The Park Slope Gastronome

Back in Park Slope.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

brunch at downtown atlantic

i have no intention of ever eating at downtown atlantic again. the pan-seared corned beef hash was a mushy pink lump that looked like a mound of wet dog food. a few bites in, the texture reminded me too much of a beef mousse and i had to put my fork down. i found the accompaniment of "hash browns" to be redundant, especially when the "hash browns" turned out to be very wet home fries. a very good bloody mary and a generous portion of yummy, gratis carrot cake prevented this from being perhaps the worst brunch meal i've ever eaten. despite eating only one of my two eggs and leaving more than two thirds of both the potatoes and hash on my plate i am strangely not hungry 7 hours later.

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

SXSW - Day One and Two

March 11
Torchy's Tacos @ Little Woodrow's

green chili queso with chips

green chili pork taco, mr. pink taco

March 12
Las Manitas Visit 1

huevos rancheros (not picture: side of chorizo, watermelon aguas frescas)


Maggie Mae's

mini vanilla cupcakes from babycakes

R.E.M. @ Stubb's

Hot Dog King

austin dog: smoked jalepeno sausage on a gigantic roll with pickles and mustard. took away a little bit of the sting from a disappointing r.e.m. show.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Enzo's of Arthur Avenue

A few weeks ago, we hit the Bronx with Big Nellie, Little Nellie and Oda. First we enjoyed the Orchid Show at the Botanical Garden in the Bronx. The adults didn't eat anything but I think little Nellie had some Cheerios. Afterwards it was off to Arthur Avenue for some lunch.

Our first choice, Zero Otto Nove, was unfortunately closed as it was that sad time between lunch and dinner. We wound up at Enzo's down the block and were very pleased.

The Enzo house salad. We polished off two of these.

Polenta with sausage and beans. This was a last minute selection that I think Dave suggested.

The four people at the table with a full set of teeth shared two huge bowls of pasta: rigatoni bolognese and cavatelli studded with big hunks of sausage and lots and lots of broccoli rabe. Nothing fancy or unique at all about either of these, but both were superdelicious.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

What we ate over President's Day Weekend

President's Day weekend of eating started in Fort Lee, where Dan and I picked up my mom's car to drive down to Silver Spring. There was fried chicken waiting for us. My parents are pretty damn awesome. They don't just love us, they love us TWO BOXES worth!

We had tastes of both the garlic soy and spicy, and the latter especially did not disappoint. The chicken had plenty of flavor as well as a penetrating heat that I've found lacking at other Korean Fried Chicken joints.

The leftovers were consolidated into one box and came along for the trip. Moments after arriving at Dan's parents house, Stone Groove attacked a drumstick in a way that reminded me of that famous scene from Nature or Wild Kingdom. You know, the one where the cheetah gets eaten by the hippo in the river, or something like that.

For dinner, we headed to Jackie's, located in a converted garage on Georgia Ave., in downtown Silver Spring. The space was....eclectic. There was mood lighting and clunky furniture like these oversized plastic chairs that reminded me of jelly beans. The rounded edges made it very difficult to drape your coat and hanging your bag was out of the question, too.

Dan and I split a beet, goat cheese and grapefruit salad to begin. I think beets belong on the list of delicious foods that Dan that did not realize he loved for no good reason before meeting me. There are a bunch, but Buffalo wings and bleu cheese are the only two I currently recall. Oh I nearly forget that despite having snacked on a chicken leg before dinner, Stone Groove attacked the bread with the same ferocity he had shown earlier! Someone get my father-in-law a pastrami on rye!

The evening's blue plate special was roast beef, which is what Stone Groove and I ordered. Meowrilyn, Amy and Dan went with the hanger steak. The beef was really peppery, which I liked a lot and I cleaned my plate, which was not difficult because there was not a lot of food on it. The trio of steaks caused some problems. No one was given the doneness that was requested and Dan unfortunately got stuck with a well-done steak even though he ordered it medium rare to medium. The servers took it away and promised a replacement but it didn't show up until after the rest of us were finished eating!

The cut of the second steak made it look even smaller than the original and the portions of sides had shrunk, too. I was annoyed. I'm not sure if the owner saw us talking to the server or if the server went to the owner afterwards, but within moments a lady was at our tableside. She turned out to be JACKIE! She explained that the kitchen was having issues and then offered to comp not just one of the hanger steak dinners, but two, a gesture we all thought was super cool. I was thinking best case scenario, they'll comp Dan's dinner and we just won't ever come back. Now, we'd consider eating here again for sure.

To cap off the evening, we ordered a trio of desserts: cheese, fruit-base, chocolate base. I was in charge of ordering the cheeses and chose the Oregonzola, a Maryland cheese and a third, possibly the Pleasant Ridge reserve.

The following day we went out for barbeque at Urban BBQ, suggested to us by Mooney. I had the pulled pork platter with macaroni and cheese and cornbread on the side. I didn't have high hopes when I saw the mac and cheese, but it turned out to be pretty good! The meat was a little on the wet side and the bread for those who ordered sandwiches did not hold up too well.

The space is a little cramped, but it's cute. There's a sauce bar in the back, baskets of atomic fireball candies and they use those little pats of butter sandwiched between a piece of cardboard and wax paper.

That evening we ate at a place called the Potomac Grill in Rockville. The food was whatever, but the service was truly bizarre. The waiter sort of looked like this Donald Lynch from that show Home Movies.

His shtick was to repeatedly ask us how everything was and while we were answering or in some cases before we could answer, he'd repeat himself or go onto a new question. Like while asking us if we wanted water. If you told him you didn't need more water (because say, your glass was already pretty full), he'd go ahead and pour out an eighth of inch of water anyway. Throughout the evening, his manner fluctuated from obsequious to standoffish without warning. It was difficult to tell if he was being an asshole or as DMR put it, acting in a one-man performance art piece.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

edible sxsw

more details and photos to come soon, but here's my snapshot of consumption in austin.

meals at las manitas:
3 (huevos rancheros, migas especiales con hongos, chilaquiles verdes)
times i walked through the wrong door to get to the bathroom at las manitas: 1 (whoops, sorry guys)
aguas frescas: 2 (watermelon, cantaloupe)
barbeque: 2 (a disappointing sampler plate from the not great, but normally satisfying ironworks and a sandwich from the salt lick stand at the airport while waiting for my flight back to new york.)
dentyne ice 3-packs procured: 2 (1 in my swag bag, 1 on the street)
late night sausage: 2 (smoked jalepeno at hot dog king, brat at best wurst)
queso: 2 (not enough)
bottles of fuze: 0 (this stuff is so gross. i hope there's a better official drink sponsor next year, like izze)
ice cream bars: 1 (mango, thank you ice cream man!)
tacos: 4
mini cupcakes: 4 (actually it may have been 5)

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Dan turns 35. We eat giant pork chops. Hooray!

A happy belated birthday to DMR! We celebrated the occasion with a big family style dinner at Two Tom's restaurant. The last time this happened, well, we all looked a lot younger.

Baked clams to start and antipasto start off the evening.

Pasta action shot. We got liguine and a cheese stuffed tubular pasta, both with a simple red sauce of tomatoes and garlic.

The pork chops arrive. They are even bigger, maybe even 4 fingers thick.

And I thought they were a bit dry this time around. Still, nothing like eating a chop the size of your face.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Chez Molly's

My coworker Molly made me a pizza last week! She had a bunch of dough and ingredients leftover from an Oscar party and offered to make me a pie to pick up on the way home from bocce, which we play not too far from her place. We lost to the Sweet Meats again, by the way.

The pie was just out of the oven when DMR and I arrived at her place. Our dejection (well, mine at least) dissipated once I got a look at this glorious, carby bugger. It was still warm by the time we got home.

Here's the bird's eye view aerial shot. The toppings were kalamata olives, sauteed red onions, rounds of zucchini and fresh mozzarella atop the homemade pizza sauce. No mushrooms, however, as she remembered DMR's unreasonable aversion to that vegetable.

A closer, blurry look at the thin crust, which had a dusting of semolina that provided a satisfying nuttiness and crunch.

I really need to get a pizza stone.

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