Saturday, October 27, 2007

Three Latest and Best

Tidbits from The Goose: This smart little market and its chef, Christopher Eley, give me hope for food in Indianapolis. With so much good stuff to try, I thought I'd start out slowly working my way through the cheese and meat cases. Before tackling the salumes or bacons, I started with some thinly sliced prosciutto. Oh, and a nice slice of that cocoa cardamom crusted goat cheese. They have fine looking Sennett Farm dry aged beef and maybe this is the year that I finally learn how to roast a really great chicken, inspired by the Gunthorp birds he stocks. Next time I'm in, I'm having a sandwich -- maybe the one with foie gras.

Best Risotto Ever: Last winter, I decided to slow down and learn to make great risotto. It requires patience, a lot of stock, white wine, some good stuff to add, and a little luck. The technique isn't that difficult to master but for me, the results are sometimes inconsistent. But with practice, my risotto gets better --creamier, with a better finished rice consistency and flavor. Last week, with great mushrooms from the farmer's market, I could think of nothing better than risotto, and with some shallots, lots of butter, and good arborio, I think I made some of the best risotto I've every made. Big chunks of shiitake, tangy white wine, and lots of freshly grated Parmesan. Oh, so good.

Camembert Polenta at Woodstock: Kudos to the dinner committee and wine masters of the local chapter of the international Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin. The food and wines, in fact, the entire event at Woodstock was just outstanding. And while the incredible Burgundies were the stars of the show (holy moly, that 1990 Vogue?! Wow. And wow again!) the food easily held its own. There were moments of brilliance throughout the meal, not the least of which was the one item that had us all licking our plates -- the camembert polenta! The incredibly creamy and flavorful white polenta was just soft enough to look like mashed potatoes but solid enough to stand up to the mushroom and classic wine sauces on the plate. Chef Denis Destaic executed a well-thought out menu (including a tricky but brilliant fish course). He also let the quality ingredients (like Indiana duck, Broken Arrow Ranch Axis free-range venison, and cheeses from Artisanal in NYC) shine. Bravo to all (or en Francais, Encore!)

Two-Minute Warning: Why, O, Why Weber Grill, do you make me feel so dirty? Every time I darken your doors, I feel like I need to take a shower. Is it the way I feel taken advantage of with your blatant advertising/branding/decor? Or is it the thick smell of BBQ "smoke" that permeates that whole neighborhood now? (A friend who lives in the Block Building said "My whole apartment smells like this now -- all the time!") Either way, we stopped in for dinner earlier in the week based solely on TV availability for watching the game. I can't say it was disappointing because I had low expectations -- and they were not exceeded. My 1/2 BBQ chicken was what I was craving -- meaty and good -- and, personally, I like a lot of sweet BBQ sauce slathered all over the skin. But the rest was pretty bad. The burger was crispy/burnt on the outside and rare in the middle. And what should have been simple and easy BBQ sides were not. (Beans -- too sweet and overcooked and cole slaw weirdly Asian and vinegary.) The cornbread was another super-sweet abomination and the fries (which my companion had to return because they were cold) tasted like they'd been fried in fish-and-chips flavored oil. Both times. For a place that's supposed to be a high-end chain, it didn't deliver, and while others will say, "it's perfect for the tourists," I say, "even tourists deserve better." They deserve at *least* a Cheesecake Factory.


Joanna said...

We went to Indy Weber Grill for the first time this week, and I came away with much of the same opinions. The beans & cornbread were way too sweet. The cole slaw was more of an Asian-cabbage salad- I didn't mind it really, it just wasn't cole slaw. My burger was crunchy on the outside and I didn't prefer that, but my husband said that's just they way they turn out when cooked over charcoal. We had no problem with the fries.
And, I noticed the all-over branding, too. The chairs were branded & had a weber-grill cut out, the sugar packets were branded by Weber grill- everything.

braingirl said...

Burgers cooked over charcoal don't *have* to turn out burnt on the outside/rare in the middle. In fact, there are ways to mitigate the char and get a good burger including regulating the heat, flame versus coals, thickness of meat, etc. I would think the "professionals" at Weber would know this, but then, I might be giving them too much credit.

Donald said...

Risotto should not be difficult to make. I read the post in the link below a while back and followed his lead. Mine has turned out great since!