Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mr. Brainwash and Son Cubano

After a fun time exploring the works of art in Mr. Brainwash's Gallery in Meatpacking this past weekend, my girl Sam and I decided to grab a bite and I was craving the amazing Goat Cheese Croquetas with Honey Sauce at Son Cubano. 

{Goat Cheese Croquetas}
If you've never been Son Cubano, it has the upbeat vibe of Meatpacking but once you walk inside it feels like you've stepped into Havana, Cuba. You hear the cantador singing as you are greeted; and feel the ritimo of the dance as ladies are swept off their feet, only moments after finishing their sweet, succulent maduros. Son Cubano is definitely a great spot to check out, if only for their tapas. And I mean let's get real when you're going out to eat how can you beat good food and entertainment all wrapped into one?. 

{Their Shrimp and Mushroom Special}

Eggplant Stuffed Brie with Cherry Balsalmic Reduction

Elegance never tasted so good. These Brie Stuffed Eggplants with a Black Cherry Balsamic Reduction are the perfect way to class up your dinner for two or just you. They're super easy to make and even the culinarily challenged can pull these beautiful babies off with grace and ease.

I love eggplant and I had a last minute dinner party to go to on the Upper East Side this past week... The beauty of cooking and food is there is such freedom in it. There are no rules it's just a matter of some things go together well and somethings don't. It's kind of like dating and relationships sometimes the ingredients do not produce the best results but other times there's magic made. Although, I find cooking to be less complicated than relationships.

La Duree - Let them Eat Cake


{Versailles Marie Antoinette's Bed}

{Versailles Marie Antoinette's Bed}

{Versailles Marie Antoinette's Bed}


When I stepped into La Duree it was like I was transformed, I felt like Marie Antoinette. I was surrounded by my French Court who were waiting in line behind me, whispering amongst themselves with excitement; As I gracefully gazed upon each delectable treat carefully selecting only the best. 

"Madame are you ready" asks the clerk as I am suddenly brought back to my current reality.
"Oui" I reply. "I will have that one"
"Ah. Excellent choice Madame". He replies.

I anxiously return back to the Ritz Paris Hotel in Place Vendome where I was staying and hurry up to my room. I could not wait to savor every morsel of this amazingly beautiful confection. 
As I cut through each layer I am more and more surprised. 

The first layer a Rose Whipped Cream, simply divine. The second layer Strawberry Iced Eclairs with a Strawberry Cream  Filling. At he center of this massive pastry was an incredible pool of Raspberry Filling.  And the Final layer was a Raspberry Iced Doughnut with Vanilla Cream Filling. C'est magnifique!! Now I know why Marie Antoinette said let them eat cake. A cake this good I would gladly eat for a long, long, long, time. 

May Is Burger Month

May is Burger month and for me a great Burger is defined by 3 main elements:

The bun, the Burger Patty, and the toppings.

The bun is the glue that holds the Burger together. There is nothing like when you first bite into a juicy burger and you get that nice, firm, flaky, buttery, bite of bread. I like to use mini brioche buns or dinner rolls for my sliders because I like their texture and flakiness.

As for the patty, there's nothing wrong with the classic burger patty but what better way to celebrate burger month than with something a little new and different. I decided to switch up an American classic with a North-African twist by using a recipe for Kefta that has been in my family for generations.

Kefta is a very popular appetizer in North African and Mediterranean cuisine. Kefta are tiny patties made from ground meat, usually beef or lamb, and are packed with flavors of cumin, turmeric, paprika, onions and parsley. They are rolled in flour and lightly fried to seal in all the juices and amazing flavors. They are normally eaten by themselves but they also are perfect for making sliders.

Now let's be real here, what is a burger without its toppings? So we're going to sauté diced Vidalia onions and grape tomatoes in a little olive oil to make a succulent tomato- onion confit. Then we're going to julienne celery, cucumbers and chop cilantro to give our sliders a fabulous and healthy crunch; top it off with a little goat cheese and you have a Slider worthy of celebrating May's Burger month.

But we can't forget the sides. So to compliment our sliders we're going to fry up some sweet Vidalia Onion Rings and give them a little kick with some cayenne pepper. After such a delicious meal you can wash it all down with my signature GA Peach Milkshakes.

Burgers, shakes and onion rings an American classic with a new twist. Remember you always want to take that extra time to add a little dash of happiness to all your meals.
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