Saturday, February 13, 2016

Uncle T's Mean Green Sauce brings the flavor of jalapeno to any dish.

I was excited when my package arrived from Uncle T's, I was getting board with the usual hot sauces at the supermarket and didn't want to take the time to make my own. Uncle T posted his wares on Facebook, I'm friends with him, and I immediately ordered everything. I'm happy I did.

I had an idea of the flavors I'd find in each sauce given he grows his own peppers, makes his own vinegar, and probably grows any herbs and spices in this sauce. OK, he probably doesn't mine his own salt but you never know with Uncle T. I met Uncle T when we were attached to the same unit in the Army so many years ago. He stayed in and retired after 20 years.

Today I am trying the mild offering in the Uncle T's line, Mean Green Sauce. It's jalapeno based and to me a nice mild to medium heat. Straight out of the bottle you can tell it's made from fresh jalapenos and really that is exactly the flavor you get. He's balanced the other flavors so well that all you taste is that fresh jalapeno flavor. It's not quite as hot as biting into a fresh jalapeno since it's in vinegar and I ate it cold out of the refrigerator so that may have turned down the heat a bit too.

This sauce screams to be eaten with other foods. A cracker, a tortilla chip, in my case some taquitos. When I tasted a spoonful of Mean Green on it's own I didn't get it but when I started putting it on a chip or plate of taquitos that's when the flavors just came alive. It adds such a nice extra depth to a dish, that is the real strength of this sauce. It made those frozen in a box taquitos into a nice meal. I went from bored to happy and impressed with something I keep in the frig to eat when I don't want to cook or go out. I've used other mass marketed sauces but they didn't elevate the dish like the Mean Green sauce. It adds a certain fresh flavor that gives the impression the whole dish was made from scratch. 

I will certainly recommend Uncle T's Mean Green Sauce to anyone that loves to cook TexMex and those that enjoy sitting on the porch with a bag of tortilla chips and some hot sauce. You won't find these flavors in the bottles you find at the supermarket.

Next time, Uncle T's Habanero Sauce.

You can find and follow Uncle T's blog here:

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Boston Deli Is Hit and Miss

Steph and I went to Boston Deli for her birthday dinner and were disappointed. It wasn't a complete fail but they seem to try hard at giving off that hip "I don't care" attitude that just doesn't work for me.  Here's how the meal went down. We arrived and after a few minutes were told to take any seat we liked. They were pretty busy, it was Saturday around 6pm, but not completely full and no one was waiting for a table. We sat there and Steph was beaming with anticipation since she had read every review, every article and asked all her friends to tell her about the BBQ Brisket Burger. She knew every nuance of that burger by heart and she was ready to dig into what she told me was "The Best Burger In Tulsa."  Ten minutes passed and our waiter came with our menus and took our drink order. Steph's glass of EOS Estate Zinfandel, a California wine, came soon after. It was very good for the price. A little more bold than I remember Zin's tasting but I haven't had one in a while. Boston Deli seems to always have a nice selection of wines. I ordered Mango tea which came about ten or fifteen minutes later along with the have you decided question from the waiter. They were out of ribs, the Saturday special, and the waiter didn't seem particularly interested in suggesting anything different. I couldn't decide at first but went with the Chile Gingered Pork Loin. My glass of tea went empty for about 20 minutes then they brought out some bread for the table. A slice of chile/jalapeno flavored, not too spicy just enough for flavor, and a slice seasoned with rosemary. It was tasty and fresh. The chile/jalapeno was a little dense while the rosemary was more light and chewy. I would have had a spinach salad but I forgot to order it and the waiter didn't ask, too busy needing to get back to their Iphone I suspect. We waited some time longer and they brought out our order. I'll start with the good, the Chile Gingered Pork Loin was fantastic. Nicely grill with a char on one side, perfectly cooked so it was still tender and moist. It sat on a bed of grits seasoned with Poblano peppers and was sauced with a little balsamic for sweetness.  They put some asparagus on top of the whole thing and dropped a couple leaves of cilantro on it for garnish. To the side was a roasted lime. I wasn't sure why the lime was there, it didn't have much juice in it since it was a bit dried out by the roasting. I squeezed what I could and took the first bite of my nearly fork tender pork loin.  The sweet balsamic, that little bit of char, the flavor of the pork and that spicy corn note from the grits all combined for a well balanced dish. That was the hit. Here comes the miss.

Steph's dish was sadly bad.  The house ground brisket tasted horrible from the drenching of Worstershire it was given. We both wondered why they didn't just let the meat speak for itself. I was surprised the chef sent it out really. The bacon and bun were top notch but unfortunately you couldn't enjoy them as the Worstershire overshadowed everything. To make things worse the fries weren't any better. Imagine the greasy, soggy fries you get at some burger joints. Now take those fries, let them sit for a while and then drop them in the grease again until they're crispy, a little burned and not particularly appetizing on a plate. Well they taste even worse. A little crisp crunch when you bite into a pocket of grease. Steph couldn't eat them. She was trying so hard to enjoy her Birthday meal, one that she had built up for at least a week. She did the best she could to say nice things about it but in the end she had to admit it wasn't good.  We were a little over half way through the meal when the waiter returned to see if everything was alright. What can you say at that point, it will take another hour if you try to send it back plus it's half eaten by then. Steph said everything was fine, I kept my mouth shut.

We skipped dessert given the slow service and being a little upset about the food and waited another 15 minutes for the check then a while longer to pick up the check and run the credit card and then a while longer to get the card back so we could go.  By this time the chef was looking flustered so perhaps the whole place was having a bad night along with us. It happens.

I'll probably try Boston Deli again but it's going to be while before I'm ready. At least we only wasted $50 bucks, could have been worse.

Boston Deli on Urbanspoon

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Hebert's Specialty Meats gets 100% from this grump...

Yesterday Steph and I were talking about Cajun food after fixing a batch of Cajun Red Bean soup. Kelley was posting links to articles about mirepoix and a group of guys from New Orleans came in for lunch so I was determined to get some Cajun food on my day off.  Hebert's was perfect from beginning to end.  Steph ordered the fried shrimp and crawfish basket and I had the turducken po-boy.  We didn't ask if they breaded the fried foods inhouse but they certainly tasted homemade and fresh.  Just a hint of swamp water, in a good way, let us know this was the real deal.

My turducken sandwich was a masterpiece.  I was skeptical when I ordered it but after years of hearing about stuffing a chicken in a duck and then into a turkey I had to try this crazy concoction.  Delicious!  Big chunks of the three meats with just enough dirty rice that sang and danced across my palate.  The dirty rice flavors it perfectly. Subtle enough for someone that doesn't like spicy but not to fear they have a whole table of hot sauces to kick it up to eleven.  I used the traditional Tabasco this time but I saw a few others I'll be trying next time.

Hebert's also has at least a half dozen desserts. We had the Chocolate Ganache Peanut Butter pie.  It wasn't like most peanut butter pie we've tried, this thing is dense and rich.  The crust was flaky with a layer of chocolate and then a healthy layer of the peanut butter filling and finished with chocolate piped in a hatch pattern over the top.  Just the pie would make it worth going.

If there was an observation about Hebert's that could be seen as negative it would be the gentleman, I assumed it was the owner, is very loudly friendly to his Cajun or LSU friends but completely ignored the others in the dining room. It came across as he didn't care for the tourists.  I'll give it a pass this time.  The other observation is it's not really obvious how you're supposed to order/shop/get refills so don't be shy and just ask, everyone we talked to was pleasant and helpful.

In the end we left Hebert's happy and full of delicious food.  You can't ask for a better experience.

Hebert's Specialty Meats on Urbanspoon