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Posts posted by BeefCheeks

  1. Katz's Deli lower eastside, there is snap and a sort of crisper skin outside and the flavor I like better than Gray's.

    They are good dogs, but its pointless to eat anything else there other than Pastrami and their kasha knishes. You don't schlep down to the LES for hot dogs. The dogs are there basically if you drag a kid with you and they don't want Pastrami.

    Now if you are going to go on an adventure for hot dogs.. may I suggest the original Nathan's on Coney Island.

    True enough. Although their dogs are nearly as good as the ones from Pastrami King near Union Tpke, which outclass most other kosher dogs by miles. Nice, beefy flavor, which most people aren't necessarily looking for (and won't get) at a place like Gray's.

  2. Two Thanksgivings ago, my partner and I traveled to Virginia for the holiday, which we were spending at the home of my cousin. While she is a wonderful, talented woman with a heart of gold, she is quite possibly the worst cook I have ever encountered.

    We arrived on Wednesday night to find that my cousin had made "a chicken soup" the night before; according to her own mother's instructions, she pulled the "soup chicken" off the bone, hacked it, stuck it in a freezer bag, and froze it. For one night. Upon our arrival, she removed the chicken from the freezer, put it on a small platter, and microwaved it for 10 minutes (presumably to defrost it), after which she removed it and poured 4 cups of water on it. She put it back into the microwave and continued to cook (on high) for a few minutes (to "make a gravy"). As a side dish, she prepared steamed asparagus with "quick hollandaise" --a recipe she'd found in the New JofC. Deciding she had less time than she thought, she put the stalks in an oval baker, added the quick hollandaise mixture to them, covered them with saran, and microwaved them. The result? Asparagus with scrambled eggs, accompanied by Balsa Wood Chicken.

    Did you mean at home, or in a restaurant?

  3. While reading the Shake Shack thread, I noticed a few mentions of Papaya King. I've never been there--the only hot dog/papaya places I've been to have been Gray's and Chelsea Papaya. I love Gray's Papaya for sentimental reasons, but I'm curious as to why Papaya King was mentioned so much. What hot dog joints do you guys prefer and why? Do the hot dogs really differ from one place to another?

    Gray's on 72nd and Amsterdam. Nice little SNAP from the pig snoots.

  4. While eating at the Organic Grill (a vegetarian restaurant in NY) today, a vegetarian friend asked me why many non-vegetarians have a general aversion towards vegetarian or vegan restaurants. I didn't quite know the answer.

    Truth be told, I would never even consider going to a vegetarian restaurant (except Indian) unless I was actually with someone who is a vegetarian.

    Although I am not one myself, I do frequently order vegetarian entrees at "regular" restaurants and generally enjoy them as much if not more than meat or fish entrees.

    Why the stigma then, towards vegetarian restaurants? Is it really the taste of the food?

    I'll admit that today's Miso Soup was not great (probably because of the bonito-less dashi) but I can also turn around and say that Organic Grill makes a damn good vege-burger.

    So is it instead a perception or image problem that keeps non-vegetarians away? Is it the "hippie" scene that these restaurants seem to attract? Or perhaps it is the feeling of having to limit ourselves, by not having the choice or option for meat dishes...and in some cases, the blatant misrepresentation of certain dishes as meat (tempeh as "vegetarian duck").

    What exactly is the beef with vegetarian restaurants?

    Simple: when non-vegetarians are asked to go to a veggie restaurant, they are confronted with menu items that invariably conjure up things like "Lentil Nut Loaf" and "Faux Turkey" or "sauteed wheat gluten"-? What fresser wants to eat anything with the word "faux" attached to it either literally or figuratively? Would a non-veggie ask a vegetarian to eat a "faux carrot?" No. This said, when I used to run the book department at Dean & Deluca a million years ago, my boss -- a man with a wonderfully refined palate -- told me repeatedly that the finest restaurant he'd ever eaten in was Greens, out in San Francisco. Forget Chez P; forget Taillevant. This guy would have walked over broken glass for anything that Deborah Madison put her hands to. But we don't generally classify her kind of veggie cooking (or Suvir Saran's veggie cooking for that matter) with the tempeh palaces that dot the city. Do we?

  5. Am I alone in thinking that any day now the public will be fed up with all of the writings, talkings, TV, gossip columns and books dealing with restaurants, food, and the celebrity chefs and their, lives and loves, back-stabbings, goals and philosophies and personality blips? 

    I'd love to know how you all feel about this?

    No, you are most certainly not alone; as both a book editor and a food writer, I have an increasingly difficult time wrapping my brain around the fact that virtually any food publication you pick up today bears more of a resemblance to Page 6 of the Post than it ought to. But let's not kid ourselves: this isn't a new phenomenon. How many of us remember the infamous tale of a towering lady from Santa Monica bad-mouthing a certain Michael Field back when Time Life was looking for a series editor for The Good Cook? I couldn't read much of a certain autobiography because I kept picturing the author en flagrante with Colman Andrews. Who needs to know this? It left a sour taste in my mouth in the same way that Jeremiah Tower's sad California Dish did, last year when it came out, and I say that knowing that Tower is a genius. What happens, exactly, to the food in these cases, and even moreso in the case of the food "reality" TV shows? It becomes a literally tasteless, one-dimensional backdrop for a bunch of self-important hangers-on whose lackluster cooking skills are outdone by their attitude problems. Forget food; the kids in these reality shows might as well be making widgets. And if we're going to be specific, this particular Fox show did an enormous disservice to the talented Bourdain and to the original book itself which, as we say in the publishing world, was "landmark."

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