East Bay View (a blog about several things)

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Friday, May 18, 2007

House of Prime Brad: Apparently, one can get satisfaction

I advertised the dinner as a chicken party, but really it was all about two Bay Area institutions: Zuni Cafe and Acme Bread. Although the Zuni chicken recipe is online, I checked out Judy Rodgers's cookbook anyway, and immediately felt I had to make her other signature dishes as well. This required a lot of bread, so I picked up four loaves of three kinds of Acme -- an Italian for bread salad, a herb slab for burgers, a levain for Caesar salad and another for luck -- from two different supermarkets.

I made two Caesar salads: a wussy version (neither anchovies nor raw eggs) and a stinky, salmonella-risk version. I only tried the latter, which was excellent (6.5/10), though it wasn't through any brilliance on my part: it was just because I used Reggiano parmesan instead of the pseudo stuff. I deviated most from the Zuni standard in the mini-burgers; sorry, I don't have a meat grinder. I cooked them to a safe medium-well, and they turned out bland (5/10), despite the addition of Dicko's bagna calda. The chicken was brilliant (7/10), the first time I feel I've lived up to my Mum's standards, albeit employing a different style: pre-salted two days in advance, then cooked at very high heat (500F). To nitpick, the distribution of salt was wrong -- should've put more on the breasts and less on the drumsticks. Plus I put too much chicken grease in the accompanying bread salad (5.5/10). In addition to Mikea's ipso facto Guinness cake, dessert was a stupidly simple espresso granita (6.5/10), which meant I only got four hours sleep but was almost worth it. The one hitch was when I tried to whip the cream with a fork; fortunately the Stargazer had a whisk. Booze was generously provided by Mulder and Shankiwack, with Mulder's Yalumba South Australia Chardonnay besting my private collection.

  1. Buy 2 triple espressos at the Beanery.
  2. Mix with half a cup of water.
  3. Stir in 4 tbsp sugar.
  4. Put in freezer for eight hours.
  5. Cut up and serve with whipped cream.
  6. Let previously consumed alcohol put you to sleep.
  7. Wake up at five the next morning.

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