Thursday, January 12, 2012

Those who take eat well.....those who give sleep well.


I am a bit frustrated today by the cost of food at the different eateries.  Is it a sign of the times or are restaurants just getting a bit greedy?  Is making 60-70% profit on food items not enough?  Do you really need to make 90% on every single item? Are you gonna really break the bank if you don't charges for add-ons like a slice of cheese, 4 thin slices of avacado, 4 little slices of chicken/beef)?  Why can't you have a choice between plain or fizzy water for free - I mean how many glasses of water does a customer drink?  I think most of us are pretty conscientious of our spending these days, but come on eateries!  - If you make a good product at a reasonable price and make your customers feel like they are getting bang for their buck.....they will come!   Which brings me to ...um.....wait I do have a point.

I was channel surfing and landed on the Cooking Channel and came across Eddie Huang (this is the point).  He is a writer, chef and restaurant owner and now t.v personality  He has an eatery in good old NYC (one of the most expensive cities to dine) and he gets it.  His place is called BaoHausNYC  http://www.baohausnyc.com.  His approach is full flavored good food at a "cheap" price - and he is not the only one.  Check out the show on the Cooking Channel called Cheap Eats and see what I am talking about.

I am not naive.  I understand that the cost of running an eatery is not cheap, however I think that owners don't get that you can make $ from the masses.  That charging top dollar for a little bit of food is not gonna get you a full house unless you are Thomas Keller.  It would be nice to eat a "cheap" meal sitting down and not from a drive-thru or standing in front of a truck. Maybe not have linen, but white butcher paper or a clean table is not outrageous.  It seems that restaurant owners forget that it's not horrible to give a little something - lets face it after adding tax and tip your meal just jumped another 20% at least.  In fact the return on making someone feel like they really got a great deal is....well lets just say " a good nights sleep."

Monday, January 9, 2012

you say potato and i say bake them....

If you like crunchy and savory you will like these crispy potatoes.  They are super simple to make and can be used as a side or just a snack.  We use to make these at the bistro that I worked at and we munched on them all night....beware they are addicting.  And yes they are baked!




1.  Preheat oven to 375.  If you have a convection oven use it just adjust cooking time.
2.  Slice 3 medium size potato 1/8" thick.  This is when a slicer or mandoline come in handy - although a sharp knife can to the trick too.


3.  Dry slices between paper towels or cloth towels - the drier the better.
4.  Add olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
5.  Lay the potatoes on a baking sheet or baking stone (I love to use this).


6.  Bake them until they start browning on the edges - about 10-12 minutes.  Pull tray out very carefully and turn  them over with a spatula.  You don't have to re-arrange them perfectly, but just spread them out and keep them in a single layer.  Place them back in the oven and continue to bake for about 5 minutes.
7.  Slice a lemon thinly and chop some Kalamata olives.  Spread on top of potatoes and finish baking for another 10 minutes or until crispy.

What happens is that the potatoes get infused with the lemon and the olives.  They simply delicious!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

new year - new name.

I have had this blog since December 2008 and was never quite happy with the name "And then I  said.....".  Even though it made sense in my head, it just never inspired me much.  I think a tittle is so important for so many reasons.  It has to be short and sweet, catchy, have a nice ring and it needs to have personality.  After much thought I think I came up with a good one.  I simply asked myself...."Maria what makes you happy?"  The answer is very simple......coffee and chocolate.  So here I am again.  I hope to bring you great recipes, practical information and just fun thoughts.

I truly hope this year brings you everything you want.  Laughs, Love and lots of Cafe con Chocolate!

Happy New Year!