Archive | August, 2011

Smash Burger in Folsom

29 Aug


The NorCal Burger with fries

Last year a Northern California burger joint opened in Folsom on E. Bidwell Blvd.  Smash Burger was highly anticipated as a restaurant that makes burgers really well and has some unique combinations of ingredients.  I was also told they also have very good shakes made with Dryer’s ice cream.

I had to go see what it was all about so I made plans to stop by there for lunch.
Smash Burger is located in Folsom at 703 E. Bidwell near Wales St.

I decided to try the signature NorCal Smash Burger which consisted of Brie Cheese, Apple wood smoked Bacon, sliced balsamic-marinated tomatoes, grilled onions, lettuce and mayo on a sourdough bun.

It was a good burger, had a very good presentation, service was nice and the burger and fries were tasty.  The combo of flavors was good, but I must admit, it was not my favorite, I think I will try a regular Smash burger next time. I don’t think the brie mix worked for me.

All in all it was a good experience, next time I’m going to try something else on their menu to see what else they have.

As of today 8-29-11 Smash Burger has a 50% off deal on Groupon – $6 for $12 worth of food.
This 50% off Groupon coupon deal can be found at http://gr.pn/qE18dB

Check out Smash Burger sometime and let me know what you think of their food – feel free to add your comments below.

Urban Dog & Sausage

26 Aug
Urban Dog & Sausage

Located at 424 E. Bidwell in Folsom, this restaurant specializes in hot dogs, sausages, burgers and beef.

Urban Dog & Sausage has got a festive industrial meets neighborhood ambiance with plenty of tables and a very friendly staff. You select your dog off the chalk board, place your order at the counter and select your table and wait for one of the most tasty hot dogs you’ve ever had. Beer and wine is also available, including one of my favorites on tap: Shocktop

Below are a few selections from the menu, many of these are very creative concoctions. All dogs are the best brand on the planet – Vienna Beef.

The Chicago Dog $3.39
Frankfurter, yellow mustard, onions, neon relish, tomatoes, pickle, sport pepper, poppyseed bun, and celery salt

The Coney Dog $3.69
Frankfurter, meat sauce, yellow mustard, onions, poppyseed bun

Da Capone $3.79
Frankfurter, pastrami, yellow mustard, pickle, poppyseed bun

Barbie Dog $3.49
Frankfurter, barbeque sauce, smoked bacon, fried onion strands

Folsom Bulldog $3.39 
Frankfurter, mustard, grilled onions, tomato, jalapeno-lime aioli, cilantro

Royale with Cheese $4.09
Juicy stuffed double stuffed burger, grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, yellow mustard

Maxwell Street Spicy Polish $4.19
Hickory smoked beef sausage, yellow mustard, grilled onions, sport Peppers, poppyseed bun

The Govna $4.19
Beer bratwurst, Dussledorf brown mustard, grilled onions or sauerkraut, Steamed roll

The Balboa $4.19
Mild Italian pork sausage, marinara, fresh mozzarella, steamed roll

Check ‘em out at …

424 E. Bidwell St. Folsom
(916) 984-1003
http://www.urbandogandsausage.com/

Cooking with Spices

20 Aug

Spices for taste

Spices are what make our food preparations better tasting – the mixtures and results are the science of culinary art. There are so many flavors, hot, sweet, salty and more. The mixtures and concoctions of spice blends are endless.

Wikipedia has a great description of spices:

spice is a dried seedfruit,root,  barkleaf, or vegetative substance used in nutritionally insignificant quantities as a food additive for the purpose of flavour, colour, or as a preservative that kills harmful bacteria or prevents their growth.[1]

Many of these substances are also used for other purposes, such as medicine, religious ritualscosmetics,  perfumery or eating as vegetables. For example, turmeric is also used as a preservativeliquorice as a medicine;  garlic as a vegetable. In some cases they are referred to by different terms.

In the kitchen, spices are distinguished from herbs, which are leafy, green plant parts used for flavouring purposes.  Herbs, such as basil or oregano, may be used fresh, and are commonly chopped into smaller pieces.  Spices, however, are dried and often ground or grated into a powder.  Small seeds, such as fennel and mustard seeds, are used both whole and in powder form.

For this dinner I made Sri Lankan Beef Curry (recipe below). The blends of the spices coriander, cumin, fennel,tumeric, black pepper and salt made for a savory beef with a nice texture and heat added with the coconut milk and minced jalapeno’s. This is one very tasty dish that I highly recommend everyone try making at least once.

Recipe from myrecipes.com

YIELD

8 SERVINGS (SERVING SIZE: ABOUT 2/3 CUP BEEF MIXTURE AND 3/4 CUP RICE)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless sirloin steak, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 cups chopped onion (about 2 medium)
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 red jalapeño peppers, minced
  • 3 cups light coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 (1 x 3-inch) lemon rind strips
  • 6 cups hot cooked basmati rice

PREPARATION

Cook coriander, cumin, fennel, and turmeric in a small saucepan over medium-low heat 7 minutes or until toasted, stirring occasionally.

Combine toasted spices, black pepper, salt, and beef in a large bowl. Cover and marinate in refrigerator 1 hour.

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion, ginger, garlic, and jalapeños; sauté 3 minutes or until onions are tender. Remove onion mixture from pan. Recoat the pan with cooking spray. Add half of beef; cook 6 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove beef from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining beef. Return onion mixture and beef to pan; stir in milk, vinegar, and rind, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 hours or until beef is very tender. Discard rind. Serve over rice.

Enjoy!

How much protein do you really need?

15 Aug

By Sarah B. Weir and Lori Bongiorno
Posted Mon Aug 8, 2011 2:04pm PDT

Guess how much protein is in a juicy, 8-ounce cheeseburger washed down with a milkshake? This single meal contains two to three times as much as most people need per day.

It’s no great surprise that Americans chow down on a lot of protein. We love beef and consume about 67 pounds per capita annually (that’s four times the international average). The popularity of low-carb regimes such as Atkins has also made meat the go-to food for dieters.

In fact, the average person eats about double the amount of protein that their body requires, according to the results of 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

How to fulfill your daily protein requirement

The human body uses protein to repair damaged cells and to build new ones. Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition at NYU and author of What to Eat, estimates that the average adult man needs about 65 grams of protein a day and the average adult female needs about 55 grams. Some sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization say you can maintain a healthy diet with even less.

What does this actually mean in terms of food choices? The National Institutes of Health explains that most people can meet their daily protein requirement by eating two to three small servings of a protein-rich food a day.

Examples of a single serving of protein include:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • 2-3 ounces of red meat, poultry, or fish (about the size of a deck of cards)
  • ½ cup of cooked dried beans such as black beans or chickpeas

Whole grains, seeds, and some vegetables also contain protein, so consuming enough is not difficult even if you don’t eat meat. Vegetarians and vegans can easily get what they need by balancing complimentary proteins such as corn and beans or rice and tofu. Nutritionists used to recommend combining foods at the same meal, but research now shows that is unnecessary.

Are there drawbacks to eating more protein?

Eating large amounts of red and processed meats is associated with higher rates of heart disease and cancer, and most nutritionists such as Marion Nestle recommend cutting back on meat, especially on fatty cuts.

However, it’s less well known that your protein choices can have a substantial impact on the environment. Meat and dairy production requires tremendous amounts of fuel, pesticides, and chemical fertilizers, and generates greenhouse gases. The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) recently published Meat Eater’s Guide points out that if you ate once less burger a week it would be the environmentally-positive equivalent of taking your car off the road for 320 miles.

Meat is also expensive. Not all proteins are created equal — neither at the doctor’s office, nor the cash register. Here’s a comparison of three typical proteins:

Porterhouse steak
Serving size: 4 ounces
Protein: 22 grams
EWG carbon footprint rating: 2 nd worst out of 20 analyzed
Cost: 4 dollars
Fat: 22 grams
Saturated fat: 9 grams

Farm-raised salmon
Serving size: 4 ounces
Protein: 22 grams
EWG carbon footprint rating: 5th worst
Cost: 3 dollars
Fat: 10 grams
Saturated fat: 2 grams

Lentils
Serving size: 1 cup
Protein: 17.9 grams
EWG carbon footprint rating: best
Cost: 20 cents
Fat: zero
Saturated fat: zero

Many people find meat to be a delicious and satisfying component of their diet that they don’t want to sacrifice. But if you want to save money, eat a nutritionally sound diet, and are concerned about the impact meat and dairy production has on the planet, consider reducing your consumption.

Here are some tips from the EWG’s Meat Eater’s Guide:

  • Reduce portion sizes by eating one less burger or steak each week, or participate in Meatless Mondays by skipping meat (and cheese if you can swing it) just one day a week.
  • Choose the healthiest protein sources when you can. Beans, low-fat yogurt, and nuts are all high in protein and low-impact.
  • When you do eat meat and cheese, eat the highest quality that you can afford. (One way to save money is to eat less, but better quality meat and dairy products.) Here’s a guide decoding the labels, from cage-free to grass-fed.
  • Don’t waste meat. Uneaten meat accounts for about 20 percent of meat’s greenhouse gas emissions.

You don’t have to become a vegetarian or go to other extremes. These small changes will help reduce your impact, while providing plenty of protein in your diet.

Chicago Italian Beef and Dogs

12 Aug

Chicago Food Extravaganza!

Last year, my family and I flew to Chicago for our son’s graduation from Navy boot camp. It was a very nice ceremony and he got some time off so we headed into Chicago to check it out. There were a lot of great sites to see and we got my Uncle JD, who lives there, to show us around. We went to Millennium Park, The John Hancock Tower, Lake Shore Drive, The Aquarium and more.
My favorite part was going to one of my uncle’s favorite old lunch joints in the Italian district near downtown Chicago where he took us to a place called Al’s #1 Italian Beef.
The restaurant was very small  small, there were no tables, no seats. You just walk in the door go up  to the counter, order your food and either take it home or eat at a shelf by the windows where there was room to set your food and eat while standing.

The kitchen was right behind the counter and included a charcoal pit for roasting sausages. The menu was small and simple and to the point, everything on it looked good (see photo above). It was very interesting to see and read the walls covered with memorabilia all the way from Jimmy Durante, to Anthony Bourdain and there were lots of signed dollar bills pinned to the walls. There was a lot of interesting old history in this place.

We had the Vienna Hot Dogs done up Chicago style with the works, an Italian beef sandwich and I had to try the packaged tamales… gastronomical nightmares but oh so good going down.

Best Burgers in the U.S.

10 Aug

According to Fine & Wine magazine these are the best burger places in the USA.  I am not at all surprised to see the first place on the list…. California’s own In-N-Out! Congrats!

The burger, America’s quintessential comfort food, can now be enjoyed in an impossibly endless number of ways. There are round-the-clock burgers at 24-hour-roadside joints and ephemeral late-night burgers sold out in mere minutes; burgers grilled in hundred-year-old cast-iron broilers and burgers steamed in state-of-the-art ovens; burgers crafted from Kobe beef imported from Japan and burgers made with Black Angus beef from just down the road; burgers innocuously topped with melted American cheese and burgers piled high with crumbly, statement-making Roquefort cheese. It’s clearly a great time to love the burger. Here, we’ve singled out the 25 best burgers around the country.

By Ratha Tep, Lawrence Marcus

California: In-N-Out Burger

Best Burgers in the U.S.: In-N-Out Burger: Cheeseburger

In-N-Out’s Cheeseburger. Photo © Jess Lander

Signature Burger: Cheeseburger.

Even superstar chef Thomas Keller is a fan of the West Coast chain—and with good reason. The cooked-to-order burgers are made from Harris Ranch beef and served with hand-cut fries. For a messier, more indulgent experience, order your burger “Animal Style” for extra sauce and chopped grilled onions. in-n-out.com 

New York City: Minetta Tavern

Best Burgers in the U.S.: Minetta Tavern

Photo © Sylvia Paret.

Signature Burger: Black Label Burger (topped with with caramelized onions).

Minetta Tavern’s excellent burgers use a beef blend—dry-aged rib eye, skirt steak, brisket and short rib—from famed purveyor Pat La Frieda, and buns from Balthazar Bakery. minettatavernny.com 

Atlanta, GA: Holeman & Finch

Best Burgers in the U.S.: Holeman & Finch

Photo © Jeff Moore.

Star chef Linton Hopkins announces “burger time”—10 p.m.—with the ringing of two bull horns; that’s when two dozen grass-fed beef burgers are up for grabs and consistently sold out within minutes. The burgers are also available on the Sunday brunch menu. holeman-finch.com 

Arlington, VA: Ray’s Hell Burger

Best Burgers in the U.S.: Ray's Hell Burger

Photo © Robyn Lee.

Signature Burger: Basic Beef Burger (served in a brioche bun).

There’s no sign, yet dedicated fans—a certain president included—come here for the freshly ground burgers with and complimentary toppings like grilled onions and mushrooms sautéed in sherry and Cognac.

Boston, MA: Craigie on Main

Best Burgers in the U.S.: Craigie on Main

Photo courtesy of Craigie on Main.

Signature Burger: Beefburger.

Star chef Tony Maws adds bone marrow and dehydrated miso to his Bar Burger, and cooks it in a low heat CVap oven, followed by a quick char on the plancha. craigieonmain.com 

San Francisco, CA: Zuni Café

Best Burgers in the U.S.: Zuni Café

Photo © Bill Holmes.

Signature Burger: House-ground hamburger (served in a grilled rosemary focaccia).

Instead of traditional cucumber pickles, legendary chef-owner Judy Rodgers accents her burgers with thin-cut zucchini strips pickled in apple cider vinegar, mustard seeds and turmeric. zunicafe.com 

New Haven, CT: Louis’ Lunch

Best Burgers in the U.S.: Louis' Lunch

Photo © Michael Franzman.

Signature Burger: The Original Burger (prepared with a combination of chuck and sirloin beef).

Many restaurants claim to be the birthplace of the hamburger. Louis’ Lunch, in New Haven, Connecticut, since 1900, is a leading contender. The meaty hand-shaped patties are grilled on antique cast-iron broilers over an open flame. louislunch.com 

Memphis, TN: Dyer’s Burgers

Best Burgers in the U.S.: Dyer's Burgers

Signature Burger: Dyer’s Cheeseburger.

The legendary patties here are pounded thin before they’re cooked in a cast-iron skillet filled with grease for a deliciously crisp exterior.dyersonbeale.com 

Chicago, IL: Custom House Tavern

Best Burgers in the U.S.: Custom House Burger

Photo © Tuan Bui.

Signature Burger: Custom House Burger (short rib, sirloin and ground pork patty topped with aged cheddar cheese and shaved onion, served in a sourdough brioche bun).

The “Custom House Burger”—available only on the lunch and bar menu—comes with house-made steak saucecustomhouse.cc 

Miami, FL: Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink

Best Burgers in the U.S.: Michael's Genuine Food & Drink

Photo courtesy of Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink.

Signature Burger: Black Angus Burger (served in a brioche bun).

An optional topping for star chef Michael Schwartz‘s Harris Ranch Black Angus beef burger: house-smoked bacon. michaelsgenuine.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purple Place Burger

10 Aug
The Purple Place

Went to the Purple Place last week to try their burger that has won a few “best of” contests.

I’d been here years ago, but since then its changed ownership and the entire place upgraded. There’s a really nice menu now that consists not only of bar food basics such as hot wings and nacho’s but they also serve seared sea scallops, pot stickers and more. For their entree’s they range from scallop risotto (which I can’t wait to try!), prawns, new york steak, ribs, tacos and a line up of burgers, sandwiches & panini’s.


I tried the cheeseburger with cheddar with the works along with garlic fries. It all was very tasty and I look forward to going back to The Purple Place to try some of the other items on the menu.

Located at 363 Green Valley Road, El Dorado Hills
http://www.purpleplacebarandgrill.com

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