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Jeff Houck

The Tampa Tribune’s food writer since 2005, Jeff Houck covers the way people live through their food. He also hosts the Table Conversations food podcast and believes that everything crunchy is good.

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Fried Strawberries, Chocolate Lava Cake, Maine Lobster Rolls [This Week’s Weekend Eats]

Posted Jul 3, 2012 by Jeff Houck

Updated Jul 3, 2012 at 09:58 AM

I have a few food crushes, I’ll admit.

The moment my eyes find them on a menu, I get a little weak in the knees.

My mouth waters. The heart palpitates. It’s like Christmas morning, taking your first driving test and Kate Upton climbing out of a pool, all wrapped up in one.

First crush: Duck.

Anything duck. Seriously. I lose all composure for it. I can still recall the duck carnitas flautas made by Rene Valenzuela one night during a demo at Chefs on the Loose. The duck confit made by Jeannie Pierola that I ate at the second Kitchenbar pop-up haunts me still. And I’ll never forget my first batch of duck fat fries made by Domenica Macchia at Diner 437 in St. Pete.

My lawd.

Imma need a minnit.

Pause. Pause. Pause.

Okay. Better now.

Second food crush: Figs.

Don’t know what it is, I just love me some figs.

I didn’t care for them much until a few years ago when I started eating them when they were properly prepared. They’re the perfect fruit. Fresh. Sweet. Succulent.

Doesn’t matter how you use them. They just do it for me.

So imagine my Sophie’s choice this week when Weekend Eats included both duck dishes and a fig dish.

What to choose, what to choose.

Consider my dilemma, won’t you?

@YumAndYummer - I made and ate fig gelato with balsamic drizzle for dessert. And dinner.

This was from Twitter follower @YumAndYummer. It’s a bowl of fig gelato with balsamic drizzle he made.



@DorisTruong - Duck ice cream at @wongrestaurant in #NYC.

@DorisTruong sent me a photo of her plate of duck ice cream that she enjoyed at Wong on Cornelia Street in New York City.

I don’t think you heard me correctly. Allow me to repeat.


::::room spinning:::::

“Help me Jesus! Help me Jewish God! Help me Allah! AAAAAHHH! Help me Tom Cruise! Tom Cruise, use your witchcraft on me to get the fire off me!”



@divathatateny - Smoked duck, Foie gras pate, duck sausage cake & porcini sauce

My close, personal, Weekend Eats friend @divathatateny enjoyed this dish of smoked duck, foie gras pate, duck sausage cake and porcini sauce.

Well, doesn’t that just look like a plate full of sin?

I certainly think so. And, hey, I like me some tasty sin. Not every day, mind you. But occasionally. And then, when I do, go ahead and back up the truck. While you’re at it, make it look and taste just like this.

What to do… what to do… what to do?

Which one to choose?

Well, I’ll tell you.

After careful consideration, I have to give the grand poobah Weekend Eats prize to @YumAndYummer.

Why? Because… IT’S FIG GELATO! As if there needs to be a better rationale.

Yes, I understand that if this was dessert poker that duck ice cream would be the royal flush to fig gelato’s full house.


End of discussion.

For his triumph, he and his dish will enter the Weekend Eats Hall of Fame on Pinterest and he will receive an unsigned, free dead-tree copy of:

Ted Allen - In My Kitchen

In My Kitchen; 100 Recipes and Discoveries for Passionate Cooks,” by Ted Allen. It’s a great read, especially for anyone who is sick of being told that the joys of cooking can only be had in 30 minutes or less.

What else did my friends enjoy last weekend?

@takingcarePKGS - A very boring #weekendeats for me! Too busy making brownie bites for a bridal show.

@Pam_maP - Papa Murphy’s in Apopka. The Best Pizza!

@citizenjaney - Pulled pork w/ vinegar bbq sauce & slaw. griddle cakes. garlic cheese grits. banana pudding. The South on a plate.

‏@karenmcallister - Made watermelon slushies for dessert last night. Refreshing treat!

Still hungry?

Dig this week’s Gallery of Noms. Just click on each image to get a description. Thanks again to all who contributed. Can’t wait for next week’s conundrum:

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