Welcome to my first Top Ten List. Now the thing about these lists, they can and will be updated as my tastes change. They might not make it to ten, they might exceed ten. Either way, I am sure you will enjoy them.
10. French Onion Soup. Yes, it is a food. You use a utensil and shove it down your throat. It is an amalgamation of many different tastes. Let’s start with the onion. I fucking hate onions. If an onion is on my sandwich or in my salad, I will fight you. To me it’s about texture. In French Onion Soup, the onions are so cooked down, they are manageable to eat. Regardless, depending on the size of the onion pieces in the soup, I usually skip them anyway. Moving on to the broth; some establishments kill it with spices, keep it simple. If you use too much spice, you ruin the broth. A simple beef broth with some white wine, makes a great broth. Don’t fuck this up. Hey, I’m talking to you. Moving on to the second best part of the soup. The bread and cheese. The bread should be a nice chunk of French bread. if you put over-sized croutons or even yes I have seen this, Rye bread, you might as well eat a bullet. The cheese should be plentiful and although some recipes call for ordinary Swiss, some use Mozzerella. Learn this word. Gruyere. Use a lot, It becomes very melty. Is that a word? It should be. Anyway, the best part of French Onion Soup is the cheese that overflows and gets stuck to the outside of crock. It is one of the finer things in life.
9. Pizza. The great thing about pizza is you can put anything on it. Some people who are traditionalists and will only put the basic toppings on pizza, such as sausage, pepperoni, black olives and yuck anchovies. Some people just like cheese. I like all these except anchovies. For me, it started back in the Brooklyn College days. I forgot the name of the pizzeria that was in the Junction, but they were the first pizzeria that I was aware of that had what is now called a “specialty slice.” It was the Baked Ziti Slice. Simple. Carbs on carbs. Yumm. Ziti begat the Lasagna Slice, which begat the Chicken Parm Slice and so on and so on. It is impossible to go into a pizzeria these days that doesn’t sell a specialty slice. Some favorites I have had are the Buffalo Chicken Slice, the BBQ Chicken Slice and the Macaroni and Cheese Slice. I admit these are all heart attacks waiting to happen, but here is my fat logic. One slice of this type of pizza is filling and you are getting some protein and some vegetables. Currently I am obsessed with the Honey Dijon Chicken with Bacon Slice. You can find this wonderful creation at http://www.philspizzeriawantagh.com/ This is a combination of all things good and holy. A sturdy crust with the chicken pieces and the Honey Dijon Sauce mixed throughout and let us not forget the bacon pieces. Mmmm, I think I know what I am getting for lunch.
8. Any hero. You literally can put anything on Italian Bread. It’s very simple. Cold cuts, lettuce, sun-dried or regular tomatoes and your favorite condiments. I mean, it is a win-win situation. Roasted peppers! Cannot forget those. Some call it subs, grinders or hoagie. It’s a fuckin hero. Now go eat one.
7. Chicken Wings. I mean really, does this need to be explained. Buffalo, BBQ, Thai Chili, Any flavor would do. It’s all about the deal. Go to places that have deals on wings. For example there is a restaurant named Croxley’s. They offer ten cent and twenty cent wings most days of the week. You can get wings almost anywhere. First of all do not bread them. Hooter’s, your wings suck ass. Deep fry them. They get crunchy on the outside and then use alot of whatever sauce you are making. Bleu Cheese is a must and celery, got to have your veggies.
6. The Loaf. Now you saying what the hell is the loaf. It is a family recipe. Start with a good dough. You can use any kind of filling, but we here in the Messina family like to use sausage, hard boiled egg, ham or prosciutto, and mozzarella. I cannot describe the taste in words, it is so good. Here is a picture.
Except it, love it.
5. Chili. Nothing is better on a cold, windy day then a nice bowl of chili. I have been working on my chili recipe for years and finally am content with what I find is a great product. I am not going to shower you with how incredible my chili is, in fact, I am going to talk about chili in general. First off, do not make chili that is so hot, you can’t eat it. What is the point, you create this conglomeration of a meal just to kill it with the illusion that chili needs to be ridiculously hot. No bueno. If you say Turkey, I will punch your dog. Beef or pork or both. Cumin, red pepper, cayenne. Some oregano, thyme and basil. Don’t overdue it. Having a secret ingredient doesn’t hurt. Add a dollop of sour cream or shredded cheddar cheese is the icing on the cake.
4. My Dad’s Sauce. My father owned a restaurant when I was a kid. I didn’t really know how hard of a business it was to run, but I remember spending my summers working in the kitchen. I remember the first thing we did during prep was make the sauce. His sauce was sweet and the consistency of the crushed tomatoes was simply perfect. Any good Italian doesn’t have a recipe, it just happens. Sadly this is my dilemma. I cannot remember how he made it and I have come close a few times but have not replicated it. I will never stop trying to make it, the fun part is eating the mistake.
3. Chicken Cordon Bleu. Specifically, my wife’s recipe. Actually it the only one I will ever eat because honestly none can come close to it. A very simple recipe. Take a nice sized chicken breast, stuff it with ham, must be Boar’s Head Ham and Swiss Cheese. Now, here is why my wife’s recipe is the best. Off hand I do not know what brand she uses, but when it is cooking, as it melts, some of it oozes out onto the cookie sheet. When it is finished and it cools a bit on the stove-top, you grab a piece of that cheese ooze and eat it. The mixture of the slightly crisp melted cheese with the juices from the ham and chicken and sweet Jesus Palamino, that’s some good cheesiness. The chicken itself turns out nice and moist and she always makes extra so I have one for lunch the next day at work. The sad thing is, it usually my birthday meal and shit that is just once a year. Sad Frank.
2. Chinese Food. I have been in a lifelong search for the best dumpling. I love dumplings, I love Boneless Spare Ribs and the weird red sauce they come in. I love Dim Sum, even though I have no clue what they are. I love Chicken with Broccoli or as I like to lovingly call it #56. I love General Tso and his chicken. I love Duck Sauce, even though there is obviously no duck in it. None! I love Baby Corn and Black Bean Sauce. I love that the Chinese delivery man knows me on a first name basis. I love they give you cookies with a fortune! I love that after I eat Chinese food, I am hungry an hour later, and what’s better to eat after Chinese Food but more Chinese Food.
1 Bacon. What can I say? Bacon is the most wonderful creation in the world. Great with eggs, great wrapped around 98% of all food. It is excellent as jerky, covered in chocolate. It is great on it’s own, and on a burger. Bacon doughnut, yes please. Bacon ice cream? I’ve had it and it is fantastic. I love all it’s salty awesomeness. If you don’t like bacon, well I cannot be your friend. I mean just look at it:
This is bringing a tear to my eye. Like when a proud parent sees there child win a Gold Medal or become President. I love you Bacon. You complete me.
Thank you for reading. As always I ask to click the follow button wherever it is and like and share and please comment. I will always respond. God Bless Bacon, I mean you, God Bless you.
“Bacon tastes good.” –Jules Winnfield