Greetings Foodies,

Tired of eating the same old thing. Well become a memeber and check out the Foodie the Kid for inspiration. Then you can look up local restuarants and food trucks.

Enjoy every bite,
Foodie the Kid

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Inside the Kitchen #2: Lodge on the Desert


He's head chef at Lodge on the Desert, 3 time winner of the Iron Chef of Tucson, and The American Culinary Federation deemed him one of the top 16 junior chefs in the nation. The Chef I'm talking about is Chef Ryan Clark and interviewed him while he was cooking for a party at the Lodge. He placed down his skillet and I asked him how did he get into cooking. Ryan said the first restaurant he worked at was Risky Business, much like many teenagers, he worked at the place because he thought he could make more cash. Overtime he grew more fond of cooking and from there sprouted a passion for it. Then he got a job at En Fuego and at the rightful age of nineteen, became head chef.

After  that Ryan decided to go to the Culinary Institute of America. I asked him what it was like there and told me he really liked it there. Ryan thought the experience was very hands on. He was also really familiar with the material taught at the institute because he learned under a CIA graduate while working in Tucson before entering the CIA.

While moving around the kitchen, during our interview, I asked Ryan how it feels winning the Iron Chef of Tucson again. He said it felt like winning the last time but, different and really cool.  Ryan and his sous chefs prepped for the competition by doing a "team building" exercise the night before that he does not recommend. They also tried to think of dishes they could make if  secret ingredient was a protein or a vegetable or a curve ball like an egg.

Speaking of proteins; Ryan's specialty is Twice Roasted NY Strip. I think if that doesn't make your stomach growl, something's clearly wrong with you. Though he makes a mean NY Strip, His favorite style of cuisine is French. He enjoys it because he feels it IS the basis of all cooking.

I asked Ryan while he was checking a meatball to see if its done, what restaurants HE likes to eat at. He replied that he eats at places around the University since he lives around there. One of his favorites is Pasco. Then I asked him a really tough question. If he wasn't a chef what would you be and why? He said he would be a landscaper because he likes the outdoors and the opportunity to create and be precise.  He admitted on his days off and joked how he's kind of OCD.

Some tips he has for any up coming chefs out there is to never feel comfortable and continue learning. Plus carry a notebook just to jot down notes.

What's in the future for Ryan Clark nothing much really. Just hanging, being busy, and being a true Iron Chef.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Iron Chef Tucson 2013 Recap!!!

Another year, another competition. A competition in which chefs try to make a meal out of something on the spot. Culinary improv, if you will. Through this, we see the true creativity and skill of each chef. This competition is call the Iron Chef Tucson. Last year's winner Ryan Clark of Lodge on the Desert defended his title for the third time. Ryan graduated on the Dean's list from the Culinary Institute of America and was named one of the top 16 junior chefs in the nation from The American Culinary Federation. The challenger was David Ferrara of Fire + Spice at the Sheraton Tucson Hotel and Suites. He began his began his career at the age of 15, learning from his Grandmother.  Fire + Spice is a place in which David has combined his early experience with the flavors of The Old Pueblo thus creating a unique dining experience.

The host was Mrs. Grant from 94.9 MIX FM and the emcee was Jonathan Landeen. Jonathan is the chef and mustache aficionado of Jonathan's Cork. He has been commentating for the completion for seven years now. The competition took place in the grand ballroom of Lowe's Ventana Canyon.

The scoring was based on a scale of 1-10 per category. The dishes were judged on presentation, taste, creativity, and use of the secret ingredient. New Zealand Lamb a sweet, but potentially tough meat was the secret ingredient this year.  They both had to make four dishes using the ingredient and one of the four dishes  had to feature the nights sponsor Stella Artois. This year, the contestants had a second choice as they were introducing  their new drink a  European-styled cider called Stella Cidre.

When the clock started ticking , the chefs got down to business. Sautéing and cutting in a supersonic speed. Trying to get as much done as possible. Soon the grand ballroom at Ventana Canyon was filled with a the terrific smells of fresh vegetables and lamb.

By the time the hour was up, the chefs had finished plating their dishes and gave their dishes to the judges. The judges this year were Ken Harvey, the executive chef at Lowes Ventana Canyon. Noel Ridsdale the Academic Director of International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Tucson. Finally Alan Zeman, a chef consultant who travels the world teaching cooking classes.

Chef David Ferrara introduced his first dish, which was a won ton wrapper stuffed with lamb on top of a roasted beet and carrot with a balsamic prickly pear reduction. The second dish  he made was a jicama slaw with braised lamb shoulder with basil oil. Third David made red lentils with bacon tomato relish with braised, crusted lamb. Fourth, he made kind of a dessert?. A apple chip with apricot glaze with lamb and brie.

Next up, Chef Ryan Clark made a tar tar with lean pieces of lamb shoulder with lime yogurt with a won ton garnish. Second he made a lettuce wrap with tender lamb leg, red lentils, and salad on top and some tomato jam with some spices. Third he made a braised lamb shoulder and leg with some  citrus notes along with an apple stew salad with pickled apple peels with carrots . His fourth dish was a leg of lamb with a raspberry salt placed on top curry mashed potatoes.

The winner of this year's competition was Ryan Clark, for the third and final time. The rules stated that a chef can be in the competition only 3 times. Who knows what next years competition will bring. My bet is that the next secret ingredient will be papaya or squab.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Mexico City Marvelousnes

   For a little while now in downtown, we have been witnessing a restaurant boom. Restaurants are popping up downtown like flowers in the pavement. One of these restaurants to spring up is Penca! This place opened up at the end of February by Patricia Schwabe, owner of Peach Properties. Patricia was born in Mexico City and she wanted to make the chow at Penca as genuine as possible.
  The atmosphere of the place was trendy. The exposed red brick, pipes, and wood tables gave the place a warm feel. Along with Edison lights illuminating the area. It was very easy on the eyes.
  First right off the bat, I would recommend reservations before you go. Since my Mother and I didn't we had a bit of a wait on a comfy, white couch with chips and salsa. Five minutes later we got a table. Woot!
  The head chef of the place is Johnathan Hale. He started cooking under the great Albert Hall at Acicia in the Pantry Station.
  Our appetizer was the Queso Fundido ($9) or as our waitress called it "cheesy goodness". It's cheese was Chihuahuan cheese. A glorious satin of cheese. The raja and sautéed were very tasty. The dish was suppose to come with achiote sausage. Instead it came with shredded turkey was a great substitute. The viscosity was like a chowder. This made eating it infront of people more attractive. It came with tortillas perfectly sized for you mouth.
  My mother ordered the Short Ribs ($18). These tender, well seasoned ribs were easy to pull apart with her fork. They were presented on a bed of something that tasted like grits. A good example of upscale comfort.
  For my entrée I got the Chile en Nogada ($16). It was a perfect marriage of both sweet and savory. The dish consisted of a chile poblano stuffed with tender pork . Along with sweet tender pork. Along with sweet plaintains, apples, and dried fruit. Topped with a  pomegranate sauce and seeds. It all tied together greatly.
  The dessert  we ordered was the Chocolate Bread Pudding, created by Mr.Hale himself. The dish was like the cooler older brother to chocolate cake. We ate it quickly because it tasted so good there was no room for talking only Mmmmmm.

Penca:                                             Hours:
50 E. Broadway Blvd.                   Tues-Fri 10am-1am
(520) 203-7681                               Sat  8am-1am
                                                        Sun 8am-3pm

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Satisfaction Guaranteed

Back in the spring of 2010, a seasoned resteraunt professional  Joe Scordato, yes THAT Scordato, and a wide eyed exuherant new comer, Joshua Velderrain decided to open Guiseppes. Joe Scordato was Joshua boxing coach back in the day and Joshua worked at a couple of Joe's resturants. Joe taught Joshua how to cook.  Located on Oracle, Guiseppe's offers Scordato's tasty italian food from old family recipes. My mother and I went there on a Saturday evening. The ambiance was warm and inviting. on the walls were art by local artists, which gave the place some splashes of color. The patio had a great view of the desert. As the small room inside the resteraunt filled up the wait staff added more seating outside. We arrived just before the dinner rush and the place was peppered with only a few customers. The service was fantastic. Our waiter Kevin, was great! All the waitstaff are encouraged to build a relationship with their customers. "Customer service is key, food is priorty", according to Joshua. For our appetizer my mother and I ordered the Stuffed Mushrooms ($5.25). It had a very hearty taste to it. The texture of it wasn't rubbery but just right. My Mother's entree was the Penne Sausage ($9.95). Her entree was composed of penne pasta and Guiseppe's special spicy homemade sausage tossed with tomato sauce and baked with mozzarella cheese. The penne wasn't hard or chewy. The tomato sauce and sausage was a very flavorful combination. My entree, the Pork Carbanara ($16.95) was in a creamy parmesan wine sauce and The Pork was tender with sauteed peas, onion, bacon (the gold of the pig), cherry tomatoes, and garlic served over fettucine pasta. The porked grilled to perfection. The bacon was a nice touch. That parmesan cream sauce really tied the meal together. Both our meals were fairly portioned to match the prices. For dessert we had the Spumoni ($4.50) which was the perfect way to end this wonderful Italian meal. So swing by Guiseppe's and get some Italian cuisine but make reservations first.

Guiseppe's:                            Hours:
6060 N. Oracle Rd.               Mon-Thurs 11am-9pm
(520) 505-4187                       Fri-Sat 4pm-9pm