Thursday, August 30, 2012

Check This Out: Khorasan Kabob House

Okay, so I got to tell you about this place.  The SSS and I have recently been on a mission to go to places to eat that we talk about, but don't seem to ever actually visit.  Big hit this last week at Khorasan Kabob House.

Khorasan is located across from the Western Mall at 41st and Elmwood.  The location was previously occupied by Troika, a European grocery store and eatery.  Okay, it's an old 7-11.  No Slurpees anymore, but I did see a mango lassi or two make their way by.

The decor is nothing to brag about.  The interior of the restaurant is small and the decor fairly sparse.  There is a great collection of carpets in the dining room.  But trust me, you aren't going to care about the decor.

The food is Asian in the sense that India and Afghanistan is part of Asia.  Sure, as the name promises, kabobs are available and there is the omnipresent Butter Chicken on the menu, but there are also several highly authentic Afghan and Indian dishes on the menu.  Make sure you try some roti with your meal and also be sure to get the stuffed grape leaves for an appetizer.  The entrees are reasonably priced and really tasty.  One word of caution, though.  If you can't navigate the anatomy of a chicken that has been cut into about 15 pieces, bone on, then you might want to look at lamb or beef dishes.

Get in there and try it, though.  Super good stuff.  And while you are at it, get yourself out of your usual routine.  There is a ton of great food here in Sioux Falls.  Go try it.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Holy Forking Clairvoyance, Batman!

We are clearly into extreme bonus material here.  On August 21, I wrote this.  The very next day, the professional journalists over at The Atlantic Wire posted this.  Well, you're totally welcome, Atlantic.

You'd think it was Secret Fork Day or something.

Bummer! It's a Bugger of a Burger Brain Buster!

Check it out, Forkies.  Two posts in the same day!

I have been thinking a LOT about burgers lately.  I love burgers.  Good burgers.  Especially burgers with eggs.  And burgers with jalapenos.  I love going new places for burgers.  Last week, the SSS and I found an interesting array of burgers at Rookie's.  Kind of a typical west-sidey sport's bar, but nice effort on the burger varieties!

So, while thinking a lot about burgers, I noted there are several schools of thought when it comes to burgers.  For, instance:

  • Meat.  Ground beef, of course, but not necessarily.  I like a fattier blend of good ground beef.  80-20 (check) is about right.  You need to have some fat to get the flavor.  It mostly cooks out and self-bastes the burgers.  Ground pork can make for an interesting burger, as well.  Lamb? Sha-BOOM!  However, being a native South Dakota and very beef-centric, I gravitate to beef burgers,  Lately, I have been obsessed with trying to figure out a proper blend of chuck, brisket, and short ribs, and that leads me to the sub topic of:
    • Grinding.  Got yourself a grinder yet?  Why not??!!  These are serious fun.  Find the one your grandma had, or buy one for a Kitchen Aid mixer, or if all else fails, use a sharp knife.  Personally, I'd avoid the Cuisinart for this.  Seriously, the motor will make the meat warm.  Start with cuts of whole meat- chuck roast, sort ribs, or whatever is on sale.  Keep things cold- put the grinder parts in the freezer.  Work fast.  You will be rewarded with ground beef that you won't think twice about cooking to medium rare and have opened the door to hours of cooking fun.
  • Thickness.  Self explanatory.  Thick, like half-pound plus patties, or thin ones of, say, a quarter pound or less that are patted very thin.  Obviously, the thick puppies are easier to cook to lower temps like medium rare, but the thinness have advantages, too.  Think multiple patties.
  • Additional stuff in the burger.  This can be a simple proposition that includes things like lots of dry seasonings and marinades, to more complicated ingredients like onions, sun dried tomatoes, and fresh herbs, to stuffing patties with cheese or other ingredients (the so-called Jucy Lucy).
  • Cooking method.  Open grill? Flames kissing the patty.  Griddle?  A flat hot surface that lends itself to a crispy crust.  Personally, I like hot flat cast iron for thinner patties and the open grill for thicker patties.
  • Cheese.  Why wouldn't you have cheese on a burger?  Seriously.
  • Toppings. Sometimes, it is hard to beat simple.  Ketchup, mustard, pickles, and onion.  But sometimes, it is hard to avoid a little more complicated, aka the Jimmy Buffet burger, which for me means all the previous toppings, plus lettuce and tomato, and Heinz 57 sauce.  (Try it! Make sure you also have a big Kosher pickle and a cold draft beer.)  And, of course, there are the uber complicated toppings.  Think sauteed greens in balsamic vinegar, grilled onions, sun dried tomatoes, wild mushrooms, runny eggs, aged cheeses, other meats, etc, etc.  Here are examples of what I mean along these lines.  Next time you are in Vegas, go there.
  • Buns.  Brioche, potato rolls, foccacia, whole grain, pita bread, ciabatta.  So many choices.  The bun can totally change the whole vibe of any burger.  But, no matter what, it must be toasted.
Sides?  That's a whole other post.  Hell, fries alone is almost a series of posts.  But, if you want a really good fry right now? Go to Jane's Little Coalinga.  

So many great burger options and we have lots of great places to try them here in Sioux Falls.  Get out and try them.  Let me know what you think.

Forking A!! I am like Nostradamus.

I was thinking about my recent Spezia post when it occurred to me that I had written this gem, a few years ago.  So, yeah, I am feeling a tad smug right now.

Let's see what you can do, Riccardo!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

WTF: Can I Get Some Help Here?

As mentioned previously, one thing that really bends my tines is when people add an apostrophe s ('s) to any restaurant name, regardless of whether that's the name of it or not.

Well, I just happened to visit Spezia for the first time in quite a while for dinner and noticed this gem hanging on the front door:

Note the spelling.  Granted, this particular poster is an advertisement for Angry Orchard cider and was most likely printed up by the distributor to promote the product.  But, REALLY!

In related news, dinner sucked.  With the exception of decently priced salads for lunch, these guys are sucking air.  I made the utter mistake of ordering pasta in a place that tries to feature Italian food.  The pasta was blah.  The arrabiata sauce was more than vaguely reminiscent of a too-sweet jarred pasta sauce.  I am not sure why I was asked how I wanted the steak on it cooked, because I got medium well and it was cold to boot.  Utter fail.

Interestingly enough, it appears Riccardo Tarabelsi is back as manager.  He was GM at Westward Ho Country Club.  Not sure what happened there, but I am hoping he can turn the place around and up a notch or two.  Rumor has it, he is revamping the wine list to feature, GASP, Italian wines.  There's a thought.  I hope to see some good things.  This town needs some decent Italian.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Deadly Sin of Gluttony

I stopped in at  local watering hole for a little libation.  I perused the menu and noticed this:

It's a challenge item, which I presume means the softball team cannot come in and order this concoction.  Instead, if one chooses to accept the mission, you order it and try to hork it down in 45 minutes.  That's a lot of food, all of which will add plenty plaque to the old arteries.  Eating all that, fast mind you, should also present a certain level of crisis to the old g.i. tract.

I understand there are other challenges in town.  Like this.  (Thanks Cory!  BTW: Check out Food Falls!) Eat a bunch of stuff fast and immortalize yourself on the old Wall O Fame.

This trend, if it is one, is the natural consequence of television shows like Man v. Food with Adam Richman.  Or, the Nathan's Hot Dog eating contest featuring the likes of Joey Chestnut and that guy from Japan who battle to see how many hot dogs can be downed in a certain amount of time.

Whatever this trend is, it's stupid.  And, if I may say so, a little shameful.  It's just gluttony.  Here in the United States, we are absolutely blessed with an over abundance of food.  Good, wholesome, pride of producer grains, fruits, vegetables, fish, seafood, and animals-- and not just the overly processed crap that we turn all of it into.  We have it much better than the rest of the world.  The fact we are too arrogant or stupid to realize and respect that is a whole different topic.  I digress.

To me, gluttony implies a notion that one can obtain so much that one can be as wasteful as one wants, to the point where one really doesn't care about the fact others go without.  That's a sin.  It should be.  Really, watching an eating contest on television where competitors see how many hot dogs they can down in 5 or 10 minutes and beaming it around the world somehow instills patriotic pride?

This kind of thing is just stupid.  Sincerely.  Eat three pounds of chips and waffle fries?  Complete with yellow cheese goo?  That's a challenge?  I decline.

Monday, August 6, 2012

WTF: Sushi Gone Wild

In case you haven't noticed, Sioux Falls has apparently gone absolutely ape over raw fish.  There was a time when you could only get it at Sushi Masa.  Now you can get it at the Empire Mall.  A breakfast/lunch joint (Whisk & Chop) closes and a sushi joint opens in its place.  I was driving down a stretch of W. 41st Street yesterday and noticed yet another sushi and hibachi joint opening in a strip mall.  Seriously, what the hell is going on and how much of this can this town support?

I was wondering exactly that when I went to lunch today.  Yes, a Monday.  As much as I don't believe in ever eating sushi on a Monday, the Secret Soup Spoon had a real sushi jones going.  So, we hit the 57th and Louise branch of Tokyo right at noon.  Normally there is a sign on one of the two doors at most Tokyo restaurants advising diners to "Use Another Door."  No sign today and you couldn't use any door.  Hmmmmm.

Like I said the SSS was craving sushi, so off to Fuji at 41st and Kiwanis.  Noon.  Hardly anyone in the place.  Either the SSS and I are among the half dozen idiots, or so, who eat sushi on a Monday or this town has hit the saturation point.

Any info?