Sunday, June 08, 2008

The Corner Stable

My old standby: Broasted Chicken Breast, half rack of babyback ribs with fries and beans.

I set out this evening with panang chicken on my mind, but when I arrived at FujiSan restaurant, they were already closed (crap, it's only 8pm on Sunday). I thought of journeying into the city but I just wasn't that committed and ended up across the street at the old favorite: The Corner Stable.

The Corner Stable is known for its' ribs. They're famous around these parts. A verifiable institution. That said, I think rib purists from around the country would scoff at their boiled ribs that are finished on the grill with sauce. I'd be willing to bet that some pitmasters would have a heart attack just thinking about boiled ribs. But this is the stuff I learned to love ribs on and it has a special place in my gastronomic dictionary.

Like I said, the ribs are boiled so they're incredibly tender and falling off the bone. The sauce is smoky and sweet, the broasted (read: fried) chicken is moist and tender, the beans are soft and supple and the fries crisp - what's not to like? Sure, if you're looking for an authentic smoked rib a la Memphis, Texas or South Carolina, you ain't gonna be happy here. But if you like incredibly tender babyback ribs in a smoky, slightly spicy and pungent sauce, The Corner Stable might be for you.

The Corner Stable
9942 York Road
Cockeysville, MD 21030

Flowers In Your Bulaklak

Dad shows off his illegal bounty.

The annual Fiesta Filipiniana was held today in Towson under a blazing sun and merciless humidity. A taste of the worst weather Baltimore has to offer. It was excruciating.

But the best part of any cultural festival is the food. Wild, exotic and tasty. Stuff that wouldn't (or couldn't) prepare at home. Stuff that your mom will lecture you on about the "bad fats." Unhealthy? Probably. Bad for the body but so good for the soul.

One of those things is Chicharon Bulaklak, which literally means "fried crispy flower" in Tagalog, the native language of the Philippines.

It's rich, crispy, fatty and best consumed with spicy vinegar and lots of San Miguel beer (though a cold Coke will do just fine). I highly recommend trying them. However, if you're one of those people that easily become squeamish about your food, it's probably better not to tell you what it is: fried pig intestines.

Yuck, you say? Then you haven't tried it. Absolutely brilliant. I bought a round for my dad and we shared a bonding moment over crispy fried pig intestines. Classic.

Preparing bulaklak is a pretty straightforward affair. Take some intestines, clean them out really well, toss into a pan and boil in water with a little vinegar, garlic, bay leaves and black peppercorns. Boil for a long time or plop it all into a pressure cooker on high for one hour. Once the intestines are ready, cut up into bite-size pieces and deep fry in peanut oil (or for a truly authentic Philippine touch: coconut oil) at 375F until golden brown and crispy. Dip into spicy vinegar (I recommend the organic coconut vinegar) and crunch away to arterial failure. Douse thyself with cold beer. Sleep.