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jm chen

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    http://www.intrepidmedia.com

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    Philadelphia, PA
  1. jm chen

    Neighborhood pasta place?

    Noodle Pudding in Brooklyn Heights fits this description. Pastas mostly in the $10-18 range. The one with eggplant (Siciliana?) is a particular knockout. Cash only.
  2. jm chen

    Baby Shower "Tapas"/"Pintxos" for 20

    A nice do-ahead tapas standby is goat cheese & orange segments on endive spears. Sprinkle with sliced almonds and drizzle with a syrup of reduced balsamic vinegar and orange juice. I think those potatoes at Amada (a slightly fancied-up patatas bravas treatment) are quickly deep-fried.
  3. Per Se is truly amazing, no question, but I was recently blown away by EMP's four-course option -- as oakapple points out, there are a whole lot of amuses included -- and would almost certainly return there before going back to Per Se, given the difference in price. There is the salon option at Per Se if you just wanted to try a few things, too. Sit in the lounge, order a couple of courses, and you still have cornets and bread service and the great wine list to play with. It isn't the same as the main room, obviously, but it's a great way to get a killer foie torchon for $40 instead of going for the all-in $295.
  4. jm chen

    Empellon

    Really strong dinner for 4 on Sunday of July 4 weekend. Would definitely say back room is the way to go, it's quieter and cozier, without being a tomb. We spent about $50 pp, including alcohol (mostly micheladas) and were completely stuffed, too full to try dessert. We took Sifton's advice and concentrated on the tacos, trying 2 each of 5 different types: fish, al pastor (pork), lamb barbacoa, tongue, and sweetbreads. Also guacamole (both of the salsas were awesome and complex), octopus, arugula salad, and the red and green chorizo queso fundido. No wonder the waitress gently counseled us against making some of those two-taco orders into three-taco orders. Which was very classy. But the tacos are not one-bite nibbles -- if you're in a tasting mood you can split two tacos among four people and not feel like you didn't actually taste it, which has happened to us at some similar establishments. Happily recommend, and would happily return.
  5. jm chen

    ABC, WD-50 or Del Posto

    That does sound off-putting. I reserved on OpenTable and had no such requirement. Or maybe it's a function of party size?
  6. jm chen

    ABC, WD-50 or Del Posto

    I've only been to two of the three, but both on Sunday nights, and I agree, Del Posto is the way to go. Really lovely experience and a great meal. (And more space between tables than you'll see anywhere else in Manhattan!) Don't miss the caramelle.
  7. Wait time at that Shake Shack will really vary. If you can get there by 11:30 it's usually 20 minutes or less, but anywhere between noon and 2 I'd brace for twice that. I like to sit downstairs. The Luke's Lobster at 81st & Amsterdam is also quite tasty, though the menu is small (lobster roll, crab roll, shrimp roll, crab claws, a couple chowders/bisques, soda, chips, and beer.) The Zabar's picnic idea is good too, especially with some bagels from H&H next door thrown in. Edited to add: also, food truck food court outside Tavern on the Green.
  8. jm chen

    Street eats

    Worth noting that both of the halal carts on 53rd & 6th, on the SW and SE corners, are run by the same people now. SE line is usually shorter. I like the lamb/chicken combo platter, with both the red & white sauces, $6. I also love the Schnitzel & Things truck but it's in the $10 range and therefore much less street food-like even though it's a truck. Does Shake Shack qualify? Its outdoor location in Madison Square Park, at least? Just watch out for the aggressive squirrels.
  9. jm chen

    Cutting Citrus Suprêmes

    I pare and then set it down on the board instead of holding it in my hand. For something small like a clementine I'll do the cut you described, but for larger ones I often cut down on one side of the V and then down on the other side -- so instead of a continuous V where you start at the top and "bottom out" then cut from bottom back to top, I'll cut down the left side of the V (top to bottom), lift the knife, and then cut down the right side of the V separately. The segment pops out, and I rotate the fruit and start again. The continuous V is probably faster, but the two-step V works for me. The juice stays on the board instead of my hand, and if I'm intending to use the juice, I can pour it off the board into a bowl/pan/whatever.
  10. jm chen

    Where to eat in NYC 2010

    The Luke's Lobster on the UES (81st near 2nd, I think) is larger than the East Village one, but is still only one booth, one large table, and counter stools. That said: SO GOOD, with lobster bisque and lobster rolls both to die for. I think either Luke's location will be about a half-hour's travel from Times Square, so if your energy flags and you can't make it, I'd recommend Shake Shack since the Theater District location will be walkable. Can't think of another farmer's market I'd recommend nearly as highly as Union Square Greenmarket. Wear gloves, buy cider, have a nice stroll through the booths. The holiday market is there this time of year too, so there may be some foodie finds in the booths there. Agree that Bar Room at the Modern is a good Sunday option, and they happen to have free corkage on Sunday in case you want to pick up a nice bottle of wine in your wanderings and bring it with you for the meal. Maybe Maialino for Monday breakfast?
  11. jm chen

    Tips for pitting stem-on cherries?

    I've done something similar -- removing the stem and going in through the hole with a bobby pin, leaving the cherry otherwise intact -- on a couple different occasions, and some cherries just let go of their pits more easily than others. It may take some shopping trial-and-error, but hey, at least you get to eat your mistakes.
  12. jm chen

    Hearth

    Had a great meal here last Saturday and thought it was worth calling attention to the Cucina Povera deal, which can be had any night of the week, 3 courses for $35 with an optional wine-pairing add-on for $15. No choices, so you take what they give you, but Saturday it was a chilled zucchini soup, cavatelli with pork sausage, and amaretto panna cotta. All delicious. (I also thought the saffron lasagna was pretty mind-blowing, though a little less economical. Bright and citrusy, and one of those dishes you want to eat repeatedly to figure out how they did it.) We'll be back.
  13. They have a tiny retail counter in the back, also, if you ever need to pick up cheese for non-immediate consumption. My touchstone in that area is the 'wichcraft kiosk, which you've already found, so I'm enjoying your updates on other options.
  14. Seconded. It has recipes that range from dead simple (sauteed scallops) to multi-day complexities (Catalan beef stew), lots of salads and sides, a few desserts, really a nice range of techniques and flavors. It seems to be a good "stretch" book for an experienced home cook. (Personally, the cookbook I'm no doubt closest to cooking my way through is The Perfect Scoop, and I've probably still got at least 30 ice creams, sorbets, and "vessels" to go. But everything I make from that book turns out perfect the first time, which is kind of amazing.)
  15. On the more casual side there's Quality Meats at 58th & 6th. Seasonal is delicious but has a pretty limited menu.
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