Saturday, January 29, 2011

More School & Big Jones

So school....I've officially been in school for one month now. A quick recap for those of you who care, the first week was just introduction & ServSafe classes, the second week was all basic skills, and the third and fourth weeks we have been doing various breakfast pastries and breads. I have a couple pictures of product I have made.

Pear & Frangipane Danish - love the layers on this guy:


Pain au Chocolate, again beautiful layers. Thanks to my class partner Julia, who I stole this lovely picture from:


Some Pain a la Biere about to go in the oven - SCCC friends should recognize this:


Sourdough:


Sourdough Multigrain, with oats, flax seed, sesame seed, pumpkin seed, & sunflower seeds:


A few weeks ago I went to a place called Big Jones in the Edgewater/Andersonville area. I didn't have any plans for dinner and early into the evening I was getting pretty hungry. It was relatively easy to get to from my place and had pretty decent reviews on yelp so I figured it was worth a shot. Plus they do all of their charcuterie in house, which is nice to see (..and actually somewhat common in Chicago)

So to start I ordered a Blackhawk Stout. If my memory serves me correctly it was pretty ok.
Bread service was fresh cornbread - pretty straightforward no bitter taste that lots of cornbread seems to have and it wasn't super sweet either, which I enjoy.

I ordered a few 'tastes' to start with:

On the left you have a pork terrine with pickled red onions & creole mustard. I enjoyed this a lot, everything blended well together; the terrine wasn't funky in the way pork terrines can sometimes be. I'd definitely order this again. On the right is smoked tasso ham with piccalilli, and pickled mustard seeds. This was a little bitter from the bark on the outside...I'm still undecided on Tasso. I've had it a few times and even made some in one of my Garde Manger classes. Its always tasted a little strong for me. This seemed to be on par with other Tasso I have had.


A last, I had some pimiento cheese with benne biscuits, pickled laughing bird shrimp, and green tomato relish. I pretty much got this because I wanted the pickled shrimp. They were awesome. So was everything else. The pimiento was as good as pimiento can be.

After these plates were cleared, I started with my first (or fourth, however you want to look at it) course:

Crispy Pork Belly, Chow-Chow Pancake, Plum Ketchup, Pea Shoots - I really liked this. A lot of times I'll order pork belly because I know when its on, its seriously good. Sheena's mom makes a killer red braised pork belly for hanging buns and I'll never forget Dale Miller's (CMC) sous vide pork belly. The issue is, maybe...fifty percent of the time, whatever pork belly dish I order winds up sucking. It'll either be too mushy or too dry or taste funky or one of a million other things. This one was solid. It had a great crispy exterior and a still moist interior. The chow chow pancakes were unusual (I think?) in that the vegetables were not in the batter, but rather wrapped with a thin, crepe like pancake. It was good. Everything on the plate worked well together.

Next course:

Sweet Tea Infused Pork Chop: Center-Cut Niman Ranch Pork Chop, Sea Island Red Pea Puree, Sweet Potato Hash - I ordered this on the recommendation of my server. I probably wouldn't have otherwise. Im not a fan of using sweet potatoes where regular potatoes usually go, and I usually don't like the idea of sweet meat dishes. I did, however, like this. The pork was cooked medium rare and had more of a tea flavor than a sweet flavor. The sweet potato hash ruled as was the pea puree which had a nice kick to it.

Dessert:

Moon Pie: House made honey grahams filled with peanut butter fluff and dipped in dark chocolate with banana ice cream and crispy bacon granola. SO this was okay. Big surprise that the moon pie was a little rich. The banana ice cream wasn't too bananay and I enjoyed it. The bacon granola kind sucked though.


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