Pizza, Chinese & Foodie Friends
Marc Bello and his girlfriend Jennifer are incredible foodies from Pizza-a-Casa in NYC. They make amazing pizza at their shop where they also offer classes on how it’s made.
Marc and Jennifer joined me for a sampling of a new Yunnan Restaurant, Lotus Blue, managed by a good childhood friend of mine, Jeffrey Lim. Lotus Blue is not your typical “asian” restaurant. It’s a true fusion of cultures and culinary style with deep, brothy, and bold flavors – including the use of the pungent durian fruit for a tasty dessert!
Home Town Food
Eating in the Philippines means encountering a lot of fresh seafood, pickled seaweed, whole roasted pig, fried chicken, and rice – all eaten “island style.” One restaurant, Kai Lui Restaurant in Palawan, really impressed me. Not only did it have a great fusion of Filipino flavors but a relaxing, no-shoes policy. If you are ever in Palawan, dinner at Kai Lui is a must.
Auction Dinner with the Baldwin Family
As part of my service I try to provide dinners as prizes for charity auction. One of the prize winners this year was the Baldwin Family, who also happen to be parishioners at the church where I now serve in Millersville, MD. The Baldwins own a home construction company, so they know the importance of quality in the kitchen! At their home I prepared three types of pasta, a sampling of flavor-packed bit-sized foods, chutney, and finally three big bites of the fusion fajitas featured on the Food Network – but it was the kitchen that was a gourmet chef’s dream!
|Trio of pasta – pesto, norcina cream, and amatriciana – bacon and onion.
|Trio of meats: garlic shrimp skewers, bacon wrapped pork tenderloin over white truffle potato puree topped with an apple onion.
Asian Gyro in Oklahoma City?
Fr. Hamilton, a good priest friend of mine, was so excited about this hip new food place in Oklahoma City, and after tasting their fusion of flavors, I can understand why! Delicious.
Eats of Italy in New York’s Eataly
I sometimes long for authentic Italian cuisine. Many small towns have Italian immigrants with the skills and connections to source out authentic ingredients, but I’ve found that Eataly in NYC makes me feel like I’m back in Roma. If you are able to check it out, make sure you go in the late morning or afternoon to avoid the mega crowds at lunch and dinner times.
Ristorante Cecilia Metella
Most Italian / Roman restaurants have specialty pastas, but one in particular stands out for me. It’s the world famous Scrigno pasta from Cecelia Metella Restaurant just outside of Rome, near the sacred catacombs. The meaning behind the pasta, its taste, and – of course – learning how to make it for my TV show Savoring our Faith made it all the more fantastic!
Talk and Eat in Talkeetna, Alaska
Finding food in the small villages across America’s largest state was quite an adventure. I was drawn to the hipster-earthy village of Talkeetna, a famous foodie hotspot, known for its love of food and nature. I had to agree with the masses on this one. It is another must if you have the opportunity.
|Alaska Trip Part 2 What To Eat
This past year my family went on a vacation to the beaches of Florida. Besides the sun and surf, I also enjoyed the spicy, bold – yet so simple and delicious – Latin influenced foods. One place I discovered was Fuego Latina, a nondescript Latin food lover’s hot spot in a strip mall. Check out their “sampler” platter – a meal for literally 3 people!
As you know, food is only a means to an end for me. The owners of Mission Barbecue have a similar philosophy. In addition to having friendly and super-fast service, providing some of the best local barbecue in the area – smoking beef, pork and chicken at least 2 times a day – they donate proceeds from their food sales to the Wounded Warrior Project. For Mission Barbecue, good food is the means to a good end – to help our wounded warriors and first responders.
|Culinary Confessions -Mission Barbecue
Dinner at Celebrity Chef John Besh’s home with his family!
Through my good food-priest-friend, Msgr. Nalty of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, I had a crab salad gumbo dinner with world famous Chef John Besh and his family. It was a beautiful experience. I was able to witness the faith of their family both in their exchanges and in knowing their oldest son was coming late because he was serving as a peer minister for his high school retreat. Later, in another beautiful experience I found ironically amusing, I was able to surprise Chef Besh’s mother and father, who recognized me as the priest on TV who cooks.
To round out my Blast of the Recent Past for 2012, I also want to share my favorite recipe:
Bacon Wrapped Turkey Breasts!
|Click on the picture to access the recipe!