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The other night Yuki was craving a big burger. To be honest, I should have knocked her up a long time ago. Pregnancy has her craving red meat. I’ve often said that red meat is my favorite vegetable. She wanted a burger, who was I to say no? We had a Groupon for the Paramount Room so it all worked out a little too perfectly.

The Paramount Room is known for their $9 Kobe Burger. They also have a nice beer list. Yuki couldn’t enjoy the beer list, but I was more than happy to enjoy it for both of us, I mean the three of us.

It’s your basic neighborhood bar with exposed brick walls, loud rock’n’roll, and a TV over the bar playing the Bulls game (it’s still weird to see Hinrich in a Wizzards uniform). The menu is nice and short with basic bar food fare. We really didn’t have to look at the menu though because we both knew we’d be full of Kobe Burger way before we ever walked through their front door. And boy were we ever full of Kobe Burger!

I know the picture is terrible, but just imagine two plates with 1/2 pound burgers, lettuce, tomato, and red onion. On one we got the french fries, on the other we got the tempura green beans. The fries came with ketchup and a garlic aioli while the green beans came with a red chili dipping sauce. I got my burger with the applewood smoked bacon, sautéed mushrooms, and blue cheese. Yuki got the same only with cheddar instead of blue.

I will say, the beef was not Japanese Kobe, it was Kobe-style wagu beef probably from Nebraska (most beef that’s called Kobe in America is not from Japan). If it were real Kobe from Japan there is no way they could serve 1/2 pound for $9, it’d be more like $35. That said, Kobe-style beef from Nebraska is not a bad thing, it’s still a very tasty high quality meat. That came through in this burger as it was a very delicious burger. Very juicy and full of beefy goodness. They are also using high quality bacon and cheeses (no velveeta on this plate!). What really made the burgers stand out though was the sautéed mushrooms. I was fully expecting regular old button mushrooms, maybe cremini. No no no. They went full-out and threw some oyster mushrooms under the bun for these bad boys! While the flavor of oyster mushrooms was nice with the beef it was the texture that put it over the top. Very nice touch, very nice indeed.

As for the fries and tempura green beans, they were just your average fries and tempura green beans. They were cooked properly though and the sauces were nice. With garlic aioli on top of my blue cheese I was extremely kissable!

All in all I would definitely put the Paramount Room’s Kobe Burgers up with the best of them. Are they the best? Probably not, there are some damn good burgers around, not to mention the ones I grill up myself (ask any of my high school buddies, I am famous for my ghetto burgers). They are in the discussion though, thanks to the oyster mushrooms. With the Paramount Room being very close to our apartment I can definitely see more trips there in our future, as long as Yuki is pregnant and craving red meat.

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Fresh caught sustainable Coho Salmon was on sale, and it looked damn good, so I picked up a 20 oz fillet. I really wanted to throw it on the grill, but with it raining all day yesterday I had to settle for the broiler. I hate covering up fresh flesh like this with a lot of flavors, so I kept it real simple and just added a little extra flavor. But first, the soup.

I cut the kernels off of 3 ears of corn, chopped up 4 green onions, sliced 3 cloves of garlic, and threw it all into a stockpot with 1 cup of chicken stock and 2 cups of water. I also threw the stripped corn cobs in to make sure all of that flavorful juice made it into the soup. I brought it all up to a boil, covered the pot, turned the heat down to med-low, and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Then, I turned off the heat and let it cool for about 10 minutes before pouring it all into my blender. I contemplated straining it, but I like the little bits of corn so I left it as is. I poured it back into the pot, seasoned it with salt and pepper, and left it until dinner time. At that point I re-heated it and ladled it into a couple of bowls and garnished it with some fresh slices of radish.

For the hash I used 5 large shiitake stems removed and caps quartered, 5 red creamer potatoes (the pic shows 7, but I only used 5 of them), 6-7 oz of brussel sprouts quartered, half an onion large diced, 2 garlic cloves minced, and 2 thick slices of applewood smoked bacon. In a large pot of boiling salt water I par-boiled the potatoes for about 10 minutes then lifted them out with a slotted spoon. I set them aside to cool down. In the same boiling water I threw in the quartered brussel sprouts and let them go for 2 minutes. Then I drained them and let them sit until further notice.

In a large hot skillet I laid the bacon slices in and let the fat render off. Once they were crispy I took them out and drained them on paper towels, then sliced them up. I added 1 tablespoon of butter to the hot bacon fat and then chopped the cooled potatoes and tossed them in. I let them get a little crisp on the outside for about 6 minutes and then tossed in the garlic and onion. After about 6 more minutes I added the shiitake and brussel sprouts and then seasoned with a little salt and pepper. Didn’t need too much salt because of the salty bacon fat. A few minutes later and I added back in the sliced bacon. I let that all come together for about 3 minutes.

Look at that salmon! Isn’t that gorgeous?

I cut it up into 4 equal portions and seasoned it with salt and pepper. Then I took some hoisin sauce and brushed just a little on top of each piece. Not too much, just a little. While my hash was cooking I put my oven rack on the upper third and started the broiler. I put the salmon under the broiler for about 7 minutes. That’s all it needs. Ready to be devoured.

I had soup, vegetables, dead animal (salmon and bacon), a beer, my beautiful wife….what more did I need?

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