Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Orange diet

I don't know if this information is already out there, but if not, I want to be on cyber record as being one of the first proponents of this idea. I've been trying to lose weight recently, and my preferred post-dinner snacks of popcorn or ice cream were not aiding me in that pursuit. So, I started eating oranges at night if I got hungry.

Anyway, I noticed that, even if I wasn't all that hungry (often I would turn to the popcorn or ice cream out of boredom, probably like a lot of people), within an hour or so after eating the orange(s) I would get fairly hungry. And the next day I would lose weight--even if I'd had a heavy meal for dinner--or at least not put on weight.

Now, I'm no nutritionist, but with the increased hunger and the losing weight, I wonder if something in oranges kick-starts the metabolism? I'll keep this up and see how it goes.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Louis XVI

I've been to Louis XVI in Patchogue twice--once last fall, the second time a few weeks ago. And if you care about looking at the water, go in the summer, when there is daylight until 8:30 or so. The interior is relatively nice (a big chandelier, some paintings), though I don't really care. I only care about the food.

Both times I've had the tasting menu (without wine). The first time it was $95, the second time $89. While both times were quite good, I did have some quibbles.

The first time was foie-gras overload. I think there was foie gras in 3 or 4 dishes, and the first course had monkfish liver, the "foie gras of the sea" which has the kind of heavy, rich flavor of duck/goose foie gras. While I like foie gras, it was a little too much. So when the main/meat course came to the table (I think it was quail over pasta), and it too had foie gras, I gave up and traded dishes with my wife. I don't even remember what I ate. But, while that meal put me off foie gras for a couple of months, every dish was quite good, and the seared foie gras with a red-wine sauce was the best foie gras dish I've ever had.

Other dishes of note included tuna tartar and frog's legs. My wife had a lobster salad that was just wonderful. The complimentary amuse-bouche was a layered dish (call it a terrine, call it a lasagna, whatever) of potatoes, mushrooms, and raw salmon.

The second time featured more variety, but overall was of lesser quality than the first dinner--and lesser in the amount of food. The amuse-bouche were 5 or 6 very small canapes on different breads, with different toppings. I had the same tuna tartar at one point, a duck sausage salmis (very strong smoky-gamy flavor--I also had it during my first meal with the monkfish liver course, but the second time it was looser, textually, and much better tasting), and a scallop dish featuring exactly one scallop. These were all very good.

The meat course was one rib from a rack of lamb, stuffed, and charred on the outside. The sauce was quite good but only enough for one or two bites of the lamb. What was interesting was a vegetable accompaniment of green Israeli couscous imitating peas and something else (I'm still not sure what it was) imitating a carrot--the orange thing was folded in a circle, like a ring mold, and the couscous was placed inside. While it was cleverly done, the couscous had absolutely no flavor.

For both meals, as part of the tasting menu, I guess, for dessert there was a sampling of about 6 or 7 desserts, none of which particularly interested me. Both meals also came with a very hot corn chowder with black truffles. I was very impressed by the corn chowder until I learned how to make a comparable version at home (sweat some onions in a sauce pan, add white corn, chicken broth and a bay leaf, and let simmer for an hour or so; puree in a blender, and add a little cream or half and half).

Despite some flaws, Louis XVI offers one of the best food experiences on Long Island. Of course, with the regular prix fix menu at $71, and a tasting menu at $90 - $100 or more (much, much more with wine), you're wasting your money unless you really enjoy good food.

5 out of 5 stars

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Iron Chef, "Battle Cheese" - "Yes, Battle Cheese"

Just finished watching Iron Chef America on the Food Network. Mario wins again. Can anyone stop this guy? He's a hell of a cook, but a little too full of himself. I can't say I'll be displeased when someone finally beats him.

Something that's quite different on Iron Chef America from the original Japanese version is that each course is often composed of many different, discrete dishes. Sometimes four or five, and often, not every dish incorporates the "battle" ingredient. Also, these guys (both challengers and sometimes Iron Chefs) try to do too much with each course, with sometimes disastrous results--as what happened to Scott Campbell's monstrosity-on-the-tile thing.

The judges only gave Campbell 18 out of 30 points for flavor, but fat boy got 29(!). I'm guessing, of course, that the 30 total points for tasting is based on the well-known Zagat formula--and that is a rating system I may use myself on this website.

I would have to say that one of the judges, Barbara Fairchild, Editor-in-Chief of Bon Appetit, one of the food mags I subscribe to, was completely annoying. The first judge was slightly less annoying, but I wanted to hear more from the third guy--no, it's not the usual surly, smug, fat-ass Jeffrey Steingarten. (I would find out their names, but it's late as I write this.)

Anyway, at one point, while eating one of Mario's dishes, Fairchild moaned (cheeks flushed, beads of perspiration collected on her upper lip) that she was having a "foodgasm." (I was on the edge of my seat wondering who was going to win after that.)

First of all, saying you're having a "foodgasm" is about the most weak, lame-ass, pseudo-hip thing one could think of. It reminds me of another annoying person--a chef in an episode of "Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares" (more about that show in future posts)--who would say things like "That's sex on a plate." God. Just shut the hell up. Secondly, as "foodgasm" is obviously related to "orgasm," I don't want the word orgasm even remotely associated with Barbara Fairchild. It reminds me of Gloria Stuart in Titanic talking about "the most erotic experience" of her life. Eeesh... (shivering)

Another Lame Weblog is Born.

This is a weblog about food (and possibly other topics, as the mood strikes me), created because I feel like posting my thoughts about food. Generally food on Long Island, because I haven't found any other websites that satisfactorily deal with, inter alia, restaurants on the island. So, there you go--this website is fulfilling a need. It is being done, however, by someone highly unqualified to do so. Nevertheless, it's my blog, and I'm doing the work, so this is what you get.