Friday, May 30, 2008

Collected Barbecue Poems..


Blessed art thou, o most sacred of styles,
Adrift, the smoke fills my head with smiles.
Rolling through the sauce so sweet,
Boiled dishes, my standards do not meet.
Alas, for the taste of culinary superiority,
Clashes with my distinct lack of seniority.
On this joyous day our woes will be least:
A fat-dripping delicious, cheap barbecue feast!


There once was a pit-man from York
Who spent his long nights hard at work
While prepping his pig
He lamented the gig
And cried, "will no sweet lass pull my pork?"

New York BBQ overview coming soon!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A quick guide to Beers, part 1

Hi there folks - I'm back!

This is going to be the first in a series of posts that give you an overview of the wonderful world of beer!

For starters, beer is usually composed of three main ingredients:

1) Hops

^^^ these guys have a powerful smell; most of the bitterness and much of the aroma in beer comes from hops added during the cooking process of beer.

2) Malt

Beers can be made with a variety of different grains, but they all have to be malted and cooked (malting is a process of sprouting and then drying the grain). Barley is the most common malt, but rice, rye and wheat are all used. Each imparts a different flavor to the beer. Rice is usually very crisp, but not very flavorful (American lagers - Bud, Bud Light, etc.). Wheat can have light, but complex flavors, and is commonly used in Germany and Belgium. Rye is pretty rare, but can be found in some eastern European and Scandinavian beers; it has a more spicy flavor. Barley is the most common grain used in beer malt.

3) Water!

Without good water, you're not going to have good beer - much of the character beers take on is due to the mineral content of the local water. For example, Bass Ale, from Burton-on-Trent, has a very high level of gypsum and other minerals in the water, which imparts a different character to the beer than if it were made with filtered water.

Enough lessons - it's Miller Time!

(by which I mean.. don't drink Miller!)

Our first genre is the one most of you are probably familiar with: the classic Pilsner Lager. Pilsner Lagers are originally from Czechoslovakia. The Budweiser that you're familiar with is actually descended from the Czech Budějovice or German Budweis. The Pilsner in America is brewed with rice malt, heavy hops and relatively neutral water. Generally Pilsners are good with lighter foods - you don't want too powerful a food flavor, as it will overwhelm the beer. The flavor profile is generally pretty bland, but there are a few good ones out there:

Brooklyn is a safe bet for most styles, and Pilsner is no exception:

Give this guy a shot at your next BBQ to start things off.

Next time I'll have a couple more styles!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Good burgers, fantastic fries in the Village

One of my recent lunch jaunts was over to Five Guys Burgers and Fries in their new Bleecker Street location.

Five Guys is a burger chain that got its start in the DC metro area. Like Shake Shack, New York Burger Company, and many other up and coming burger joints, it places an emphasis on quality as well as quantity.

On entering, you'll be greeted with the sight of peanuts in barrels, with buckets laid out for your use - the peanuts are free, and yours to enjoy while you wait for your burger:

The main event comes with an assortment of free toppings; I opted for my traditional tomato, fried onions and mustard (guaranteed to leave me with lovely breath...)

After enjoying my peanuts for some time, my number was called and I received a paper bag, already showing grease stains along the sides:

Inside the bag were my burger and an inordinately large order of fries, easily enough for two or three:

The fries were delicious; among the best I've had in this style. They were thick cut, greasy, and maintained a good potato flavor throughout, without being excessively salty. The burger was.. big:

I won't deny that it was tasty, but it left me feeling like it was missing something.. I'll have to go back and try it again to really figure out what didn't do it for me about this burger.

Capsule review:
Fries, 2 thumbs up; burger, 1 1/2 thumbs up; peanuts, 2 thumbs way up - Five Guys is worth a shot.

In memoriam...

RIP Barnstormer Barbecue.. you were much beloved.

Barnstormer was a little barbecue restaurant in Newburgh that Lex and I had frequented for the past few years. It closed its doors recently, leaving us bereft of our favorite restaurant in that area of New York. Its memory lives on, and a successor restaurant still exists somewhere near West Point, I've heard.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

First post!

First! Ok, now that this is out of the way, welcome to the Codex of Yum! I'm planning on using this as a journal of exciting (and less exciting) meals that I've eaten, with occasional commentary on other subjects that interest me, like politics, literature and librarying (me, me, me!).

Welcome to my (not so) humble space, and enjoy turning the pages of the Codex of Yum! (how's that for pretentious?)