Showing posts from December, 2013

TRIP: Playa Del Carmen Day 3

Day Three was mostly a restful and un-eventful day. We moved rooms (this would be second of our total three room changes), but this was a planned "upgrade" (re: upsell when we got here) that gave us access to the premium "Chef's Plate" restaurant. This was the restaurant that required an upcharge of $80 per person and you had to dress nice (that's what they said but it turned out some people didn't do that). With the room upgrade all reservations at this restaurant were then free so we decided to check it out, after all we'd already paid for it. I suppose since it was free for us I didn't know what to expect. The restaurant had about 12 total tables and started seating at 6:15pm with the last seating at 9:00pm in 15min increments. The restaurant was quiet, dark, and romantic. They had a maƮtre d to greet you, two waiters serving the tables, bus boy, dedicated bartender, chef with assistant (that were visible) to provide for the experience. T

TRIP: Playa Del Carmen Day 2

Day Two of my vacation at Playa Del Carmen. The daytime weather was a fabulous upper 70F and nights a warm 65F. They had nightly entertainment, above is a picture from their "Elements" show, obviously they were featuring fire. Lots of food and drink so I won't bother you with a lot of yammering we'll just stick to the facts since there's more to write about for our day three dinner discovery. I didn't bother with breakfast, it was the standard buffet, bountiful but just like any other you'd find. We were on the hunt to try out all of the restaurants in the resort and hit the Tapas and Pintxos. It was on the patio next to the Pelicanos. The food was ok, they follow a very similar formula of plating and the same paprika red pepper sauce half crescent and very similiar pale colors. I ordered the Cream of Artichokes soup which was a pureed cream soup they added clams, fennel and chives, very good combo. To the right was the grilled Cuttlefish, th

TRIP: Playa Del Carmen Day 1

We're on vacation in Playa Del Carmen. Here's a view of the all inclusive resort. The resort has quite a few restaurants and bars. I was pre-warned that the food was "meh" and not something I should count on being a highlight. To my surprise we've run into quite a bit of good food. So I'll be chronicling it here. I've finally found a nice way to distill a bunch of pictures of food down so that I'm not leaving a giant post. First meal was at the Pelicano, it's a Caribbean fusion restaurant. My wife got a green salad, nice presentation but hard to eat. I got a octopus salad, it was marinaded in a sweet tomato dressing with fresh avocado. I had a cream of something soup I'll update with the name, my wife's seafood soup had a very prominent saffron flavor. I ordered the zucchini gratin, I thought it was a large cut of zucchini covered in cheese it turns out it was stuffed with seafood (possibly the same as the seafood soup above)

Tools of the Trade: Nomiku immersion circulator

So a while back I kickstarted this project called Nomiku (about a year and half ago). It's promise was to bring an affordable immersion circulator to the home kitchen and spread the promise of sous vide cooking technique to all. I was pretty intrigued an immersion circulator runs around $1000, it's chemistry lab equipment for pete sake. The idea is simple, a device that can circulate water and add heat and hold it at a very precise temperature. I've had other sous vide devices such as the sous vide supreme and pid controller tied to a steam table but both of those solutions heat the water passively. There's the possibility that parts of the water bath are not evenly heated to the same temperature. Certainly it was close enough, but neither solution was really portable. Do I really need a third sous vide device? Sure more the merrier! (Nomiku unboxed) So in comes the nomiku, I waited with bated breath and waited and waited. This was my first kickstarter proje

NIAB: Austin Aquarium visit

No I didn't eat a Moray Eel but I wanted to post a neat experience at the new Austin Aquarium that just opened up near me. They were having a half price sale on their annual price, which meant if I went twice this year it'd pay for itself. It's up by 183 and Anderson Mill for those that are in town and interested. I figure a quick trip report for the rest of the skeptics. Now I'm use to aquariums being a lot bigger like the Shedd aquarium in Chicago or even the one we went and saw in Galveston at Moody Garden . This one is located in a strip mall and when I first drove by and saw that they were opening an aquarium I was thought that "Austin Aquarium" was going to be the name for a new fish store opening. When I saw a facebook post from a friend about half price memberships  I decided to bite the bullet, it was only $24 for the year pass I mean I've done more damage at a happy hour or the lego store. I will say I am pleasantly surprised. The aquar

Fugu and lived to tell the tale

The above fish is 1200 times more lethal than cyanide and I ate it! Ok more backstory, we were at our new favorite sushi restaurant here in Austin and the Chef offered us the Fugu / Puffer fish. A rare honor considering they only had two and don't stock it. So more on this deadly fish. The toxin is stored in several places but most notably the liver. Improper preparation of the fish can result in the release of the toxin and death to the eater. The toxin: Tetradotoxin, shuts down the ability for your nerves to conduct electricity paralyzing your muscles ultimately shutting down your ability to breath. Usually the effects start/end anywhere within 10-45 mins of consumption (yes I was watching my watch and wondering if I was really feeling a tingling sensation in my fingers) There is no cure or antidote, they basically have to keep you on life support until you've metabolized the toxin and can start breathing again that's assuming you're able to get the hospital in t