Friday, July 24, 2009

Old School Frozen Custard

It's that time of year when people enjoy chilled drinks and frozen desserts. Capitol Hill now has a few places to enjoy ice cream and its distant cousins frozen and CUSTARD.

Read some old posts and you will see that frozen custard is a childhood favorite of mine and the only place I really get to enjoy it is when I go back to visit my family in Wisconsin. When I was a kid I pretty much thought it was a given that you would always get smooth, rich and creamy custard when going out for frozen treats. After living on the West Coast for several years, I realized that wasn't true. Welcome to the neighborhood Old School Frozen Custard.

L. had yet to visit this spot so after dinner we walked up the hill to try it out.

Walking up to the spot, I saw that Chocolate Peanut Butter was the flavor of the day. Now, even as a kid I stuck to straight vanilla but I wanted to see what this was all about since I have already sampled the vanilla. Everyday they offer vanilla and chocolate along with a special flavor.

When we got there it wasn't crowded and the staff were ready to help us. The menu is big and at lunch time you have the option of getting down on Nathan's hotdogs. The custard options vary from cups, cones to sundaes. You have several topping choices and blended dessert if you want to get down like that. Check out their whole menu here.

Like I said, I decided on the chocolate and peanut butter and decided on the cake cone. I was happy that it held that creamy and smooth texture that I love about custard but their is something about Kopps that nobody is coming close to. What was missing from this custard is the richness that I truly love. L. went with the plain chocolate in the waffle cone.

I think he shared my sentiments about the custard because he too has been to the holy land of Kopps. Special flavors rotate all month and I snapped a quick pick of the July calendar...I immediately realized I wish I was going today to try that coconut! They also have the flavor calendar online.

Also hiding in the massive open counter is a small freezer which contains pints of special flavors from days past. I looked for coconut, but no dice.

The decor on the walls are vintage looking photos of local schools. I seriously did not realize why they had all those school pictures up until I left...WOW.

It's hard to be that excited that custard is right here when it makes me miss the GOD of custard, but I am happy to have the choice here on the hill.

1316 E Pike
Sun-Thurs 12-10pm
Fri-Sat 12-11pm

Old School Frozen Custard on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

in the ghetto....

during my first stay a roma many years ago, i enjoyed a lovely, traditional roman-jewish meal in the ghetto. yes, "ghetto." the word actually has italian roots (hence the "h" after the "g"). "ghetto" either came from venetian slang "getto" or "gheto" which referred to the caustic by-product of purifying metal ore which was dumped in areas of jewish confinement or "borghetto," which translates more directly into "borough."

either way, rome's ghetto is not run down or dangerous, but it is the area where roman jews were once confined and locked in at night. rome's beautiful sinagoga anchors the neighborhood with it's tall, square dome (to differentiate it from round, christian cupole). today it is full of kasher (kosher) and non-kasher restaurants serving up crispy carciofi al giudia (jewish style 'chokes), salty fish of all varieties, and pasta. the fare is jewish, but also distinctly roman.

the previous day, i took M past the sinagoga and il portico d'ottavia (portico of octavia), which augustus built for his sister around 27 CE. over the years, the portico housed statues to jupiter, was part of a library/school/curia complex, was burned down and rebuilt, hosted a fish market, and more recently was integrated into the church of sant'angelo in pescheria (saint angelo in the fish market).

today it is the ancient neighbor of da giggetto al portico d'ottavia, my favorite roman-jewish restaurant.

their website is actually quite thorough, though complicated, in describing the neighborhood, history of the restaurant, traditions, style, and menu.

and the physical menu above depicts the portico d'ottavia!

oh, i almost forgot. da giggetto has a pretty extensive wine list organized by rosso (red), bianco (white), rose (blush), and sparkling. each category was then further broken down by region. it's my preference to drink the vino di casa (house wine) because they are quite often excellent, pair perfectly with the food, and are pretty much dirt cheap. we ordered a liter or the house white, and i think it set us back a cold 5 euro. we also drank acqua frizzante, which is light, naturally effervescent spring water. a bottiglia (bottle) of that averages about 1.50 euro with table service.

for antipasti, we ordered una fiore di zucchina, un carciofo al giudia, and baccala. the zucchini blossom was stuffed with fresh ricotta and acciughe (anchovies) then lightly fried. this was awesome; perfectly salty, fishy, and cheesy. the best aspect of roman cuisine in general is the total freshness of all products. mmm. jewish style artichokes are trimmed, leaves flayed out, then deep fried until crispy like potato chips. ours was a little over-fried, and was too crunchy, if you can believe it.

NB: roman style artichokes are trimmed very small, hollowed out, blanched, stuffed with herbs, then put in olive oil.

our baccala was fantastic, though! it was irresistibly light, crisp, juicy, salty, and meaty. i couldn't have asked for a better baccala experience!

M ordered some prawn dish, but they were out of that (we arrived around 1030/11, mind you), so the waiter suggested this dish. i can't remember what it was called, and it's not on their website. anyways, these whole shrimp were massive, juicy, briny, sweet, salty, buttery. i don't even know how to describe them other than "perfect." M agreed. i even sopped up some of the brainy juice from his dish with my fish.

i originally ordered the sole (one of my favorite, and M's least, fish), but they were out of that as well! so instead i got the whole dory. again, i have no idea what sort of voodoo they performed on this unlucky fish, but it was BANGIN. i mean, seriously. it seemed like they just classically seasoned it with salt, pepper, and oil. they slit the skin on both sides, then lightly pan fried it. holy wow did it taste like heaven! i love the practice of serving whole fish. it's always fun to dismantle it...reminding me of my days catching and cleaning fish in MN. also, the cheeks are the best part!

da giggetto was excellent, and we enjoyed a leisurely dinner al freso (as usual) in the ghetto. i wanted to cap off my meal with un caffe, but i feared not being able to sleep. mmm, a doppio does make the best digestivo, though.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

sperlonga paradiso

shortly after touching down in rome, we hopped a train south about an hour and fifteen minutes to the paradise known as sperlonga. this small beach town is situated about halfway between roma and napoli in what is known as the riviera di ulisse, or riviera of ulysses (homer's odysseus). the emperor tiberius built a summer villa in sperlonga around 20CE with sculptures recounting episodes from homer's odyssey in a seaside grotta.

though we didn't visit the villa or museum (open to the public), we did soak up some more modern flavor in town.

we stopped in a small supermercati, and i saw this pony pop near the cheese case. i just snapped a quick, washed-out pic for my friends at home who have a lovely dog named "pony."

although "supermercati" describes quite a different kind of store than our "super market," i think what distinguishes a supermercati from an alimentari are the extras like shampoo, plastic bags, and cleaning products. anyhow...

this picture and the one below are from an alimentari just down the street form the supermercati. this place had all the goods i wanted. it was super small, and the entrance was so low i had to duck a little bit so i didn't swipe my head on the awning. this place was perfect, though. they had a mini milk carton full of simpson's chocolate cookies that i wanted, but didn't really want. i tried to snap them in this photo, but i missed. i was trying to be discreet since taking pictures of everything seems so invasive.

the cookies in the beige bags are a big brand, mulino bianco (white mill), which is basically like our nabisco. these jammies are good, though, and sans preservatives.

this shady shot is of their tinned fish and jarred items. damn, i miss all this stuff. their cheapo canned tonno is the shit, and basically anything in a glass jar is guaranteed to be delicious and salty. sign me up.

after touring both the supermercati and alimentari, we ended up picking up some goodies from a meat shop with a tavola calda ("hot table" aka hot case). it really wasn't a hot case, but more of a cold case, i suppose. m. guzzled a peach nestea, and we shared some frutti di mare (fruits of the sea, aka seafood salad in lemon and olive oil), a piece of pizza rossa, and a bag of taralli that i picked up at the alimentari.

taralli are one of my favorite italian snacks. they're basically cracker rings made out of flour, white wine, olive oil, salt, and a flavor, if you opt for one. i got the fennel seed because that's my favorite. damn, i miss these. i bought some over at PFI the other day, but they weren't nearly as crisp and fresh tasting. they also only had olive oil or garlic flavors, boo.

i'm going to look up a recipe for taralli so i can know the secret and be inducted into this mystery cult of deliciousness.

we ate insalata di mare (seafood salad) all over roma and sperlonga. this one was tasty. i saved a few leftovers in our minifridge to savor later that day. mmm. i love anything swimming in olive oil. there's nothing like fresh, meaty squid. damn this was good.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Grimaldi's: Brooklyn New York

If this is your first time reading this hella rad blog, then you dont know that I love pizza. So welcome to K&S, I love pizza. That being said, when I was recently in New York I really wanted to try some east coast pizza. Months ago I was watching food network and something came on about Grimaldi's. I remember thinking, if I ever go back to NYC I will try it. Well we did and boy, was it an adventure in time and patience.

My mom and I were staying in Manhattan in the Theatre District and we set out that morning walking towards the Financial District. We had no intention of walking the entire way...but we did and yes, that is about 6 miles. After the long walk past several duane reade stores we decided to take a cab over the bridge to ensure we would be on time for our lunch date at Grimaldi's with a new hip hop supergroup "They Live".

As the cab pulled up we had no idea the line would be that serious. It was down the block.

A few minutes later a man came out and let us know it would be about 30min from where we were standing. It actually took like 45min, but it was cool our hip hop friends were running late anyway. The wait was too long, the heat was too much and the complaining people were getting on my last nerve. But I was doing fine actually because I knew once inside I would be able to eat pizza and sometimes nothing in the world compares to that.

When we got seated I got right in the line for the bathroom. I was surprised how small it was inside but that makes a lot of sense why the wait is so long.

The line for the bathroom is right next to the kitchen. So you are able to catch a full view of the pizza chefs and the historic coal fired brick oven.

While we were still waiting on our friends we ordered some chianti and after the wait outside my mom and I pretty much pounded our first glass. I dont even remember what it tasted like.

First came out the veggie pizza my mom ordered which she asked for mushrooms and onions.
The sauce was bubbling and the smell was amazing. The smokey crust looked so damn amazing. I couldnt wait for it to cool down so we could eat.

They Live asked me to order them a pepperoni pizza with ricotta cheese. It also looked extremely tasty with the scattered basil and chunky tomato sauce.

The four of us killed two large pizzas. I dont think They Live ate anything before meeting us because they stopped talking when the pizza came out. The pizza's were both very good but I did like the pepperoni a bit better because of the salty meat. The mild fresh mozzerella cheese and rich sauce were extremely kick ass. The only thing that didnt hold up was the crust. The ends were perfect but as the crust got to the middle it was a bit too soggy for my favor. I love a thin crust as long as it doesnt turn into mush. Taste wise, I will admit...they have something going here.

Everyone agreed that this pizza was good, but I don't know if anyone thought they would wait and hour to eat it...I think I might. After our late lunch we headed back to the city and all made the trek over the Brooklyn bridge. It was beautiful even though we got caught in the rain but the sun was out and it didn't matter, I just had pizza.

19 Old Fulton Street, Brooklyn NY

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Autogrill - Ciao: Roma, Stazione Termini

rome's termini station has several quick food options ranging from mcdonald's to autogrill to spizzico. with the exception of mcd's, the other chain restaurants in termini are quite novel due to their foreign-ness. we meandered from restaurant to restaurant to check them out and grab something quick to eat before our train departed to sperlonga.

after refusing the "road house grill," we settled on what i think was autogrill-ciao because of their bright colors and clean interior. now that i think about it, perhaps this was gusto? dangit.

anyways, there was a back room after the sandwich counter that housed all sorts of tasty candies, breads, snacks, and fresh produce. there was also a cafe tavola, but then again, what place that serves food doesn't?

M. was in serious need of diet coke (or pepsi, which, btw, has very little market share in rome, at least). we picked up a coca-cola light, which you must pronounce "coe-kah laaaaiyt" if you want them to understand what you want. this made M. lol, but he grew to enjoy ordering his coca light's over the course of our stay in roma.

i also ordered him a vasco di gama panino, caldo, which was a small, toasted sandwich with an olive-studded bun, ham, and cheese. nothing crazy, but a nice, cheap, simple fast food 'wich in one of the craziest train stations in europe.

benvenuto a roma!
(welcome to rome!)

Monday, July 6, 2009

delta sky lounge crown club

so i was gone for a couple weeks....and planning on blogging about the places i went and things i ate along the way here on K&S. unfortunately, google apps weren't so awesome in italy. wtf, right? i couldn't log into my gmail consistently, and thus no logging into blogger. damn you!!

anyhow, that just means that it's going to take me at least a couple weeks to get all these food pics up here on the fabulous Ketchup&Soup. So here we go...

what's the best part about a 12 hour layover in JFK after missing your initial flight to NYC and thus your international connection? oh wait, NOTHING.

however, we did decide to fork over $50 to (stupid) delta to use their sky lounge. open bar, wifi (which was not working, btw), tv, actually made what could have been horrendous quite bearable. nothing like getting a bloody mary at 634am to enjoy with your nutella and walnut fig bars!

new rounds of snacks came out every few hours, so we mowed down on some serious eats to get our money's worth out of the lounge. M. started with a bagel, jam, butter, cream cheese, mini cinnamon bun, fig-walnut bar (SO BOMB), and a puff pastry twist.

we went through a lot of drinks. i started stacking. it passes the time.

wtf is "cheese food"??? i don't know, and i didn't have one, but M. did. i bet it was just kind of gummy and salty. if it ain't actual cheese, i'm not down with it.

we ate these little thimbles of hummus on a variety of honey mustart twists and mini pretzels. it was actually quite tangy for a jarred, airport hummus.

more snacks. my favorite, of course. there were blue cheese stuffed green olives, the above mentioned pretzel mix along with candied peanuts, colorful goldfish, and a spiced nut mix.

a little bit later, a "lunch" round of goodies came out. this was hotly anticipated as the sky lounge started to get more populated. some tasty crudete. crisp and refreshing! the mini cups in the ice bath on top are little desserts. i didn't have one because i forgot, but i think they were little chocolate mousses, butterscotch puddings, and vanilla custards. they were pretty cute, actually.

these mediterraneal pinwheels weren't too bad. tomato tortilla wrapped around spinach, kalamata olives, red onion, and feta. tasty little bits.

the best offerings are featured here: mini polenta cakes topped with roasted red pepper (lacking flavor but nice w goat cheese), turkey noodle salad, and a crab and shaved fennel salad (SO GOOD). i went in on that crab salad at least three times. yummy.

a nice cheese plate helped round out the meal with some sort of gouda, pepper jack, cheddar, brie, and goat cheese. i think i had enough of that goat cheese to pay for my sky lounge entry!

and lastly some cookies. i was already stuffed from eat and drinking all day that i think i only had a pastry twist or two from here.

lesson learned: if ever have another layover longer than 4 hours, i WILL buy a day pass to the sky lounge and drink the crap out of their bar. thanks for the 12 hours, delta. i hate you so much.