Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by monkeymay

  1. New documentary film screening at Sundance this week - "I Like Killing Flies", about Shopsin's, a tiny, family owned restaurant in Greenwich Village. The film documents this 35 year old neighborhood institution and it's chef, Kenny, who started cooking to earn some extra money and now has about 900 different items listed on his menu. The film follows him, his pronoucements on life, and what happens when the restaurant loses it's lease. I didn't get a chance to see this at the festival, but hopefully it picked up a distributor and will be opening soon. Any NYGulleteers know about this place? People who saw the film tell me Kenny is a riot.
  2. I just came back from 2 weeks @ Sundance - "Super Size Me" had great buzz all over town. Posters of the film featured the filmmaker with his mouth stuffed with french fries and were plastered everywhere. Sundance does tend to love films that take a serious swipe at corporate America - ironic because there is a huge amount of product placement and corporate sponsorship that surrounds the festival. This year I was brought in as the chef of the Columbia House Cafe-that's the same Columbia House that has the DVD club. Other sponsors involved in our events were Phillips, who brought in plasma screens for the cafe and set up a lounge filled with equipment, and Silk, soy milk manufacturers who contributed a number of items in exchange for product placement. And that was just for the cafe. Whole Foods donated organic food for the ICM party of 500 people that I did. Jay-Z's company Rocawear supplied varsity jackets for all my waitstaff as well as guests for "The Woodsman" (new Kevin Bacon movie). The amount of corporate swag given away is staggering. When I cooked at Sundance for Reebok in 2002, I was covered head to toe in labels -- to the point where I was tempted to write on my chef coat, "Monica May, Corporate Slut". As for movies, I rarely get to see them because my schedule is so demanding. This year I managed to sneak away for a midnight screening of the documentary "Chisholm '72 - Unbought and Unbossed", about Shirley Chisholm's unsuccessful bid for the Democratic presidential nomination . It was a righteous piece of filmmaking about an amazing, audacious woman who did not step aside, despite pressure from every political group within her party. Shirley Chisholm didn't wear corporate swag - she was way too cool. When this film gets picked up , please see it - especially in this election year, it's quite an indictment of how politics are played. Two other films to see - "Riding Giants", Stacy Peralta's sequel to "Dogtown and Z-Boys", about the origins of surf culture in Hawaii; and Bernardo Bertollucci's new film "The Dreamers, about an incestuous relationship between a brother and sister and their American friend, set against the student riots of Paris in '68. I catered the breakfast which Bertollucci - from live feed in London - talked about this film to reporters and it was such a pleasure listening to this man - A Maestro ! - talk about filmmaking it became my favorite event of the time I was there. For me, these are the really good percs of my job.
  3. monkeymay


    Vino Cotto is an ancient sweetner from Sicily made from the boiled down must of freshly pressed red grapes. It's used in desserts such as buccellato, which is like Sicilian fruitcake - a mixture of figs, raisin, nuts, cinnamon and chocolate wrapped in sweet pastry and pistachios. Mary Taylor Simeti writes about vino cotto in 'Pomp and Sustenance - 25 Centuries of Sicilian Food', and includes her recipe for buccellato. Victoria Granof's book, 'Sweet Sicily, The Story of an Island and Her Pastries' (that I had the great fortune to help research ) not only includes recipes with vino cotto, but a recipe for the stuff itself. In her book the vino cotto is flavored with orange peel, cinnamon and cloves. I've used the Saba brand with a couple of dishes: in a fig and walnut preserve that I served with seared foie gras, and over a buttermilk panna cotta with summer fruits. I also like it drizzled over burratta garnished with slivers of prosciutto. You can use it like an aged balsamic, but it definitely has a more intense raisin flavor. It's pretty wonderful stuff! Hope this helps.
  4. My daughter has developed an allergy to dairy, so I needed to make sure she got a couple of her favorite things without threat of the moo juice. So to the table at my mom's house I brought fingerling potatoes, pan roasted with leeks, pancetta and chantrelles that I finished off with truffle oil just because I could. The brussel sprouts that usually get finished with sour cream were dressed with applewood smoked bacon (thank god for pork product!), garlic, shallots, thyme and malt vinegar (which I like much better than balsamic for the dish). Both of these dishes turned out beautifully, along with the creamless creamed corn that I threw toghther at the last minute. There were very few leftovers, much to my daughter's chagrin.
  5. Mmmm, braised fennel... saute pieces (or better yet, whole baby fennel) in butter till the edges begin to brown and carmelize... add white wine, the zest and juice of an orange and a handful of basil, s&p. Cook covered till tender, remove fennel and reduce pan juices to a glaze. Serve with crispy skinned salmon and a dollop of tomato confit...one of my favorite things to eat!
  6. Wow, your reply is like a poem. 'Ode to a burn' perhaps? I second the silvedene and definitely the aloe vera. Huge water blisters from a vat of molten polenta that dropped because of a loose pot handle. Silverdene initially, then fresh aloe from leaves sliced right from the plant. Totally minimized scaring and discoloration, especially the burns along my eye underneath the brow. Vicodin also helps tremendously - but then when doesn't it?
  7. Yeah, that's like me - I had a terrible dream about Arnold being Governor. Then I woke up and realized I was living my nightmare. I'm black and blue from pinching myself.
  8. Just wanted to bring this back up to the top. How are people feeling, third week into the strike? Crossed any picket lines yet? I've been doing my shopping at TJ's, Jon's and the farmer's market, but these are places I regularly shop so it hasn't bothered me too much. But for things like paper/plastic/laundry/cleaning supplies I ended up at a Target Greatland and bought a whole bunch of other shit I probably didn't need. Much easier to buy at Ralphs or Von's but I won't cross a line. However, I have friends who are really struggling with this, living in places like Calabasas where the only place to shop is Ralphs. They've tried shopping at places like Gelson's and it's costing them twice as much for not as much, especially with full sized families to feed. Other people I know have taken to shopping at striking markets outside their neighborhood so they're not recognized by picketers. I'm finding it difficult to hold my tongue when I hear these stories, and yet at the same time, I understand my friends' plight. Now has been an especially tough time to live in SoCal, with all the strikes and of course the fires, which have disrupted many peoples lives. But when I drive by my local market and see strikers doggedly walking the line in the middle of the heat and smoke filled haze, I get really angry with my friends for their shortsightedness for the sake of convienence. Anyone else having issues?
  9. Hop in the car and head downtown to Ross Cutlery, located at 310 S. Broadway, right next to the Bradbury Building. They have been in business over 40 years and have an incredible selection of knives and scissors. All their sharpening is done on site, and they're very good at what they do. When my brand new Global dropped on the pavement at a catering gig and had a nice chunk taken out of the center of the blade, they restored it beautifully. They're open 7 days a week, 9:00 to 6:00. Phone is 231-626-1897. Check out the selection of handmade pocket knives too. I have a beautiful black handled Spyderco I got there that I've not seen anywhere else. Plus, while your knives are being sharpened, you can go eat tacos and check out the produce at Grand Central Market, directly across the street. It's worth the drive. Is the locksmith still there at Farmer's Market? Where did they move him?
  10. I've got five pounds of green olives that are into their third week of brine curing and are just begining to lose the bitterness. I'm waiting for the black ones my guy at the farmers market has promised me will be coming soon. Anyone else doing this?
  11. I like to use dried Morrocan style cured olives in my puttanesca. Saute the chili peppers in oil prior to adding the tomatoes for some good heat. Sometimes I add a can of tuna in olive oil if I've got it (the whole idea of this dish being on hand staples in your pantry ). I also have some strong dried Greek oregano that I toss in on occasion. Even a little grated lemon zest added at the end is a welcome addition. I may have to make this tonite. Capers from the Pantelleria - yum! I jealously guard my bag from Lipari. Btw- does this mean he's gonna get lucky tonite?
  12. monkeymay


    I second this opionion. Frankly, I always thought Peach Snapple was a manly drink. Right, Cognac? You'll be happy to know Paul Stanley of KISS thinks so too. I cooked for them awhile back, and Peach Snapple was a big request on his rider. I think we got him regular and diet, and I remember we had a really hard time finding it. (This was around '96). And I don't think KISS's manliness has ever been called into question
  13. Just had dinner at La Luz the other nite (was on Olvera St .getting an early jump on sugar skulls for day of the dead) and the carnitas and nopales were as rocking as always. One thing I noticed different- they used to hand shred the pork and now use a machine. I like a few chunks of pork mixed in and the machine gives it a more uniform shred, so the contrast between the crispy/creamy is not as apparent as it once was. (To me at least). Still it's a great place to go, especially late aft/early eve. sitting out on the patio overlooking the Plaza. I think that will always be part of it's charm. BTW Russ, have you noticed your fish article posted on the front of Pete's Fish truck at the farmers market?I smile everytime I see it-it's so proudly displayed!
  14. I'm so glad you decided to got there too. I always try to have one meal at La Caridad when I'm in NYC. My favorite - Chinese bitter greens soup with dumplings and a plate of Cuban roast pork with plantains. A strong cup of cafe con leche to finish it off. Multiculturalism at it's finest.
  15. In public school my kids always had to sell wrapping paper. Not as tasty.
  16. Anyone ever have to sell See's candy for school fundraisers? That was a major part of parochial school for me, my brother and sister. We brought home boxes of chocolate bars to be sold to friends, neighbors and of course family. My poor mother would end up writing one big check to the school to cover the losses incured from us consuming all the product. I think the bars were sold for 50 cents a piece; the school required a certain amount of boxes to be sold from each child. Most of my neighborhood's kids went to the same school, so there was a certain time each year when everyone you knew was trying to get rid of all this See's chocolate! It was so very "The Chocolate War". When my daughter was in private school they sold See's candy as part of fundraisers for their class. She informed me the price of a chocolate bar is now $1. And I too, have written that check to cover her 'losses'. Ah, See's and the circle of life.
  17. monkeymay

    Onion Rings

    At my old restaurant we cut either Vidalia or Maui's in half lengthwise and then slice them into 1/2"strips so you end up with onion straws. Soak them in buttermilk with a spice mix (ours is cumin, cayenne, tumeric and good chili powder, mixed with kosher salt). We dredge them in flour - the trick is to shake off the excess through a sifter and do them in small batches so they don't get gummy and clump together. Deep fry about 350 degrees till golden. Drain and toss with a little more of spice mix. We serve them as a base for our Sloppy Joe sandwich or as a side for our ribeye steak. They're stupid good.
  18. Is no one going to mention Western Bagels out on Sepulveda? They're hot and fresh, you can pick them up at 2am , and if you avoid the Cali bastardization of jalapeno and sundried tomato you can pick up a nice onion, poppy seed, or egg bagel and be rather happy.There's a small outlet over in Burbank next to the old Warner's lot on Hollywood Way, and it's a decent fix for Sat/ Sun. morning bagel cravings. Btw the best handmade tortillas besides Grand Central is La Luz del Dia at the end of the Olvera St. right near the Plaza. The carnitas and nopalalitos are pretty good too.
  19. It's been a really long, ugly day. This made it all better. Thanks. Edited to add : You must be "A Man For All Bacon"
  20. what the world needs now is bacon sweet bacon no not just for some but for everyone
  21. NY diners have an over reaching regard for their own palates some times. Perhaps often, from the tales I've heard from the kitchen and the front of the house. Diners in NY are often just plain arrogant and unknowledgeable. All too often they see their relationship with a restaurant as a contentious one from the onset. For what it's worth, I suspect the situation is much worse in L.A. Yes, here in L.A. the menu is often looked at as a list of ingredients to be combined according to whatever diet you're currently abusing. Anyone see the last 'Sex and the City" episode? It featured Carrie giving very detailed and specific instructions to a waiter regarding her "allergy" to parsley.
  22. The same director, Bill Forsythe, made the movie COMFORT AND JOY about a mob war over ice cream fritter (fried ice cream) trucks. It's like most of his movies, quirky characters, slow but intricate plot, and a great sense of place. Bill Forsythe's film are absolutely wonderful. I forgot about 'Comfort and Joy' - a real jem, thanks for the reminder. Did you ever see 'That Sinking Feeling' about a group of somewhat inept theives who steal a bunch of kitchen sinks? Two other great favs - 'Local Hero' with Burt Lancaster and 'Housekeeping' with Christine Lahti. Forsythe is truly an original.
  23. I ate at a Chinese restaurant in Palermo called 'La Grande Cina'. Very funny seeing 'zuppa di wonton' , and 'spaghetti al curry' along with a number of assorted risotto dishes (risotto alla cantonese). Place wasn't very good - I remember ordering a verdura mista fritta and getting an enormous plate of fried parsley! The decor was the best part - over the top half baked Chinese with a baroque Sicilian sensibilty. Along with a large group of Australians I think my friend and I were the only ones there. We'd been in Sicily for about a month and thought we'd try eating something other than Italian. It was the only place we found and the last time we tried it.
  24. Here in L.A. we have Oki-Dog, which is about as fucked up Chinese/Mexican/Jewish/fusion as you can get. An Oki dog is a hot dog wrapped in a tortilla which also contains chili, pickles, onions, mustard, American cheese and a big slice of fried pastrami thrown in for good measure. You can get a Mexican torta with teriyaki steak, lettuce and mayo. There's also the pastrami burrito which has got everthing but the kitchen sink - cabbage, onions, pickles, peppers and of course, chili. An Oki dog is street food at it's most twisted and usually only appealing in a late nite, sober your drunk ass up, gut bursting kind of way. But they're actually kind of good, or at least I sort of remember them being that way...
  25. Ahh, Eating Raoul... Paul Bartel and Mary Woronov, very funny indeed. Another fabulous film about food and sex. I'm going to have to see it again, it's been long time since last viewing. I remember Raoul as being rather delectable... Speaking of school boys cooking, have you ever seen 'Gregory's Girl'? One of the lads is a burgeoning pastry chef who runs a nice business out of the boys restroom selling pastries and tarts. He prides himself on developing the perfect pate a choux
  • Create New...