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Arthur Schwartz

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  1. Go to my website -- www.arthurschwartz.com -- and you'll find a wonderfu lentil soup I devised a couple of months ago, and there's the celery soup that I made for Thanksgiving -- on the site, too.
  2. Atlantic Avenue is no longer the place to get good Arab food. That said, I stop at Waterfalls, but ONLY for the vegetable mezze. Leave the meat. I do like the Yemen cafe on Atlantic, especially their roast lamb. There is another Yemeni restaurant on 18th Avenue -- glatt kosher. I keep meaning to try it. For good Lebanese food I go to Byblos on E. 38th St (maybe 39th) and Third Ave.
  3. Boy, have I become a curmugeon. By definition, trends come and go, so I try not to be enamored by them, or despise them. As they say in the musical "Avenue Q", don't worry, it's just for now. (But then, they sing that about George Bush, too, and he's here for another four years.) The trend that has come and gone and come and gone again, is here once again -- small plates of food. Young people, who need constant senusal stimulation (they did their homework while listening to music, watching TV, and on the computer) love loud restaurants with menus that offer a million strong flavors. Witness the success of Spice Market, and any number or other restaurants where small plates are enouraged. The Thomas Keller phenom is in the same category -- you don't get more than two bites of anyting at his restaurant in the Time Warner Center, Per Se. Ditto his restaurant in Napa, French Laundry, which I found an ordeal of 54 course, which meant I had to sit with business acquaintances for five hours. I ran out of things to talk about. Anyway, small plates (okay, you wanna call them tapas, go ahead, even though they are not and that's not what tapas are really about ) are a trend. Raw fish is a trend. Not sushi, which is an international trend by the way, but just raw fish -- if it's an Italian restuarant they want to call it "crudo." That means raw in Italian. Raw fish is not a surprising trend. If we can eat sushi with soy sauce, we can eat raw tuna with extra virgin olive oil and call it Italian. I like raw fish, but I can't make a meal of it. And if find it insanely expensive. At Esca, which I like for other reasons, the crudo is $5 a bit. Literally. I choke on those prices. What else -- do I have to say that ice cream with every non-ice cream dessert is a trend. It's actually often the best part of the dessert, even though thought to be a garnish. I hate the trend of herbal desserts (I never even liked chocolate chip-mint ice cream.) I recently went to a restaurant where the ice cream choices were between bay leaf ice cream, sage ice cream, lavender ice cream, and espresso (I like that last). My dinner companion had to beg to get some vanilla. Pasta has become a catch-all for everything in the kitchen. I hate that trend. In a carbo-phobic world, as we have now, why don't restaurants serve pasta the way they do in Italy -- in portion sizes that don't kill, leaving enough room for a little protein secondo. I could go on and on ... you've taped into a subject ripe for feature treatment.
  4. Rosie, You are a dear. But asking me to name my favorite restaurants in New Jersey is like me asking you what are your favorite restaurants in Brooklyn. I used to try to get to Jersey to eat when I was doing the radio show, but there is nothing in New Jersey that I would go out of my way for. Indeed, I find that I don't want to go out of my way for any restuarant meal these days. I eat at home and in my neighborhood (where there are now more than enough restaurants to meet every need) or I travel to Manhattan when work or curiosity gets me.
  5. I would have told you all sooner, but I wanted to tell my agent first. Starting Jan. 18, I will be on WWRL, 1600 AM, every Tuesday from 11 to noon. I will be broadcasting from my kitchen table, which makes me happy.
  6. There are so many things happening in your neighborhood, its hard to keep up. As the restaurant critic for BKLYN magazine, I try to keep up. But there are so many things happening in my neighborhood (Park Slope), and other parts of Brooklyn, that I haven't had a chance to keep up with yours. Anyway, I love, love, love Downtown Atlantic on Atlantic Ave. It's friendly, and down-to-earth, but has excellent, even stylish food. Or a hamburger. And great baked goods. I can't get enough of the chocolate banana cream pie. I liked Bacchus, also on Atlantic Ave., the one time I went. Now, my friends in your neighborhood tell me it has come into its own. There are a lot of mediocre Asian places on Smith St. and Court St. I go when I have to because some I am with someone who wants to, but they are merely serviceable. I love the pizza at Caserta Vecchia. When I go to the movies on Court St. I grab a burrito across the street -- whatever it is called -- the fillings are fresh. I can't wait to get to Frankie's (I think that's the spelling), which is an old-fashioned Italian American place just opened by two young guys named Frank. I am hearing good things about the new French place that takes the place of Brooklyn Grill -- which was very good, but was sent down the tubes by 18 months of street construction on Atlantic. The famous place on Smith St. is Saul, but never thought it was as good as they think they are -- as the press as made them seem because it was one of the first stylish place to open on the street. I'll probably remember when I sign off -- which I am going to do now. I can always add to the list, right?
  7. Dear Curlz Sounds good to me. I don't think it is true. But I love the story. For one thing, if you were so observant as to observe Shabbos on Saturday, then you wouldn't be eating Chinese on Sunday.
  8. Dear Cutlets, Don't bust my chops (couldn't resist). I love Moroccan food. I have been to Morocco several times and, as you might imagine, there's a lot more to it than preserved lemons. To your particular interest, Mr. Cutlets, the best skewers of meat I have ever eaten -- although I have yet to get to Gaziantep (sp?), the shish capitol of Turkey (I was on my way once, but got distracted by mosaics in Antioch) -- were in Morocco, on the street, made of lamb that was just hanging out in the shade, being brushed of flies, a bit of onion, parsley, salt and pepper. Somehow, I have never been able to reproduce that taste, simple as it is. Never got sick either. The big meat number if Morocco, howver, is mishwee (again, I can't spell and I am too lazy to get up and look it up -- I mean this isn't REAL publishing). One of my memorable meals was a private dinner we paid for in a private home -- the progression of dishes, including you name it, ended with a half roasted lamb rubbed with spices and herbs, cooked for hours, basted with butter. We ate with our fingers. We reclined on divans. For some reason, there have been very few Moroccan restaurants in New York. We have lots of American chefs who use what they fancy is Moroccan spicing, but it's not real Moroccan food. The whole couscous experience has never been marketed properly in New York. The onlyplace I have been to where you could get all these things -- and it is now out of business -- was Lotfi on W. 46th St. Not as a walk-in diner, either. You had to order your feast ahead. If someone knows of a good Moroccan restaurant, please tell us all.
  9. My general view is that stuffing taste better in the bird, but that there are so many downsides to stuffing the bird that the cost-benefit ratio is in favor of cooking the stuffing separately. You can always baste your stuffing casserole with drippings. You put in enough butter or whatever and the difference is marginal. But the turkey cooks more evenly, and, as you say, you have a clean carcass in the end when you cook the "dressing" on the side. That's the difference to me, by the way. Inside is stuffing. Outside is dressing. But who cares? By the way, I highly doubt you are going to extract your stuffing in one piece. And why do that anyway? I big blob of stuffing is not very attractive.
  10. Can you name at least five all-around good Jewish delis scattered about Manhattan? What is this, a quiz? There aren't five all-around Jewish delis left in the city, much less Manhattan. I eat pastrami and corned beef at Katz's. It's the best. I know some people hate the thickly sliced meat. You can get it thin if you ask. I sit at a table and have a waiter or waitress (love Mickey, the zoftig woman) take care of me. I eat all other deli food at the Second Avenue deli. Junior's in Brooklyn, believe it or not, has wonderful pastrami. On the way home on election day night I bought two Carnegie pastrami sandwiches for me and my partner, to consol us while watching the returns. Instead, the pastrami made us angrier. We left half of it over. It was like leather. I also went to Ben's in Bayside last week. Also terrible. The pastrami was again like leather. The service was terrible, too. One of my friends ordered a pastrami omelet and it came after everyone else was finished, including me who came late and ordered last. Jay and Lloyd's on Avenue U in Brooklyn has good meat, but the place is filthy and everything else is gross. Forget the Mill Basin Deli. That's over, too. On big problem is the difficulty of getting good KOSHER meats for pastrami and corned beef. I don't what exactly the problem is, but there is a problem. That's why Katz's and Junior's are good. They are not kosher. Oy vay, no more good deli! I can't live in that world.
  11. Dear Ore, Great to hear from you. How are things in Nusco? We loved our visit with you guys, and of course Tonino's food. Well, your food, too. (To eGullet people: This guy is a young American chef doing a stage in the middle of nowhere in Avellino province of Campania. His mentor Antonion (Tonino) is one of the top chefs in the south of Italy. He makes very local food with very local ingredients, but in a contemporary manner. Great flavor with great of-the-moment presentation.) Tell Tonino, I have a guest room. He can come almost any time. As long as I am here. I will be up your way again in December. Anyway, casual is the word here in New York. We have plenty of expensive restaurants -- too many expensive restaurants -- but the new ones are for younger people than the old expensive places were -- and the food is more eclectic. I think seriously plain eating may be coming back. I think New Yorkers my age -- as opposed to your age -- are tired of creative food. It all tastes alike. You've got the tuna dish, the steak dish, the veal dish, you get the picture. It's all just how it is garnished, what fusion is going to fuse the thing. But I may not be the right person to ask. I am jaded. Eating out doesn't excite me as much as eating in. All that said, New York is the most exciting eating place on earth. Just today, I went to the bank and when I walked out I saw a women frying empanadas on the street. She's from Ecuador. She fries these one at a time. Nurses them along. She made her meat, chicken and bean-and-cheese fillings at home. It was fabulous! And last night I ate sensational Chinese food in Bensonhurst. I mean, most places on earth don't allow me to eat Italian one night and great Malaysian the next. Come back Ore. A
  12. John, Check out the answer I gave to the other Campanian product question.
  13. I have to say there are two categories of ingredients -- the fresh ones that you can only eat in Italy -- such as the mozzarella di bufala -- and those that you can buy here, too -- such as the pata. For the real Neapolitan taste, I buy either Setaro (an excellent buy when you purchase it at Buon Italia in the Chelsea Market, which imports it) and Voiello, which I buy at DiPalo's on Grand St. San Marzano tomatoes are essential to my life, and I buy the DOP guaranteed brand from Coluccio, in jars. They are sold in many stores, but I get them at the Coluccio retail store on 61st St. and 12th Ave. in Brooklyn. I never eat buffalo mozzarella here, by the way. Once you have eaten it the day it is made -- hours after it is made -- even just after it has been made, while still warm -- you cannot enjoy the product when it gets here. As for other ingredients that I need to make my food taste Neapolitan, there's capers packed in salt (preferably from Pantelleria, an island off Sicily), anchovies packed in salt (not oil), Gaeta olives (you get the highest quality at DiPalo's), and oregano. You have to go to Sorrento to get the sweet oregano I love, but I substitue marjoram when I run out. They are like one chromosome apart. Of course, Capri, Sorrento, the whole coast is famous for lemons, but I think we have wonderful lemons here, too.
  14. I left because life is too short to work for people who make you unhappy. and when you want to do as many things as I have left to do. I very, very much enjoyed talking to my audience, and serving my audience (which, I feel, I still can), but not all the stuff that went on around it. My replacement has a very nice manner with his callers. Enough said?
  15. The rule of thumb is that you need 24 hours defrosting time in the refrigerator for every 5 pounds of turkey. So, unless you are cooking a 25 to 30 pound turkey, you could have held off defrosting until Saturday. It doesn't matter. Never defrost a turkey at room temperature, however. If you find yourself in a real bind, like you forgot to buy the turkey until the night before, you can defrost it in a sink full of cool -- not warm -- water. or under running water. Like that it will take about a half hour a pound. That translates to a minimum 3 hours for a measly 12-pounder.
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