Thursday, July 28, 2005

Jackfruit

Despite having no idea what it is, many of us ordered dishes containing jackfuit last night at Waroeng. Wikipedia has a picture and a description, but it really didn't answer all my questions.

More fun, and more disturbing, is the related link at the bottom of the entry, where we get this picture:

The caption reads, "A moderately sized jackfruit; the largest tree-borne fruit."

I also like these appealing quotes from proscitech:

Jackfruit fondness grows with familiarity. The smell of a fully ripe fruit in an enclosed space may at first be unpleasant to some although the experience cannot be compared to the durian.


Before cutting the fruit, it is important to guard against the sticky latex. Immature fruit have more latex, so work near a sink and coat the knife, hands and the centre of the cutting board with vegetable oil.

It leads me to wonder, what is a durian?

Monday, July 25, 2005

July 20th: Pan Thai II

In attendance: Zeus, Solids, Hot Sauce, Mycroft, Ace, the Lady Aubergine, and two potentials.


Finally that weird place on the corner that used to sell fish and ice cream has become a GOOD Thai Restaurant.

A couple that is friends with some of the Movers were in attendance. They were of course being observed and studied to see if they were worthy of joining, but were completely unaware. The male had a peculiar accent, but a really good story about his first attempt to use his Sea Kayak. His mate and him and I laughed quite a bit down at our end of the table, so they get my vote.

But back to the meal...

Pan Thai II is a significant improvement over (name-I-forgot) Thai restaurant that occupied the place before. Completely improved interior and the food is definitely top notch.

I was late due to work, and when I showed up everyone seemed to be having a good time.

I heard they had some sort of appetizer sampler, but once I arrived one of the potentials and I decided to have some fresh garden rolls. Definitely worth the price of admission right there. A little pricey, but a great way to start the meal.

Potential and I had some nice friend rice, his was Rainbow... which seemed to be a confusing name since it didn't seem that colorful. And mine was Pineapple, which was easy to figure out since it had Pineapple in it as well as a nice curry flavor. Both had chicken and shrimp.

I know that Solids had the Garlic Chicken, which he liked. Zeus had something vegetarian, I forgot which but she said she liked it as well. Hot Sauce and Zeus both made the mistake of ordering the sticky rice. It came in a really fun bamboo container but seemed to have significantly less that the white or brown rice. Also, the bamboo smelled a bit like 'burning'.

I will post restaurant info later, but definitely a repeat visit is in order. In fact Mother of Ace and Father of Ace enjoyed Pan Thai II themselves this weekend, based on my recommendation, and loved it. Father of Ace was especially excited abouthe Country Style Basic Chicken. Very hot and spice and very flavorful.

Ace, Ready to Move

Saturday, July 23, 2005

SHAZOOM!!!

Solids reporting in. All Right!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Black Sunday Croquet - Drinks

To accompany the amazing meal cooked by Moxie, we had a couple of beverages. It is just as hard to serve a decent wine at a meal when some of the members do not drink and others only drink white and others only drink red, and others do not drink blushes. Just another eating disability as far as I am concerned.

First let me say that you can drink a white wine with red meat. In fact let me say that a good reisling goes really well as this night proved.

Bottle 1.
We started with a 2004 Vignoles from the Knapp winery in the Cayuga Lake area of New York. This is a bottle Moxie and I picked up while traveling the wineries of the region. This is a great white. I am not a big white guy, but I can appreciate it in the right season. This wine claims to be a semi-sweet but I thought it was sweet. The wine itself was a light yellow in color, maybe a little toward the greener side of the spectrum but very clear. Spinning the wine let out a bouquet of mostly apples with some berries and a little honey.

Bottle 2.
The second bottle was a 2004 riesling from Germany. The Relax Riesling from the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer winery. This was another fruity wine but not nearly as sweet as the first. It also had a strong apple bouquet but with a peach undertone. This was a very refreshing wine and was very crisp. It is definitely worth the $11.99 price tag, if you can get past the ultra modern blue bottle with 80s modern typography. This bottle was polished off faster than any of the others;I was scrambling to chill more wine almost immediately after opening it. (Available at Philbrick's Fresh Market, Rt 1, Portsmouth)

Bottle 3.
Bottle three was a 2003 Framinette from the Goose Watch winery in the Finger Lakes region of New York. This wine is compared to a Gewurztraminer, and I love Gewurztraminer. This is the second bottle that we have gone through in as many weeks and believe I am now tapped out. Looks like the movers may be sending a recon mission to upstate New York, or maybe we could find a satellite member to get some more. To me this wine had a strong aroma of Pear and vanilla. The color was similar to the Vignoles but was a little clearer if at all possible. This was the driest wine of the night and it is quite good for an experimental grape developed by Cornell.

Bottle 4.
Dessert. We served the Cayuga Ridge Estate Cranberry Frost (non-vintage). A sparkling cranberry dessert wine. A delightful wine. Moxie felt that it did not go well with the Butter Pecan Ice Cream that she had made. I on the other hand was excited to see if complete opposites would go together. If the tartness of the cranberry would make the ice cream seem creamier and smoother and in return have the ice cream make the wine seam tarter. I think it was successful. After a couple of bites of ice cream the tartness of the wine was almost overpowering. The more sips you took of the wine the more smooth it became until you ate more ice cream. I enjoyed it.

Reserve.
We also had a four pack of Midas Touch on hand just in case the wine was not enough. Not quite beer not quite wine not quite mead. It is described a "Handcrafted Ancient Ale with barley, honey, white muscat grapes & saffron". It is very good.

Black Sunday Croquet Meal

Cooked by Moxie, same attendance as Black Sunday Croquet.

Moxie did it again... amazing meal. White polenta with (salted pork?), chard, pine nuts... Hanger steaks... some squash I can't remember the name of... so wonderful. Pictures to come soon.

The TRUTH

It was Hot Sauce that kept saying my real name, and Tom picked up on it. Hot Sauce will confirm it since he apologized to me.

By that time my cover was blown, and no way was I going down alone, so codenames flew out the window.

Of course Egg outed herself at the first chance she got... but since I doubt any of the Croquet club will ever speak of us as anything more than those nice kids in Black, I am not concerned.

A skull and mallet tat was given to one of the members of the club. Who thanked us, but I am guessing it got tossed at the first opportunity.

Overall we were a hit. We got educated on the game. The croquet club learned that a bunch of kids in black can still be very polite and delightful.

Big big big thanks to Jim for hosting it all, he was great... he suggested we get an agent and go pro at one point... and of course Tom and Ilse.

When Ilse hiked up her skirt when it was her time to get in there and do an exhibition game, I knew she was there to PLAY! The loud angry groans at missed shots clinched it.

Ilse will always be an inspiration. Play on, girl!


And now THAT is the Truth!

Ace, Ready to Move.

Movers Croquet in Rye

Members in attendance: Mycroft, Ace, the Lady Aubergine (going simply as "Egg" for the day), Hot Sauce!, & me - Moxie

We arrived in one car, dressed all in black as planned, with our own croquet mallets. Hot Sauce! gets the award for ballsiest outfit - somewhat reminiscent of 80's German club-wear. The Lady Aubergine tried to foil the plan several times, afraid we were going to actually get involved in some sort of croquet turf war and be exposed for the non-croquet pros we actually are. But we persevered, and she gamely went along.

Several of the men in white, the real croquet players, were instantly happy to see us. We heard things like, "Check out the competition!" and "If they challenge us, say no." Everyone was really impressed and happy to see us, although I don't think anyone noticed our fake skull-and-mallet tattoos. People were taking our picture left and right, some woman took what seemed like an official picture and asked what our club was called. Ace promptly answered, "We're The Movers." She didn't even blink.

We started with a game of 9-wicket on grass, and were promptly exposed as not at all being able to play croquet. We didn't even know the rules at all. I have to say, I loved the tone of the whole day. Here we show up with our own mallets, don't even know how to play, and everyone still takes us really seriously and no one calls us out as the frauds we are (were - now we are croquet masters). Tom was our instructor for the 9-wicket, and we got our money's worth right there. We learned so much about the strategy and skilz, it was awesome.

Everyone kept asking us, "Where does your club play?" Oh, in backyards, we answered. Initially we were trying to be like, "Oh, we play a different style, on a really big court" stuff like that, but we gave that up pretty quick and just focused on learning everything we could.

Then we got a chance at the 6 wicket court, the built in Rhode Island sand one. That was really fun. The wickets are narrow, the mallets huge and heavy, the balls are maybe rubber? Ilsa was our instructor, and much as I love Tom, Ilsa rocked our party world. She kept saying really cute stuff in her thick accent, like, "Send him to the boonies! the boonies!" She also taught us a lot of technical shots, like the split shot, the stop shot - I can't remember any more.

We kept getting invited to play with people - but of course, they play during the day, when all us suckers work. Another moment I didn't witness, but Ace told me about later, was when one of the ladies in white, Marie, was trying to set us up with an instructor for the 6-wicket course and asked this man - didn't hear what he whispered to her, but she apparently responded, "oh no, don't worry, they're very nice." Like he was afraid of us, all dressed in black like that.

Two lowpoints, but not that big a deal: Jim, the owner of the place, convinced Hot Sauce! and the Lady Aubergine to buy a raffle ticket. So they go over, and ask Lorrine(?) to buy one. She looks at them, shakes the basket around a bit, then says, "Nope. We already started." Bitch.
The other thing is that Ace kept giving up our real names! Like he told Tom his real name, then when he gave one of our tattoos to another lady in white, he gave her Mycroft's real name. Not to nitpick, but whose always so concerned about the secrecy?

It was a really fun day, all in all, and we were there for hours and hours. Hot Sauce! and I both were figuring an hour, but we were there for 3 1/2. And it wasn't super crowded or anything. Definitely going to go back next year.

Later we had dinner at the beach palace. And drank some wine. And ate some homemade ice cream.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Contribute

I promised Ace that I would write something about Martha's. I love the food. And the owners are very nice. Bugs bit me. It was a fun night. Solids and I went there again for lunch on Friday. And I think we ate the same meals we had on Wednesday.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Kusa & Cousa

I originally found that Kusa was the arabic term for the vegetable we ate at Martha's. Moxie has informed me that in most English/American cookbooks the spelling used is Cousa. So whichever you prefer. It still is damn tasty.


Ace
Ready to Move.

July 13th: Martha's

In attendance: Zeus, Solids, Hotsauce, Mycroft, Moxie, Ace, and the Lady Aubergine

IMGP3677

Martha's (Pronounced Marta's) is definitely one of my favorite places in the area. Cheap (7 of us ate well for under $100). Lebanese-American food... but no one I know has ever ordered anything but the Lebanese food. The place is run by Joe and his wife Martha, they(she) all the cooking. Their daughter Tanya covers cash register and works the tables, all 4 of them.

This night it was just Martha and Tanya, and the place was overflowing both with inside customers and to go orders. Martha looked especially drained, but she still cooked a wonderful meal.

The Movers waited for their food at the outside Picnic tables, but finally succumbed to the biting flies and had to move indoors to squeeze around a couple tables pushed together. Definitely worth it though, given the great time we had.

The menu included:
All: Hummous and Tabouleh, Flat Bread, Simple Salad
Zeus: Hummous and Meatless stuffed Kusa
Solids: Sirloin Kabob w/ Rice and Lamb Pie (Kafta, Meat Kusa)
Moxie: Lamb Kabob w/ Rice and Lamb Pie (Kafta, Meat Kusa)
Ace, Hotsauce, the Lady Aubergine: Kafta w/ Rice, Chicken Kabob w/ Rice, Lamb and Rice stuffed Kusa

Zeus did not have any of the Tabouleh because as she said: "Its not that I didn't like the Tabouleh, I just didn't like the Tabouleh." Zeus isn't a big fan of the strong lemon flavor. Being Celiac, I was not able to enjoy it either - since as I am sure most of you know, it is made with cracked wheat.

Solids and Moxie were also not big fans of the Lamb Pie, because of the combination of Allspice and Lemon (I believe). Possibly cinnamon as well, but in my experience allspice in Lebanese cooking often tastes cinnamony. Given I grew up with these flavors mixed together, the filling tasted wonderful to me, but I wasn't able to eat it - again, Celiac.

IMGP3681
kafta & rice pilaf, lamb kebob in background

Everyone who had the Kafta seemed to really like it. Very juicy and the spices really enhanced the lamb flavor. Sirloin and lamb kabob were wonderful as always. The chicken kabob was a bit dry and a tad too lemony in my opinion, but no one else seemed to mind as it was gone by the end of the night.

IMGP3678
kusa - hollowed out & stuffed - no easy culinary trick! I know, I've tried!

Definitely the star, in my opinion, was the Lamb and Rice stuffed Kusa. Kusa is a small Lebanese squash that they hollow out from the very top and then stuff with a Lamb and Rice mixture. When baked the squash holds together very well, but is tender and soft in the mouth. Slices along the Kusa make these great little 'chips' of squash around meat which are just fun to eat. A light tomato sauce is poured over the top, just enhaning the entire dish. A meatless version was ordered for Zeus, who enjoyed it, but Mycroft, Moxie, and myself REALLY enjoyed the lamb stuffed version. I brought two of the meatless ones home for Mother of Ace, who is herself half-Lebanese American. I will report on her enjoyment when I hear.

Mycroft was given permission by Moxie to finish off the Kusa.

Pics coming soon from Moxie!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

July 6th: Jamaican Jerk Center

In attendance: Mycroft, Moxie, Solids, Hotsauce, the Lady Aubergine

Jamaican Jerk place in Maine. Recommended by Moxie. I was scared given I had been to a BAD Jamaican place in Maine, located in an old German restaurant that still had ridiculous painted scenes of Germany on the wall.

My second missed Movers meeting. Very disappointed... but I was in Jersey... eating at Bennigans... yes, horrible, but not my choice...

Zeus also missed this place, but not sure why. And probably a good idea since I doubt there was a good vegetarian option. As Moxie said even the rice was cooked in chicken broth.

Apparently all that attended liked it, but I am not firm on this. I will find out. Solids liked it! Whoohoo! Score! Goooooooaaaaaalllll!

Next week (today) is going to be Martha's. A favorite Lebanese joint. Will report soon!

Ready to Move.


[Since this is being posted much later, I cannot remember what specifically was enjoyed, will record this in the future.]

June 29: Los Coco's Tacos

In attendance: Solids, Zeus, Moxie, Hotsauce, the Lady Aubergine

So the taco place in Kittery, no freaking idea what its name is... but I missed it anyway. Hurt my back, couldn't really go out.

So this was meeting 1 of The Movers I missed since its conception.

To add insult to injury, this was the first time that Hotsauce and the Lady Aubergine joined the collective. And Mycroft was also not able to make it due to some work concern.

What I hear is that everyone seemed to like it

I did go to this place that weekend on my own, and thoroughly enjoyed the Chicken Mole Enchiladas. The Mole sauce was awesome. Definitely brought me back to the La Cucaracha (sp? The Cockroach in English I guess...) days in St. Paul, MN.

... which reminds me... Buca's! ... I don't care what they did to it nowadays... will always be my all time favorite place. Definitely a precursor to the Movers, and forever stamped in my brain as an inspiration to any restaurant I may one day start on my own... sigh... such happy hedonistic days...

"I am sorry sir, we do not take reservations" "Michael? Hello, this is (Ace's real First and Last name)! Do you think there is any chance 8 of us will be able to get in around 7 o'clock?" "Oh Mr. (Ace's real Last name)! Yes yes of course, we will have a table for you. Always happy to have you."

Okay. So this is pure and simple bragging. But c'mon, I often make friends with owners and hosts of restaurants... a combination of my personality and the ridiculous sums of money I have dropped in their places, even when I could not afford it... but Buca's was the single most wonderful example of this in my life. If I die with this being the only example of ever feeling like a VIP, I will be happy.

Anyway... enough is enough... Taco place is good. I will post the name when I remember to ask Moxie about it. (Update: Los Coco's Tacos, thanks Moxie!)


Ready to Move.

[Since this is being posted much later, I cannot remember what specifically was enjoyed, will record this in the future.]

June 22: Hibachi

In attendance: Solids, Zeus, Moxie, Mycroft, Ace

Fun. The chef we had was the best in the joint, and definitely put on a good show. There was a moment or two that Moxie and I were in danger of being decapitated, but we took it in stride.

It wasn't the best example of a Japanese steak house, but definitely worth going for most of us. Lots of steak and shrimp were enjoyed. Most everyone really liked the fried rice, including Solids who is arguably the most picky of all the Movers. (Mover profiles are coming soon, so you will get to know a bit more about what I mean with Solids.)

Two issues though...

1. The people next to us were annoying and ignorant, not as bad as they could have been... but yours truly was the one who had to sit next to them. They ordered sashimi but then couldn't pronounce the word. Then didn't like it at all... No way in hell I wanted to pick off their food, but it pained me to watch two slices of decent tuna go toward the garbage pile. Mycroft had threated to kill these people, but restrained himself.

2. Zeus, our token vegetarian, had to order from the kitchen since otherwise her food would be cooked right in with the meat and such on the mail grill in front of us... Unfortunately the chef scooped up some beansprouts (thank you for the clarification, Moxie) from the grill, well seasoned with shrimp, beef, and chicken, and then dumped it on her plate ontop of her food. Luckily she was mostly done at this point, but there was a groan heard from most of the Movers as soon as it happened.

Go back, yes. But maybe not for awhile.


Ready to Move.

[Since this is being posted much later, I cannot remember what specifically was enjoyed, will record this in the future.]

June 15: Shalimar

In attendance: Solids, Zeus, Moxie, Mycroft, Ace

Great as always.

Vegetarian dishes actually seemed to be better than the meat ones, but that is standard @ Shalimar. That is not to say the meat was bad, far from it.

Gil was as always his incredibly friendly and welcoming self. Love that man.

Solids and Zeus both seemed to like the food, but Solids remembered me bringing him there years ago and really liked it. Not sure how it compared to then.

Kheer and Masala Tea were just as good as I remembered... must try to return soon.


Ready to Move.

[Since this is being posted much later, I cannot remember what specifically was enjoyed, will record this in the future.]