Friday, March 18, 2011

Memphis Blues - Broadway

It seems like the month for clogged arteries and chest pains!  I went to Memphis Blues on Broadway last night and had a near-death experience.  It was a meatfest from heaven, a vegetarian's hell, an absolute dream come true!  It reminded me of the food orgies in those Asterix comic book and scenes from Conan the Barbarian.

The sheer audacity of the place, just completely over-the-top excess of barbecued flesh served on a massive platter is food porn at it's best.  When your platter arrives, it's a feast for your eyes, and once you commence eating, it will be the dam in your arteries.  After eating your first morsel of food, you will feel your heart shudder in fear, you can feel the imminent cessation and ultimate failure of your most important organ. 

The Elvis Platter - $69.95 comes with enough to feed 4 uncomfortably.  It comes with some kind of fries that's got some wicked seasoning (puts NY Fries to shame), beans, corn bread, bbq sauce (tastes like Hoisin sauce - google it for explanation), cole slaw, potato salad, bbq chicken, sausages, bbq pork ribs, pulled pork, and BRISKET!!!!!

This was my first ever encounter with pulled pork, and I have to say I was pretty damn impressed.  I have no clue how they make it, but it was amazing.
The BBQ chicken was a bit on the dry side, but that's why the platter comes with a tub of bbq suace.  Drown the chicken in it, and you're done.
The sausage was out of this world, juicy, flavourful and the perfect fat/lean ratio.

Our platter came with brisket already, but just for good measure, we ordered a Brisket Meal - $15.95 which came with four or 5 slabs of creamy brisket.  I just call it edible grisle.  It came with beans, bbq sauce, cole slaw and a baked potato.  The cole slaw was kind of gross, but the baked potato wasn't too bad.  When we ran out of bbq sauce, Jay started using the beans as sauce.  It turned out pretty good.

This isn't that tiny sliver of beef brisket you get in your pho.  This is a barbarian-size helping of brisket that will slay you just like the name-sake. 

My buddy Jay described it best when he said the pork ribs are so tender and fall-off-the-bone moist, it was like eating meat flavoured marshmallows.

If there was ever an institute of excess, Memphis is the place. By the end of the night, the three of us were reduced to nothing more than a collection of false hopes and shattered dreams.

We've all heard of food comas, meat sweats, that thing that happens after eating turkey.  Lots of fancy names and descriptions of what happens after eating in excess.  When I eat too much greasy food, I always feel like my brain is floating in a vat of oil and my skull feels fat.  I have to say that after my evening at Memphis Blues, I was was in a world of discomfort I never imagined.  I felt like a fat kid in a candy store, a coke-head frollicking in the fields of Columbia, an alcoholic running amok in a liqor store.  I ate way more than any human being should have to eat in one sitting, enjoying every minute of it, and before I knew it, I ate too much and I wanted to hurl.  It really snuck up on all of us, as if we were doing shots of tequila.

Anyway, between the three of us, we had a few slabs of brisket and slivers of other miscellaneous meat left over.  As full as I was, I greedily grabbed a take-out box and scooped up the left-overs for later.  Memphis Blues is a God-send, a bonafide miracle.  I remember feeling pretty bummed when Tony Roma's and Dem Bone's left the lower mainland and I was a bit choked.  Had I known how awesome Memphis Blues is, I wouldn't have wasted so many tears.  Memphis Blues.....I can't wait to go back!

Memphis Blues Barbeque House (Broadway) on Urbanspoon

I overcooked my steak.....&*$%#@

Crap...after all the moaning I do about steak places overcooking my steak, I go and overcook my steak at home.

I started off by getting the steaks down to room temperature then just dumped on the seasoning.  You're going to lose half the seasoning when you transfer the steaks to the frying pan anyway, so I went a little nuts.
I made sure the pan was smoking hot before throwing on the steaks.

When the steaks were about half-way done, I threw a little margarine into the mix for flavour.  You should use butter, but I was too lazy to open a brand new packet of butter.  Why doesn't butter come in a nice sealable container like margarine?

Scooping and basting the steaks in their own grease and butter/margarine.
Turn the steaks on their sides and fry the grisle
Then let the steaks rest a bit before cutting.
And voila....overcooked my #&$%@ steaks.  I spent too long playing with the butter bath I guess, and ended up cooking them medium-rare to medium.  Blagh!

Oh well, I'll try again some other time.  Here are a couple of shots of when I did cook some steaks to the way I like them:

These were perfect, although it would have been nicer if I used the cut of beef from the top of this post.  Oh well, trial and error.

Anton's Revisited

I was at a workshop last weekend and a few of us went to Anton's that evening.  Well, I think I'm going to have to keep going back to Anton's till I figure out how to take some proper pictures of the food there.  The last time I was there with this camera, I ended up with a pile of orangy blurry pictures, same thing this time around.  Maybe I'll just cave and use the flash next time.  And I completely forgot to order something different insteand of the Tondi Don Vincenzo.

 I barely touched the comp bread this time....guess I was still pretty full from lunch.
 My buddy Rob ordered a martini with extra olives, so he got extra olives.
 I got a scotch with my meal...I know, doesn't really pair well with pasta, but I'm not much of a beer drinker and I hate wine.
 Some sort of risotto.  I had a sample of it, and it was pretty good.
 My Tondi Don Vincenzo, good as always, but I wish I ordered something else just to take a picture of it.  Next time, I promise.
 Rob got this, and he barely touched it.  It was his first time to Anton's and he was originally going to order apps, garlic bread, and pasta.  Overestimating his foe, he was sent home packing.....literally with about 90% of his meal untouched.
Another colleague - Dina, ordered the cannaloni.  It doesn't look like much, but those two strips were pretty filling.  I had one bite and I knew it would cause damage.  Of course, I tasted it about 10-15 minutes after she got her dish because it was piping hot (fresh out of the oven).  By the end, she only got through one of the two.

Gotta go back and order something different, just for my reader(s), haha!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Keg - Yaletown

Whenever I visit a Keg location, I'm happier than a pig in $hit.  It has become one of my favourite places to dine of ALL TIME.  The Yaletown location was new for me, and it did not disappoint. 

Me, my pals Jay and Eric.  Eric originally wanted to go to this place called Cardero's but by the time I got downtown, he said he was craving steak.  The Keg Yaletown was right around the corner so we ended up here.

The place is just massive, with 4 storeys, tall ceilings.....just a massive establishment that you can't tell the size of from the outside.
Some pretty nice decor, the 5-tier fireplace was interesting.
The patio bar - completely exposed to the outside, closes at 11pm due to by-laws.  Would have been something else to be out there.
Pretty good view from the patio
The comp bread was fresh and tasty, but for once, I didn't gorge myself with it because I'd eaten right before going to The Keg
That's a my favourite drink - Chivas Regal, 12 yrs, enjoying the view of the fireplace.  That's Keg's idea of a single....the tumbler is practically full.
Prawn Cocktail, never ordered this before - was really good - like mini lobsters....
Lemon garlic butter to go with Eric's Lobster.
Eric ended up getting the Surf and Turf.  Now, I haven't had much luck in the past with lobster at The Keg, but it turns out that this one was made just right.  Eric reported that it was not only moist, it tasted quite good.  He had a sliver of prime rib and some garlic mash that was prepared to his liking as well.
Now, I say a sliver, but it was still a decent hunk of meat, especially after wolfing down a lobster tail and The Keg's famous garlic mashed potatos.
I of course had nothing else on my mind whenever I go to a Keg.  Keg Size Prime Rib, one of the best hunks of meat I have ever had, and it's nice to get consistency whenever I go.  I never have to worry if they will *uck it up or not.  It never fails that they would bring it to me exactly as I ask - FAT AND BLOODY! 

Apologies, the reason I'm dropping the F bombs is because recently, I shelled out quite a bit of hard-earned money at Seasons in The Park for a piece of meat that was overcooked, overpriced, and overseasoned. So many times, I've been to other places, and so many times I've been disappointed. From the entry level places like Kelsey's, to the mid-range places like Cactus Club, Milestone's, Joey's, Chop's, to the sort of high-end places like The Diplomat(Regina), and Seasons in the Park, and I've always found myself saying "I can get better at The Keg for cheaper".

As usual, my prime rib was perfect.  The spice rub was spot on, the fat/lean ratio was good and I was tempted to eat all the grisle, but my heart suggested that it would rather I didn't.  The lean parts melted in my mouth and as a result, I inhaled my Keg Size Prime rib.  It's funny, because before arriving at The Keg, I wasn't even the slightest bit hungry.  I think I might be ready to give that Keg Size Omega another try.  I have to raise my glass to The Keg because they know how to prepare a wicked prime rib.
Eric ordered some sort of Creme was absolutely tiny and no where near Keg Size.  But apparently it was good, and besides that, there was't much room after the main anyways.
Jay ended up ordering some cheesecake.  It tasted good, I think, but I was so full and in much discomfort, so I really can't tell you I enjoyed it.

Our server - Sara(h?) was absolutely incredible, very professional.  She made sure our drinks were full, but at the same time not pushy at all because she knew that I had to drive.  There was a chip in my glass and she promptly reported this to her manager , who in turn came out, apologized and comped my drink.  I wasn't even complaining, just wanted to let them know in case another customer might complain. 

We were there for four hours, just relaxing and chatting with a new friend that we made that night - Avtar.  He was a really interesting person to meet, with lots of great stories.  If you're reading this Avtar, hope you are doing well.  

 Sara kept coming back to make sure that we were okay, if we weren't having drinks, she would top up our water glasses.  At the end of the night, Sara gave me a tour of the restaurant from top to bottom.  Earlier during dinner, we had discussed that it was my first time to this particular location so she offered me a tour.  Turns out this probably the biggest Keg in the region.  The place was pretty impressive, 4 levels including the patio dining area, the main dining area on the second floor, the bar/lounge section on the main floor and a dining area in the basement for private functions.

The food was spectacular as usual, the prices are always reasonable, and tonight, the service was better than expected.  Would I go back?  In a heartbeat!  Thank you Sara for taking care of us this night!

Keg Steakhouse and Bar - Yaletown on Urbanspoon

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