A Sarcastic Appetite

Restaurant Round-Up for the Week of June 30
June 30, 2011, 7:53 am
Filed under: Restaurant Round-Up

I’m here to canvas the food blogs, so you don’t have to. A few highlights this week:

The photo above is of a French hard cider at salt, the adorable restaurant on MacDougal that had the great fortune of serving food between the hours of 4 and 5:30 on a Sunday afternoon, when it was most desperately desired. For that, I will return again and again.

Empellón gets a nod and a lone star from the Siftster, who loves the food but hates the ambiance (“that clattery dining room…needs sound-dampening fabric or ceiling panels in much the same way Greece needs cash”). Oooh, burn! I’ll go for it – that shrimp with white rice and plaintains, in a “crazily magical smoky crab broth” sounds pretty delish.

TastingTable NYC does a round-up of great sandwiches that involve potato chips – a magical combination that should not be overlooked. Just don’t make the trek up to Earl’s Beer & Cheese….because it’s not big enough for both of us.

The boys at Immaculate Infatuation are not pleased with the Brindle Room, much to my dismay. I had always heard good things about their doughnuts….but maybe that’s the only thing worth checking out.

Meanwhile, Serious Eats NY heads out to Brooklyn to pit (har, har) Mable’s Smokehouse against Fette Sau. The verdict? Stick with Mable’s for brisket sandwiches and cheap beer, but head to Fette Sau otherwise.

Food in Mouth visits an UWS stand-by, Kefi, and says it’s still worth visiting for reasonably priced appetizers and drinks that will still fill you up.

And if you’re wondering why you haven’t seen your favorite food trucks in Midtown lately, it’s because they’ve been kicked out by the cops. Midtown Lunch has been covering a story the New York Times just got around to writing.

89th and Broke checks out the appropriately-name Dive Bar, on 96th and Amsterdam. Happy hour runs from 4-7pm with $4 beers – plus, they serve breakfast all day! Sign me up.

Lastly, Bloomberg’s Ryan Sutton has started a fantastic blog called “The Bad Deal.” I think it speaks for itself – check it out.

Restaurant Round-Up for the Week of June 23
June 23, 2011, 6:14 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

You might remember the drill: I’m here to canvas the food blogs, so you don’t have to. A few highlights this week:

The photo above is from Millbrook Winery last weekend, in Poughkeepsie, which I checked out with a few friends. For $75, you get a ride from the train station, lunch, a tour, a tasting, and a ride back to the train. My advice? Shell out extra cash so you have a glass of wine in hand at all times; the Express Tour is only about two and a half hours, and you need to make the most of it.

The Siftster checks out Desmond’s, decreeing it “pensioner food for those who run pension funds.” He describes the Dover Sole as “fish sticks for the sophisticated,” and somehow I think that’s supposed to be a compliment. The restaurant has set up shop across from the Bloomingdale’s flagship, if you’re interested.

Flo Fabricant writes that What Happens When will close this weekend, after issues arose with their liquor license. Did you get there before this fiasco happened? Did you like it? Let me know in the comments.

If you’re like I am, and wondering why your favorite food trucks haven’t been in the neighborhood lately, it’s probably because they’ve been setting up shop at Tom Collicchio’s Lot on Tap, down under the Highline. (That, or they’ve been ticketed like crazy by the cops, but that’s another story). The Lot will be open until September 30.

Everyone’s in a tizzy over the fact that the UWS location of H&H will close this weekend, due to rent increases….but meanwhile, down in Midtown, another location of Num Pang has opened! The lines were out the door on the first day, so be prepared to wait (or go on off hours).

My Inner Fatty has a hilarious (and delicious) rundown of pulled pork sandwiches at the Big Apple BBQ – I know it was two weeks ago already, and I don’t really care. I’m only sorry I missed it.

Spring Fever: Scallops and Pea Puree
June 19, 2011, 11:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

“I think you have a fever,” my mother announced…over the phone, from 500 miles away. How she knows these things is beyond me, and I wasn’t convinced.

“No way, I’m just congested and worn out,” I replied. “Besides, I told the Ninja I’d cook him dinner tonight.”

“Do you feel lightheaded?” she asked. As a matter of fact, I did, but chalked it up to said congestion. “Do you feel achy?” Well, yes…but surely that was from playing tennis over the weekend?

My digital thermometer (I can’t believe I have one either) thought otherwise: 99.5°. In June.

I had a fever.

And yet, I went ahead and still cooked dinner. I can’t say I ate much of it, but what I did manage to have was very, very good. Three days later, the Ninja was still waxing poetic about the pea puree, groaning inappropriately whenever he had leftovers. If you’re not a scallop kind of person, serve it with chicken paillard.


Scallops with Pea Puree

Adapted from The Essential New York Times Cookbook. Serves 2.


1 clove garlic

1 6 inch sprig of rosemary

1/3 c. good olive oil

4 c. frozen peas, about 10 oz.

lots of salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Tbsp. cornstarch

6-8 sea scallops (fresh ones smell like the sea), halved into thin disks and any side muscles removed.


About an hour ahead, heat the olive oil in a small saucepan with the sprig of rosemary and the garlic. Let the oil bubble; turn off the heat and let it infuse. (The longer the better, which is why I’d say leave it for an hour, maybe even more.)

In a pot or large saucepan, boil some water and cook the peas – just 30 seconds to a minute, until they are tender but still bright green. Drain and transfer to a food processor. Add the clove of garlic from the oil, and about 1/4 c. of the infused oil (discard the rosemary), lots of salt and pepper. Process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Heat a saute pan with the remaining rosemary oil. Sprinkle the cornstarch on a small plate and season with salt and pepper. Dredge the scallop halves in the cornstarch. Cook about 2 minutes each side, until browned. Serve the scallops over the pea puree, and ignore the Ninja’s inappropriate moaning.



Restaurant Round-Up for the Week of June 16
June 16, 2011, 6:32 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

What’s this?! A Restaurant Round-Up? After 6 weeks away? It is, it is indeed, my friends. I am sure you have all forgotten so I’ll remind you: I canvas the food blogs, so you don’t have to. A few highlights this week:


The Siftster gets saucy and strips a star from Masa, saying “extraordinary food alone does not an extraordinary restaurant make.” And Masa’s not even the most expensive meal in the city anymore – Del Posto took that crown! Sadface.

The boys at Immaculate Infatuation were less than impressed with Recette (like what I did there?), totally infatuated with Billyburg’s Post Office, and still have so much love for Dinosaur Bar-B-Que…as long as you know exactly what you’re getting into.

Danny at Food in Mouth kicks it old school at The Donut Pub, and fell in love with the one donut I didn’t manage to have when I went: the chocolate creme doughnut. It looks amazing.

I went to Smorgasburg the weekend it opened – it is a delight for one’s belly – and have to agree with Brownie: SCRATCHbread‘s “HOT sticky MESS” was the best thing there. Griddled chai sticky buns with vanilla crème anglaise are as good as they sound, and we fought over the last one.

If you happen to be in San Francisco on a weekend, or know someone who is or will be, tell them to stop by the Three Babes Bakeshop, operating out of an adorable shipping container next to the Stable Cafe on Folsom. Then I want you to get all the pies and tell me which one you like. Especially the Salty Honey Walnut. Oh, do you live there? Then you need to take advantage of their pie subscription service. Pie subscription! Enough said!

Oh, and this is an old article but a good one, given the weather: a nice reporter at the New York Times did an overview of all the new beer gardens opening this year, including Eataly’s La Birreria and Local West, near Penn Station, which is opening a 6,000 sq. ft. roof deck.

On Not Cooking
June 14, 2011, 7:04 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

These last two months have been quite difficult, for so many reasons, and it’s part of why I haven’t posted here. The last week alone was almost more than I could handle. I needed family and friends more than usual, and so filled my calendar with activities, and dinners out, drinks, even the TastingTable Lobster Roll Rumble and the Taste of LIC (in the same week) (I’m still recovering).

Of course, all those plans came at a price, and that price has been my lack of home cooking, and even my lack of interest in it. My brother the Ninja still hasn’t forgiven me for it.

But there have also been a few positive changes around here. I ended a relationship that was unhealthy and unhappy for so many reasons, and one of the many silver linings to that is I no longer have to deal with an incredibly picky eater. I’m looking forward to a new chapter in my life, one that includes lots of mayonnaise, and mustard, and onions, eggs, chorizo, and prosciutto, and pancetta, and legumes, and French white wines, and….well, I could continue, but I think you get the picture.

In my absence, though, I’ve had quite a few good meals. We’ll chalk these up to my health and mental well-being. If I were more organized, I’d have taken pictures….but you know I’m usually too busy eating and drinking to bother with that. Some highlights:

Bluepoints and champagne at the bar at The National, followed by their Ugly Burger, which was as delicious as it was difficult to eat.

A low-key Sunday night “family night” dinner with my brother and a very old friend at Corsino, where I had a yummy white bean soup and their homemade tagliatelle with pork ragu.

Those outrageous oyster sliders at The Dutch, rich and slippery, and if I hadn’t been feeling under the weather, I might have ordered about 10 more.

Girly brunches at Morandi and 10 Downing, where I was able to indulge in my love for a good Bloody Mary (extra spicy).

An adorable dinner at Little Giant with a friend from college; we had the place to ourselves as I gorged myself on asparagus salad with poached egg, croutons, and truffle oil, and a chicken liver pâté that was even more decadent. It was delightful and I want to go back for brunch.

More Bluepoints and champagne at the bar at Smith & Wollensky to celebrate my birthday. I’m sensing a theme here. Maybe Summer of ’11 is my Summer of Oysters….and Champagne.

Oh, and last but not least, so many BYO margaitas at Los Charritos in Hoboken with one of my favorite people, and enough shrimp quesadillas to feed a family of four. Or five.

I’ve been cooking a bit more, and I hope to share those recipes with you soon. There are actually some delicious things kicking around here – apparently I haven’t lost my touch. Thanks for hanging around.