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Everything posted by bmartino

  1. If you get a chance, try Stonehorse Cafe in Utica Square. As a New Yorker who has dined at many of the top rated restaurants in NYC, I was pleasantly surprised by the stellar food and great service. Stonehorse could easily hold its own against the NY heavyweights, and I'm so glad I got to try it!
  2. If you like sushi, Yuka is (IMHO) among the best in the city, and at $20 for all you can eat, really a great deal. Also, back when I was vegan I really enjoyed Candle Cafe -- great-tasting (if not terribly healthy) vegetarian (it's not all vegan) food, like chimichurri seitan skewers.
  3. This thread does seem to be rather timely -- I had a pleasant surprise when my girlfriend ordered a Caipiroska at Bar Blanc in NYC the other day. I could actually taste the spirit mingling with the lime and sugar. While not quite as interesting (to my palate) as a caipirinha (or a ti punch), it was refreshing and well-executed.
  4. Jack's uses Vermont Coffee Company beans, in a blend that is proprietary to Jack's.
  5. I live in the neighborhood and would recommend Jack's (w.10th between 7th ave. & greenwich ave.), which I think pulls the finest espresso in Manhattan. That said, I haven't yet been to La Colombe or Gimme Coffee, so my mind and palate might still be swayed. I've visited most of the haute espresso joints around the city (including Joe, 9th St., Cafe Grumpy, Abraco) and have not found espresso better than Jack's -- perfect temperature, chewy mouthfeel, not too bitter, perfect amount of crema, incredible aroma. Jack's is so good that it left me totally underwhelmed when I visited my old hometown fave, Blue Bottle Coffee in SF. Unfortunately, I can't say nearly the same thing for Jack's South Street location -- there's an oddly noticeable difference in the training and quality of the baristas. However, I must warn you: Jack's pulls all of their shots triple ristretto. Reasonable minds differ on whether this is good or bad, as you can see from weinoo's comments upthread, so YMMV. (IMHO, properly pulled triple ristretto results in a rich, full-bodied shot that is hot but not scalding and less bitter than a double shot of similar liquid volume). Granted, you might not be the type who likes a thicker, sweeter shot, and of course this being NY, there are certainly places trying to capitalize on the triple ristretto trend that are doing it wrong.
  6. bmartino

    Easy Tofu recipes

    I was vegan for quite some time and did a lot of different things with tofu. One of my favorite was to take a block of firm or extra firm tofu, drain it thoroughly, slice it lengthwise into 1/2" thick "slabs", then spray those slabs with olive oil and roll in garam masala. Then heat some garlic and oil in a pan over high heat and sear the tofu "steaks." This goes great with some mango or fig chutney and some quinoa or couscous. Another thing to keep in mind about tofu is that it takes flavor quite well. If you prepare a marinade of soy sauce, garlic, ginger, spicy sesame oil, white vinegar, mirin or shaoxing wine, a touch of sugar or honey, and lemon juice, and let the tofu sit in it for a day, you can make a great stir fry with the marinated tofu and veggies (broccoli, sugar snap peas, etc.) and use the marinade as a sauce by whisking in a bit of cornstarch before adding it to the stir fry. For more complicated preparations, you can play with the texture of the tofu by dehydrating it or baking it, but those are probably too time consuming to use for an individual serving.
  7. It's still great, but I think Tim's suggestion is a good one if you don't live in the city and get to eat there often. The tasting menu is full of fantastic and inventive taste and texture combinations, but if you only get one shot at dining at wd~50, you might want to order a-la-carte and focus on the dishes you really want to try. The reasons for this are (a) the portion sizes on the tasting menu tend to be VERY small (we're talkin' fractions of Thomas Keller size here), (b) it is a true tasting menu, with some dishes being amazing strokes of genius and others being near (or not-so-near) misses and © it's frickin' expensive.
  8. This recipe sounds excellent! The addition of Falernum is a really interesting touch - this is the first drink I'm making once I get more Meyers.
  9. bmartino

    Pancake Seasonings

    I love making pancakes using blue cornmeal - it adds a unique texture and taste that forms the basis for lots of different flavor combinations. One I really like is blue corn blueberry pancakes with lemon curd topping (or, if you've got a foamer, a honey-lavender foam). Also of note: blue corn and banana or blue corn and cottage cheese, or for a more savory combination, blue corn pancakes topped with cotija cheese or goat cheese.
  10. Hi all. I'm searching for the name and/or recipe of the most sublime riff on the old fashioned that I've ever had. A few months ago at Death & Co., Phil made an awesome concoction of pecan-infused buffalo trace, [rittenhouse 100 rye?], and another spirit. I'm not sure on the bitters and syrup (maybe Xocolatl/ango and demerara?) It's not the Buffalo Soldier -- I've got the recipe for that. I wrote down the recipe for this drink but can't find that notebook anywhere! I think Phil may have called it a Nutty [Antler?] Has anyone had this cocktail? Trying to remember this has been driving me crazy and my companion that night has no memory of this cocktail. Thanks for any help!
  11. I think it really depends on what you want the texture of your Nutella filling to be upon serving. If you want the filling to be light and fluffy - i.e., lighter and fluffier than Nutella is on it's own, piped-in buttercream is the way to go. If you want it to be viscous and liquid, Lisa's method is great -- I've actually done this with Nutella in banana cupcakes, to great effect. The only caveat is that Nutella tends to de-emulsify under high heat due to the hazelnut oil, so I found that it's helpful to combine Nutella and semisweet dark chocolate (50-60%) in a 2:1 ratio to keep the nut oil from absorbing into the cake. When I did this, I had to serve the cupcakes immediately after they were cool enough to ice -- if left to cool, the center will become rather firm. If the texture you're after is exactly the stiff, creamy texture of Nutella, I'd say your best bet is to pipe in just Nutella after baking. Whichever method you choose, it sounds yummy!
  12. Hi all! Without getting into the Great NYC Cupcake Debate (I know you've all got your personal faves), I was wondering whether anyone who frequents Magnolia on Bleecker has noticed a change in their cupcake recipe over the past year. I live in the neighborhoos and stop in for a cupcake from time to time, but I stopped in around October or November of 2008 after not having been for awhile, and things had definitely changed: 1. Cupcakes were protected by new plastic hinge-y covers that always seemed to slip off and threaten to crash to the floor when you try to get a cupcake; 2. The plain, run-of-the-mill white cardboard bakery boxes had been replaced by fancy, expensive looking boxes with wee cup[cake]holders that now held fewer cupcakes per box with more packaging, and a fancy-looking color print of the Magnolia logo on top; and 3. The cake part seemed harder and drier, while the icing seemed colder, stiffer, more sugary and less buttery. Now, changes 1 and 2 are easy to notice, but I'm driving myself crazy wondering whether it's the recipe that changed or my tastebuds. I'm sure there are those of you who will say Magnolia's cupcakes have always been dry and crumbly with over-sugared icing, but I swear, a year ago the icing melted in your mouth and the cake was springy enough that I didn't feel like I was biting into a scone. My friend has a theory that they are now chilling the cupcakes before putting them out for consumption, but I saw them take a tray directly from the icing station to the cupcake retrieval area yesterday. An alternative theory is that the cold weather acts like a refrigerator, producing the above effects. But I've had the cupcakes in cold weather over the past few years, and they all seemed fine until this change. Incidentally, all the changes seemed to coincide with the opening of the uptown location. Maybe the recipe needed to be more shelf-stable? Maybe they're cutting costs on ingredients? Thoughts?
  13. I just got my hands on some Meyer lemons, and found them to work quite nicely in a Twentieth Century cocktail. It's definitely not the same flavor profile as it would be with Eureka lemons, but the Meyers seem to have an affinity for the floral aspects of the Lillet. Here's the recipe I used: 1 1/2oz Gin (Aviation) 3/4oz Meyer lemon juice 3/4oz Lillet blanc 1/2oz white creme de cacao Cheers!
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