Thursday, September 16, 2010

Burger King’s new breakfast items

September 16

If you ever wondered what a Burger King would look like if it had a velvet rope in front of it, wonder no longer. Just look to your left.

BK’s corporate folks roped off this franchised location in Midtown Manhattan (34th St., between Seventh and Eighth avenues) to invite the New York City media to try some of the chain’s new breakfast items, which they launched last week.

As you might imagine, New York City food writers can be pretty snotty when it comes to fast food. The last time BK threw a similar shindig, to introduce us to its new batch broiler, one of my fellow writers expressed shock to me that he actually enjoyed his hamburger.

Snotty, but open-minded.

Today one of the guests, who may or may not have been an idiot, declined when a server (oh yes, there are servers at these events, and tablecloths and metal cutlery and actual glasses for water — very classy) asked if she’d like some blueberry biscuits.

One of her table mates pointed out that this was, in fact, a tasting and that she should at the very least taste them.

Yeah, probably she was an idiot.

You can see the best picture I took of the biscuits on the right (note the classy blue tablecloth underneath). Beauty shots from BK can be seen here.

They also gave us a sausage, egg and cheese Croissan'wich®, which I didn't bother to take a picture of because they’ve been around forever.

On the left is a picture of the relatively new breakfast bowl, which corporate chef Jason Sullivan described as being everything you’d want in an omelet, but in a bowl instead.

This one had roasted potatoes, grilled onions and peppers, sausage and cheese, along with eggs that “Chef J,” as the company likes to call him, said were scrambled in-house.

I asked if unit employees were actually cracking eggs and scrambling them, which of course they’re not. He said the pasteurized eggs come in standard pre-cracked foodservice form and are scrambled and cooked usually in a microwave, except at units, like the ones in Mexico, that have a griddle insert that can be put on top of the fryer.

He said they’re not supposed to be held for more than 20 minutes.

We also had pancakes, which I photographed, too, but you already know what pancakes look like, and the new breakfast ciabatta club sandwich.

Chef J said the "smoky tomato sauce" is supposed to remind us of sun-dried tomatoes, and the raw tomatoes and bacon are supposed to remind us of club sandwiches.

I bet you didn’t know chefs at quick service burger chains thought so much about their food, did you?

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

genetically modified salmon

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering approving the first genetically modified animal for human consumption. It's a salmon that has been modified to grow faster than other Atlantic salmon. The company that developed the fish says they are sterile and would be raised in inland pools to prevent their mixing and breeding with wild salmon.

How does that sound to you?

That’s the subject of my next poll, which I'm just putting up until 1pm tomorrow, which is when I have to finish writing the story.

As always, feel free to comment below.

And below are the results from my last poll.
Quite interesting, I thought:

nothing:8 (5%)
less than 10%: 14 (10%)
10%-25%: 76 (54%)
25%-50%: 24 (17%)
50%-75%: 3 (2%)
75%-100%: 4 (2%)
More than double: 1 (0%)
It depends: 9 (6%)
Total votes: 139

Aaron Deal watch

September 8

The last time we heard from Aaron Deal, he and Custom House in Chicago had parted ways and he was looking for a new job.

He's still looking, but for now he’s moving to Chilhowie, Va., to work with chef John Shields and pastry chef Karen Shields at Townhouse, a restaurant widely praised for its culinary innovation, most notably, perhaps, by Food & Wine magazine, which named John one of the country’s ten best new chefs earlier this year.

I, personally, like the fact that John makes food that looks like dirt and rocks, like the picture on the right that they sent to me last year.

John says he’s inspired by the bucolic countryside, which he likes to reflect on the plate.

I suspect Aaron will have a fun autumn in Chilhowie, and maybe he’ll get to avoid that nasty Chicago winter.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Frank Bonanno’s next restaurant

September 1

Well the work load here at NRN is just crazy, but I wanted to pop into the blog very briefly, to let you know that I was vacationing in Denver recently and hope to find time to report on that.

Also, speaking of Denver, I just got off the phone with restaurateur Frank Bonanno, who told me he’s scheduled to close on a property on September 9 in the Highlands, where he plans to open that French-style charcuterie that has been talked about since May (or really April, I guess.

Plans now are to call it Lou’s Food Bar and to serve a whole bunch of house-made pâtés and sausages.

Frank said he also has plans to open a bar somewhere, but he decided to stay tight-lipped on the details of that.