poor scientist. will blog 4 food.

the culinary adventures of a self-described foodie



Who doesn’t love a little friendly inter-family competition? Especially when it: (A) involves delicious food and (B) directly benefits me. Win/win.

The head of Team Crooks preparing his entry into the Rib Off

Here’s the low-down: Team Crooks versus Team Mills in a BBQ Rib-Off. Both teams got their baby back ribs from the same source at the same time. This scientist approves that the proper types of controls were put in place.

Team Crooks (left) vs Team Mills (right)

Team Crooks’ ribs were prepared with sauerkraut, which supposedly leeches out the fat. They were then smothered in Everett and Jones’ BBQ “Super Q” sauce. Team Mills’ ribs were coated with a secret spice rub and then topped with Sweet Baby Ray’s Hickory and Brown Sugar sauce.

scrumptious sauces

Dinner is served! Sides of beans and Caesar salad.

There were accusations of manipulated oven temperatures and delayed serving times, but in the end, the judges had spoken. The consensus? Both were awesome, but Team Mills edged out Team Crooks due to its tenderness (falling of the bone) and flavor.

yummy in my tummy!

Congrats Team Mills!




Thanking My Lucky Stars…

One of my life philosophies is, “If my stomach is happy, then I’m happy.” That’s why I’m very fortunate to: 1. live in Berkeley, home of great ethnic food, awesome produce, and relatively affordable fancy cuisine, and 2. have a friend like JA, who can cook like no one I’ve ever known. I mean, a lot of my friends can cook a great meal — don’t get me wrong. But JA puts amazing meals together with such effortlessness. Me, I sit there and stare at a recipe, try to commit it to memory, but inevitably return to said recipe again and again. Even stuff I’ve cooked 5, 10 times, I still rely on recipes too much. JA says things like, “How about I grill some pork medallions with zucchini, then drizzle it with bourbon and coconut reduction?” UM, YES PLEASE, THANK YOU.

(As an aside, JA might be familiar to loyal readers, as many of you were big fans of his breakfast sandwich.)

Below are 3 different meals between May and July made by JA. Bon apetit!

First up! JA had me and KP over for leftovers: coconut curry with carrots, onions, and other veggies (sorry the exact contents have escaped my memory) over romaine, with freshly grilled chicken thighs. The photo doesn’t do the meal justice.

Unlike any leftovers you've ever had.

Next: JA treated me to a home cooked, three-course dinner, with wine pairings. It was awesome.

Green salad with avocado, Gruyère cheese, and dried cranberries, in a citrus vinaigrette.

Check out those burn marks!

The aforementioned grilled pork and zucchini with bourbon and coconut reduction. And sautéed spinach. Drool.

Dessert: strawberries, orange slices, and dark chocolate. So he didn't make this one from scratch. I'm not complaining.

Finally, we have a special meal that JA prepared when SM came to visit me in Berkeley. On the menu: grilled pizza and flourless chocolate cake!

Ready for night grilling! JA with coat, pan, and headlamp.

Assembling the pizzas

Fresh off the grill! Tomato sauce, yellow bell peppers, baby spinach, prosciutto, and Parmesan (I think).

Flourless chocolate cakes cooling, waiting to be served with sweet nuts and homemade strawberry mint sauce.

Not pictured: seasonal cocktails and homemade corn salsa were served as we waited for the pizza dough to thaw. Not too shabby, huh?


A New Decade, A New Tradition


To ring in 2010, I went over to L&M’s for great food, drinks, and company. It seemed especially fitting to welcome the new decade with some of the same friends that I had spent counting down to Y2K (aka the disaster that never happened). Also, I had such a great time last year at L&M’s that this New Year’s Eve promised to be just as fun.

Antipasti platter

Cheese, apples, and bread (cheese fondue on the right)

Indeed, the evening was fabulous, from the overflowing antipasti platter to the fondue dessert. In between, L had cooked a delicious main course of roasted pork loin, potatoes, and veggies. She also introduced us to the Arnold Palmer: lemonade, tea, and vodka. It reminded me a lot of my favorite new drink of 2009.

Pork and veggies. Yummy.

Chocolate fondue and other goodies for dessert.

We played video games for hours and hours, starting with American Idol and ending with Rock Band. It was a fantastic start to 2010!