Friday, February 25, 2011

Death of the Bloody Mary

I'm about as much a fan of day drinking as I am sleeping. Bloody Mary's have this ability to transform mornings of hell into bliss, but lately, Bloody Mary's have been over-stuffed and under-poured.

In Oxford, there are a few places that are known for their Bloody's. Ajax, one of the cheap, casual family dining restaurant's claim they have one of the best. That's bull. The past three times I have gotten a Bloody there, I have sat and beat myself up knowing it wasn't going to be good! They have been watery and needed more vodka to get over the awful mix that doesn't please the palate. I'm pretty sure they need to serve their's with a toothpick as well, with all the crap you get in your teeth. Either way, fail on the bloody mary. They charge you six dollars for colored acid water, that doesn't come out well in the know what I mean..

Volta is also known to have pretty good Bloody's! I agree with this one...I think they are some of the best one's in Oxford! Volta also has the good patio and the chill staff. I love going to Volta.

My friend Gemma bartends at The Library Sports Bar, and they have a decent Bloody, but it is only appropriate to get those on a Saturday morning, since it's mostly only open at night.

What's wrong with the world and its take on Bloody's is that they try too hard to make it everything else it doesn't need to be. Hey, lets add pickled things to a bloody! Enough to where it fills up half the glass, then we'll throw in some lime and/or lemon slices, some really awkward flavored salt on the top, black pepper out the ass, horseradish and A1, olive blah blah. It's time to come back to what is delicate and wonderful and personal, about a Bloody Mary..I think I have a pretty good idea what the perfect Bloody should be..

When I lived in London, we took the metro to Notting Hill, and my roommate (Charles Gautier, may our friendship rest in peace) and I stumbled upon a pub called The Prince Albert. This is where I learned the true art of pouring a Bloody Mary. It doesn't start with the ice.. it should be built, poured, and then add the ice.

Lime Wedge, Lemon Wedge, squeeze them and discard the actual peel and substance.
two cracks of black pepper, salt, V8, DASH of worcestershire, and let's be real, make it equal parts vodka if you're feeling like a real man. Seriously...those are all the ingredients you really need in a Bloody Mary. The guy muddled all that mess in a drink mixer and poured it into a fresh glass, that he then filled up with ice. he still added a lemon and a lime wedge and celery stalk, but it's all that was needed. It was beautiful.

Of course, if you're lazy, Mr. T's Bold and Spicy is my personal favorite, unfortunately most restaurants settle for Zing Zang, which I don't prefer.

Peace and Bloody's,

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Check it Out...

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CSN Stores have more than just pendant lighting! They also have some great deals on cookware and other kitchen appliances! Don't even get me started on their cutlery options...Click the link above and check out the website!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Goodbye, Downtown Grill

If you haven't heard, (because let's be real, this guy isn't that great, he just has really good PR) John Currence is partnering with Stefano Capomazza (who I don't know but apparently is a rich, stereotypical, Oxonian) and they are buying out the 22 year-old Oxford staple, The Downtown Grill. First, I think the investors should sell to someone other than Currence because the guy already has four restaurants, the best of (Snackbar) which is handled by his faithful Sous Chef Vish, who actually has all the talent.

Anyway, enough self loathing about an old man who has been in the industry since Oxford was a child, but I really wish the guy would quit trying to own this town. Oh, and on your 'John's Grits' recipe, you need another cup of water and chicken stock - your recipe makes the grits too hard. Don't worry, I'm really not that good at cooking. I just play around making mashed potatoes and breaking down meat.

I've been doing that a lot lately... Since most of the steakhouses in Oxford have abandoned ship, due to lack of business, we have started to really focus on aging our meats....I did some research to find the best way. I have a log keeping track of the 14oz. strips and the 18oz. rib eyes I have cut. Actually, I learned to cut them a few ounces bigger just in case trimming was necessary.

This is the first ribeye I cut down..

I salted each side, using a nice bit but not too much, and wrapped each one individually in a Linen-Like, (much like a thick, absorbent paper towel) and put them on an aging rack in the fridge.

This technique of dry aging is best when the steak is cooked after 7 days of aging, but before 14 days. This is, of course, my own personal findings. I had one that was aged 10 days and it is a Ribeye I will always remember. The first one I WANT to remember. One of our employees ordered one at 14 days. It wasn't as tender and juicy as the 10 day aged one. It tasted almost gamey, but I would still eat it. It's all about personal preference, but I think 10 days is the best. These are the strips I cut down..

These have been aging two days, if the linen likes absorb too much liquid and get soggy, it's best to change them out.

So that's what I've been doing at work lately!

If you happen to swing in to Oxford, of course, stop by Waltz on the Square, but also swing by Downtown Grill and pay your respects to one of the oldest restaurants on the Oxford Square.


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Location:The Butcher's Block