Sunday, March 28, 2010

Highlights and new discoveries

Some highlights and new discoveries. I love my regular places (Franny's, Marlowe and Sons,etc.) but sometimes its good to branch out:

The Jane Hotel: There's been a gradual renovation and evolution over at The Jane Hotel and I am loving it. Gone is the lobby theatre where I saw the marvelous "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" and the laughed-so-hard-I-peed "Debbie Does Dallas (the musical)." Now the lobby has been carved up into an actual hotel lobby for the super cheap and tiny rooms upstairs, as well as into a wood paneled old-timey bar and a larger, cooler version of NoLiTa's Cafe Gitane. It's vintagearrific and they make a great cappuccino. Plus great light from the Hudson.

Co.: Have now been to Jim Leahy's Co. on 24th and 9th four times. Which is enough to say, for absolute sure, that it rocks. I haven't checked out every pizza place that everyone's buzzing about (Motorino, I'm coming soon, I promise) but I put forth Co.'s slightly more doughy crust as one of the best. Plus I love the space and the servers are so nice.

DiFara's: Oh, speaking of pizza, did I mention I finally got my ass to DiFara's? HOT. DAMN. It always surprises me when something so hyped is actually that good.

Hundred Acres: This really shouldn't count as a new place since I have been going to brunch here on a regular basis for the past 2 years (in fact I reviewed it in the NY Post magazine!) But it's turned out that when friends come to visit from out of town they say: OMG can we go to the brunch place near your house? And that reminds me for a sec that I shouldn't take it for granted. It's good. The food is good, the space is nice, the bloody mary rocks. And they take reservations, and they never give you lip.

Iris Cafe: I am so proud of Rachel! She opened this adorable little cafe deep in Brooklyn Heights a few months ago. It seemed like a modest endeavor, even if she was meticulously curating the menu, and training her baristas to be hardcore experts in the Stumptown style. Fast forward and she is being reviewed by the heavy hitters, including "Best Cafe" in NY Mag 2 weeks ago. Totally deserved. Get yer ass there for a homemade stickybun, or a ham and cheddar biscuit with a soft boiled egg on top.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Chicken Chow Fun, for Dad, because of Dad

5 years ago, I wrote this post, called "Dad." It was the five year anniversary of my dad dying, and so I made a pilgrimage to Chinatown and tried to recreate a dish I hadn't had the sense to learn from him, because I hadn't thought I'd need to.

5 years later, my nephew was here to eat it with us, and this time I'll write it down so that if he ever wants to make it, it's here in cyber space for him. Hell, he already loves to read cookbooks and he's only 18 months old.

1. Head to Chinatown via Vanessa's dumplings on Eldridge, where for a buck you can get 4 fried pork and chive dumplings.
2. Stop and watch the bike polo tournament on Chrystie and eat out of your styrofoam container.
3. Look for the rice noodle ladies. For a while.
4. Find them at Grand and Bowery on the Northeast corner and buy 1 bag of rice noodles for a buck and a bag of bean sprouts for 50 cents. Next door buy ginger, scallions, snow peas, garlic, onions.
5. Buy Murrays chicken thighs at Gourmet Garage.
6. Trim chicken into skinless chunks.
7. In a wok, heat up 2 tbsp canola oil.
8. Cook chicken pieces until cooked through, remove from wok.
9. Fry up some sliced half-moon-shaped onions; add minced garlic, add minced ginger.
10. Add a bunch of cleaned and trimmed snow peas, then a few tbsp soy sauce.
11. add in sliced scallions, rice noodles, more soy sauce.
12. Add chicken and bean sprouts, keep tossing until all is well coated.
13. Forget to take a picture; or if you want to do this whole recipe one better than me, you could actually remember to take a picture. That'd be awesome.

This dish is so insanely good. I want to say, for the record, that I appreciated the hell out of it, even when my Dad was alive, and that I appreciated the hell out of him, too.

Allora: Dad, for you, because of you.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The udder truth

You walk into Whole Foods and you face a wall of milk. Depending on the branch, the selection will vary. Same thing with Gourmet Garage, Food Emporium, you name it. That’s because supermarkets each have their own buyers. So, how do you decide what to buy? What’s healthiest? What’s worth the extra money? Here we clarify some of milk’s greatest mysteries about rBGH, organics, expiration dates, farmers markets, and whether or not skirting the law for the unpasteurized raw stuff is worth it.

Read the whole post at WellandGoodNYC!

And while you're there, why don't you read their piece about the wonderful Mary Cleaver--owner chef at Chelsea Market's The Green table (and the catering company Cleaver & Co.) Mary catered my boss' wedding and in the rich tapestry of beautiful meals I have eaten in my life, it stands out as a dazzling and delicious thread.