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The Cozy Spot

7 posts categorized "gastronomy"

July 31, 2008

Penis Cuisine in Beijing

News about the Opening Ceremony rehearsal has been everywhere today, but this recent item I read had me laughing and it makes for an interesting culinary story. Did you know that ox penis is supposed to be great for women's skin? I didn't but according to certain culinary beliefs and superstitions, it is.
If you're in Beijing, you can try it for real at a restaurant that specializes in cooking animal penises.

Watch the video here

According to Gary Linnell, the journalist who had the balls (pun intended) to sample these delicacies:

The locals refer to it as a petrol station for men and a beauty parlour for women, so devoutly do they believe in the health-giving properties of animal genitals.

So there seemed no point in wasting time. Entrée was demolished quickly - a combination dish of fried, honeyed worms that spent their life eating only bamboo, the wagyu beef equivalent of the slug kingdom.

But now main course has arrived and it's far more confronting. The raw penises of four animals - ox, sheep, deer and donkey - lie limply on a plate as our waitress stirs a hot pot bubbling away on a portable stove in our private room.

The soup, enriched with chicken and fish bones, has a turtle floating helplessly in the middle, its head and legs swirling around the shell.

It smells and tastes similar to chicken and sweet corn soup.

Into this boiling stock go the penises. A few minutes later the first is hanging from my quivering chopsticks. Ox penis, says the waitress, is full of protein, good for the skin and aids longevity. And the deeper its colour, the more effective its properties.

It gives new meaning to the phrase: eat a dick.

The phrase is often taken as an insult, but now you can use it to your advantage, and provide a comeback that brands your verbal assailant as a complete culinary ignoramus:

"Why don't you eat a dick?"
"Did you know that its a delicacy in China? Then again what would a fast food freak know about food?"

June 18, 2008

Food Sexy Food

Straw Bad food is equivalent to mediocre sex (premature ejaculation, prolonged orgasm that fizzles at the climax, etc).  This weekend, I’ll be at the Good Food and Wine Show at Darling Harbor, getting my fill of gastronomic delights (as well as watching Gordon Ramsay live - for 30 minutes). I’ve been waiting for this event for months, and it’s finally here. One of the things that I do covet - and it’s not the most explosive orgasm ever - is a dynamic kitchen. I really hate my electric stove. Each time stir fry is suggested at home, I roll my eyes and think ‘not again,’ because it’s not the same on an electric hotplate. The damned stove has been the bane of the past decade. If electric stoves were so freaking fantastic, then they’d be in every single restaurant. But what do restaurant kitchens use? Gas stoves.

Continue reading "Food Sexy Food" »

May 12, 2008

Food Glorious Food

I added a few thousand calories to my butt on Mother’s Day, which was all fine with me. I am old enough to deal with that now, but the day started off in slush mode.

Indulging in my present saw me stay up until 6am, rewinding to the past, when I was a kid sneaking out to watch late night television. Late night, back then, was anything after 9pm. And I don’t know why I had a compulsion to watch creepy shows back then, but most of the stories were sci-fi irony filled tales of the unexpected, that summed up the unpredictability of life. After waking at a shocking hour, I felt like I’d entered my own Twilight Zone. I didn’t have any hangover, but getting myself organized to go out to dinner took some time.

I overindulged in seafood, then entered a chocolate filled course of sugar laden desserts, not to mention a chocolate-free crème brulee, and then I rubbed my tum, and told myself, ‘oh yeah, this is what it’s all about.’ There were no guilty thoughts about the food, the cholesterol, or the ‘modern feminine terror’ of sauces, calories and sugar creeping up on my thighs like an alien virus.

Later, I thought about sex. It isn’t the same. To overindulge on sex, without any limitations sits on the oxymoronic side of the scale. You meet, find that you’re immensely attracted to someone, but other things gatecrash the party: their sexual history, pulling out that packet of condoms (why stop at one condom), and hoping to hell the condom won’t break under any physically intense duress.

Food versus sex: an unlikely comparison.

April 28, 2008

Date with Gordon

I’ve found my birthday present today - thanks to OK Magazine (Aust) and its mention.

The Good Food and Wine Show. I’m going to buy myself a ticket…

I’m a foodie.
I love good quality grog.

And Gordon Ramsay’s going to be there (!!!)

April 13, 2008

Ramsay Flambé

The Australian senate doesn't like Gordon Ramsay. Shit, they don't like anything that contravenes their idea of proper swear-free behavior, but anyone who has worked in a restaurant or restaurant kitchen knows that there is no such thing as rounded vowels and intellectual discussions in kitchens. It's about getting food out with minimal chaos (and no food poisoning), excellent presentation and fresh ingredients, and if screw ups occur, a quick 'fucking hell, hurry up,' suffices. There often is no time to sit a person down and pat them on the back and be Dr Phil. It doesn't work that way because it's an all or nothing affair: shit food is shit food, and one taste or glimpse of shit food is enough to turn a customer off - permanently. From all the ten or so jobs I've had, my two years in kitchens were the most freakish, emotionally demanding and volatile times. It's the type of job that can actually bring you to blows with another person. If you're keen on providing a great service, put in the effort, to have a customer tell you something is shit, because a chef can't give a shit, then it reflects on your, the restaurant, and it feels like shit. Plus, it's difficult to regain that trust in a person/diner again. It's completely unlike the easy fix of 'we'll send you a replacement phone,' 'we'll reconnect your phone line,' or 'we'll reissue your book order.' The relationship between a chef and a diner is intimate - because the food goes into the diner's body, and if it's crap, then there is nothing worse than that (with the exception of being a surgeon and killing someone on the operating table).

This morning I was at coffee with a few ex restaurant co-workers and we all laughed about Ramsay's upcoming visit to Melbourne. I mentioned that he'd be treated better or with more respect.

"As long as they know he's not from Sydney he won't cop a serve," I said. In Channel 9's Chopping Block, Aria Restaurant proprieter/chef Matt Moran copped a serve from three Melbourne restaurant owners who disrespected his experience and based it all due to his location: "ah well, he's from Sydney." If you do happen to own and run one of Sydney's best restaurants, a restaurant that usually has a long waiting list for bookings, chances are that the food is good, that the overall ambiance and service is impeccable, but if the proprieter/chef of Aria Restaurant heads down to Melbourne for a restaurant reality program and offers a few polite pointers, then it'll be (behind his back), 'ah well he's from Sydney, what else is there to expect?" and that is what happened on that program. So it will be interesting to see what happens when Gordon Ramsay heads to Melbourne to audition chefs and says something like, "what the fuck is this shit?"

The moment Moran disappeared from the restaurant, the owners started bitching about him. Sydney is different from Melbourne. For one, if you go to a restaurant in Melbourne you're likely to have the restaurant manager address you as 'sweetie,' 'darl,' 'twookums' or something like that. It's informal, a little too casual and it can be a pain in the butt when waiters/waitresses think their jobs are an extension of their social lives. If restaurant diners wanted to have a social life with waiters they'd just enter a restaurant, sit down, not order, and just happily shoot the shit all night. There is an element of elitism and some Melbourne restaurant or cafe proprietors have inflated opinions, like the cafe owner who banned people for talking about Facebook in his cafe.

"They're in for a right shock with Ramsay," said my maitre'd friend, "he's not going to put up with the type of shit and attitude they showed to Matt Moran in Melbourne." And I tend to agree. Don't get me wrong. I've always loved every weekender or week I've spent in Melbourne, but dining or coffee isn't one of my most favorite experiences. Nothing nightmarish about the food, but I couldn't give a toss about listening to a waiter's life story as I'm ordering food, like I have at Federation Square and Crown and I don't like waiting too long for a slice of cake with my coffee just because the waiter/waitress thinks it's cool with me just because I'm on a date or something (Bridge Rd).

But the thing that gets me the most is the attitude, and it's more prevalent in Melbourne. If one arrives to Sydney from Melbourne, Sydneysiders don't say, 'ahh well, you're from Melbourne!" We don't discriminate because we're too busy to give a shit about where a person is from, but if you're from Sydney and you arrive in Melbourne, then you can be in the firing line occasionally. The time I took my son to Melbourne for a week holiday to see a musical and enjoy the sites, we did some arcade browsing and I was stopped by one of those American Express people trying to sell me a credit card. When I said I didn't live in Melbourne and that I couldn't really afford a credit card, I was asked where I was from. As soon as I said 'Sydney' the guy said, 'oh yeah, well Sydney is over the top expenses wise,' in a condescending, arrogant and annoying manner, and then the AMEX dude thought he'd go into his life story of being 'lucky' to live in Melbourne and afford to buy a house. That's nice, I thought, but I didn't tell the fucker that the reason I couldn't buy a house was due to the fact of me being a single parent with my own expenses and no Mummy and Daddy to fall back on - unlike that twat (he was Greek). Besides, it is really amusing to be placed on the spot to defend my city (when I don't seek it), when it has one of the best views in the world - compared to the murky Yarra River, That aside, there isn't one time where I haven't copped a serve for being from Sydney.

Watching the Chopping Block Melbourne segments weren't easy. Each time I listened to the, 'oh well it's what you can expect, he's from Sydney,' attitude I rolled my eyes. The restaurant owners that were saying this either had the most idiotic restaurant manager that worked the floor like a daycare teacher, addressing diners as 'sweetie' and 'twookums' and had no idea how to work the dining area, and had all these facial piercings, or they couldn't be arsed improving their dishes, with one chef/owner whining about Tiramisu being 'his least favorite dish' and not giving a shit about it - even though his restaurant was on Italian dining precinct of Lygon Street.

Some people like to see skewers in food not in faces. I admit it. I'm one of those people. I don't like facial piercings for one simple and obvious reason: they don't do anything to positively accentuate a face and there is nothing attractive about seeing a booger hanger. Housemate laughed and went into story mode, recalling times he's had to decline applicants (he suspects just attend interviews to get declined and stay on Centrelink unemployment benefits) based on all the facial piercings they had,

"the CBD isn't Newtown. Nasal septums, lips, brows...what the fuck? You know how many have threatened me with equal opportunity lawsuits, but really, who is going to look at that metal and not feel nauseous. I lose ten regular customers over one super pierced waiter or waitress?" And although that may be harsh, it was one truth that housemate has experienced, and there is no time to train diners to be 'tolerant' of facial piercings if they don't like seeing them as they're ordering lunch or dinner.

Frankly I can't wait to see Gordon Ramsay's Melbourne show. I think he'll be able to get away with more attitude than Matt Moran (who is a patient saint compared to Ramsay) did - all because he's not from Sydney - but he's going to make a lot of prospective chefs cry. He isn't the boy next door in need of a manicure, Jamie Oliver. Gordon is passionate, ambitious and a perfectionist with high standards, and what is wrong with that?

Here's what potential chefs in Melbourne can expect from Gordon (be afraid, be very afraid. lol):

April 01, 2008

Kitchen Heat

Jamie Oliver may be nice, casual and laid back, but Gordon Ramsay has the sauce. My son won’t watch Jamie Oliver; he watched one of his down-home garden type cooking shows, and noticed his grotty fingernails and said, “Mum, that’s awful. And he’s cooking!” I told him that it was only a TV Show, a demonstration, but he couldn’t watch it but if he hears the opening for Gordon’s Kitchen Nightmares, heGordonramsay races out of his room to see.

I do confess: I want to be Gordon Ramsay’s groupie! Australian Members of Parliament think him vulgar, whereas I love it all because he doesn't fart about. He says it like it is, and his emphasis isn't on the artsy fartsy element of dining, it's about the importance of change and accepting change as a part of any career. This applies to most jobs, in fact, every job. Things do change, and safety nets may seem safe at the start, but a person can get caught in the net. Oh yeah, and Gordon is coming to Australia. What makes him attractive? The fact that he's dynamic and unpretentious. He's a no nonsense type of person.

Continue reading "Kitchen Heat" »

March 30, 2008

Honey, Honey

I asked people to roll me home today...just kidding. I indulged, and as the saying goes, "those who indulge, bulge," and it is an annual affair, much like a clandestine rendezvous with a lover I am not supposed to beLouk_2 with.

The honey balls kept on coming. I bought one round, everyone else took turns, and before we all knew it, we were indulging in a gastronomic orgy at the Sydney Greek Festival today. The treats to the right are quite orgasmic. Delectable really. They are much like donuts, fried from dough, with one exception - they are lighter, leaving you with a warmy fuzzy feeling in your tummy. After they are fried, they are coated with honey and cinnamon and clove can be sprinkled for taste.

They are made in many countries within Europe and the Middle Eest. In Greek they're called λουκουμάς (singular: loukoumas), In Arabic they are known as luqmat al qadi, and Greek Jews refer to them as zvingoi, and make them for Hanukkah.

I don't even want to know how many calories are within each one. All I know is that these morsels are sweet, sticky and soft on the inside, making them an ideal sensual treat.

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