Love it or hate it, Spam is here to stay — although you’re definitely in the majority if you really don’t care for it. For years, mainstream opinion has denounced the canned pork product, so much that its very name has been used as the slang term for undesirable email that you can’t avoid and just want to drag into the trash.
Spam, a product of Hormel Foods, is almost synonymous with “processed food,” yet with its unnaturally rectangular shape, it’s a product so peculiar that it has become sort of a cult food item. In many developing nations, particularly in the Pacific, Spam is a part of the culinary culture — a remnant of the days of American military bases that required cheap canned meat. I myself am Filipino-American and grew up with Spam, and I quite enjoyed it for breakfast. So I wasn’t too shy about trying a house-cured gourmet version of it.
Continue Reading Gourmet Spam Can Make You Think Twice About the Pork Product
Bringing in a Fish in New York
New York is not the first place you think of when it comes to seafood, surfing and fishing. In fact, when I moved there more than 12 years ago, I was quite sure my days as a waterman were over. But boy, was I wrong.
My first great discovery was surfing in Queens. One day, I ran into a guy carrying a surfboard on the L train in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. “Where are you going with that?”, I asked him, expecting him to tell me about an art installation he was working on. “I’m going surfing. Out at the Rock,” he said.
I dropped everything I had going on that day (including watching my friend’s gift shop) and headed out to the local surf break in Queens. From that day on, my life was changed forever.
Continue Reading Fishing (and Surfing) in The Big Apple
Will Nick's new take on the classic Chili Cheese Dog win him another 1st prize?
After winning the Great Hot Dog Cookoff in 2009, Nick Suarez went on to beat Bobby Flay in an epic Hot Dog Throwdown and hasn’t looked back. This weekend, Nick returns to compete in the 6th Annual Hot Dog Cookoff in Brooklyn, NY with his newest creation, a riff on the classic chili cheese dog. Nick shares his secrets for building a winning hot dog recipe.
Yesterday I shared my strategy for how to win a cookoff. Today I’m revealing my secrets for building a winning hot dog recipe.
One of the keys to success is creating a balance of flavor in your dish. You must create the perfect bite. Apply these tips for a cookoff, or the dogs at your next family BBQ.
Continue Reading How to Make a Winning Hot Dog
In 2009, Nick Suarez set out to win the Great Hot Dog Cookoff, an annual tradition in Brooklyn, NY. His dog was an all-beef frank topped with bacon, fried corn, cilantro, cotija cheese and hot sauce. After taking the top prize, Nick shared the winning recipe on Grill It with Bobby Flay, then was challenged by Bobby to a Hot Dog Throwdown, which Nick won. Two years later, Nick is back to compete in this weekend’s 6th Annual Hot Dog Cookoff with his newest creation, a riff on the classic chili cheese dog. Nick shares his secrets for winning.
Having competed in various cookoffs and hosted even more, I’ve tried to pinpoint a formula for winning. While preference is a subjective thing — I’ve noticed that audience members tend to vote for more homestyle, comfort dishes, while judging panels tend to prefer dishes with refined, nuanced flavors — I ultimately believe you can win any cookoff with any dish by keeping two things in mind. I always say that winning cookoffs is 50% logistics and 50% flavor balance.
Continue Reading How to Win a Cookoff
I had an unforgettable dining experience last weekend aboard the Mary A. Whalen, a retired tanker docked off the Brooklyn waterfront neighbordhood of Red Hook.
It was a perfect summer dinner party, dining atop the deck of a historic coastal oil tanker with salty smells of the seawater and the taste of fresh seafood.
Continue Reading Seafood Dinners Aboard the Historic Mary A. Whalen
Mike Caprio and Rose Sol's "Diamond Jim Supreme" Dog
Beautiful weather and a fanatic love of the hot dog brought out a crowd for the Fifth Annual Great Hot Dog Cookoff last weekend in Brooklyn, NY. I was among the hungry, ready, and willing to gorge on this year’s impressive entries.
Continue Reading Hot Dog Days of Summer