Posts Tagged ‘recommendation’

Inevitable, some pervert has found this page looking for something else entirely. I’m sorry for those of you that fit into this category, but the rest of this posting is going to let you down.

I’ll let that sink in for a minute.

I have long been a fan of wooden cutting boards. It took me nearly ten years before I found one that I liked and I use it every time I cook. I propose to you plastic, glass, and (eek!) countertop cutting folks out there to put down your knives and consider the benefits of a wooden cutting board:

5. Beauty: Although I am a fan of function over ascetics, wooden cutting boards provide the best of both worlds. I own an end grain cutting board set in a check pattern that is as much a part of my wife’s decorating scheme as a useful part of my kitchen. Granted, some cutting boards are pretty plain looking, but even these can quickly become a beautiful part of your kitchen that you will not hide away like other cutting boards.

4. Eco-friendly: I may be a broken record, but anytime you can use an eco-friendly or green product in the kitchen, you might as well. There is a plethora of wooden cutting boards out there, and the bamboo ones are not only sustainable, but incredibly affordable.

3. Resistant to gouging: One thing I hate about the plastic cutting boards is that they easily get gouged and scratched and nicked and these are prime locations for bacteria to live in. Wooden cutting board are almost self healing in that unless you intentionally cut the heck out of your board, it will resist any scratches and be as good as new year after year.

2. Knife friendly: Plastic also has this advantage over glass and stone cutting surfaces, but I prefer wooden cutting boards because they are easier on your knives. Your knives will keep there sharpness longer and you will have to make less trips to the sharpener or the emergency room. A dull knife is extremely dangerous as you tend to put more pressure increasing the possibility of a kitchen injury and a potential missing finger.

1. Ease of cleaning: Wooden cutting boards need only be sealed using mineral oil once a month and washed with warm soapy water. Plastic cutting boards have a tendency to need sterilization and if you place them in the dishwasher, there is a good chance that it will warp. Wooden boards are just easier to wash and keep clean and the antimicrobial properties of wood will decrease the chances that your cutting surface will contaminate your food without you knowing it.

Note: Now I do want to come clean and say that I do own both a wooden cutting board and a plastic. Plastic is used for raw meats and the wooden is used for everything else. I do use my plastic flexible cutting boards for display purposes for the blog, but mostly everything is cut on a wooden board.

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I have heard rave reviews about Magic Hat from some of my friends. Several years ago, I tried a pint and feigned my enjoyment mostly because I felt that everyone knew something I didn’t. What was described to me as an apricot beer tasted like a watered down home brewers first attempt. I recently picked up another bottle of #9 and thought I would give it one last try. Perhaps my palette had evolved to appreciate #9.

Nope.

The pour reveals a beautiful orange color with an inner core you would swear was red. I intentionally poured the beer straight into the glass to develop a large head and was pleasantly surprised to find that not only could I smell the apricot in the head, I could taste it as well. The taste revealed – well – nothing really. Which makes sense. Since I’ve started experimenting with different microbrews, my palette now demands more complex flavors, and #9 just simply does not have any pizzazz.

This being Magic Hat’s flagship beer makes me question highly Magic Hat as a brewery. I was gravely disappointed by this beer and even at the relatively affordable 12 pack at around $14 and its wide availability, I would never buy this beer, nor recommend it to anyone.

Grade: F

For my 30th birthday, I made only one simple request of my wife: Gastropub. The idea of the gastropub started in England in the second half of the 20th century and revitalized the concept of pub food. I love pub food, but find that many of my favorite watering holes pay careful attention to what’s coming out of the bar, but pay relatively little attention to what’s coming out the kitchen. The Gage is a prime example of what gastropubs can do in terms of quality libations alongside high quality pub food.

I started my dinner with a scotch egg. A scotch egg is a hard boiled egg, wrapped in sausage, breaded, and then deep fried. The Gage serves its scotch egg with whole grain mustard, a dab of an unknown sauce that I couldn’t identify, and a small handful of mixed greens. This was a nice dish, but I felt the flavor fell a little flat.

To start her meal, my wife ordered the House Poutine which is french fries smothered with an elk ragout and cheese curds. Of our two starters, she certainly picked our favorite. This in itself would be worth a trip back to The Gage.

Fearing for our stomachs, we decided to split an order of the soup and we are certainly glad we did. Below is a picture of the Roasted Corn Soup with aleppo peppers, shrimp, and a cilantro oil. The wait staff pours the hot soup into the bowl at table side making for a nice presentation. This is one of the best soups I have ever had in my life and while I could have eaten two or three servings, our one serving was enough for the two of us to share without feeling too stuffed.

I think the mark of a good gastropub is the ability to not only cook a good burger, but make it unique and memorable. Truth be told, I can still taste this burger if I concentrate hard enough. I ordered The Gage burger which is made from USDA Prime beef, and topped with a locally made camembert cheese and an onion marmalade. And best of all, you can’t see it, but this comes with a giant basket of thick cut french fries.

My wife loves risotto and took the opportunity to test The Gage’s cooks and see how good a gastropub chef can make a summertime risotto. The Gage rotates its risotto offerings based on the seasonal ingredients and on this particular day, they were serving an heirloom tomato and basil risotto. The consistency was creamy and rich without a single grain being overcooked. The chefs made this perfectly seasoned and at just the right temperature.

The Gage is one of the best restaurants I ever been too in terms of it’s high quality food, pleasant atmosphere, cleanliness, and promptness of service. Their drink menu is vast and carry a large selection of microbrews and serve all their wines in 8 oz carafes that are perfect for sharing. For all this food plus a couple of drinks, the bill still came in under $100 including standard gratuity. If you live in the Chicago area or plan to visit here in the future, I highly recommend you hit up this Michigan Ave establishment.