Friday, December 30, 2011

Good Grub: Blaue Gans

So, I've eaten here about a dozen times already and I have not written a review or taken any pictures up until now. A fellow culinary school grad (from the French Culinary Institute) finally dragged me out to this place over the summer. It was just a hole-in-the-wall looking pubsterant. (Restaurant Pub) I always went to City Hall Restaurant, which is located right beside it.

On the bright summer day we happened to go, we had a group of 8 people from the office and we stopped to chat with Parker Posey and Allen Cummings at their Craft table in between takes. They were filming their series at City Hall Restaurant that day. They were totally nice and very pretty/handsome in person. Parker Posey is actually no taller than me!! Go figure. I understand why some people are "made" for television. They may not look like much on tv when cast next to people like Scarlett Johanssen or Brad Pitt, but they are really quite stunning on their own up close and personal.

Anyway, on my first trip, I had the weiner schnitzel sandwich. It was served with German potato salad and a side of homemade lingonberry  preserves. It was absolutely delicious. I was a member of the clean plate club! That time, I paired it with a Weihenstephaner Hefeweizen; a special brew out of Germany that MUST be served in a certain glass or it is not sanctioned to be served at all by the brewery.

Since then, I've altered between the weiner schnitzel and the käsekrainer (sausage with cheese inside). The latter is served with roasted potatoes, in-house made sauerkraut and freshly grated horseradish. I'm not talking pickled, out-of-the-jar crap that we buy in the Kosher aisle of the supermarket. I'm talking FRESH, GRATED from the actual root, which looks like this:
Nothing beats the fresh kind. It's not something you see on the regular down your big name supermarket produce aisle, but lots of farmers markets and many smaller growers do offer it. If you can get your hands on some, try it out. You would grate it with the tiny side of the grater, not slice or shredded- grated.

Anyway, this past week with a very slow flow at work, I got away with my Walking Dead Compendium and I stole away for a solo lunch. I went with the käsekrainer again, because its so damn good and I just really like saying with the German accent and the hacking sound in the back of my throat. I ordered a heavier beer with it; Köstritzer Märzen. This is a thick, dark chocolaty stout-like beer. My favorite! My server ended up comping me because he didn't think I could read German. Little did he know that not only do I have a little German blood in my family and those relatives did, in fact, teach us a little about the German language, but I also had a handful of German pen pals who taught me a whole lot of German when we wrote back and forth about the WWF wrestlers we were obsessed over. Good times. Anyway, I pronounced "käsekrainer" perfectly, and my beer was free. YIPPEE!!

Their menu is compact, but perfectly represents some damn fine Viennese cuisine. I've yet to have the jäger schnitzel yet, but that's next on my list of things to order. They also have a very sweet prix fixed lunch available all year round which gives you a full-sized salad, a full sized entree of your choice from anywhere on the menu, and one of 6 desserts. All that for $23!!! That's even better than restaurant week, and I have seen the portions and they would put restaurant week to shame.
Blaue Gans is not only good grub, it's great grub. It's worth the trip downtown to try them out. Not only are they a popular hidden gem to the government community downtown, but the locals rave about their dinners and brunches. The decor is exciting. You don't know what you want to look at first as the walls are decoupaged with old posters, pictures, and pages out of books. It's quite a site to behold. I hate to give up one of my favorite spots to the general public. I like walking in and always getting a seat right away. But, they are too good to be kept hidden. The service is ALWAYS outstanding. The servers know their food, and that's important to me. The next time I go, I will be ordering dessert.

blaue ganseTheir sister restaurants, menus, as well as this info below are readily available on their website.

For reservations, please call 212-571-8880 or reserve online at
139 Duane Street, New York City 10013
Located in the heart of Tribeca on Duane Street between Church and West Broadway.
Open daily 11 am to midnight (kitchen open to midnight), Bar open until 12 am. Saturday and Sunday brunch from 11am-4pm.

Lunch Bell

Being classically trained and all, you'd think I could make a decent sandwich. Well, I'll let you know right now; I can't. I don't like cold food. I don't like sandwiches. The closest thing to a sammie that I'll crave is a grilled cheese with bacon & sometimes tomato. Other than that, I'd rather go hungry than stand in line for a sandwich.

Naturally, this is unnatural and I'm trying to cure myself of this distaste of breaded lunches. It would save me money in the long run if I made my own lunch, and a sandwich would probably be the most cost effective and quickest thing to make on a daily basis. The possibilities for variation is also endless.

I put up a sandwich post several months ago, and my heavy hand with the horseradish sauce ruined it. I took a walk to train ride to Trader Joe's this time and tried it again. It was much cheaper than Whole Foods, and the employees are a lot more plesant to deal with.

Without further ado, here we go again with the sandwich formation.

I bought some artisan bread at a rest stop on our way up towards Woodbury Commons. It's a familiar rest stop because I've stopped there more than half a dozen times with my exes whenever we were on our way north of the city. On the weekends, there is a small farmers market stand outside with two or three vendors. I bought a loaf of garlic and rosemary artisan bread for 5 bucks. The thing weighed a ton, but it smelled fantastic. Despite my mother telling me I would going to gain even MORE weight, I bought it anyway and called it a day. Sometimes you just need to give in to what your tummy wants.

Artisan Bread- garlic & rosemary

Wild Arugula (Also known as Rocket)

I don't do mayo, so I bought some Goddess dressing instead. It gives the sammie some moisture and the greens a little acid.

This package of Prosciutto only cost $5! And I got nearly 4 sammies out of it. It's salty. A little goes a long way!

See? This was about 3 or 4 slices piled up atop my greens.
No Coke this time. I think I had some water with lemon with this meal. It was good. The bread was a little dry, but at this point it was 2 days old. With my 2nd sandwich, I made the mistake of trying to heat the prosciutto in the microwave for 30 seconds, and what I got was a stinky, steaming, overcooked ham-like mess. It was gross. DON'T TRY TO WARM THE PROSCIUTTO! What a mess!!

Truth be told, this was the last time I made a sandwich. I haven't had the time to buy groceries, and my busy season was upon me. When I got back to work on Tuesday, things are going to be different. No more $10 lunches, coupled with two or three trips to the vending machine for $1.50 Cokes. It's a lot of money wasted on food that just isn't any good for me.

I hope I have the stamina to eat right this year. I think a lot of my health problems stem from a very poor diet. What good is a cook who can't taste anything? Useless. I don't want to be useless and I want to hone my palate.

Here's to a new perspective on an old promise.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Fan or FAN?

I love Lord of the Rings and all, but........I dunno.....

I think I'll pass. It's not exactly an image I'd like to cuddle up against on a cold winter's night.


Cooking Comically

If you have not visited this site yet, what the hell are you waiting for??? It combines comics and cooking- the two most wonderful things in the world! Check them OUT:

Cooking Comically

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Catching Up

Some of the more interesting cakes that have come across my work bench: