How Do You Like Your Eggs?

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Over breakfast this morning, Veronica and I were discussing eggs and how it’s funny that some people are SO particular about how their eggs cooked, or rather how they perceive them to be perfect. There’s scrambled, sunny side up, over easy, poached, hard boiled, soft boiled and if you are more particular- over medium, sunny side up but with the yolks cooked through, well done, whites only, fried in butter, olive oil or coconut oil.. I’m sure the list goes on..



My first dish I ever learned, age 7, was what I called ‘egg in toast’ but what is more commonly referred to as ‘egg in a basket’. Toast with a hole cut out with my favorite collector’s cartoon jam jar and then an egg fried in the middle.  Since then one could say that I have a soft spot for eggs, as a breakfast choice, their countless culinary applications and addition to any meal, savory or sweet.

I’m always experimenting with new egg dish ideas.


So.. how do most people like their eggs cooked?? And better yet, what might that tell you of a person? Might it describe their personality as average, adventurous, creative, annoying, inconsiderate or even optimistic?

I laughed when we talked about the bit from Julia Roberts 1999 classic ‘Runaway Bride’ where Julia’s character never could decide how she liked her eggs cooked when asked so she just went along with whatever the man who she was with ordered. Sunny side up, over easy, poached, whites only..

Honestly, I’m a straight scrambled or over medium kind of guy. I like the egg yolk to be runny but not so much that it is as thin as water and gets lost all over the plate with the disastrous chance of not having the proper vehicle to mop it up. Based on those particulars, I rate my egg personality to be particular and somewhat judgmental. Whenever I’m at ‘ye ol’ greasy spoon diner’, I now rest my culinary ego at the door and don’t expect more than over easy style eggs on this request but sometimes I am pleasantly surprised by the cook’s delivery or default. When I’m at home, I geek out to perfecting the eggs to just as I like them.

Look, I get the demands of a breakfast place- catering to a bunch of early morning, often hung over, hangry and otherwise particular customers that want their breakfast their way and in a quick manner. Well, when most breakfast establishments are working with a large cook surface with varying degrees of heat, multiple egg, pancake, omelette, french toast, crispy bacon, and eggs Benedict orders, it’s just a little hard to keep track of Susan’s request for over medium eggs on table 54. Give them a break!! If you don’t like it, cook eggs for yourself at home or better yet, open up your own breakfast joint and see how fast it takes for your mind to get ‘scrambled’ during a typical weekend breakfast shift. I love and respect a good old fashioned neighborhood diner and am 9 out of 10 times pretty darn happy and grateful for what I get.

As for me and scrambled eggs, well this is a whole different beast. I recall reading and watching a few bits with Gordon Ramsey (that British celebrity chef with a temper) saying how he judges his new cooks on how well they can make scrambled eggs. But I feel he is more critical on if they produce the eggs to his liking rather than their views.

Again, I like mine fluffy and buttery but I know some who like them more well done or even a little brown on the edges. Sorry, not sorry, Gordon..

As for omelettes, well that is a whole different ball game….

For more resources on eggs, cookery, and fun recipes, check out the –Serious Eats Guide to Eggs-

Throwback Fish Friday


‘This is our town, this is Friday night
Dressed in our rags and our rage and our best
Piercing eyes looking for something – anything, anyone.
Stare across the floor as they begin to dance….’

The lyrics from that New Model Army song run through my head as I recall fond memories of a pivotal point in my culinary path.

What was going to be a ‘Throwback Thursday’ post is actually more suited towards Friday this week.

Remember when Friday nights were the sh**? I mean like Friday night would just be party time, throw it all against the wall, stay out till 2 (or later..) in the morning, and spend the rest of the weekend into the next week talking about it (and, of course, recovering). For most of us, the nostalgia of Friday night with the boys (or girls) is something we always carry with us. Ha, perhaps even when we have kids and Friday night is no different than Monday night or we just grow older- secretly in the back of our mind we recall the Friday nights of our youth with great enjoyment and a surge of energy.

When I first started working in food retail in my mid 20’s, I created a fresh fish buying program for my local land-locked community and prided myself on the ultra fresh and stunningly beautiful ocean delights that my little landlubber town just never really saw outside of a restaurant. Oysters, Lemon Sole, Tasmanian Sea Trout, Maine Smelt that ‘smelt’ of fresh cucumbers, Uni, and Wolffish were a few of the many varieties of seafood I was bringing in through a popular word of mouth preorder seafood program every Friday.


Inevitably, I would order a little extra of each to assure every one of my customers got the absolute best product and no tail pieces of fillet. What to do with these extra ocean gems?? Friday night pregame??


The idea at first sounded crazy- Bring anywhere from 5-8 different odds and ends of amazing seafood to a friend’s remote cabin to host a sort of ‘underground restaurant’ for my skater, punk, PBR aficionado and marijuana enthusiast friends. I mean, would they really appreciate the delicate and exotic fishes like I did or were they set with the pizza or Chinese food before hitting the bars or clubs?


Well, the first Friday I brought over my assortment of treats, I sent everyone in a complete state of shock and awe with standing ovations and requests for encore performances. ‘Fish Friday’s became a thing. There was a text roll, people were telling their friends and before I knew it the little ‘pregame dinner party’ turned into a 25-30 person tasting menu/ fish jam session. With riffs like raw oysters and uni, Tasmanian Sea Trout Tartare, Skate Provencal, Fluke en Papillote, and Bouillabaisse, not only was I learning and teaching my friends to shuck oysters, but I was having one of the best times of my life in the the process. I mean, think about eating a dozen of the freshest and crispest Oysters at a rock concert…It doesn’t seem like they belong together but when they are there and done right, it blew people away.

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I say this was a pivotal point in my food path and passion because these friend dinners opened up my creativity in a stress-free and familiar setting and showed me that people don’t just enjoy good food but also love the show and the story of it.


We hosted about 20 ‘Fish Fridays’ over the course of that year and I’m still asked by some of the members if I’ll ever do it again just like the good old times….well who knows.. One thing is for sure though, Friday nights still rock, even if its just in your memories and heart…

Talking Shop


For those of you that haven’t gathered, I like fish.  I like to eat fish.  I especially enjoy selling fish.  I call myself a fishmonger.

I created a fresh fish buying club within my small land-locked community where grocery store fish just isn’t great.  Under the guidance of my boss and mentor, Matthew Rubiner, I strung together ideas and plans to transport some gorgeous fish from Portland, Maine every week.  Being a cheeseshop, we were worried about space and issues of scales on the cheeses or ‘fishy’ odors.  I am proud to say that the fish I bring in is so fresh that only the scent of the fresh and briny sea is noticeable.  As for the scales, they tend to fly about and end up in funny places..

Just like any other source of food, I need to know where it comes from.  I spend countless hours on computers, phones, and in books reading up on species, fishing methods and responsible seafood.  I know that this wild food is in jeopardy and precautions and measures need to be taken on my end to ensure safe, responsible and honest product.

I won a grant in 2010 to head up to Maine and spend 2 weeks learning and seeing where my fish came from and really gather some of the knowledge and skills to be a fishmonger.  I’ll be sharing my experience in the days to come.

It’s late now, tomorrow is Friday.  I have Mackerel to gut,  Striper Bass to fillet, Cod to bone, Diver Scallops to divide up and Oysters to shuck in our adjoining cafe.

-Austin Banach, fishmonger

Farmer Style

Today I was amused yet complimented by a story a friend shared with me about his grilled Spanish Mackerel experience:

Me: “Farmer Rich, what’s happnin?”

Farmer Rich: “Dude! That (Spanish) Mackerel you sold me was absolutely phenominal!”  It was so white and creamy and soo good!

Me: “Oh yea? How’d you cook it?”

Farmer Rich: “Just olive oil, salt, and lemon juice. Grilled it in the weber, indirect heat.  It’s all it needed.  The water pressure was messed up in my cabin on the farm so I didn’t even get a chance to rinse it but I didn’t care.”

Me: “That’s farmer style”.

Farmer Rich: (chuckles)  “The meat was so soft and buttery.  It fell right off the bones and was like mashed potatoes.  The skin ontop was so crispy like a potato chip.  Awww, dude.. I devoured the whole thing.  I even ate some of the head, the fins, and some of the small bones.  I normally would’t eat the whole 3 pound fish myself but, man, I just lost it!”

Me: “Totally farmer style.”

Farmer Rich: “Order me another this weekend.  Ok, I’m outta here!”

*Note: Having known Farmer Rich for quite some time, we tagged the phrase ‘farmer style’ from his ill-mannered eating habits.  In particular, I witnessed him literally inhale a 4-ounce sized panna cotta at a fine dining restaurant without the aid of utensils. “That was totally farmer style!”, an onlooker claimed, and, obviously, the phrase stuck..

Fish Library:  Mackerel, Spanish

Diver Harvested Scallops

Diver Scallop season is just starting in Maine.  Scuba divers risk extremely frigid waters for these gems.  After eating these throughout last season, I won’t eat any other Scallop besides these- it’s worth the wait.  Their sweet, crisp, creamy and elegant flesh is amazing raw or the simply seared in olive oil.

Here’s the method I use for Diver Scallops:

Pan-Seared Diver Scallops

Fish Library:  Scallops, Diver

Reflection: Mangalitsa

Today I reflected upon a past experience in Branchville, NJ about 4 years ago and a special breed of hog.  I left the entry just as it was written in a previous blog- a reflection of my writing as well.

It all started from a call from an old chef buddy of my boss’s:

“Hey I’m going down to New Jersey to bring back a Mangalitsa pig, thought you might be interested..send one of your guys”

On February 16-18 2010, I took part in Pigstock 2010 hosted at Mosefund Farm in Branchville, NJ.

 Who: A group of chefs, journalists, photographers, “foodies”

What: A 3 day Class in the slaughtereing/ preparing of organs/ and seam butchery of the Mangalitsa Pig taught by Cristoph and Isabell Wiesner of Austria.

When: February 16-18 2010

Where: Mosefund Farm Branchville, NJ

Why: Showcasing this heritage breed being introduced to America.

The Mangalitsa (aka Mangalita, Mangalica) Hog originated in Austria/ Hungary. This breed is bred and known for its extreme fat content. Basically it is a chef’s/ butcher’s dream. Pig Porn. 

Over the intense weekend I slaughtered the pigs, ate everything form the snout to tail, learned seam butchery (a method of cutting individual muscles) and met some amazing people.

I brought back 1/2 of pig. I sold the fresh meat in our store, rendered lard, and collaborated on a tasting menu my friend’s restaurant (Nudel).

This event changed my life. I can easily say that i’ve worked this hard in my field to achieve and attend such event. 

Beyond Four Fish

Paul Greenberg writes in his book, ‘Four Fish’– “Out of all the many mammals that roamed the earth, our forebears selected four- cows, pigs, sheep, and goats- to be their principal meats.  Out of all the many birds, humans chose four- chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese.  In the center of the seafood section four varieties of fish consistently appeared and had little to do with the waters adjacent to the market in question: salmon, sea bass, cod, and tuna.”  In a common market/ super market consumers know these types of fish as just flesh rather than the actual animal as a whole (similarly to most other land meat).  Even worse, some markets or restaurants are substituting one species for another and giving it one of the four common names.  Part of my job as a fishmonger is to open doors to new species and new ideas in selecting fish.  Persuading those so comfortable of these four fish to something more adventurous and perhaps more responsible is very rewarding.


Here it finally is!  After much tinkering and procrastination, my blog finally is growing legs (or fins) and is ready to start streaming.  For those of you who don’t know me, read my bio.  I’m using my blog for a few things:

  1. Highlight my experiences and findings in a journal style approach (isn’t this what most blogs do?)
  2. Use this space as a reference and portfolio to friends, family, and clients.
  3. Just to have fun.

While my current focus and passion is all things seafood, I am obsessed and driven to anything food related.  Here I will share my food adventures (mainly focusing on fish) from spending time on Mussel rafts in Maine, packing Caviar at Browne Trading, a day at Rubiner’s/rubi’s (my full-time job),  attending various photo shoots and events through Culture or just foraging for wild mushrooms on a day off.