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Burger King: Satisfries

In an unfortunate turn of events, I found myself at Burger King the other day. The whos, hows and whys aren't important.

That's not to say I have a philosphical problem with Burger King, or fast food in general. Everything in moderation. Eat what you like, and don't let anyone put you down for your taste.

That said, I sure as hell didn't like the new "Satisfries."

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The despicable theft of photos and recipes: on Facebook

Dont-shareYou've no doubt come across this type of theft, and perhaps even rewarded that theft, without realizing what's going on.

Like when your friend shares some sort of wacky video from some Facebook page with a name like "Funniest Sh*t Ever." That friend probably saw it on another friend's feed, who saw it on some other friend's, and so on.  Sure, the video is entertaining and probably worth a look/share.

But the person who created the Facebook page Funniest Sh*t Ever had nothing to do with the creation of that video. That distinction goes to the talented, hardworking people that actually produced that video. Often at some expense and always with some level of effort. And they deserve credit, in the form of a direct link to their content. 

The only thing the Funniest Sh*t Ever person did was take time to steal the video from YouTube, or whatever service it was put on by the owner, and put it on their Facebook page, urging every to "OMG this is so funny...have to SHARE!. I love working from HOME click my link to learn how to be the best mom." Not only time, but also effort; you are assured that you cannot "accidentally" steal a video from the internet. It takes a bit of know-how and it's never by mistake.

That person, is a thief. And a sorry ass, ta boot.

Closer to home, for me, since I am somewhat involved in the food writing and recipe creation world (don't snicker, it's sort of true...OK, so maybe it's more of an "interest" than "involvement"), is the ongoing and egregious theft of not only recipes, but photos, in the form of posts that contain someone else's recipe and photo, and suggest you "share share share." I am seeing this every day, and it seems to be picking up steam.

I'd say about 100% of the time, the goal of the thief is to drive traffic to their Facebook page, urging unsuspecting people to join some group like "Skinny Minnie's Diet," at which point they are very likely going to be sold something. More often than not, there is some sort of personal and financial advantage to getting people to "follow" or share the stolen recipe or join the page. Other times, I suspect, people are just lonely, and want the attention.

Examples of this theft can be found all over Facebook (and the internet in general). I found three in about 4 minutes today: 

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Ridgewood Jazz Feast: 2013

Winard Harper

The Ridgewood Guild and their partners and volunteers did a heck of a job with what was hopefully the first annual Ridgewood Jazz Feast this past weekend in Ridgewood. (Click here for 2014's event!)

Plenty of music and wine and beer and food to keep people very happy.  While I didn't eat any of the food, I did have a quite tasty rosé from Ventimiglia Vineyards.

Raymonds-fried-chickenRaymond's was offering what appeared to be very good fried chicken. Do they have this on their menu? If not it should be. And they should also offer chicken and waffles during brunch. I'd go every week.

Lisas1Lisa's Mediterranean was doing their thing.

Malee1Malee Thai

Stable1 Stable-meat

The Stable with meats on sticks

Lots of other restaurants had stands, including A Mano, Park West Tavern, Ridgewood Fare, and many which I forget.  There was certainly a good selection of food. I can't say the same about the beer, which consisted of Coors Light, Yuengling, and Blue Moon.  Standard distributor stuff. Maybe next year they can get a few local NJ brewers in there. Cricket HIll, High Point, there are plenty to choose from, and they could use the exposure more than Coors. Maybe I'll volunteer next year and get the beer sorted out.

The music was top-notch. I was sort of expecting cookie-cutter snoozy jazz, catering to boring white-bread Bergenites. But what we got were three incredible and well-regarded acts, spanning a wide range of jazz and blues.  The acts played over the course of what seemed like 5 hours. The lulls between bands were brief, which meant the music kept pumping almost constantly.

This was a well-run and organized event. Congrats to everyone involved.

Antoinette Montague kicked it off, backed by Band of Bones. Fantastic big band jazz.

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Fast food workers strike: make a burger at home

From what the TV box is saying, there's some sort of strike at fast food places today. What's a guy to do? Well I'll tell ya.

Get some short ribs and hanger steak (a winning blend), chop them up into smallish pieces, throw them in the freezer until they get a little bit frozen, grind them in your Kitchenaid attachment (coarse grind, one pass), and make your own damned burgers, you lazy pricks.

One of my favorite ways of making a single burger is to use a small frying pan, with a bit of oil or clarified butter, and a salted patty. The burger essentially fries in its own fat. A sear like this you will not find from many other methods.

Pickles, red onion, some ketchup, or "catsup," if you're very strange, melted standard issue American "cheese," on a toasted brioche, and you've got the best damned burger that you've had all day.

Get to it; the strike might end soon.


Dry aged burgers: so easy, with some scraps

A while back I made dry-aged burgers using the obvious: dry-aged beef. I concluded a few things from this experiment:

1) it is expensive
2) there isn't as much dry-aged flavor in dry-aged beef as you'd think

The second point was something that I had been thinking about, as it related to the steaks you get at Peter Luger. I'm of the opinion that much of that dry-aged, funky flavor is from that butter/tallow mixture that they use. I have to think they are using scraps of dry-aged beef and fat, the really tasty stuff, along with butter, to make a very potent sauce, which they then cook your steak in and serve your steak with. An earlier experiment to supported this theory yielded good results.

But that excellent steak didn't solve my dry-aged burger challenge. However, it certainly lead to some ideas.

The first approach, which I've been using for a while, is to ask my butcher, Sal, at Westwood Prime Meat in Westwood, NJ, to put some of the dry-aged "odds and ends" into his already excellent ground beef. Surely this is what they do at Peter Luger. This has lead to some fantastic and work-free dry-aged burgers at the t:e headquarters.

A recent burger went and looked like this:

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Burger Land: Travel Channel

A few months back, Travel Channel aired two episodes of Burger Land, a great show on hamburgers hosted by George Motz.  I figured that was it for the show, but they've restarted with some additional episodes.

George is an affable character with some admirable sideburns and a real passion for burgers.  He did, after all, write the book on the subject.  The show is shot and edited well, and is a real pleasure. Don't miss it.

After catching the third episode, "Hollywood Hamburgers," which featured a place called Pie 'n Burger, I knew what was happening for lunch. 

The Pie 'n Burger cheeseburger consists of two four ounce patties, smashed down with a can of tomato juice, cooked on a flat top, with pickles, cheese, and a Thousand Island style dressing.  It also has lettuce, which I generally skip when making burgers. This style of burger is right up my alley.

Here is what my version looked like.  For some reason four ounce patties on TV are much smaller than they are in my kitchen. I wouldn't recommend eating a burger this rich more than once a week.  Or, whenever you catch Burger Land on TV.



Roots Steakhouse coming to Ridgewood, NJ?

Update: We made our way over to Roots for a first look. Here are some details of the meal (click me!)

Update: Roots in Ridgewood has opened, per the Booziest of all the Burbs.

Update: Roots is claiming that it will open around June 9 (click me).

The Ridgewood/Glen Rock Patch reports that the Harvest Restaurant Group is opening a third Roots Steakhouse (turn down your sound, the website is annoying), this time in Ridgewood in the old Blend spot.

I visited Roots in Summit a few years back (my gosh, it was over 6 years ago!) and wasn't really blown away, and took exception to the pricy wine list and the lack of disclosure on which cuts are actually USDA Prime and which aren't.  

Some comments on the Patch's piece on the internet are in the vein of "finally, a steakhouse [in Ridgewood]."  I'm not sure if these folks are aware that Park West Tavern (turn down your sound, the website is really annoying), right around the corner, has several serviceable steaks on the menu, and a more interesting menu overall.  

It's pointless to predict if they're going to be successful, but that won't stop me.  

I'm somewhat skeptical of having a restaurant of that size (assuming they take the whole space) serving food at that price-point in the quaint little village of Ridgewood. No doubt they are going to need support from a whole lot of diners from outside of the immediate area, as Ridgewood just doesn't seem to have the volume of diners who are going out to eat that often at places like Roots, or even Park West Tavern. 

There's little doubt that they will be poaching diners from Park West Tavern, which has enjoyed a very good run, so things could get interesting.  Park West Tavern filled a void in Ridgewood, and the townsfolk reacted enthusiastically.  Perhaps Roots will fill some void that I'm not aware of.  But if Roots doesn't come with a decent cocktail program, and some reasonably priced wines, I don't think you'll find me at their bar very often. 

I hope they can make a liar out of me.  Although I'm sure not going to bother if they have a dress code as they do at their other restaurants. 


Live from Daryl's House: music and food


I've been obsessed with this show since I stumbled upon it a few years back was an internet-only deal.  Thankfully Palladia has picked it up on cable, bringing it to your HD TV with ease.

For you youngins, Daryl Hall is a singer-songwriter who has been around for quite some time, who was blessed with an enormous career in the 70s and early 80s.  Enormous hits.  By any measure, he's a fantastic songwriter and singer.  This series illustrates this theory.

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201 Magazine: Best of Bergen 2013

201 Magazine, the big, glossy magazine that you see in grocery stores (or in the mail...they seem to send it to people for free in addition to selling it), released their yearly readers poll. It's sprinkled with "Editor's picks" and "Celebrity picks."  I'm not sure I care what these folks have to say about restaurants, but I guess their opinion is neither better nor worse than that of any random person.

Either way, as usual, many of the restaurant picks are wrong, or just bizarre.

As I sometimes do, I'm going to put on my smug curmudgeon hat and provide the correct answers here, for you.

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