Love em! We always greet with a smile and hug ... Here's a less candid shot ...We're all chillin at the opening of their first foray into the NYC Restaurant scene, The Neely's BBQ Parlour. It's over in a hood that needs some down home cookin, 1st and 62nd on the mid-upper east side. When I say it was a zoo there last night, I mean lions, tigers and bears, oh my!!! Plus, can we talk? Sometimes when I out solo people think I'm Gina lol ... look, I get it ... ok, I do, but I thought I'd disspell rumors and stand next to her a bit lol. I wonder if she gets the same thing? I've texted her before like "girrrrrl someone is gonna thing you are cheating on Pat cuz they just called me Gina and I'm on a date with someone!". Too funny, ok, anyway it was packed in there and I still managed to get a taste of the shrimp and grits then just as I thought I wasn't gonna get another bite cuz it was so crowded, I turned around to see dessert being passed!!! Woot wooot!!!Red Velvet of course! My chunky butt popped the whole thing in my mouth only see everyone else taking bites ... seriously? It's "bite sized", to me call anything that and that's a challenge to get it done in a bite! I can't wait to head back for brunch and the occasional dinner!! Right after that I headed over to the Red Rooster, Marcus Samuelson's spot. We just started getting grades from the health dept. here in New York for restaurant kitchens. His hasn't been scored so well (a "C", actually) and he's taken a hit in the press, so a friend and I headed out to show a sign of support. Seems like we weren't alone, on a Tuesday night, it was packed ... but Marcus was nowhere to be found. Gotta be tough, eh? I dunno, but I must say anytime I hear people complain about clean kitchens at restaurants, I wonder if the health department came to our homes, would we pass? I would, but omg, ever go to a friend's house and see the kitchen and gag a bit? Lol, anyway, I digress ... The food was good and the service was great. Hope he catches an "A" like my fave banh mi spot in Brooklyn, Thanh Da...That's the "Beef Ball Soup", the broth is were it's at!! I don't really care about the balls, but the broth?!?! Ooooooh it's onion-yyyy and ginger-yyyy and cilantro-eyyyy ... which really equals taste-yyyyy :-). And then the real reason I go there is the banh mi, or traditional Vietnamese sandwhich ...Oooooowwweeeee!!! That's the BBQ Pork Banh Mi and when I go with a friend, I'll order that one, and the traditional one and share halves, but today it was just me, so I sipped half my broth and ate half the sandwich, then walked home in the heat with a smile on my face cuz I knew I had a lil treat for later.
Speakin' of treats, I got a chance to cook for an old friend this past Sunday night. I've told the story here and there about him, but it's so much deeper than words. Suffice it to say, there would be no Cooking for Real without me first cooking for my friends and them encouraging me to chase my dreams. N.O.R.E. was one such person and not only did he encourage me to cook more for a living, he gave me my first catering gig with a real invoice, then on my last day in radio he was there to cheer me on and tell me I wasn't crazy for chasing a dream. The story of that night should go in the books, which book, I dunno lol. But he is such good family, he could ask me to cook in an impossible mission like Robert Irvine and I'd do it!! So anyway, so much more can be said, so much. So with an early morning wake up for The Today Show @430am, I said "SO WHAT?! WHO CAY-UHHS?!?!" (SNL making fun of Joy Behar on The View), threw beauty sleep and caution to the wind and cooked all day for him and his crew. Here he is about to break into some Food Network Wine - Entwine, coming soon!!!(note my Dr. Oz trophy on my mantle :-) ) ... and here's the spread ...It's hard to see, but he requested turkey meatloaf, so I made two with a dark meat turkey-chicken blend. Then I made roasted fingerlings and new potatoes with garlic, rosemary and thyme. I also got some pretty vine-ripe cherry tomatoes and roasted those as well with just some olive oil, salt and pepper. In the forefront is a quick salad of blanched peas, red onion, whole grain mustard, dry porcini mushrooms brought back to life in the same water I blanched the peas in, I just added some apple cider for punch. Then for dessert I made Austin's German Chocolate Cookies. I used to really cook fattening stuff for Nore, and then he'd decide we wanted to be healthy a bit, that's where Nore's Slumbo, comes from. It's a play on gumbo with no pork and a 5-star recipe on FoodNetwork.com ... all from his palate! We really had a good time and it was great seeing him, then 2 hours after they left, I got ready for The Today Show, I didn't really sleep, moreso just roll over and look at the time every 20 minutes lol.
No worries, I wouldn't have to cook or anything, just eat and judge the food. Here I am ready to eat!!!The winner made a really tasty cornbread bottom, BBQ chicken middle, coleslaw topped tower of power ... and I do mean power!!! It was instant, when I and the other judge took a bite, we knew instantly it was a landslide. All the food was good though, things like that, it's already the best of the best, so it's hard to say something didn't taste good, cuz I'd be telling a lie. Firemen eat goooood!! I am waitin on a firehouse show. Ok, here's the winner with his trophy ...And just cuz they are so cute ... my cats. Cheddar (aka Ched-Rock) on top and Truffle (aka Truffle-Duffle) chillin in the center. I took that a few days ago. Both are rescues that bring me joy everyday. I was just recently watching television with Truffle and I tell people all the time, and it's true, there's not a day that goes by I don't look at them and think how sweet they are and how much I hope I'm giving them a nice home life. I constantly thank the ASPCA in my head. Anyway, I was thinking it and Truffle looked so cute as he sat next to me on the couch, so I decided to take a video of him with my cell and something really cute happened ... take a look ...
Thanks for reading! Tune in this Saturday for an all new Cooking for Real at 10am!!!