Wet Hot American Summer

2015-04-18 17.24.58It’s summertime, which means lots of sun, beaches, BBQs and beer – preferably enjoyed all at once. My recent posts have had a bit of an Italian flair, but considering last weekend was the 4th of July, I think it’s about time I started to focus on the American Summer. Between outdoor BBQs (I use that term in a loose sense, we’re usually not talking real BBQ here), pool parties, clambakes, pig roasts and everything else that comes with the season, there’s no shortage of great food. Of course it’s not just the food – there’s something about sitting outside during the summer that actually makes American light lagers taste good.

The best part of eating during the American Summer is that the simple, old fashioned classics still take center stage. There’s something dare I say magical about the simplicity of hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill with plenty of cheap, cold beer in the cooler. To kick things off, let me introduce you to something that combines the two. Meet the “beer can chicken”…

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Everybody Go!

2015-05-11 21.06.12Continuing on the posts about my recent adventure to the land of olives, pasta and prosciutto I think it’s time I introduce everyone to Nennella’s. Although it was one of the first places I went, I originally wanted to save writing about this one for last – save the best for last right?  I remember starting to write about a few other topics, but somehow ended up with a lot about Nennella’s and not a lot of anything else.  I’ll consider it an early Christmas present for the readers.

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Madison Square Eats

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Now would be a good time to read all about Smorgasburg if you haven’t yet.  Read it?  Ok, good.  Read on.  Now that you’re familiar with Smorgasburg, let me talk about Madison Square Eats.  Apparently the proper term for these kind of places is “pop-up market”.  One day it’s there and another it’s not.  It’s trendy.  I don’t like trendy.  I do like a variety of dishes from a variety of cuisines prepared by people who are trying to do something big in a small space.  I like to think that’s what these “pop-up markets” are really all about.  It’s a safe place to take risks – whether you are there to eat or there to cook.  Something comes out bad?  Try the next booth(or customer).  So then, is Madison Square Eats a risk worth taking?

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404: Image Not Found

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Full disclosure: This post was supposed to be about a recent visit to a great seafood restaurant in NYC. I had been looking forward to writing about it, and yet here you are reading this disclaimer about what I was supposed to write instead of well, what I was supposed to write. So, why am I not writing about this unnamed place? Excellent question! I did indeed go to said restaurant and I certainly enjoyed the food! Unfortunately something else went very wrong. It’s a problem I’ve always had, but one that has become more and more apparent as of late. It’s hard to believe, but the truth of it is –

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Smorgasburg

2015-04-12 15.09.45Just about every summer growing up, I would go to the county fair. I can’t say I had the same appreciation for food back then (and I certainly didn’t know what a blog was, but then neither did anyone else) that I do now, but it was always impressive to see so many different vendors offering so many different kinds of food (and let’s be honest, if you’re in the kind of place that has a county fair in the first place, there’s probably not a whole lot of culinary variety there otherwise).

Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, NY reminds me very much of those county fairs (though unfortunately the carnies have been replaced with vegan non-GMO organic gluten-free hippies). I’m not sure how well known Smorgasburg (which I assume is a combination of Smorgasbord and Williamsburg, the original location) is outside of the New York City area, so for those unfamiliar, it’s a (large) gathering of food vendors that set up shop every Saturday and Sunday from Spring to Fall in one of 2 riverside locations in Brooklyn. I was recently able to make it out to the Brooklyn Bridge Park location (Saturdays are held at East River State Park) for one of the first few weekends of this season. Continue reading “Smorgasburg”

Deconstructing: The Short Rib

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I only first discovered “the short rib” about 4 years ago. Since then I’ve seen it on the menu of just about every trying to be trendy or Asian fusion restaurant I’ve been to (on a side note, I’ve noticed a distinct trend in restaurants trying to be trendy lately). I’m sure some of that comes down to some culinary “Keeping up with The Joneses, but in its defense, the short rib makes for a fantastic dish. If you haven’t tried it, it’s a very tender and very flavorful cut of meat. Most often appearing on menus either marinated and grilled or braised and topped with a reduction of some kind.

Since that first discovery of short rib 4 years ago, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had one – somewhere between 40 and 50 would be my guess (I’m a shameless carnivore). Up until now though, I’ve had no idea what a short rib actually is. It’s beef – I could taste that that much, but there were so many more questions. Does a Kalbi short rib come from the same place as a regular short rib? What part of the cow does the short rib come from? If it’s a rib, why is it sometimes boneless, sometimes bone in and sometimes has lots of little round bones?   Most importantly of course, if there’s a short rib, where’s the long rib!? Continue reading “Deconstructing: The Short Rib”

Welcome

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Welcome to Mikeular Gastronomy! I’ve got no idea how you made it here, but thanks for joining! I’m hoping the name gives you some idea of what you’ll find here, but, if not, I’m Mike and this is the place where I’ll be writing about some my adventures in the world of food (and drink). If you’re like me, at this point you’re wondering why I decided to start writing.  Well, one day I woke up to an epiphany and said to myself, I know what the world needs… another blog!

Apart from doing my civic duty, I wanted to share my passion for the world of food; I’ve had a few too many conversations that ended with “you should open a restaurant” or “you need to start a blog about this” to keep putting this off (this blog won out to a restaurant by a coin toss if you’re curious). To be fair, I don’t have any formal training or “industry experience”, but this is the internet and everyone gets to be an expert :). I’m not a complete novice though, I’ve lost count of the hundreds of different restaurants and cities that I’ve been able to sample. I’ll talk about some of those as this goes along, but for now you’ll just have to take my word!

Anyway, let’s get into what I’ll actually be posting here. I’ve got a few different features in mind. Most posts will likely revolve around the different restaurants and dishes I’ve tried (some will be new and some will be old favorites of mine). I also like the idea of learning about the history of things – food and its preparation being no exception. As I come along topics that interest (or bug) me, I’ll do some research into the finer points and share them here (such as what Molecular Gastronomy really is, since I’m not quite sure). And just for good measure, I’ll throw in a personally tested recipe every now and then. I’m always open to suggestions and I’m sure things will evolve as I get going.

Let’s get cooking! (sorry, I had to)