Monday, January 30, 2012

Sunday Recipe: Best of NOLA, the Food (and Beer) Edition

A solid week in New Orleans is only a fraction of the time you need to eat your way through the city and while I didn't have a single disappointing meal, these are the culinary highlights of my trip.

The Dooky Chase experience. Dooky Chase has been around since, well, since forever and chef Leah Chase (pictured above outside her magnificent restaurant) started working her magic in the kitchen in the 1950's. Miss Leah has been described as the Queen of Creole Cooking, but I always tell friends that she is to creole soul food what Lidia Bastianich is to italian. Yeah, Leah Chase is just that good. According to what I've read, she isn't at the restaurant full-time anymore, but we had the luck to have lunch on a day when she was there and we had a few minutes to chat with her when she stopped by our table. (Now I can die in peace. Seriously.)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Gone Fishing

Or at least to eat some fish. And some oysters. Perhaps on Po'Boys. Or in gumbo. Let the good times roll, people.

Friday, January 20, 2012

And Thus Endeth the Great Bruce Arians Debate

Today, Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians announced his retirement and nary a tear was shed in Pittsburgh, except maybe by Pig Ben Roethlisberger, who was all BFF with coach Arians.
I'm no great supporter of Arians and while it was hard to argue against a guy coming off of a Super Bowl appearance, I felt that Arians' time here was over heading into the 2011 season.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Worst. Pittsburgh. Sports. Week. Ever.

Seriously? What in the Sam Hill is going on around here?

I'll give a box of Twinkies to the person who can point out to me a worse week, because I don't need any fancy math skills to know that this:

PLUS this:

PLUS this:

equals the worst week in memory.

Just what have we as a city done to piss off the sports gods? Personally, I blame the Mayor.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Top Five Reasons I'm Nervous about the Steelers v. the Broncos

The Steelers first playoff game is just hours away. And I don't feel well. It's my annual bout of Steelers Playoff Anxiety Disorder. It's an amorphous disorder and happens every year to thousands of people in the Western Pennsylvania area. But today, specifically, here's why I'm twitchy:

5.  Health.
The Steelers head to Mile High as a veritable MASH unit -- the offense is without it's most explosive running back (and I know I've been critical of Rashard Mendenhall from time to time, but he looked really good to me the last few weeks), the line is missing monster center Maurkice Pouncey and Pig Ben is limping around on an ankle that's about as sturdy as under-cooked bacon. (Mmmm ... bacon.) On the other side of the ball, who knows how well or how long LaMarr Woodley will play on that gimpy hamstring. And of course, Ryan Clark (the team leader in tackles with an even 100) cannot play or he might actually, you know, die. I'd feel a lot better if at least some of those guys were healthy.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The NFL Playoffs, Seeding and Reason

Once again, in the land of the NFL, we have good teams traveling to play el-stinko teams in the playoffs. Last year, when the super-stinko Seattle Seahawks won the crapulous NFC West with a 7-9 record, oh did the talking heads wail. Oh, the 10-6 New York Giants didn't get to play, but the Seahawks were in. Oh, the humanity. At the time, I argued that winning your division should mean something. Even if your division is the bottom of the garbage pail. I think of it as a similar scenario to March Madness -- win your conference and you get an automatic bid. If you perform well, but don't win your conference, you should get a shot, but there are no guarantees.

Here's why division champs are important. Because the Brown hate the Steelers. And the Ravens hate the Steelers. And everybody hates Baltimore.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Sunday Recipe: New Year's Pork Roast and Sauerkraut

As anybody who grew up in Western Pennsyvlania knows, pork roast and sauerkraut are traditional New Year's Day foods and where I grew up, the population was so densely and predominantly Slovak, Polish and German, that we ate sauerkraut year round.

Now, everybody's family does their 'kraut differently. Some families like it super sour and others prefer it milder, almost sweet. So your mileage may vary on this.

My grandmother (the Scotch-Irish one, not the Italian one) leaned toward a richer version of 'kraut -- still a bit sour, but not sweet, rather just savory. I should say here that she was a great cook. I mean, truly great. And I think, in another place and time, with other opportunities, she might have made for a fine restaurant owner and cook. I'm not talking about opening a restaurant that serves foams and uses liquid nitrogen and the like, but a restaurant that makes just flat out delicious home cooking -- like the food you want to get at home, only better. This is my take on her sauerkraut (which she taught to my mother.)