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  • Post #31 - October 14th, 2013, 12:20 pm
    Post #31 - October 14th, 2013, 12:20 pm Post #31 - October 14th, 2013, 12:20 pm
    I love Blue Smoke http://bluesmoke.com/blue/. Despite off-kilter service, we had great drinks(a riff on the sazerac...which the server mistook for a sazerac as we ordered more and brought possibly the world's worst sazerac to the table, bitter, raw, and mouth-peeling). For a great sazerac see Libertine in Indianapolis or @ Proof in Louisville, or at June in Peoria. Or Nawlins, I guess. Anyway, we had good house cocktails, then I switched to Rolling Rock; yeah, whatevs. We started with kumamotos(oh, those creamy little devils), and the best mac n cheese I've had in the city, so unctuous, slightly blackened, some herbal thing going on there...uh...more...please(now I sound like a Yelp review). Then we did a round of West Coast something or others and one of mine was kind of off(or should I type "gamey," instead?) to the extent that I wondered if I should be eating it...no tummy troubles ensued, but my partner later that night told me he had one like that also. I said, maybe there's a richness to this variety of oysters that I don't get. But, it's all about the Q. We ordered a rib sampler and a brisket sampler. Holy shit! If you could've seen the bark on the KC ribs; and so luscious, so light. The Texas ribs were okey-dokey, but Texas isn't known for it's ribs, it's known for brisket and Lordy, Lordy...the fatty brisket knocked my socks off...the lean, well, let's just leave it at that. I grew up in Houston, as some readers well know, and I grew up with BBQ. And trendy tho' it might be, there's some good Q to be had in NYC. New York Hill Country may have the panache, the theater, but Blue Smoke's got the goods.
    "Johnny thought when all purpose had been forgotten the world would end this way, with a dance. He slumped back in a corner, drew his knees up to his chin, and watched."-Derek Jarman
  • Post #32 - October 15th, 2013, 3:13 pm
    Post #32 - October 15th, 2013, 3:13 pm Post #32 - October 15th, 2013, 3:13 pm
    Christopher Gordon wrote:I love Blue Smoke http://bluesmoke.com/blue/. Despite off-kilter service, we had great drinks(a riff on the sazerac...which the server mistook for a sazerac as we ordered more and brought possibly the world's worst sazerac to the table, bitter, raw, and mouth-peeling). For a great sazerac see Libertine in Indianapolis or @ Proof in Louisville, or at June in Peoria. Or Nawlins, I guess. Anyway, we had good house cocktails, then I switched to Rolling Rock; yeah, whatevs. We started with kumamotos(oh, those creamy little devils), and the best mac n cheese I've had in the city, so unctuous, slightly blackened, some herbal thing going on there...uh...more...please(now I sound like a Yelp review). Then we did a round of West Coast something or others and one of mine was kind of off(or should I type "gamey," instead?) to the extent that I wondered if I should be eating it...no tummy troubles ensued, but my partner later that night told me he had one like that also. I said, maybe there's a richness to this variety of oysters that I don't get. But, it's all about the Q. We ordered a rib sampler and a brisket sampler. Holy shit! If you could've seen the bark on the KC ribs; and so luscious, so light. The Texas ribs were okey-dokey, but Texas isn't known for it's ribs, it's known for brisket and Lordy, Lordy...the fatty brisket knocked my socks off...the lean, well, let's just leave it at that. I grew up in Houston, as some readers well know, and I grew up with BBQ. And trendy tho' it might be, there's some good Q to be had in NYC. New York Hill Country may have the panache, the theater, but Blue Smoke's got the goods.


    I would actually say that a lot of the BBQ buzz these days in NYC is centered more around Brisket Town, Mighty Quinn's, Fette Sau, Mable's...
  • Post #33 - October 15th, 2013, 5:36 pm
    Post #33 - October 15th, 2013, 5:36 pm Post #33 - October 15th, 2013, 5:36 pm
    Never ate at Blue Smoke, but I've heard a lot of mighty fine jazz down below at the Jazz Standard. A great venue and they get great bands.

    Jonah
  • Post #34 - October 15th, 2013, 7:07 pm
    Post #34 - October 15th, 2013, 7:07 pm Post #34 - October 15th, 2013, 7:07 pm
    As one who recently gifted a smoker to his beloved neighbors(so now they own two...I couldn't take it with me, ya grok?). It's good to know that the talk is about every other place than where I've dined. I'm a Texan, I know my Q. I was intrigued by the jazz club downstairs @ Blue Smoke. We weren't there for that. The KC ribs at Blue Smoke rock. Insane bark. Hill Country is, again, a dog and pony show, yet they offer a great fatty brisket and Kreuz sausage. I'll be sure to investigate further into NYC's BBQ world.

    Jonah; let me know about the bands, I'm a free jazz guy, but open minded, NY Eye and Ear Control, etc.
    "Johnny thought when all purpose had been forgotten the world would end this way, with a dance. He slumped back in a corner, drew his knees up to his chin, and watched."-Derek Jarman
  • Post #35 - October 16th, 2013, 11:44 am
    Post #35 - October 16th, 2013, 11:44 am Post #35 - October 16th, 2013, 11:44 am
    Christopher: Your taste and mine in jazz are quite dissimilar! But looking at the schedule, Vijay Iyer and Rudresh Mahanthappa, both highly acclaimed, may be right up your alley.
  • Post #36 - October 31st, 2013, 2:48 pm
    Post #36 - October 31st, 2013, 2:48 pm Post #36 - October 31st, 2013, 2:48 pm
    I'm acclimating myself to our kitchen. No longer the Viking range, hood, and acres of stainless steel. A little less is a little more in some respects. To that end I get comfortable cooking in our new home. What gestures embody this space as opposed to the other? How do I move in this tiny, new kitchen? Little steps: so far I've made pasta salad, hunter's chicken, several quiches(testing out the oven), many breakfasts, ribeyes, simple stuff, comfortable things. Simultaneously, I get ghosted by the whims of native New Yorkers; those who always eat out. It's like it's in the walls, a spectral paisley whispering, "eat out, eat out, eat out."

    Yesterday our friends took us to one of their haunts; Les Singe Vertes(http://www.lesingevert.com/)...what is it with the French and things green? There's an 80's band I could mention, only to offend. They were good.

    Great escargot, green, again. An unapologetically duck fat redolent cassoulet, I had the trout, a sigh of a skate, plus, one of the best steak tartars ever(meaning it wasn't a torpid, sinewy mess, instead, minced appropriately with accoutrement to the side).

    service insouciant(which is a good thing)

    some comps

    eau de vie and a gratis top off

    Why disappear when the heart beats outside?
    "Johnny thought when all purpose had been forgotten the world would end this way, with a dance. He slumped back in a corner, drew his knees up to his chin, and watched."-Derek Jarman
  • Post #37 - November 1st, 2013, 9:02 am
    Post #37 - November 1st, 2013, 9:02 am Post #37 - November 1st, 2013, 9:02 am
    Singe Vert is in my old neighborhood and a cozy place. Blue Smoke is a shadow of what it used to be. Glad you enjoyed it but it used to be 50 times better before they expanded to JFK and Battery Park. I find the product they buy inferior to what they used to serve, and they no longer have the many true Belgian beers on the menu; just "Belgian style." Dumbing it down as they become a mini-chain.
  • Post #38 - November 2nd, 2013, 12:03 am
    Post #38 - November 2nd, 2013, 12:03 am Post #38 - November 2nd, 2013, 12:03 am
    DutchMuse wrote:Singe Vert is in my old neighborhood and a cozy place. Blue Smoke is a shadow of what it used to be. Glad you enjoyed it but it used to be 50 times better before they expanded to JFK and Battery Park. I find the product they buy inferior to what they used to serve, and they no longer have the many true Belgian beers on the menu; just "Belgian style." Dumbing it down as they become a mini-chain.


    Yeah, well, we ended up back there(Les Singe Vertes) after attempting to meet a friend for the Halloween parade. It was, "you can't get there from here," redux. The polizei had everything blocked off. The GM, C. was resplendent in drag. In fact, as I queued for the pissoir, I offered him to go ahead...I could hold it just a tad longer. T. ordered too much food, I asked him not too. Still, butternut squash soup with black truffle and truffle foam(I make a great squash soup and risotto, never thought of adding truffle...I do flash fried sage leaves), their perfect steak tartare, and T. gilded the lily with LSV's skate. We were quiet as we typically are dining out which led a neighboring table to engage us in conversation. Whatevs.
    "Johnny thought when all purpose had been forgotten the world would end this way, with a dance. He slumped back in a corner, drew his knees up to his chin, and watched."-Derek Jarman
  • Post #39 - November 11th, 2013, 7:27 pm
    Post #39 - November 11th, 2013, 7:27 pm Post #39 - November 11th, 2013, 7:27 pm
    So, yesterday went into the city with T to hang with M at the world's worst Kristkindlemarkt in Bryant Park. Of course, there was a shooting there the day before(it's the flying bullets that make ice skating so much fun). That doesn't really explain the lack of holiday themed merchandise on display. But, before that lackluster adventure, T and I "found" a really great little Szechuan place near Grand Central called MaPo Tofu, 338 Lexington Ave., New York, NY, 10016. As it was just the two of us at that point, we really couldn't take advantage of the extensive menu, we shared a couple soups(the usual Chinese restaurant suspects...decent renditions, his hot and sour super white peppery, my wonton soup a little bland, but obviously everything made in house), the Szechuan dumplings in hot oil were a very nice rendition, redolent of five-spice(I found that an unusual touch), and we shared the requisite ma po which I ordered vegetarian and extra spicy. It was a great rendition way too spicy for T, liberally powdered with coriander seed(another interesting touch), and, I've had ma po many places, I make it at home, I swear to god this thing was the most szechuan peppercorn heavy bowl I've ever had, not a pleasing little tingle, but full-on snakebite, sucking on a battery buzz. Which I like, but there's no way I could finish an entire bowl in one sitting. This stuff is botox bean curd. ma po is one of those dishes that improves overtime, so I took the rest home and will eat small portions of it at a time. Until I lose feeling in my mouth.
    "Johnny thought when all purpose had been forgotten the world would end this way, with a dance. He slumped back in a corner, drew his knees up to his chin, and watched."-Derek Jarman
  • Post #40 - November 26th, 2013, 10:18 pm
    Post #40 - November 26th, 2013, 10:18 pm Post #40 - November 26th, 2013, 10:18 pm
    I spent a long weekend in New York this past weekend. Thursday night was a visit to Sushi Yasuda with friends for an early dinner, my first return since Yasuda returned to Japan. Luckily, all was still very good. Rice is outstanding here, though in a couple of instances a little too delicate such that it came apart immediately upon being picked up. I'm more forgiving of that than rice that seems glued together. And Yasuda still prepares its rice better than the vast majority of sushi restaurants in the US. I'd like to do a side by side with Kabuto in Vegas however . . . still stands out as maybe my favorite pure sushi experience in the US.

    Lunch Friday at Katz's - do I need to say anything? Katz's pastrami is my very favorite pastrami. I prefer it to Langer's and all others out there - so tender, just fatty enough, rich and just enough spice. So pastrami on rye with mustard, and a potato knish on the side, was just perfect. Though I'll admit I couldn't even finish the pastrami sandwich - so damn rich.

    Friday night was a quick return visit to Shake Shack since I was headed to MSG for a college basketball game. I was more impressed than my first visit, though fries were room temperature. Ultimately, I still prefer In-N-Out. I did grab a sesame noodle salad from the Jean George fast food spot at MSG and it was beyond awful - I mean, this guy should have his head examined for putting his name on that crap. But overall, MSG is so much improved, having just undergone a major renovation.

    Saturday, I met my brother and family for breakfast at Ess-A-Bagel where we shared a number of items. I'm always a fan of their bagels and cream cheeses. I think this was the first time I tried their tuna salad (not impressive). Black & whites are fine although I prefer them to be more of a cookie than cake, and these are more cake-like. But I go to Ess-A-Bagel almost exclusively for their bagels and they never let me down in this category. One thing my family has always agreed upon.

    Saturday visit to Dominique Ansel. So many impressive items - a friend and I shared several. DA's version of the kouign amann is really nice, but Bad Wolf Coffee's is better. DA's canneles are great too . . . but Bad Wolf's are better, seriously. A croissant, though buttery, was definitely past its prime by the time we had it. The only items that failed to impress were the macarons. Some seemed held over too long, slightly stale and unacceptably mealy and/or too crumbly, rather than crackly and soft.

    The best meal of the weekend however was a post-Glass Menagerie meal at Red Farm, at their new UWS location (Broadway b/w 76th and 77th). Add this to a restaurant we could really use in Chicago. Creative Chinese food, creative more in presentation than substance, with devotion to excellent ingredients. Most importantly, every item we ordered was excellent. We shared a number of dim sum items which were fantastic, easily better than anything I've tried in Chicago.

    Pac-man shrimp dumplings were not only delicious, with various accompaniments to the shrimp, but indeed shaped and colored like the characters in the game. Most impressive really was just how delicious the shrimp were.

    Red Farm pac man dumplings.jpg Pac-Man Dumplings



    Equally delicious were duck and crab dumplings, fried crisp, and served with a curry sauce for dipping (and drinking). They were also beautiful, looking a little like stingrays on the plate.

    Red Farm duck crab dumplings.jpg Duck and Crab dumplings



    There were a couple of others I can't recall very well at the moment, including a duck dish that was a special item for the evening, but the star of the evening was unquestionably the soup dumplings. I don't know if I'm ready to proclaim them better than Nan Xiang's (the best I've ever had), but they were right up there with them and just outstanding - great wrappers that were beautiful and not too sticky, loaded with soup and just delicious. There were four per order, each served in its own steamer, and I accepted the $14 price tag knowing that I was not eating at a no frills restaurant in Queens. I think they were actually a little larger than your average XLB too. I apologize that I can't offer a better picture, but here it is.

    Red Farm XLB 2.jpg Pork and Crab Soup Dumplings



    There was also a terrific bacon and egg fried rice, featuring Nueske's bacon. Service was terrific, which was most impressive since we were told this was their first Saturday night service. I would highly recommend a visit. I look forward to returning and checking out more of their menu.

    Red Farm website
    I find the pastrami to be the most sensual of all the salted, cured meats. (Seinfeld)

    Twitter: brbinchicago
  • Post #41 - November 27th, 2013, 3:37 pm
    Post #41 - November 27th, 2013, 3:37 pm Post #41 - November 27th, 2013, 3:37 pm
    No googly eyes on the XLB??
  • Post #42 - December 1st, 2013, 10:24 pm
    Post #42 - December 1st, 2013, 10:24 pm Post #42 - December 1st, 2013, 10:24 pm
    La Piñata, 4930 Broadway @ 207:

    Let me talk with you until I nap. My dad and I were mending fences. Traveled through Alamogordo and Los Alamos, White Sands after a visit with his twin, my aunt. In 1989 I was deep into the bio Literary Outlaw. Inbetween the gypsum dunes cindered with oncoming storms we pulled into a diner. It was really, I fucking kid you not black sedans, guys in black suits and ear pieces. It was really what I never thought I'd see. In sidereal composites picturing what we see now; these were the men in black(though obviously, at least extiorially not alien). My dad and I driving from the wet pink gypsum dunes of White Sands a place where I capitulated "my name is writ in water" with a rock I found hidden in a dune. We stopped at a diner outside of Trinity and I got the best fried tortillas, ever. Now it's a super simple thing to fry tortilla chips, but so many get it wrong. I hate the thick ones, the ones crunchy and tough, I have long sought the chips I found drifting it seems as leaves from the great White Sands tortilla tree landing in a sweet pile of the best that flour might achieve. I found this in Inwood. The dark men in black suits and black glasses read finality and that is all it takes; an estrangement focused beneath hard, black, parabolas New Mexican skies over a place that might not even really exist.
    "Johnny thought when all purpose had been forgotten the world would end this way, with a dance. He slumped back in a corner, drew his knees up to his chin, and watched."-Derek Jarman
  • Post #43 - December 6th, 2013, 4:14 pm
    Post #43 - December 6th, 2013, 4:14 pm Post #43 - December 6th, 2013, 4:14 pm
    We celebrated our 16th anniversary with Anj in town from Hong Kong. A palimpsest(EXPANDED): dinner at Txikito:

    240 Ninth Ave.
    b/ 24th and 25th Streets
    212.242.4730

    white and red sangrias, a bottle of Basque tempranillo

    Foie Micuit(one of the best foie preparations I've ever had and oh so clever with the violet gelee)

    Boqueron(superb sardines)

    Pulpo(beautifully-presented and tender carpaccio of octopus)

    Piperrak(griddled chiles with just a modicum of heat, unfortunately)

    Pil Pil (a nice rendition of bacalao)

    a mushroom dish, simply carpaccio(and maybe my favorite)

    a special of shrimp and meat/squid ink and truffle alternatively-called, depending upon the server: meatballs or gnocchi

    they seated us in the private back room near the kitchen

    What's good about Anj(about who there's nothing bad is that she spent the last year traveling some provinces of China and transmitting gorgeous images)

    The food of Guangzhou(and Hong Kong) she has nothing much to say for, surprisingly, she panned her culinary experiences in the Sichuan province. She raves about Beijing and Yunnan, however.

    I have her goat curry recipe beside our bed(we need more bookcases) and rinsed out her mother's garam masala jar(her mother lives in Puna and makes the best garam masala, ever...Anj poo-poos it, and, yeah garam masala is one of those things where, supposedly, one tosses some shit in a spice grinder and out comes something exquisite...but, Anj and I both know, like a warm cuddle between friends, or a mother's touch, garam masala among all curries is about love).

    I was the bad boy, anyway. Insisting upon drinking our way through an altered King Cole Bar(and how hard is it to revisit a beloved place after a few years and finding it besotted with yuppies?). And the Breslin where I had my requisite Fallen Angel(a cocktail I insist has to have been named after William Hjortsberg's fabulous novel and, or, Lisa Bonet's claim to infamy...note to self ask Paul).

    We hit bar after bar after bar until my friend Anj was leading me to the pissoir by hand. She has such delicate teak hands. Is teak an appropriate word to describe a Brahmin womans' hands? Later on I wasn't sure who was handling who? It was the blind leading the blind teetering down the avenues which is at the point where I was drinking free cokes from a generous barman at a tavern and skirting getting asked to scram.

    Then rampant nakedness ensued. I invoke an innocence that will be pried from my cold dead hands.



    Drinks at The Breslin, The King Cole, Monkey Bar(?), The Rum Bar(where I think the bartender was close to 86ing me), finally me naked in her hotel room(appointed as if it was struck from an 80's Bette Midler movie hybridized with Gilliam's Brazil). Then reeling from bed this morning to breakfast at Benash. Good times.
    "Johnny thought when all purpose had been forgotten the world would end this way, with a dance. He slumped back in a corner, drew his knees up to his chin, and watched."-Derek Jarman
  • Post #44 - January 13th, 2014, 12:32 pm
    Post #44 - January 13th, 2014, 12:32 pm Post #44 - January 13th, 2014, 12:32 pm
    A foggy, rainy day in Manhattan. The Empire State building spectral, wreathed in mist. I left my umbrella at home. My shoes have a leak, I discovered to my chagrin...draped sodden socks over M's radiator during the chillax portion of the evening. We ate her mom's cookies and paged through cooking magazines and spent a good two hours trying to decide on, find a, make reservations for, argue over, shoot down each other's suggestions, decide it was too far away, ...where we were going to grab a drink and dinner before it just turned into fuck it, let's order in and send Chris out to buy the libations(Strawberitas in the can, were proposed...and the guy now writing in third person, said um...hell no...not to the idea of Strawberitas or Limearitas or Cranaritas, but that I should be the mule). Let's backtrack: we met M in Chelsea and began a design, furniture, and whatnot crawl. First the Housingworks shop(a kind of New York specific Goodwill), then we had acceptable fried chicken @ Hill Country(obviously brined, crispy enough, it tastes homemade, but not knock your socks off), then Fishs Eddy, a home goods store with mountains of idiosyncratic tchotchkes, then the cavernous ABC(I love the Timothy Oulton stuff, it's sickeningly overthought, but individually, some really interesting things happen within his tableaux), then onwards to the one Irish pub with the Seamus Heaney autograph framed on a wall, the one where over the years we've spent many an afternoon sipping brown liquor and waiting for the rain, or a parade, or a fire brigade to dwindle to a stop, afterwards we went to Desmond's, and how disappointed was I! I haven't been there in over 6 years, however I made a point to have a drink there during the decade before every time I was in the City. Desmond's used to play good music(for an Irish pub...well-curated New Wave). They used to have friendly-enough, hot Irish bartenders. I always felt welcome. I even liked their ancient floor length urinals piled with ice. Now it's this Park Ave/Murray Hill hangout where they'd as soon spit on you as look at you. Anthony Bourdain profiled Desmond's on one of his Travels(the one about returning to Les Halles)...it's one of his favorite bars. Maybe that's what happened. Even the bathrooms got revamped. Won't be darkening their door again. Yes, 6 years is a gulf, but when I drank there for a decade it never changed at all. So, catching up the threads; after that disappointment, went to M's for a bit. Finally capitulated to, right on the corner, no res. required, getting too late to argue with, Fagiolini's (the one with House of Lasagna in neon in a window, not the one a block down calling itself House of Lasagna, confused?) Fagiolini's House of Lasagna(horrifying name). Eh, it's a pleasant, intimate space downstairs. Attentive waitstaff, 5 dollar martinis, cold bread service, adequate pastas; we did lasagnas, mine Bolognese, his Piemontese, she had the spaghetti with meatballs. It's that kinda place, slightly more elevated than a red sauce joint, possibly suffering because of it. The martinis were good. Made better by M's monologue of dirty jokes.

    Hill Country Chicken

    http://www.hillcountrychicken.com

    Fagiolini's (House of Lasagna)

    http://fagiolini.com

    ---

    Last Saturday we met labor negotiators in town from Toronto at Chelsea Market's (mostly) gluten free Friedman's. What's up with Chelsea Market? I expected a fantasy wonderland of edibles and what I got was a mall. A warren of (not that exciting) specialty shops shored up with hordes of Japanese and Europeans stopping in the river of foot traffic to take selfies. Friedman's was more about the company, than the food. My chilaquiles were not my favorite rendition(that would be at Biscuits hidden behind the brewery in the stripmall in Broadripple, Indianapolis)---I offer that their eggs were perfectly cooked, not just mine, but everyone's(well, those who eat eggs). We said our goodbyes, our friends gifted us with some contraband Canadian coffee crisps. The plan was to soldier back to our friends in Midtown and throw something in their new slow cooker for later. To that end, we picked up parmigiano, can san marzanos, ephemeral egg pappardelle...can't recall the producer, but similar to Cipriani, and veal demi glace @ Buon Italia. I purchased a lovely pork butt with beautiful fat cap, face bacon, and REAL beef jerky(not that candy shit found at gas stations, this is a tad over smoked for my taste but has that kissing cousin of carne seca vibe that I love) @ Dickson's Farmstand Meats, finally a primitivo and an aglianico from Chelsea Wine Vault. Back at the loft I tried my hand for the first time at using a slow cooker(gleaming, high end model). The idea was to make a ragout, though the pork became super-tender it never fell apart, so I just reduced the cooking liquid(pork jus, primitivo, chicken stock, veal demi, tomatoes, fresh marjoram), finished the pappardelle in it, layered slices of pork over the pasta garnished with the parmigiano. In the meantime we noshed on Lagrein, Bleu Dauphinois, and a black truffle sheep's milk cheese where they combine the truffle with the curd as it processes instead of an infusion. Then Rum.

    Chelsea Market

    www.chelseamarket.com/index.php/Shops

    ---

    At home I'm getting the handle on my typical New York kitchen(tho' it's larger than some). I've made Texas Chili, frittatas, quiches, Kenny Shopsin's Mexican grilled chicken soup with avocado(and a bunch of other stuff), quinoa salad, tuna salad, egg salad, BLT's, and divers others. It's such a bitch having to stop every five minutes and clean and dry dishes because there's no freaking space. And I'm a clean as I go along person, but I like the luxury of finishing a task before I begin mop up. Even with my cookbooks, I'm constantly drying my hands and shifting the books from windowsill, to chair cushion, to top of trash can, to clean portion of sink, ay yi yi. And the local grocery stores aren't much better than a downstate Illinois HEB, seriously, here in the hinterlands it's go Dominican or go home. Not a bad thing, by any means, just puts the kibosh on your plans when you realize you're down to your last smudge of Pixian bean paste and the closest Asian market is 35 minutes away by train.

    ---

    been ordering with regularity from:

    iL Posto Trattoria Rustica (simple, fresh Italian)

    227 Dyckman St, New York, NY 10034

    La Piñata (well-considered regional dishes...I'm a huge fan of their restorative black bean soup)

    http://lapinatanyc.com/lapinata/
    Last edited by Christopher Gordon on January 13th, 2014, 8:07 pm, edited 4 times in total.
    "Johnny thought when all purpose had been forgotten the world would end this way, with a dance. He slumped back in a corner, drew his knees up to his chin, and watched."-Derek Jarman
  • Post #45 - January 13th, 2014, 12:44 pm
    Post #45 - January 13th, 2014, 12:44 pm Post #45 - January 13th, 2014, 12:44 pm
    Nice post, Christopher. I enjoy reading your reports on your experiences in New York. Looking forward to the next installment!
    "I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."
  • Post #46 - January 13th, 2014, 2:48 pm
    Post #46 - January 13th, 2014, 2:48 pm Post #46 - January 13th, 2014, 2:48 pm
    I love Chelsea Market and while, yes, it does get very crowded on weekends and there's only one public restroom (why?!), it's a nice place to pick up multiple things from different vendors.

    Chelsea Fruit Exchange is the biggest attraction for me -- cured meats, cheeses, obscure/imported fruit, good deal on produce, fresh herbs, dried goods, fresh edible orchids, freshly squeezed lemon/lime juice (good for large cocktail parties), and more I'm probably forgetting. I often also hit up Lobster Place, Dickson's, Buon Italia. The Thai grocery place is only OK, however. Quick cup of coffee at 9th St. usually as well.

    And Los Tacos No. 1 is one of the few places in NYC making their own tortillas.
  • Post #47 - January 13th, 2014, 4:03 pm
    Post #47 - January 13th, 2014, 4:03 pm Post #47 - January 13th, 2014, 4:03 pm
    Kathryn, we got around the restroom issue(which is a story in and of itself) by using Friedman's. If the produce place is what I'm thinking of, it's the mini grocery store in the middle of the complex? They had a great selection of mushrooms. Yeah, I popped into the Thai place(of course I would) to look at their shelves and was thoroughly unimpressed. There is a place on 207th not far from me that calls itself: Fresh Tortillas. Indeed they employ a machine to make flour tortillas a la minute. The tortillas themselves are reminiscent of Mama Ninfa's(a great thing), unfortunately, the fillings; carne asada, "al pastor," pollo, etc. are inexcusably misapprehended by the Chinese staff. I think maybe pick up a batch of their flour tortillas and do a little Tex Mex su casa.

    And here's another thing: I can't find a decent slice. NY, not Neapolitan, not Sicilian, NY, NY, NY! There's one kinda decent place sorta near me(it's a hike), but the rest are either that dollar slice excrement, or they just don't get it somehow. And what's up with adding a mound of birdshit mozzarella atop a perfectly okay piece of pizza? This corpse white, splooge of commercial "cheese" is an abomination. I've seen it over and over again. And, yes, I plan on asking for that crap to be left off. That's not value-added in my book. And, wtf's up with New Yorkers only eating cheese or pepperoni slices? I grok the minimalism. But, when that hermeticism exotifies a slice of mush and pep, I'm at a loss. Even in the admittedly-lackluster grocery aisles, as I'm looking to pick up a frozen pizza, no matter what brand, and, yeah, I get that there could be distribution issues involved, it just seems like its a big coincidence, that no matter the brand, the only types available are pepperoni, or cheese. I just want a Jack's Supreme that I can adulterate at whim! We have both Little Caesar's and Papa John's in the neighborhood, but mein gott im himmel, that ain't happenin'. As Bob is my witness, I will find an acceptable local slice.
    "Johnny thought when all purpose had been forgotten the world would end this way, with a dance. He slumped back in a corner, drew his knees up to his chin, and watched."-Derek Jarman
  • Post #48 - January 13th, 2014, 10:30 pm
    Post #48 - January 13th, 2014, 10:30 pm Post #48 - January 13th, 2014, 10:30 pm
    The best slice joints all seem to be in Brooklyn these days. I assume you read Slice on Serious Eats?
  • Post #49 - January 14th, 2014, 11:10 am
    Post #49 - January 14th, 2014, 11:10 am Post #49 - January 14th, 2014, 11:10 am
    Christopher Gordon wrote:---

    At home I'm getting the handle on my typical New York kitchen(tho' it's larger than some). I've made Texas Chili, frittatas, quiches, Kenny Shopsin's Mexican grilled chicken soup with avocado(and a bunch of other stuff), quinoa salad, tuna salad, egg salad, BLT's, and divers others. It's such a bitch having to stop every five minutes and clean and dry dishes because there's no freaking space. And I'm a clean as I go along person, but I like the luxury of finishing a task before I begin mop up. Even with my cookbooks, I'm constantly drying my hands and shifting the books from windowsill, to chair cushion, to top of trash can, to clean portion of sink, ay yi yi. And the local grocery stores aren't much better than a downstate Illinois HEB, seriously, here in the hinterlands it's go Dominican or go home.


    I'm slightly confused where you are in NYC, but if you're in Chelsea, the nearest Asian grocery store is 5 minutes away.
  • Post #50 - January 14th, 2014, 11:12 am
    Post #50 - January 14th, 2014, 11:12 am Post #50 - January 14th, 2014, 11:12 am
    Lots of great pizza places in Manhattan; have you tried John's of Bleeker St?
  • Post #51 - January 14th, 2014, 11:42 am
    Post #51 - January 14th, 2014, 11:42 am Post #51 - January 14th, 2014, 11:42 am
    I believe Christopher is in Inwood given the references to 207th St and Dyckman St.

    DutchMuse wrote:Lots of great pizza places in Manhattan; have you tried John's of Bleeker St?


    John's is whole pies only. I think he's look for a corner slice joint style of places (in the vein of Ray's, et al).
  • Post #52 - January 14th, 2014, 3:48 pm
    Post #52 - January 14th, 2014, 3:48 pm Post #52 - January 14th, 2014, 3:48 pm
    Inwood; I think brambles, witches' sabbaths, hinky ley lines, and, like today, the hills invoking the Hudson mist-obscured, an inversion. I walked up to Broadway and back again this afternoon, looking left watched parks at first threaded with clouds then, glancing to the right, idiot drivers, and ambulances, and trucks offering chicharrones and pasteles, turning my head back again no hills just white.

    In all the years I visited NY for fun or work I never expected to live past Central Park, yet, here I am, I look South to the Cloisters from my apartment bedroom. It's a big place for what we pay(which is not that much more than than our rent @ 1400 Lakeshore years back). Still, oddly enough, the transition(for me) hasn't been easy, somehow Indianapolis got into my blood(damn metropolitan nanocytes)... which is shorthand for New York is a different world and Inwood is at a fascinating remove from Downtown and Indianapolis.
    "Johnny thought when all purpose had been forgotten the world would end this way, with a dance. He slumped back in a corner, drew his knees up to his chin, and watched."-Derek Jarman
  • Post #53 - February 16th, 2014, 5:20 pm
    Post #53 - February 16th, 2014, 5:20 pm Post #53 - February 16th, 2014, 5:20 pm
    Inwood Thai (ymmv)

    Your Mileage May Vary

    We ordered in the other night and off of an extensive menu I got my trial favorites. Tom Gha Kai, Laab Gai(yes literation transitions guaranteed, that's half the fun)...hisself got mussaman, we also had crispy spring rolls and grilled pork. We liked what we had...it remains to be seen if New York(especially Inwood has an appetite for this ability...or, rather, the habitué's prefer their Thai Chinese and decidedly sterile). Their sauces are on point; no shrinking on the nam pla. Inwood Thai's got nothing on the greats of Chicago, but they definitely top the rival Yummy Thai(which on the one time we ordered was sickly sweet and simply crass...I guess that's what they understand white people to order and white people order thus; or they can't cook Thai food for shit). Probably the latter. His mussaman was perfectly spiced and shied from the treacle you might find elsewhere(even in Chicago), my larb offered a modicum of heat to complement the acid(probably cayenne, or some dried chile, definitely not fresh birdshit chile), the tom gha kai could have used a bit more palm sugar(if palm sugar was deployed), but that's my palate; otherwise, the triumvirate of galangal, makrut, and lemongrass were in fierce effect.

    582 W 207th St
    New York, NY 10034
    b/t Broadway & Vermilyea Ave in Inwood, Washington Heights
    Transit information 1 A Get Directions
    Phone number (212) 942-9101
    Business websiteinwoodthai.com
    "Johnny thought when all purpose had been forgotten the world would end this way, with a dance. He slumped back in a corner, drew his knees up to his chin, and watched."-Derek Jarman
  • Post #54 - April 23rd, 2014, 6:25 pm
    Post #54 - April 23rd, 2014, 6:25 pm Post #54 - April 23rd, 2014, 6:25 pm
    After my ophthalmologist appointment today, a rec from a dear friend, and so much more convivial than my old Indianapolis ophthalmologist, even when Dr. C was doing painful things, quoted Macbeth, talked about Freud's death by jaw cancer, and explained my ongoing tribulations with specificity and a kind of warm approbation, after the appointment T and I traveled to Harlem, which in all my visits to the city over the years, and now with us living here, I'd never been, same with where we live now...back then The Cloisters seemed like a castle in the sky...so far away as to be ephemeral. The point of the journey was to visit Dinosaur Bar-B-Que https://www.dinosaurbarbque.com. And I don't like heights so the stagger down Mount 125th stop was a trial for me. Trials and tribulations, oy veh. Top tier BBQ in town. I had a brisket sandwich, good fat, great bark, nice rosy ring, perfect, understated smoke. Awesome paprika-laden Mac n Cheese that while on the dry side retained a respectable sweet-hot, cheesy, nutty profile. Infinitely do-able. And the sweet-pickled jalapeño relish that came with and the sliced pickled jalapeños I stole off T's platter, who'da thunk? It took me years to appreciate a bread n butter cucumber pickle and these chiles blew my mind just a li'l. I was feeling a bit self-conscious after my doctor visit, I ain't pretty ALL the time and the waitstaff was so sweet and inviting they put me at ease. It's across from The Cotton Club! I dunno if that's the original location, but back in scriptwriting class(long, long ago) I chose to diagram that film and, I think, Jaws, for some reason. Anyway, great Q. I don't care for Hill Country(overpriced, over smoked, no comparison to the eponymous places it attempts to replicate). Although, I do like HC Fried Chicken a good deal. Then there's Blue Smoke which is a goto, but the ambience just doesn't click with me. It's a bit too sceney and always, always packed. Afterwards we traveled up to Dyckman to look at some plants that thrive on shadow and picked up my prescriptions at this wonderful little pharmacy/diner where a woman jested endlessly about nothing to anyone and others lined up for burgers, shakes and homeopathic remedies. A blustery, unseasonably chilly day in New York, the wind swirled people around; a tarantella of old Irish and new Dominicans. I think I'm falling in love.
    "Johnny thought when all purpose had been forgotten the world would end this way, with a dance. He slumped back in a corner, drew his knees up to his chin, and watched."-Derek Jarman
  • Post #55 - April 27th, 2014, 5:16 pm
    Post #55 - April 27th, 2014, 5:16 pm Post #55 - April 27th, 2014, 5:16 pm
    On the eve of Peruvian Quinoa Week which begins Monday and lasts through May 3rd, we dined at Raymi http://rayminyc.com. We tried the Corvina, a ceviche including non-existent habanero :(, but delightfully-acidic nonetheless, and the toasted corn strewn about the plate an eye-opening accompaniment. The nutty corn magic in an already exciting dish. We moved on to Causa, what I like to think of as a pipeline dish, because years back my partner's father cut me some PVC so that I could experiment mashing things within in concentric layers. And as the previous sentence implies, this was a mishmash of tuna, octopus(what drew me to the dish in the first place), salmon, avocado, and cold potato puree. Texturally deadening, nothing stood out, and while edible, left a leaden weight in my stomach. This was also the first appearance of the ubiquitous aji amarillo sauce of a billion interpretations. Heck, I made kielbasa sandwiches on portuguese rolls the other night and besides the arugula and tomatoes, on the bottom half of each toasted roll, I smeared my simple take on Peru's national sauce, and on the top bun, a horseradish mayo, the recipe I found on a BBQ website, differs from the Tiger Sauce I make for roast beef on kaisers. Anyway, Raymi's take is a good one. Then we ordered a beet salad, the multiple sauces cutting the sometimes overwhelming earthiness of beets. Followed the aforementioned with a special of toquenos(tasty egg rolls not far removed from lumpia) and Carapulcra, one of the best pork belly offerings I've ever eaten...perfectly crisped fat and the meat like pulled pork, the beast sat in a lagoon of Andean potatoes in a savory, dark, meaty reduction. Drool. Raymi also presents itself as a Pisco Bar, ...when in Lima... One of the best Pisco Sours ever, strong, effervescent with egg white foam and light on the palate. One of those cocktails where you must take care. Then a Pisco sangria, equally indulgent and dangerous. We finished the repast with pleasingly-bitter espressos. The recent menu also includes a few char-siu preparations which intrigue me, next time, hopefully.
    "Johnny thought when all purpose had been forgotten the world would end this way, with a dance. He slumped back in a corner, drew his knees up to his chin, and watched."-Derek Jarman
  • Post #56 - May 4th, 2014, 4:57 pm
    Post #56 - May 4th, 2014, 4:57 pm Post #56 - May 4th, 2014, 4:57 pm
    I am going to tell you a secret. Not so much a secret, necessarily, but a favorite haunt of ours in NYC. Friends are in town from Lundun, Scots born and bred one from Glasgow, his partner from Edinburgh. I'm Scots, but have never been to the homeland, really I'm Texan as my family's been there for umpteen generations, the Scots, Czechs, and Germans settled our great state. I will whisper in your ear of one of my favorite restaurants and you shouldn't repeat the name to anyone except your closest friends. My partner and I have had cozy meals here for years and it's not a ne plus ultra, it is a kind of home. Lean close, allow my Laphroig-laden breath to perfume my words and tell you quietly: El Parador http://elparadorcafe.com. It's not that far from the Level 1 trauma unit at Bellevue if you have an issue. Not with the restaurant, but you know, as the incredible margaritas(esp. the tamarind) magically appear, well, one never can tell. What I can guarantee is the best stoner appetizer EVER: pickled jalapeños stuffed with peanut butter and broiled. I can tell you that the best quesodilla on earth is the one with shrimp. We have had it numerous times. Typically I would offer one sticks to the regular menu, avoids the specials. But then; something not even remotely Mexican appears and is fantastic, chicken livers in sherry. As a young boy I eschewed chicken livers, my stepfather, now passed adored them, and the house in Houston often gestured of them as my mother dutifully cooked his favored dish. The chicken livers(and of course I have long since acclimatized my palate to foie and various pate's, offal, etc. etc....hear I'm merely writing of my youth)...these chicken livers were so tender and the sherry reduction, just a perfect compliment, veritably swoon-worth. Then there was fried chorizo with a mix of olives and aged provolone. What's so secret, and so wonderful about El Parador is it is completely absent of pretense. The service tends towards the invisibly attentive. The space dark, but warming, as if you are putting stocking'd feet against a fireplace. We ordered a bottle. We dined on their cochinita pibil(one of my favorite renditions). A friend decided to shuck my advice and order a special of sea bass, which when he offered me a taste was perfection to a T...firm-fleshed fish in a lobster stock just lovingly done. And here is where I will whisper again. If you go here, go with friends. You will remember why you met in the first place.
    "Johnny thought when all purpose had been forgotten the world would end this way, with a dance. He slumped back in a corner, drew his knees up to his chin, and watched."-Derek Jarman
  • Post #57 - May 11th, 2014, 7:46 pm
    Post #57 - May 11th, 2014, 7:46 pm Post #57 - May 11th, 2014, 7:46 pm
    Had a perfectly med-rare burger at http://aperitivocafe.com (and I'm not one for seasoned burgers, I like my meat to taste like meat, however this was exemplary and quick) before taking a ride with Erin Markey aboard the Irish Cream at BAX. Pestered my friends at JAM Editions in Midtown beforehand. After the show in Brooklyn, traveled back to Midtown, met up with scientist friends at Le Singe Vert http://www.lesingevert.com enjoyed a rather complex back and forth with our verrry French waitress(thoroughly accommodating btw) attempting to order a boulevardier(think a negroni but with bourbon instead of gin) as we awaited our friends lost in Hell's Kitchen. Friends arrived, this new to us friend is about to publish a paper on interstialisms in neural imaging of the brains of schizophrenics. T and I shared a small steak tartare, one of the best I've had, we always get it. We wanted oysters, but they were out. And T is boycotting West Coast oysters(I don't know why). As one thing leads to another, we ended up at The Breslin's bar where our friend P was finishing his shift and graciously hung out with us. We had marvelous Pimm's Cups, shrub-laden bourbon cocktails, and I ended the evening with a Shiner Red Bird, mother's milk to me. We might have gone to the Knickerbocker, it's for the best we didn't, we are terrors. Happy Mom's Day, y'all.
    "Johnny thought when all purpose had been forgotten the world would end this way, with a dance. He slumped back in a corner, drew his knees up to his chin, and watched."-Derek Jarman
  • Post #58 - May 11th, 2014, 11:58 pm
    Post #58 - May 11th, 2014, 11:58 pm Post #58 - May 11th, 2014, 11:58 pm
    btw, if anyone might enjoy a Chicago in Diaspora meeting in New York City, I would enjoy being a host
    "Johnny thought when all purpose had been forgotten the world would end this way, with a dance. He slumped back in a corner, drew his knees up to his chin, and watched."-Derek Jarman
  • Post #59 - May 14th, 2014, 8:15 pm
    Post #59 - May 14th, 2014, 8:15 pm Post #59 - May 14th, 2014, 8:15 pm
    So, before we walked to Joe's Pub(and walking is difficult for me these days as I employ medicine for a vision issue...I tend to examine the sidewalk as I proceed...whatever) So, before we walked to Joe's we stopped at Hill Country http://www.hillcountryny.com/locations and, yeah, I'm not the biggest fan, but, it wasn't too crowded and service was attentive. And, I've been craving brisket. As a Texas boy, it just feels a bit too much for me(the scene). The fatty brisket is cravingly moist yet retains a tang of over smoke. We shared a portion of brisket and a half-chicken. They BBQ a chicken quite well, less smoke, a sweetness to the rub, succulent meat. I dunno, I just had a half rotisserie chicken from John's http://johnsfriedchicken.com and they could give Hill Country a run for their money. And, yeah, their English vs. my Spanish is virtually equal. I'm privileged to live in such a diverse neighborhood, not for nothing. So, we ate at Hill Country(I still prefer the fried chicken restaurant) and moseyed over to Joe's Pub for Bridget Everett(we got to see boobies, but were far enough back by the bar not to have chardonnay spit upon us, or a decapitated doll head landing in our laps). Afterwards drank at Rum House http://www.edisonrumhouse.com, it's the best bar in Times Square.
    "Johnny thought when all purpose had been forgotten the world would end this way, with a dance. He slumped back in a corner, drew his knees up to his chin, and watched."-Derek Jarman
  • Post #60 - May 14th, 2014, 10:35 pm
    Post #60 - May 14th, 2014, 10:35 pm Post #60 - May 14th, 2014, 10:35 pm
    Christopher Gordon wrote:btw, if anyone might enjoy a Chicago in Diaspora meeting in New York City, I would enjoy being a host

    I was there recently and thought of you. If I were not so tied up, I would have contacted you. I will try to make this work next time.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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