Kyle and I are burger junkies. In the great “In-N-Out vs 5 Guys” debate we are 5 Guys fans for sure. Ya, I know, you need to order In-N-Out “double double animal style.” Been there, ordered that and the verdict… Meh.
But 5 Guys should watch out, there’s a new burger in town. I know I work with Red Apron but i promise I’m not being bias. If I didn’t ABSOLUTELY LOVE this burger I’d say nothing. But it is unreal. Of course i love the fresh baked brioche bun, toasted with butter, house made thousand island dressing, house pickles, onions and iceberg lettuce but they are supporting characters… The real magic is in the meat. Flavorful and cooked perfectly medium rare then coated with melty cheddar. In my experience, especially for an $8 burger, the meat isn’t usually a highlight. It comes well done and doesn’t taste like much. But at Red Apron its all about the patty. Its juicy, cooked to the temp you like and soooo full of flavor.
Don’t get me wrong, 5 Guys is a wonderful, juicy, satisfying grease bomb. If I’m hung over it really hits the spot. But it leaves you in an absolute food comma and must be consumed in moderation. The Red Apron Classic, however, is a burger I could eat everyday.
We’ll be at Birch and Barley tomorrow from 11am until we run out of fried chicken lunch boxes and 4 packs of doughnuts. Hope to see ya there!
I’ve always been a restless person. I like to have lots of things going on all around me… I get bored otherwise. I’ve always been this way. With so many projects happening all at once there are a ton of things I am having a blast with right now, especially developing new recipes.
GBD (soon to open… hurray,) has been a work in progress for the past 6 months. We’ve been testing and tweaking fried chicken, sides, doughnuts and biscuits all in an attempt to deliver our guests with a great comfort food experience. I’ve probably eaten more fried chicken and doughnuts in the past 6 months then most people will eat in their whole lives… I know what you are thinking… ”Poor Tiffany having to eat all that fried chicken and doughnuts.” I know you want to make sarcastic jokes about crying me a river. Trust me, 20 pieces of chicken in, even taking tiny bites, anyone would be in a serious food coma. But it’s been so fun. Especially since I LOVE testing with Kyle. It’s the time we have the most fun in the kitchen. When we are learning!
See you at the shop soon!
In always nervous to start working with a new chef. Making sure my desserts flow with each restaurant requires building a relationship with each chef. The better the relationship the better the desserts.
One of the reasons I’m excited for Red Apron to open is getting to work with Nate Anda. I’ve known him for a few years now but I’ve never actually gotten to work with him. Not that I’ve been testing breads and talking desserts I’ve gotta say, I’m pretty stocked to get to be a small part of his operation. He is the most even keeled, clear headed chef. Best of all, he’s great to brainstorm with. Full of good ideas. I love that.
Most of the menus have some of my breads on them but Red Apron is set to be my biggest challenge to date. Its a ton of bread. Seriously. And Nate has worked so hard and so long on this project I want it to be perfect. So we started testing and tasting. Nate’s tastings are EPIC. The most recent tasting featured 8 types of bread and about 30 sandwiches. The only advise I can give you is if you are ever lucky enough to get invited to a Red Apron tasting DON’T EAT ALL DAY.
Kyle and I love cooking brunch! But for once this post isn’t about us cooking brunch… We got to actually eat it!!! And when we get the chance to get brunch we take it seriously and choose carefully… Our choice? Dim Sum at The Source. On a Saturday morning while Kyle’s parents were visiting us to check out our NEW HOUSE (yay!) we wanted to take them to have an amazing meal. Scott Drewno never ceases to amaze. The Source is actually the first place Kyle and I ate when we moved to DC and from the remarkable food to impeccable service (their GM, Rikka, lives and breathes hospitality,) we knew we had made the right choice to move to DC.
We ate everything from octopus to frog, turnip cakes to insane dumplings and it was all to-die-for! The bacon was unreal. By the time we left Kyle’s father commented that he had eaten 5 things he had never tried before and didn’t think he would like and loved them all. Kyle and I weren’t surprised! Scott is not only a great guy but a wonderful chef as well. Plus, the first cocktail I had was garnished with a mini sausage link… I mean come on. If that doesn’t show you they take brunch/dim sum seriously I don’t know what does!
Cooking outside. It’s something I grew up doing in Hawaii since most of our meals were cooked on a grill. I’ve always found being outside very comforting. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a “roughing it” kinda gal BUT sitting outside and sipping a drink while Kyle fires up the grill is my perfect day off.
Outstanding in the Field is hands down our favorite event of the year! It pairs chefs with farmers and holds a dinner for about 200 guests on the farm. It doesn’t get more farm-to-table than that! The dinner is served family style at one LONG farm table. I love how bountiful the table looks when we send 60 platters of food to the table. Then people eat and drink until we practically need to roll them home. It’s a beautiful thing! As the sun sets lanterns are brought out so guests can enjoy the cool breeze while they enjoy dessert and after dinner drinks.
For a 2nd year in a row we were fortunate enough to host our dinner at The Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture. It is a non-profit farm that is near and dear to our heart. Kyle and I spent many hours with the farmers and our cooks weeding, planting, and foraging at Arcadia and we are always excited to expose new people to it. Arcadia brings young children to the farm to teach them about healthy eating. They also run the Mobile Market, a bright green bus that brings crates of farm fresh food to otherwise underserved neighborhoods and helps educate communities about how to prepare nutritious food for their families. Plus, there are 5 bee hives there that I get honey from for desserts at Birch and Barley so I like to have a reason to visit the farm to check on the bees
The weather was perfect, Kyle and I were surrounded by some on our favorite people and the guests seemed to really enjoy their meal. Greg was there to pair beers, which always blows people away… A few of the standout dishes were a farro salad with radishes and grilled cucumber that was to die for. Kyle also made a beautiful dish of seared skate served over lightly dressed baby dandelion greens. It was so fresh and flavorful. For dessert I prepared birthday cake with a twist. It was a cake layer with carrot cake, parsnip cake, cream cheese mousse and toasted walnuts. It was served with carrot caramel and ginger ice cream…
Outstanding in the Field comes to the DC area every year but they travel all over the US so be sure to get on their mailing list and if they come to your town I recommend buying a ticket. It’s a splurge but it’s a wonderful event.
I’m embarrassed to say that until I turned 18 I actually thought I didn’t like apples. I grew up in Hawaii and almost only ate muchy, mealy red delicious apples. I hated them. Bland, soggy, bleh. It wasn’t until I moved to NY and experienced an apple picked straight from the tree that I really got it. It was a gala apple, still my favorite pie apple to this day. I’ll never forget to way that apple tasted and the way it made me feel. I was in upstate NY at an apple picking party complete with hay ride and cider press. I had never seen anything like that before. Until the moment I ate that apple I thought the whole idea of an apple picking party seemed silly but in one bite I totally got it.
This is the season when every market and menu has an abundance of apples. I love apple pie! Not as much as Kyle, who has been known to eat a full pie in a day by himself, but I sure do look forward to apple pie time of the year.
But my favorite apple flavor isn’t the caramel-sugary goodness of apple pie… It’s the tart, refreshing flavor of green apple. I love green apples diced, made into sorbet, soda, chips. You name it. As long as it retains that crisp flavor. In a new dessert at Birch and Barley I’ve combined all my favorite tart ingredients. A baked-to-order lemon cake, green apple sorbet, diced green apples, yogurt panna cotta, passion fruit gelee and passion fruit curd. In a time of year when everyone is focused on transitioning to rich winter food I wanted to keep it refreshing and light.
Having made it to the group of 20 semifinalists for the James Beard Award for Best Pastry Chef I have spent the last month or so feeling honored, nervous and excited. Today I found out that my journey on that list ends here this year. I didn’t make the top 6 list. Of course I am disappointed but I am inspired to work harder and be better. I know chef’s are supposed to be tough but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t really want this. So I’ve got another year to get better. The first step to achieving my dream of making the short list with James Beard happened when I got on the long list. Just need to keep pushing!
Congratulations to everyone that made it to the semifinals and beyond. We all work so hard it’s nice to have people notice and I’m sure everyone on that list has dreamed of it too. You should all be very proud of what you’ve achieved!
“Follow your heart, minute by minute and day by day. Let the course of the river run as it will, instead of tying yourself up in fears that you may never realize” R.A Salvatore