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AskTP – Where Did Jersey Go?

September 25, 2013

I need to get out and explore more of Jersey. Given the stories on the blog recently, one might have forgotten that I’m now living in the Garden State. This year is going to fly by, and I can’t help but feel like I’m squandering opportunities to explore some of the culinary delights that can only be found in this neck of the world.

The local farmers market has provided me with Jersey produce, Jersey eggs, and Jersey honey. But I want to get to an actual Jersey farm and a Jersey apple orchard for some Jersey apple cider donuts. Plus, I haven’t been to a diner, I haven’t had an Italian hot dog, and I haven’t had any Trenton tomato pie.

Clearly I’m behind.

But that doesn’t mean that I can take time away from answering reader questions. After all, I’ve made a commitment to answer every question asked in the comments section of the blog, just so long as it includes a question mark.

So without any further ado, it’s time to match up questions with their proper answers.

Burnt My Fingers was incredulous about the number of questions in the last AskTP:
Really? There was only one unanswered question? That’s hard to believe… I know I’d posited something and was looking forward to your reply. Unfortunately I do not archive my comments to FLB… should I? (that was a question.)

Yes. It’s true. And I was just as shocked as you were. The other question you had asked ultimately got answered in the comment thread. Generally under those circumstances, answered questions don’t qualify for the Ask the Profussor treatment. That said, I do reserve the right to answer any question a second time, if I feel like there is something to be gained in the process.

-R was also nonplussed with a the liberties I took on the last Ask the Profussor:
An AskTP sans a mystery-link-o-the-day? Jet-lag? Old age? Bad Jersey air? Color me disappointed.

It’s true. But there was only one question. I guess if I had to choose between jet-lag, old age, or Jersey air and go with jet-lag. To be perfectly honest, that post was rushed in the airport. I really should have spent more time on it. Thanks for calling me out and holding me to a higher standard. The killer thing too is that I’ve been sitting on all kinds of interesting links, any one of which would make a dynamite mystery-link-o-the-day.

Doug has a helpful suggestion for how to sample craft spirits without attending an event:
Find a bar that has craft spirits, and order shots?

You could do that. But seriously, you are better off just buying a bottle. The shot in the bar is probably going to be vastly overpriced. You may even decide to stay for a nibble. There will be tax. You’ll leave a tip. In the end you’ll be most of the way to the cost of a bottle by the time you are done. And there is always the chance that a bar might not have kept the bottle in such pristine condition.

Here’s the worst case scenario. You buy a bottle for $40, pour a shot and decide that you hate it. That same shot probably would have cost you $10 with tip and incidentals at a bar. So now you’re down $30 and have most of a bottle of booze on your hands. Really, you should try it one more time on its own, just to be sure you hate it, because maybe it’s not that bad after all. And then you’re down only $20. At this point, you can use it for mixing. Because after all, cocktails were invented to make terrible spirits more palatable.

In the end, perhaps it was a bit more expensive than buying mass market hooch. But you’ve now learned a few valuable lessons. One, that you don’t care for this particular bottle of booze. And two, how to make delicious cocktails by working with what you’ve got.

caravan70 may have missed the connoisseur’s tent at the Saratoga Wine & Food Fest:
Never heard of a gin tasting around here either, to echo Jessica R. Perhaps because it’s a liquor seen as more of a mixing drink than whiskey (or whisky, if it’s Scotch) is?

A long time ago, I had a gin as part of a regional craft spirit tasting. It was intense, but not in a good way. My guess was that the spirit was made for cocktail use, in which it would be both cold and diluted. In its room temperature and uncut form, the aromatics were so overpowering as to be unpleasant. But based on Jessica R.’s report from Saratoga, this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.

J speaks the grisly truth:
Pig Butchering Demo? Perhaps you should attend the actual slaughtering next time to see how that goes. In fact, do it yourself. Then tell us all how that went. I’ve witnessed a pig being slaughtered and it was the most horrific event I’ve ever witnessed. The pig was screaming and squealing in terror.

Death isn’t always pretty. That said, I tend to see good meat as a thing of beauty. I’m glad that Jon in Albany wrote his piece that detailed the entire process from hoof to rack. But it’s probably not the thing that would go over well at a food festival. But point well taken.

ThinkAnd Do is tormenting me with delicious things in Paris after the fact:
So, did you happen to drop by here?
Qui déchire, as they say.

I am sure. But this is just one of many many amazing places that I missed on my trips to France. It would seem as if this category of treat might be well suited for overseas shipping. My butter, cheese and bread have no chance of making it across the ocean. So until I take a sabbatical to France and spend some serious time there, Ill have to prioritize those foods that I find to be the most critical to my happiness.

mr. dave caught me pandering to a small segment of my readership:
Are you claiming the best falafel for Israel? I believe that might be something of a controversial statement…

Dammit. Yes. Yes, I was. But that’s not based on any kind of evidence beyond knowing a lot of Israelis. Would you suggest that the world’s best falafel is in Egypt? And without being too political, perhaps the best falafel needs to be in a politically stable country. Because even if Egypt had the world’s best falafel, I might hold off from making the trip to try it for a while.

mr dave may be on a sabbatical himself, as he seems to have a lot of time on his hands:
There is no denying that certain McDonalds items tasty very, very good. If enjoying your Royal w/Cheese once every 6 months tickles your French pickle, then pourqouis pas? “Stopped to weep for mankind” is a bit dramatic for me…

I can deny it. I can deny it because you used a plural. Their French fries? Sure. But you aren’t going to sell me on the Royale with cheese. No way. Never going to happen. Paying a lot of money for bad industrially produced food when some of the world’s best bread is a fraction of the cost and a stone’s throw away is a tragedy.

Eric Scheirer Stott was one of a many who had questions about cider donut toppings:
I can’t pretend to be an expert in the cider donut, but I’d like to see more opportunity to eat them plain. I love a really good plain cake donut- it’s all about the flavor , the bit of the crusty exterior,and the freshness. Cover them with sugar (cinnamon or no) and they’re still tasty, but does the coating cancel out a lot of the subtleties?
Mr. Dave was asking questions more rhetorically:
Plain cider donuts are good. Cider donuts with sugar, also good. No cinnamon in the sugar? Good. Cinnamon in the sugar? Pretty good too.
Chef Paul explicitly asked for my personal opinion:
Plain vs Sugar? I enjoy the crunchy crust that the sugar gives the donut. It’s not a taste preference but more of a texture that I am longing for when eating cider donuts. Cinnamon? It’s strange – but I am one of the few people I know that truly dislikes cinnamon in sweets. On the other hand, I LOVE cinnamon in savory dishes. (Cinnamon jerked chicken . . . ). And you Mr Fussy? How do you like them apples ?? (I meant . . how do yo like YOUR apple donuts?)

Here it goes.

Anything covering a cider donut distracts from the flavor of the donut itself. This is true. However, since these cake-like donuts are traditionally soft, most of the time they are lacking any discernible crust. This is a problem, because contrasts in texture makes food more fun to eat.

Granulated sugar solves that problem. However, when you start mixing cinnamon into the sugar, it becomes difficult to pick apart what flavors are coming from within the donut and which ones are coming from the topping.

Really, I prefer the donut to do the heavy lifting in the flavor department and the dusting of granulated sugar to enhance the textural contrast. Cinnamon in the sugar can be delicious, and I won’t penalize a donut for its use. But all things being equal, I’d prefer my donuts without a dusting of the sweet spice.

Now, who is going to come out on the fourth annual tour de donut? RSVP here.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 25, 2013 11:18 am

    I have actually been on vacation, haha! Nice of you to notice. In fact, today I will be in the back of my yard chewing on some chickweed thanks to you.

  2. September 26, 2013 9:08 am

    Jersey! I’ve been spending more time there as well as my sister just moved there in June, I recently visited a New Jersey winery with an actual vinyard! I was pretty shocked they have wineries in Jersey, and the area it was located in had a lot of farms and farmstands near by. Who knew! She has yet to take me to a diner so I’m waiting for that.

  3. Doug permalink
    September 27, 2013 2:04 pm

    I don’t disagree with your argument that buying a bottle would not cost much more than shots in a bar. What I was thinking was more a craft spirit flight, getting small samples of several for one fixed price. Among three or four the odds are good that one might stand out as a personal favorite.

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