Thursday, November 25, 2010

Visiting Deagan's Kitchen & Bar

While downtown Lakewood, Ohio might not be a flexing metropolitan hub there are plenty of quality, unique and affordable dining options: Alladins, Pacers, Melt, Souper Market, Chipotle, a brand spanking new Panera, Einstein Bro's, The Root Cafe, Dave's Cosmic, and I'll even throw in Boston Market, Burger King, and Taco Bell just to bulk up the list. The new kid on the block is Deagan's Kitchen & Bar. Taking up the old digs of the oft mentioned Crazy Rita's and short lived Cleats the people behind Deagans have revamped what was the red headed stepchild of a kitsch Mexican come sports bar space with great success. Pounding shots of tequila then getting a roll of paper towels with my wings was nice, but I'm a bit older now, a bit smarter, wiser, and more sophisticated and so is Deagan's K&B

.I visited during a week-day lunch service with a rather large group of around 15 people including 3 children. One of which was only 9 days old. Babies are so cute, and luckily for us she was very quiet too. The server was great with the group as we all arrived independently over a 20 minute span, and by no means was the place empty! Our server quite easily could have got an attitude and been salty with us as a whole, but instead we were treated very, very well with a visit from both the chef and the owner. It is amazing how good service can slip below the radar when you dine out, but we didn't even have good service… I would call this excellent service!

Deagan's K&B is a self proclaimed gastropub. The idea of beer and food paired together occurred about 5 minutes after the first beer was made so it's not unique, but what Deagan's brings to the table is a great selection of beers and a superb menu. There is a definition of 'gastropub' on the chalk board near the front door; you'll see it right next to the specials and the seasonal beer selections. I just dig the chalk boards. Chalk boards are way cooler than the wholesome 'I picked this font out special' sheet of ream paper with a mix match of ingredients most likely miss spelled with someone else’s greasy fingerprints on it "Daily Specials" sheet.There is a lot of cross over between the lunch and dinner menus. I totally appreciate this and think it is a very wise business discussion. Then again there is just enough difference that exists both a lunch and dinner experiences are available. Along with the afore mentioned daily specials.

I had two glasses of water, a heifwiezen, and the house salad. To me a house salad doesn't have avocado, hearts of palm, tomatoes, mushrooms and shallot vinaigrette, but Deagan's does. What a great salad. Everyone was very happy with their food. Even the kids couldn't eat enough. We were warned that the mac&cheese wasn't up to par by one of the tables guests who had been to Deagan's before yet the description was so tempting another in the party went for it and she was pleased. Around the table we had the reuben, burger, chicken and waffles, grilled cheese and vegan chili. Duck confit mac&cheese, I mean are you kidding me? On this day everyone walked away full and happy.

The space is sparse yet occupied. There are a few painting, and very interesting ones at that. Just enough to keep your eye occupied when the child across from you sticks a fork in his mouth and you just hope he doesn't poke out a tooth and by no means do you want to be held responsible. The walls are covered with recovered barn shingles as I understand along with the exposed ceiling and steel beams the room has a lot of texture. The bathrooms, the most overlooked rooms that we tend not to speak about were just amazing! The bar area is a full circle centered around a few giant flat screen TVs’so you can have your sports and eat lunch too.

I just loved my Deagan's experience. On the flip side I can't leave a table un-leveled and unfortunately I was the culprit of just that. I sat at a split in the four tables put together and one was wholly and annoyingly unlevel. Since they were most likely pushed together at the last moment I'll give it a pass and try the amazingly sounding duck confit mac&cheese upon my next visit.

Random Thankgiving Day Thoughts



My regularly scheduled day off...Thursday....Thanksgiving...Thursday....I don't skip a beat!

I took my camera in for service about two months ago and I get an e-mail today, of all days. The day before the busiest shopping day of the year...."Your camera is fixed come get it!!!" It has to be a scam.

What is up with Four Loko? I just found it to be way too sweet.

If you might be interested in a long lost descendant of Genghis Khan who is currently interested in wack food and dope hip-hop then there is a good chance you would enjoy the chef of Xiao Ye's blog.

My fantasy football team is currently 5-6 and projected to lose my more than 100 points this week-end. Bet I would kill it if there was fantasy Iron Chef!

Salty sold his knife for 8g's. Who uses a 8g knife? I wouldn't cut a mushy carrot with 8g's. I'll stick with my pink Pure Komachi.

If I see another in depth piece about cooking turkey, stuffing or cranberry sauce I might very well explode.

Is bacon over rated? I mean it's good and all, but come on. Some people have taken it a bit too far for a bit too long.

Where do vegan eggs come from? Vegan chickens of course.

Why are people so hung up on what wine to drink with their Thanksgiving dinner. I mean the only thing I can think of that will make that dry ass turkey taste any better is some bourbon, or rum, or vodka......

Best Thanksgiving dinner idea ever? Tacos. Pure genius un-realized.

Friday, November 19, 2010

I got cool knives too!

My blogger friend Salty has an amazing collection of knives. Some of which he has currently offered up for sale. F'ing amazing stuff. So I thought I would show off my collection also.

On top is my favorite Pure Komachi II that I got at Target almost 3 years ago. The handle is cheap ass plastic aka. very light, and the blade is very thin and sharp as a razor. The best part is it only takes about 5 swipes over a stone and I could shave with this thing.

Second is my Nenohi Nenox G-Type Sujihiki. It is a single edged blade which I find dificult to sharpen, but when sharp is stays that way for a long time. This knife was a gift and I'm very embarassed that the tip has since been broken off. Fortunatly it's a clean break and I can manage to manuver the knife in a way that makes it fully usefull.

Lastly is a nice Kyocera peeler. Actually I'm not 100% sure it's a Kyocera, but if it isn't it should be cause I had one of their fixed blade mandolines and it was awsome.

Obviously I have a limited collection, but I have a great respect for those who are more educated about blades, and even more appreciation for the producers of excusite knives like those that Bob Framer and Michael Rader make.

Oh, wait, the best thing about the pink Pure Komachi is that it is in fact PINK, and nobody in the kitchen will ever ask, "hey dude, can I dig on that sharp ass pink knife for a quick second?" ha ha ha.

Coconut Curry Sauce

I found myself battling another installment of insomnia a few nights back and two great things happened at the same time; I began to nod off, and which ever cooking show airs around 3 am had a chef preparing a Southern Indian coconut curry. I took the basic idea, from what I remember at least, and put something rather tastey together. It's my own sort of Indian-Thai fusion.

The basic ingredients included sliced onions, coconut milk, garam massala, chili flakes, cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom.

After cooking the onions to a deep dark brown I removed some from the main pot, added fresh ginger, lemongrass, the dried spiced and sauteed till fragrant. This mixture was then pureed smooth with a can of coconut milk and married back into the main onion pot then topped off with more coconut milk, a bit of soy sauce and lime juice.

Part of the whole dish was nice and naturally sweet Jasmine rice to which I added chopped dried dates and raisins. I like to add the fruit at the begining of the rice cooking because I enjoy the more toothsome fruit allowing it to actually flavor the rice as opposed to having plain rice with some fruit tossed in.

Pan seared Mahi-Mahi in coconut curry with vegetable egg-rolls and date-raisin rice. I plan on adding fresh corriander and a squeeze of lime juice over everything before serving this week-end.