Thursday, July 19, 2007

Westown Tavern BBQ Sparerib Special

Last night was the official kick-off of the West Town Tavern’s BBQ Sparerib Special. Every Wednesday night, Chef Susan Goss serves her Texas-style pork spareribs alongside fried potato salad and black-eyed pea relish – all for $18.75. And last night’s special dinner also included a free piece of Lemon Chess Pie and a bag of Chef’s dry rub spice blend to take home. Plus (as if that wasn’t enough) you could add a glass of Murphy Goode Liar’s Dice Zinfandel 2004 for $10.

The ribs were awesome – really meaty, really tender, fall-off-the-bone, flavorful, plentiful (we each took two home with us) and they tasted just as good, maybe even better, the next day. I never would have thought to fry potato salad, but one taste and I knew why they did. It was reminiscent of Italian fried rice balls and the extra crunch from the breadcrumb coating added a nice texture.

Not only do I highly recommend the Wednesday dinner, West Town Tavern also offers a Monday night Fried Chicken Special and a Tuesday Hamburger Dinner Special. I can’t vouch for the burger (we haven’t tried it yet), but the chicken and the ribs should be on the top of your “must try” list.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Review | Think Like a Chef

A friend was over and spotted Thomas Coliccio’s Think Like a Chef on my bookshelf. He said “This book is the reason I became a chef.” Damn. That’s a bold statement – and it must be one heck of a book. Sheepishly, I had to admit to him that I hadn’t read the book or even looked at it that closely. In my defense, I bought it over five or six years ago when I wasn’t as much of a “foodie”. I appreciate good food, good cooking and good cookbooks much more now than I did then.

So I took that book off the shelf and read it cover to cover. And it is a good book. A really good book. There’s recipes. And pretty pictures. But it’s more than that. Coliccio organizes and paces the book in a way that really does get you into the mindset of a chef. He explains his ideas and approach to food in a way that makes sense and you can begin to see how you can apply them to your own cooking. In fact, I had one “ah ha” moment in particular that I think back to time and again:

“Believe it or not, I rarely begin with the thought Gee, I’ve got some beef. How should I serve it? The proteins – beef, lamb, chicken, fish – are the constants. What do change frequently, bringing the color and excitement of the changing seasons, are the vegetables. So, vegetables make up the building blocks that spark our imagination and let us fly.”

That paragraph changed the way I now think about cooking and creating meals and menus. Not quite as life-altering as going to culinary school, but worth the read.