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jm chen

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Everything posted by jm chen

  1. 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. 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


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


    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.
  16. Made the duck breast recipe from this for a dinner party Saturday & it was a huge success. Like others have said, the recipes aren't "easy", but most are several degrees simpler than TFL or Bouchon. Highly recommended.
  17. This Wednesday? 5 courses for $45 at Matyson. Get a bottle of wine at the PLCB store on Chestnut between 19th & 20th. As a former Philly resident now in NYC, this is what I miss -- BYOB in general, and Matyson specifically.
  18. Went for lunch and a look-see this past Saturday. Short version: really enjoyed the food and the vibe, really sad I don't live two blocks away from there anymore (though that way poverty/massive weight gain lies). Didn't check out the wine store, but the cheese/charcuterie/oil/vinegar market area seemed competitively priced with places like DiBruno, Salumeria, etc. My favorite part of the market was the small tanks of olive oil and vinegar, with spigots so you can taste before buying. Long version: blogged about it.
  19. CookieBar is only open this week, through Saturday the 13th, but why not have a thread while the getting's good! If you're a baker and enjoy Dorie Greenspan's recipes -- or if you're an eater and enjoy cookies -- you can pick up a selection of cookies baked by Dorie and her son/business partner Josh Greenspan at Mizu, on Park between 59th and 60th. (Yes, they're selling cookies in a hair salon.) More details on my blog: pop goes the cookie(bar)
  20. Can anyone confirm that it will be OK to not tip above the included service charge? If we left a tip beyond the 20% service charge it was not large. To me, the point of the service charge is to remove the guessing. I would certainly not tip 20% on top of their included 20%, though of course that choice is up to you. As for wine, give the somm guidelines -- do you want two bottles over the course of the meal? two half-bottles? just champagne? -- and they will do right by you. They have a lot of half-bottles on the list if I remember right. With our first few courses we had the Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel, which I highly, highly recommend -- it was amazing with the food. I don't remember the cost specifically but we spent about $200 on wine total for two glasses (champagne) and two half-bottles (the Tablas Creek, which is white, and a red I can't recall). If you are in Yountville more than one night I also think Ad Hoc is the bee's knees. Not open on Tuesday or Wednesday but every other night they serve four courses for $50. Also a Keller restaurant, much more casual, nowhere else like it.
  21. If Garces wins, he'll be around Philly even less, so I kind of hope he doesn't, but then again, nice press for our great food scene here if he blows the competition away. Curious to see what Appleman can do.
  22. You really just never know. It could have been any number of things -- position on the buffet vs. other things, utensils available, fear of seafood, uncertainty about ingredients, a whole host of other reasons. It was almost definitely not deliberate. People tend to fill their plates without thinking about it too hard, and often I say to myself "I'll come back for some of that" and never do. The only other recommendation I have is that I always slightly mess up whatever I've brought. Like if it's bar cookies, I take one out, or pile them up on a plate instead of leaving them in the pan. No one likes to be the first to touch anything, especially if it looks nice. But in general, potluck psychology is just plain unknowable. Sorry this one didn't turn out how you'd hoped.
  23. Yeah, it kind of feels like they wanted to avoid some of the classics. But on a "must eats" list, aren't the classics part of the point? It's billed as the 50 best things, not the 50 best things you weren't previously aware of. No Sarcone's, DiNic's, Capogiro? Or did I miss them? They're right that the Tinto duck montadito deserves the people's ovation and fame forever, but this list won't push me to investigate their suggestions. It leaves me with a "could eats" instead of a "must eats" feel. Then again, maybe I'm just an old fogey before my time who can't get with the vibe of a food article that contains the phrase "stick your dick in the potato salad."
  24. jm chen

    Pirate Sushi

    "Pirates of the Caribbean" sushi with jerk seasoning on the fish... "Blackbeard" with mussels and squid ink... "Gold Dubloons" for veggie roll w/omelet... and of course an evening combo special of eight different rolls called "Pieces of Eight."
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