brown." This may not be the first go of this concept, if you are the true inventor, come forward.



The whole KFC Double Down thing went down during one of my myriad blogger hiatuses, so I spared you all my own brand of commentary. I am sure the plethora of imitations/discussions/bad jokes that hit the internets was enough for you. So this is my delayed contribution, a sort of breakfast version of the Double Down.



Aside from being kind of a bad and obvious joke, the Double Brown wasn't half bad. Your fingers get a little greasy, but it is a suitable way to inject a hearty amount of fat and carbs into your gut. I think you should try one.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Interesting Burgers of Deleware Ave.

After hearing many good things, I went over to the Wine & Diner on Deleware Ave. for a little dinner



I apologize for the shoddy photography, but lately I am of the mind that it is sort of rude to spend a nice dinner at a new place snapping away pictures and whatnot. Hence I haven't been doing too many restaurant "review" type posts. A food critic I am not. I do sometimes find that I have the urge to share when I locate an especially interesting menu item.

First we have the "Macaroni and Cheese Burger," photographed here at my house cold, and in leftover form. The burger title is pretty straight forward, i.e. it is a burger. With macaroni and cheese.



The W. & D. did a very good job with this sandwich. Nice toasty bun, cooked medium rare as I requested, and topped with flavorful mac cheese. However, I will still say that you have to cross the Normanskill for the penultimate ridiculous burger offered on Deleware Ave. You will remember the "Deep Fried Buffalo Burger" I told you about from Swifty's in Delmar. Here is a picture to refresh your memory (although some of you may have never forgotten).



Anyhow, the second menu item of note that caught my fancy was the fried Brie appetizer (I shamelessly shot this photo after having consumed a piggish portion all by myself).



You get three large wedges of fried brie served over a balsamic reduction. For the 8 or 9 bucks they were charging, I was astounded by the large amount of brie served. I would have been satisfied with a single wedge. I thoroughly enjoyed this appetizer, my only critique would be that it might not be out of place to serve a cracker/crostini/bread item as an accompaniment (you get the fried cheese, reduction, and a plate). Luckily, I had also ordered a hummus (very good as well) appetizer, so I used some of the tasty pitas from that to scoop up melty fried cheese.

I am kind of excited about the W. & D. I appreciated the whimsical and varied scope of the menu, the decor was nice, the service friendly, you can get a drink, and to top it all off, while not being necessarily a "family" restaurant per se, they seem to be pretty toddler friendly. I didn't get any death stares about the ol' Giblet monster and they have a children's menu. I look forward to subsequent visits. I saw a hanger steak w/chimichurri that I wouldn't mind trying, also a bunch of interesting vegetarian options (dal and some sort of harissa veg medley). Give it a whirl, the place is very reasonably priced to boot.
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