Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Oh, y'all. Have been doing so much eating and it's left so little time for writing. Well, writing HERE at any rate. Too busy writing copy for Esquire about how to be a man. Seriously. I feel I should be handed a pair of honorary cajones soon. It feels so silly because what do I know about what straight guys want? Every single man I know is gay. I tried to sell boat shoes in a trend piece and a straight dude was all, "straights don't do boat shoes."

Friends of mine have Met season tickets. When I said I didn't get to the opera often enough they promptly invited Justy and I to Capriccio with them. Sixth row aisle seats. swoon. But actually, these friends are amazing and I'd have loved spending time with them, opera or not. Sixth row or rear mezz. 

More swoonworthy was our dinner at Lincoln beforehand. The space, an airy glass glaciery shard that rises from the plaza, is stunning. A literal glass house, these people should not throw stones. The kitchen, smack-dab in the middle of the restaurant, is also open/glass-walled which, kitchen-obsessed that I am, made it incredibly difficult to stay in tune with the conversation. We're being all adult-like and having conversations about education and driving up the PCH and all I can thing is "oooh, kitchen, so pretty! me want." You can't give me nice things, I don't appreciate them. The host was a gorgeous Cillian Murphy dark-haired light-eyed glass of water. It might be unfair to call anyone a host. He might have been the GM. It was hard to tell. Everyone seemed to be taking orders and running food and then bussing tables. The ultimate team effort. And and incredibly seamless one at that. Their somm I recognized as being from Telepan, still wearing the same muttonchops and plaid blazers.

Ordering was tough. They had crudo but also a fava bean soup and also octopus and also a beet salad. If they'd had morrels it would have been a closed case. All the things I might have ordered sight unseen were competing against each other. Entree choice was another dilemma of epic proportions. I'd gone with the fava soup (just because Locanda Verde isn't yet serving the fava bean crostini, and I sometimes consider summer-winter nothing but endless, lifeless months because of the lack of fava bean crostini in my life. Andrew Carmellini: I beg you, fava bean crostini soon! And can you tell Karen that if the corn budino comes back that I'd be eternally grateful and would pay her back in legal work should she need any? Also, your Mardi Gras dinner was FAB, my review here, but I digress). 

So, entrees. I almost went with the lamb. But then there was the branzino. And then I ended up with linguini with dungeness crab and uni butter, because anything that has both butter and uni in it wins. always. Once I had it in front of me, I realized it was basically David Pasternack's spaghetti alla chittara. Benno's was a hint lighter, but next time I'd try something different. 

Richard insisted on dessert so I ordered some sorbet (spiced pear and blood orange) but when Justy's tiramisu came I knew I'd made the wrong choice. Dessert portions were larger than they needed to be and of the dessert amuses, I only tried their little fig sandwich cookie. I'd maybe had too much foccacia and breadsticks (which are Jane's favorite, though she hasn't had the bread basket at Del Posto which is superior because it's served with rosemary garlic lardo. Lardo is another thing that always wins).

Service was gracious. We told them we were opera-bound and got a polite little fifteen minute warning so that we wouldn't be late. We drank a Brunello that was probably so expensive that I'd break into a sweat if I saw the price. Needless to say, I did not ask. After giving them a minute or two we reached for the decanter and finished it off, something that I new would mortify them and seconds later someone was coming by to apologize. It's not their fault that we're lushes, honestly. 

I've got to write up Empellon, 5 & Diamond, Kin Shop, Elsewhere, Tenpenny and Periyali but I'm reviewing half of those for Gayot so maybe I'll just get lazy and link the reviews when they're up? Also working on something else for Capital New York (my latest piece on Del Posto here).

Not food-related: but saw Book of Mormon and loved it. Seeing Catch Me If You Can in a couple weeks and tossing in Avenue Q, and Lion King just for good measure because friends are in town. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

trying to reign in my stalking instincts

but being having your prey stuck on a cruise ship with you for several days is hard to resist.
seamus mullen will be cooking/demonstrating on this boat. he's gorgeous. and captive.
in other food news: just picked up gabrielle hamilton's memoir and if the exerpt from the New Yorker is representative of the book as a whole, i'm going to love all over this thing. like get slobbery with it in bed and cuddle with it.
and: dropped by tenpenny on saturday and had a kind of amazing meal. and not just because it was out of a windowless space in midtown at the back of a white sterile-looking lobby. the food was just so unexpected. lots of little details (pistachio puree, crispy chicken skin crumbs) and oddities (dehydrated/roasted veggies, micro-root vegetables) made the meal surprising and wonderful. i felt a little bit like a kid in a candy store there, to be honest. can't wait to go back.
mardi gras dinner with laurent gras at locanda verde tonight. full report will be over on AOL's City's Best, where i'm doing most my food stuff right now.

Monday, January 3, 2011

a meta, hypocritical kind of post

before i'd ever considered writing, i'd do little write-ups of meals i'd had. then i transferred them over to this here blog wherein my last post reads like this: "ate some oysters, don't remember the name. enjoyed a table wine, blue bottle."
know what that is? that's me not making notes of the meal. not because i wasn't enjoying it, but because i was with a friend who'd just broken up with a boyfriend and though we enjoyed the meal (seabass with lentils that i'm still thinking about, lentils just kill me, everytime), the whole point was to catch up. hash out why her ex is a jerk, do some bonding, spend some quality time just chatting.
if i'm getting paid to review a restaurant, i go alone. i remember. i sneak a photo. jot some notes down in my iphone. it's impossible, or, rather, i choose not to spend meals with friends this way. i go out to eat alone often which means i still have a few meals that i can/will write about in any given week. i'm reviewing restaurants for two different sites now (no byline so i'm not saying which) so who knows whether any of that will even make it through to a personal space like this.
regardless, we're at a bypass. time will tell what's going to happen over here (if anything)...

Monday, October 25, 2010


We had a table but I saw two bar seats, stopped John (the bartender) to ask if they were taken and planted my butt down when he said they weren't. The bar is ALWAYS better than a table. I don't care where you are, this is a rule of life. 

Oh, y'all. I should have taken a photo of the menu tonight at Locanda Verde. Mostly because I took a cursory glance, saw that there was two of everything and looked at Ted to say, "Of course we get one of each." He responded, "Of course," and that was that.

We had an artichoke soup with some kind of mushroom and a dabble of some kind of cream with white truffles shaved on top. We had steak tartare with white truffles shaved on top. We had the usual focaccia with rosemary and truffle oil. There was a delicate ricotta ravioli with white truffles shaved on top. See the pattern here? We had a spinach pappardelle with walnuts and white truffles shaved on top. For dessert we had some kind of honeyed cake with white truffles shaved on top with a vanilla bean cream and a sorbet which Ted ate all of but which looked like it might have been made with pineapple? And also a truffled gelato that had white truffles shaved on top and also maybe a cherry (which, again, Ted ate). He drank Verdicchio. I had the Falanghina. We left with what felt like the permanent taste of truffles in our mouths. SO GOOD. 

I should also mention that Andrew Carmellini is blogging. Blogging gorgeous photos with bits and pieces about his new place that I'm highly anticipating because I think it's more fun to run a place in a restaurant not owned by some celebrity and huge corporate backers. I trust his taste and his vision and it'll be great to see him run a bit wild. 

We stopped into Smith & Mills next because they make a damn good Dark and Stormy, muddling all the ginger so that it's in itty bitty pieces that you suck up through your straw and get to chew on and it's sweet and spicy and all sorts of lovely.

I walked by the police stable on my way to the train and saw a stocky man showing a horse into his cubby. He held up a single index finger, letting me know it would be a minute and dragged the big tawny guy my way to say hello. I gave him some pats on his long white nose. He was wet. "He's just had a bath," was the minder's explanation. The horse, a boy, was fidgety. "I just gave him his dinner but brought him over to say 'hi' so he's telling me he's hungry." I gave him some long strokes along his cheek and the man caring for him brought him back to his carrel. The man's name was Daniel. He's from Panama but got his U.S. citizenship in 2006, though he'd moved here in 1990. He used to work on a farm in Panama. The police don't walk the horses around manhattan, but instead, bring them into boroughs and even New Jersey to navigate places that don't have paved roads. Daniel said the horses were treated well. He also said that horses at the racetracks are also mostly treated well. We both love Arlington, the horsetrack in IL that I grew up near. 

A lovely end to a truffle-filled evening. Sometimes this city is so beautiful I can't even stand it. 

A piece about raw beef with Mike Toscano is running on Esquire this week and I have a bit on schnitzel on a new site any minute. Will link them both when they show up!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Jeffrey's dinner

Stopped into Gabe Stulman's new place the other night.

Shared the cheapest bottle of white on the menu, but it was totally drinkable. Then moved to red. Something with big lettering on the bottle, maybe about velvet? We'd possibly done some shots with the staff and things got hazy.

Lots of family/friends/regulars in the house.

Had a plate of oysters. They had three east coast and three west coast varieties so we got two of each though we should have just gotten a dozen Kumamoto since those were our favorites and we knew that before we started. Some shrimp and King Crab claws thrown in for good measure.

Moved to a cheese plate (humboldt fog, a goat and a blue) with the ham and beef (which are served with an amazing cornichon/mustard puree). 

Sea bass over lentils. Okay, I love a lentil. I just do. This was fantastic, it was a special though, so don't look for it on the menu.

Chef Eric tried his hand at a red velvet cake and we had a sliver of that. He said it needed more cocoa, we disagreed.

They're still trying to find a rhythm over there but everyone is pretty forgiving. Lots of Joseph Leonard regulars convening there because they don't know where else to go. Lost little puppies looking for a home. I am a lost little puppy. And I'm already going through bloody mary withdrawl. Might have to make my own

Monday, October 11, 2010

various food events

san diego was fantastic. stayed at the andaz, which is one of the best hotels in the city but we kind of hated it. the rooms had no light and no lamps and it was impossible to do work in the room. we got an "upgrade" which was just them moving us to a room with a king-sized bed which looked into the restaurant so we had to keep the curtains closed 24/7. they have this club on the roof which is pretty tacky but the pool is otherwise lovely and colin and i spent time getting sun and doing some work in a cabana in the rain.

the best part of the trip was searsucker, brian malarkey's new place. it was FANTASTIC. one of the best meals i've had in years. get the brussels sprouts.

i wrote up the new yorker festival for mediaite over here

i've pulled a bunch of my eating posts here and moved them to a separate blog: A.B.E. Always Be Eating. just made sense to separate it. sorry to andrew carmellini and the joseph leonard folks who will have that new place pop up in their google alerts some 15 times each due to the re-posting. i'm still deciding whether to keep the food stuff entirely separate or whether to just repost it there as it happens...suggestions? i use this here blog as a sort of livejournal and would hate to have my life separated into two like that, but feel the food stuff has to have its own place now that i've started writing. 

trufflepalooza is coming up again! ted is joining, I'll come back with a full report.

i've had such a busy few weeks that i'm starting to just forget where i've been and what i've done. BAD. 

had the honor of attending the Michelin Red Guide drop party. i'm possibly working on a story about supper clubs and talked to michael white, drew nieporent, jean georges, daniel boulud and others about them. the food at the party, cooked by supper clubs, was fantastic. the caliber of cooking these guys are doing blows my mind. whisk and ladle had this celery root soup with veal cheek croutons that i'm having dreams about. city grit did fried shrimp and grits which were awesome (and eater's favorite). i met the sweetest girl there, a travel writer for AOL who won a shorty! for weirdest tweets! she has a llama that tweets at people to do ridiculous things at their desks. small little tasks that are silly, and probably entertaining for those stuck in a cubicle all day. reggie watts performed and HE IS THE SHIT

then new york wine and food festival happened. had a steak sponsored afterparty at some random mid-town club. let me tell you, if you ever hear "steak sponsored" and "party" in the same sentence: GO. filet was all over, as much as you could eat. they had a beautiful rose champagne and some pretty awesome music. 

finally tried relais de venise, the outpost of the famous french place that i adore. in three words: not as good. the sauce is lacking kick (or salt) and the portion was small. service was spotty and there were a few screaming babies in attendance (due to location, i'd assume). but afterwards we hit rudy's. consumed 1 pitcher of blonde and no hot dogs. then stopped by joseph leonard which pretty much the best place to be at that second because the 2nd place winners in the burger bash, mo koyfman and ben leventhal were there celebrating and their award winning burger was being given out gratis to everyone still in the restaurant. AMAZING. getting the #2 burger without having to pay the $250 burger bash entry fee: priceless.

gabe's jeffrey's grocery opened last week too and i was luckily invited to friends and family there. wine and cheese were in abundance but it was a good chance to catch up with some regulars. met phyllis who immediately seized my arm and dragged me over to meet a cute bartender when she found out i was single. "it's my jewish grandmother's instinct," she said, apologetically.