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Megan Blocker

eG Foodblog: Megan Blocker - Trading Pumas for Uggs

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Happy Valentine's Day Megan!  :wub:

How wonderful your blog is...again!  I loved your last one, of course :)  But you're making me COLD!  I've been terribly MIA from eG of late but this is the perfect way to jump back in. 

Everything looks so fantastic!  You live/eat so well!  What is it you do for work? Is it mentioned on the prior blog?  Is it the same as then? 

The best additions to hot cocoa are homemade marshmallows and peppermint schnaps!  It'll warm you up in no time!!

Thanks for blogging and being so fascinating! 

Genny

OMG, Genny is my Valentine, because she called me fascinating!!!! She wins my gold star, hands down. :wink: Thank you, Genny.

I am still in the same job, essentially, though my responsibilities have grown and changed over the last year and my seniority has increased somewhat. Essentially, I work in management consulting. We have a large practice that tells people how to outsource/offshore their technology work, and about four years ago, we realized we didn't do the same - not the best way to sell your knowledge/expertise.

I am part of the small team, therefore, that manages the outsourcing of our IT function. It's not at all technical (I actually got into it via recruitment for investment banking), but involves a lot of management, negotiation, finance, and legal knowledge/skills. Parts of it are really interesting, and parts make you want to cry they're so dull.

Whew, enough about that!

Tonight I got home, watched the episode of How I Met Your Mother from Monday night (I am marrying Ted - he is adorable), and then headed out around 7:00 for dinner down the street at Bar Etats-Unis, which is a wine bar attached to the pricier bistro. Both spaces are small and minimalist, with the focus on the food, the wine, and the cocktails.

The bartender, Kate, started me off with a 175 ml bottle of Pommery's Pop Rose - I was at Pommery in October, and really enjoyed their cellar tour. You don't see their wines enough here in the States, in my opinion.

gallery_26775_2587_31144.jpg

I decided on a salad and the mac and cheese. Basic comfort food, elevated. The salad was the Texas wedge, with iceberg lettuce, bacon, tomatoes, ranch, and crumbled Stilton.

gallery_26775_2587_9074.jpg

In between courses, I chatted with the couple to my left and eavesdropped on the idiot to my right (He talked over his date and described leaving his most recent relationship as getting out of a "paradigm" - I'm a big word abuser, no doubt about it - but paradigm? To your date? Who you don't know well? Oy. Sorry, b*tchfest over.) I also read a bit of my selected literature for the evening...

gallery_26775_2587_31422.jpg

On Kate's recommendation, I ordered a glass of 2004 Valpolicella to go with the mac and cheese. One of the coolest things about sitting at the bar is that the kitchen is essentially right there - one prep cook makes everything, and I got to watch him combine the bechamel, parm and cheddar for my mac, and watched him whip cream by hand for my dessert.

gallery_26775_2587_18189.jpg

The mac and cheese was delicious - piping hot and rich. As a non-cheese person, I was very proud of ordering two cheese dishes in one sitting. I think I have to email this post to my mom. :wink:

Finally, dessert. I went for the date pudding, which is served with a caramelized, boozy rum sauce and whipped cream. It reminds me of sticky toffee pudding...

gallery_26775_2587_12029.jpg

Before I left, Kate handed me a single white rose, which is now sitting in a bud vase on my dresser. Very sweet. A wonderful Valentine's Day.

I came home and poured myself a teeny-tiny cognac, just to make sure the evening was complete...

gallery_26775_2587_7020.jpg

OH! And look what was on my doorstep in a DHL delivery box when I got home from work!

gallery_26775_2587_5214.jpg


"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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Tomorrow promises to be an excellent day...lunch will be light, thanks to tonight's meal and also to tomorrow night's. I'm meeting a few other foodie types for the Bo Ssam at Momofuku Ssam Bar! So don't go too far if you want details...


"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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Happy Valentines Day Megan! Your night out sounded fantastic. God Bless you for reading Jane Austen....I just read Persuasion for my book club and it was the hardest little book to get through, it took me three weeks to go through it, versus the usual 1-2 days for a book. I know she's an icon in the literary world, but I had tough time, as did most of the folks in the book club (they are bigger readers than me) since they didn't read it. I may check out the movie, since I did like the idea of the story.

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Happy Valentines Day Megan!  Your night out sounded fantastic.  God Bless you for reading Jane Austen....I just read Persuasion for my book club and it was the hardest little book to get through, it took me three weeks to go through it, versus the usual 1-2 days for a book.  I know she's an icon in the literary world, but I had  tough time, as did most of the folks in the book club (they are bigger readers than me) since they didn't read it. I may check out the movie, since I did like the idea of the story.

Persuasion is one of my all-time favorites...took a class in Jane Austen in college and have been devoted ever since. She's an incredible wit, completly without cheese or treacly sentiment, but still romantic. My literary soulmate, Miss Austen is.

Try Pride and Prejudice....not as mature or bittersweet a book as Persuasion, but Mr. Darcy is quite dashing. :wink: Also, the movie version of Persuasion, with Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds, is excellent - you'll love it.

Also fun are her depictions of food - it seems British food of the time, excepting fresh fruits/berries, were quite heavy and a bit bland. Perhaps that explains the constant berry-picking and picknicking - food enhanced by other distractions.


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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Cool, I will check out the movie...I got the gist of the story, but it took going back and re-reading and re-reading to get it. I never was exposed to her prior to this, and I think that you and I are about the same age, I might be a little older (shhhh...almost 38, okay just saw your profile and I am a lot older!) but I was never exposed to her in High School or College.

I just started reading "The Pilots Wife", which is starting out to be pretty good. I know its been out for a while.

edited to correct the age difference.


Edited by lucylou95816 (log)

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All right, just posted a topic about my trip to London - post away!!!

oh we know some very good nice cocktail bars in London! and this place that makes an amazing lip gloss- I know, I know but it is fab!! I'll get over to your other post soon!

Happy valentine's day!! Dayne and I served mini bottles of regular POP at our wedding! it was fun to see everyone sipping out of straws and we buy them whenever we are going to travel to the beach or something now :smile:

your dinner looks so good- i really wish we could have gone there when we were in town!

and that is the tiniest! cognac I have ever seen :wink:

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All right, just posted a topic about my trip to London - post away!!!

oh we know some very good nice cocktail bars in London! and this place that makes an amazing lip gloss- I know, I know but it is fab!! I'll get over to your other post soon!

Happy valentine's day!! Dayne and I served mini bottles of regular POP at our wedding! it was fun to see everyone sipping out of straws and we buy them whenever we are going to travel to the beach or something now :smile:

your dinner looks so good- i really wish we could have gone there when we were in town!

and that is the tiniest! cognac I have ever seen :wink:

I know, I know...I have a 10:00 AM presentation...have to be impossibly fresh.


"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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Re: size of cognac: I often do that.. at the end of a nice evening, just to round it out, a glass of something really nice. But the smallest, tiniest bit. A normal glass of cognac is too much for me, usually - the law of diminishing returns.

I was at a wedding - probably the best one I've been to other than my own (yeah I'm biased, but the food was good) - where on the way between the church and the reception (in the Natural History Museum in London, seated around the dinosaur), we all sipped bottles of Pop in the coach!

Your weather looks just like it was when I went to NY a couple of years ago. Central park was pretty, but the rest... damn cold. And a downpour on the 3rd day after the snow, so that the puddles were a mixture of slush and rainwater, and you couldn't tell where the sidewalk ended. Oh god it was cold.

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Megan, I haven't been able to be here on the 'gullet for weeks. I pop in "just for a second" and here you are. I've used up all my adolescent-free time reading the whole shebang and now must FLY to get ready for the school day. It's so good to read about you.


~ Lori in PA

My blog: http://inmykitcheninmylife.blogspot.com/

My egullet blog: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=89647&hl=

"Cooking is not a chore, it is a joy."

- Julia Child

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My literary soulmate, Miss Austen is.

( ... )

Also fun are her depictions of food - it seems British food of the time, excepting fresh fruits/berries, were quite heavy and a bit bland.  Perhaps that explains the constant berry-picking and picknicking - food enhanced by other distractions.

Megan, you're a class act. Valentine's Day with Miss Austen is the way to go. (I spent mine with Jeeves and Wooster, which was actually a lot of fun).

Have you ever read The Jane Austen Cookbook? It's collected from authentic recipes, and is quite interesting, not only in reading about the foods they served, but in its discussion of the type of service used at meals (several sequences called "removes," in which there were displays of food from which people served themselves). Interesting reading. I'll have to take a look at it again tonight, but I remember being surprised at the variety of foods therein - I think that the kitchen gardens and hothouses of the great estates provided a lot more than we'd think nowadays.

Keep on blogging! I'm enjoying this very much.

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OMG, Genny is my Valentine, because she called me fascinating!!!! She wins my gold star, hands down.  Thank you, Genny.

Awwwww thanks Megan! I'm happy to be your Valentine! Looks like you had a fabo dinner without me tho...next time you should invite me along? If I can't fly there we can chat on the phone to be together for the meal. :wink:

Good girl on the double cheese dinner! Can you put your finger on why you aren't a cheese girl? It doesn't appear that you dislike it, even the more pungent varieties so I'd love to know! What kinds do you like the best? least? (I, on the other hand AM a cheese girl. Sometimes that is whats for dinner accompanied by an appropriate glass of red wine. I'm swooning at the mere thought of it!)

And to compliment the glassware, the champagne glass for your POP was so beautiful and delicate looking. I just adore lovely glassware, it sets the mood and can transcend the moment.

Good luck on your presentation! (hmmm, checking the clock you are likely in the middle of it now!)

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My literary soulmate, Miss Austen is.

( ... )

Also fun are her depictions of food - it seems British food of the time, excepting fresh fruits/berries, were quite heavy and a bit bland.  Perhaps that explains the constant berry-picking and picknicking - food enhanced by other distractions.

Megan, you're a class act. Valentine's Day with Miss Austen is the way to go. (I spent mine with Jeeves and Wooster, which was actually a lot of fun).

Have you ever read The Jane Austen Cookbook? It's collected from authentic recipes, and is quite interesting, not only in reading about the foods they served, but in its discussion of the type of service used at meals (several sequences called "removes," in which there were displays of food from which people served themselves). Interesting reading. I'll have to take a look at it again tonight, but I remember being surprised at the variety of foods therein - I think that the kitchen gardens and hothouses of the great estates provided a lot more than we'd think nowadays.

Keep on blogging! I'm enjoying this very much.

That sounds fascinating! I think I'll have to check that out of the library...

Good girl on the double cheese dinner! Can you put your finger on why you aren't a cheese girl? It doesn't appear that you dislike it, even the more pungent varieties so I'd love to know! What kinds do you like the best? least? (I, on the other hand AM a cheese girl. Sometimes that is whats for dinner accompanied by an appropriate glass of red wine. I'm swooning at the mere thought of it!)

Thanks!

I really hated cheese as a kid (picked it off the pizza, never had it in the pasta, would gag if I had it on my burger), but I've gotten better at it. I actually seem to like the stinkier cheeses better than the milder ones - which also gels with my love of all things tangy and spicy. There's something about the weird, flat aftertaste of milder cheeses that doesn't sit well with me.

I still don't like cheese by itself - I had a cheese plate in France (and enjoyed it), but I would never order one in lieu of dessert. I don't like cheese and crackers, and I REALLY don't like cheese on my sandwiches or hamburgers.

My friends Miles and Hall made me come over for a cheese tasting last year...Miles is a HUGE cheese person, and they made me eat all kinds, but bribed me with tomato basil soup and a green salad. :wink:


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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See, the beautiful cheese shops there are just wasted on you. Bummer. I *wish* we had such a thing here in the valley. The best we have is an upscale market with a nice selection but they don't keep them properly and certainly don't have knowlegable staff waiting to provide tastings and advise. I'm going to go pout now.

I love that you love the stinky cheese over the bland though! So many people shy away from the pungent. Try a lovely fresh goat cheese on a crustini with your tomatoe basil soup, its a combo that I tap my toes to!

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So, I just got a phone call telling my that my laptop upgrade has been approved (yay, new computer!), and that I can have it done today. So, I'll be unavailable on the computer till late this afternoon...

Tawk amongst yourselves, I'll be back! :biggrin:


"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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Tonight I got home, watched the episode of How I Met Your Mother from Monday night (I am marrying Ted - he is adorable), and then headed out around 7:00 for dinner down the street at Bar Etats-Unis, which is a wine bar attached to the pricier bistro.  Both spaces are small and minimalist, with the focus on the food, the wine, and the cocktails.

The bartender, Kate, started me off with a 175 ml bottle of Pommery's Pop Rose - I was at Pommery in October, and really enjoyed their cellar tour.  You don't see their wines enough here in the States, in my opinion.

gallery_26775_2587_31144.jpg

Is this the same Pommery that makes the coarse-grained Moutarde de Meaux? I used to buy it all the time from a liquor store/specialty cheese shop near where I lived in Allston, Mass. I really couldn't afford it--or the cheeses I bought with it-- but I didn't care.

Oops! Edited out your Austen reference. I wanted to ask you here what your opinion was of the movie Clueless. I was chatting with a friend of mine at Pure's karaoke (see first foodblog) last night--the friend is a local playwright and also an Austen fan. We both thought that Clueless was an entertaining modernization of Emma. I also liked the film for its useful contribution to contemporary English, namely, the phrase "going postal".

I really hated cheese as a kid (picked it off the pizza, never had it in the pasta, would gag if I had it on my burger), but I've gotten better at it.  I actually seem to like the stinkier cheeses better than the milder ones - which also gels with my love of all things tangy and spicy.  There's something about the weird, flat aftertaste of milder cheeses that doesn't sit well with me.

I don't know if you watch the Today Show in the mornings, but one memorable segment involving cheese from that program lingers in my brain.

They were doing an on-location program in Paris; this was when Bryant Gumbel was still co-hosting, but after Katie Couric had joined the party. Apparently--as we learned from the segment--Gumbel is a serious cheeseophobe; he can't even stand the smell of the stuff.

So they had him do a segment in which he went into a French cheese shop to examine its wares and chat with the proprietor.

I still remember him donning a face mask and rubber gloves on camera, then saying, "Cover me--I'm going in" before entering the shop.

As for you, congratulations on having overcome your childhood distaste for cheese. I don't share your dislike of milder varieties, but agree that the smellier ones are more interesting. Not being a big fan of Brie, however, I have probably given runny cheeses short shrift and need to educate myself more about them.


Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Tomorrow promises to be an excellent day...lunch will be light, thanks to tonight's meal and also to tomorrow night's.  I'm meeting a few other foodie types for the Bo Ssam at Momofuku Ssam Bar!  So don't go too far if you want details...

Yeah!!!! :biggrin:

ETA: Oops that was me (Henry). Someone keeps logging in from my computer :hmmm:


Edited by Ling (log)

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Also, the movie version of Persuasion, with Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds, is excellent - you'll love it.

That's my favorite of all the Austen adaptations!

Also fun are her depictions of food - it seems British food of the time, excepting fresh fruits/berries, were quite heavy and a bit bland.  Perhaps that explains the constant berry-picking and picknicking - food enhanced by other distractions.

yeah, boiled mutton galore! :wink:

I love this quote from one of her letters: "Good applepies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness".

Jane Grigson has a chapter about Austen in her "Food with the famous". I agree with Grigson that "Emma" is the most fun, foodwise - with that hypochonder of a father who is always sending back the good stuff to the kitchen because he thinks it's unhealthy, leaving his guests to snack on water and biscuits ! :smile:

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Happy Valentines Day Megan!  Your night out sounded fantastic.  God Bless you for reading Jane Austen....I just read Persuasion for my book club and it was the hardest little book to get through, it took me three weeks to go through it, versus the usual 1-2 days for a book.  I know she's an icon in the literary world, but I had  tough time, as did most of the folks in the book club (they are bigger readers than me) since they didn't read it. I may check out the movie, since I did like the idea of the story.

Persuasion is one of my all-time favorites...took a class in Jane Austen in college and have been devoted ever since. She's an incredible wit, completly without cheese or treacly sentiment, but still romantic. My literary soulmate, Miss Austen is.

Try Pride and Prejudice....not as mature or bittersweet a book as Persuasion, but Mr. Darcy is quite dashing. :wink: Also, the movie version of Persuasion, with Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds, is excellent - you'll love it.

Also fun are her depictions of food - it seems British food of the time, excepting fresh fruits/berries, were quite heavy and a bit bland. Perhaps that explains the constant berry-picking and picknicking - food enhanced by other distractions.

These are two of my favorites as well. Couldn't get through Mansfield Park though. Tried very hard though. The Jane Austen Cookbook sounds like it would be fun - to get a glimpse into the real thing. Thanks for bringing it up.

I'm really enjoying the blog Megan.


I like cows, too. I hold buns against them. -- Bucky Cat.

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Finally, dessert.  I went for the date pudding, which is served with a caramelized, boozy rum sauce and whipped cream.  It reminds me of sticky toffee pudding...

gallery_26775_2587_12029.jpg

:wub::wub::wub:


"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Hey, all! Just back from a pretty darn excellent evening on the town. While I work on the photos, chew on this - Grub Street mentioned Daniel and Alicia's Bite Club!!!


"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, more on tonight's dinner in the morning...today was a crazy day, what with my PC upgrade and all. Lunch was light, an avocado, tomato and cucumber sandwich and some tomato soup from Europa Cafe...

Some really icky weather...

gallery_26775_2587_24987.jpg

gallery_26775_2587_6268.jpg

Sandwich...very tasty, though premade and a little bit soggy.

gallery_26775_2587_21335.jpg

And, soup! Tomato with pearl pasta...warming and rich.

gallery_26775_2587_19273.jpg

ETA: I promise to post first thing in the AM, but must go do some work emailing now and head to bed. See you all soon!


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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OK, more on tonight's dinner in the morning...today was a crazy day, what with my PC upgrade and all.  Lunch was light, an avocado, tomato and cucumber sandwich and some tomato soup from Europa Cafe...

Some really icky weather...

gallery_26775_2587_24987.jpg

gallery_26775_2587_6268.jpg

Sandwich...very tasty, though premade and a little bit soggy.

gallery_26775_2587_21335.jpg

And, soup!  Tomato with pearl pasta...warming and rich.

gallery_26775_2587_19273.jpg

ETA: I promise to post first thing in the AM, but must go do some work emailing now and head to bed.  See you all soon!

Oooh I love that soup! Soup is the greatest thing ever to perk you up and warm your body and mind when it's so cold and grey and drab :wub:

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Ooh I'm having so much fun watching this blog. Megan, this is a GREAT blog. Thanks for posting the Bite Club pictures, that was a really fun night. I for one would like to see the contents of your fridge, and pantry...or spice cabinet...yeah, I like to pry.


does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

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So nosy, Miss Emma! I shall oblige tonight, I promise.

Dinner last night was quite an event. I met up with fellow foodies (most also food bloggers) Robyn, Eunice, Don (donbert), Gerald, Connie, Doug, and Janet at Momofuku Ssam Bar for some Bo Ssam, a whole, slow-roasted pork butt served with oysters, rice, condiments, and lettuce to wrap it all up with.

But first! We started with some small plates, some that we ordered and some that were very generously comped by the lovely staff. In no particular order...

My beer, a red rice ale...I shamelessly copied donbert and ordered one for myself.

gallery_26775_2587_17197.jpg

Sea urchin with whipped tofu...Don can enlighten us a bit about this one and what's in it (my notes aren't that great, and this isn't on the online menu!).

gallery_26775_2587_2933.jpg

Seasonal pickles...brussels sprouts, root veggies, kimchi, and all sorts of other goodness.

gallery_26775_2587_16684.jpg

Mushroom salad...really, really tasty. Some radishes and mache, too!

gallery_26775_2587_12004.jpg

The first of the pork...Benton's ham with baguette and some smoky coffee sauce. The ham melted in your mouth...

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These next two were my favorites...an egg custard with black truffle, braised snails, and edamame on the bottom...such a great mix of flavors and textures. Don and BryanZ apparently have some theories about how they get it so darn smooth.

gallery_26775_2587_15782.jpg

Crispy brussels sprouts with chiles and fish sauce, topped with crispy rice. So good it made me want to cry.

gallery_26775_2587_27543.jpg

The three-terrine banh mi...even though I picked my cilantro off (I know, I know...) I really enjoyed it.

gallery_26775_2587_7539.jpg

Finally, the main event. Bo Ssam. Rubbed with spices, roasted to the point of falling apart...it arrived, glistening, to the table, along with pureed and whole kimchi, a ginger-scallion sauce, oysters and lettuce. We had to hold back while the NYT photographer who was there last night (apparently a review is coming out next week) snapped away for a moment.

gallery_26775_2587_21515.jpg

gallery_26775_2587_27381.jpg

A bite, before condiments...lettuce, rice, pork, oyster.

gallery_26775_2587_6224.jpg

Finally, dessert...the mochi ice cream sampler with, from left to right, pistachio, guava, coconut, chocolate mint. Served with apples topped with a little grey salt.

gallery_26775_2587_14002.jpg

Before we left, Doug gave us all his latest obsession...jars of Sunflower Seed Butter from Trader Joe's!

gallery_26775_2587_5577.jpg

(Momofuku sounds dirty, but it just means "Lucky Peach.")

gallery_26775_2587_12396.jpg

Then it was onward...downtown to Death & Company...


"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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All right, kids. I'm off to grab some breakfast at Cafe Sabarsky and then downtown to do some shopping. I'll see you back here in the early evening, armed with D&Co photos and a full Degustation report!


"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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    • By Panaderia Canadiense
      Wow, this is my third foodblog for the eGullet….  Welcome!   I'll be with you from Palm Sunday through Holy Sunday to give you all a taste of the veritable food festival that is Easter in Ecuador.  As usual, I intend to eat on the streets, visit a plethora of small shops and vendors, and talk about (and eat copious amounts of ) the specialty dishes of the holiday.
       
      A bit of background on me and where I am.  I'm Elizabeth; I'm 33 years old and since the last foodblog I've ceased to be a Canadian expat in Ecuador, and become a full-fledged Ecuadorian citizen.  I run a catering bakery out of Ambato, and I deliver to clients on the entire mainland.  I've got a large customer base in nearby Baños de Agua Santa, a hot-springs town about an hour downslope of me to the east; I'll be visiting it on Wednesday with close to 100 kg of baked goods for delivery.  Ambato, the capital of Tungurahua province, is located almost exactly in the geographic centre of Ecuador.  It's at an average elevation of 2,850 meters above sea level (slightly higher than Quito, the capital) - but this is measured in the downtown central park, which is significantly lower than most of the rest of the city, which extends up the sides of the river valley and onto the high plain above.  We've got what amounts to eternal late springtime weather, with two well-marked rainy seasons.  Ambato has about 300,000 people in its metro area; it's the fourth largest city in the country.  But maybe the most important thing about Ambato, especially to foodies, is that it's a transport hub for the country.  Anything travelling just about anywhere has to pass through Ambato on the way; it gives us the largest, best-stocked food market in South America.  I have simply staggering variety at my fingertips.
       

       
      This view, which was a teaser for the blog, was taken from my rooftop terrazzo.  It is a fraction of the panorama of the river valley that I see every morning, and since Easter is traditionally somewhat miserable weather-wise, the clouds stick to the hilltops.  The barrio you can see in the middle distance is Ficoa, one of the most luxury districts in the city.  Ambato is notable amongst Ecuadorian cities for having small fruit farms (300-500 m2) still operating within city limits and even within its most established barrios - it's from this that the Ambato gets one of its two sobriquets: The City of Fruits and Flowers.  The tendency for even the poorest barrios to take tremendous pride in their greenspaces gives the other: The Garden City.  My barrio, Miraflores Alto, is a working-class mixture of professors and labourers, and my neighbours keep a mixture of chickens, turkeys, and ducks in their yards; someone down the hill has a cow that I frequently hear but have never seen.  Consequently, if the season is right I can buy duck eggs from my neighbours (and if the season is wrong, entire Muscovy ducks for roasting.)
       

       
      Today, I'll be doing my largest fresh-food shopping at the Mercado Mayorista, the largest market of its kind in South America - this place covers nearly 30 square blocks, and it exists to both buy and sell produce from across the country.  Sundays and Mondays it also opens up to a huge, raucous farmer's market where smaller quantities are available for purchase.  Sunday is the day of the freshest food and the largest number of vendors.  And I'm going to cross more than half the city to get there - I've moved since the last blog, and my new house, on the slopes of the river valley is further away than the old one on the high plain.  I promise to take many pictures of this - particularly close to the High Holy days, the Mayorista is alive with vendors and there will be special sections cordoned off for sales of bacalao, truly enormous squashes, and if it follows the previous years' trends, a festival of Hornado (about which more later).  Apart from mangoes, which are just finishing up their season, it is harvest time across the country, and the Mayorista will be well stocked with all manner of fruits and vegetables.
       

       
      To start us off, I'll demystify one of my teasers a bit.
       

       
      The Minion head that peeks out of my cupboard every day belongs to my jar of ChocoListo, the Ecuadorian equivalent of chocolate Ovaltine.  Since I gave up coffee for Lent, it's my go-to morning beverage.  ChocoListo normally comes in the plain white jar with orange lid that you see in front of the Minion; that's now my hot chocolate jar because I just couldn't resist when the company came out with the specialty jars.  I firmly believe that one is never too old to have whimsical things!
       

    • By therese
      Good morning, y’all, and welcome to the party chez Therese.
      As per the teaser, this week’s foodblog does indeed come to you from Atlanta, where I live with my two children (hereafter known as Girl and Boy) and husband (hereafter known as The Man). Girl is 11, Boy is 14, and The Man is old enough to know better.
      Atlanta’s huge: the total metro population is about 4 million, and there are no physical boundaries to growth like rivers or mountain ranges, so people just keep moving (and commuting) farther and farther out of town. Atlantans can be divided into ITP (inside the perimeter) and OTP (outside the perimeter), the perimeter referring to the interstate freeway that encircles the downtown area and surrounding neighborhoods, separating it from outlying suburbs. The politically minded may note that these areas could be designated red and blue. I’ll let you figure out which is which.
      We’re about as ITP as it gets, with home, work, school, and restaurants all in walking distance. The neighborhood’s called Druid Hills, the setting for the play/movie “Driving Miss Daisy”. The houses date from the 1920s, and because Atlanta has so little in the way of “old” buildings the neighborhood’s on the National Register as a Historic District. Charming, sure, buts lots of the houses need some updating, and ours (purchased in 1996) was no exception. So we remodeled last year, including an addition with a new kitchen, and this week’s blog will look at the finished product.
      So, some encouragement for those of you presently involved in kitchen renovation, some ideas for those who are considering it.
      But never mind all that for the moment: What’s for breakfast?


      Dutch babies, that’s what. And even better, these Dutch babies are produced by my children, the aforementioned Girl and Boy. The first picture is right from the oven, the second is after the somewhat messy job of sifting powdered sugar on top. They are delicious (the Dutch babies, I mean, not the children) and a great weekend treat.

      The Man drinks coffee in the morning whereas I prefer tea. He's not up yet, having played poker last night. I'm hoping he makes it out of bed in time for dinner.

      I also eat fruit whereas he prefers, well, anything but fruit. This is not such a bad thing, as it means that I don’t have to share the fruit. Pomegranates are a pain to eat, but not so bad if you’re reading the newspaper at the same time. This one’s from California, but you can also grow them here if you’ve got enough sunshine (which I don’t).
    • By Shelby
      Good morning, everyone and happy Monday!  
       
      It's me again....that girl from Kansas. 
       
       
      This is VERY spur-of-the-moment.  I was sitting here yesterday thinking of all of the canning etc. that I needed to do this week and I thought, well, why not ask you guys if you want to spend the week with me while I do it?  I got the ok from Smithy so away we go!
       
      This will not be nearly as organized as my first blog was.  But, really, when does a sequel ever measure up to the first?     
       
      Most of you know all about me--if you missed my first blog you can read it here.
       
      Nothing much has changed around here.  Same furry babies, same house, same husband  .
       
      Right now we have field corn planted all around the house.  In the outer fields we have soybeans that were planted after the wheat was harvested.  Sorry for the blur....it was so humid the camera kept fogging up.
       

       
      I just came in from the garden.
       
      I snapped a few pictures....for more (and prettier) pictures you can look in the gardening thread.  I always start out saying that I will not let a weed grow in there.  By August I'm like..."Oh what's a few weeds" lol.
       
       
       
      Here's a total list of what I planted this year:
       
      7 cucumbers
      8 basil
      23 okra
      4 rows assorted lettuce
      20 peppers-thai, jalapeño, bell, banana
      4 rows peas
      5 cilantro
      1 tarragon
      2 dill
      many many red and white onions
      7 eggplant
      3 rows spinach
      57 tomatoes
      5 cherry tomatoes
      7 rows silver queen sweet corn
      11 squash
      4 watermelon
      2 cantaloupe
      6 pumpkin
       
      I killed the cantaloupes...and I tried damn hard to kill the squash lol.....sigh...squash bugs came early this year and we sprayed with some kind of stuff.  WOW the plants did not like it, but they've come back and are producing.
       


      I just love okra flowers

      Found some more smut   
       

       
       
       
       
       
       
    • By Pille
      Tere õhtust (that’s „Good evening“ in Estonian)!
      I’m very, very, very excited to be doing my first ever eGullet foodblog. Foodblogging as such is not new to me – I’ve been blogging over at Nami-nami since June 2005, and am enjoying it enormously. But this eGullet blog is very different in format, and I hope I can ’deliver’. There have been so many exciting and great food blogs over the years that I've admired, so the standard is intimidatingly high! Also, as I’m the first one ever blogging from Estonia, I feel there’s a certain added responsibility to ’represent’ my tiny country
      A few words about me: my name is Pille, I’m 33, work in academia and live with my boyfriend Kristjan in a house in Viimsi, a suburb just outside Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. I was born and schooled in Tallinn until I was 18. Since then I've spent a year in Denmark as an exchange student, four years studing in Tartu (a university town 180 km south), two years working in Tallinn and seven years studying and working in Edinburgh, the bonnie & cosmopolitan capital of Scotland. All this has influenced my food repertoire to a certain degree, I'm sure. I moved back home to Estonia exactly 11 months and 1 day ago, to live with Kristjan, and I haven't regretted that decision once Edinburgh is an amazing place to live, and I've been back to Scotland twice since returning, but I have come to realise that Tallinn is even nicer than Edinburgh
      I won’t be officially starting my foodblog until tomorrow (it’s midnight here and I’m off to bed), but I thought I’ll re-post the teaser photos for those of you who missed them in the 'Upcoming Attractions' section. There were two of them. One was a photo of Tallinn skyline as seen from the sea (well, from across the bay in this case):

      This is known as kilukarbivaade or sprat can skyline A canned fish product, sprats (small Baltic herrings in a spicy marinade) used to have a label depicting this picturesque skyline. I looked in vain for it in the supermarket the other day, but sadly couldn’t find one - must have been replaced with a sleek & modern label. So you must trust my word on this sprat can skyline view
      The second photo depicted a loaf of our delicious rye bread, rukkileib. As Snowangel already said, it’s naturally leavened sour 100% rye bread, and I’ll be showing you step-by-step instructions for making it later during the week.

      It was fun seeing your replies to Snowangel’s teaser photos. All of you got the continent straight away, and I was pleased to say that most of you got the region right, too (that's Northern Europe then). Peter Green’s guess Moscow was furthest away – the capital of Russia is 865 km south-east from here (unfortunately I've never had a chance to visit that town, but at least I've been to St Petersburgh couple of times). Copenhagen is a wee bit closer with 836 km, Stockholm much closer with 386 km. Dave Hatfield (whose rural French foodblog earlier this year I followed with great interest, and whose rustic apricot tart was a huge hit in our household) was much closer with Helsinki, which is just 82 km across the sea to the north. The ships you can see on the photo are all commuting between Helsinki and Tallinn (there’s an overnight ferry connection to Stockholm, too). Rona Y & Tracey guessed the right answer
      Dave – that house isn’t a sauna, but a granary (now used to 'store' various guests) - good guess, however! Sauna was across the courtyard, and looks pretty much the same, just with a chimney The picture is taken in July on Kassari in Hiiumaa/Dagö, one of the islands on the west coast. Saunas in Estonia are as essential part of our life – and lifestyle – as they are in Finland. Throwing a sauna party would guarantee a good turnout of friends any time
      Finally, a map of Northern Europe, so you’d know exactly where I’m located:

      Head ööd! [Good night!]
      I'm off to bed now, but will be back soon. And of course, if there are any questions, however specific or general, then 'll do my best trying to answer them!
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