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eG Foodblog: Megan Blocker - Food and the City


Megan Blocker
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Wow what a great beginning!  I'm happy to be visiting New York vicariously!    :smile:

What she said! I have only been to NYC once, and I would love to go again. This blog will make do until I can afford another visit.

Any and all bakery pictures would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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Hi Megan, although you mentioned you were off this week I wonder if you might elaborate on what you do when you are working. I'd also love to know where you picked up your cooking skills, at what age, and any "defining" moments in your culinary adventures if that's not asking too much!

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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Hi Megan--lovely blog already! I enjoyed the shots of Eli's--partly because I always got a kick out of the often-idiosyncratic layout of Manhattan grocery stores. :smile:

Myself, I wouldn't mind more explorations of typical New York "joints"--coffee shops, bagelries, some of the bazillion little ethnic places. And I'd really love it if you were inspired to fight your way through the line into Barney Greengrass with camera in hand.

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And, for those of you who really want to see where the magic happens ( :wacko: ), here are some shots of my kitchen.

It's small on an overall scale, but for your average Manhattan kitchen (and especially in a studio), this is pretty big. It's about 15 by 10 feet, so there's plenty of space for my table and chairs. The one downside is that there is, quite literally, no counterspace. The sliver of it that exists next to the sink is used to hold my dishrack (no dishwasher :sad:). However, my little kitchen cart, together with my table, are more than sufficient for me - it does make collaboration in the kitchen tough, though.

This is the view of the stove, sink and fridge, as seen from the entrance from the living area.

gallery_28660_2588_37042.jpg

This is the kitchen cart, which sits on a wall at a 90-degree angle from the stove and fridge...I do all of my chopping and dicing and slicing here, and it's also where I put my mixer and food processor when I use them.

gallery_28660_2588_16227.jpg

That pepper mill on the left is an heirloom, handed down to me from my grandmother. My kitchen table (you'll see that later when it's not covered in papers!) is also from her, an early American farmhouse table with (my favorite part) a drawer underneath one leaf!

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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OK, one last post before I head off for a much-needed nap...I know, I know, poor me! :laugh:

Here's the mis en place for the garlic soup:

gallery_28660_2588_49415.jpg

From left to right, you can just see the flour canister (wasn't going to dirty a prep bowl with one tablespoon!!!), 2 medium onions, finely chopped, red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup thinly sliced garlic, chicken stock, and schmalz. Yum, schmalz.

Here's the onion and garlic, just added to the pot with the schmalz:

gallery_28660_2588_26878.jpg

And here's the soup, after simmering for 30 minutes:

gallery_28660_2588_19001.jpg

You then add in two eggs, separated - the yolks are mixed with vinegar, the whites with some reserved stock. However, before doing this, I spooned off about two bowls' worth, knowing that I probably can't enjoy this soup to its fullest right now. I'll save those servings for later in the week.

Here's the final product, with a hunk of that bread!

gallery_28660_2588_20339.jpg

As predicted, I could not taste a thing, even when I added loads of salt and pepper. The texture of the soup was lovely and velvety, though, and the bread was great. I can't remember the last time I had such a huge head cold! Hopefully this symptom will pass...I may be forced to pour chiles on everything... :wink:

All right, off to bed for some healing rest...and tonight, it's to Samson et Dalila at the Met!

Edited by Megan Blocker (log)

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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Try something with raw garlic (bruschetta, perhaps). You should be able to taste something , and the raw garlic helps kill all kinds of bugs quite effectively as well.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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when I have a headcold like that, it sometimes helps to do a steambath right before dinner (you know, the oldfashioned one, where you sit with you face above a pot of very hot water, with a towel over your head to keep the steam in). If you have something menthol-like to put in the water, even better! and it's good for your skin too!

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Megan-

I'm so happy that you're doing a guided tour of my favorite food city. If you get the opportunity to take a photo of a canolli from Ferrara's, please post it. You may not see me licking the monitor, but none my friends have brought them home yet. I've gotten greasy, empty boxes... but no canolli.

On my many trips past I have never made it to Central Park near 72nd East for the Alice In Wonderland statuary. I promise not to lick them.

Mostly, have fun and know that I'm living vicariously through your words and pictures. Thanks for the blog.

HVR :rolleyes:

"Cogito Ergo Dim Sum; Therefore I think these are Pork Buns"

hvrobinson@sbcglobal.net

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This is fantastic. I'm really glad to see you're blogging! You have a very clear and easy going writing style that is so appealing! It's going to be really fun to check in with you every day! Getting to see NYC again doesn't hurt either.

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Yay, my favourite NY girl is doing a blog! :wink: Hope your cold gets better. Like everyone else, I'm excited about Babbo and thanks for the shots of Eli's bread! I saw Eli profiled on Martha Stewart many years ago and she kept raving about his breads and sandwiches...they certainly look very good!

Suggestions--have you had lunch at Jean Georges? I've read about a 3 course prix fixe menu for $20. There are so many amazing bakeries in NY--I'm so jealous! What is your opinion of Payard? I've read negative things about Magnolia on EG--what is your opinion? The (apparently) overly sugar frostings don't really appeal to me. What about Blue Ribbon? Buttercup?

I would love to see Jacques Torres' magic... :wub:

Have you been to Room 4 Dessert? :smile:

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Megan,

I'm loving your blog so far. That soup looks sooo good. I'm sorry you can't taste it. :sad:

Have you visited the Central Park Conservancy at 105th & 5th? It's a little off the beaten path for tourists and New Yorkers alike, but it's a genuine oasis within the oasis of Central Park, and I'd like to see what it looks like this time of year.

The more I read this, I'm getting more ideas for you. Can you show us Kitchen Arts & Letters at 93rd & Lex? Admittedly, I've never been, but I hear it's a great bookstore devoted to food books.

Edited by I_call_the_duck (log)

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

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Megan,

You have been such a wonderful contributor all over this site and now you so graciously welcome us into your home. The timing of your tour is terrific for us as it anticpates our next visit to New York - we look forward to following in your footsteps.

Cheers aye,

Jamie

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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And, for those of you who really want to see where the magic happens ( :wacko: ), here are some shots of my kitchen.

It's small on an overall scale, but for your average Manhattan kitchen (and especially in a studio), this is pretty big. 

gallery_28660_2588_37042.jpg

Megan,

This looks exactly like my kitchen on E. 78th Street when I lived there in the late 60's-early 70s. Only a New Yorker would consider this a "big" kitchen (you're a New Yorker now, right? :wink: ) Those tiny stoves next to the wall so there's no room for a pot handle. I always considered this to be the landlord's revenge for rent control :hmmm: Seriously, I'm thoroughly enjoying your blog and the memories it brings back. When I lived in your neighborhood, it was pretty much a food wasteland ... except for a few Hungarian and German restaurants and bakeries (but lots of good bars to hang out in.) I would love to see photos and read about the food shops and eateries in the neighborhood today. (Is Orwasher's bakery still on 78th? I loved their pumpernickel rolls.)

Slightly off topic, if you ever walk down 78th between First and York, take notice of the street trees. I was part of a community group that raised money to plant them. :biggrin: I hope they are still alive and well. Thanks again for the blog; it's really generous of you.

Ilene

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Try something with raw garlic (bruschetta, perhaps). You should be able to taste something , and the raw garlic helps kill all kinds of bugs quite effectively as well.

when I have a headcold like that, it sometimes helps to do a steambath right before dinner (you know, the oldfashioned one, where you sit with you face above a pot of very hot water, with a towel over your head to keep the steam in). If you have something menthol-like to put in the water, even better! and it's good for your skin too!

Good ideas, both! While I was washing the dishes from my late lunch, I thought I felt the decongestant kick in a tiny bit, and I could smell the leftover soup...so, hope remains! I'll be taking a shower before I gussy myself up for the opera, so hopefully that will help, too. And bruschetta will be a great way to use up some of that leftover bread. :biggrin: Thanks for looking after me, guys!

Suggestions--have you had lunch at Jean Georges? I've read about a 3 course prix fixe menu for $20. There are so many amazing bakeries in NY--I'm so jealous! What is your opinion of Payard? I've read negative things about Magnolia on EG--what is your opinion? The (apparently) overly sugar frostings don't really appeal to me. What about Blue Ribbon? Buttercup?

I would love to see Jacques Torres' magic...

Glad you enjoyed the pics o' bread, Ling! And, I have to admit, I already have a few activities in mind that make me think of you...however, to address your requests:

- I do like Payard - especially if you want a sort of full-service, upscale bakery experience. It's not the sort of place I bring something home from, but I do love to go with a friend and have a cappuccino and a chocolate something.

- As for Magnolia, I'm sort of "eh" about it. You can get decent cupcakes all over the city, and there are plenty of places far closer to me (Magnolia is kiddy-corner across the island from my apartment, far south and west) where you can get one. The frosting doesn't bother me (with cupcakes I often find myself licking the frosting off first no matter how much there is, anyway), but I do know it bothers some of my friends. My friends Miles and Hall, who live in the West Village and therefore are close to Magnolia, are very divided over this issue. I'll see if I can get them to weigh in for your edification! :wink:

- Buttercup is a lot like Magnolia - they did, however, do a great cake for me last summer. I ordered a big sheet cake from them for a colleague's wedding shower, and they did a good job. Chocolate cake with mocha buttercream - it was delicious, and I did not find the buttercream too sugary.

- Lunch at Nougatine (the more casual room at Jean-Georges) is indeed a bargain. However, the last time I ate there (admittedly, for dinner, and for a far higher price) I was really underwhelmed, so it's not on the agenda right now. That could change, though!

- Blue Ribbon is fantastic. It's not often that I find myself there, but when I do, it's usually late at night, and it's always fun.

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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- Blue Ribbon is fantastic.  It's not often that I find myself there, but when I do, it's usually late at night, and it's always fun.

Ooh! If you find yourself there in the near future, would you mind trying to get a photo of the steak tartar that Luckylies has been waxing eloquent about?

That is one tiny kitchen: makes my galley kitchen seem enormous in comparison, but it's skill and not size (sic). Think I'll make your soup the next time I'm called upon to cook.

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Have you visited the Central Park Conservancy at 105th & 5th?  It's a little off the beaten path for tourists and New Yorkers alike, but it's a genuine oasis within the oasis of Central Park, and I'd like to see what it looks like this time of year. 

The more I read this, I'm getting more ideas for you.  Can you show us Kitchen Arts & Letters at 93rd & Lex? Admittedly, I've never been, but I hear it's a great bookstore devoted to food books.

Karen, it's like you can read my mind! I will definitely be hitting Kitchen Arts and Letters at some point this week.

As for Central Park Conservancy - yes, I have been, but only once! : :shock: Almost two years ago we had a gorgeous early summer day, and my friend Miles and I walked from 77th and 3rd up to 105th and 5th - and ran into a high school friend of mine on the bridle path in Central Park! The Conservancy was beautiful, and I can't believe I haven't been back. It was relatively crowded, since it was the first really nice day that year, and since it was a Sunday, but I can imagine how peaceful it might be on a day like today...

When I lived in your neighborhood, it was pretty much a food wasteland ... except for a few Hungarian and German restaurants and bakeries (but lots of good bars to hang out in.) I would love to see photos and read about the food shops and eateries in the neighborhood today. (Is Orwasher's bakery still on 78th? I loved their pumpernickel rolls.)

Hey, Beanie! Yes, there are still some Hunagrian and German spots around. Andre's Cafe, a Hungarian bakery and restaurant, just opened in my block last year, and Heidelberg is a few blocks away at 86th and 2nd, still going strong. Then, of course, there's the venerable Schaller and Weber, where I buy my bacon and have been known to eye the tins of goose fat. :wink:

Not sure about Orwasher's, as I don't walk down 78th Street very often, but I'll try to take a peek sometime this week and let you know!

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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Orawasher's is still there - just east of 2nd Ave. on 78th St.

Great blog. Feel better...my wife had a terrible cold and I force fed her hot fresh ginger tea with honey and lemon in mass quantities...cleared up in 2 days!

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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OK, Megan, when you can start to sense smells again, you're in the homestretch!

Glad you're feeling better. I sure wish I could be in NYC with you; I grew up on the edges of the city (Long Island and Northern New Jersey) so I made the city my "playground" where I went to concerts, bars (it used to be the age was 18, back then, and I'd ALWAYS looked older than I was ...) various be-ins and assorted doings, etc. I haven't been back in many years, an am certainly enjoying this new view of my city. Thanks for the tour! :biggrin:

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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Here's the final product, with a hunk of that bread!

gallery_28660_2588_20339.jpg

As predicted, I could not taste a thing, even when I added loads of salt and pepper.  The texture of the soup was lovely and velvety, though, and the bread was great.  I can't remember the last time I had such a huge head cold!  Hopefully this symptom will pass...I may be forced to pour chiles on everything... :wink:

That soup looks amazing! I think I'll pick up a bag of garlic tonight at Costco and make me some soup!

About the head cold...ever try a neti pot? There's a very scary video here. It looks horrible, but it works really well for clearing out congestion!

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Megan! Wonderful to see you blogging, you're off to a compelling start for sure. My alter ego is an urban girl living in the city...even though I've never been to NYC...yet. :biggrin: I'll get there some day.

I'm in love with the idea of the little cheese shop and the Italian deli with the real Italian meats/cheeses/products. Are there any of these convenient to you that you can work in? Also, is frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity too "touristy" these days? Any chances of gaining kitchen tours of your favorite eateries?

Feel better, have fun this week (when do you go back to work?) and keep up the good blog job!

Genny

PS: FFB- dreaming of Mario??? Ooh, do tell. I hope it was platonic :blink: Maybe you should sub in Jaques Torres?

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About the head cold...ever try a neti pot?  There's a very scary video here.  It looks horrible, but it works really well for clearing out congestion!

I'll second that recommendation! I know, it looks scary, but the feeling of getting the gunk out is just wonderful and it helps increase circulation and healing in the sinuses. And, to keep this food related, a clear nose means you can actually taste what you're eating :wink:.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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About the head cold...ever try a neti pot?  There's a very scary video here.  It looks horrible, but it works really well for clearing out congestion!

I'll second that recommendation! I know, it looks scary, but the feeling of getting the gunk out is just wonderful and it helps increase circulation and healing in the sinuses. And, to keep this food related, a clear nose means you can actually taste what you're eating :wink:.

I'll third the neti pot recommendation - you will instantly be able to smell, taste (and even hear) better. And, it uses salt - keeping it food related.

Danielle Altshuler Wiley

a.k.a. Foodmomiac

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Feel better soon, Megan! Lots of colds going around; I have some symptoms, too, though I can taste fine (but my flute playing is suffering).

Megan, do you like Two Little Red Hens? I love to go there whenever I'm in the area. Great bakery specializing in American sweets (New York cheesecake, brownies, lemon squares, etc.), and I don't think out-of-towners know much about it. The only drawback is that it's small and it might be hard to take photos without getting in the way.

Enjoy your blogging! I'll be following along.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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