Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Funnies

This list is hardly new, but it came up in conversation today so I was inspired to seek it out and write about it. You all undoubtedly know about the Chuck Norris list. For example: "Chuck Norris' tears cure cancer. Too bad he doesn't cry." Well someone compiled a list for Alton Brown. And it's even more fabulous because it involves Alton Brown.

Anyways, here's the complete list. Some favorites:

"Alton Brown can boil a three-minute egg in thirty-seven seconds."
"Alton Brown doesn't reduce sauces, he demoralizes sauces."
"Grown men have been known to weep for joy in the mere presence of Alton Brown's vinaigrette. His hollandaise sauce can kill a man from sheer ecstasy at forty paces."
"Alton Brown's cakes don't rise. They ascend."
"When Alton Brown slices onions, the onions cry."
"Alton Brown doesn't whip potatoes. Alton Brown's potatoes whip themselves, if they know what's good for them."

I wish I could take credit for any of these. Alas I can only take credit for enjoying them. I hope you all do too! :-)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Madden's Market (tentative name)

If, like me, you absolutely love Madden's in Bryan, you'll be happy to know that the business is expanding. Over the weekend Peter Madden sent out an email to the list to inform everyone of Madden's Market.

Here's the concept direct from the owner/executive chef, himself: "...We have already started putting in 1-2 acre garden near the location where we will access a lot of produce, Tara is constantly on the phone with local and Texas producers looking for useable product for us, My Mom and Dad (they live in the Rio Grande Valley) have agreed to supply us with Texas citrus and other available products from down there like avocados, when they are in season. Some of our citrus will come right from their back yard. Local cheese makers, honey, fruits, vegetables, nuts, dairy, eggs, meats, anything we can get and use we will. I hope that everything on the menu will be composed of at least 50% local and or Texas products. So if you know anyone who is a producer, send them our way. Oh yeah, the market aspect of our concept is that you will be able to purchase these products from the market section of the restaurant. Hill country peaches, Rio Grande Valley citrus, East Texas rice, West Texas cactus and sand, just kidding, don't know what we can get from out there."

The opening is scheduled, tentatively, for June 1, 2010 and the market will be located between William D Fitch (Route 40) and Rock Prairie, on the east side of I-6 in South College Station. My guess is it will be somewhere between McDonald's and Harley Davison. The market will be very casual and there will be no waiter service.

Madden's Market sounds absolutely fabulous to me. I can't wait for the opening. I'll let you all know more as I find out more information.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mi Cocina, aka Polly's Cocina - Bryan/College Station

To add some confusion, the following review is written about Mi Cocina, a restaurant in Bryan and College Station. Very recently the restaurant, Mi Cocina, had to change their name because a huge restaurant conglomerate in Dallas registered their trademark/copyright under the same name. The new name for the B/CS restaurants is Polly's Cocina. The owners and food are still the same.

Small, family-owned restaurants that make exceptional food, no matter what the genre, are prized possessions for any town. Our little hamlet of Bryan/College Station just so happens to have several that have become institutions on Mexican and Tex-Mex food. That is definitely NOT a complaint. My personal favorite of these is Mi Cocina. With four locations around town, Mi Cocina sounds like it should be a massive McDonald's style chain. However they are all owned and operated by the same family and on any given day you might find the owners waiting tables or delivering catering supplies to their customers.

The corn chips at Mi Cocina are the very, very thin variety found throughout Texas. They are s thin they break apart in your hands, but this enough to stand up to the wonderfully flavorful salsa they are served with. When visiting other parts of the country it seems weird to have thick chips. The guacamole at Mi Cocina is also a thing of beauty. Thick chunks of avocado, with integrated lemon and spices.

The menu features your typical fare for this part of the country. However my favorite is the barbacoa tacos. Barbacoa is the meat from the head of a cow that has been slowly roasted with spices until the point that it literally falls off the bone. The flavor is undeniably savory and the texture of the meat just melts in your mouth. This is served on hand-made flour tortillas imprinted with the TAMU logo, that sometimes arrive still warm.

If you order a meal it comes with homemade refried beans that taste far better than anything I've ever had up North. The Lovely Spouse typically orders Steak ala Mexicana. It's a small, flat steak cooked to order served with a vegetable gravy, rice and beans, as well as a small salad. It meets his very stringent requirements for steak and he eats it often. Therefore I assume he enjoys it. :-) However whenever I have a craving for Mexican, it's always for the barbacoa. MmmmmMMMMMmmmm...

The decor is nothing special. Two of the restaurants are located in gas stations. One is next to a Subway sandwich shop and the other is a small converted house. The napkins are paper, the flatware and plates are typical of what you might find in a cafeteria and the drink menu is limited to a few beers, margaritas and fountain drinks. There's no pretention here and you often see people arrive after work in overalls, work suits and a variety of casual wear.

And before I sign off, I would be an absolute cad if I didn't mention that they are also well-known for their Tex-Mex style breakfast menu which features migas and breakfast tacos (I don't typically eat out for breakfast so I can't give any personal opinion on this). They also are one of the few restaurants in the area to serve menudo and caldo, but only on weekends. So...if you've got a hangover you now know where to eat on weekends.

Would I eat there again? Sure! The Lovely Spouse and I eat there about once a week.

Would I recommend it to others? Absolutely. If you want descent Mexican food without any pretention at a very good price, you've come to the right place.