Thursday, July 22, 2010


So I've been sick aaaallllllll wwweeeeeeeeekkkk!!! IT SUUUUUCKS!!!! I left class early Monday after the quiz. Missed class Tuesday. Showed back up for Wednesday - good thing I did, cause we had a MidTerm. Awesome. So anything between the quiz and Midterm that was on the Midterm, I had not even seen. Luckily, Chef Beasley did a quick review and everything else that I hadn't seen in class, I'd seen in real life (I-9 forms and W4s and whatnot). I missed class again today, and HOPE to make it in tomorrow. Also, I haven't been to either work all week.

I did smoke some ribs Sunday for my buddy Toby's last day as a civilian. He shipped off to the Navy Monday. Good luck Toby! They were a special request from the soon-to-be sailor and the ribs were killer, as usual.

Needless to say, not a lot of other fun food stuff happening this week. My buddy Scotty Randy did post some old photos of our FameCast Casting Call days and this little gem came up:

That's me in 2008? at Manna - a Korean BBQ joint in downtown LA. This place is awesome! You sit down at a table with a grill in the middle. Someone runs by and lights it. Then someone runs by and drops about 8 random Korean condiments on the table. Then a giant bowl of salad with scissors shows up. Then waters. Mind you, at this point, not one of the servers has said 1 word. Bizarre. Finally, someone shows up and says, "What kind of meat you want?" Now here's where I explain the premise of the restaurant: $16.99. All. You. Can. Eat. Yep. So of course our answer is, "One of everything?" A couple minutes later, they post up a tray next to our table with thin sliced beef, pork belly slices, and marinated beef and chicken. Raw. It's all raw. Cook it yourself. So that's what we did and it was a delight. Our meatfest was also accompanied with some delightful light Korean beer. The thing is, with no starches to fill you up, you just eat and eat and eat. Ahhhh... good times. Thanks for posting that pic Scott. Memories can be a great way to waste an entire day on the couch.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Quick Bonus Blog!

After posting that virtually non-food food blog, I got a little bummed. So I marched my happy self over to Vino Vino and said, "I'll have your finest charcuterie plate my good man!" And boy is that what they gave me:

Boudin blanc with mustard, various pickled veggies, chicken liver mousse, country-style pork paté with a grilled peach, and grilled bread. Once again, they nailed it! The chicken liver mousse was not quite mind-blowing, but the rest was just killer. I am resolved (once I get moved) to start working my way through my garde manger book, my "Whole Hog" book, and pick up Chef Brian Polcyn's "Charcuterie". I will be very good at this stuff one day. You just wait.

"Fresh" and "Natural"?

Again, I apologize for the lengthy wait, but as I warned last week, that Hospitality Supervision class is a real yawner. However, the Nutrition class has proved to be both informative and interesting. No, I have not been eating olives every day. I massively failed on that challenge. Ate some last Sunday. Still hate em. Maybe I'll try again.

I did keep a food diary for three days though. It can be very telling. Try it out at There's also an app for your iPhone - search "LIVESTRONG Calorie" and it should come up. Our next challenge was to set a 3 week goal for ourselves. Mine? No fast food for 3 weeks. Yeesh! I know, I know. Many of you don't eat fast food that often or at all, so you think this is no problem. I drive by a Whataburger to get home. WHATABURGER PEOPLE!!!!! I'm hoping that not only will this help ween me off fast food, it will also force me to plan my meals and stop being so lazy!

-Agave nectar is all the rage as a natural sweetener. Did you know that the agave plant is poisonous in its raw state? Also, it is used to make tequila.
-Carbs begin breaking down in your mouth. Protein in your stomach. And fat in your small intestine.
-Your small intestine is 22' long (on average) and is where your body absorbs most of its nutrients.
-Your colon absorbs water out of your food.
-The terms "Fresh" and "Natural" are not regulated by the government, so anything can be labeled as either.
-On average, people of a healthy weight miss 1 day of work per year. People of an obese weight miss an average of 14 days of work.
-Supplements are not regulated by the USDA or FDA. Yea. Suck on that. Also, they don't have to put 100% of the ingredients on the label.
-If you eat 0 carbs long enough, your body will turn protein into ketones for energy, which can in turn result in your blood turning into acid.

Unfortunately, I have not really made any cool new stuff at home. I'll work on that, but I'm moving this week, so it's a little tough to whip up tasty vittles with all the pots and pans packed up.

I did work another service shift at Uchi and this time I actually got to plate some stuff! Turns out I make a pretty nice quenelle. I was making salads and starters and amuse bouches and desserts, oh my!! Lots of fun.

I'll try to eat some really good food this weekend so I have something to type about next week.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Daddy Would You Like Some Sausage?

Pt I - Nutrition
So it looks like as boring as Hospitality Supervision is going to be, Nutrition will be equally as interesting (does that even make sense?). Yesterday we covered "Reasons we eat the way we do". ie religion, health concerns, culture, convenience, etc. We also hit some of the sciency stuff - macro and micronutrients, metabolism, calories vs kcals, etc.

I think I'm really going to enjoy this class, and I really hope that it teaches me to change my eating habits. Although, most of my crappy eating is a result of poor planning/laziness. The fact that I realize that is first step, I think. I just need to force myself to go to the grocery store and provide myself with healthy alternatives here at home.

Fun Facts From Day 1:
-You have 10,000 tastebuds on your tongue that are completely regenerated every 3 days. This is why you can teach yourself to like new things. Which brings us to....
-ALLEGEDLY, if you make yourself eat something 18 days in a row, you'll eventually like it. Let's all try this. Post the food you hate, then eat it 18 days in a row and see if you like it. I think I'm going to try olives.
-You have 12 million "smell patches" in your nose.

Pt II - Mulberry
So. Much. Fun. I show up to Mulberry about 20 minutes early to find Chef Zack Northcutt enjoying a Freebirds burrito - we're gonna get along just fine. We shoot the breeze for a few minutes. He tells me that there's not a lot of prep to do, but he'll try to find me some work for the night. The first thing I did (this is day 1 people) was break down a beef top round into 2 inch cubes, grind it, season it, and rest it in the fridge until I later made burger patties out of it. First day. Then, I broke down a pork butt into 2 in cubes, ground it, and made Oaxacan picadillo out of it. Chilled that, and later stuffed it into dried Ancho chilis. They would bake those for about 5/10 minutes, tempura batter them, and fry them as a chili relleno special. Day one. I also portioned out some meatballs that had been braised the day before. Then I pureed the braising liquid and poured it over said meatballs. Those would get warmed for service. I diced a quart of tomatoes. Hmmm.... what else did I do on my first day? Oh. That's right. I broke down 10 more pounds of pork and beef, mixed them with a blend of spices and made breakfast sausage. Yea. I cut the meat, mixed it with the spices that I had ground, ground all that together and packed it up. They will use it this weekend for sausage patties for their brunch.

What a fun night. Obviously, I LOVE working at Uchi. I've learned more than I can even list, but to actually get in there and work with and cook some MEAT, was a welcome change of pace. It sounded like they were planning on having my back, so we'll see what happens. I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Learn Your Scales

So far "Hospitality Supervision" is not quite as interesting as I thought it would be. Mostly just leadership and diversity talk. Not that that's not important. Diversity..... is the cornerstone of progress, as I've always said. I did learn a few interesting facts:

-According to the National Restaurant Association, on average, restaurant turnover is 100%. Meaning that you replace your entire staff within 12 months.
-It costs a restaurant about $5,000 to train a new employee.

Like I said. Yawn.

Last night I worked another service at Uchi. I didn't actually get to do a lot of plating since it was super dead. I mostly knocked out some monster prep and cleaning. I cleaned the sugar, rice, and flour bins; organized the container racks; cleaned and consolidated the walk-in; did orange supremes, garlic brunoise, peeled more garlic, negi for miso soup, made miso soup, cut up tofu, and scaled barramundi and lubino fishes. All-in-all, it was a pretty great shift.

'Member the other day when I said I might be doing a shift over at Mulberry? Well that's how I'll be spending my afternoon/evening today. I should have some plenty to write about tomorrow! Stay tuned!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Pork Picnic

So I know it's been another week since my last blog, but with the week off from school, there wasn't a lot of blogworthy food stuff. I did get to try the foie nigiri at Uchi and let me tell you what, if you have the chance to try that and don't, you might as well just stop eating all together. It's delicious.

Saturday, for UFC 116 "The Ripoff", I smoked an 8 pound pork picnic. For the first two hours, I smoked it with hickory. For the next two hours, I smoked it with pecan. Then I rapped it in foil and let it continue to smoke for four more hours. Whilst it bathed in tasty smoke, I made two sauces: a North Carolina-style mustardy, vinegary sauce and one sweeter, Texas-style, molasses sauce. I also made cole slaw from scratch: scratch mayo, apple cider vinegar, celery salt, sugar, pepper, and hand-cut carrots and red and green cabbage. Slap it all on a Mrs Baird's bun and mmmmm mmmmm it was tasty!

School starts back tomorrow morning. I'll be taking Nutrition and Management, so there should be some interesting info to share. I'm also going to see if I can score a stage at Mulberry. Stay tuned.