Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Doughnut Evolution

Posted By on Tue, Feb 25, 2014 at 10:13 AM

click to enlarge Behold the next step in doughnut evolution. - JASON MARAK
  • Jason Marak
  • Behold the next step in doughnut evolution.
Last year, New York City was brought to its knees by the Cronut, a doughnut made from croissant pastry. Let that sink in. It's taken this long for the flaky phenomenon to make it to Humboldt (not a huge surprise, given the lingering mullets around town), and it's shown up in the most unlikely place: Safeway. Who saw that coming?

For $5 for a box of four, you can find out what happens when you deep fry an already buttery croissant and glaze it. The result is a delightfully chewy, puffy-layered cousin to the French cruller. While it's still technically breakfast/office appropriate, it's not out of the question to serve it for dessert. How long before the sugar-coated mash-up hits the fryers in our local doughnut shops? Keep a weather eye out and let us know if you spot one. 
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Friday, February 21, 2014

Sandwich Porn

Posted By on Fri, Feb 21, 2014 at 10:19 AM

click to enlarge You're a naughty vegetarian sandwich, and you need to be punished. - JENNIFER SAVAGE
  • Jennifer Savage
  • You're a naughty vegetarian sandwich, and you need to be punished.

When you name something the "XXX Adults Only Grilled Cheese Sandwich," you're making a statement. A reader sent in an email tip about her favorite order at Lost Coast Café and Bakery (468 Main St., Ferndale), and her flustered description of the sandwich read a bit like vintage Penthouse Forum. The first time I ordered it, I forgot my camera and had to borrow a woman's phone to snap a lurid photo of it. She never sent me the image — maybe she wanted to keep it for herself — and I can't really blame her.

The XXX is a pile-on of cheddar, jack and feta cheeses melted over grilled onion, zucchini, mushroom, tomato and jalapeno — just enough for a little heat — on grilled homemade wheat bread ($7.25). Beyond homemade, actually, since chef Mario Lorenzo mills the local wheat himself. Who does that? The same guy who whips up the pesto aioli slathered on the bread. Don't try to pick the XXX up like a diner grilled cheese; this is a fork and knife situation. The thick, crusty-edged slices of bread are too tender to support the fillings, and you want to eat it, not wear it. Or maybe you do — the lingering smell of pesto aioli is sexy as hell.

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Bar None

Posted By on Fri, Feb 14, 2014 at 4:23 PM

click to enlarge AA_steak_1.jpg

It's dismaying to hear how many people have not had a steak at the AA. Maybe you're new in town. Maybe you're coming out of a no-red-meat phase. Maybe you're just a little skittish about eating right across from the jail in a dark bar with the letters "AA" over the sign. Understandable. 

But eating a steak at "the double A," as it's known, is about cultural and culinary literacy. It's also about a serious 14-ounce sirloin steak ($21) that harkens back to the glorious tradition of just eating steak — no fancy marinade, no melange of anything — something harder and harder to find outside early episodes of Mad Men. And the steak is good. The marble, the salty, charred exterior and the deep pink meat that, shockingly, comes as you ordered it, medium-rare in this case. There will be a tiny cup of soup and a little green salad — eat them to make your mom happy. Then pick up your knife and Ron Swanson this thing. No, the rings and fries aren't homemade. But when the juice from your steak flows under them and soaks them to a cocoa red, do you really care? No. No, you do not. For it is the taste of freedom a stone's throw from the big house.

click to enlarge Raspberry cheesecake — share it. She'll make more. - JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Raspberry cheesecake — share it. She'll make more.
Did you just get out? Celebrate with a piece of raspberry cheesecake made by the lovely lady who served your steak ($5.50). There are other desserts, but you want the cheesecake. Jessica makes it from scratch from her grandmother's recipe (if you want a whole one, you'll have to go through her catering company, Decadent Desserts). The crust is buttery and crunchy and the filling is fluffy and dreamy. Your impulse will be to block the fork of your companion, but consider the steak you just ate. Share and live to fight another day.


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