The Park Slope Gastronome

Back in Park Slope.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Belated Birthday Dinner at the Cowgirl Hall of Fame

Wednesday night I met up with my friend and former colleague, JB, at the Cowgirl Hall of Fame, which apparently is really just “Cowgirl”. It’s funny, I had never really given this place any thought and then last week my partner in deliciousness told me that she would be attending a bachelorette brunch there in a few weeks time. And THEN, when finalizing my plans with JB, she suggested we go there for dinner, even though she had just been the night before. Jeeze Cowgirl! I can honestly say, before last week this place was a complete non-entity, then suddenly it’s the only thing I know how to hear about.

This place gets crowded really early, but luckily they were able to seat us pretty much right away. Walking in I noticed that we got the last available two-top – score! Shortly after being seated, we were served some chips with their signature black-eyed pea salsa. I really liked the use of the black-eyed peas, but I tasted a hint of yellow curry, which gives me horrible acid reflux, so I ended up just eating my chips plain, occasionally balancing one or two beans atop my chip. As I spent a decent amount of the day making brunch suggestions to Youthlarge over google chat (the sausage, biscuits, gravy and eggs look pretty tasty), I was already pretty familiar with the menu. I had basically already decided to get some sort of chicken fried something, but knew that I would probably just make a game-time decision. When someone is actually standing in front of me, ready to take my order, all bets are off!

To start, JB and I shared the onion loaf and fried green tomatoes. The onion loaf was colossal. Despite its being very crispy and delicious (not at all too bready as is often the case with this type of thing), I tried not to eat too much of it in an attempt to not get too stuffed. The fried green tomatoes were really tasty too. They were fried in a nice cornmeal batter and were impressively light and not at all greasy. My only beef was that they were served with what I think was a watery ranch dressing. I would have preferred a thicker blue cheese or better still, some sort of horseradish sauce.

For her main, JB ordered the fish tacos off of the Pride Week menu and I got the chicken fried steak. I definitely made the right call. Like I alluded to earlier, chicken fried ANYthing is probably going to taste great, and it did. My skin-on mashed potatoes were delectable (I love leaving the skin on – it’s easier and more delicious!) and my chicken fried steak smothered in creamy gravy did not disappoint. Though, the steak was just a little bit tough, but I think it always sort of is when prepared this way, so I gave it a pass. Next time I think I’ll try the chicken instead. Oh, and I did end up getting way too stuffed, causing me to ask the eternal question – why is this happening to me?

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Friday, June 29, 2007

PSG Road Trip

DMR and I are headed to the Dirty Dirty tomorrow morning! We will be hitting Memphis, Nashville, Austin and Houston. In Memphis, we'll be in the trusted hands of our hosts, Team Plumley, who never steer us wrong in that city. I've been promised some tasty palettas in Nashville during the day and in the evening we'll be attending a Sounds minor league baseball game, where Chik-Fil-A sandwiches are part of the concessions.

My interests in Austin primarily concern barbeque joints I've been unable to get out to while attending SXSW, including: Smitty's and Kreuz in Lockhart and the Salt Lick in Driftwood. Maybe we'll have time to fit in Louie Mueller's in Taylor. We'll get some Mexican to sate Dan, perhaps some breakfast at Juan in a Million which my coworker Kendel has suggested, although the room service breakfast at our hotel looks really good and might be our only chance to get some fruit on this trip!

We'll only be in Houston for less than 24 hours, and really only to attend the Mets - Astros game at Enron Minute Maid Park! This will be a historic day as it will mark the completion of Dan's lifelong quest to attend a game in every current major league ballpark. Of course once the new parks are built, he won't be able to make that claim, but we'll cross that bridge once we come to it.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Team Ubuntu bids Rabbi Paul adieu and eats a lot of Korean BBQ

After six years of dedicated service to the children of South Africa, Rabbi Paul is saying farewell to Ubuntu. If I have any say in the matter, he will pursue a career in televangelism, make obscene amounts of money and dedicate the rest of his life to Ubuntu – but for free! No, actually, he’ll PAY.

To properly send him off, Jake and Lara (with a healthy dose of subterfuge, courtesy of Sus) planned a surprise goodbye party for Rabbi Paul at Woo Chon in Koreatown. While we waited for Sus to deliver the “package”, we got started with a couple of Hite beers. After a whole night of them, this is where I felt like I was. Doesn’t it look grand?!

Upon the honoree’s arrival and the yelling of “surprise!”, we all sat down so the amazing feast could begin. First, they brought out little dishes of kimchi and all of the other little deliciousnesses they serve you at Korean restaurants, which I just learned are called banchan. My favorites were the octopus and drunken crab type thingies. I was making some amazing combo-bites with the octopus and something else, but I don’t remember what it was. Whatever it was, it had a great texture. It was probably some sort of sliced up radish dish.

Next, our waitress brought out some yummy Sae Woo Bojm, which are steamed shrimp dumplings wrapped in lettuce. They looked just like adorable brussels sprouts! After that, it was time to get really serious, so we started the table-grilling portion of the evening. We began with a huge plate of what I believe was Wang Galbi (prime rib filleted off the bone – king sized!). We grilled it up, flipping it with our chopsticks (just like YL does when making bacon) until it was ready to be eaten. Most of us like our beef on the rare side, so it was ready pretty quickly. I took my first piece and wrapped it in a leaf of romaine with a bit of tasty red bean paste. It was mouthwateringly delicious! Soon, to aid in my consumption of savory galbi, I abandoned the whole lettuce leaf idea entirely. Jake remarked that he was on the wrong half of the table with me, Rabbi Paul and Sus, because of our take no prisoners attitude toward eating. We were ruthless and probably ate twice as much as the other half of the table. The prime rib was followed by Dak Gui (sliced chicken breast) and a vegetarian friendly bibimbop. Jake was feeling orderer’s remorse over the former. While I thought the chicken was really tasty, I probably would not order it again. Instead, I would opt for the triple layer pork, provided all of my dining companions were ok with that program.

Then came the piece de resistance – Teak Galbi, which is parenthetically noted on the menu as being PREMIUM. This delectable galbi is thick cuts of Black Angus rib. Feast your eyes on this picture of it sizzling on our table:

Here’s a picture of Newell gnawing (phrase coined by Dr. Lief):

And here is one of me gnawing on the same bone (Gross? Sure. Amazingly delicious? Absolutely.):

After speeches, toasts and an inordinate amount of beer and sake, Newell was presented with this wonderful gift (it’s a picture of the cutest little girl ever):

Here’s a great picture of Lara and the rabbi:

Then we had fruit and some more beer and sake. At the end of the night, everything pretty much looked like this:

Well Paulie, mazel tov! Your next group of co-workers will be some of the luckiest people in the entire workforce! But then again, I have never actually worked with you, so what do I know?

I do know this. Once I was eating breakfast at Everest Diner with Newell and he gave me his last piece of bacon. For no apparent reason, other than he knew that I probably wanted it, as I love bacon more than just about anything. To me, that is really the spirit of ubuntu, and Paul’s got so much of it. Thank you and catch you later on down the trail, albeit a short one (Remember P? I called you three times today to ask you silly questions! Oh, and we don’t even work together now.).

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The China-Latina's Birthday

Last week the CLC celebrated her 31st birthday with a dinner at Frankie's 457 in Cobble Hill, followed by drinks and bocce at Floyd. I was there for the former and this is what happened.

Frankie's does not accept reservations for the outdoor space, so I got there early to help Beth procure a table for eight. As it turned out, the part of 8 that had the table inside wanted to sit outside, so we got their table. I was totally fine with this since we were sans reservation and thought it was only fair. While waiting for the other members of our group to show up, I ordered the very refreshing vodka limeade. Beth went with a Frankie's Iced Tea, which I found overwhelmingly orangey. Soon after we were seated, we ordered two of the house antipasto plate. I've mentioned it recently, but I'll mention it again, this is a great way to start your meal. The portions are generous and the tastes are fantastic. Both orders were pretty much the same: proscuitto, sweet and hot soppressata, olives, two cheeses (Moliterno, and I forget the other. I am so bad, I really need to write my notes in a little notebook, like a certain Listmaker), and two veggies. One plate had string beans and sauteed mushrooms, the other had roasted parsnips and cauliflower. I am not a fan of cauliflower ever, but these caramelized florets were ridiculously delicious. Tender and slightly sweet, every vegetable should be cooked like this.

By this time I was on my second vodka limeade. These are so tasty! Did I mention the ingredients? Vodka, lime, mint and probably a splash a club soda. All I want to do this summer is drink these. But at $8 a pop, I should just make a batch at home. Our party of 7 (the 8th had not arrived yet due to crossed up signals) all wound up ordering one of two entrees: the homemade cavatelli with Faicco's spicy sausage and the homemade linguine with fava beans and breadcrumbs. Both are excellent choices. I was craving a little more meat, so I went with the cavatelli, but Jim let me have some bites of the linguine. The toasted breadcrumbs really held up well. When the 8th, Sean M, arrived, he ordered the polenta with sausage - another fine choice.

Instead of a birthday dessert for our meat-loving, sweets-hating honoree, either Paul or Sus had the brilliant idea to put a candle in some proscuitto.

I'd be remiss to not mention the eagle eye of the-soon-to-be-mama-and-thus-not-drinking Heather (as in Nate & Heather. I'm really just typing that because by now I had mentioned everyone but Nate in this post!). She noticed that for 5 orders of cavatelli, we had been charged $120, an overcharge of $45!!! With three limeades in me, I was slightly tips and didn't even blink at the check. We were also charged for an incorrect drink order so at the end of the night, with tax and additional tip, we nearly left about $70 more than we should have. Whew!

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Pinky Chodai*

After a soon dubu jigae dinner at Seoul Garden in Koreatown with Margo, we decided we needed to try Pinkberry, the LA-based frozen dessert chain that's been causing quite a stir.

I wanted a small with three toppings, but the small can only handle 2, so instead of just getting two toppings, I opted for a medium. I'm an idiot.

I went with mango, strawberries and mini mochi atop regular Pinkberry. I barely made a dent because I was so full from dinner. Did I already mention that my eyes are about a million times bigger than my stomach? The interior of the store is super cute with a high open ceiling and very modern touches. There's also a wall of Alessi products you can purchase. Strange. As for the Pinkberry itself? It was tangy and tasty, but I'm not much of a frozen yogurt fan, so this isn't something I'd seek out regularly.

*This translates into "I want Pinky" or "Pinky please" and it's reference to a commercial for a brand of Japanese mint candies, which thanks to Youtube, you can see for yourself. This has nothing to do with Pinkberry, aside from the obvious fact that both products have the prefix "pink."

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Today's Lunch: Homefront Deli

The office where I work is in this weird food zone. Lots of mega-delis making sandwiches with pre-sliced meat, overpriced (but tasty) chains (I'm looking at you Pret-A-Manger)and high-end go-with-an-expense-account or a-friend-with-an-expense-account restaurants. Not a lot of other options. I frequently get some sort of Japanese on the strip of 41st St, between Madison and 5th, but I think I've overdone it because lately all I'm craving are sandwiches of the non-Asian persuasion. My favorite place to get such sandwiches is the Homefront Deli.

I finally pulled the trigger on the Homefront Deli a few weeks ago. The neon oaktag squares taped onto the front window, on which the specials and specialties were hand written have always intrigued me but I stayed away without any sort of reasonable explanation. I started with an egg sandwich one morning. It was exactly what I wanted - which is one egg with bacon on a squishy roll with black pepper and hot sauce. I feel like most delis really overdo it with the egg. When I order one egg, I just want one egg. Even better, give me a fried egg! I eventually made the leap to lunch, where I started with a cheeseburger and onion rings. The burger was a fine deli/diner burger and the onion rings were awesome in that Burger King onion ring sort of way, which is totally a compliment in my book.

I've also had the grilled chicken over feta salad, which is what I wanted today, only the cold line was four times as long as the hot line, so I opted for something from the grill instead. I got the grilled chicken with lettuce, tomato and steak sauce on a roll. They also threw in some super thinly sliced onions, which normally would have offended me and also given me a headache. I took most of them off, but left a couple rings on for extra flavor. Usually when onions are sliced really thin, they don't bother me. The sandwich was solid, but the fries I ordered to accompany were not. They were disappointingly undercooked and soggy. I picked out about 6 fries that had some sort of crispness to them and threw out the rest. Next time I'll ask for them well done.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Jake and Lindsay’s Wedding: the final installment

A Brief Note on the Afterparty

I was just going to post some pictures, but none of the ones I had seemed really fit for mass consumption… Most of them featured generally responsible and productive humans, who will remain nameless and faceless, chugging Smirnoff straight from the bottle. So in addition to the aforementioned, the afterparty featured some amazing crazy dancing and a DIY hoagie bar. In honor of the bride’s native Pennsylvania, there were also a lot of Utz potato chips and Tastykakes on hand. Many of which were beautifully displayed in the bathroom. I was seriously craving the crab variety of the Utz, but I couldn’t find any. The next morning I was shocked and appalled to find an open, barely eaten bag of them. What a waste! I bet the person who did it also hated the caper berries at dinner…

Last Dinner on the Island

Most of the wedding guests left the day after the wedding, but Rabbi Paul, Sus and I stayed on the island for a couple more days of rest and relaxation. On the last night we went over to the Lief’s to cook dinner together. Earlier that day, RP, S and I picked mussels on the beach (can you believe that?) and bought some lobsters on the dock. Matt, who is a self-professed lobster anti-traditionalist gave us a brief consultation and decided that he should cook our lobsters with some rice and super tasty lobster stock another Matt had prepared a few days earlier. Since I am a lobster traditionalist, I was sort of looking forward to just eating them steamed and with drawn butter, but Matt’s lobster stylings were definitely delicious. I can’t deny it. We also ate the mussels foraged with our very own hands (cooked in butter and beer), salad (I think there was asparagus in it, which was a really nice touch one does not often see) and STEAK. The steak was delicious. It was procured from a butcher shop in Boston named Kenealy’s, Keneely’s, Kinelly’s or Kennelly’s. Believe it or not, this place is not at all googleable! I tried googleing it several different ways and NO DICE! Anyway, here’s some photographic evidence:

Unkosher Rabbi



Cynthia baked 800 or 1,000 of these yummy ginger snappery cookies!

This picture is not of food we ate for dinner that night. But I think it is one of the loveliest pictures from THE WEEK and a nice way to say thanks and goodbye to the wedding.

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Dinner at Hibino

Friday night, I met up with the CLC for an early dinner at Hibino, a newly opened Japanese spot in Cobble Hill. The restaurant is just a block or so away from Floyd, which is great, because it now gives us a new option dinner when we have Monday night bocce.

I had first read about Hibino in one of the elevators at work. All are equipped with these little screens that broadcast something called "The Captivate Network." Most of the time they just summarize USA Today stories and offer up factoids and celebrity birthdays, but the other week, I briefly caught a blurb about Hibino. Whatever I must have read completely captivated me, so anyone who advertises on these things should note that it's totally effective! So for the past month or so, I've been checking their blog on a daily basis to read about the daily obanzai specials and re-reading the menus over and over, changing my mind each time about what I would order on my firt visit there.

Hibino is totally cute, if you couldn't already tell from their blog. The owners have done well by not trying to cram in tables so diners eat elbow to elbow. The big windows and wood tones give the space a nice open feel that's modern but not stoic at all. Their logo is stamped onto the chopsticks and it takes on various situational mutations which I'm not skilled enough to explain in words and you'll just have to check out for yourself. Though we had a choice tables, we opted to sit at the bar, where we'd have an up-close look at the sights and smells. Not to be picky but on the counter to my right was some sort of water filter/compressor looking thingy which I wish someone would have moved. It just felt weird to have this metal container with a gooseneck plastic hose sticking out in my presence. It was really the only negative of the meal, and I'm hesitant to even call it a negative, because my experience wasn't hindered at all. But it's just one of those things.

To begin with, the CLC and I shared a Kyoto style futomaki. Normally, I'm not the biggest fan of futomaki or its Korean cousin kim bop. I find the ingredients overly sweet most of the time and when I was younger and my family would go on picnics, I remember kim bops (which transport nicely and thus a staple of Korean outings) always giving me a headache. This one was awesome - a combination of tuna, shrimp, ell, avocado, cucumber tamago and tobiko. A small pool of lemon mayo was served in the center and I alternated dips into that and soy sauce. For entrees, Beth went with the house sashimi plate and I opted for the beef kakuni (braised short ribs) teishoku style (meaning a meal set of entree, rice, miso soup and a mini obanzai, or Japanese tapas). The mini obanzi turned out to be chef's choice and I was really hoping he'd be in the mood to serve me the fried baby octopus I spied on the daily specials chalkboard. Alas, my short ribs were paired with the spicey gyu-sunji (beef tendon, served wtih daizu soy beans and carrots). The non beef part of the dish was ground soy beans mixed with carrots, shitake mushrooms and hijiki. Tasty, but nothing I would go out of my way to order again. The beef kakuni was a nice portion of three boneless ribs with a big hunk of daikon. Only the light soy broth was left at the end and though Beth implored me to drink it, I was too full to be tempted. I liked that all the fish plates were served with a mound of blanched green vegetables, all carelly arranged by one of the sous-chefs. There was a duo of snow peas, a halved okra and asparagus nuggets placed atop broccoli rabe. I had an Orion, an Okinawan beer I love if only for it's "The Beer of Beers" slogan, to accompany my meal.

I'm looking forward to getting back to Hibino so I can try their homemade tofu, which is served in the most adorable glass bottle with the logo etched on the side, and the panko crusted eel roll, which we saw being plated up for another table and made my eyes open real wide.

Photo stolen from Hibino's Flickr.

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Jake and Lindsay’s Wedding: Part III

The big day!

The ceremony was held outdoors at the Asticou Inn, overlooking the harbor. Again, I am definitely prone to hyperbole, but I really do think this may have been the most beautiful wedding ceremony I have ever attended. It was extremely intimate and personal, yet completely inclusive at the same time. You really could sense how loving and loved Jake and Lindsay felt. I really attribute that energy to the couple’s generous nature and overwhelming spirit of ubuntu. The idyllic setting didn’t hurt either.

I would also like to mention that Paul Newell performed the ceremony. As it turns out, Paul is not only a great friend, but he is a hell of a rabbi as well. In order to officiate and become eligible for powers being vested in him, he did one of those online thingies and is now a minister of the Universal Life Church! The card you get is really cool looking and I think I want to do it too. Anyway, he really could not have done a more amazing job. By the end of the ceremony, not only was everyone seriously schepping nachas, but they all wanted to convert to Paulieism (don't let me down Newell - I'm waiting for the pun) too! Here’s a picture of Rabbi Paul hugging the wedding couple in his tallis:

Here’s another pic of the happy couple and the rabbi:

OK, ready to talk about the food now. The first thing I noticed upon entering the cocktail hour tent was a huge table of raw oysters. This is precisely the sort of thing I am always hoping to run into. I think because I was having a hard time juggling my G&T and oysters, I ended up having only three. Usually I have anywhere from six to a dozen in a sitting. Then I noticed some people around me eating lamb chops, arguably the most coveted of all passed hors d'oeuvres (I have literally seen grown men sprint after unsuspecting servers carrying these succulent lollies), and I wanted in on the action. En route to lamb chop bliss I ate some delicious canapés (one was amazing tuna tartare with diced up avocado and the other was an incredible raw white tuna situation - very nice and buttery tasting). While eating the latter, I saw the lamb chops coming my way and wished I had a tail as both of my hands were otherwise engaged. Either Aaron or Matt gave me an assist and I finally got to experience the deliciousness that was the lamb chop. It was perfectly tender and had a nice hoisin glaze. To round out the roving hors d’oeuvre portion of the evening, I had some mini-crab cakes and some sort of savory meat pie. I think there is one more that I am forgetting. I really can’t remember WHAT it was, however I am certain it involved a balsamic reduction.

For dinner, we started with a salad of mostly frisee (this may not be true), possibly pignoli nuts and a wonderful, super soft, fresh mozzarella. Our second course was mussels (I’m always a big fan) and our third was a scrumptious lobster shepherd’s pie (the lobster tails rested atop a layer of spinach and mushrooms and were covered with tasty whipped potatoes). I’m sure there was dessert, but I didn’t see it because I was too busy admiring the dance stylings of this guy:

Next Installment: A brief note on the afterparty.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Jake and Lindsay’s Wedding: Part II

I call this the rehearsal dinner, but it may have just been dinner the night before the wedding. Regardless, it was probably my favorite of the many impressive meals affiliated with Jake and Lindsay’s wedding. It was hosted by the parents of the groom, Dan and Cynthia Lief, at their restaurant, the Islesford Dock. This is really a great place. The first time I ate there I remember remarking to the then chef, who is also my good friend, that the chowder was really noticeably much better than most or any I had ever had. He said it was because they do not use any potato starch. In a world full of mediocre chowders, I think about that often.

Upon arrival, my first order of business was to get a glass of Whooperman’s (sp?) rum punch (tasty, but slightly too acidic for me). En route to the bar I noticed some delicious looking ribs and got a little distracted. Not surprisingly, I decided to stop for one and I’m glad I did. To be honest, I am sort of prone to hyperbole, but truly, I think the ribs were the most succulent thing I ate all weekend. They were perfectly seasoned and cooked. Spicy, but not taste bud or lip numbingly so and crispy, yet so tender that they were FALLING off the bone. Dan actually told me about the preparation, but I do not feel comfortable divulging it here. However, in a more private setting, I do intend to try to duplicate it.

In addition to the amazing ribs, there was tons of lobster on hand. While the lobster was delicious, as it always is, that night its thunder was totally stolen by the r-i-b-s. Here’s a picture of me eating the first of roughly seventeen lobster tails:

I also ate a cup of clam chowder, which in addition to the usual suspects, included a healthy dose of BACON. And if you have ever met me, you know that I am a big proponent of adding bacon to nearly everything. While noshing on my chowder I noticed people eating some sort of baked clam situation. It took me a few laps around the restaurant before I finally found them, but I am extremely glad I put in the effort. I believe they turned out to be diced up quahogs and man, were they ever delicious! My sole regret is that I only got one, which, by the way, was entirely my own fault.

At that point, I decided to check things out on the dock, where they were grilling up some tasty smelling skewers. The first to come my way were of the shrimp variety. But one skewer was just not enough, so my fellow vultures and I went straight to the grill and ate a few more shrimp ones, along with some jerk chickeny ones.

Eventually, the eating turned into mostly drinking. I could not even begin to tell you how many Mount Gay and sodas I had. During speeches I snacked on a couple of lobster tails, which was amazing and totally appreciated by the way. Most times, when you’re feeling a bit peckish, you just grab a chip or something, but at this party, you could just grab a lobster tail, or nine! Thank you, Dan and Cynthia. You are geniuses and I am so glad you use your intellect for deliciousness and good instead of for evil.

After speeches and a beautiful musical item (let the record show, that despite having one of the most hauntingly gorgeous singing voices this side of the Mason-Dixon, your heroine WAS NOT asked to participate), everyone really let their hair down and the crazy dance portion of the evening got underway. Adam Levy did some of the best cabbage patching I’ve ever seen. And I have seen A LOT of cabbage patching in my day. Most of it incredibly good. Like any party worth its salt, soon people started dancing on the bar. Here’s a great picture of Jake and Lindsay in action:

So anyway, it was a great night. After the last drinks had been poured, a few of us went to a bonfire on Gilley Beach, which was all the way on the other side of the island. I have no idea how I made it. I fell in a bush and still have the scrapes and bruises to prove it.

Next Installment: The wedding!

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Last Night's Dinner: GREAT Great Neck

Great NY Noodletown with Sudmann, Betten, Sus and Newell.

As many of you know, one of my Chinatown staples is Great NY Noodletown, which I affectionately refer to simply as Great Neck. Now that I am no longer an inhabitant of C-Town, my visits to Great Neck are rather few and far between. Just the other day, my roommate and I were discussing how much we missed it and longed for some roast crispy pig and salt-baked ANYthing. So we decided to go for some happy hour rooftop drinks at the Delancey Bar, followed by dinner at Great Neck. Despite the happy hour pricing, $2 off any drink, I felt I had overpaid. Since the drinks there are overpriced to begin with, I paid $8 for a Bombay and tonic. Though, I think I may have been a victim of the old bait and switch, because the "Bombay" totally tasted like well gin to me. Do you think they actually fill up their top shelf bottles with well booze? I really hope not. That would be so disgusting.

By the time we were seated at Great Neck, we were all really ravenous. To start we ordered:

- 2 orders of duck and flowering chive spring rolls
- 1 order of salt-baked soft-shell crabs (These were so amazing, I'll never get them out of my head. I feel like time spent not eating them is time WASTED.)
- 1 order of Singapore mai fun (I love the way this tastes, but I can't eat it.)
- 1 order of roast pork lo mai fun (I actually ordered this with roast duck, but they made a mistake and made it with pork instead. The good news is, any mistake involving pork is a mistake I can completely get behind.)
- 1 bbq pork and oyster casserole thingy (I always get this with Ted. Very rich and savory. Many are grossed out by it though.)
- 1 order of chinese vegetables with oyster sauce
- lots of Tsingtaos (Hey, did you guys know this was one word? I just found out - I googled it!)

At the time, this seemed like more than enough food, but we were dead wrong. At this juncture, one would normally go with good old Three Jewels (roast pork, soy sauce chicken and roast duck), but no one was feeling the duck program but me. Instead, we got an order of soy sauce chicken and an order of crispy pig. We devoured it along with the tasty scalliony green sauce, which so perfectly compliments all of the window meats.

Now, most people would think they had consumed enough food after all of that, but Sudmann and I are far from being like most people. Our co-diners were stuffed and our waiter had already brought us our check, wetnaps and oranges, but Suds and I were undaunted. We discussed ordering some shrimp rolls. Sus admitted that if we did, she would need at least a taste. So we decided to get an order of roast pork and some shrimp rolls. Despite everyone's protests (only Sus was honest about her susceptibility to peer pressure), we polished off everything. Newell and Betten definitely helped. I KNEW they would eat more if we ordered it.

Olive You Frankie's 457

The house olive oil at Frankie's 457 in Carroll Gardens is seriously addictive and tasty. At dinner the other week, I couldn't stop dipping things into it, mostly hunks of crusty bread, but also portions of my dinner which I'll get into shortly. It didn't help matters that Frankie's breadstuffs comes from the Sullivan Street Bakery, which is completely awesome in its own right. There was a period of my life where I could walk over to the Bakery to get rectangles of the potato and piazza bianco for lunch, and that made me very happy. So apparently the owners went to Italy and found a small family-owned producer to make this bright and fruity green nectar of the gods. I should have bought a bottle, what was I thinking?!?!!?

Dan and I shared the house antipasto plate as a starter. It's $12 or $14 and a great deal. You get two each of cheese, meat, vegetable and olives, all chef's choice. We were presented with a nice sized oval plate that was draped with thin slices of prosciutto. A very generous portion. On top were a couple slices each of sweet and hot sopressata. The cheese part consisted of two nice wedges, one was hard and crumbly like parmigiano, but not. Possibly pecorino? The other cheese was semi-soft and I would have remembered had I actually heard what the waitress told us. No I take that back, I still would have forgotten. Our veggies consisted of crispy green beans with garlic and sauteed cremini mushrooms. I wound up eating all of the latter and all the olives, since DMR doesn't do either. There were a lot of mushrooms on this plate. I wanted to order an additional side, but I was thankfully talked out of it.

We went with two vegetarian pasta dishes, which we shared as our mains. We both like a variety of tastes. First was a gnocchi with red sauce and ricotta. Simple and delicious and as gnocci often is, super filling. The other dish was a homemade fettucine with fava beans and breadcrumbs. Though I found it to be a tad on the bland side, I loved the texture of the homemade noodles and the soupy sauce made for good sopping. I downed an espresso after dinner and we shared a slice of Italian cheesecake (our second in as many weeks, but neither living up to the one served at the fabled Cafe Reggio according to DMR). To drink I had a couple bourbon lemonades, the first of which was a little heavy on the club soda, but the second one was perfect. I am still stuffed from this meal.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Jake and Lindsay’s Wedding: Love and Gluttony Part I

Warning: This entry contains a lot of non-food related writing. Please don’t be angry.

The Thursday before Memorial Day I headed up to Islesford, Maine for Jake and Lindsay’s wedding. I was feeling pretty out of sorts that morning and frankly, was not feeling up to leaving NYC. But I had made a commitment, so I schlepped my gigantic bag to JFK to catch my 9:35A flight to Portland, Maine on Jet Blue (this, by the way, is an amazing deal – only 47 dollars each way), and let's just say I'm glad I did. Inside the Jet Blue terminal I milled about, looking for something to nosh on and ended up just getting a coffee from the Dunkin Donuts airport shack. Then I ran into Newell, Sus, Adam Perloff, Marni, Heather, Scott and the lovely Andersons. I noticed Marni eating some sort of bite-sized wrap situation, which reminded me that I was still in dire need of sustenance. Even the little wrap thingy looked good to me and as a general rule I avoid wraps like the plague. I would imagine my feelings for wraps are similar if not the same to the groom’s feelings about paninis. Regardless, I went to the place where M got her wrap and after walking around indecisively for what seemed like half an hour, though I’m sure it was really only four minutes or so, I emerged with a bag of spicy wasabi peas and some sort of gross Genoa salami and provolone pre-packaged antipasto. I blame a low blood sugar induced brain fever for the selection of the latter.

On board the plane, which was running half an hour behind schedule due to a mysterious last minute equipment change, the in-flight snacks were biscotti and Terra blue chips. I had the chips. So did Sus, though I think she may have spilled hers…

Once we deplaned in Portland, it was pretty much all downhill in terms of making the last ferry to the island, which was at 4:30P. Due to a series of, shall we say, unfortunate events, some of them in our control, some of them not, we ended up missing the boat. Literally, not figuratively. Newell, who was the rabbi for the nuptials, started to sort of freak out. After speaking to the groom on his cell, he started talking nonsensically about needing to be on the lookout for some tall scruffy man named Luke. This mystery man, a drifter if you will, would be on a blue and white boat with an outboard motor, and was our LAST CHANCE to make it onto the island! As it turned out, Luke was not just some random man of the sea, trolling about looking for inept New Yorkers to rescue and/or harass – he was the groom’s COUSIN! A rather relevant detail the good rabbi chose to omit, causing his panic to needlessly infect all those around him. Oh, and not only was this Luke character a cousin, but he was SO cousinny that there was actually a dinner being hosted at his house that very evening for all of the wedding guests. Jeeze Newell! Suffice it to say, I really don’t think he would have left us shivering on the dock in Northeast Harbor, turning on each other and wishing we had never been born.

After settling in on the island, we strolled over to the aforementioned dinner, which was incredibly delicious and set the tone for the rest of the weekend’s eating. Here’s what I ate:

♥3 – 5 slices of pretty rare, very tasty steak
♥2 crab cakes (On the second go-around I grabbed one for Sus, so it may have looked like I ate three, but I didn’t. Also, I chatted with Marci (sp?), aunt of the groom, mother of Luke, hostess and magnificent crab cake maker, about what made her crab cakes such a taste sensation. The answer: go easy on the filler and just use a lot of actual crab. Hmm…the best things are always so simple.)
♥1 tongful of salad
♥2 Geary’s Pale Ales

For dessert, I think I saw some blueberry cobbler and brownies. Both looked delicious, but as many of you already know, I do not eat dessert. This is not for reasons of health or fitness, so please do not hold it against me.

After dinner we headed over to the beach for a great bonfire / keg party situation. I believe the kegs were from a local brewery. Possibly Bar Harbor Real Ale, but honestly, I may just be making that up. In fact, I’m pretty sure I am. Regardless, it was very tasty. I also noticed a lot of people taking enormous swigs of Patron all around me. Like, seriously CHUGGING it. I watched one girl take a TWENTY-minute pull… Huh? Was it an optical illusion, or poor spatial/time perception on my part? I found it utterly confounding, but I was glad to see it nonetheless. Lots of joie de vivre on the beach that night and my surly mood from the morning had pretty much subsided. By the next installment it will be gone entirely.

Next Installment: Night before wedding dinner at the Islesford Dock Restaurant with our wonderful hosts Dan and Cynthia Lief, proud parents of the groom. I ate and drank so much I almost DIED.

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Hot Dog, USA

An email from Annie F. reminds me to give a shout out to one Joey Chestnut, for SHATTERING the hot dog eating mark set by the great Takeru Kobayashi. This is truly a great feat. Until Chestnut came onto the eating scene a few years ago, many thought Kobayashi's record was untouchable. In other Chestnut news, he threw out the first pitch at yesterday's Mets game. Easily the best part of the miserable affair which ended with me, DMR and Erik getting rained on making our way to the car. For those keeping score at home, the Mets are 2-3 on Sundays at Shea this season. And I can't even get a freakin' visor!

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

I'm coming back, very soon...

Dear Gentle Reader and Co-blogger,

How do you take a really long break from something or someone and just act like nothing has happened? Just gloss over it and act natural I guess? Instead of giving meaningless explanations and empty apologies, I'm just going to move forward. BUT FIRST, as I quickly type this entry, I have to catch up with my wonderful roommate and pretend to listen to him prater on about the food he ate at a wedding over Memorial Day weekend. Which is incredibly cute and hilarious as it just so happens that I have recently returned from a wedding in Maine where I enjoyed some of the tastiest food known to mankind. All of which will be documented on this very blog in the upcoming days.