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Everything posted by markk

  1. Also a few years back, I must say that I've had a great number of really good Pastrami Sandwiches at Artie's. I remember one or two clunkers, but overall they fared very well. Haven't eaten there in at least 5-6 years, possibly much longer even than that.
  2. Of course I remember the difference between "appetizing" and "deli". When I was a kid in Fresh Meadows (Queens), my mother would frequently send me on my bike to go to the appy store for whitefish (a chunk of a large one), creamed herring, and salmon. And we also had "Deli Masters", which I think has achieved some small bit of notoriety. But it's very interesting to note that there is one crossover: Delis always have whitefish, because one of the things you can order in a deli is the "whitefish platter". Now that I've been living in NJ for the past 39 years, we (Hoboken) and just about every town I now has several Italian deli's. And i keep describing to my other half (not Jewish, though after 40 years together living in the greater NYC area, he could really fool you) that just as every town has at least one Italian Deli, when I was a kid in Queens, every neighborhood had at least one Jewish Deli, and at least one "appy" store; but at this point, he is a deli lover in his own right. To me it's so sad how they're disappearing. But, that's a whole other story!
  3. I don't know that the Carnegie Deli is so much terrible as it is totally inconsistent. I'm a pastrami guy. And I remember the days when all deli pastrami was crumbly and fork-tender, not some rubbery slice that you can stretch to several times its size without breaking. And some nights the Carnegie deli will serve you great, crumbly pastrami, and some nights they'll serve you some that tastes and acts like you bought it in a packet at the supermarket. The owner (whose name I just forgot) is Always there, in a suit and tie, sitting near the front. He's sort of a miserably unpleasant guy, but if you explain to him that you want old-fashioned crumbly pastrami, there's a chance that you actually might get it. I've always been a Katz's fan, but one day when I ordered my pastrami sandwich from the waitress (yes, I do that sometimes), I asked her to be sure that the pastrami was hot - I don't remember why I asked that, but obviously I must have gotten some previously that wasn't hot. And what arrived was some very strange, soggy meat, not at all like Katz's usual pastrami. I don't know if they nuked it, or what.... And for what it's worth, I've had mostly great luck with the pastrami at Artie's Deli on the Upper West Side. Well, it wouldn't be a pastrami thread if I didn't post this picture.... (which i now see comes at the end of my post) No, it's not from anywhere in NYC. It's from Harold's Deli in Edison, NJ. (Note that there are several Harold's in NJ with the same logo; they were all once owned by Harold, who sold them and the logo; oddly, he didn't require them to buy their deli meats from him, so if you don't go to the one in Edison that he still owns, you're very likely to get some horrific supermarket pastrami at one of the other Harolds and think badly of them. A very strange business move indeed,) The pastrami is unusually smoky. And though it's usually nice and crumbly, it does have off nights.
  4. I'm trying frantically to remember the name of an Italian restaurant that's in mid-town west. possibly even the theater district, and has a very "cool" or "stark" interior, with large vertical blinds, and it's the creation of one of NYC's more famous Italian chefs. Can anybody help me? I ate there last a few years ago- and of course it may not be there now altogether. (I want to say that it features a menu divided into "traditional" and "modern" versions of Italian dishes, but I can't say for sure that it does.) THANKS! I'll know it when I hear it, so I'd appreciate all the help and suggestions I can get.
  5. I live for summer and the amazing bounty of sweet and delicious fruit that used to come at that time of year, but I'd have to say (and a dear friend in NYC who is a fellow fruit-worshipper, agrees) that it's been years (and years) since we've had any really great fruit here in the markets. In past years just about everything has been either hard (when it's not supposed to be) or soft (when it's not supposed to be), and nothing has had any decent texture, or flavor, or sweetness!! This has been going on for many years now. But this summer I've noticed already that just about everything seems to be sensational - perfect, ripe, and sweet. ' In fact, this summer so far I have even had three (count 'em, three) extremely good canteloupes! I believe we have (or had) a thread somewhere here about how canteloupes smell sweet when you're picking them, but tast like gasoline when you cut into them. Has anybody else noticed what a great year for fruit this is?
  6. Thanks. But here's where the mystery deepens. The fellow from Yee Li, when I asked him to recommend a dim sum place, walked me out to Bayard St. and pointed to Mott St. and said it was on Mott, close to Canal, and that he went there all the time for dim sum (!!) So, the mystery deepens. But I appreciate all the help so far, and would be extremely happy if I could find the place.
  7. While dining at the spectacular Yee Li restauant in Chinatown, I asked the waiter (who we've known for a long time) to recommend a great Dim Sum restaurant. He very highly recommended a restaurant on Mott St., which he called "Tang Lew" - or at least, it sounded like that. I asked him to write it down, which he tried to do in English, and wrote what seems to be "Tang Lew", though it could be "Tang Liew" or "Tang Lieu" or any variation like that. He said that it was a huge place, on Mott St. close to Canal St. (We did drive down Mott St. starting at Canal, but it was raining and most places were closed with their signs off because of how late it was, so we struck out.) Well, I've googled and googled and have come up with nothing. Does anybody here know of this restaurant, what it's really called, where on Mott St. it is? Many thanks for your help !!!!
  8. Can anybody recommend any good restaurants in Columbus? Upscale dining would be a plus, but really any place with great food would help a lot! THANKS EVERYONE !
  9. From Grub Street Truffle Tuesdays Begin Tonight at Sapori D’Ischia in Queens White truffles without going broke. Good news for Tuber magnatum pico addicts: Antonio Galano of Sapori d’Ischia sends word that, once again, he is going to make it rain truffles out in Woodside, Queens. His restaurant begins its annual Alba truffle tribute tonight and will continue celebrating the little musky nuggets every Tuesday through December. It's four white-truffle-festooned courses, including dessert, for a recession-busting $60, plus discounted bottles of Piedmontese wines. The bad news: This might be the last call for the truffle fest as Antonio’s father, Frank, the head truffle hound, considers retirement. http://newyork.grubstreet.com/2011/10/truffle_tuesdays_begin_tonight.html HAS ANYONE BEEN? IS ANYONE GOING? How can they offer 3 courses with shaved truffes on each (that's what they said on the phone when I called) for $60 ??!!
  10. I was actually going to post yesterday and recommend the MECO grils, but never got around to it. I had one for several years (because electric is the only thing we're allowed on the terraces in my high-rise), and then one day when I accidentally got locked out there one night during an earlier heatwave, between the ambient temperature and the grill cooking my roast on high, and my partner apparently not able to hear me banging beach chairs against the terrace door trying to attract his attention, I lost interest in grilling outside until we were able to get a terrace door that would not let you lock yourselves outside. By that time the grill was old and realllllllly filthy, and we decided to get a new one. At Home Depot I saw a similar one that claimed to cook by "infra-red" electric heat, the "Char-Broil Infrared Electric Patio Bistro", whose box explained that the incredibly hot "infra-red" elements would give my food that sizzle and char that you can only dream about obtaining from outdoor grilling. So we bought one. It was a complete piece of crap. No matter how much pre-heating I gave it, it couldn't cook a piece of meat past "gray" - it was a joke how pathetic it was; even when I dropped pieces of beef fat right on the elements, I got nothing - it never got hot enough to flame up from them - so we un-assembled it and sent it back to Amazon. And, a very little bit of googling let me find the Meco grill that we used to have. The difference is like night and day. The MECO get sufficiently hot that if you're cooking anything with fat, or if you put some pieces of fat next to what you're grilling, or render some beef fat and drizzle it on the grill, you can get a flame with which to char your meat!: The entire series of photos of how I cooked that steak on the Meco is here: http://guyarts.com/steak.html But the Meco is DEFINITELY the way to go !!! I got the one with the optional rotisserie, and that works great too.
  11. Let me give you the punchline to my story first - I always tip, but sometimes the "tip" isn't monetary. To give the shortest example first, some time ago we ate in a restaurant and had a waiter who simply didn't care a single bit about the job he was doing - he was either a teen or in his early 20's, and everything about him and his service indicated that he just didn't care. We had a very few special requests (eg "sauce on the side please" for one of the items - nothing major) - and asked him please to make note of these - and then everything a server could do wrong, he did. And they weren't kitchen mistakes. It's too long ago to remember the exact details of his screw-ups, but I remember the incident well. After a most frustrating meal, in which it was impossible to get what we wanted because of the waiter's incompetence, the check came - and of course he had made mistakes on that too. So when I filled out the credit card slip, in the space marked "tip", I drew an arrow to a blank area on the slip, and wrote "next time, pay attention to what you're doing". I consider that I gave him a very valuable tip. I should also say here that I am very understanding of the difficulties of restaurant work, and as an overwhelming rule, I/we are very (very) generous tippers - to the point that more than once a server has chased after us as we were leaving to say a special thanks for the tip he or she found on the charge slip. Another time I was traveling with a friend who is an opera singer, and was performing in a few days, and absolutely had to avoid smoke at all costs - this was before the days of "no smoking" laws. So as the 'advance man', I checked out a few restaurants in the town we were in to see if any of them had a genuine, truly separate "no smoking" area, and I found one that did - it was a small dining room completely and totally separate from the smoking area. So this meant that we could actually eat a meal out - as opposed to living on room service, which is what my friend normally does to avoid smoky restaurants. So I reserved a table there in the no smoking room. When we arrived and were seated, I double checked with the waiter - again a young fellow - that the entire room we were in was non-smoking, and he said that indeed it was. So we sat down and ordered. As we were ordering, a group of about ten people arrived and were seated in an enormous curved booth behind us. As our main courses arrived and we started to dig in, the room suddenly filled with a choking amount of smoke. Everybody at the table of ten had lit up cigarettes. My friend the opera singer ran outside, and I called the waiter over to ask what happened, and he said, "They didn't have a table big enough for them in the smoking room, and they asked me if it was okay if they smoked here, and I said it was." (I guess that makes him a moron.) So I asked for our meal to go, and when the check came, on the charge slip, instead of a monetary amount, I drew an arrow to a blank spot on the slip, and wrote "You shouldn't allow people to smoke in the no-smoking dining room!" Again, I think I gave him a great tip. And there's one more time I didn't tip at all. I met up with a friend in London, a fellow wine-lover and collector, and we decided to treat ourselves to a nice wine-laden dinner. I did some research and found many recommendations for a very upscale restaurant that was said to have an extremely, extremely extensive wine list. So I made our reservation, and we went there. Dressed totally appropriately I might add, and looking extremely respectful - and I say this because from the start, the service was simply "hateful". After our first clash with the waiter (which came almost immediately after we were seated), my friend asked me, "did we do something to offend him?". Well, of course we hadn't. We asked please to see the wine list, because we wanted to plan a meal around many courses and many wines. The list was simply enormous - almost too heavy to lift. And because we were seated across from each other at a table where it was not possible to sit side-by-side, and because handing the list back and forth across the table was a physical impossibility, we asked (please) for a second copy of the list and were told by the waiter that no, he didn't like to give more than one wine list to a table. So. The list was not done in the traditional way - rather, the categories were things like "young, robust reds", "older, paler reds", "medium bodied reds" and so on - so that if you were looking for a particular Bordeaux chateau, it could be in any of those categories, depending on the vintage. (I'm sure this is a help to many people, but we found it frustrating.) Eventually we needed help, and I asked our waiter if there was someone who could help us, and he informed us that he was also the wine steward. So I asked him what older Bordeaux he had in half bottles (we were doing as many half-bottles as we could to sample as much wine as we could), and his reply was, "You're holding the wine list in your hands - what are you asking me for?" I swear to God, that was his reply. Well, it wasn't a very pleasant meal, and there was a kitchen screw-up as well - the slabs of foie-gras terrine came out pretty much frozen - we couldn't even get a fork through them to take a piece. We did call the waiter over and mention this, and he informed us that that was the proper temperature for a foie-gras terrine. (I don't think so.) Eventually we pleaded with him to ask the kitchen if there wasn't any that wasn't that cold, and he came back and nastily told us again that that was the proper serving temperature. And the meal continued in this hostile fashion. When the check came, my friend asked if we should leave just a bare minimum tip so that the waiter got the message that we were not satisfied with the service - a bare minimum tip would have been about $35-45 dollars, and I asked my friend, "Do you really want to give that guy forty bucks for the way he treated us?" and my friend said that no, of course when he looked at it that way, he didn't want to reward the guy in any way, and he asked what we should do. And I said that we should draw a line through the "tip" area on the charge slip, and leave him nothing. To which my friend replied that of course, at that point the waiter couldn't possibly be any more hostile than he'd been all evening. And that's what we did - I just could not bring myself to reward that kind of service. Yes, I understand fully that tips are shared, and as I said earlier, I'm a very generous tipper. But there was just no way. So I'd say that those are circumstances when it's permissible not to tip.
  12. I'm seeking a place in Chinatown (Manhattan) for great (fresh) lobster. I'm pretty flexible on the style of preparation as long as it's a succulent lobster live in a tank just before they cook it. I've struck out on a few places and gave up for a while. However, I have a friend with a craving for Lobster prepared in one of the Chinese Styles (ginger/scallion, country style with black bean, etc) and would really appreciate any suggestions! We used to go to Sun Lok Kee, then followed it to Flushing as it became New Lok Kee, and now that it's gone, we're not having any luck getting a fresh tasting lobster. THANKS !!!!!!!!!!
  13. Do I have to start a new thread to ask this, or can you (please) tell me the name of some "noodle puller" places where we could see the pulling in action? Thanks !!
  14. I read somewhere (I think it was the NY Times, though it may have been one of the magazines) that one of the dumpling places in New York also had a Noodle Puller at the back of the restaurant, in full view of the customers (if you don't know what a noodle-puller does, look it up or ask here), and I think they said that the soups they had to go with the noodles were excellent. Does anybody know of a dumpling place with a Noodle Puller on display? Incidentally, I ate at Dumpling House on Eldridge this past Saturday. The place was mobbed. The dumplings were mediocre, or less than mediocre.
  15. Can anyone recommend a place in Chinatown for great lobsters? I'd want large ones, and I'd want them with ginger and scallion, or perhaps "country style" with noodles. For many (many) years I went regularly to Sun Lok Kee on Mott St. before it burned down. Then when it re-opened in Flushing as New Lok Kee (EVERYTHING exactly the same), we'd go there regularly (I've seen their lobster tanks which were in the basement - spotless, as were all the different fish tanks, all in the basement). (Side note: New Lok Kee closed. Can't find out why no matter how hard I try- if anyone knows, please (please) post it? But now I don't know where to go in Chinatown for large, fresh lobsters really well prepared. Let the suggestions roll in !
  16. Those of you who know me know that I have a soft spot for nostalgic dining. I just received a very enticing dining offer from "Delmonico's" for a meal that includes "Foie Gras Eggs Benedict", Oysters, "Lobster Newburg", salad, a Delmonico Steak, and Baked Alaska. Does anybody have any experience with this place recently?
  17. It used to be a restaurant. Can anybody explain what it is now??? Many Thanks !!!!!!!!
  18. If you have another few minutes to waste, you might want to look into how half.com would compare. I only say this because the purchasing experience (and the odds of finding obscure cooking/food-related books) is greater there, in my experience.
  19. I make a lot of breast of veal because my supermarket has them a lot and they're beautiful, and because I'm addicted to the veal stock I get. I always use a minimum of one bottle of an assertive wine (such as a Sauvignon Blanc or something with some real varietal flavor (not just a bland, quasi-tasteless white), and a minimum of a quart of either homemade rich chicken stock, or some of the better boxed ones, reduced before I use them. When I can get a good job of de-fatting, I can get a lot of rich stock (there's a lot of gelatin in them there breast bones) which reduces quickly to a glaze. I basically braise it, but I'll also stick it under the broiler here and there if I'm not getting enough browning or crisping. Oh, yeah - it doesn't bother me one way or the other if the butcher cuts a pocket for stuffing (as long as I remember to remove the paper), but I never stuff my breast of veal. Reasons are such things as it cooks for so long - 4 hours, maybe more, and I can't think of anything that will cook for that long and still be delicious or not disintegrate and fall out. So... any suggestions for something I could stuff my long-cooking breast of veal with? Many Thanks!
  20. Although I haven't been there yet, I've heard really good things about Firehouse Pizza, and I believe them, because I used to eat one of the chef's food all the time when he cooked at another, (non-pizza) restaurant. But as you can see, the offerings are anything but 'ordinary' – and (as I said above,) I know one of the chef's work well enough to know that he can pull this off. So you might want to download the menu and check it out.
  21. I think I recently read a review of a new book about dining in "the old days" in NYC. If anybody knows what this book is, I would really, really appreciate knowing the name, and any other details you know about it. THANK YOU !!!!
  22. I think that this has to be one of those situations where you vote with your pocketbook (wallet for gentlemen), and I think you should have replied to the waiter's explanation of "the chef prefers..." with, "Oh, that's not how we wanted to do the meal- we wanted something more casual and less rushed, so would you please bring us the check for any drinks you've served us, and we'll head out to somewhere where we can order at our own pace." I'm pretty sure you'd see that turn very quickly into a situation where the chef prefers most of all that you not leave his restaurant and go somewhere else. There are some restaurants where I'm fine with placing my whole order at the start, and others where I prefer to "graze" and make the meal a "work in progress" - and this may not be 100% because of the type of restaurant or its menu - it may just be my particular frame of mind that night. But I remember very clearly that I was in a "the chef prefers..." situation within the last year or two, and while I don't remember the specifics of what the chef preferred, I very nicely replied to the waiter, "And when he's the one paying for the meal, then he should have it exactly the way he prefers it." I don't deal really well with this particular kind of stupidity. And I can tell you from my dining experiences that when we say that we'd like to build the meal as we go, we are pretty much always met with "absolutely!" as the response. But remember that just because you've been seated, and may have ordered a few starters, you're under no obligation to stay. And to be completely truthful, sometimes when my "radar" goes off and warns me that we may not be in a restaurant that we're going to enjoy, I will specifically not order anything more than starters, giving us the option of leaving if they turn out to be as bad as my radar is warning me they may be.
  23. This is exactly the book you're looking for - and you can find it online: "A Traveller's Guide to the Food of France" (Region by Region Guide to Food and Wines) (Paperback, 1986) Author: Glynn Christian
  24. I'm recently back from 11 days in Miami which included three marathon meals at Sra. Martinez- there are 41 items on the menu, and we managed to have 22 of them, plus two daily specials (some things we just had to have on each visit), and I'm doing my best to wade through hundreds and hundreds of photos. It's no secret that I'm a Michelle Bernstein lover, and I think that this restaurant gets everything right - the ambiance, the service, the "vibe", and the food - oh, the food. I think it's a fantastic representation of what Michelle Bernstein is all about, and it should be noted that she and Sra. Martinez's head chef Bernice Dearaujo (formerly of Michy's) are delivering faultless execution and amazing flavors. Charred Fava Salad Bibb Lettuce, Cara Cara Orange, Soy Habañero Vinaigrette Shrimp Tiradito Madagascar Prawns, Soy, Ginger, Aji Amarillo Aioli Foie Gras Brown Butter Apples, Pulled Braised Pork Roasted Bone Marrow BBQ Eel, Apples, Soy, Apple Butter Butifarra Gigante White Beans, Foie Gras-Duck Sausage, Port Wine Whole Boneless Fish Roasted Piquillos, Garlic Chips Soft Shell Crabs Greek Salad (daily special) Paella (daily special) Dessert This is the dessert that drosendorf mentions in the first post. I do believe that it is Greek yogurt, with tomato marmalade, and basil syrup - sort of a dessert version of "Insalata Caprese", and wildly successful, and a very fitting end to a meal like this. Two comments come to mind. One is that I eat a lot of sauteed foie gras, and I've always thought that Michelle's is pretty much consistently the best - the preparations vary, and they're always outstanding. The dish here, combining it with the pulled pork, is simply brilliant (the savory maple syrup with meat jus and a very smoky overtone lends a haunting quality). And it's addictive - it was a player in each of my three meals. The second comment is that she makes some of the best soft-shell crabs around. This restaurant is a great deal of pure unadulterated fun. And in a sense, although her flagship restaurant, Michy's (food photos here) cleverly offers most of its dishes in full, and half portions, Sra. Martinez, with tapas-sized portions, is sort of like Michy's-lite. I think it's a masterpiece of a restaurant. Of course, having eaten probably a hundred of her meals (+/-), I am indeed biased.
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