Saturday, September 28, 2013

It's Saturday Morning. Go to a bar.

It's football season. More importantly, it's college football season. This time of year always is nostalgic for me. What I'd give to be back in Wisconsin, drinking beer at 8 in the morning, wearing red and white from head to toe, and doing Jump Around at Camp Randall. And also between ages 19 and 21. This = I didn't get hangovers then. But I did get a little fat there, not gonna lie. I blame cheese and beer.

Fun Jump Around Facts 
  • A Wisconsin tradition since 1998, started by the men's swim team, using a megaphone and a diskman.
  • In 2003, officials tried to cancel Jump Around. Pissed off, the student section refused to stand during the game, booed, and started chanting "fuck the sound guy." The next week, officials reinstated Jump Around (This reaction really should have been anticipated, as a favorite chant of the student section is "Eat Shit, Fuck You.").
  • Concerned with damage to Camp Randall, a study was done - the stadium does in fact move during Jump Around, but it was determined it was safe by seismologists.
  • Doing Jump Around is the only time I have been very drunk and had a moment where I thought "I question doing this, I think I might die."
Now that I am in NYC and have no bleachers to bounce around on, I must settle for a bar. Thankfully, there are so many Badgers in this town, there are four Badger Bars.  

So, Review Number One: Libation, located in the Lower East Side at 137 Ludlow, judged with the help of Sweetness, Sconnie Nation, and Mind Scientist. We all went to Wisconsin, but only Mind Scientist and I knew each other then.

Booze Selection
Normal prices for New York, but they do have some local choices, namely Leinenkugels, but not Honey Weiss, which, I mean, is nice, but nobody chooses to drink the original stuff who is under the age of 50. They also have Fish Bowls (random booze concoctions served in a fishbowl) like they did at Wando's. No free bacon with the fishbowl though. 

The crowd was also a little taken aback (read: intimidated) by our taking of shots for each touchdown.    

Wisconsin Food
They have brats! Good as the brats at State Street Brats? No. But, I've only seen the option to order a brat at one other place in New York, so YAY! These weren't too bad though. Probably the best Wisconsin offering at Libation. Also, the waitress kept calling them sausages, which the are not. 

They also have cheese curds, which I was so incredibly excited about, you don't even know. Cheese curds can only be described as pre-cheese, which is then battered and deep fried. These ones were okay. They'd make me happy in a bind, but I have the sneaking suspicion they are mozzarella (granted fresh and good quality) but NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. We are on the East Coast, but these ABSOLUTELY ARE NOT CHEESE CURDS IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM, NOR IN ANY TIME, MANNER, OR PLACE. I question if these people even have set foot in Wisconsin. 

Decent, but not overly enthused. The girls dress too fashion focused for a college game, and half the guys only seem moderately interested. I will give them the benefit of the doubt that this had to do with the fact that we were playing Purdue, but still. Get it together. You're fan enough to come out, you're fan enough to cheer. Maybe this is just New York though. Fans that are too cool. Or maybe they're the New Jersey Coasties. Someone needs to explain. You can sit though, which is nice. As a short person, if I have to stand at a bar I can't see shit. Mind Scientist and I did Jump Around and some people got into it, but not enough. Boo to Note the sitting people below. 

Not a fan. The DJ played either 90s music, or super clubby stuff. He did get it together a little bit and played Sweet Caroline and Jump Around, but there was no On Wisconsin, and no Varsity. These are game day staples. Fuck the Sound Guy?

Overall, I guess this place is okay. I'd go if I had no where else to go, but it's nothing to rave about. I give this place a rating of 5/10. There has to be better.

And now I go back to watching Ohio State. Seriously, stop tolling that damned bell. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

eat my food.

So, I'm very sorry for temporarily abandoning my blog. I could give you a litany of excuses, but ultimately, unpacking is a bitch, and I had a lot of it to do. Don't move. Ever.

In prepping for moving, I had friends over to eat the contents of my cabinets. I always, always have the stuff on hand to make chicken risotto. It is my absolute favorite, and ultimately isn't that bad for you. Want to try and make it? You should. Girls and boys love it!

The recipe is kinda as follows. To be honest, I start off with a recipe then riff.

4 Tablespoons butter
1 medium onion
5 Cups Arborio Rice
1 Cup dry white wine
5 Cups chicken stock
2 chicken breasts
Some peas or asparagus, if in season...3 cups? I don't know. Till it looks like it has enough green in it.
A chunk of fresh parmesan

In a giant pot, melt 2T of the butter. Chop the onion finely, and cook it till its translucent. Toss in the rice and make sure it's coated.

Onion chopping note - make them work for you. Peel it, and slice it from top to bottom. Put it on its side and slice again going from top to bottom. Then turn it 90 degrees and slice it the other way. The layers of the onion will make it dice for you, and you can hold it together so the chunks are all the same size and cook evenly.

This is where the finesse of risotto comes in, and makes it rather painstaking. You cannot add in a ton of liquid. You gradually add some in, wait for it to absorb, then add more till the rice is cooked. Add in the wine first. Drink the rest while you're cooking. Sober cooking is okay, but tipsy cooking is much more fun! Or be responsible and save it to have a glass of wine with your meal. OR buy two bottles of wine so you can do both! Compromise!

During this whole liquid adding process (use the stock as well), stir like a mother. Seriously. Do not let the rice stick to the bottom of the pot. It will burn and your meal will be ruined. While adding the liquid, poach the chicken and dice it - leaving it to the side. Also, and this is key, DO NOT USE A METAL SPOON. Use a wooden one. They don't conduct heat and create hotspots which will ruin your food. 

Once all the liquid is all used up your rice should blob. This is highly scientific, I know. You want to be able to have the risotto hold its shape when you make a spoonful, then blob into not a spoonful. This part takes some practice. Also, you can try the rice. It should be firm-ish, and most definitely not mushy.

After the cooking process is complete, add in the rest of the butter, then the chicken, then the peas/green item, then finally, parmesan to taste. You'll want at least a cup, but if you like cheese as much as I do, then you'll want more. Also have some on the side to sprinkle on top. Fluff up with a fork, serve, eat many helpings. Drink the other bottle of wine you bought.

I forgot to take a finished photo. I also didn't add in anything green, because I didn't have any and buying more food defeats the point of cooking to eat up food.

So there you go! Try it!