Monday, February 1, 2010

Weakened Warriors

"Warriors ... come out to plaaaaay-eeee-aaaaaaay!!!!" - Luther in the movie Warriors

That's what went down this weekend in Miami, some foodie warriors gathered to play and I can't tell you who came out on top yet, but I can share some pics and stuff. I'm talking about Chefs vs. City with hosts Chef Aaron Sanchez and Chef Chris Cosentino. Have you seen this show? I have and it's pretty entertaining, it's Amazing Race for foodies and like many of those types of shows I sit at home watching wondering how it would be to participate. I can tell you it was fun, and it was tough at the same time. If you haven't seen the show, the hosts travel from city to city and challenge another team of two in the city in various culinary skills and tasks. There are 5 stages of the race and at the end, the first team across the finish line wins. Someone along the way asked me "what do you win" and after a pause in which I realized I wouldn't get an Amazing Race payoff, all I could say was "braggin rights?" lol. Ready to meet my team mate? We've been paired before to make cookies or just plain hang out for a photo shoot, but we've never really worked-worked together ... ladies and gents ... I introduce you to Miss 5 Ingredient Fix herself ...
Claire Robinson! We went out to dinner the night before for wine and tapas and got to know each other better so we could formulate a strategy. That's us on the dock the morning of our race through the city. All smiles and ready to go.

Speaking of eating, boy was I happy to see a Jimmy John's on my walk through the area the hotel was located. There I was looking for a restaurant and fast food called my name. Not just any fast food though, pretty much one of the best sandwiches I've had on the road. I found it in Colorado while taping How'd That Get On My Plate? a couple of years ago and couldn't resist a repeat. We got it delivered to the set before by the actual manager of the store, but this time I got a chance to look at them menu and figure out what was to offer ...
I chose the Italian Night Club, but was close to getting the Billy Club. An enlarge click on the pic is worth it if you like to see how they bring flavor to a sandwich. Here's the guy that made my lunch, he totally thought I was crazy for taking his picture.
Ok, back to the weakened warriors, really proud of my play on words there lol. Here's the whole line up before we started the race.
Claire, Aaron, Me and Chris. All smiles and ready to go. I took a couple of pictures along the way, but to show them would give away the show challenges and that wouldn't be nice of me. I don't like spoiled eggs or spoiled TV, so no spoilers over here. I'll post the detailed pics a few minutes after it ends. It airs April 18th, but I'll give you a reminder before then. I can tell you by the end of the shoot/race we were alllll beat! Here's Aaron huggin a pillow and posing for fun.
He's really a funny guy and even though we were all playing against each other, guys vs. gals, we all had fun chatting and ribbin' each other as we ran around Miami. That was Friday all day and then Saturday I woke up feeling a bit stiff, but happy I had a workout the day before. Theresa came over to airbrush some life onto my face ...
You know how they say it's a small world, well Theresa worked with me last year when I was in Miami taping an episode of Next Food Network Star. Turns out she has night gig at the opera! Pretty cool. After she got me looking alive, I headed down to a conference room to do the interview that runs throughout the show.
The toughest part was speaking in present tense about something that happened the day before. Because the clips run during the show I can't say "When I saw the clue I thought", I have to say "I see the clue and I'm thinking blah blah blah". ... After a few notes to stop fidgeting with my hands because they were making noise while I was talking, I sat up straight and delivered some sound bites. I wonder if it's going to look like I'm outside and those buildings in the background will appear real. Here's a shot of the monitor ...
It only took an hour or so and I finished just in time for a walk around the hood again and the discovery of another new fast food place I'd never heard of... have you?
It was yummmmmy! Take a look at the grill inside ...
and another ... alotta chicken right?!
Check out the menu, again I looked like an idiot, but this time the girls behind the counter said "are you on TV?" and I said with pride ... "Yes, and I'll have yucca, black beans, key lime pie and oh yeah ... some chicken". Really nice to meet viewers when I'm not expecting to.
Well, I stocked up on curry mustard and guava bbq sauce at the condiment bar and headed back to my room to eat. Take a look at the spread...
Pretty crazy for a fast food spread. I left the bread, but the chicken was moist and flavorful, the sauces were yummy, the yucca soft, the black beans weren't too tight or too runny and the condiment bar had chopped onions, so I stocked up on them. Then for dessert the key lime pie was creamy and tart, but I stuffed it in my face right before I left for the airport. What a yummy weekend, that left me full and weakened. :-)

Speaking of Miami, if you haven't made plans yet and have time, check out SobeFest.com for deets on the upcoming Food & Wine Festival ... It's hard to find me on there, just know I'll be at the Burger Bash with a dessert offering and at the Grand Tasting tents everyday hanging out with Viva Towels giving away some small bites that make it easier to get closer to your food with Viva Towels. Sounds like a commercial, eh? Well, they didn't pay me for this specific post, but I do want you to visit the booth and meet me if you are headed down. Also, if you tweet, visit @VivaTowels and follow them, I'm sure they'll shadow and post pics during the festival.

24 comments:

tamilyn said...

I think that it would be a great vacay for the Food and Wine Festival, but none of my friends seem as addicted to all things food like me. They find it funny since I'm the most picky eater you will ever meet, but I think just the vibe of it all would be fantastic. I'm concerned about what to eat when we go to Iceland in 3 months......I'm not a huge fish fan.....
I love Chefs V. City, but have only caught two episodes due to work schedule. I'll have to check my work calendar to see if I can catch yours!

Kenny said...

I love Chefs vs City. They do some crazy things on that show; like when they went to The Brick Lane Curry House "to devour the hottest dish in the world". I love me some spicy food, but I don't think I could eat that! lol.

speaking about tapas, have you ever been to Jaleo? They have amazing tapas!

Jen said...

The shows looks like it's going to be great! Can't wait to check it out when it airs.

Oh we have Jimmy John’s here in Philly…I actually grabbed some lunch from there last week!

I wish I was going to the South Beach Food & Wine Fest!!! I saw a commercial and was trying to get my better half to go with me, but he politely declined…lol!

Sarah Pestana said...

Sarah Pestana
from West Long Branch, NJ
26, Grad student, English Literature

Sunny--when I saw that you found a Pollo Tropical in Miami I was so excited because that is my FAVORITE "fast food" chain. Good news is if you don't want to travel that far to get what I consider to be the best grilled chicken then just shot on out to Jersey City or Edison, New Jersey because there are a few chains hanging around in North Jersey.
Just a short story to illustrate how good the food was when my boyfriend and I first discovered it--we were house sitting for a friend of ours that lives in Jersey City Heights and had bought tickets to a Yankees game at seven o'clock. Well, we drove to the Bronx in the repressive heat of August, enjoying the Bronx traffic and were wondering why so many people were making an Exodus AWAY from Yankee Stadium. My boyfriend, and avid fan, looked at the tickets again and saw that the game was for ONE o'clock!
Well, I must leave out the string of curse words that followed, but after extracting ourselves from the traffic, we slouched back to JC disappointed, sweaty, and miserable.
That is, until I said, "let's get something to eat," and that was when we were driving past Pollo Tropical. We went in and were so shocked by how amazing the food was--I loved the platanos y arroz con frijoles negroes and my boyfriend had the pork. We both agreed that even though we missed our baseball game and had a few disappointments, the food had made up for it in a big way. Now we make a stop there whenever we are remotely near it. So, not only is it delicious--but it has the power to turn a bad day into a great day.

: )

Sunny Anderson said...

tamilyn, well you can always go alone ... i'll meet up with you for drinks if you get lonely. i used to always vacay solo because none of my friends had the time, means, or desire to do what i wanted to do or go where i wanted to go. as a result, i had many grrrreat vacays, if you like yourself, you'll be fine alone! cmon girl! meet me on the beach!

kenny, yeah, i love the show too, and trust me you won't be disappointed when you watch this one based on what you liked about the one show :-) and never been to jaleo, ever been to lua in hoboken, nj?

jen, it was so much fun, my neck still hurts though, total workout for a lazy chick like me. and omg, you are so lucky, i really like jj's sandwiches. it's the bread and the gentle touch of dressing. i also think the color scheme of the biz is something that attracts me lol. sounds crazy, but it tastes better if things look crisp. anyway, as for sobe, i'm thinking of having a lil bloggers cocktail hour or something, nothing big and crazy, just us. if you make plans, keep me in the loop, i'd love to meet!

sarah pestana, wow ... what a story!! i would've been just as annoyed, but like you guys ... a good meal would've fixed it lol! imagine there being a pollo tropical in jc??!! i used to live there! they get everything first! is fatburger still there?? and isn't sonic closeby now?? i need to make a trip to jersey soon! thanks for the heads up on the proximity to good fast food chicken, do they have the curry mustard up here? very good. totally gonna make a jar of it for my fridge. now, let's talk about this english lit degree, congrats!!! i am so into words and reading and as a young kid wanted to be published, can u imagine the dream coming true sure, it's not a novel, but i'll have a cookbook out if things go well. blows my mind, wish i could go tell myself as a kid i'd have the chance to really live my dreams. what are your goals with your degree? fave writer classic and modern, fave book classic and modern ... share :-).

Sarah Pestana said...

I know for SURE that Sonic is gaining a wider presence in nj now which is totally awesome because their cheezy tots are the greatest and i am not too sure about fatburger.
as for my english degree, well it started out as the same desire and passion to write and publish as a child and i have even illustrated and written two children's books (which i haven't published). I did my undergraduate work at rutgers and now i am getting my masters degree at monmouth university.actually, because i am a total foodie (which is why i love your show and your blog because my tastes and approach to cooking are similar to mine) i considered going to culinary school instead of graduate school to be a food writer.But I decided to stick with ole' english. My focus of study will be in american pop culture so i can write on a subject that has always interested me--cooking shows. Why the rise in popularity? different formats and their meaning-- the more complicated underlying assumptions of american culture that shape and define the way food and its associated culture is taught to us and how it affects and changes our relationship with food and the language of food and with other individuals.
My favorite writer is Toni Morrison and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. That is always such a tough question! My favorite books and such, i wish i could name them all, lol, but what are your favorites??
And i do hope that your cookbook comes to be--
ill reserve a copy now!
(PS I'll be actively trying to find a way to incorporate street food into my research! Maybe A History of the Hot Dog is a good working title. : ) )

Sunny Anderson said...

sarah, send me your email addy, i'd like to take a look at your resume. i may know someone in need of a foodie writer and you seem ready to go. now ... on to the sonic thing, my order is always a #1&2, onion rings, and cherry limeade. sometimes i'll do a chili cheese coney, but it's always onion rings and the c.limeade, they are sooooooooooo good! ok, for books i like patterson, s. king, and brad meltzer. predictable choices, but they are consistent. then i also love a good autobiography. that said, i've read many other authors, but like you, to many to name. i loved the alchemist, read it? ok, i also love street food, don't you love it when you happen upon one of the new ritzy ones? i caught one around christmas selling cheeseburger crepes lol. too cute. ok, send your info.

Lys said...

Awww - Sunny you are making me Florida-sick (can't say homesick since I'm a Philly gal *sigh*) Chefs v. City looks like fun!

I'm sad I'm missing SOBE this year - thought I'd just make a point to go to NYF&WF after Lee slipped a few spoilers earlier. Hopefully you'll be on the schedule as well? Next year, I'll plan on Miami's event as well and quick note to Tamilyn - you should go - it's a blast!

Reyna said...

That is awesome you were in MIAMI...wish I could have seen you! Both of those places are awesome...Pollo Tropical chicken is VERY good for a "fast food" place.

I saw a aritcle that I want to share with you =)if you havent seen it:

http://www.slashfood.com/2010/01/29/the-10-hottest-women-in-the-food-industry/

Congrats you deserve it!

Sunny Anderson said...

lys, i'm sowwy ... i'm florida sick too and i'm not even from there :-) so we are in the same boat, pun intended ... chefs vs city was plenty of fun, but days later my 34 yr old bones r aching lol. is this the first sign of decline??? lol ...and yes, the nyc fest this year should be pretty nice, i've heard a few of the 'slipped' names and i can't wait.

reyna, i'm glad no one is picking on me for eating fast food, but sometimes the wait at a restaurant is too long, especially if the food isn't worth it ... fast food is all right with me!! and omg, how funny is that article!? they said some nice stuff and it's mostly personality, so i feel good about that, looks aren't so important in the long run. thanks for that reyna!!

Christa said...

Sounds like a fun, fun time. I love me some Jimmy John's, too. Their veggie sandwich is primo with jalapeno chips. Yum!

Eric said...

that Pollo Tropical sign made me laugh because when I lived in Florida they provided me with many Sunday Dinners LOL You shoudlve tried the ribs as well, theyre pretty decent for a fast food place :)

lochnessa said...

For some reason when I saw the Pollo Tropical sign, I thought of "Pollo Loco" but I'm sure they are totes different...Sunny, do you have a twitter page?

Dolphinfanhg said...

Sunny,
I LOVE Chefs vs City! Can't wait to see you on it! Hope you girls kicked butt! ;)

I REALLY WISH I was going to the SBF&WF! I see the billboards daily and just *sigh*. I looked into tickets, but they are steep! My only hope is winning the tickets from Food Network....I entered everyday! :) If you have any say, pull my name from the hat..OK?! ;)
I want so badly to meet you! (oh, and those other chefs too!) Gotta add you to my blog!
Wishing and praying,
Dolphinfanhg
http://addictedtothefoodnetwork.blogspot.com

LindaHensens said...

Hey Sunny!

OMG! You have a BLOG!! I am SO excited about that! I have recently started watching your CFR show, and I have to say that I am hooked! I even tried to cook your Airman Anderson's Chicken, but I totally screwed the sauce up because I could not get it to thicken up. I saved the show on DVR and watched at least 10 times to try to figure out what I did wrong, LOL. I love to cook, and my darlin man loves General Tso chicken, so I thought he would like this as well. He is always telling me that he prefers to eat in "Linda's Kitchen" so I try all sorts of recipes from 5-Ingredient Fix and your show. The only thing that I think may have messed up the sauce for the chicken was that I put it in a 3 qt. pot instead of a frying pan. I could not get that sauce thick to save my life! I winded up putting corn starch in it and getting it thick that way, but that was after I kept putting brown sugar in it (way TOO much of it!) trying to get the sugar to thicken it up. It wasn't a disaster, however. We did eat it, but it was really sweet..LOL.. So, care to help a girl out and tell me what I did wrong? I did the whole menu that you had on that particular show, and I have wondered if there were specific brands that you used perhaps to make things taste different? I have so many questions, and I love to learn from people who know more than I do.

I am also an onion ring freak! I hope you are going to do onion rings in one of the new episodes coming up this season. Your new season starts this coming Saturday! Woo Hoo! I used to buy the Sonic Onion Rings for myself and my dad and we both loved them! My hubby can do without them, he said.. But I really think that he hasn't ever tasted a bang up onion ring before. :)

See my next post for the rest of this LONG post!

Take care,
Linda

Jason said...

Sunny - AWESOME to hear you were down in my neck of the woods. Wish we would've known. We might have headed down and cheered you on! As for the SobeFest, I think it's a little out of our budget - maybe next year! We'd love to come a meet some of the FN stars. Anyway, I wish you the best. Have a great weekend!

Jay

The Daily Rant said...

I'm watching you right now making some delicious looking ribs with BBQ sauce. I'm sitting in Salt Lake City (I drive an 18-wheeler for a living) and popped on the Food Network to get some ideas for dinner....I might just have to do the ribs this weekend (I have a kitchen in my truck!).

I know this comment has nothing to do with your actual post, but I just wanted to let you know I love watching your show! Your recipes are not only easy, but food that my man and I love to eat!

Have a great weekend wherever you may be!!

Salena Lettera
The Daily Rant
www.salenalettera.com

Sunny Anderson said...

christa, i'll do the veggie sanGwich :-) next ... the jalapeno chips are already in my system!

eric, shooooooot ... lemme tell you, if i were in a pinch, i would swing by there for a regular bite. It didn't have a trace of fast food to it. i have a churrascaria in my hood that i go to that is similar. chicken stacked and ready to be cleaver hacked. yummy sides, no frills just a quick dinner alt. if you are feeling lazy.

lechnessa, teeheehee, pollo loco ain't bad either. I mean strictly talkin about gettin something fast that doesn't taste mass produced ... but i gotta tell you, i don't think they have the curry mustard and the curry mustard is what made my meal. coulda drank it lol.

dolphinfanhg, yaaaaaaay! i hope you like it. I think it airs on april 18th at 830pm, but I'll post right before. hope you like it! i cant wait to see it myself! ok, lemme address this sbf&wf ticket price, i looked into it. omg, you are right!!! it is pricey, only saving grace is the proceeds go to charity. lee, the guy that organizes it is a total foodie and he always has culinary students working the tents and events, at the end their pay is a scholarship. pretty cool. that being said, i still get how the cost is pretty steep. stick around here because if you are within driving distance i plan to have a bloggers lunch or cocktail hour, something simple and informal. just to meet the names behind the handles. you are more than welcome to come and hangout. for free :-). i'm also going to see if i can get a couple of fn hosts to hang with us, so it'll increase the value of making it to the city. keep checkin in for details. good luck on winning tickets though!!!

Sunny Anderson said...

christa, i'll do the veggie sanGwich :-) next ... the jalapeno chips are already in my system!

eric, shooooooot ... lemme tell you, if i were in a pinch, i would swing by there for a regular bite. It didn't have a trace of fast food to it. i have a churrascaria in my hood that i go to that is similar. chicken stacked and ready to be cleaver hacked. yummy sides, no frills just a quick dinner alt. if you are feeling lazy.

lechnessa, teeheehee, pollo loco ain't bad either. I mean strictly talkin about gettin something fast that doesn't taste mass produced ... but i gotta tell you, i don't think they have the curry mustard and the curry mustard is what made my meal. coulda drank it lol.

dolphinfanhg, yaaaaaaay! i hope you like it. I think it airs on april 18th at 830pm, but I'll post right before. hope you like it! i cant wait to see it myself! ok, lemme address this sbf&wf ticket price, i looked into it. omg, you are right!!! it is pricey, only saving grace is the proceeds go to charity. lee, the guy that organizes it is a total foodie and he always has culinary students working the tents and events, at the end their pay is a scholarship. pretty cool. that being said, i still get how the cost is pretty steep. stick around here because if you are within driving distance i plan to have a bloggers lunch or cocktail hour, something simple and informal. just to meet the names behind the handles. you are more than welcome to come and hangout. for free :-). i'm also going to see if i can get a couple of fn hosts to hang with us, so it'll increase the value of making it to the city. keep checkin in for details. good luck on winning tickets though!!!

Sunny Anderson said...

lindahensens, i'm so glad you found my blog and thanks for the other message, didn't post because your email was in it. wanna protect ya! :-). ok, so let's start with the north cacalaka vibe. i bet you know my family. if not, your granny did. we have roots in raleigh and out in the country we have relatives with pig farms and stuff. i know you know what i mean by the country :-). ok, let's tackle this recipe ... ok, here are the things that may help you get to the finish line. let's deal with the ingredients 1st. i say check you oj and make sure it's fresh. no fake sugars, no concentrate. that will help. also make sure when you measure the b.sugar that you pack it tight into the measuring cup. ok, as for the rest. i say use a saute pan, there's more surface area for the oj to be in contact with the air, that's what make reduction happen. you need moisture to evaporate. i find it's plenty fast with a short-sided saute pan. that being said, you don't really want to do a boil, more of a simmer. so, go slow n low like bbq :-). i think your use of cornstarch is a quick short cut to the end, but be careful when you add the slurry (cold water and c.starch, blend before adding to sauce), if you go overboard, the actual consistency of your sauce can be a bit gluey. this is an asian dish, so cornstarch was a great choice on your part. i say patience and believing it will happen. don't give up, a reduction take a minute. for brands, not that it wouldn't work with another, but i think we use oj from fl, sugar from c&h or domino's and the cornstarch is argo. also, check this link out ... you may get a kick. http://sunnyanderson.blogspot.com/2009/09/barack-obama-visits-my-set-kinda-thanks.html
plus, you'll be happy to know i just added onion rings to an upcoming show! it's not a sonic batter, but yummy nonetheless, hope you catch the show and feel like i delivered the goods! welcome to the blog, so happy to have ya!

jason, as mentioned above, i am gonna meetya by any means necessary lol .. no ticket price can stop us! lol ... so stick around and if you are up for a meet n greet, please stop on by when i drop the deets.

the daily rant, welcome to the blog!! so glad you watch! and even better you are a truck driver. lemme get on my soapbox a bit ... TOTALLY appreciate what you do. so many people don't understand how the rails and the 18 wheelers keep this country running. when gas prices rose, i saw so many crazy stories about people in your profession really taking a hit. i hope you are appreciated by your company and just really want to tell you thanks. i don't even know what your cargo is, but i'm willing to bet it's a part of the great infrastructure of this country. so to that, i say thanks. it's a tough job and we are so lucky to have ya. welcome to the blog and thanks for catchin me in all time zones :-).

Dolphinfanhg said...

Thanks Sunny! Keep me updated on your blogger lunch, that sounds awesome! In the meantime I am crossing my fingers to win the SBF&WF tickets...being that it's gonna be held on my birthday weekend and all!

Sunny Anderson said...

dolphinfanhg, i'll keep ya posted for sure! good luck on the tickets, the way i think is ... someone has to win! may as well be you right?! happy early birthday!

Anonymous said...

sunny i have been looking foe your general tso chicken recipe its not even on food network anymore. can you please post it to me ???? Thank you




Sarah!!!

LindaHensens said...

Here is the link to the Airman Anderson's chicken..

http://www.foodnetwork.com/search/delegate.do?fnSearchString=Airman+anderson&fnSearchType=site

Might save you a little time, Sunny!