Tuesday, June 09, 2009

TdF Ladder--Ghost Rider

So cyclingnews.com already posted a Tour de France ladder. See here.

Read the third paragraph of Cunego's entry. You'd think riding the race would be a pre-requisite for being included in the ladder, right? Apparently not. Ninth on the ladder, but not participating in the race. Oops! Cyclingnews.com predicts Cunego (not participating) will somehow beat Frank Schleck (participating). If that happens, I'll be very, very, VERY impressed.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


Not much cooking in my world on the cycling front, but there's plenty cooking at Ray's the Steaks in the Commonwealth. Some thoughts on a recent trip...

Hadn't visited since February...the first month Michael was open in the new location. This visit was much, much smoother. My summary: simple and classic stuff executed very well. Also of note, nothing is light. Among four, we had:

-Devilishly Good Eggs
-Bacon App.
-Four Sunday specials (two clam chowders, two crab bisques, two onglets, two bacon-wrapped medallions, two key lime pies, one dark chocolate mousse, one coconut cream pie)
-Two bottles of Gamay

The eggs and tartare offer a really nice and surprisingly refreshing start to things. The raw meat was bright, the toast points amuse me (friggin' Wonder Bread!), and the cornichons and capers were wonderfully tart.

I hadn't had the bacon before. Despite appearances of being extremely fatty and gristly, these slabs were most certainly not either of those things. Mostly meat tissue. Expecting to be turned off by the weight of this pork in my mouth, the bacon didn't leave any sort of waxy or fatty feeling. Salty and smoky, this was a nice surprise.

I had the crab bisque and found it to be as good as ever. I'd say half the cup was taken up by crab meat instead of liquid. Amazing. This sort of treatment is what I wish every restaurant achieved. I HATE going to a restaurant and having the place skimp on the featured ingredient of a dish. Sometimes I get overly caught up in the value concept and end up distracted from a nice product 'cause I feel like I'm being shafted. Ray's keeps value in the front of my mind, but for the right reasons. I'm reminded how much better I feel about spending good money on food that is plentiful and meets a high quality standard.

Based on some previous posts on DonRockwell, I encouraged tablemates to get the clam chowder. It's a good soup, but we all agreed the crab is king.

Only thing to say about my steak is that it was very near perfect. I'm loath to call anything perfectly perfect, but this was close. SVR continues to be slightly dismayed with Ray's cooking her steaks a little cooler than she prefers, but I'm content to get a med.-rare closer to rare than medium. My onglet was a wonderful steak. SVR didn't send anything back and I think she's coming around to medium-rare instead of medium.

Sides were standard and flavorful. I actually prefer skins in my mashed potatoes, so the sheer whiteness of the mashed at Ray's throws me a bit, but that's hardly something to complain about. I love that the spinach has a great creamy flavor without feeling too heavy. A nice balance.

I tasted all desserts. Wanted to get the coconut cream, but my mother put dibs on that and I felt someone had to play sacrificial lamb and get some mousse. I loved all the sweets for different reasons. The family was in town from Miami (I was raised there) and we all thought the key lime pie has the right amount of sharpness and brightness and tang. It's a good pie. I only took a tiny bite of coconut and can report I know I'll get it next time. I can't remember much about the exact flavor, but it definitely drew me in and left me wanting a full piece to explore. The mousse was good and chocolate-y. Too much whipped cream for my taste, but, then again, I don't really prefer whipped cream on anything.

I don't think Mark was on staff Sunday night, so I was left to pick our wines. The waitress wasn't familiar with the Gamay (from Beaujolais, not California) I locked in on and she explained it was newly added. I lucked out and drew much praise from my family for an excellent choice. If anyone in the group had had scallops, I think this lighter red would've been fine with the seafood.

Service was really cheery and friendly. Stemware and utensils were spotless.

I was very, very full after this whirlwind tour. I think I've only been fuller four or five other times in my life. Leftovers over the past two days have been great. Steaks brought to room temperature are almost as good as when warm.

We're walking distance to 2Amys. I wish we were, somehow, also walking distance to Ray's!