Thursday, February 28, 2013

Paisanos Ravioli

I've written I-don't-know-how-many times of Los Paisanos and their meats. It's one of the best butcher shops I have ever seen, and I've seen a lot. After trying more then 20 different things from the place, I have yet to have something that isn't great. (I got a kick out of Paisanos being one of ten places featured on this whimsical map of Brooklyn in the March issue of Esquire.)

But in addition to all the great steaks, burgers, sausages and other items of which I have written, they have a freezer full of twenty different kinds of ravioli. I've tried a few of them. Not surprisingly, they are all delicious. Here are some photos of what I've had. 

The provolone and prosciutto was a little too bland by itself, so I added a dollop of sauce to each ravioli.

I served the tomato basil and fresh mozzarella raviolis with tomato sauce and fresh basil. These were awesome.

By the way, this was the sauce I used - Paisanos has containers of several kinds of sauce as well. This three peppers is chock full of peppers, though not surprisingly, their roasted garlic sauce is my favorite.

 I clarified some butter and drizzled it over the lobster ravioli. Decadent.

The roasted peppers and fresh mozzarella ravioli might be my favorite of the bunch. These also received the pepper sauce and fresh basil.

I am glad spring is on its way; it's a beautiful day today, probably the nicest day of the year so far. Once the weather gets warmer I doubt I will be making these ravioli again for a while. I just wanted to thank Paisanos for providing them on all the cold winter nights.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Four Kinds of Sliders

I was at Whole Foods in the Bowery a couple of days ago and noticed they had pre-made slider patties. It had been a while since I'd made sliders, so that sounded good. 

I acquired four different kinds (though only the first two of these were from Whole Foods): 

 Gorgonzola and sun-dried tomato.

 Sweet onion and bacon.

At Paisano's I got a couple of turkey sliders, full of spices.

And some slider patties made with brisket and short rib. 

I grilled all of the patties on the Sanyo indoor grill. 

I added a thick slice of homemade pickle to the brisket/short rib slider. This one was my least favorite: it tasted like an overcooked, miniature version of one of the great Paisanos burgers. (Which, of course, is exactly what it was.)

The turkey was really good. I added some slaw to balance out the spices. (This was Elizabeth's favorite and my second-favorite.)

On the sweet onion patty, I drizzled some Ken's Steakhouse "Golden Vidalia" dressing for extra sweet onion flavor. This was my favorite of the bunch. It did not need any dressing; the onion flavor of the patty was delicious. I will definitely get a few of these again.

I ate the gorgonzola and sun-dried tomato slider unadorned. I should have added some cheese to it: I could barely taste the gorgonzola. The flavors of the patty were good, it's just that the cheese wasn't noticeable.

As I mentioned, the next time I make sliders I will probably just be cooking the sweet onion variety.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Do you ever visit a place that you really want to like but just can't? I love the way Sosta looks from the outside, with big windows, a dark interior, and in the back of the house a flame dancing in a pizza oven. Elizabeth and I stopped in for dinner one night, hoping the inviting appearance would carry over to the rest of the experience.

There were three things on the menu that looked good to me, but I'd seen the pizza oven and that's what my body was wanting.

We got a bottle of Sangiovese. It was okay. It wasn't too expensive so I can't really complain, but I should have gone for the Super Tuscan instead. I considered getting a glass of that after we finished the Sangiovese, but... well, more on that in a minute. 

The bread was good and the olive oil was very good. I would have liked more of it, but... well, more on that in a minute, too. 

Elizabeth had the lemon sole on a bed of vegetables. She gave me a taste and I thought it was decent if a little dry. But this was her dish and she was pleased with it.

I had the eponymous pizza: burrata, shitake mushrooms, and arugula and truffle oil. It was very tasty, the creamy burrata playing off of the peppery greens and savory oil. I would have liked a slightly larger pie (I guess I assumed it would be when I saw the $19 price tag) but this was very good. 

What was not good, what was in fact downright lousy, was the service. We saw our server twice: when she took our order and when she brought our check. (Our other encounters were with the busboy, who delivered our food and refilled our water.) I would have liked another glass of wine and some additional bread, as I mentioned, but there was no one to ask. 

"Sorry I've been ignoring you," the server said when she dropped off the check. I never know what to do with such apologies. Should I be grateful that she acknowledged she gave us poor service and apologized? Or should I get annoyed at the fact that she was aware that she was "ignoring" (her word) us throughout our meal and still made no further effort?

I took the third option: go have an after-dinner drink somewhere else and make a mental note never to return to Sosta. The food was good but there are plenty of other places where we can have an equally good dinner for the same price (almost $100) and also receive good service.  

Monday, February 25, 2013

Chicken Sandwiches with Slaw & Beer-Battered Fried Pickles

I'd planned to make a brisket sandwich but there were no briskets at the store. Chicken breasts were on sale so I figured Why not?

You've seen me slow-cook chicken breasts before; you don't need to see all the steps, right? This is what they looked like when they came out of the slow cooker.

And what they looked like pulled apart, still steaming. I let them cool down for a few minutes and took the opportunity to make the pickles. 

I had leftover beer batter from the shrimp I made for the Mardi Gras dinner. I mixed it with Fuller's London Pride and dropped in a few pickle slices.

 They went into the hot oil for about three minutes.

I pulled them out, drained off the excess oil, dusted them with seasoning, and tried a few with a dip I made.

These were freaking good by themselves.

I used the last of my Lillie's Q mustard sauce. There wasn't a lot left, but I didn't need a lot; I just wanted to lightly sauce the chicken. It was delicious as is and didn't even need any sauce, but I thought some mustard sauce wouldn't hurt. I added a large handful of chicken to a soft kaiser roll.

A scoop of slaw right on top.

And then some of the crispy fried pickles.

I figured a few shakes of Trappey's hot sauce would liven things up. It reminded me of a passage in my beloved Charles Kuralt's America:

"I like a few drops of Texas Pete hot sauce on my barbecue to heat it up, and then I like to put the coleslaw right in the sandwich to cool it down. Not everybody agrees. I have a friend who says Senator Jesse Helms is God's retribution to North Carolinians for eating coleslaw on their barbecue."

It goes without saying that this isn't barbecue... and it damn sure isn't North Carolina barbecue, but you get the point.

This was a great sandwich. I had set aside lots of fried pickles to eat by themselves but we ended up putting almost all of them onto our sandwiches.