The Hampton Smoker

What's up wtih what's going down? Does a tree falling on the ocean with no one around make a sound? Barbecue, BBQ, Bar-b-que. It's all in how you sell it.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Deep Dark Truthful Mirror: Looking for Life in All the Wrong Places

Last week, The Wife and I made this delicious Angel Hair with Meatballs. The Meatballs are Beef and Sweet Sausage with garlic, Parmesan, Parsley, etc... The Red Sauce is crushed tomato, garlic, onion, fresh basil, red wine...the usual suspects. This was way better than what I've eaten in a long time. It was based on a Cook's Illustrated recipe that I tweaked a bit.

Since we were celebrating my birthday, some time late in the evening, The Wife threw together a birthday cake-- lemon infused cake with a cream cheese frosting topped with coconut. It may sound like an odd combination, but I loved it.

Meanwhile, life moves on at the restaurant. Each day brings a new challenge, a new chance to test my limits. New learning is around every corner. Some people love the food, some don't. I can't bother with reviews still. I understand their importance but, in too many ways, they are too distracting. Often times I think I am at the limit of my tolerance (heat, stress, etc...) and somehow the dust clears. Just like life.

Today's song pretty much sums up where I'm at...

From The Mountain Goats album "The Sunset Tree" on 4AD Records.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Nightswimming: Food everywhere, but nothing to eat

It's amazing. I'm in the kitchen surrounded by food for 14 hours every day, but never eat. There's no time, and when there is time, nothing seems appealing at that moment. Oh, there's plenty of things I see that I want to grab and gobble throughout the day, but most of it is on the way to a guest's table. Le sigh....

So, by the time I get home at 2-3a.m., I suddenly realize that I need to eat. NOW. Amazingly enough, I don't mind quietly throwing together something-- as long as I don't wake up The Wife. Most people are shocked that I'm willing to cook after a day at the restaurant, but when it's simple and quick, it is painless.

Here's a plate of pasta I made at 3 in the morning when I came home. Some minced onion and garlic, a few tomatoes, some butter and olive oil, Parmesan cheese and sliced string beans. SO GOOD. And, so easy. While the pasta boiled, the sauce came together in a saute'pan. When the pasta was done, I tossed it in the pan with the sauce and threw it in a bowl. Done.

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Does it Even Matter?: Life speeds on air

My people, my people....Life has had the upper hand with me recently. The restaurant eats up 14 hours a day or so-- every day. Days off are merely a concept, not a reality. But the reaction we have gotten since opening has been tremendous. had highlights (and lowlights) of comments so far, here are some of the good--

1) The Good News: White Trash BBQ tries out Wildwood on night numero uno and is an early fan: "The spare ribs, not trimmed but skinned were competition very high quality. I don't think I've ever had a better rib in a restaurant. I was blown away in my first bite...The meat chili was fantastic...The pulled pork sandwich in which the pork is tossed in a sauce before serving was very good. Conversely, the pulled pork served on the piggy platter was left un-sauced and missed the mark flavor wise...Front of the house service was a mixed bag and you could tell that the staff is still learning." [White Trash BBQ]

3) The Mostly Good News: Beef Aficionado was one of the first bloggers to try out the place. Here's his expert opinion: "...the beef brisket was absolutely superb, moist, tender, smoky and delicious...Even better than the brisket was the massive beef short rib...the fact that a restaurant turned out a piece of beef of this quality on their opening night portends well for the future...The two home made sausage varieties, Texas style and Jalepeno, where rather lackluster and while juicy lacked flavor, especially the former...I was also not a big fan of the sauces on offer." [Beef Aficionado]

4) The Good News: The Chowhounders have had a chance to chime in, and they are pretty much all fans. A representative review: "The brisket was the best I've ever had, the pulled pork was one of the best, and the spare ribs were great, but not the best, could have used more rub or sauce. The cornbread was great as was the mac and cheese...The tables for 2 were not spaced apart at all, very "cozy", and you needed a lot of patience to deal with the servers, they were eager to please but really had no idea what they were doing." [Chowhound]

Since we still have to put out the best food possible, good reviews may bring people in, but I'm not sure that they help me to read them....

Restaurant interior photo:
Beef Rib: Beef Afficionado

SONG OF THE DAY: Myracle Brah, "Does it Even Matter?"

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