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This Week

This week 06-09-15

Ya What? 

We went to Clarksdale a few years ago with some good friends. It was a fun field trip to go eat dinner at Madidi. You probably don't know what that is… It was Morgan Freeman's restaurant. It was a great place. (Madidi Restaurant) The food was really good, one of best places I've been to. And the restaurant was very nice, nice art, big old-time long bar, pine plank floors, nice lighting. And right in the middle of old downtown Clarksdale. So it was kind of like being in a Tennessee Williams novel, I expected "Big Daddy" to walk in any minute. Another friend of mine went there once and Freeman was there having dinner with some other people and he invited him to come sit with them, so he did. This place had all kinds of things going for it, great food, great building, great town, a movie star that showed up once in a while, I even saw Freeman talk about it on Oprah, it was less than 2 hours from Memphis and Jackson, had been written up in Food & Wine and Southern Living, they even had a nice web site ..  the only thing wrong with it was it had no customers, at least it didn't when we were there. And my friends say every time they had been, which was every few months, it's mostly empty. We were there from 6:30pm till 8:30pm and there were maybe 10 other people in the restaurant the whole time, maybe. On the way home I was trying to list reasons why. 4 really stuck out, I'll start with the small ones. #1. It was a little too expensive. Entrees all over $30 may need to be that expensive to pay for it, but they need take something out so they can get it under $30…. #2. The plates are too big and they serve things in 2 dishes. One Entrée, Tuna (really good, too expensive $34) was on a plate that must have weighed 6lbs. It was the only thing the girl waiting on us could carry. So she brought that one plate, then went back. 2 minutes later, one more plate with a side dish (2 dishes, 2 hands). Then 2 minutes later 2 plates to finish the table (4 of us total). 5 minutes to serve the table, of course nobody eats till she finishes… food gets cold, everybody waits. The odd thing was that there were 2 waiters and, at most, 2 other tables being served, why not team up to do it faster?.. #3. When they brought coffee after the meal (good coffee too) the cream was those little tear open creamers, no real cream. Come on, what does it take to pour cream in a cream pitcher, this isn't the IHOP. Sorry I'm such a snob, but this almost made me mad…. #4. The biggie for last, Quick, what's the name of the restaurant? Don't look… Don't feel bad, I had to google  it. "Clarksdale restaurant Morgan Freeman" found it. When I told someone about it, the conversation went like this: "We went to Morgan Freeman's place in Clarksdale" …"what's the name of it?" … "I don't know, something that starts with an "M"" … "Morgan Freeman's?" … "ya" .. "ya what?" .."ya Morgan Freeman's"… "That's the name?" … "no it's something else, maybe it's named after his Grandmother or something.. I can never remember it… Madi, Mable, Mavis, Murdle… I don't know, something that starts with an "M".." … "Morgan Freeman's?" … "ya"… Ya what?" … .."ya Morgan Freeman's"… "That's the name?" … "no!" …   Turn's out it's not even a real word, it was named after a national park in Bolivia… I guess it means something in Bolivian, but not to me…..  Change the name!!! Suggestions: Morgan Freeman's place … Morgan Freeman's…. Morgan Freeman's restaurant… Morgan's… Freeman's… You have one of the most famous people in the whole world and you don't use his name???? What were you thinking????.. It's gone now, so I don't have to remember anymore. I sure was good!

God's like that: We do stuff all the time that seems ok, but we don't understand how it messes up our lives. Everybody sees it but us. It's like proof reading your own writing. Every time I misspell a word, I get 5 emails back telling me about it. It doesn't matter how many times I read over it, I don't see it. God gives us people in our lives to help us change. They see things that we will never see. An honest friend is a good friend. Good friends will also tell you good things….

I wonder if I'll get an email from Morgan Freeman telling me what a lousy restaurant critic I am?? I probably spelled IHOP wrong…


Cooking 220 - 2 pans, 2 burners, 20 minutes - Living Well - Mediterranean Diet:

This is TEXMEX Mediterranean Diet. It has all the right things. I guess you could use Salmon or a fatty fish instead of the steak?  It just sounded great. Then I've added a few Vinaigrettes for the summer at the bottom. They are light and you can put them on anything: Fish, Steak, Eggs, Salad, Bread for diping... lots of stuff.

Tecate Skirt-Steak Tacos - Recipe by The Mission, Scottsdale, AZ
Any fairly thin cut of beef will work with this marinade; try flank or New York strip.

1 pound skirt steak, silver skin removed, cut into 6-inch pieces
1 12-ounce can pale lager (such as Tecate)
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more
¼ medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large plum tomatoes, cored
½ canned chipotle chile in adobo, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus leaves for serving
8 fresh corn tortillas
Avocado slices, crumbled Cotija cheese(or feta), and lime wedges (for serving)

Combine steak, beer, 1 Tbsp. lime juice, 1 tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper in a resealable plastic bag. Seal; chill 3 hours.

Cook onion, garlic, and oil in a small skillet over medium heat until soft and translucent, 5 minutes. Let cool.

(((I'm not a GRILL guy, I'm an Iron skillet guy. You can do all of this in an Iron skillet. Just put "iron Skillet" in every place it says "Grill")))

Prepare a grill for high heat (if using charcoal, prepare two zones of heat, high and medium-high). Grill tomatoes over high heat, turning occasionally, until well charred but still holding their shape, 6–8 minutes.

Reduce grill to medium-high heat (or use medium-high zone if using a charcoal grill). Remove steak from marinade and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper and grill until charred, about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to a cutting board and let steak rest 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, blend onion and garlic, tomatoes, chipotle, and remaining 3 Tbsp. lime juice in a blender until smooth. Add chopped cilantro, season with salt, and pulse until just combined. Transfer salsa to a small bowl.

Grill tortillas until soft and beginning to char, about 30 seconds per side. Slice steak against the grain into ½" strips. Top each tortilla with a few pieces of steak, then some salsa, cilantro leaves, avocado, and Cotija cheese. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing over. Done!!


Creamy Dijon Vinaigrette

Pulse 1/4 cup good-quality red or white wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard, 1 Tbsp. honey, 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, and 1/2 garlic clove in a blender to combine. With motor running, slowly add 1/2 cup vegetable oil, then 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.


Granny Smith Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Purée 1 chopped Granny Smith apple (with core and peel), 1/4 cup raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar, and 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice in a blender, occasionally scraping down sides of blender with a spatula, until smooth. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl, pressing down on solids with spatula to extract all juice; discard solids. Whisk in 1 tablespoon minced shallot and 1 teaspoon raw sugar. Whisk in 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon safflower or grapeseed oil until well blended. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. DO AHEAD Vinaigrette can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Rewhisk before using.


Simone's Shallot Vinaigrette
Vinaigrette can be made 1 week ahead and kept refrigerated. Bring to room temperature and shake before using.

Combine 1 finely chopped shallot, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar in a jar; season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Let sit 20 minutes. Add 1/3 cup olive oil and cover. Shake to combine.


Canal House Classic Vinaigrette
Make this once with measuring spoons and cups; the next time, just eyeball it, adjusting any or all of the ingredients to suit your palate. 

1 small garlic clove, finely grated
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
½ cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Whisk garlic, vinegar, and mustard in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil until emulsified; season with salt and pepper.
Do Ahead: Dressing can be made 2 days ahead. Transfer to a jar; cover and chill.


Posted by Mack Oates at 13:02