As many of you know, I like a good taco. And to be clear, a good taco consists of one to two warm corn tortillas topped with meat, chopped raw onions, chopped fresh cilantro, a bit of salsa and a few slices of radish.
So I was excited to try Empellon Al Pastor, an offshoot of Mexican restaurant Empellon. Unfortunately these tacos were terrible. I went with the Al Pastor, since it’s the name of the place, but it was offensively salty. The tortilla was ok, and it had the requisite onions and cilantro (no radishes), but it was impossible to taste those through the hunks of over-salted pork. Black beans were unimpressive, the guacamole was too tart and not quite thick enough, and the cocktail I had, a tequila root beer highball, tasted like watered down Barqs with as splash of tequila thrown in.
Speaking of disappointments, here’s my favorite new feature on the fresh whipped: Album reviews that I couldn’t make it past the second track for (and a suitable replacement):
Recently, the second most overrated band in the world, Weezer put out a new album, “Everything Will Be Alright in the End.” I’m not sure if that’s true because I couldn’t make it past the second track of this snooze fest. I’m baffled by these guy’s popularity-the only good thing they ever did was the two second guitar fill in “Buddy Holly”, which admittedly, is awesome.
Suitable Replacement: Listen to Geezer’s Black Science instead, an amazing heavy metal album from Black Sabbath bassist, Geezer Butler. This little known gem has some of my favorite songs on it, with Man in the Suitcase and Xodiac being instant classics.
Also released was Six: A.M., a new album from Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx. I went into this one thinking it had to be awesome because you know: Nikki Sixx. And wow was I wrong. This is basically an album of ready made entrance themes that the WWE is using for all of their wrestlers these days. Ugh, terrible, and I had to turn it off after the second track.
Suitable Replacement: Make the following playlist:
1. Girls, Girls, Girls 2. Girls, Girls, Girls 3. Girls, Girls, Girls, 4. Doctor Feelgood 5. Ghostbusters 6. Girls Girls Girls 7. Girls, Girls, Girls 8. Girls, Girls, Girls 9. Girls, Girls, Girls 10. Ghostbusters
My goal for this fall is to make Freshwhippedcreamike the biggest thing in the city as far as food goes. With Serious Eats being nothing but a rotting hull of what it once was, I think I can become the even more self proclaimed most read food blog in New York. Then TV deals, etc.
Anyway, I went to Spain recently and ate at Mugaritz, which is the number 6 restaurant in the world; I wasn’t thrilled. Let’s read my correspondence with them.
First of all I would like to thank you for your efforts trying to make us aware of your experience. It is a gesture that reminds us of the importance of our guests’ perspective who come to Mugaritz hoping to live an experience. We take all the appreciations that we receive very seriously. They help us grow.
De: Michael Adler [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Enviado el: miércoles, 24 de septiembre de 2014 2:24
Asunto: Feedback on my meal
I wanted to take some time to write to you about my experience at your restaurant on September 10th because much as I was looking forward to it, I was let down.
First though, your staff was professional and I have no qualms with them at all. I felt welcomed, well taken care of, and everyone was very polite.
That being said, to be honest, this might have been the worst meal of my life, as far as the food goes. I’ve thought about this carefully, and the food was certainly prepared to a high standard, but a lot of it was just unpleasant to eat.
I would say the first few courses weren’t terrible; I did not like the Kototxas, but that’s personal taste. On the other hand, the duck neck seemed to be stuffed with a mix of herbs that did not complement each other at all. I felt like I was eating a crunchy ring stuffed with foul grass. And speaking of grass the Highland grass wasn’t much better, and the tahini it was served with was just too, too much bitter. It left a bad taste in my mouth.
Next surprise was the razor clam that was still actively moving at the bottom of my glass-I guess this is a cultural thing, but I just do not want my food moving, and this is where the meal just started getting worse. The fish course following was unremarkable, but your Chicken and lobster Catalan cream tasted like it came from a can. It was bland, and the chicken and lobster were oddly chewy. The steak tartar was too clever for its own good – eating steak with a powdery texture that has next to no flavor just left me feeling strange and a little bit nauseated. And the black banana with shrimp paste just didn’t make any sense to me at all. Does anyone like completely over ripe bananas? And putting that much strong, salty shrimp paste next to it just didn’t work. Again, the flavors did not compliment each other at all. I was just hit with a nauseating punch of overripe banana and super-strong, super-salty shrimp paste. I guess if you were trying to invoke the sensation of leaving shrimp and banana on the counter for four or five days then eating it, mission accomplished.
Worse yet, the smoked loin of lamb with its cultivated wool almost got me to walk out of the restaurant. (I would have paid, but I came close to asking to see the manager, offering to pay the full bill, and just ending the meal there.) Again, just way too rich in a bad way. Smoked meat needs to be cut with a little bit of sweetness or something tangy. There’s a reason why American Barbeque is served with a bit of a drizzle of tangy tomato sauce, barbeque sauce. Serving a smoked peace of meat with nothing but wool on the side is just terrible. I don’t like Coca Cola, but I literally HAD to order a glass at that point to cleanse my palate.
The games and activities unfortunately were more tiresome than endearing. I’m still not sure entirely what I was doing with the game that preceded the milk and seaweed caviar, but it sure didn’t leave me any happier after eating solidified milk topped with super salty balls of seaweed. Just something that does not work. And the corn/bacon/herbs mortar and pestle was a complete failure because I just don’t want to work THAT hard while I’m eating.
So, dessert-not sure exactly what you guys were thinking with this one either. Parmasan and apple do not go together, at all. AT ALL. To your credit, I was enjoying the frozen apple shreds, but wow, was it just a terrible shock every-time I tasted the parmesan sprinkled through out. And , it might have been because my taste buds were a bit numbed by the frozen apples, but it didn’t even taste like good, aged parmasan, more like something from a shaker can. More terrible was the bleu cheese and berries with yogurt and dill. This was absolutely vile. There is no way you are going to take slightly out of season berries, mix them with dill and blue cheese, and get that to taste like anything other than a mish mosh of awful. The sugary porra was another failure, simply because the sugar rocks at the table were nearly impossible to grate. They were way too hard.
So, I really don’t want to be rude, and I know I was very negative, but I figured you’d appreciate the feedback. Again, I really did appreciate how professional and well run the restaurant was, but the food I feel just did not work.
Mugaritz is a 16 years old project with a long trajectory behind it. In this time we have developed a personality and a philosophy that to say the least is -singular-. Mugaritz lives under 3 basic premises which are cornerstones for everything we do: Creativity in which we invest over 11,000 hours every year to create new recipes, plates and other interactive elements of the experience. We travel the world in culinary-cultural trips that allow for us to see the different ways of understanding food in the world. We learn from each and every one of them, and in a way, the dishes we serve in Mugaritz are the sum of all these ideas. The result is a completely different way to practice gastronomy and we do it assuming huge risks.
Produce and Interaction with our diners are the other two elements we use as the base of our work. Our relationship with producers is the key to have a constant supply of great quality foods and our relationship with our diners during their time with us is the key to make them enjoy. You are absolutely right! We make diners participate in the finishing of a dish. Many people appreciate this and discover new sensations.
We feel bound to give an answer to your opinions because they give an immediate sensation of disappointment and this affects us profoundly. The harshness of your words is eloquent and its obvious that our cooking style did not cover your expectations. Leaving aside the comments you make of some dishes, where you gracefully describe details related to sensorial, quality or aesthetics, we conclude that above everything else, there is a lack of harmony between us.
We would be lying if we told you that the mix of herbs inside the duck’s neck was a random choice, if we told you that the razor clam being alive was an accident or that the flavour of the Tartar and the black banana are things we do not like. Each and every one of those traits is there for a reason and each and every dish we serve is checked by senior members of our team before every service begins. We would be being dishonest if we told you now that on the day of your visit we made a mistake.
No. You have not been rude. We understand that the sharpness of your language comes from your frustration. You have shared your thoughts with us and we appreciate it. When we chose our style we chose it with responsibility. We assume a lot of risk every day and perhaps we failed in giving you enough explanations of our food.
In Mugaritz, over 60 people give their best every day to maintain the illusion of working in a project that creates incredible experiences. I assure you we will keep working to give back to our industry everything it has given to us.
I thank you once more for sharing your honesty. I would like to say goodbye hoping that one day you give us another chance to fulfil your expectations. This time, we clearly were not able.
Andoni Luis Aduriz.
Here’s the moving clam:
`T`he little translucent fleshy part in the upper left part of the glass was trying its hardest to get out of the class. I’m also not sure what powdered green stuff that tasted like buttered bread was doing in there. That was actually good and should have maybe been put on top of something that wasn’t squirming and thrashing around under it.
Anyway, not much else to say right now, but stay tuned for more nyc based food coverage.
Before we get down to business, today’s Foghat Jam:
Last time on the city’s most exciting and divisive blog, I self-challenged myself to drink a cup of City Bakery’s hot chocolate every day of February for their hot chocolate festival. (A different flavor of hot chocolate every day.) I failed in this endeavor on the first day when I ordered my hot chocolate with a marshmallow, and got to the cash register where the cashier told me it’d be $7.50. I said I’ll pass and walked out.
I’m usually ok paying a premium for good food, but $7.50 for a small cup of hot chocolate, delicious as it is, is outrageous. I’m sure you know what I did next!
It took no more than five days before City Bakery banned me from posting to their wall. My initial objections to the price of their hot chocolate didn’t get a response, but when they posted a picture of balloons with a caption saying balloons to celebrate caramel hot chocolate, and I responded with, “well I guess you can afford balloons when you’re gouging your customers on the price of hot chocolate,” that did it.
Dejected, and depressed that I couldn’t get a shot of liquified hot chocolate, I wound up in Maison Kayser and was briefly elated to see that they had homemade hot chocolate for $4.50. But like a child busting open a pinata filled with poisonous spiders, my joy turned to horror when I saw the counterperson proceed to make the “homemade” hot chocolate by dumping an orange packet into a cup of steamed milk. What the cock, Maison? At that point I was so desperate for chocolate that I paid for it, drank it, and was suitably underwhelmed. Despite my best efforts, they have not banned me from their facebook page yet, nor have they responded to my requests for a comment.
I finally got good hot chocolate at Little Chef located in the Gotham West Market, aka the only good thing on 11th avenue in Manhattan. It was rich, made with cream and melted chocolate, and spiked my blood sugar. I don’t know what the hot chocolate scene in the city has come to when I need to go to this much trouble just to get a decent cup. I guess maybe my first mistake was not going to Jacques Torres instead. Oh well.
If you’d like to express your disgust at City Bakery’s or Maison Kaiser’s hot chocolate standards and practices feel free to contact them via facebook and tell them that Fresh Whipped Cream Mike Sent you.
Welcome to the first fresh whipped cream of the new year. A couple of things to take care of here.
First, in a horrible miscarriage of justice I discovered a few days ago while trying to avoid the Grammys that there’s no Foghat subreddit. But no worries, I’ve quickly remedied that. Check it out at:
It’s sparsely populated at the moment, but please feel free to contribute to the only subreddit that matters.
In other news, since the new year I’ve managed to get myself un-banned and then quickly re-banned from the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop’s facebook page. Apparently they’re opening up a shop in L.A., and had a picture of the owners in none other than Tommy Lee’s kitchen, doing god knows what. In response to that picture I innocently asked if Tommy Lee tolerates whipped cream from a can, and was swiftly banned again. I would imagine that other than in bed, he does not tolerate whipped cream from a can.
Not to be outdone, but Cronut masters Dominique Ansel Bakery have also banned me when I criticized them for being too cutesy about announcing their new winter pastries. Their social network guy kept saying Dominique Ansel is rumored to do this and that, and I bluntly told him that it’s ridiculous to use the term “rumored” for something that the owner of the company you work for is doing. He’s either putting out new pastries or not, dammit! I was banned.
And in other news, in a few days, the hot chocolate festival begins at City Bakery, I hope. I haven’t been able to find the flavors on their website, but presumably a different flavor of hot chocolate will be available every day in February. When I first moved to the city I attempted to get hot chocolate every day in February, but failed because drinking that much cream and chocolate on a daily basis is difficult. This year I hope to slay the beast and have 28 cups, at least, of hot chocolate in February.
Anyway, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave a comment about whose facebook page you’d like to see me get banned from next.