Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Fiddling With the Test Kitchen

The current issue of Cook's Illustrated features something they have done in the past: Omelets. I tried out the recipe and whaddya know, it turns out a nearly flawless omelet. While I was making a few for friends, I couldn't help but think that the recipe became too fiddly for its own good.

The big idea this time was that adding little bits of frozen butter to the beaten eggs would slow down cooking and keep the whole thing from browning on the outside (which with this style of omelet is something to avoid). I tried melting down all the butter at the beginning and the end result was exactly the same as with frozen butter. I also found the idea of using 2 whole eggs and one egg white to be just plain silly. I'm never going to use that extra yolk for anything (and the time I need an extra yolk I'm going to forget it's in the freezer), so I tried making the omelet with three whole eggs and it's just fine. The last thing I wondered about is the use of black pepper. When making something such as an omelet where nothing is supposed to get browned, black pepper shows through as little specks, making the diner wonder what you spilled into said omelet.

One thing I would like to work on is tenderness. I know that cold eggs and eggs handled with a heavy hand both contribute to a tougher end product. Will room temperature eggs make the omelet overcook? Will gently pushing the cooked egg with a spatula make for a more tender omelet than one stirred vigorously with chopsticks? If my memory serves me correctly, adding salt toughens the egg proteins too, so that may have to wait until later instead of getting stirred in at the beginning.

I'm currently having problems with excess fat on the plate once the omelet is served. It's entirely possible I'm using too much cheese, but too much butter is the more likely culprit. I'll try weighing the cheese to get a more precise amount than "2 tablespoons shredded cheese"; are you supposed to pack the cheese in or leave it kind of loose?

Anyway, here's the working recipe:

Soon To Be Perfect Cheese Omelet
3 eggs
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/8 tsp regular salt)
Pinch white pepper
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons shredded Gruyère cheese (1 ounce?)

Warm an 8 inch nonstick skillet over low heat for about 10 minutes while preparing ingredients. In a medium bowl, beat eggs, salt, and pepper just until combined. Add butter to skillet, and melt until foam subsides. Swirl butter around sides of pan. Add eggs, and stir with two chopsticks (hold them like you normally do chopsticks), pushing cooked egg toward center of pan until eggs are set on the bottom and still liquid on top. Turn off heat (or remove from burner on an electric stove), sprinkle cheese on top, cover tightly, and let sit for 2 minutes. Remove cover and return to heat for 20 seconds to warm, then fold omelet, turn onto plate, and serve.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Someone heard me...

Apparently the folks at Cook's Illustrated can read minds. I just got the last issue of my current subscription, and lo and behold, they did a whole bunch of stuff like what I wish they did! There's French omelets (I'm having one now and it's flawless), Swedish meatballs, braised short ribs, chicken noodle soup, French toast... and all of it looks sanely done. I just may work my way through the entire magazine this time.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thanksgiving Aftermath

(or, Holy Crap, He Updated the Damn Blog)

First off, your calendar is correct, Thanksgiving is this coming thursday, the 27th. Since I work in the hospitality industry, it's a lot easier for me to move a holiday to a more convenient date than to try and actually get the holiday off. By some miracle I actually have the big day off this year, so I get to do Thanksgiving twice! I'm rather glad I'm not doing the whole shebang twice in a row... For me, Thanksgiving is a three-day cooking marathon. I don't care if there's only six people over, I'm going to make dinner for sixteen. The bird should be big enough to make people worry that it's going to eat them this year. There should be enough sides that you aren't sure where the turkey is supposed to fit on the plate. There should be enough desserts that a diabetic goes into anaphylactic shock five paces from the dessert table. Hey, you have your special holiday traditions, I have mine!

The main event is, of course, the turkey. For the last several years, I did the Morton Thompson Black Turkey, which is quite the exercise in old-fashioned cooking methods. It also requires more attention than my roommate's cat, who only requires about as much attention as a six month old baby. You really need an assistant to pull it off, and I was flying solo. I went back to my old standby of turkey recipes, the one from the November 1995 issue of Martha Stewart Living. I did make one change, and that change is the one that's going to be on everyone's lips next year... dry brine. Brining is a good thing to do to your bird, making a normally dry, tasteless piece of protein come out flavorful and juicy. It's also a major league pain in the ass, requiring either a cooler chest or half the space in your fridge, along with half a box of kosher salt. The dry brine is what Judy Rodgers does to her incredible roast chickens at Zuni Cafe in San Francisco. A couple of days before the chickens get cooked, fresh herbs are slid under the skin, and are rubbed down with salt (about 3/4 teaspoon of salt per pound of bird) and pepper. The birds then rest in the fridge for a couple of days while the salt makes its way into the meat. The drying effect of leaving the bird uncovered also gives you incredibly crisp skin. Martha and Judy worked together brilliantly. The bird was deliciously juicy, and you could almost cut it with the back side of the knife.

Of course, there were tons of sides. Mashed potatoes are de rigueur, and after going with a trusted recipe, I've now broken it down in my mind into a simple formula that can be multiplied to however many people are coming to dinner.

The Jester's Perfect Mashed Potatoes (Per Person)
1/2 pound Yukon Gold potatoes
1-1/2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt

Peel the potatoes, and cut them into 3/4" dice. Rinse them under cool running water for about 30 seconds to get rid of excess starch, then put into a pot and add enough water to cover the potatoes by 1 inch. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until the potatoes are tender (about half an hour). While the potatoes are cooking, mix the butter and cream together, heat until the butter melts, and keep the mixture warm. When the potatoes are done, drain them well and let them sit for a couple of minutes to let excess moisture evaporate. Run the potatoes through a food mill (or a ricer, or just mash them with a hand masher). Add the dairy mixture and salt, stir well to combine, and serve.

Something new for me this year was the stuffing recipe, from The Nantucket Open House Cookbook by Sarah Leah Chase. If you don't have a copy of this book, run out and get it RIGHT NOW. It's helping me fall in love with cooking all over again after getting out of the Cook's Illustrated mindset of "It Must Be PERFECT". Speaking of Cook's Illustrated, I find lately that their recipes aren't nearly as good as they used to be. Five or six years ago, the reaction I got when making one of their recipes was "Oh my God, this is the best [insert food here] that I've ever had!", and anymore I just don't hear that when I make their recipes. I think it's sort of like New Math, where exotic, complex techniques were much more important than actually getting the right answer. I tried the pumpkin pie recipe from the latest issue and for all of the tweaking (maple syrup I could deal with, but CANNED YAMS?!), it was just a meh pumpkin pie. But more about dessert later.

Now where the hell was I... ah yes, the stuffing! It was the one from the Thanksgiving part of the book, with some minor changes to fit the local palate. It was a sausage stuffing with pecans and brandied apricots, and it was some of the best stuffing I'd ever had. The only things I changed from Chase's original recipe were pecans instead of chestnuts (I don't think AJ's even carries 'em around here, and pecans are very much an Arizona thing), and the use of sage and thyme instead of rosemary (the rosemary in the test batch was like eating pine needles). It's so good that I may very well forget that there's a big turkey to be eaten and just happily nosh on the stuffing for breakfast, lunch and dinner... I may have to stock up on some bubbly, Champagne goes with it extraordinarily well.

Creamed spinach from Cook's Illustrated was an utter dud last year, so this year I went with the home version of the recipe from Lawry's The Prime Rib restaurant up in Vegas. The secret of better creamed spinach was simple: Bacon. This was utterly divine creamed spinach. I'll have to make a special trip to Lawry's the next time I'm up that way so I can have someone else make it for me. Another recipe from Sarah Leah Chase was a sweet potato-pear casserole. It was very delicious, but I think next time I may try cutting the sweet potatoes and pears into smaller pieces, and I'm also tempted to leave the lid off the casserole dish to see if that helps the sauce reduce some. Cranberry sauce was pretty close to the back of the bag, with two twists: Champagne instead of water (I used Freixenet cava, don't tell anyone), and some currants thrown in. I hereby christen it Cranberry Sauce à la Kir Royale, and I think I shall make it a regular part of the Thanksgiving table. Speaking of a regular part of the table, I'm adding pumpkin biscuits (from Sarah Leah Chase again) to the regular repertoire. These were simple to make (and freeze well), and absolutely bursting with pumpkin flavor. I'm strongly tempted next year to do the entire Nantucket Open House Cookbook menu; everything from the book was nothing less than terrific.

There were three desserts to be had. The smash hit winner was pecan pie, made from a Cook's Illustrated recipe from their earlier days. It was easily the best pecan pie I've ever had; rich, caramelized, buttery, nutty... I may have to go sneak a slice here in a moment. Or maybe I'll wait until I can snag some vanilla ice cream to put on the side. The pumpkin pie... was enh. Cook's Illustrated made a whole lot of "improvements" to the recipe, and I think that if I was to taste the new recipe side-by-side with the one on the back of the can, I'd pick the can. There just wasn't much oomph to it. The CI pumpkin cheesecake, however, was very nice, truly one of my standby recipes for something delicious to bring to a dinner party. Now all I need is one of those new auto-scrape beaters for my Kitchenaid so I don't have to scrape the bowl down eight times while mixing the batter.

The one dud this year was Pommes Anna. Don't get me wrong, it was delicious. It just doesn't hold for squat, and making it in advance is really the only way you're going to pull that one off. So next year, I think I'll be going for a casserole type thing. Maybe tater-tot hotdish to please the Midwesterners. I know you're supposed to use the canned cream of chicken soup, but... do I have to?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Sad day for Arizona

It makes my blood boil that Proposition 102 passed. I thought Arizonans would be smarter than that. Instead, the people of Arizona have now written bigoted discrimination into the state constitution. I guess gay is the new black.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Five-Minute Bread: Broa

I had been eyeing the recipe for broa, a rustic Portuguese yeast-raised corn bread, in Artisan Baking in Five Minutes a Day for quite some time. Tonight, I baked my first loaf of it. Halfway into mixing the dough, I found out too late that I was about a cup of flour short. I almost ran out to the store for more flour (speaking of which, since when did Wal-Mart start carrying King Arthur all-purpose flour? Whoever is doing the buying for Wal-Mart is being slow but increasingly thorough in wooing my shopping dollars!), but when I was reading up about broa on Wikipedia, I found out that the bread is commonly made with rye flour. I have plenty of rye flour around here, so in went the missing 4.5 ounces of flour as rye instead of all-purpose. The bread turned out very good, one of the best I've made with the five-minute recipes. The flavor is very complex, and the texture looks like it will hold up well for making sandwiches. There isn't as much rise as with the regular boule, and the crumb is pretty tight. I think that because of this, I'll make this one a double loaf at a time on future batches. Next up, I think I'll do the challah, and make some French toast with it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

UFCW Pot Calling Fresh & Easy Kettle Black

Last week, a new Fresh & Easy location opened up in Tempe on Baseline and Kyrene. Like all of the other F&E locations I've been to, it's a great store. Several days before it opened, a friend who lives down the street from there received a letter in the mail entitled "Fresh & Easy Facts" with "Don't be fooled by Tesco's Fresh & Easy" as a very large tagline. Inside was a list of things that are apparently reasons not to shop at this new grocery store. I was struck by the amount of things they claimed about F&E that I had noticed in several large grocery stores. It turns out that the large grocery stores were behind the letter, courtesy of the United Food and Commercial Workers union! Looks like one of two things is happening: First, F&E isn't going union and of course the union has their panties in a wad. Second, Fresh & Easy is doing very well and the unions don't like the competition from a clearly better product!

Here's the UFCW's reasons why I shouldn't shop there:

First, F&E should have a record of meeting food safety standards. Of COURSE they don't have a record of this, they're brand new! The describing paragraph mentions that Tesco, the parent company of F&E, "has been fined for selling expired and spoiled food". Guess what? Last time I was in Safeway, I almost bought some blue cheese, but then saw that the expiration date had passed by over THREE MONTHS. Eeeeeeew! Every time I've been in F&E, I haven't seen *anything* past the expiration date. In fact, they're some of the best at making sure nothing goes past date. The day something's sell-by date comes up, it gets a bright red sticker mentioning it's half off. If it isn't sold, it gets donated to a food bank. I've noticed they built in quite a bit of leeway with their expiration dates; I've had things accidentally sit in the fridge longer than they should, and they're still fine. Their expiration dates on milk are some of the longest I've seen, meaning that they have much better turnover rates than at regular grocers.

Next up was how F&E must reduce its environmental impact. They're doing more than Safeway and Fry's have, as far as I can tell. F&E is making all of their stores with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification in mind. Several years ago, Safeway made an LEED-oriented building, but hasn't made any strides in making their older buildings over. Safeway has also made a big point that they purchase wind-based power, but Fresh & Easy has done one better and installed solar panels on the roof of their Riverside distribution center. Those solar panels have so far provided 74 percent of the building's operating power! If that isn't reducing one's environmental impact, I don't know what is.

The third paragraph suggests that Fresh & Easy doesn't provide good jobs because they don't pay their American employees as much as their British counterparts. Friends, the British employees make minimum wage over there: £5.52 (currently $9.93) an hour.  Fresh & Easy employees start at $10 an hour in California. Yes, that's right, the UFCW LIED about this! There's a word for this: Libel.

The last one is that Fresh & Easy should meet high standards of customer service.  I can say from personal experience that they FAR exceed any experience I've had at Safeway or Fry's. The staff at Fresh & Easy is helpful and friendly, while Safeway and Fry's staff are indifferent at best. The letter goes to claim that I should have "check out stands staffed by a checker who scans and bags your groceries".  Fresh & Easy has them for people who want them.  The only time I've had to bag my own groceries at Fresh & Easy is when I've willingly dismissed them because they needed to help another customer.  The last time I was at Fry's (a UFCW store), the only lanes open were the self-checkout lanes, and the checkers didn't offer me ANY help at all, just a cursory, barely mumbled "good night" on my way out the door.

Shame on you, UFCW, for not fixing your own problems before pointing out others' percieved faults! Because of this union bullying, I hereby refuse to shop at the union-run Safeway, Fry's, and Albertson's stores of the greater Phoenix area until they can practice what they preach.  Fresh & Easy has better quality food, greener stores with natural light streaming in, and some of the friendliest grocery staff in town.  And their prices are WAY better too.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

More Five-Minute Artisan Bread

The mania over freshly baked bread has slowed to the point that I have some dough still in the bucket coming close to the two-week mark. It really does improve over time! The later loaves have a nicer chew to them, and a much improved sourdough type flavor. Since I just baked off the last loaf of a batch, I started two more batches: One is a full size batch of the European Peasant Bread, which replaces some of the flour in the regular loaf with rye and whole wheat flours. The other is the Brioche, which both the roomie and myself are greatly looking forward to trying.

Quick Review: Culver's, Mesa AZ

After hearing much ballyhooing from homesick Midwesterners, I went to the fairly new Culver's over on Country Club just south of US-60 for the first time earlier this summer. The dining room doors were locked 10 minutes before posted closing time the first time I went, leaving me just the drive-thru. I know that Mesa and Gilbert practically roll up the sidewalks at 9 PM, but come on, if you're going to say on the door that you're open til 10, STAY OPEN TIL 10! It was certainly not the best first impression. At least the girl at the drive-through was perky. Burger was... salty. Onion rings were OK. Root beer float had not nearly enough root beer for the ice cream, er, I mean frozen custard. Fast forward to tonight. I got a patty melt and cheese curds. The patty melt was one note: Bland. No, wait, two notes, it was greasy as hell too. The bread used was allegedly rye, but didn't taste much like rye and the caraway seeds were just there for looks. The cheese curds tasted more of salty breading than cheese. Neither was worth the calories. A return trip is highly doubtful at this point, especially with In-N-Out and Chick-Fil-A two exits down the road.

Monday, August 18, 2008

One of those things about living in the Phoenix area is dead obvious to anyone who lives here: It's damned hot in the summer. Sometimes, you just have to get out of town. Las Vegas has awfully tempting hotel rates, but there had best be a great pool where you stay since it's going to be just as hot. San Diego has tons going on, but with gas prices where they are, one gives pause to travelling there during their peak hotel season. Northern Arizona looks more and more tempting, doesn't it? I've had friends and family up in Prescott for all my life, so when someone from up there called to catch up on things, I jumped at the chance to pay them a spontaneous visit. Two hours later, I found myself up there under a blanket of stars, with lightning flashing further north on the rim.

Something I have noticed about Prescott is that while it's still a sleepy little town, the quality of restaurants up there has dramatically improved in recent years. Case in point is Esoji, a relatively new restaurant on Gurley just a stone's throw west of Whiskey Row. I never would have guessed that one of the best Japanese restaurants in the state would open its doors in such a picture-perfect slice of small-town Americana as downtown Prescott.

My friend J (no relation to Seth Chadwick's J., congratulations to you both on the wedding!), his wife Keely, and their kid Kidlet had a great time catching up on things as we strolled around the square under the blazing hot 85 degree sun. As we approached Whiskey Row, we all noticed it was about time for lunch. We were all disgusted by the presence of a Quizno's franchise at the south end of Whiskey Row (It's great when a downtown area is completely dominated by independently owned shops and eateries like Prescott!). We nearly stopped at a new hole-in-the-wall Mexican place on Whiskey Row called Annalina's, but in the end Esoji won out for getting a visit this time. Annalina's looked like it would be a promising little place, so I'm looking forward to giving them a try the next time I'm up there.

When we entered Esoji, we were given the standard table-or-booth choice. We were a bit torn; booths always have a more intimate feel, but with Kidlet along and his need for a high chair, it would be a lot easier to sit at a table. The hostess quickly offered a banquette at the end of the row of booths, and it turned out to be a great idea. For some reason, the inside edge of the booth side of the banquette was considerably more firm than the rest of it, leaving yours truly sitting off-kilter.

We perused the menu, and went with relatively basic choices. Keely hadn't been to a Japanese restaurant before (J is working on opening her up from her once sheltered life diet), and went with teriyaki chicken donburi. J and I both selected the bento ($13.50), a combination of grilled meat, shrimp and veggie tempura, vegetables, California or spicy salmon roll, miso soup, and green salad. I went with teriyaki salmon, J had the teriyaki chicken, and we both had the California roll. If I was thinking about it, I would have selected the spicy salmon so we could have some of each. I'll have to do that next time. J is allergic to shellfish, so I offered to eat his shrimp tempura, but alas having the crustaceans touching something else on the plate would set him off, so he requested no shrimp tempura.

The waitress went off to place the order, and a few minutes later arrived with my and J's green salads. An added surprise was a little teddy bear face made out of sushi rice and veggie bits for Kidlet! Kidlet couldn't enjoy it as much as the itamae hoped since Kidlet isn't quite up to solid food yet, but it was still a very welcome touch. The salad was unusually good; there was some traditional iceberg for crispness, mixed in with spring mix for complexity. The dressing was an eye opener, definitely not your usual Japanese ginger dressing that I swear doesn't change no matter where you are. It was vibrant and citrusy, with ginger, a little soy, and goodness knows what else. You could tell that they made it there. You could also tell they were very proud of it since they sold it by the bottle. Miso soup was executed just as it should, with flavorful broth and a couple of small bits of seaweed and tofu.

A short while later, our entrees arrived. As you can see in the pictures, they were nearly works of art. Colors played off of each other beautifully well, shapes were attractive, and everything just looked well thought out. The teriyaki sauce was definitely not the sticky sweet bottled glop used at so many places, and was applied with a modest hand. It truly complemented the meat instead of taking center stage. Vegetables were all cooked to a perfect degree of doneness whether sauteed or tempura. Speaking of the tempura, I have never had a tempura this incredibly light. My shrimp was tender, juicy, and tasted like... shrimp. We have some wizards of the deep fryer where I work, but they don't hold a candle to the person manning it at Esoji. Since J passed on the shrimp, he instead received tempura sweet potato slices, and they were so good that he didn't miss the shrimp one bit. A small nest of noodles were dressed in a light sauce that took me by surprise. I had a feeling they would be a little spicy since you could see flecks of togarashi, but there was also a contrasting sweetness with a hint of tart that I'm pretty sure was provided by a splash of citrus. The California roll was a good California roll; nothing to write home about, but even the best California rolls play second fiddle to pretty much every other kind of sushi out there. The sushi rice was perfectly balanced; not too much rice vinegar, nor too little.

I had already planned to stop by the crêperie on Gurley for dessert, but that plan was dashed when our waitress mentioned green tea crème brûlée. It came attractively presented, along with a surprise of a miniature scoop of green tea ice cream, presumably for Kidlet. We were all enthralled with the crème brûlée. I thought that the crust could have been thicker (I like mine to crack when hit with a spoon, this one didn't), and I would have appreciated it if the sugar on top had been melted by blowtorch instead of broiler; the custard part had started to cook more than it should from the broiling. Still, it was delicious and creamy, and the green tea paired well with the creaminess of the custard.

The total bill for three lunches and one dessert came to just over $56. This is pretty pricey by Prescott standards, but very well worth it. Esoji is head and shoulders above any other Asian food I've had in northern Arizona, and is easily in the top tier of Japanese restaurants in all of Arizona. Indeed, Esoji may well be the best traditional Japanese restaurant in the state.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Croque Monsieurs made with the master recipe bread from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day absolutely ROCK.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Love Great Bread? Of Course! Get This!

I love making homemade bread. So much of the whole process just connects on a deep level. It feels great, from the smell of the yeast getting started, to the feel of kneading dough, to the incomparable sensation of biting into a slice of bread still barely warm from the oven. However, for something that is so simple (just flour, water, salt, and yeast), fresh home-made bread is an absolute pain in the ass to make. Even though you don't have to proof the yeast (thanks to quick-rise yeasts) and knead the dough for 15 minutes (thanks to the trusty Kitchenaid on the counter), the dough takes quite a bit of babysitting, and somehow the entire kitchen ends up covered in flour.

In November of 2006, cookbook author Mark Bittman released a recipe for something new called No-Knead Bread. In normal bread, kneading is what develops gluten, which gives the bread its structure. In No-Knead Bread, kneading is replaced by a very wet dough (87 percent of the flour's weight in water; a traditional recipe is closer to 55 percent) and a very long rest (at least 18 hours in the fridge). There is an Achilles's heel to the No-Knead Bread, and that is that you have to start the bread 18 to 24 hours before you actually want the bread.  What's a bread lover to do?

Enter Dr. Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François1, authors of the new book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. He's a bread-loving physician, she's a CIA2-trained baker and pastry chef.  Boy, that sounds like a movie waiting to happen, doesn't it?  They realized that a wet dough not only doesn't require kneading, but also keeps for a good long time in the refrigerator... up to two weeks.  Now all you have to do is mix up the dough, let it rise, and then toss it in the fridge.  When you're ready for bread, you just shape the loaf, let it rise, and put it in the oven.  That's it.  The only part of your kitchen that gets dirty is a spoon to mix the ingredients.

The bread is wonderful stuff... nice crumb, crackling crust, and great flavor.  Apparently, the longer you let it sit in the fridge the more complex it tastes.  I'm looking forward to finding out, but I don't know that I have the willpower to let the bread dough just sit for that long!

1) Just have to say I love how easy it is to do accented characters on a Mac... option-c gets you the ç, where on Windows it was Alt-some four digit number.
2) Culinary Institute of America.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I Call It Spaghetti alla Fata Verde

I had some friends over for dinner tonight. I was in the mood for spaghetti and meatballs. I started out with the Cook's Illustrated recipe, and CHANGED IT! Yes, Christopher Kimball, I didn't feel like buying ground pork, so I made meatballs with (gasp) all BEEF.  They were better that way.  And since I didn't have basic white sandwich bread, I used sourdough.  Then, I thought that their Quick Tomato Sauce could use a flavor boost.  I remembered my favorite thing to add... red wine.  Nice meaty Cabernet, to be exact.  Then, that got me thinking about what else I could add to give it a twist.  I remembered the nice new bottle of absinthe sitting on my extensive bar shelf.  Italian sausage often has lots of fennel in it, which gives a bit of a licorice-y flavor.  Absinthe has similar notes to it.  So, in went a little splash into my tasting bowl along with a little of the sauce, and... magic.  The two went together splendidly.  I added a couple of ounces of the infamous spirit, and everyone was thrilled.  Try it the next time you make spaghetti sauce.  I'd give you my recipe, but I already know you have your favorite and not much is going to sway you from it.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Review: Haru Sushi, Tempe AZ

love the concept of kaitenzushi, conveyor belt sushi restuarants. At first it looks like a regular sushi bar, but there's a little belt that goes all the way around the bar area, with little plates of all different colors moving up and down the line. To start eating, you take a seat, and if something looks good, you snag it off the belt. It ends up feeling a lot more casual and social this way, and something about pulling the food off the belt before it moves too far away is mildly interesting to the normally latent hunter-gatherer part of my brain. Admittedly, this is about as close as I'm going to get to catching food while it's moving, but it amuses me nonetheless. The first place to do conveyor belt sushi in town is Sushi Eye In Motion, over in the historic district of downtown Chandler. I've been going there whenever I can practically since they've opened, which isn't nearly as often as I'd like since I live 45 minutes away. Now, there's a newcomer to the field: Haru Sushi, on the northeast corner of Priest and Ray in Tempe, not too far east of I-10. Naturally, comparisons between the two abound.

The room has two separate areas. The sushi bar has three sides, with two sides dedicated to standard counter style sushi bar seating, and the third with booths so that groups can still sit at the sushi bar. These booths do have access to the conveyor belt. I think this touch is a very nice one, and I would love to see more places in town have seating like this available. There are about six more booths available, but service at these is only from the waitress. The decoration of Haru is noticeably less trendy and hip than that of In Motion, but colors and light are bright and cheery, they made a good effort to make the place look nice with various Japanese things stuck to the wall, and you can play one of my favorite restaurant games, "Spot The Stuff That Came From IKEA". This is one of the few places I've seen that pulled off having a warehouse-style ceiling. They did it by dividing the vertical space twice over; the top third of the room vanished with a matte black paint job, and the rest of the cavernous space was bisected by enormous wicker-shaded pendant lamps. I would imagine that volume levels would be acceptable even during very busy times, as the booth seating area does have a dropped ceiling (did someone just snag both spaces in the strip mall and knock down the wall?), and I do have two quibbles over the decor; one is the flat screen TVs on opposing walls (one was tuned to Telemundo, the other to ESPN), and the other is that the radio was tuned to hip-hop station 104.7 FM. I found that hip-hop and sushi really don't go together all that well; I would have much preferred peace and quiet like one can find over at Sushi Ken.

Places are set with a fast-food issue paper napkin, and good quality wood chopsticks. We naturally took a seat at the sushi bar, and ordered hot tea ($1) and ice water. Moments later, the tea came, along with the requisite soy sauce boats (with the dollops of wasabi in them) and a big plate of pickled ginger. With equipment in hand, we dove in. I like the style they do for their conveyor belt. There is a small place marker with the name of a type of sushi, and that type of sushi follows it. This is good for someone who isn't familiar with various things; you don't really need it to tell you that shrimp is shrimp, but on the complex rolls so popular stateside (such as Las Vegas rolls, which are about six different things rolled and then fried in tempura batter), it's nice to know what they are so you can get them again if you want. It's a different system than at In Motion, where everything is scattered all over the place so you don't have to wait for one specific thing to come back around if you decide too late to grab it, but if you're curious about something you have to ask the staff what it is. At Haru, they also have a selection of other things going up and down the little catwalk, including gyoza (I promise I'll try them next time), Ramune sodas (a popular brand of soda in Japan that comes in a glass bottle sealed by a marble; if you haven't tried one, it's worth doing at least once), little pre-packaged fruit cups for the kiddies, and a couple of sweets. If there's something that you would like to try that isn't on the belt, you can always ask the itamae (sushi chef) to make something from their (very short) menu for you.

The sushi itself was merely OK. The selection was all pretty standard, not much of anything truly exotic, but it covered the bases of nigiri, hand rolls, and maki rolls. It was leagues better than what I've had at Ra and Stingray, but that's not really saying much. The rice had a proper amount of rice vinegar added to it. The fish was a step below what I'm used to at In Motion (Such deep red tuna! Such vivid orange salmon!) but was certainly acceptable; nothing showed any signs of being old. The servers were friendly and willing to help, but that was only when you could find one. For the most part, you don't really need anybody around, but beverage glasses did sit for quite a while unfilled. It looked like we came in at the tail end of a rush when there were only two servers on the floor (most of the seats at the sushi bar were empty with plates stacked up in front of them when we came in), so I should likely hold back on saying anything firm about the service until I've been back.

Thankfully, they don't charge nearly as much as In Motion. Plates range from $1.25 for simple things (such as tamago or avocado roll), up to $3.25 for the fancy rolls (Rainbow, Las Vegas, Caterpillar, et cetera). It's easy to tell the price on something by the color of the plate; white plates are the least expensive, black plates are the most expensive, with other colors coming somewhere in between. It seemed like most of the plates that were going around were either the mid-range green (this was most of the nigiri, I believe it was $1.75 for two pieces) or black plates. My friend and I both ate quite well; we had about a dozen plates stacked up, and the bill came to about $37 including the tea. For a similar amount at In Motion, the bill would likely have been close to twice that.

As for which one is better overall... Sushi Eye In Motion wins that hands-down. It's better across the board: The sushi is higher quality, the sushi chefs are more creative and know what they're doing with a knife better, the atmosphere is more fun, and the service is much more accommodating, making you feel like you've known them for ages from your first visit. However, Haru Sushi is still competent sushi, and their bargain price point makes them very hard to resist. As far as value goes... I feel that both Haru and In Motion are a very good value. Which one I end up going to in the future is going to be flat-out determined by how much money I have in my wallet when I get a craving for sushi. Since it's the slow summer season for this bartender... I'm going to miss my friends at Sushi Eye In Motion for a little while.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Late Night Cooking: The 65° Egg

I just got done with the night's Wii Fit.  It's a terrific game, and wildly succeeds in its mission to get my tush off the couch and moving more.  Go get a copy if you can find it.

But anyway, this blog is about my culinary adventures, so on with those.

When I was reading through Lynne Rosetto Kasper's excellent new book How To Eat Supper, I saw mention of a little bit of molecular gastronomy from Hervé This that one could easily do at home: The 65° egg.  You see, proteins in eggs set at different temperatures, starting at 142 degrees Fahrenheit.  So, if you cook an egg at a low enough temperature, say around 65° Celsius (149° Fahrenheit), you can get the white to softly set, and the yolk to be still soft.  As a bonus, you can cook the eggs as long as you want, even overnight.  So, tonight, I've decided to try the 65° egg.  Before I started up the Wii tonight, I set my oven to right around 150 degrees, and rather unceremoniously placed some eggs in there to cook.  This was about an hour and a half ago.  Now that I'm getting hungry, I'd say it's about time to get them out of there.  I just fixed up some toast to go along with them (Archer Farms whole wheat from Target, good stuff).  The eggs are a bit tricky to get out of the shell; they're set, but very soft and quivering.  I have to dig around the inside with a spoon to get the whole thing out in one piece.  It looks pretty much like any other hard boiled egg.

Now, for a taste.


Mmm.  These eggs are good.  I think the oven has a cool spot near the front, as the yolk is set firmer than the recipes I've seen suggest.  Still, the yolk is tender, and the whites are ever so softly set.  I'll definitely be making these again.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Went to Sprinkles today

One of these days I'll write another real article, I swear.

One of the managerial folk at work had his last day today, so I couldn't resist springing a mess of cupcakes from Sprinkles on the whole gang.  I figured it would be a good excuse to try out the cupcakes that chowhounds all over town have been swooning over.  The setup in the store is simple.  Behind a wall of glass are wooden cupcake racks holding the day's 11 flavors of the 21 that they make throughout the week.  To the right of that is the counter where you place your order, and to the far right is the cash register hiding behind wood paneling.  On the side wall is a selection of retail items, including DIY cupcake mix ($14 for enough to make a dozen) and T-shirts ($25 to $40, ouch!)  Six flavors are made all week long, and the rest have a regular rotation, always appearing the same days every week.  So far, I have tried the Cinnamon Sugar, Red Velvet, and Peanut Butter Chip, and can say that these are some of the best retail cupcakes around. Their Red Velvet borders on legendary.  They're very moist cupcakes, almost *too* moist: After a couple of hours in the box, the fat in the cupcakes managed to soak through not only the wax paper cupcake liner, but also the waxed paper lining the box, and the cardboard box itself.  I'm starting to think that their recipe starts with lots of butter, adds just enough sugar to make it sweet, and then only adds enough flour to keep everything held together through the oven.  A few minutes after eating one, I feel sort of like I just ate a stick of butter.

Alas, Sprinkles falls squarely into the same trap as gourmet peanut butter sandwich purveyor PB Loco: The price is absolutely ridiculous.  It's $3.25 for *one* cupcake.  If you get a whole dozen, they have the decency to drop the price to $36, only $3 each!  If it was, say, $2.50, you would likely find me there two or three times weekly.  At their prices, once a month tops.  I'll leave Sprinkles to the chichi Scottsdale Desperate Housewives crowd with their bleached blonde hair and oversized sunglasses with white plastic rims, and just make my own cupcakes at home.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


The mint crispy M&Ms that they're doing as a promo for the new Indiana Jones movie utterly RULE.  Imagine the deliciousness that is the Girl Scout Cookie Thin Mint, but in teeny form with a crunchy candy shell.  Go forth and enjoy.  And while you're at it, beg M&M/Mars to put these on full-time production.

Oh, in the works for articles and reviews:
A road trip to Prescott
Dining with the Chowhounds in downtown Scottsdale

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Urban Campfire: Yay, it's still there!

A couple of days ago, the Arizona Republic's Howard Seftel ran a story that both the Scottsdale eatery Twisted and one of my personal favorites, Urban Campfire down in Tempe, were both a couple of higher profile restaurants to recently bite the dust.  While it is true that Twisted is no more, Urban Campfire is still going strong.  I went recently and everything is as delicious as ever.  Nearsighted people will be happy that they don't have to crane their neck to see the menu written on the wall, as they have now changed over to printed menus.  The yam planks are being cut thinner now, definitely into the realm of chips rather than the chip/fry hybrid that I enjoyed, but still extremely delicious.  They're also baking all of their own breads on-site now.  While the breads tend to be dominated by anything that goes on them (it's barbecue, what did you expect?), they still hold up a lot better than anything store-bought ever would.

So... if you haven't been there, GO.  It's still the same terrific value it was when they first opened.

Monday, March 24, 2008

A Short Treatise on the Perfect Hamburger

I recently was going through articles on a food site when I came across a video describing what the editors of the site considered the "perfect hamburger". In the video, I saw a number of things done to the burger that I considered to be complete atrocities. This is my response to their video.

The perfect burger starts with ground chuck. It has enough fat in it that it's not dry when it comes off the grill, but not so much fat that the burger is greasy. It's best if you grind it yourself. you can do this in a food processor with minimal fuss. The burger should be cooked over a searing hot flame, no further than medium unless you enjoy eating hockey pucks. It should only be turned once, and never, ever pressed. The only thing that pressing will accomplish is drying out the burger. If you choose to add cheese, it should go on the burger before the burger itself is finished cooking so it has time to melt without giving the meat a chance to overcook. The cheese should have a personality of its own; American, Colby, and Monterey Jack all melt nicely but are quite bland. Better to go with sharp Cheddar, Swiss, or even crumbles of your favorite blue cheese.

The bun must not be an afterthought. The ones in the bread aisle at the supermarket are almost always flavorless, waifish things that can't hold their own once loaded down with toppings. Find yourself a good bakery and buy their hamburger buns. They should have some flavor of their own, and be big enough to hold up through the entire burger without collapsing, but not so big that all you taste is the bread. Toasting the buns is mandatory. Buttering the buns before toasting is highly recommended.

Toppings are up to you. Some people prefer the clean, minimalist lines of only burger and bun. Daniel Boulud lavishly tops the signature burger at his restaurant with braised short ribs, foie gras, and black truffles. I believe that a burger should come with a standard set of green leaf lettuce, ripe tomato, sliced red onion, and slices of pickle unless such things are not complementary to other special toppings. A dollop of a spreadable condiment is always welcome even on the simplest burger creation. Mustard, mayonnaise, or ketchup are all classic standards. More inventive creations may include Thousand Island dressing (or for that matter, any creamy salad dressing, blue cheese is especially wonderful), homemade aïoli, a red wine pan sauce if you happened to pan-sear the burgers... Really, anything in the kitchen that's savory and spreadable. From there, the sky is the limit for toppings. Bacon is ubiquitous; the excellent bacon from Niman Ranch can elevate an otherwise normal burger to ethereal status. One of my favorite toppings that is often overlooked is a fried egg. Any manner of roasted vegetables do well on burgers too. Look over the topping list at fancy burger joints, such as Burger Bar in Las Vegas, for some terrific ideas. Don't limit yourself to just those lists; if you think it sounds like it's going to be good on a burger, it almost certainly is going to be delicious.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Review: Chill, Tempe AZ

If you've been reading the blog for a while now, you might remember my recent trip to Las Vegas, where I got the chance to try frozen yogurt from Red Mango, the company responsible for starting the renaissance in frozen yogurt.  Gone are the variety of sweet flavors, replaced by just two flavors:  Regular yogurt, and yogurt with green tea added to it.  The regular yogurt isn't nearly as sweet as the frozen yogurt that you're used to, and it has a bit more twang to it, a bit like the popular Greek style yogurts that grace the dairy case at Trader Joe's.  Think of this new frozen yogurt as... yogurt flavored frozen yogurt.  There are a couple of places up in north Scottsdale that have offered this treat for a little while, chief among them Ice Tango just off the 101 at Frank Lloyd Wright.  I've been meaning to get up there and try it, but that part of town just isn't on my regular rotation.  Somehow driving half an hour just for frozen yogurt seems kind of silly, but planning a trip to Vegas with getting my hands on more Red Mango in mind is easily justifiable.  While I am planning on heading up to Vegas again soon, I was very happy to hear that a new fro-yo place just opened in Tempe, and they even offer gelato.

The new place is Chill, located in the same strip mall that houses Pita Jungle on Apache in between Rural and McClintock in Tempe, a veritable stone's throw from campus.  The interior certainly takes its cues from the industry big shots, with warm colors and modern looking furnishings.  The frozen yogurt machine has the regular yogurt, plus something I haven't seen anywhere else:  Non-dairy frozen soymilk.  Vegans, rejoice!  The yogurt can be topped with a variety of fresh fruits sliced up in-house and small candies such as chocolate chips.  Something you might want to try for a topping is mochi, a Japanese treat made of glutinous rice pounded into cakes.  It has a chewy texture and a lightly sweet flavor that pairs nicely with the smooth tanginess of the yogurt.  The gelato at first bite is better than average.  I'm happy that I didn't see any way out of season flavors that indicate the use of canned bases instead of real fruit (Gelato Spot, I'm looking at you), but I'll have to try more of the gelato before I can say for sure whether it's truly top-notch stuff.  However, the sheer deliciousness of the frozen yogurt may keep that from ever happening.  Stay tuned to find out ;-)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Review: My Big Fat Greek Restaurant, Scottsdale AZ

Something I recently noticed is that absolutely *nobody* on the Chowhound message board makes much mention of the local chain My Big Fat Greek Restaurant.  Maybe it's the cheesy name, maybe it's that they have enough locations around town to look like they've already gone national, maybe it's that they use sigmas in their signage so that the name actually reads "My Big Fat Grssk Restaurant".  Who knows.  All I knew was that I was getting hungry, and a couple of friends had just invited me along for the trip.  Who was I to refuse good company?

The decor of the restaurant is generic, with standard-issue laminate topped tables, silverware rolled in Aegean blue napkins (have I mentioned how much I despise rolled silver?  I'm coming to your restaurant to have you do the work, SET THE TABLE!) and a mural of a Greek village along one wall.  Don't look at the mural too long, you'll realize the artist had no idea how to do perspective drawing.  Or maybe they wanted to get the picture from lots of different viewpoints at once.  But I digress, this is about the food, not the art on the walls.  Perusing the menu, I noticed they had a decent number of classic Greek dishes such as spanakopita, moussaka, bacon cheeseburgers, BBQ chicken pizza, and fish & chips.  I'm used to seeing one or two out-of-left-field American items at ethnic restaurants to appease the poor fool who doesn't like eating interesting food but got dragged along anyway, but when well over a dozen items on the menu are American, it's time to start thinking about changing the name of the restaurant.  I also noticed a number of typos peppered about the menu, including a drink "fit for the GOD'S" (their capital lettering, not mine) and an "Agaen" wrap that I'm pretty sure was supposed to be Aegean, but instead was a clear lack of attention to detail all over Agaen.

We got things started off with a bunch of appetizers.  The first to arrive were dolmades (stuffed grape leaves) and fried calamari.  The calamari was one of the better ones I've had.  The meat was for once succulent and tender, and the breading was light enough that it didn't overshadow the calamari.  The dolmades left something to be desired.  Four tiny dolmades came on the plate (they were the size of nigiri sushi, to give you a frame of reference) and were quickly devoured, mostly because there wasn't all that much on the plate.  These were... bland.  You could tell there was seasoning in there, but apparently downtown Scottsdalians are either frightened by proper levels of seasoning, or haven't realized yet that eating garlic on a date is taboo only if done by one person.  A moment later, the waiter arrives with our saganaki (kefalograviera cheese flamed tableside).  An "Opa!" from the staff and a quite impressive fireball later, we dug in.  This is one of those dishes that no matter what you do to it, it's exactly what you expect.  It's cheese, they set it on fire, what more could you ask?

We were almost done with the appetizers when out from the kitchen come our Greek salads.  We move our appetizer plates over to the side, and see in front of us a plate of Romaine lettuce topped with chopped tomato, feta, and green bell peppers.  The lettuce was glistening from the dressing, but the dressing just didn't taste like anything.  I searched the dish high and low for some kind of flavor at all, and all I got was a little sweet from the tomatoes and bite of the peppers.  The feta and dressing just sort of snuck around hoping that they wouldn't get noticed.

After a short wait which would have been unnoticeable had the waitstaff not rushed our salads out of the kitchen, our main courses arrived.  It would have been nice if the waitstaff had thought to clear the appetizer and salad plates before the mains came.  With their full hands, they ran into quite the traffic jam as we moved our first course plates off to adjacent empty tables so they could put our main course down.  My choice tonight was the Aegean Spaghetti, pasta with olive oil, garlic and a blend of mizithra, feta, and parmesan cheeses.  As far as pasta dishes go, this one was a disappointment.  The spaghetti was overcooked, the feta melted into a congealed blob at the bottom of the dish, and again everything was just bland, bland, bland.  There should have been the nuttiness of the mizithra, the sharp tang of the feta, but instead it might as well have been just noodles in olive oil.  I've had better versions of this dish at Old Spaghetti Factory, seriously.  It isn't that hard of a dish to make.  Everyone seemed halfway pleased with their dishes, but there certainly wasn't any rampant enthusiasm for any of the dishes on the table.

The dinner for four came out to about $96.  For what we got, it seemed like it was right where it should be.  However, there are much better choices for Greek food in town, namely just about any mom-n-pop joint you can think of.  My Big Fat Grssk, er, I mean, Greek Restaurant just glides along in its mediocrity, refusing to pay attention to the small details that would make it great, almost proud to be as dull and mainstream as any other chain restaurant out there.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Also while in Vegas: Red Mango

UPDATE: I just found out that the Las Vegas location has closed. If you're up in Vegas, there's one over in Henderson on Eastern just south of the 215.

I almost can't believe I'm writing up a frozen yogurt place.  I've been eating frozen yogurt for decades now, and for the most part it really doesn't deviate from a pretty basic standard no matter where you are.  Some places (like Mesa Frozen Yogurt over on Gilbert and Southern in Mesa AZ) become noteworthy by an extensive list of flavors, but in the end... it's just frozen yogurt.

Until I went to Red Mango in Las Vegas, off the strip across the street from the Hard Rock Hotel.

Red Mango is the first of a new wave of frozen yogurt places.  The most well-known of these is Pinkberry, a chain that is all the rage in southern California.  The Pink may be the most well-known, but they got their idea from Red Mango.  This yogurt is different from other frozen yogurts you've had.  It's not as sweet, and there's a good hit of tanginess that makes it taste more like, well, yogurt.  Red Mango only has two flavors: a plain Original, and the same laced with matcha green tea (a $1 upcharge regardless of size).  They offer a variety of fruit and not-too-sugary sweet things (including breakfast cereals like Cap'n Crunch) to top the yogurt.  And that's it.  Perfectly simple.  And oh, so delicious.  My friend and I both found it to be a perfect pit-stop from excessive running amuck on the Strip; a couple of bites and we both went from worn out to ready for more action.  Better still, as far as frozen desserts go this stuff is darn near virtuous, with just 90 wee calories in a half-cup small.  For comparison's sake, 90 calories of Ben & Jerry's is a hair over three tablespoons.  And Red Mango's yogurt is somehow every bit as satisfying.

I'll be damned if this isn't the best frozen yogurt I've had anywhere.  It's quite possibly the best frozen dessert I've ever eaten.  I love my Lombardo's Gelato down here in Phoenix, but all the gelato I've had doesn't come close to the deliciousness that is Red Mango yogurt.  We're talking not so much "Wow, this is good, how much is another cup?", we're talking "Wow, this is good, how much are the franchise rights?"  I can hardly wait for one to open down here in Phoenix.  Until then, I hope a craving doesn't strike, otherwise I'll find myself in Vegas practically before I can blink.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Ah yes, back at the Peppermill...

If there was ever a reason for me to move to Las Vegas, I think that this:

would be it.  This is the Fresh Fruit served up at the Peppermill on the Las Vegas Strip.  Of all the amazing places up and down the strip, this is absolutely THE place that I must visit.  Most places have a place that they have to hit the moment they get back from vacation, I have a place that I have to hit the moment I arrive at my destination.  The Fresh Fruit is a ridiculously huge pile of fruit, with nine different kinds of fruit all piled up in a fashion that reminds diners of Carmen Miranda's hat.  It is accompanied by a small loaf of banana bread, and a choice of ice cream, rainbow sherbet, or cottage cheese.  As fun as it is to get rainbow sherbet with a breakfast item, I'd have to say to get the cottage cheese unless you're ordering this as a side to split between four people.  With the ice cream or sherbet, it's just all sweet and your palate suffers from overload.

We ended up back at the Peppermill after a rough night for me at the Flamingo (I really want to know how on earth their engineering department thought it would be a good idea to leave the room completely devoid of functional reading lights!), slurping down a Scorpion (completely different from the Trader Vic's recipe but still darn tasty) and nibbling an appetizer platter in their iconic Fireside Lounge.  I've now decided that not only am I replicating a Peppermill booth in my dining room, I'm making a flaming fountain like the Peppermill one in my backyard.  I just love everything about the Peppermill.  It's not the best food you'll find on the strip, there are literally scores of places that offer up better food.  The Peppermill is just a simple little coffee shop done right, by people who care about what they serve up.  I sort of wish that there was a Peppermill around here somewhere, but then it might not have quite the same special cachet of the Las Vegas one.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Review: Ranch House Grille, Phoenix AZ

The recent buzz on the Chowhound board has been about a new breakfast place in the Arcadia district called Overeasy.  I was all set to go and try it this morning... and whoever told me that they open at 6 AM is a dirty stinker.  We got there a little after 6 and saw that the chairs were still up on the tables.  My roommate and I were a little downtrodden, until he remembered that Ranch House Grille was definitely open.

I was looking over the menu, trying to figure out what to try this time, when I remembered the words of the great Seth Chadwick the last time we spoke.  Those words were to get the green chili covered chicken fried steak.  I'm already a fan of Ranch House's CFS; it's seriously one of the best in town.  Little did I know, with their pork green chili stew instead of gravy, it's even better.  The cooks turn out a damn fine green chili, with a nice blend of spice and herbaceousness, and it complements the chicken fried steak incredibly well.  I got pancakes instead of toast, and was certainly pleased with them.  My roommate decided to get biscuits and gravy with his meal, and as we chatted with the waitress I found out that the cooks changed up the biscuit recipe so they weren't the dry mammoth clunkers they were serving before.  This is a good thing; something about those biscuits seemed like they were made somewhere else and trucked in.  The new biscuits... still need work.  They need to bring in a Southern grandma to show the proper light touch with biscuits.  These ones were a little tough, but they were still a minor improvement over the previous biscuits.

I'm finding more and more that Ranch House is one of my favorite regular stops for breakfast.  The food is excellent and hearty, the cooks know how to cook an over easy egg (really, I'm amazed at the hit-to-miss ratio on something that they'd have to do dozens of times daily), the waitress is down-home and friendly, the prices are right, and it just has that right feel that makes you want to come back time and time again.

Now to wait until 6:30 next time so I can at least try Overeasy next time.