What's up everybody, Chef Aaron here, taking a break from working on recipes for "Big Daddy's House" to give you my FRESH picks for this month. I get alot of emails and questions about places I like to eat at, products I use to cook with, music I'm listening to, places I like to visit and other things of that nature, so I decided that at least once a month, I'll post a blog answering some of those questions as well as products I think you'll love just as much as I do.
When I'm out on the road, traveling the country one of the first things I do when I stop somewhere is find out what the food scene looks like. One of the first questions I ask people where I'm staying is, "what's the best place to eat around here?" and I make it a point to follow up on their suggestions. When I was in Oklahoma taping "Outrageous Foods," I shot some footage at this AMAZING BBQ joint in Clinton, OK called Jigg's Smokehouse. If you checked out "Outrageous Foods" then you know why this place is famous! They specialize in making outrageous BBQ sandwiches, but make sure you have add a heaping helping of their great and spicy chow chow to your sandwich and have some of their beef jerky...I'm getting hungry just thinking about it...
Speaking of BBQ, if you are in NYC and have a craving for some real BBQ, make sure you stop by Virgil's BBQ at 152 West 44th St @Broadway. Tell em I sent you-anytime I'm in NYC, I make sure to stop by and eat-even if it's just takeout because I have to hit the road, and they always hook me up with great service.
If you're in the NJ/Philly area, some good places to go out and eat are Brio Tuscan Grille (their Gorgonzola Lamb Chops are the best I've tasted), Fish. ( I love seafood with bold flavors) and Square1682, a restaurant with a menu that features organic produce and meat. If you're a deli lover, be sure to stop by my favorite, Carmen's in Bellmawr, NJ (try the Big Daddy Special) and Yellow Submarine in Maple Shade, NJ.
When I visit different cities or go to trade shows, people are always asking me to try out their product and give them some constructive feedback and or the "Big Daddy" stamp of approval. I get all kinds of stuff sent in and I try them all. If you have a food product you'd like me to sample, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll give you the mailing address....in the meantime, check out two I tried and loved: Oogie's Gourmet Popcorn (it's natural, none of that artificial stuff-which means it's a great snack for kids, and it doesn't last long in my house-I'm constantly ordering more-we love it!) and Cookies by Shar (I'm not a big cookie person, but I started changing my mind after trying these-great designs and great taste).
In the Kitchen
I get alot of emails asking about different utensils I use on the show and what I like to use in the kitchen at home. Probably the number one question is what kind of knives I use: they are made by J.A. Henckels and do wonders for me in the kitchen.
There's alot of great music out there right now that I have in rotation on my iPod, but I also like to support up and coming artists. I recently went to a concert to support a local artist in the NJ/Philly area. I listen to all kinds of music (country is one of my favorites), but if you're into the gospel or Christian genres, definetely take a moment to check out Anton Milton & Glorified-nothing but good, inspirationall music to get you going when you need it.
The kids are back in school, summer is over and fall is here but you can still go out and have a good time with the family outdoors. If you're like me and love to have fresh fruits and vegetables in the house, and like to teach your kids about food and where it comes from, take a trip to Johnson's Corner Farm in Medford, NJ. Like I said, it's a great place to take your kids and teach them about food, AND pick up some fresh goods at the same time. I just took my kids and nephew a few weeks ago and we had a ball. (you can read about it in my "end of the summer wrap up") I love going out there so much I'm going to try to invite the owners onto the set of "Big Daddy's House..."
Speaking of the show, I better go before I give away more secrets from this season-I'll be on set in October shooting more episodes, so that only gives me a week or so to develop some more recipes-better get back to work, hope you enjoyed the picks!