Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Life in review

So I have been watching a lot of Andrew Zimmerman, Man vs. Food,and Anthony Bourdain in my recovery since contracting a wicked kidney infection, then piggy-packing a sinus infection and costo-condritis on top of that.

It made me want to start my product reviews even more. There are so many products that we use or are given and asked to review that we I love or hate and I review them on Associated Content, but I always mean to make the reviews available here if they are not picked up exclusively.

I have picked up product and band reviews even some event and organization and company reviews. I would love to get some restaurant reviews. Having been raised my a chef dad and a Nana whose recipes were featured in over 20 church cookbooks and who made 12 different types of holiday cookies for over 14 sets of families not including her own every year until she was 83. I used to get cooking implements and pots and pans for holidays and birthdays because I asked for them.

Whenever I go home to Minnesota my Nana and I sneak her out of her retirement home and I find out which restaurant is supposedly the best in town that year and we get a reservation (I still don't know how, you mention her name and suddenly there is a table) and we go and eat and I always know if it is good not by how it tastes but by whether or not she asks if the chef would step out and say hello so she can give her compliments.

Once we were eating at a new restaurant in town and she had a reuben that was greasy and terrible. She told me to taste it and I could they had not used fresh sliced meat (from that day) they had left it on the grill to long, and had applied oil to the grill before putting the meat down to warm.

All rookie mistakes. But simple to see if you looked at the presentation of the sandwich. Also, if a customer complains, especially an 80 year old customer, you comp the meal and apologize.

Well this manager came out and said there was nothing wrong with the sandwich, maybe my Nana had no idea how Reubens were made and it wasn't his problem if she couldn't take a little grease.

I happened to know the owner of the restaurant was in the kitchen so I leaned over to my Nana and told her to follow me.

I walked quickly past the manager with my Nana on my heels with her walker. Walked up to the owner who knew my Nana. He said hello and I told him what his manager had said and dropped the greasy sandwich plate on his prep area.

He looked down at the soggy bread and sighed. He said our meal was free and he insisted we come back for dinner on him that weekend and bring the whole family.

The manager started mouthing off again and I slapped my hand on the counter and said "OK thats enough, I am going to SHOW you what a real Reuben looks like, get me a jacket and gloves."

The manager started saying something about insurance and impossible and the owner just laughed and told him my father had worked there as a sous chef when I was a little girl and to stop talking and watch.

I got my gear together tot bread toasting got kraut draining, started warming meat on a dry skillet on the grill as soon as it was steaming I flipped it a few times used tongs to put it on the toasted bread, added cheese, covered it for a few seconds with a lis, grabbed a plate, turned grabbed the kraut, gave a final shake, turned out the toasted sandwich, tonged out the kraut on the sandwich used a spatula to put it together, cut it in half on a cutting board, and plated it and then wiped the plate with a clean cloth.

The owner and my Nana each took a bit of the Reuben and said it was good, moist, not greasy. I asked the cook and the Manager to bite and they did. The manager just shook his head and walked out. The cook apologized.

I explained to the cook that My dad once worked at a Kosher deli and they used to make Reubens and Brisket, and all sorts of meat sandwiches in which you had to re heat meat. The trick was you had to make sure that if it was a oily meat like certain parts of Beef or perk, you didn't need to add oil when heating it up for a sandwich. Especially when serving it with something as moist as kraut.

It is were Chicken you might have to add some oil but you would have to slow the cooking process to make sure the meat didn't dry out and get chewy like breast tends to.

My Nana said it was too bad I already had a job in NY. I shook my head, I would never do food service again, talk about a harsh mistress!

We did end up coming back and having a great meal. They did hire a friend of my dads who was looking for less hours due to retirement and specialized in BBQ so he knew his meat. The steaks they served were excellent. They have since re-opened under a new name and re-located downtown and I have not had a chance to visit their new digs. Same chef, same owner. New menu with simpler options prepared based on seasnal availability.

My Nana said she heard it was great and she wants to go eat there. I just hope I don't end up in the kitchen.

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