Category Archives: Food and Drink

And So…….Acme Bar & Grill Has Closed :(

ARE YOU FRIGGING KIDDING ME?????

“You have to be joking!!!” is what I said to my friend when he said that he had learned that the popular Acme Bar and Grill over at 9 Great Jones Street had closed it’s doors after twenty five years in the location. I cannot tell you how upset that this news makes me. Oh wait, yes I can and I will as that is what the blog is for. With that being the case, the closure of Acme Bar & Grill really bummed me out because it was a place that I had been enjoying for about six years.

A Shuttered Acme

I realize that I had not been coming here as long as some other folks but I sure made good for it over those number of years that I had.  I first ventured into its doors when the band Blackfield was playing at the Bowery Ballroom.  I was hitting that show with Skeleton Pete and he suggested it as a dining choice.  Having enjoyed the Cajun style of food I was totally down for this.  I actually remember what I ordered that day for some odd reason and it was a chicken fried steak, with their mashed potatoes and some black eyed peas.  This would become one of my favorite dishes at the establishment and a fail safe order for me in the event of indecision.

Acme By Night

There was so much good about this place and after that night it became one of my continual picks as a spot to hold media discussions with press friends, enjoy the company of lovely dining companions or just chill out with buddies who were just wanting a good dinner and drink night out.  The food never disappointed us nor did their wall of hot sauce.  I wish I had photos of that in my archives but I never shot images of them because quite honestly I never thought I would be lamenting the restaurant’s having gone away.   The place would start its diners off with an order of freshly made corn bread and while that is not the most calorie conscious kind of thing, it tasted so good that few would argue.

 

 

I also enjoyed their house brew which was a red ale of some kind.  It was not too heavy and had a nice bite to it.  Sometimes they would do $2 pints of the beers and that always managed to make for a fun night.  I found the waitstaff for the most part to be friendly and on a number of occasions I met some interesting people in entertainment.  Some were dancers while others musicians or actors and actresses.  A typical New York situation.   The other aspect of the restaurant was that it was also the home to the once called Under Acme Rock club which eventually became Ace Of Clubs.  In my adventures as a music journalist I had covered a few shows at the space and also just went to rock out when the time was open for me to do so.

 

There was a rumor that Acme was going to reopen after being worked on but that doesn’t seem very likely since I read postings on popular regional blogs that said the whole staff had been terminated and that what all knew and loved as Acme was gone for the foreseeable good.  I will miss the place for sure since it was such a good memory for me and those who enjoyed being here with me.  The upside of being in NYC is that you can always find a new place and they can eventually become a favorite.  That sure doesn’t take away the sadness at this restaurants closure.  Thanks Acme, I will miss you very much.

Foodtastic: Baking Some Brooklyn Pita-za

Growing up in NYC, one of the delicacies that I have almost always found favor in is good old fashioned pizza. In my eyes its one of the truly great pleasures in life and its magic is all based on a very simple recipe with only a few ingredients. I’m located in Brooklyn and have sworn allegiance to no less than ten pizzerias over the course of my life but sadly many of them have gone away due to retirement or even worse after new owners took over and made a mess of the formula that worked best for the establishment. When that becomes the case I always cross my fingers that a new and appetite pleasing place will come along. In a pinch you can opt for either Dominos or Papa John’s but to the conventional Brooklynite, these are not really what we are looking for in pizza. I prefer the quick fix of a traditional pizzeria over them anytime. That leads me to the recipe being discussed in this segment of my “Kitchen With Ken” blogs as it’s a pizza concoction that goes a little outside of the normal process but still comes out good at the end. Well. I like it at least and have made it for years. I felt the best name for it would be “PITA-ZA” since we use pita bread instead of dough but everything else is generally found on “normal pizza”. Let’s begin.

Required Ingredients:
1 medium sized piece of pita bread. You need to go to an authentic Middle Eastern bakery or produce store to find the differently sized ones as opposed to the mass market package of ten that are all perfectly sized and the same (unless you really want those and feel like cooking for a few people).

– 1 section from a garlic clove. I just love fresh garlic so we will be using this puppy.
– 2 or 3 pepperoncini (they often come in a jar of many and look like mini bell peppers but they have a chili pepper kick to them). You can also use plain sliced green, red or yellow peppers if you feel like it. They work out also.
– 2 or 3 decent sized mushrooms. Remember that we are only discussing how to one serving.
– 1 small can of tomato sauce (you will not use the whole can for this).
– 5 or 6 slices of pepperoni (or sausage, meatball, tofu). Slice these things thin.
– Mozarrella cheese.

Tools: A toaster oven and about ten minutes.

First Step:
Take your pita bread and pour some of that tomato sauce on it but not too much since it will likely spread out while its cooking/baking in the toaster oven. I like to sprinkle on some oregano and also the garlic that I mentioned we would need for this. Depending on your taste, don’t overdo the garlic.

This particular recipe was using pepperoni and I think its much better to add this right on top of the sauce and then putting the cheese on top of that with the mushrooms and peppers. It lets those ingredients act as a bit of a blanket to the other stuff. Of course as you can see in the provided photo, for this time around I decided to add the peppers in before the cheese as well.

The Pita, The Sauce, The Pepperoni and the Peppers

The shot above shows our already covered in sauce pita bread since I did not take a lot of pictures of the preparation process.  I didn’t think that it was necessary for this little episode.   I didn’t grate the cheese and instead opted to slice it into smaller chunks and position them accordingly.  It worked for my purposes as you can see in the upcoming pic.

Let There Be Mozzarella Cheese

Second Step: Add the mozzarella cheese. You can also season it up a little more and let it bake with the optional hot pepper or garlic powder.  I mentioned needing some fresh garlic so you can also slice that fine and scatter it about the pita bread.  Not too much of course as you don’t want to breath fire after you eat.

Our Pita-za Is Done. “Well done” actually.

Third and Final Step – Cook ‘Em Up:
Since we’re doing this in the toaster oven as opposed to the larger one in the kitchen we’re also only making one of these at a time. I guess you would fire up the big box if you were making them for company. Having made these for some time I have found that you only need to bake them for about ten minutes at 300 degrees at the most. My toaster oven has a button that let’s you “toast” as well, and if I want the cheese a little crispier I press that but you MUST monitor its progress so you don’t burn it or anything else. This is really a quick dining fix when you add the preparation and cooking time together so don’t get involved in anything while you are making them. This is especially true if using the big oven and making a few of them for guests.

I told you this was a quick one.  It probably takes longer to wash the dishes and make sure everything is put away as opposed to making this.  Bon appetit.

But Ken, I’m A Vegetarian!!!!

Oh yes, you guys 🙂  Well, that is not a problem with the recipes for pita-za that I make, because you can easily substitute any of the meat options with some extra mushrooms (perhaps portabella ones) and the vegan delicacy of choice – tofu. I am sure the stuff would absorb any of the sauces and seasonings and come out rather good in the end.   As you might have noticed I suggested we keep a few mushrooms for this particular cooking adventure but as I started preparing it, I realized I did not have any on hand.  I left it in the recipe of ingredients just the same.

A Quick Visit To Pho Hoai Bay Ridge

When your day kind of looks like this outside there is really only one sure fire cure to get you back into proper order and in my opinion that thing is a big bowl of Vietnamese chicken noodle soup. Now, don’t get me wrong here because while there is nothing like good ole Mom’s brand of the stuff, it’s not always something that is immediately at hand. That being said, today I headed over to Pho Hoai to pick up some lunch as I love the place but since I was on my own I brought my treats home and wanted to share the visuals with you to inspire interest.

A Snow Covered Urbania

Continue reading A Quick Visit To Pho Hoai Bay Ridge

Foodtastic: Cooking Up Some 3 Bean Chili

One of the dishes that I have loved for a long, long time is chili. My Mom cooks it a few times a year (especially in the colder seasons) and I always look forward to it when she makes it. With many of my friends being amateur level gourmands that frequently offer up samples of their own wares, it was only a matter of time before I started boasting my own branding of the stuff. Of course only a few select number of friends have been able to try it out and now with the new personal blog, I decided to discuss my most recent cooking adventure with the stuff. I hope that you like our take on this concoction.

Before going any further, I wanted to say that this was not at all a conventional chili recipe that used only the typical meat and kidney beans along with a dose of spicy seasoning. In my view of it, chili can be looked at as a bit of a pot luck recipe where anything goes depending on what you have at hand. With this in mind, I decided to try some very different ingredients this time around to see what came of it. Let’s begin with what you’ll need to mix it up.

Required Ingredients:
2 lbs ground chopped meat.
1 mid-sized red onion
1 clove of garlic
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 can corn
1 can sliced mushrooms
1 can red kidney beans
1 can white beans
1 can field peas
1 small can tomato paste
5 teaspoons of chili powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt

*** I don’t usually use this many different kinds of beans in the regular recipe but for this one wanted to try and see how some other things worked out.  I also used Goya as a brand for all of them.

Tools: Medium sized skillet pan. Deep pot.  Sturdy wooden spoon.

First Step:
Get the chopped meat nice and loose and start to brown it in a medium sized skillet pan if you have one. I generally like to coat the pan with a little bit of butter or canola oil but that is up to personal preference. Chop up and stir in the red onion and add in that 1/4 teaspoon of salt for seasoning. Lately I have opted to use sea salt and found that this works out well and is a little better for you in the end. Don’t overcook it of course so keep an eye on this part of the recipe.

Once the meat is browned, drain off as much of the excess water and grease drippings that you can and cover it for the time being. Depending on your love of the stuff, you can use one piece of the garlic clove in this browning process. I didn’t this time around but usually do.

Second Step:
With the large pot ready to go, I drain off any excess waters from the various canned beans, mushrooms and corn that I am adding to the concoction. I also like to rinse them off as well one at a time before adding them to the pot. Before you begin adding each thing to the mix make sure that the shelf life of the item has not passed. It’s better to be safe than sorry. As each one gets safely added to the pot, I use a large wooden spoon to stir it together so it will cook up as a blend as opposed to layers of different things.

Turn On The Flame \m/
The last couple of times that I have made chili, I decided to simmer the beans, corn and mushrooms for a few minutes before adding in the recently browned meat & onions to the mixture. The main reason is because I feel that this cooks off a little more of the water that I recently rinsed these ingredients in. Five minutes is probably more than enough on a simmer level flame, so pour in the meat and onions at this point and stir it up good.

Now add the can of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and the can of tomato sauce. I know that this recipe sounds like we are over tomato-izing the mixture, but since I had them in the cupboard, I wanted to use them. I would not regret the decision. With the sauces all on top of the meat and the beans etc, I now add in the five teaspoons of chili powder that the many recipes I have sampled seem to call for. I also use a garlic press to add in about three or four small segments from the garlic clove that I said we would need. Mix that all up and let it simmer cook for about twenty five minutes. You will need to return and look at it from time to time and stir it as you do that. Cooking it on the simmer flame with a cover over the pot should make it come out fine.

You might be wondering why I didn’t pour some cayenne pepper into the mix while cooking it and the reason is simply because I have had chili in the past that was so damned hot that eating a couple of spoonfuls was torture. That being said I decided to add it like I would regular pepper and allow the person enjoying it to add it to their own personal tastes.

The Finished Pot Of Chili

But Ken, I’m A Vegetarian!!!!

That’s not a problem with the recipes for chili that I make, because you can easily substitute any of the meat with some extra mushrooms (perhaps portabella ones) and the vegan delicacy of choice – tofu. I am sure the stuff would absorb any of the sauces and seasonings and come out rather good in the end. I doubt that I would make it like this for myself, but you are always welcome to invite me over for a batch when you cook it up or save me some somehow.

Happy Cooking.

PiercingMetal Pregaming Guide: Duke’s Restaurant

You readers remember our good friend in Metal Steve Keeler right? If you don’t for some reason, let me sidetrack a moment and remind you how Steve not only runs Rock Fantasy, an establishment that we wrote up for Metal Edge magazine a couple of years ago and expanded upon HERE, but he also has the dubious honor of being the person who recommended that we start going to Duke’s Bar on 19th Street off Park Avenue South.

Logo - Dukes Bar

Continue reading PiercingMetal Pregaming Guide: Duke’s Restaurant