Traditional pressed roast pork Cubano sandwiches on homemade foccacia. Thick pork chops are pounded to 1/2″, and marinated overnight in a mixture of orange juice, apple juice, bay leaves, cinnamon, and star anise. The next day they’re skillet fried, laid on griddled aioli smothered slices of foccacia, and topped with ham, swiss cheese and pickles. Pressing in a hot cast iron grill pan is the last step before going to the plate.

DSC01687The neon orange chips looking rather unnatural next to the cherries are his newest purchase from World Market: molè potato chips.

Brisket phở. Broth made from beef knuckle bones, chunks of brisket, broiled ginger and onion, fish sauce, sugar, and a bouquet garni filled with cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, fennel seeds, star anise and cloves slowly simmered on the stove for several hours. Strained through a fine mesh sieve, the broth goes back on the heat to boil once more. Cooked noodles placed in each bowl are covered with paper thin slices of brisket. Hot broth ladled over cooks the beef as we bring the bowls to the table. Fresh cilantro, basil, mint, bean sprouts, lime wedges, sliced Serrano chilli and Sambal Oelek are offered for added flavor and texture.

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We can’t get enough of the clean, earthy contrast of the beef and broth with the sweet and sour tang from the fish sauce and lime juice, all balanced with a touch of heat from the chillies and chilli paste.

Now if only we could manage a clear broth! Suggestions?

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