So begins a journey that I started with an impulse Amazon purchase after listening to a Bon Appetit Foodcast interview with cookbook author Sonoko Sakai. Rappaport waxed poetic about Japanese Home Cooking, and the author herself sounded like a knowledgeable and thoughtful author. I remembered the struggle to work out of the Momofuku cookbook more than a year ago, and I wanted to give Japanese food another try through another vehicle. I am hoping this will be the one that makes it easier for the average home cook.
Bon Appetit has yet to lead me down the wrong path when a cookbook recommendation has come up in their podcast, so I am trying to keep the faith while looking down the barrel of a cuisine that I am personally intimidated by. Dining In by Alison Roman, Indian-ish from Priya Krishna, and Where Cooking Begins from Carla Lalli Music have all been favorites of mine, and every single one of them came down from the internet’s premiere food media source. So I pulled the trigger on Japanese Home Cooking, and I swallowed down the fear.
It was a welcome Saturday evening that led us down the road and into Mr. Brews Taphouse in Bellevue. We knew we wanted to go out, but we didn’t know what we wanted exactly. I’ve still got a bit of an aversion to taking much of a drive before or after dinner with the way my stomach has been lately, but I remembered a little burger joint that I’ve seen on my way to and from work the last few weeks. We decided on Mr. Brews Taphouse, and off we went.
The most striking feature of the actual restaurant is the massive tap that they have behind the bar, hence the name. There’s something for everyone back there, even if the bar list appears to favor hoppier beers. We took more time choosing our beer than deciding on what we wanted to eat since there was so much to choose from-- fifty-nine different choices according to their website. I appreciated the options when I’m normally the person that orders a Spotted Cow without even looking at the beer list.
I’ve been Meal Kit Curious for years. Ever since Jaime Oliver started advertising Hello Fresh back when he was serious about cooking on youtube, I wanted to know if the whole thing was worth it. Getting curated boxes delivered every week with new recipes every single time had a lot of appeal, but as each new and similar service appeared, they looked more expensive than the last. The cost outweighed the apparent benefits every time I was tempted to order a giant delivery of three or four meals a week.
Then I walked into a Target for the first time in two years when we moved to Wisconsin and found Hello Fresh and Local Crate meal kits in the refrigerated section. This was the first I knew about anyone packing individual meals and recipes to sell as a single set instead of part of a bundle. The same type of service is offered at most of the local groceries around here too. We tried one from Festival Foods that taught my husband to love roasted broccoli, but I hadn’t picked one up since.
It’s been a long while since I wrote a review for another local joint here in Green Bay. I’ve got to admit that my stomach has been on the absolute fuckin fritz for much of the new year, but we’re on the mend. After my first appointment here in Wisconsin, my husband and I went on a little adventure together that landed us at Anduzzi’s sports bar over by Lambeau Field. We’ve been by it more than a few times during our other many adventures in town, and never made the decision to stop in.
With little snow showers falling outside, we stopped into the warm and cozy sports bar during happy hour. It was a blessing in disguise that it was also Friday. Most of the restaurants in the area do Friday fish fries year round, and Anduzzi’s was no exception. They proudly displayed their fish fry selection on the board just within the interest along with their happy hour specials. We sat down with eager bellies, and we had one of the nicest waitresses yet again.
Here’s the thing. I love Binging with Babish. His presentation during his videos is frankly incredible and so different compared to most of what’s out there in food media right now. Recreating both nostalgic and new dishes from media touches a wide audience, and those videos are great ways to make myself feel better. The cookbook is a similar experience. While January was a hard health month for me, just reading the book had many of the same markers as the youtube channel.
Much of what is in that cookbook is going to be a weekend project for a home cook. Very few recipes are what I would call weeknight dinners. Having watched Binging with Babish for a long time, I had a feeling that would be the case. I mean, never in a million years am I going to wake up one morning and tell myself I want to make timpano, which appears to be a fucking nightmare of hardboiled eggs, fresh pasta, hella cheese, salami, and more fresh pasta that has to cook in a dutch oven for two hours and then rest for an hour-- much less go through the effort of making the pasta and sauce on the same day.
An idea born in Normal, Illinois, Eating Normal hopes to chronicle the eating Experiences of a Red bird.
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