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Everything posted by Artichoke

  1. The New York Times reported this morning that Max Brenner will opening tomorrow (841 Broadway, at 13th Street), with a second location to open next month at 141 Second Avenue (Ninth Street). The Broadway shop has a retail space on the bottom level, and a two level 150 seat restaurant.
  2. Thanks chardgirl, nice picture, the greens look great on those. I agree with you on the deep red color, it looks particularly nice when tossed with fresh mint leaves.
  3. I am working with a caterer on a menu and one of the items I wanted was various small bowls of simple items on the tables, roasted beets tossed with fresh mint, roasted, baby artichokes, etc. The caterer wanted to use candy stripe beets and I was just curious about their sweetness versus other varieties. I am assuming like most fruits and vegetables, certain types are better in flavor than others. I have had candy stripes before, but not recently enough to recall their taste. What is your favorite beet variety?
  4. Thank you sadie. I know Foremost well. Having been raised orthodox here in Manhattan, I have been to many affairs catered by them, plus they are the caterer for the synogogue I am a member of on the Upper East side. They were not my first thought because having been to so many affairs that they have catered, I did not think they were the right fit for what I wanted. Since my fiancee and I are make the wedding (she is 37, I am 36) and it is her second (my first), we wanted it to be a relatively casual affair. It is just our most immdediate family and closest friends, 120 people in total in a loft here in Manhattan. A short ceremony, no bridesmaids or ushers, no black tie, no smorgus board, no food stations. We really just want people to come, dressed casual, drink, eat, dance and have a great time. A cocktail hour following the ceremony, a lot of hors d'ouevres, and no sit down dessert. Rather than disrupt the flow of the evening and dancing, we wanted our desserts to be bite size and passed. From my past experience with Foremost affairs, they followed a fairly traditional path that I wanted to try and avoid. Having said all of that, I have met with them over the past month (Randy Zablo, CEO and his associate Michael Waiser) and found them to be more amenable than I would have thought to making the kind of menu I envisioned. Of course it all comes down to taste and I will be doing that with them tomorrow evening at their Moonachie, New Jersey headquarters. I will report back tomorrow as to how it went. The menu is still a work in progress and some things I wanted to do they felt they could not do competantly. Frankly, I felt better about having them being up front about that rather than try and do something beyond their skill set. Three hors d'oevres I suggested did not make the cut. The first was a coronet of salmon tartare. I know, a complete rip off of Tomas Keller, but most caterers are doing it in one form or another, so I did not feel too guilty. Foremost apparently has not had luck making the coronets, I have seen it done with slices of plantains rolled into a cone and fried, but they did not feel comfertable doing that either. The second one that did not get done was fresh hearts of palm sections stuffed with different purees (fava bean, a tapenade, etc). Now, this is a shameless rip off from Grant Achatz's menu at Aliena in Chicago (sorry Grant, but no chefs would have been present to rip off the idea), but as I said, it will not be done. I insisted on fresh hearts of palm and the caterer thought it would be too much trouble. The third item to not make the cut was a steamed dumpling with a veal filling, flavored with garlic and ginger, served in a Chinese spoon sitting in a soy/citrus or ponzu sause. Foremost did not feel comfortable about their dumpling skills. This is a sampling of some of the hors d'voures we have so far (pending the tasting), I am coming up with more: BLINI WITH SALMON CAVIAR, CITRUS CREAM (I am unsure of this one, I would like it normally, but since this a kosher wedding with meat being served, there can be no dairy, so, I have to see how bad this non-dairy "cream" is) TRUFFLED DEVILED EGGS LACED WITH SMOKED SALMON (I wanted traditional deviled eggs, this is what the caterer came back to me with, again, I'll have to see what it tastes like). TALL SHOTS OF COLD SOUP (Gazpacho, carrot/ginger, vichysoisse) MINI VEAL BURGERS ONION CONFIT BALSAMIC KETCHUP DUCK OVER PANCAKES, BING CHERRY RELISH (I wanted a wild rice pancake, I have to see what the caterer's pancake is, he did not specify) EGGPLANT CAVIAR ON TOASTED BAGUTTE LAMB EMPANADA SEARED BEEF FILET ON WHOLE GRAIN RUSK WITH RED ONION MARMALADE PISTACHIO CRUSTED LAMB MEDALLION ON TOASTED BAGUETTE SALMON TARTARE SERVED ON A FRIED LOTUS CHIP My entree is going to be short ribs braised in red wine served over a celery root/potato puree. I am still working on an appetizer. It cannot be too heavy, given the short rib entree. I was toying with the idea of sort of a mezze plate, long, rectangular white plate with three or four small offerings, I just have to think of which ones. I was also thinking of having small plates on the table of various things, sort of tapas style (roasted beets with fresh mint, fried baby artichokes, roasted cauliflower), I am not sure, still tinkering with that. Desserts are a work in progress as well. I do not know if anyone is actualy interested in all of this, but I will list my entire menu when it is complete and report back on how my tasting went for the things that I have settled on so far.
  5. From the looks of it, it appears that Max Brenner will be opening very soon.
  6. Aroma has its opening , and some problems with semantics "One of the loose ends is the "Oriental sandwich." In Israel this is known as an Iraqi sandwich, but its migration to America prompted a change of identity...In the meantime, they have learned that here in America "Oriental" is a synonym for Asian, not Middle Eastern. So they eventually decided to call the sandwich the "Med," short for Mediterranean. "
  7. The current issue of Saveur has a nice article about Vichyssoise and its New York origins, written by Todd Coleman.
  8. I have not eaten at Craftsteak either and so cannot comment on their steaks, but I agree with you Fat Guy with regards to pan roasting. Aside from the fact that it engulfs my one bedroom in smoke, when I cook a rib eye (my preffered cut) at home, I sear it in a pan, which gives me a uniformed carmelization across the entire steak. Depending upon how thick it is, I will either finish it off in the in the oven or the pan. My only issue sometimes is that I preffer my rib eye on the bone, which does not always lay flat in the pan, but I will just cut it off later and finish it in the broiler.
  9. Paul Lukas of the New York Sun weighs in this morning on Craftsteak and has the same issue as Bruni did with regards to the steaks being baked "In fact, the most notable thing about the steaks' flavor was what they were lacking: char. Restaurant steaks are typically either grilled or broiled, but these appeared to have been baked.There were no blackened grill marks, no charred outer crust, and consequently none of that delicious, slightly bitter counterpoint that's usually provided by a steak's exterior. It made for a frustrating eating experience... Almost everything else at Craftsteak is terrific. But there's no getting around it: A steakhouse that serves mediocre steak — no matter what its provenance — is a failure."
  10. My attempts to secure a caterer have been, to put it mildly, tortuous. There are a lot of great caterers in Manhattan, my problem is that I needed to find a kosher one, who went beyond the usual rubbery stuffed capon and wilted salad. While I myself am not kosher, my family, the brides family and a good number of the guests are. To add another layer of difficulty, the caterer I secured needed to have a kosher certification acceptable to orthodox Jews. I met with some very good kosher caterers, Simply Divine, headed by Judy Marlow was one. I thought she was very nice, very open to devising a menu to my food obsessed specifications and very good at returning my calls. Unfortunately for me, the kosher certification she has, "Chai Kosher", is not deemed acceptable by orthodox Jews. I looked into Manna Catering , who I had read about in New York Magazine. Dan Lenchner who runs that outfit was also very nice and accomidating, unfortunately for me, he used the same kosher certification as Simply Divine. Which then brought me to Creative Edge Parties . The heavens parted and I thought my problems were solved. Here was a 14 year old, non-kosher caterer, who did great looking, not your usual, catered affairs and who recently decided to start a kosher division under the auspices of an orthodox kosher certification. Fantastic, everything I wanted, which was to not have to go with the traditional orthodox caterers whose forgetable to downright awful food I have been subjected to countless times during my life. I met the President and co-owner, Carla Rubin, at their downtown offices. She was attractive, engaging and was eager to work with me in what would have been her first kosher wedding and hopefully the launch of a new division of her business. We worked out a menu together, she had great advice covering all aspects of the wedding and hand delivered a well packaged proposal and menu along with a small box of pastries, nice touch. After one or two tweaks, we were all set to go. Then the e-mail. While Carla had met my fiancee during our meeting, up untill this point she had only been dealing with me. My fiancee thinks I am far too obsessed with food and was more than happy to give me the task of dealing with caterers. One Sunday evening, close to midnight, Carla sends an e-mail to my fiancee apologizing but explaining that her and her partner had decided that they were not going to pursue the kosher catering business and thus would not be able to move forward. A phone call I made to Carla the next day was put through to her voicemail and never returned. A few things. I have no qualms with the fact that she decided to not go forward with a kosher division. For whatever reason, financial, staffing, time management, it did not make sense to her to do it and that is fine, its her business, she knows what is best for her. My wedding is September 10th and so I had time to find someone else. However, after spending time with a potential client, and settling on a menu and price, the very least I would expect would be a phone call. Instead, Carla proved to be a coward and sent an e-mail under cover of night to my fiancee. I will let pass that she never gave any indication during our various discussions that her kosher division was not a sure thing. What I would have liked was the common decency of a phone call. Then to ignore my call to her the next day was realy unprofessional. It was not as if I was calling her to chew her out, I actually wanted to see if she would be willing to act as a paid consultant as I interviewd other caterers. The whole experience left me extremely bitter.
  11. According to the web site Eater , Ditch Plains has reduced their prices "A day late and potentially a dollar short, West Village newcomer Ditch Plains has finally reduced their prices. This is ostensibly the result of a sub-packed dining room and early and middling press, which took issue with what was perceived as an extremely low value proposition...Some key price slashings ('was' numbers are from day-one tasting menu): Eggs Benedict: WAS $10/NOW $5 Bagel & Smoked Salmon: $17/$9 Fried Clam Strips: $15/$11 Chicken Pot Pie: $17/$12 Hamburger: $12/$9 Pie: $8/$5 "
  12. Peter Hertzmann's wonderful website dedicated to French food, a' la carte , has this piece on chou-fleur , which includes 20 French recipes spanning close to 350 years.
  13. That made my morning, awesome job Derek.
  14. I honestly do not understand the controversy that Kosher Today writes about. Why would someone assume that simply because a coffee chain from Israel was opening in the States it would be kosher? I do not know the statistic, but I would venture to say that the majority of Israelis in New York are not kosher. It is certainly the case in Israeli cities such as Tel-Aviv that many are not as reflected in that city's offering of non-kosher restaurants and cafes. I would assume that Aroma is in the business of making money and are trying to expand their franchise overseas for that purpose. Is there money to be made in a kosher coffee house? I suppose, in the right neighborhood, Teaneck, Cedarhurst, areas at least where you have a captive audience with few other options, but that property on Wooster was not chosen out of hopes of drawing caffeine craving kosher Jews to that location. The Lower East Side rabbi quoted in Kosher Today who said that Aroma management is “arrogant and frankly commercially naïve,” suggesting that the store would loose business by being non-kosher is the one being naive. Having a coffee shop in that location that is closed sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday, plus the Jewish holidays and pay the the premium for kosher products would be a good start to a losing business.
  15. Apparently today is the opening of the first New York branch of the Israeli coffee chain Aroma Espresso Bar. The location is 160 Wooster . Despite many visits to Israel, I have to say, I have never been in one of these. An article describing the chain and the move can be read on the web site of the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth .
  16. Artichoke


    Has anyone been recently? I am going tonight, having last eaten there about 2 years ago. I can't say that I remember too much from my last visit other than that narrow side room by the kitchen was brutally hot and that the side dish of roasted Hen of the Woods mushrooms were fantastic.
  17. Artichoke


    Bruni wrote a review of Parea today, giving it two stars. I ate there recently and found a lot of what he wrote to be accurate. One item I was most looking forward to I found to be dissapointing the evening I ate there, the lambs brains served with potatoes and pickled onions. Bruni describes the way they should have been, crunchy on the outside, molten within. The evening I was there, they were overcooked and had been sitting out of the fryer too long. I did share his experience with the "Greek doughnut holes", which he describes as "dreadful — chilly, chewy", exactly the way mine were served. I was dissapointed to learn when I arrived that the pickled tongue was off the menu, my waitress said it simply did not sell. One thing not to miss if ordering the "sea bass for two" are the cheeks. The fish was huge and the cheeks were incredibly tender nuggets of flesh. Fortunately my dining companion wanted nothing to do with the head . Two items that Bruni does not mention, that I thought were two of the best, were the Greek sausages and the crispy goat dumplings. The sausages were plump and full of spices like cinamon and chili and were absolutely delicious. The goat dumplings were like small, fried empanadas and also filled your mouth with a a great blend of spices. Lastly, I found the service at Parea to be exceptional. My waitress was excellent, but if she did not happen to be around when someone in my dining party needed something (like having the head and tail taken off the sea bass and sent to my end of the table) the maitrede was there in a flash to help.
  18. I am sure that the statistic is out there somewhere, but I would be very curious to know how many food borne illnesses are attributed each year to poorly washed vegetables containing something like E. coli versus trichina worms in pork.
  19. Artichoke

    Duck Eggs

    Simply fried up in a pan and served sunny side up would be my preference. Its the perfect way to appreciate the richness of the yolk. Perhaps draped over some fingerling potatoes browned in duck fat, ohhhhh....
  20. Go Ouest young man. Tom Valenti's Ouest restaurant (2315 Broadway) does a spectacular, simply grilled, double rib pork chop, and everytime I order it, I ask for it medium rare and medium rare it comes. Juicy, porky, and delicious, a tough choice at times between that and the braised pork shank. Landmarc also does a fantastic grilled pork chop (with sautteed spinach, caramalized onions and apples) and no waiter there has ever turned down my request to have it medium rare.
  21. I think you may have better luck separating the space from the food. Most places in South Philly can't accommodate that many people (or won't, because it would preclude them from turning over the tables for the rest of the night), let alone a DJ. Quite a few could certainly cater it for you at a banquet hall or something, though. Of course, I've never arranged for a party that big, so I may be overlooking something. ← I think you raise a good point Buckethead. Perhaps the question should be, who knows of good Philadelphia caterers or Italian restaurants who would cater such an affair.
  22. A close friend of mine who is not a contributor to eGullet was thinking out loud about birthday plans for her mom who lives in Philadelphia and I thought I would try and lend a hand. My friend has not lived in Philadelphia in many years and so is out of the loop on the dining scene. My only eating adventures in Philadelphia have been of the roast pork Italian kind (miss those). She is looking ideally for a an Italian space, south Philadelphia, great food, that would allow for a D.J. and accomodate between 100-120 people. She had tried Io E Tu, but they are closed in Sept. which is when she wanted to make this party. Thanks in advance for any advice.
  23. Landmarc, 179 W. Broadway - Top of my list. Great offering of offal, crispy sweetbreads, boudin noir and in my opinion the best calf's liver in the City. Braised toungue has just been added to the menu, I am eager to try that. Starters of roasted bone marrow and foie gras terrine are not to be missed. A wine list with minimum mark ups and the late hour of service (open until 2:00 AM) just add to its greatness. Casa Mono, 52 Irving Place - My favorite of the Batali/Bastianich partnership. Food is uncomplicated, bold and so good. Another restaurant offering a good selection of offal, fried sweetbreads, tripe with chickpeas and moricella. Sit at counter surrounding the kitchen (you will smell like the kitchen when you leave) and watch Andy Nusser's team work. One of only restaurants in Manhattan where I have seen lamb riblets offered, these are delicious, Great fried sardines, cocks combs, duck egg with Mojama, lambs tongue, a fantastic venison with lentils and any vegetables cooked on the plancha, particularly the artichokes. In addition, it has the greatest Spanish wine list in Manhattan. Go around the corner to Bar Jamon to drink and nibble while waiting for a table. Woo Chon, 8-10 W. 36th St. - People sometimes knock this Korean for its use of gas in its grills, but you would be missing out if you skipped it for that. The food is fantastic, overseen by the older Korean woman who is always there despite the hour and whose recipes make up the menu. A large selection of ban chan, a fantastic spicy soup containing short ribs, tripe, and intstines, a great dish whose name escapes me, but is the only item with no explanation, is listed under the appetizers,it is cartlidge from the knees of a cow that have been slowly simmered for hours and hours untill wondefully tender and gelatinous, served with a tangle of herbs and a dipping sauce, or a small bowl of beef broth. Saka Gura, 211 E. 43rd - A great subterranean escape, with a large Japanese expat crowd and a huge sake list. The braised cubes of tongue are one of theh best items on the menu.. Bar @ Etats-Unis, 247 E. 81st - This cheats a bit because it is two blocks from my apartment, but I would travel here if I moved. This tiny space has some of the best food on the Upper East side. An eclectic menu, great fondue, burger, fantastic guacamole (the guy who makes it is from Puebla), delicious grilled duck over braised red cabage, a large wine list and, in my opinion one of the City's least known and best desserts, a warm date pudding, sitting over a rum butter sauce (must be ordered when placing the dinner order). Wu Liang Ye, 36 W. 48th - Shaved beef tendons, Dan Dan noodles, beef brisket in noodle soup, string beans with Yibin City spice, its all good. Margon, 136 W. 46th - A bare bones spot with some of the best Cuban food the City has to offer and dirt cheap. Their Octopus salad is one of my all time favorite octopus preperations, go on Monday or Thursday for the tripe and pigs feet special, or Mon., Thurs. Fri. for the oxtail special, great rice and beans and be sure to grab a cuban coffee on the way out. Barney Greengrass,541 Amsterdam Ave - The only place that will get this East sider to West Side early on a Sunday morning. The kind of place where despite being born and raised here, makes you sit back and appreciate where you live. Smoked sturgeon, white fish, nova, lox eggs and onions, it is the Garden of Eden of smoked fish.
  24. This is an interesting topic. I am traveling soon to Thailand and Vietnam and have been very curious about this whole subject. One of the things I am most excited about is indulging in the street food and local food markets, however I have never traveled in this part of the world and am curious how I will fare. I do not have a sensitive stomach, but again, it has never experienced that corner of the globe and may not know what the hell hit it. Something like Pho, in Vietnam seems like it would be fairly harmless given that it is all cooked, however, I wonder about adding the fresh herbs that accompany it (and are so good) I seem to recall one instance in Bourdain's original show where he did suffer from some ill effects while in Asia, not certain where, he may have also mentioned it in his book.
  25. I have seen fairly heavy newspaper advertising for Tito, although I have not tried it myself. I have always been loyal Ketel One drinker, but recently tried a new Norweigen vodka that I really enjoy called Christiania . It is one of the smoothest vodkas I have tried in a while.
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