Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Coffee Crawl in Pittsburgh: Tango Cafe

Tango Cafe
5806 Forward Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15217
Phone: (412) 421-1390

The Tuesday night crew continued its search for the perfect Pittsburgh cafe with a visit to the Tango Cafe in Squirrel Hill. Boasting an authentic Argentinian menu of pastries and coffees, this unassuming little cafe packs a serious punch.

Our group of seven arrived around 9 p.m. (the cafe closes at 10 p.m.). Immediately when you walk in the door, your eyes (if they are dessert-seeking like mine) will be drawn to the small pastry case containing Argentinian pastries and cookies. Karl and I decided we had to split a Merengue ($1.99), which consisted of sweet, thick and delicious dulce de leche sandwiched between two perfectly baked merengue cookies drizzled with chocolate: the yum-factor was strong in these cookies.

I also ordered a cafe con leche ($2.10), although I really had my eye on the Tango Submarino, which the barrista informed me in her lilting Spanish accent was a bar of dark chocolate submerged in a mug of steamed milk ($3.10). I'll definitely be trying that next time!

I'm enjoying trying out different coffee shops. It's a shame that last year's regular Tuesday night meeting place, Make Your Mark Artspace and Coffehouse, is no longer open until 10 p.m. on Tuesdays, but at least we are getting to try out some of the other great locally owned cafes in our area. I wonder where we'll end up next Tuesday...?

If there is a limit to all things and a measure
And a last time and nothing more and forgetfulness,
Who will tell us to whom in this house
We without knowing it have said farewell?

from "Limits" by Jorge Luis Borges of Argentina (1899-1986)

Too Much Chicken

Yesterday, I was trying to clear out some freezer space (and actually use the food I had in there for once) so that I can soon defrost the barely hollow iceberg that it has become. So, I grabbed a 3-pound bag of boneless, skinless chicken thighs that I don't even remember buying (it must have been months ago) and set it out to defrost.

Only today did I realize I had no idea what I was going to do with 3 pounds of chicken thighs. But, having defrosted them already, there was nothing for it but to cook them all up. I started by grilling a few in my heavy-as-lead cast-iron grill pan. While I was doing that, I thought: MARINADE!

Not having much on hand, I swiped one of my sister's ridiculously cheap 12 oz. cans of beer, stared hard at it for a minute, then whipped up a marinade (see below for the recipe).

I'm pretty pleased with myself. After a couple of hours marinating in the refrigerator, I roasted the chicken in the oven for about 45 minutes. I had some of it today, and it is really tasty! Not bad for a spur of the moment idea.

Plans for the leftover chicken include:
~ 1 chicken and broccoli casserole
~ sliced chicken wrapped in pita with white-bean hummus and greek yogurt (great for lunches)
~ cubed chicken in my leftover spicy bean soup

It's fun to be able to finally be able to avoid looking up a recipe every time I'm in a bind. Although, this is kind of defeating my resolution to actually use my cookbooks this year...

Beer Marinated Chicken Thighs

12-oz. can of cheap lager
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 TSP garlic powder
salt and pepper
olive oil

Massage 2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken thighs with olive oil (use your hands: it feels nice!). Rub a little salt and pepper into the chicken, too. Put the chicken in a shallow dish, a bowl, or a large ziploc bag. (Now wash your hands, please!)

Pour the beer over the chicken. Pour in the Worcestershire sauce. Sprinkle the garlic powder over the top. Using tongs (or, if you like the feel of chicken, use your hands! Just always remember to wash after handling raw chicken, or any meat for that matter), toss the chicken around and make sure the garlic powder gets mixed in pretty good. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.

Remove chicken thighs from the marinade and place in one layer in a shallow baking dish. Discard the extra marinade (no need to baste). Let the chicken sit out for about 15 minutes (to allow to come to room temperature) while you preheat the oven to 350˚F. You can keep it covered if you want. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until internal temperature is between 160˚F and 165˚F.

Let rest for about 5 minutes before cutting into them. Delicious hot or cold.