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A BLT overstuffed with a latke and green tomatoes was a chaotic pile of clashing textures thanks to a less-than-crisp potato cake.An intriguing sandwich to showcase smoky-sweet Lebanon bologna erred by thick-cutting the meat, which turned leathery and dense on the griddle.The added element of its celebrity pedigree, the Zahav team of Michael Solomonov, just crowned the most outstanding chef in America by the James Beard Foundation, and his partner, Steven Cook, brings yet another layer of fame to the equation.Those two have earned their notices over years of high-quality work.The best of Rooster Soup's entrees, though, has recently disappeared.That flaky Yemenite potpie filled with a chicken stew aromatic with the fenugreek of hawaij curry - a compelling Israeli emigre tucked inside an all-American crust - has been set aside, temporarily at least, due to the crunch of labor costs in an operation that demands ever-tightening economies to meet its goals.
really one of the top 10 new restaurants in the whole United States, as both GQ and Food & Wine magazines recently declared? I liked (and in some cases loved) some of what I ate there.
One major exception to my sandwich gripes: Rooster's burger is one of the best I've had recently, two incredibly juicy three-ounce patties of coarse-ground beef layered with mushrooms, caramelized onions, melted Jarlsburg, and the caraway-poppy zing of bagel spice melted into an unctuous smear of "everything sauce." The fate of these sandwiches matters because Rooster Soup Co.
is so much more than just a soup restaurant, which is the other important story line here.
But my meals overall were unexpectedly inconsistent.
And here's the catch: The better this enterprise functions as a for-profit venture, the better it can fulfill its philanthropic mission.
The Vietnamese banh mi rolls were uncharacteristically squishy and poorly used in a broccolini melt, which, aside from the scorched and stringy greens inside, would have been better open-faced.