Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Alton Brown's Chili modified to be kosher and shabbos crock-pot friendly

Alton Brown's Chili modified to be kosher and shabbos crock-pot friendly


  • 3 pounds stew meat or whatever is on sale
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 2 (12-ounce) bottle of beer, preferably a medium ale
  • 1 (16-ounce) container salsa
  • 30 tortilla chips
  • 1 diced green bell pepper
  • 1 diced red bell pepper
  • 1 diced medium onion
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder or smoked paprika
  • 1 medium can of tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin


Place the meat in a large mixing bowl and toss with the oil. Set aside.
Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat until hot. Add the meat in 3 or 4 batches and brown on all sides, approximately 2 minutes per batch. Once each batch is browned, place the meat in a clean large bowl.
Once all of the meat is browned, add the beer and meat to the crock-pot.
Saute the peppers and onions in the pan that you browned the meat in. Add the vegetable to the crock-pot along with the salsa, tortilla chips, spices, and tomato sauce.  Cook on low

Yields 4 servings but can be easily scaled up to fit your crowd.  Also you can go vegetarian with this one my skipping the meat and adding a bag of kidney beans directly to the crock-pot instead.

Garnish with onions, jalapeños, and corn. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My post about the Shallots bar menu including the private message, saved to my blog.

Shallots Bistro raised their bar menu prices, NOT COOL. They ruined a good thing of being cheaper then @kens diner
16 January at 21:52 ·  · 
    • Alyssa 'Block' Gordon why how much is stuff now?
      16 January at 21:59 · 
    • Ronit Peikes burgers start at $11m but don't include fries anymore. also, they only come with lettuce, pickle and tomato. you pay extra for any topping- grilled onions are $3 extra, so is avocado. pineapple is $2 and mushrooms are $4 extra. it's crazy
      16 January at 22:02 · 
    • Ronit Peikes also, for the chicken, you pay $2 extra for any glaze- list price is just plain chicken.
      *and the burgers only start at $11 not $11m :)
      16 January at 22:03 · 
    • Daniel Peikes Also charging extra for a dipping sauce for your Chicken is really dumb!!!
      16 January at 22:03 · 
    • Karen Hoffman Zimmerman I still haven't gone to the bar menu despite them being so close by to me. That was a dumb move.
      16 January at 22:03 · 
    • Karen Hoffman Zimmerman Mendy made me a great mushroom and grilled onion hamburger for me for shabbat. Thank you Mendy :)
      16 January at 22:05 ·  ·  1 person
    • Daniel Peikes everyone should just cook more at home.
      16 January at 22:06 · 
    • Alyssa 'Block' Gordon wow that's really stupid!! why mess it up. see now they are getting greedy!
      they should see this post- we should start a protest
      16 January at 22:06 · 
    • Daniel Peikes I think everyone should start their own posts about this and tag @shallots bistro then then will get the message as it will show on their page.
      16 January at 22:09 · 
    • Max Friedman And they haven't updated their online menus in months (Summer 2010? Really?) so you don't know the prices have changed until you actually sit down.
      16 January at 22:21 · 
    • Ronit Peikes these newest changes only went into effect at the end of last week
      16 January at 22:55 · 
    • Rifi Bleichman that is really awful...
      16 January at 22:59 · 
    • Joseph Jacoby I went there tonight and what would have costed $32 ended up being $50+
      16 January at 23:03 · 
    • Yoni Asher go to Tailgators
      17 January at 07:06 · 
    • Dovid Freedman Remember when the Burger Buddy was $5? Sigh.
      17 January at 08:01 ·  ·  1 person
    • טיין לי צאו This is a job for....Tein Li Chow Man!
      17 January at 12:17 · 
    • Daniel Peikes ‎@טיין לי צאו thanks for having a value menu!!! You have done a great job of keeping the consumer in mind!
      17 January at 14:19 · 
    • Winnerauto Repairs you should write a review on their page!
      17 January at 15:54 · 
    • Daniel Peikes I tagged them in the original post so if you go to their page and and toward the top click Shallot and others is shows on their page.
      17 January at 15:57 · 
    • Shallots Bistro 
      First of all we thank you very much for your feedback, it is very important to us.
      We do feel your pain, the fries are back on and included with the burgers as of mid January.
      The new bar menu is posted on our website:
      http://www.shallotsbis...See more
      06 February at 13:53 · 
    • Daniel Peikes 
      ‎@Shallots Bistro I appreciate your response and we thank you for adding the fries back. You guys do a great job as far as quality and ambiance and I understand that there is a cost associated with that. In my opinion and a again this is ...See more
      06 February at 15:13 · 
    • Shallots Bistro 
      The short version of my answer: Thank you for your compliments. We appreciate those as well :)

      It is not specified on the menu, but the fries are served with the burgers. The rest of the items stay the same as listed (we are still charging f...See more
      06 February at 18:06 · 
    • Daniel Peikes check out my notes to see shallots full response to this. It is very honest answer and I think everyone should read it. I want to personally thank Sam for it!
      Saturday at 19:55 · 

      Between You and Shallots Bistro
      Shallots Bistro 06 February at 19:35 Report
      I am sending it in private only because I don't want to bore all your friends with the details of the restaurant business, feel free to post any points you think are helpful at anytime...But you asked some good questions and I owe you some answers.

      The issues with the previous, non-a la carte menu was a combination of two issues. A- We were loosing money on many of the items simply because we made mistakes in the original pricing. B- Our expectations & customers ordering habits were totally out of whack...

      A- The baskets were not priced at profit, the wings were priced lower than the kosher takeout restaurants and was obviously our mistake. You are paying $7.99 to $9.99 per LB at any of Chicago's take-away joints (including TLC) you were actually paying 10%-30% more than Shallots old bar menu prices on wings and tenders. (That is before we discuss the hand cut fries that were free, the 5LB take-out minimum quantities TLC has for the $7.99+ per LB item prices).

      When guests compare prices, they compare apples to apples. We don't get anything for free, table cloth and napkins alone cost over $1.50 on average per table. Servers min wages, servers insurance, cost us well over $2 per table or average $1 per guest. Believe me, this is just the tip of the iceberg..
      How can we be cheaper than a fast food or take out??
      This is without discussing quality of food at all.

      We tried, it is simply not worth it for us....Customers understand that and don't expect us to be cheaper than TLC, Srulies or Kens. We appreciate them.

      How did we make these mistakes:
      Shallots typical markup is lower in %percentage than dairy and ordinary kosher restaurants due to the high food costs involved in fine dining. (If a $22 dry aged steak is marked up %50 and sold for $33 we are making $11 on that dish).
      In these low cost/low priced items, we should of worked on a higher % markup due to the fact that the %=$ do not cover extra costs involved (disposables, dips, extra labor for substitutions, all the things that are considered pennies when selling a $40 entrée. They make it or break it on a $7-$14 item). For this we needed the price adjustments. If food cost us $3 and we charge $7, the labor is $2 we will lose money after the dips, disposable, dish-washing, service, linen etc.

      B- A la carte. One out of two orders in the burgers would look like this )a real example I pulled off the POS(: $10 Burger, med, add avo, add grilled onions, extra pastrami, egg, well done sweet potato fries baked, BBQ sauce & slice of raw onions...SPLIT...

      We NEVER say NO to a customer. I think anyone can see the cost here is going to be more than $10.... And at Shallots we never had this customer before... We are very happy to have them, we are eager to serve them. That is the purpose of the bar menu, it is not built for the traditional Shallots costumer. But we do not want them to take us under...
      So we changed the menu to suit this type of customer as well. We don't want everyone to pay for this either.

      One can argue, just raise the price $2 per item and cover all the extras. I am not convinced it's fair or the best solution. It may make us look better, but is it the best solution for the ordinary customer? I think a customer should be able to get a great burger for $11. Just $1 or $1.50 more than red-robin, and the food cost there is 13%-18%, they are open 375 days a year... Our food cost is way way higher and we will be open in 2011 only 236 regular dinner nights. So all in all 1.50 more is extremely reasonable.

      I think by now I touched or answered most of the points you stressed. I thank you for your patients, thank you for listening. If you have any questions/comments please feel free to respond.

      If you want to continue reading, be my guest...There is one major item in kosher restaurants that most customers don't think of at all. They think kosher is more expensive because that is what they see in the stores when they go shopping. They have no idea that actually the kosher food cost is very small peanuts compare to kosher "overhead" (I am not talking about cRc fees & Mashgiach).

      If you asked red robin to be open 236 days, they would tell you it's impossible, the overhead will kill them. We are open 236 days, and we pay insurance, rent, salaries, utilities, dues etc. for 365 days. Fast food kosher joints will be open 286 to 336 days, because Fridays & sometimes Saturdays are even better than regular weekdays.
      For a sit-down restaurant that 90% of it's sales are dinner, Friday does not exist, and Saturday only works in the winter time, if at all.

      Successful restaurants are those that are making a profit of 10%, if you ask them to close 25.5% of the year they would think you are crazy... It is a huge expense that non-kosher customers have no reason, and will not pay for.
      But that is 80% of our "kosher" costs. Not the food costs.
      We are proud and happy to close on Shabat and holidays, don't get me wrong I am not complaining. But it costs so much in the food-service industry mostly because our "upside" is so small (10% profit) and our downside is so big...

      I hope this helps a bit to understand the unique challenges of a kosher fine dining restaurant that is out of the tri-state area ...

      Sam Wasserman
      Daniel Peikes 12 February at 19:47
      First I am sorry I did not get back to you earlier but I have been a bit under the weather. I want to thank you for sending me your previous message. It definitely clears things up, and I appreciate your honesty when it comes to admitting the mistakes that were made. I completely understand the costs involved as I grew up around the kosher food business. The prices seem fair and I can now completely understand the need to raise them. I honestly do enjoy myself when I come to your restaurant. Thanks.
      Your satisfied and now well informed customer,
      Daniel Peikes
      Shallots Bistro 13 February at 18:10 Report
      Always a pleasure!
      At your service,