A Sarcastic Appetite

Thirsty Thursday Round-Up for the Week of December 16
December 15, 2011, 7:37 am
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The blog’s been Deadsville. You know it. I know it. Bear with me as I attempt to bring it back to life. “I’m here to canvas the food blogs, so you don’t have to.”

Did it work??


A friend and I checked out Whitehall the other night, the new place down in the West Village that replaced Sweetiepie. The white tiles and sort of barebones interior is supposed to evoke London’s Tube stations…..but I’ve never been in a Tube station as nice as this place. My friend loved her cocktail and I loved my champagne, and I’m looking forward to going back for dinner (and brunch!). Menus are here.

I am feeling quite jealous of all my UWS neighbors, since FloFab tells me they’ll be getting quite a few new establishments in the neighborhood. To wit: The Smith, Jacob’s Pickles, Mamajuana Cafe, and more. I’m up for the field trips; you’ll just have to invite me.

A few years ago – more years than I’d like to admit – I had the great fortune of visiting Germany at Christmastime. No one puts on a Christmas fair like the Germans, complete with glühwein and stollen and all the plätzchen (Christmas cookies) I could get my hands on. (My grubby American fingers stopped at nothing.) These Lebkuchen embody all that is delicious about a holiday delicacy in Germany: slightly sweet gingerbread, with spice, and a glaze to keep everyone happy. Get into it – it’s good.

The weather in NYC isn’t cooperating, but I swear in other parts of the country winter is definitely here. It’ll hit us soon enough, at which point you should warm your belly with Restaurant Girl’s Best Bowls of Soup. I’d also like to add Tom Yum Soup to that list, though I haven’t found any serious contenders. Any ideas? I’m willing to travel!

Are you having people over tomorrow and freaking out about what to serve? Mark Bittman has done the work for you, creating a handy-dandy little map of more than 500 possible combinations.

Two reports on Forcella, the new pizza place doing fried pies – where the dough is flash fried before baked with toppings: Danny at Food in Mouth says it’s “texturally interesting” but not a gamechanger, while the boys at Immaculate Infatuation can’t stop talking about it. Guess I need to get some of that fried pizza in my piehole and decide for myself.

Slow Roasted Tomatoes
November 11, 2011, 8:00 am
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This is not the time for tomatoes, I realize. That time passed a long time ago, along with Daylight Savings and shorts. You wouldn’t think it, given the weather we’ve had the last few days, but let me assure you: it’s true.

That being said, I swear there is still room for these babies. I took a bag of “late season” sad little specimen and after three hours they were transformed. It’s a long time to hang in the oven, I know, but it’s worth it. They taste like tomatoes on steroids, such a clean and pure flavor it almost tastes fake. Reminds me of how my younger brother prefers the fake Kraft mozzarella that comes in slices in the deli aisle – because the added flavor makes it taste “more” like mozzarella. Alice Water disciples everywhere probably just seized up. But I get what he means, every time I eat these tomatoes! That’s a ringing endorsement, right?

Save them for a Sunday when you’ve got time, and serve them as a side with a stovetop dish. Like that Mustard Chicken we always make. Oh, and wine.


Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

One quick Google search will reveal there are myriad ways to cook them. I riffed off Smitten Kitchen’s version.


A bunch of tomatoes, however many you want – plum or cherry (I used plum)

Olive oil



A few unpeeled garlic cloves


Preheat oven to 225°. Brush a large rimmed baking sheet with olive oil, about 1-2 Tbsp., or line with parchment paper. Halve the tomatoes, no need to core, and toss in a bowl with a generous drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, then lay on the baking sheet, cut side up. Scatter the garlic around. Bake for about 3 1/2 hours (about 3 if you’re using cherry tomatoes). Serve.

Thirsty Thursday Round-Up for the Week of November 10
November 10, 2011, 7:05 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


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


The photo above was taken a few weeks ago at Untitled, Danny Meyer’s place in the Whitney. I love it there, though you get what you pay for: expensive diner food. Get there before 1 to beat the rush on a Sunday, and be sure to try their bloody mary. Delicious!

This article in the New York Times about crowdsourcing restaurants makes me excited for one reason only: I want to get out to Littleneck, that clam shack in Gowanus! Who’s with me?

Serious Eats has the early word on Parm, which just opened for lunch last weekend and will open for dinner soon. It’s from the guys behind Torrisi Italian Specialties, which is why I cannot contain my excitement. Now Torrisi will do a fancier lunch. Stick with Parm for the Saratoga Club – and they’ve got McSorley’s on tap!

The boys at Immaculate Infatuation are not fans of Mas (la grillade) or Bell Book & Candle, but they do like Hospoda, in the Bohemian National Hall on the UES.

If you’re heading up to Harlem, check out Restaurant Girl’s Destination Dining List. Red Rooster is on the list, unsurprisingly, but so is Bier International, which I have yet to check out. Field trip?

If you work in Midtown and like Pad Thai (and come on, who doesn’t), check out the new Pad Thai Cart on 50th between 6th and 7th. Go early, though; the word is out and apparently they ran out of food by 1pm yesterday.

The weather here in NYC is supposed to be pretty beautiful this weekend. Are you looking for activities outside? Do you like eating food? Then check out Smorgasburg, which ends November 19. Lobster rolls, doughnuts, pizza, tacos….I could go on.

Thirsty Thursday Round-Up for the Week of October 20
October 20, 2011, 6:58 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I decided to stop calling these “Restaurant Round-Ups” since half the time I’m not even talking about a restaurant, but instead directing you to some great food festival or recipe. To wit:


Let’s get down to business, and let’s stuff our faces on Sunday at the Grub Street Food Festival, which is taking over the Hester Street Fair from 10am to 6pm. It’s going to be madness: more than 100 vendors selling their stuff, in a space far larger than the actual Hester Street Fair; they’ve taken over the adjacent tennis courts to accommodate the hordes….which will include me.

The boys at Immaculate Infatuation have outdone themselves, relasing a (free) iPhone app that maps out all the restaurants they’ve reviewed. So if you ever find yourself in a nabe you don’t know well, it’ll show you what’s good nearby. You can also save a list of restaurants for your “Hit List,” which would be great for me since mine is currently a scrabbled note pinned to a wall in my office. Helpful, no? Get it here.

Red Egg has been getting a lot of love on Serious Eats lately; their Peking Duck Sliders  ($24) and Beef Chow Fun ($7 at lunch) are all good eats.

FloFab has the low-down on some new openings in town, including Toloache 82. I checked it out last night; the service was exuberant and the tacos decent.

Sea Bass Poached in Soy Sauce
October 19, 2011, 7:11 am
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This is one of those fantastic meals where a few good ingredients make all the difference. I know we’re not supposed to be eating sea bass because illegal fishing makes it nearly impossible to regulate, but it caught my eye at the Grand Central Market and I jumped. It also strays from the recipe – Bittman advises you cook with fillets or steaks about an inch thick, so the sauce can really reduce and become syrupy. My fat filets required a lot of liquid, so there wasn’t much reducing, but it was delicious nonetheless.

The best part was pulling this together – rice, roasted broccoli and all – in about 30 minutes, even with my crashing around the kitchen in a hunger-induced craze. It’s actually a sophisticated meal, which belies the state I was in when I cooked it. It’s also quite forgiving, so don’t worry about overcooking. It’s nearly impossible.


Sea Bass Poached in Soy Sauce

From The Minimalist. Serves 2.


1/2 c. good soy sauce

2 tsp. sugar

1/2 c. water

1 dried or fresh chile (I didn’t cut mine open so its effect was minimal. This step is optional)

2 filets of striped bass – or sea bass – or other filet or steak that’s about 1 inch thick. Go bigger if you’d like but be forewarned the sauce won’t do what it should

1 bunch of scallions, cut into 1 inch lengths


In the smallest saute pan you have, heat the soy sauce, sugar, water, and chile if using on medium high heat until it boils. Add the fish skin side up, and add more water if needed so the liquid almost covers the fish. Add the scallions. Adjust the heat – you want it bubbling but not uncontrollably. Turn as the sauce thickens so the sauce covers the fish. My fillets probably took closer to 15 minutes, but 8 to 10 minutes should suffice for thinner fillets.

Serve over rice, with roasted broccoli, and spoon the sauce over.




Restaurant Round-Up for the Week of October 6
October 6, 2011, 7:30 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Hello reader(s)! I’m here to canvas the food blogs, so you don’t have to. A few highlights this week:


The photo above was taken at Weather Up Tribeca. It’s a great little spot – just don’t tell anyone about it. I’ll go anytime.

Donny, a regular Midtown Lunch contributer, has been working on Hidden Gems, a new foodie microsite from the Wall St. Journal. There are some, ah, gems in there so you might want to check it out.

The boys at Immaculate Infatuation venture up to my neighborhood and check out Jones Wood Foundry to good reviews. Guess I better get in there before the place blows up, Scotch eggs and all.

The Siftster checks out Tertulia and gives it two stars, I’m sure mostly for the Ibérico ham. Seriously, he waxes poetic about the stuff, served plain or stuffed into croquettes or melded into sauces. But Serious Eats also filed a review today, saying they “just don’t get it.” Guess we’ll have to try for ourselves.

If you’re cooking, the adorable Alexandra of Alexandra Cooks posted about this plum torte from the adorable Talley of House to Haus, whose charming blog about food and life in Zurich is now on my must-read list.

Jason Lam at Me So Hungry gets hopped up for The Food Porn Party, courtesy of Saxon + Parole, for the NYC Food Film Festival. Tickets are $75 and bacon-wrapped anything (even turtle burgers) sounds pretty good to me. If you go to the festival, be sure to check out Mistura, about the Peruvian food festival.

Madison Square Eats
October 5, 2011, 7:54 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

If you don’t make it to Madison Square Eats before it ends on October 21, you will have missed out on something really special. Like Arrested Development coming back for a fourth season kind of special.


It’s like a smaller version of Smorgasburg, but it’s ten times better, both for being in Manhattan and for serving alcohol. There’s nothing like being able to wash down your Maine-style lobster roll with a nice Allagash White from The Cannibal, a new shop from the people behind Resto.

Next we tried a BBQ pork bun from Fatty Snack, which was a little too saucy and sweet for my liking, before venturing over to the Milk Truck Grilled Cheese to try their All Day Breakfast Sandwich. Hey, anything involving caramelized onions, gruyere, and a fried egg is alright by me, and this did not disappoint.

Lastly, one of my favorites: Wafels & Dinges. I love a Throwdown with bananas (for the potassium, of course). It’s so delicious. Robicelli’s is also there if you are feeling cupcakes over waffles, and don’t forget the birthday cake truffles from Momofuku Milk Bar.

We didn’t get to Calexico (the line was too long) or the Hong Kong Street Cart (my belly was full). But I’m totally hitting them up next time – and yes, there will definitely be a next time. Meet you there?

Restaurant Round-Up for the Week of July 21
July 21, 2011, 8:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’m here to canvass the food blogs, so you don’t have to. Some highlights this week:


The photo above is just part of the remains of the day at Casa Mono, where some friends and I ate and drank ourselves into a stupor recently. It’s a simple proposition for a tiny spot: go early and set up shop. Sit at the bar where you can watch the chefs cook your food; order a bottle of cava, and above all: Do Not Forget The Duck Egg With Mojama and Black Truffle. It’s mindblowingly good.

The Siftster’s on vacay, so Ligaya Mishan pounds the pavement in search of New York’s best frozen treats under $25. Makes me want to go back to Smorgasburg…once it cools off a bit, anyway. Speaking of cold desserts, this Galangal Root Beer Float at Kin Shop looks fantastic.

The boys at Immaculate Infatuation continue their explorations of Brooklyn, and deem Seersucker a sad Southern imposter. Go to Pies ‘N’ Thighs if you are jonesing for fried chicken and biscuits instead.

Danny at Food in Mouth swears by the tacos at Tehuitzingo – for under $3 a pop (in Midtown no less!) they can’t be beat. Just skip the al pastor – your tummy is better served by the beef tongue or belly.

Andy at Wined & Dined wonders why no one’s talking about Mono + Mono’s absurdly good happy hour deal: all you can eat wings and up to 10 house beers for $20 (with a reservation; $25 walking in). Who wants to check it out with me?

Friends of Midtown Lunch just launched Real Cheap Eats NYC, a compilation of good food under $10. Very ML-friendly at that price tag and worth checking out.

If you like food trucks and work in Midtown, you might have noticed the police crackdown recently; the Village Voice talked to Kim Ima (of the Treats Truck) to see how her business is faring. It’s not pretty. So get your officemates together and pool an order – they’ll deliver!

TastingTable brings word that the team behind Anfora, dell’anima, and L’Artusi have opened their newest venture to the public: ellabess, now open in the Nolitan Hotel. Zagats checks out the “seasonal American” menu and nods approvingly.



In the Kitchen with the Ninja, Part 2
July 11, 2011, 7:16 pm
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Many moons ago, I posted a conversation I had with the Ninja after he had not only cooked his own dinner, but photographed his culinary efforts. A few months ago, he did the same thing, with much better results. This conversation’s pretty short since, well, the results speak for themselves. I was actually quite speechless.

Where did you get the recipe for this dish?

Uh, Clay’s brain!? I made it up! It was just duck, and sweet potatoes, and asparagus. Oh, and red wine sauce.

Wait, you made the sauce too? What was in it?

Dates, red wine, butter, duck fat, pepper, and salt, but I mushed up the dates so they caramelized in the sauce and mixed up. Also, the duck breast was enormous.

This dinner came out very differently than the last time you attempted to cook. What do you think changed?

I didn’t follow a recipe WHATSOEVER – I freestyled the bitch.

Hm. How would you say your freestyling efforts differ from my freestyling efforts?

First of all, it’s edible at the end of it. Second of all, I used organic ingredients. Third of all, it probably doesn’t, dude.

You seem to have conquered dinner. What’s next?

….the universe.

Anything else you want to add?

No. When are we doing the next one, since I already cooked the meal, it came out even better than this one, AND I followed a recipe?!


Wait a minute, how many visitors do you get a day? Why haven’t you started a Facebook group? Why aren’t you doing more to publicize your blog?!

Ok, ok, we’re done now.

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.