I had never eaten a fried clam sandwich before I went to Black Pearl, partially because I'm not big on molluscs. But you know what I am big on? THINGS THAT ARE COOKED IN HELLISHLY HOT FAT. It's a magical process that makes everything taste good. Kid doesn't like vegetables! Fry em! Don't know what to do with those week-old hot dogs that are starting to ooze something that looks inorganic? Fry em! So I was excited about my Ipswich Clam Roll and all its sea-filled goodness hiding under a light crispy cornmeal coating.
I was first hit by the buttery roll. And by that I mean it tasted like it had been soaked in butter. Which is kind of awesome. And then I got into the soft, clammy belly of the roll. Thank god these clams were baby-butt tender and not chewy with a hint of indigestibility like the few clams I recall eating (and being terrified of) as a kid that I would chew for 5 minutes straight and ultimately swallow whole because the acids in my saliva made no impression on the rubbery clam matter.
So...what was wrong? I think my stomach just wasn't used to eating that many clams, "that many" being more clams than I would eat over the span of fives years. With 1/4th of the clam filling left on my plate, I felt a briny mass slowly swirl in my stomach. No more clams. For the rest of the day the little souls of the sacrificed bivalves left my stomach in the form of tiny sea-flavored burps. Many souls.
Later that Friday Ed, Alaina and I went to the grand opening of Hill Country with the intention of just taking a peek. A PEEK. But the peek ended up turning into a mini feast. I posted some food porn at Gothamist if you want to take a lookie.
And then...I went to dinner. Dinner was planned; clam stuffening and Hill Country tasting were not. Ah well; sometimes you have to be a glutton. Actually, no you don't. I'm just making up excuses for laughing in the face of good health and moderation.
But first, a look at the decor.
9.5 out of 10 interior decorators agree that this ceiling looks like it's caked with dried blood. Or maybe that's just me. I'm no interior decorator; you can tell by looking at my disheveled bedroom. Seriously though, this could've been a room in Johnny the Homocidal Maniac's house. Maybe. If it were real blood. Of course it wasn't. I mean, the sanitation department wouldn't stand for that. Odessa would be closed like [...waits 5 seconds...] that [virtually snaps fingers, as I cannot snap my fingers in real life, because I do not have FUNCTIONAL HUMAN FINGERS].
The bar is also interesting. You see all the things dangling around it? The dangles? They encourage alcoholism. Maybe. Probably not. The sanitation department wouldn't stand for that.
Unphoto-ed are the many prints and paintings and strange pieces of artwork that lined the walls. We were sitting right under a painting of a green-tinged view of...the backside of some people walking away from a lake. I thought maybe there was some story about it, like, "Did these people just cross the lake? Did they step out of the lake? ARE THEY MERPEOPLE?" but alas, that shall remain a secret that the artist takes (or probably has taken) to his/her grave.
Behold, bloated blintzy action! My strawberry and apple blintzes were not the best, but they were satisfying enough. Thin, somewhat crisp crepe-like skin filled with diabetes-inducing fruit-based filling makes for a balanced dinner! IN MY IMAGINARY WORLD OF RAINBOWS AND UNICORNS!!! I couldn't finish it all, but I made a good effort, only stopping when I suspected that my brain had sprung a leak of sticky strawberry goo.
John's hefty spinach pie and fresh Greek salad looked quite good and non-deathly. My body probably would've appreciated those more than the blintzes.
On to the next week
Last Monday I went to brgr for lunch with most of the Serious Eats gang and to meet up one of my best friends, Jen. I think I've previously mentioned that I'm not a fan of brgr. And...I'm still not a fan. But this burger was better than the first time I had eaten there, during which my otherwise photogenic burger was somewhat mushy and tasteless. This time my burger was firmer and had some taste of meat. Spectacular! If not for the price, I would feel like going back more often. Maybe. This lil' cheeseburger set me back $7.59. If you're a solid brgr fan, you must tell me why. Not that brgr is bad, but I have yet to grasp what makes this place super awesome.
Jen enjoyed her veggie burger except for when the patty started to splodge all over the places as though it were made of pudding. I think the patty acts as an amorphous solid due to the lack of binders (or small amount of) holding the fresh veggie matter together, which I wouldn't say is a bad thing. I think a deep-fried version of the veggie patty would hold together well, but they might look at me funnily if I asked. I don't even have to say anything to be looked at funnily; they just know.
After lunch I was given the mission to make ice cream in a bag. The recipe is very easy to follow, so if you one day find yourself very, very bored and you happen to have sugar, milk, vanilla, salt (recipe calls for rock salt but coarse salt worked fine), a pint sized and a gallon sized Ziplock bags and ice cubes, go for it. I'll just add that you should wrap the bag in a towel or some kind of barrier before you start shaking it because that thing gets really damn cold and frostbite isn't amusing. People have asked me what the salt is for; without any scientific explanation, it's there to make the bag colder or else your puddle of ice cream goo would remain a puddle of ice cream goo. Little children would cry in the face of their failed experiment. Do you want to make little children cry? DO YOU?
Ta-da! I made...ice cream paste! It tasted surprisingly good for something that only took 5 minutes of shaking in a plastic bag. There was too much vanilla, so I'd recommend cutting that down a tad.
And here's more stuff I ate
On Wednesday while walking back from City Bakery (where I loaded up on some cookies), I randomly passed by Tebaya, a small Japanese fried chicken take-out. All thoughts of going to Kofoo immediately vanished.
For $6.95 you can get a lunch box of rice, side salad and 8 crispy wings doused in some kind of...tasty sauce. And sesame seeds. I don't know what's in the tasty sauce, but it's awesomely peppery, so there's at least...that. You open the box and BOOM, black pepper attacks your nasal passages. Which is cool with me because I like black pepper, perhaps not so much with you if you hate it. The wings are not overly saucy, but they will make your hands messy and they don't come with wet wipes. Be sure to keep plenty of napkins on hand for you will want to eat all the SWEEET TENDER MEAT INSIDE.
I wouldn't say it's worth going out of your way to try Tebaya, but I work close enough to it that I'd definitely go back. They have chicken katsu, for one thing. KATSU! I prefer pork, but chicken is close enough. They offer katsu over rice or in the form of a sandwich. A SANDWICH.
On Thursday I denied myself of the might Kofoo once again to try out Big Booty Bread Co, a nearby bakery that I surprisingly had rarely been to considering that it's a bakery and I tend to get addicted to those places.
For about $5 I got meself a gooey grilled cheese sandwich on their thick, floofily soft white bread. Oh, how the sight of semi-fluorescent cheese makes my heart skip. I think due to the time it took to get the sandwich back to the office and take excessive photos of the grilled surface and dripping cheese filling, the once-present crispiness of the bread had disappeared. Oops. But it was still damn tasty.
My strawberry and cream cheese filled booty bun was alright. I'm good with the soft, sweet bun, but I think it could've used more filling, like a jelly donut that is near bursting with sweet innards as opposed to a wheaty cave where some strawberry and cream cheese matter happened to be hiding out in.
As I'm a chocolate chip cookie addict, I must try any chocolate chip cookie that looks promising despite knowing that City Bakery's CC cookie will always be my favorite. And it still is. But Booty Bakery's satellite dish-esque cookie is also worth trying. Soft, moist, sweet, not too much chocolate, blah blah, etc, tasty. They also have a peanut butter chunk cookie that appeared to be bursting with fatty sugary goodness. I'll pick it up next time.
That night my mum, brother and I ate at our favorite local Japanese restaurant, Tawara, where my mum got this moutainous seafood and vegetable combination platter that could've fed...well, many more people than just herself. This would comfortably feed two, or uncomfortably feed one. I ended up eating a good deal of it, resulting in a mild "my brain feels like oil" coma. As delicious as it was, I don't think I'll be eating any more tempura for a while.
I would've felt less deathly if I had just stuck with my cold sesame noodles. They were refreshing, just a plate of chewy ramen-ish noodles accompanied by pickled cucumber, seaweed, scramed egg strips, mung bean sprouts, ginger, steamed chicken, and probably other things I can't discern from the photo. But maybe it tasted...too healthy and I needed to balance it with DEEP FRIED VEGETABLES.
Sometimes I make stuff
I made this lemon sherbet (or as I say it, sherbert) from David Lebovitz's new book, The Perfect Scoop, and it came out rather awesome. Milk, sugar, and lemons are all you need. You could even eat it for BREAKFAST! Maybe.
I also tried to make kettle corn. And failed. I mean, the parts that weren't burnt were alright, but the parts that were were...n't. Probably shouldn't have used butter or kept it at such a high heat. Ooops. I have a slight addiction to microwavable kettle corn, which I wouldn't say is really like traditional kettle corn but just popcorn that is slightly salty and sweet. IT'S SO GOOD. And I cannot reproduce it in my pot. Sigh.
A year ago...
I WAS IN NORWAY!!! Land of the Weegies. Bergen, to be exact.
The Bergen that loves jam.
And pizza dressing...
And fish cakes...
And hot dogs...
And indescribable beauty...
A year later, I still feel this sad. Worse, actually. Morten, maybe not so much. Once you leave Bergen, you are sad. Forever.
However, Morten, Diana and I may meet again soon. I WILL KEEP YOU POSTED.