September 27, 2012

Kitchen 4140

Hi Everybody! Glad you could make it back for another post. This time around, we are gonna check out a happening spot in San Diego, CA by the name of Kitchen 4140.

Now, before I get started, let me be upfront about something: I'm gonna be a little bias about this one. Why? Because my brother is a chef there. Yup, I got an inside connection. And yes, I am gloating about that. But don't let me feeling cocky about my connection stop you from checking out a really cool spot.

Lets get started!

First off, I'm not really that familiar with San Diego. I don't know my way around town. So, when I drove to the restaurant, I had my phone close by my side, with the directions showing on the first screen. When I got close, one thing started to become clear: There wasn't any other restaurant in sight! It's not the type of place you happen to drive by everyday. If you are headed there, you had it in mind to go there.

When I arrived, it was about 1p.m. on a Thursday. This place was hoppin'! Almost all the seats outside were taken and only a few spots were open inside. Luckily, I was able to squeeze in at the bar.

I mentioned at the beginning that this was a "happening spot". What I mean by that is there was a lot of energy in the air. It was a hot day to begin with, but the vibe was just.....DOPE! OK, that isn't the clearest description I can give, but damn it, that's what it was! You could see everyone talking, laughing, really enjoying their time and meal. The staff was on their toes, moving quickly, but not running around like chickens that lost attachment to their heads. Like I said, lots of energy in the air.

Unfortunately, I didn't get a lot of pictures. Maybe I was feeling a little lazy being on vacation. Maybe I was just diggin' the scene and not worried about the pics. I think it's a bit of both. In any case, I'll try my best to describe things.

As I stepped up to the bar, I was greeted and asked what I would like to drink. I got an iced tea and was handed a menu. The guy behind bar lets me know that all of the days specials are written on the wall. I look over, and they a huge roll of butchers paper about 6 or 7 feet above the counter. They pulled some of it down and wrote all the specials in red ink on the paper. Kinda slick, if I do say so myself.

I knew what I was gonna order, but I'll get to that in a minute. :) One more observation, then the food.

Sitting at the bar, you are facing the kitchen. From my seat, I was right in front of the pass, where Chef Kurt was holding things down. While the window to the rest of the kitchen was a little higher up, you could still see all the chefs working hard to get each order out. If you have never been to a restaurant with an open kitchen, don't be shy and request a seat with a clear view. On a busy night, it really is a sight to behold.

Now for the food. One of their specials was a burger with smoked pork belly and a fried egg. I was sold on the pork belly. I looked the menu over for a second, but that pork belly was calling me. I made my order, and what I got.....well, see for yourself.

I can't remember it all, but I know that beef was high grade and it was served on a brioche bun. I believe the fries were tossed with a little truffle oil.

I'm not sure how big this last picture is gonna be on your screen, but that was a big burger. I'm serious, it was fuckin' massive. And it was fucking delicious! A clear, smokey flavor from the pork belly. The egg was cooked perfectly, runny, but not completely raw. The bun added even more richness on top of everything else. And, to top it off, it was a bit messy.

Now, I'm not always a fan of messy burgers. Especially if I got some nice threads on. But when it tastes this good, messy is not a problem. So you get some food around your mouth or all over your hands. That's what napkins are for! After the first couple bites, I knew I was gonna have to dive in head first.

The fries were great. They were the kind of fries you can only get at a place like this. Hot. Crisp. Tender. Tons of flavor, to the point where you have to debate on if you really want to dip it in ketchup.

Half way through the burger, I started to make plans for the last bite. I know that may sound a little crazy, but when I'm eating something that I really like, I make sure the last bite is gonna be exactly how I want it. I wanted to make sure I had bits of pork and egg left. I wanted to make that last bite as special as the meal itself. Sure enough, that last bite was as satisfying as I wanted it to be.

After finishing the burger, I hung out there for another 10 minutes or so, just to let the food settle. As I was leaving, I still had most of a glass of iced tea left over. The guy behind the bar offered to put it in a to-go cup. I said yes, and was grateful. I know it's not the greatest thing ever, but stuff like that always leaves a great impression on me.

I know I'm a little bias on this one, but I really enjoyed it. Great food. Great atmosphere. You can't ask for much more. If you happen to find yourself in San Diego, go check it out.

Kitchen 4140

4140 Morena Blvd
Ste A
(at Avati Dr) 
San Diego, CA 92117
Neighborhood: Clairemont
(858) 483-4140

I'm out!!!

J. Miller

September 23, 2012

Angie's Deli

Hey everyone! I know it's been a couple weeks since my last post, but I have a very good reason: I was on vacation! I got a chance to actually get out of town and spend time with some of the family I don't see all the time. Since I knew I was gonna be away from the computer, I decided it was best to take a break from posting. But, I didn't take a break from eating bomb-ass food and getting some pictures. So, for the next few weeks, you'll be seeing bits and pieces of my vacation by way of what I put in my belly. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

While this wasn't the first food stop during my vacation, it was the most heart-felt location. The official name of this place is Angie's Deli, I know it simply as Angie's. I think another name you can give this place is "The best Mexican food in Southern California". That's right. I said it. It's not getting any better than this. Why? Let me explain...

Growing up, I lived a short time in Norwalk, CA. I'm not sure how my family found this place, but we all loved it. I would pass by this place walking home from school, and if had the money, I made sure to stop by and get a bean and cheese burrito. Hey, it's the simple things in life that brings the best smiles.

Anyway, over a decade passes, I get older and taste foods from Hawaii to Florida and wind up in Orange County, CA. And you know what? I still haven't found Mexican food that can challenge Angie's.

I went to Angie's with my brother and a friend of his. We were coming up from San Diego and had to stop by here. My brother and I both have fond memories of this place, so it really was a no-brainer going there. The only choice was what to order.

I've been trying to break away from ordering my usual items: Carne Asada, Al Pastor, or chorizo. For some reason, I almost always get one of those items. My brother, Tony, said I should try the Birria. He said it was goat. So...I said fuck it. Bring on the goat!

Here is what I got:

Now, I can only recall having goat maybe one other time, and I couldn't remember what I thought about it. What I do know is that this plate of food fucking rocked! The meat was super tender and had a great taste. I guess you could say it had a slight "gamey" taste to it. Not bad in any sense. If you like lamb, you are gonna like goat.

The rice and beans were awesome, as always. In fact, that's really one of the best ways to test a new Mexican restaurant. If they manage to fuck up their rice and beans, RUN! Odds are it's not gonna get much better after that.

After the meal, we ordered a couple bean and cheese burritos for the road and went on our way. We ended up taking a picture a little later. Everyone, say hi to my brother Tony.

Like I said earlier, this wasn't the first stop on my vacation. I got a couple more spots in San Diego to tell you about, so stay tuned!

Here is the address for Angie's Deli.

14346 Pioneer Blvd
Norwalk, CA 90650
(562) 863-1277

I'm out.

J. Miller

September 9, 2012

Uncle Dude's Ridiculous Marinara

Here we are folks! Welcome back to the Food And Such Things blog. This post, I've got something very special for you. No, I'm not gonna show you a picture of me naked from the waste down. What I do have is a review of a marinara sauce that is gonna blow your mind.

A short time ago, I responded to a tweet from a company looking for a few bloggers to review their product. I didn't think I had much of a shot of getting it, due to the fact that I've been doing this for less than a year now. Oddly enough, they said yes and would send me out a sample to try out. Honestly, how cool is that?!?!

The whole time I was waiting for it to arrive, I was thinking about how I would use it. Would I make something like baked ziti with it? No, too many other flavors going on. I want to be able to taste it without compromise. Maybe I could do a bruschetta with it? Not a bad idea, but simply putting it on toast seems like a bit of a waste. So, what did I choose? I decided to go with what I most commonly do with marinara: Throw it on some pasta and maybe add some parmesan cheese to it. I know, very simple. While simple, I'll be able to taste the marinara fully and in a setting I'm comfortable with.

Now we are gonna jump forward to getting the marinara in the mail. For real, I felt like a child waiting for Christmas morning to come. I got home from work and it was there. WOOHOO!!!

When I picked up the jar, I could easily see the chunks of vegetables in it. I don't know about you, but that's impressive to me.

At this point, I was done with the foreplay. It's time to taste it. I popped it open and was looking at this:

I took a whiff and it smelled awesome! There was no way I was gonna wait to taste this any longer. I grabbed a spoon and dug in. It tasted like...a friends mom made it. I say that with nothing but endearment. Some of the best foods I've ever had was enjoyed in the homes of friends and family. And that is what this tasted like.

You could taste the onions and garlic as clear as day. The herbs and spices come through cleanly in a nice balance. The thing which got my attention the most was the salt. It wasn't salty, but it had the right amount of salt. That is very rare for something you get out of a jar.

I cooked up some pasta and warmed up the sauce. Here it is.

I took a few bites before I added the parmesan. I had too.

I was a little worried the parm might mess with the flavor. IT DIDN'T! 

Simply put, this stuff rocks. I didn't have to add anything else to the sauce. I didn't want to.

At this point, I highly recommend you check out their website to get the full story on this awesome sauce.

Uncle Dude's Home Page

On to other news. I've been plugging away at this since November. While it's been fun, I think it's about time for a little vacation. When I come back, I'll have some fresh stuff for all of you to enjoy. Don't worry, it's just gonna be for about 2 weeks.

Until then, take care and enjoy all the little treats life has to offer.

J. Miller

September 3, 2012

New Show Ideas for Food Network

If you watch as much Food Network as I do, one thing becomes very clear: Most of the shows suck. For one reason or another, a lot of the shows have some pretty bad qualities to them. Lame chefs, unoriginal setup, bad recipes, or insane, unrealistic amounts of smiling and laughing. While some people may not see anything wrong with this, I do. DAMMIT! It's time for some fresh ideas. So hear me out for a minute, and later, let me know if you would watch any of these show ideas.

I don't have any graphics for these shows, so please bear with me and let your imagination take over.

Eat It!!! With Mistress Katrina

Besides a great name, this show is gonna bring a little S&M to the cooking world. It would be hosted by the leather-clad dominatrix Katrina. She would be joined in the kitchen/dungeon by an assistant, who would be her slave and the actual person doing all the cooking. This "assistant" would be in a gimp outfit, like old boy from the movie Pulp Fiction.

The person in the gimp outfit could be a different guest chef every episode. With all the leather, it could be anyone from your average line cook to Thomas Keller. To be honest, I think they would have trouble selling Keller on this idea.

The show would keep to your basic premise of 3 plates being made per episode. Mistress Katrina would provide commentary while our friend the gimp would be doing the dirty work.

During the show, Katrina would yell at her assistant to "Dice that onion slave!" and beat him with a horse whip. Of course, his only response would be "Yes Mistress!".

There is so much fun to be had with this show! But, it's time to move on to the next proposal.

I don't have a chef in mind for this one, but whoever it is will be taking the phrase "eating locally" to the next level.

The setting would be in the persons home kitchen. He or she would make sure that all foods cooked in that kitchen would come from his or hers community. Fruits, vegetables and proteins.

This chef would cruise local farmers markets for fruits and veggies. For proteins...the chef is cruising your back yard. That's right, this chef is cooking up any local critter that is available in the community! I don't know about you, but I don't see any cows outside my window.

Cats, dogs, rabbits, squirrels. It's all good! And when the host was in the mood for something a little more exotic, you would see a news clipping in the show about animals being stolen from the local petting zoo.

Yeah, this one would be for the more adventurous viewer. On to the next idea.

The Mountain Man
This one is actually a bit like the previous pitch. Locally grown and caught foods. The big difference here is the host would be a big, corn-fed white man that looks like the Brawny guy. The whole thing would be set in a cabin littered with the heads of his kills on the walls. We are talking a true mountain man.

With this show, he would actually "dispatch" the animals himself! That's right, we would be able to see him put all those animals down. No cameras panning away when he does the deed.

Like the name would imply, he is a mountain man. A Man's man. All things manly would be on this show. Beer, sports, boobs and hunting. The food would be straight forward and a live kill every episode.

Can you beat that? We'll see....

Dining On The Rails
For my last pitch, we are gonna ride the rails and see some of America that lots of people don't get to see. This would almost be a travel show with all the great scenic shots.

As for the chefs, it would change daily. By chefs, I mean the hobos and tramps that are sneaking their way into boxcars. Oh, did you think I was talking about Amtrak or something like that??? HA! You really don't know me yet!

Every week we would have a different hobo on there showing us how to cook whatever the hell he could get his hands on. Shit, he might not even have to cook anything at all. He could just eat his food and story-tell for the half hour. Some stories would be funny, some would be sad.

I can easily see this winning some Emmy awards.

That's all I got for now. Did you like the ideas? Did you hate them? Let me know your thoughts! Pitch some ideas of your own so we can get some better programming!

Take Care,

J. Miller