Recipe: Skillet Steaks

April 28, 2008

This recipe is for Skillet Steaks, which can be made in the oven or in a broiler. The steaks are easy to create without much preparation, and are best if the beef is of a good cut. I recommend that you find the highest cut of beef, preferably dry-aged and unfrozen. It is important that the cut of steak was never frozen as that destroys the quality of the meat.

– Cast-iron skillet
– Steak: preferably a soft cut such as a rib eye
– Sea Salt
– Maury’s/Lawry’s Seasoning Salt
– McCormick’s Montreal Seasoning
– Butter

1. Take a unfrozen, high quality cut of beef.

2. Season the steak first with Seasoning Salt. Let the steak sit for about 15 minutes.
Then season with Montreal Seasoning and begin to tenderize. The steak will grow in size and flatten as you tenderize, but keep tenderizing until the meat becomes soft. Flip over and repeat until the meat is soft. Place in a plastic bag in the refridgerator and let it sit overnight.

3. Remove steaks from bag. Tenderize steak, let steak sit out (covered) for about an hour, until the meat begins to reach a little above room temperature.

4. Heat the oven to the highest temperature. I prefer to cook this method with a oven, as the heat is in direct contact with the skillet, allowing for greater searing and cooking.

5. Place skillet in the oven, until the skillet becomes very hot.

6. Place steak in skillet

7. You dont have to cook the steak on both sides, as the heat is very direct. One side is very well seared, while the other is not, however, the steak is thoroughly cooked on both sides.

8. Place a pat of butter on top of the steak and serve! Best enjoyed with Duck Fat French Fries


Recipe: Duck Fat French Fries

April 28, 2008

Recipe for Duck Fat French Fries

If you’ve ever cooked frozen french fries at home and were not impressed or cooked french fries in vegetable or peanut oil and did not like the strong vegetable taste, you can make duck fat french fries at home and it only requires a few resources and is very straightforward.

– Pan for frying
– Cooking potatoes (Yukon Gold or Russet)
– Duck Fat (between 15-20 ounces)

1. Take cooking potatoes, slice into French Fries. Do not slice too thin, as they will fall apart when frying.

2. Place French Fries into bowl, fill with water. Wait about 5 minutes, and water will begin to become cloudy. The cloudiness is caused by starch, which when removed, allows the French Fries to become crispier when fried.

3. Clear French Fries of water.

4. Fill French Fry-filled bowl with water. Water should be replaced until it no longer becomes cloudy.

5. Fill a pot with water and begin to heat. Continue to heat, until bubbles form at bottom of pot. Place French Fries in pot, add about 1 tablespoon for every 1 potato. Heat until water begins to boil. Remove from pot and drain.

6. Place fries in refridgerator until they cool.

7. Place Duck Fat containers in pot filled with hot water, to melt the fat.

8. Remove Duck Fat container from hot water.

9. Place duck fat in pan (preferably skillet), and begin to heat until fully melted.

10. Place one French Fry in the pan. If it bubbles, you can place the others in as well. If it does not bubble, apply more heat until it begins to bubble.

11. The French Fries will begin to bubble more rapidly. Flip and turn the French Fries gently, as at this stage, they are the most fragile.

12. The French Fries will begin to brown, test fries by biting into them. Remove them depending on your own preference for crispiness.

13. Remove French Fries from pan, place on paper towel. Season them with salt, pepper or other spices.

14. Enjoy! Preferably with a steak.

Burger Bros. Restaurant Review

April 25, 2008

I first heard about Burger Bros. in the Baltimore Sun “Live” section and I had to go. In the America of national fast food chains (McDonalds) and regional semi-chains (Five Guys), I enjoy going to a one-location restaurant more than the previously listed. As the name tells, it is run by two brothers, Michael and Timothy Murphy and is located on Allegheny Avenue in Towson.

As the name and the staff will surely tell you, the burger is what to get here. In the colorful shop, the menu lists chicken sandwiches, turkey burgers, Portobello mushroom burgers, hot dogs and salads, but as with a restaurant with the word ‘Burger’ in the title, you may know what to get.

The burgers at Burger Bros. unlike Five Guys and other chains, are cooked on a charcoal grill, along with the other entrees. The burgers are sandwiched between Brioche buns, which are a good departure from the standard, white-bread bun. Although, the burgers usually are cooked too much for my liking, they still retain a juicy interior and are not that tough. The fountain drinks, come in two sizes, which doesn’t make much since, as it comes with free refills, which is handy, as you can refill your drink before you leave.

Hamburger ($4.99) and Medium French Fries ($2.79)

Hamburger ($4.99)

As you can see, the burger sits nestled between a Brioche Bun, but the burger was cooked ‘well done’, however, next time I will ask for it to be cooked medium/medium well.

Medium French Fries ($2.79) taste exactly the same as Five Guys fries

I hope Burger Bros. thrives in Towson and expands to other areas of Maryland, as its family-run atmosphere, gives a non-corporate character that is lacking in many modern restaurants.

And did I mention the Brioche Buns!

Burger Bros.
14 Allegheny Ave
Towson, MD 21204
(410) 321-1880

The Sherry-Netherland Hotel

April 12, 2008

The Sherry-Netherland hotel was built in 1927 at 781 Fifth Avenue, which intersects with E.59th street, also known as Central Park South. This hotel has always played second fiddle to The Plaza, its glamour seeking cousin across the street and is little known outside native New Yorkers. It is not advertised and is barely mentioned in travel publications. It 50 rooms are individually decorated and can be viewed before booking on the Sherry-Netherland website. The hotel, was granted a 4 and a half star rating by Tripadvisor, which shows that it is not in the same league as the CPS Plaza or Ritz-Carlton, but still is a high quality hotel in an amazing location. The lobby contains panels that were salvaged from the Vanderbilt Mansion that was razed to make room for the Bergdorf Goodman department store. The intimateness of the hotel allows for personalized service that could not be enjoyed in the Waldorf-Astoria or the New York Palace, as their size could not allow.

The Lobby inside the Sherry-Netherland Hotel

Another view of the Sherry-Netherland Lobby

The Harry Cipriani Restaurant is located in the Sherry-Netherland Hotel

Inside Harry Cipriani

The famed Sherry-Netherland Clock

Harry Cipriani in the Sherry-Netherland Hotel

April 12, 2008

The oft-derided Harry Cipriani, for many years has been derided as a poor tasting, overpriced, “scene” restaurant. While I’ll tell you that the food was good, the last two are entirely correct.

Harry Cipriani is located in the Sherry-Netherland Hotel, a 1927 Art Deco beauty, that is not only intimate, but retains a grandness that usually only exists in larger, more impersonal hotels. It is located on across from Central Park and on Fifth Avenue, which creates a perfect atmosphere for shoppers and joggers. Its 50 rooms are individually decorated, and can be viewed before being booked on its website. The rooms, unlike the Plaza, its nearest hotel neighbor are reasonably priced (for the location) and give a great respite from the chain-dominated hotel industry.

The restaurant is open during breakfast, lunch and dinner. When I went there for breakfast, my party was one out of three that dined there. I’m sure there are usually more diners, but it was a rainy day and I came after the business crowd dined. As always mentioned in reviews, the restaurant is small and cramped with both small tables and chairs that allow for more people to be squeezed in, which equals more $$$. All of the waiters, were male (the restaurant was sued for sexual discrimination) and for the most part, European. The restaurant is famous mostly due to the celebrities who frequent it, and its ancestor, Harry’s Bar in Venice, invented the Bellini (peach nectar and sparkling wine) and Carpaccio. It was most recently rated “Poor” by Frank Bruni, but it still packs a crowd at lunch and dinner time.

Another view of Harry Cipriani

The Bellini (I am 16, so they made me a virgin one), but it still costed ($19.95)

Pancakes stuffed with Banana ($15.50)

Fresh Fruit Plate with Apple, Grapefruit, Pineapple, Orange ($19.50)

Fried Eggs, Bacon, Home Fries ($19.50 + 4 + 4)

Its a restaurant you bring someone to impress, but not to have a culinary experience. Usually its filled with older-looking blonde women and their even older-looking husbands, who have no problem with spending hundreds of dollars on a good (but not amazing) meal, because as I said earlier: you come here to see and be seen, not to eat.

Harry Cipriani (at the Sherry-Netherland Hotel)
781 Fifth Avenue at E. 59th Street (Central Park South)
New York
Open: Daily (7am-10:30am, noon-11:45pm)
Amex, MC, V
Matchbooks: Yes, but you must ask your waiter

The Palm Court in the Plaza Hotel in New York

April 5, 2008


I’ve been to Europe. I’ve been to Asia. The finest hotel that i’ve ever known (and know) is the Plaza. The name does not bring into mind, various town squares in Latin American countries, where the name is derived, but one hotel, perfectly positioned in the most opulent area of Manhattan, sandwiched between the world’s most famous shopping district and its most famous park.

This describes the Plaza Hotel, where I stayed during my vacation to New York (LINK TO ARTICLE ON PLAZA HERE)!!!


The Palm Court inside the Plaza Hotel has been famed for its afternoon tea which has been around since its inception. The Palm Court today serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, saturday and sunday brunch and of course afternoon tea. This restaurant is led by French chef Didier Virot, and offers a unique (yet not too unique) meal.

When I arrived to New York, I had previously made reservations, but had shown up wearing a collegiate sweatshirt and jeans. I walked up to the hostess, told her my situation and she said “oh its no problem” and seated me instantly. I had to wait a while for the food to be served after I ordered, but it was worth it. The potatoes were good, but not great; but the french toast was probably the best i’ve ever had.

The stained glass ceiling, which was destroyed by Conrad Hilton in the 40’s to make room for air conditioning equipment has been replaced, but with one difference. The stained glass ceiling has no natural sunlight. It uses a group of lights that mimic daylight and change reflecting the time and strength of outside light.

Mixed Fruit Drink ($12)

Brioche French Toast with Hawaiian Gold Pineapple and Passionfruit Caramel Sauce ($26)

Golden Roasted Potatoes ($14)

Two Eggs with Applewood Smoked Bacon and Golden Roasted Potatoes ($26)

The Palm Court
The Plaza Hotel
Fifth Avenue at Central Park South (E. 59th street)
New York City
(212) 759-3000 (ask for Palm Court)
Open: Breakfast (Daily): 6:30am-11:30am, Brunch (Sat & Sun): 11:30am-2:00pm, Lunch (Mon-Fri): 11:30am-2pm, Afternoon Tea (Daily): 2pm-5pm, Dinner (Daily): 6pm-10pm

Peter Luger Steakhouse in New York

April 5, 2008

Without a doubt, my favorite restaurant in New York. My favorite restaurant in the world. If you go to New York and you do not go here, you are missing out, and if you are from New York, and you’ve never been there, you should leave and never come back.

Peter Luger steakhouse opened in 1887 as “Carl Luger’s Café, Billiards and Bowling Alley” began in the mostly German Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg. Since it has been around for 120 years, they must be doing something right? Right? Rated the best steakhouse in New York by Zagats for 24 years running, awarded a James Beard award, and given 3 stars from the Grey Lady (New York Times), this is the best restaurant in New York, if not the world. Yes, I said 3 stars, I know Frank Bruni knocked it down to two, but what does he know anyway?

This restaurant definitely does not have a scene like some other midtown restaurants where people talk in hushed voices and the lighting is so low, you could be eating someone else’s food. Not at Peter Lugers, the patrons here sometimes sing songs and laugh without restraint while the overhead brass chandeliers make the room bright, declared unbearably bright by some, but perfect for me. Especially if you tend to photograph your food.

Being the most popular steakhouse in New York, you have to call at least 3 weeks ahead, and more if you want a holiday or a weekend. If you want to get there, pick up a taxi at a hotel, because some taxi drivers don’t want to drive to Brooklyn as it is too far away, even though it is required by law to drive to any of the five boroughs. It will take half an hour to forty-five minutes and will cost about $30-45 dollars, but it will be definitely worth it. You might have to wait 30 minutes to an hour depending on the size of your group, as diners tend to stick around after their food has been served and taken away.

Do not believe the rumor of the rude, stern waiter, as when I went there, each waiter and server was just as friendly as the one before. They tend not to give menus to locals (trust me, they can tell) and they usually give them to non-locals and tourists. The waiters are mostly professional European waiters, who almost never make mistakes.

Do not order the fish, go for the porterhouse, called the “steak for ____.” You must start with Canadian Bacon, actually cured pork belly, follow that with a Caesar salad or sliced tomato and onions, get German potatoes as a side for your steak and end with dessert. The steak sauce is not that good as it is just ketchup mixed with horseradish and lemon. It tastes like a weak cocktail sauce.

The bread basket was amazing, as the large brown speckled rolls in the front were onion rolls. They are bread wrapped around diced onions… amazing.

Slice of Canadian Bacon ($2.95)

Caesar Salad ($9.95), was fresh, crisp, just how a Caesar salad should be.

Steak for Two ($83.90), the steak sizzling in a mixture of its own juices and butter.

When your steak is brought out, the plate is heated to 400f in the 1800f broiler so that the steak does not cool when you are eating it. If you want a picture you have to tell your waiter because he will instantly flip over a small plate to put the steak dish onto an angle to pool the drippings and then pull the already-sliced steak apart.

The steak after the waiter took a few pieces off

German Fried Potatoes for two ($10.95)

The “Holy Cow” Sundae, the ice cream was just Haagen Daz (which is good), but the Schlag (whipped cream) made it perfect.

When you go to Lugers, bring cash because the only credit card that is accepted is the Peter Luger credit card, which can only be used at… you guessed it… Peter Luger. Don’t go the clones: Blair Perrone, Wolfgang’s, Ben & Jack’s and if you do, try the original one.

Ask for a plate of “schlag”- its whipped cream, they make it. I hate whipped cream, but I love theirs.

Peter Luger
178 Broadway
Brooklyn, NY, 11211
(718) 387-7400
Open: Mon-Thu: 11:45am-9:45pm, Fri-Sat: 11:45am-10:45pm, Sun: 12:45-9:45pm

Matchbooks: Yes, but you have to ask for them