Thursday, December 1, 2011

Heirloom Market BBQ, Richie Eats Too

This blog is titled "Richie Cooks," but it should be acknowledged that what I cook, I also eat. From time to time, I tend to eat things I do not cook as well. I feel that I must share with the world my discovery of Heirloom Market BBQ.

This local business is a short distance from where I live, and thank goodness. I first discovered this establishment about two weeks ago. I was intent on finding a place close to me that served good food outside of the norm. I found Heirloom on my phone, and minutes later my roommate said to me, "Have you ever heard of Heirloom barbecue?"

Turns out, I had only 5 minutes earlier. Taking this occurrence as a sign from the gods of local food, I decided I had to go. My girlfriend and I went a few hours later, and I proclaimed at the one communal table there that I had eaten the best mac n' cheese of my life. And I certainly had. I would have missed the place if I hadn't been paying attention.

This wonderful local business is nondescript, and that is part of its charm. It is connected to a convenience store off Aker's Mill, and you would probably expect it to be more visible, knowing its reputation in the area.

 All that said, I must express my new found love of Heirloom Market barbecue. I am a big barbecue lover, and I've tried a few places around my area. So far, nothing compares to Heirloom. They have all kinds of different BBQ and sauces. In the great debate of the "best" kind of regional BBQ, you can pick your poison at Heirloom. They have an array of different sauces and cuts, and you are welcome to make your own best combination.

When I tried their pulled pork sandwich for the first time, I ended up combining their Carolina and Memphis sauces together. Another acclaimed BBQ place off of Lower Roswell and Johnson Ferry Road (BBQ One) simply did not impress me. I heard of this particular place for years, used to work at a restaurant down the street from it, and when I finally tried it about a month ago, I found nothing to write home about. Moreover, their popular mac n' cheese was nearly tasteless and bland. On the other hand, at Heirloom, upon my first and second visit, I was throughly impressed.

The first time, I had their pulled pork sandwich and mac n' cheese. Today, I had the Wednesday special of Korean Fried Chicken with the same mac n' cheese side. I've heard so much about the greatness of Korean fried chicken, and I decided today that I had to try it. It was great. The skin was crispy and the chicken moist. The sauce was great as well and seemed to get spicier as I went. Their mac n' cheese is so incredibly good that I went home with a pint of it and had some more with dinner. An employee at Heirloom told me that they do not bake their mac n' cheese, digressing from many conventional recipes for such a dish.

Even with their departure from the most traditional recipes for this side, I could eat the stuff with just about anything or just by itself. Overall, whether its their sides or their main BBQ dishes, Heirloom has it down to an art and science. There's something great about sharing a meal with someone else across a large table and talking about how great the food is. Regulars and newcomers alike, Heirloom satisfies them all.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Chuck's wings make for a good night in

I cooked up another one of Chuck's recipes the other night, and it was delicious. I admit, I've been on a bit of a Chuck Hughes binge - whether tying out his dishes, watching "Chuck's Day Off", or his 8-week trip to Mexico "Chuck's Week Off". His recipes most certainly will take up much space here. As far as making some of his recipes come to life at home, I think I love them so much because they are challenging yet simple, and they always taste so good. My girlfriend has also become a fan of Chuck and of the many nights I try my hand at his food. I'm a big fan of comfort food, and many of Chuck's dishes fall in to this category - but with a bit of a kick. It's never chicken wings, but "stick balsamic chicken wings" with lemon zest. These wings are so good they "stick to your rib" and your face. Nothing says you've had a good meal like going through an absurd amount of napkins. Here's how they turned out:
These wings live up to there name. They're both sweet and savory, and you can taste the clean fresh ginger too. There are so many levels of flavor, and my only regret is that I didn't buy more wings! p.s. I've found that lemons don't zest too well if you refrigerate them. The skin gets soft and it makes it pretty much impossible to get any of that tasty rind.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

First time

I've been pondering whether or not I should start a blog about food and about food I make. There must be thousands of blogs that do something similar already, but I've kept coming back to the idea for months now. I've posted a few pictures and descriptions of some dishes on Facebook, and I got such a good response that I think it's about time Maybe people are surprised that I cook or that I like to cook. Their probably not surprised, if they've known me for anytime at all, that I also like to eat. I started cooking with my mom years ago, and she showed me the basics, taught me to love being in the kitchen and how "sling" things together for dinner. But I feel like I'm just now getting into trying out some new things in the kitchen. It's a big world of food out there, and I think it's a good idea to take it beyond meat and potatoes (or as my roommate would have it - meat, cheese, and potatoes). One of biggest inspirations (other than my mom) is Chef Chuck Hughes. I've been trying out some of his dishes recently and enjoying many of them. Here is one of the first recipes of his I tried and loved. Chorizo Bites with Arugula Pesto (courtesy Chuck Hughes):