Thursday, December 29, 2011

After a year hiatus....we're back.

More to come...stay tuned.

Hello kids... I'm calling my bday dinner for saturday Jan 7th or sunday Jan 8th whatever works best for you folks.

You will all be cooking for me (or your boyfriends/husbands) in some form of a cook off. Since it is my birthday I will develop the rules and send them out prior to the event.                

We all now know that I am pregnant so no raw/cured meats, fish or heavy cheese dishes (duh)

We cannot have this dinner at my house as I have no table or chairs... so volunteers for the venue are welcome.

that is all for now.

Thank you

Saturday, January 29, 2011


I apologize up front as unfortunately I don't feel the pictures in this post do justice to the amount of "awesomeness" that my wife I got to enjoy last week.

Welcome to Mama's (Bala Cynwyd style!)

Shout-out to Uncle G for making the long drive and bringing us dinner!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

What Makes NYC Cooking So Special

8 am Sunday morning.

Couldn't sleep.  Realized the burger, chicken fingers, fries, onion rings, B&W shake just weren't a good idea.  Or in reality maybe it was the 2 16 oz. Jack & Gingers that I took down last night with a straw.  Yeah either way, the sleeping days are over for me & my wife.  The late night twitches, snoring, constant rolling over are just not making the hours between 12am & 8 am enjoyable this 2011.   I really shouldn't complain's 2x worse for her.  

So I'm up.  Just ground a cup of Rook coffee and put up a pot.  The smell is invigorating, really takes over the entire apartment.  I'm still not convinced my coffee skills are up to par but for this Sunday morning it will have to do.  Thanks to Cooking Channel for the 6 oz to 5 Tablespoon measure.  

It's been a couple weeks since I've gotten a chance to cook something.  Maybe it's the weather or maybe it's the reality of a pregnant wife.  To be honest, I'm just not convinced anything I cook these days are going to be good to her.  It's a matter of fact, nothing against my cooking but the delivery guy seems to be the trend of choice  these past few weeks.  Although, did I tell you she loved my Brisket sandwiches??

Like every Sunday morning, I typically wake up earlier than the rest.  Put up the pot of coffee & plant myself in front of the TV.  There's not much on the tube this morning, nothing good going on in the world today; sports lack interest due to everything being about the "Return of the JETS"; and all that's on every food channel this morning is Giada.  Oh..G...I...A...D...A.  I mean don't get me wrong, she looks great but would you actual consider her a great chef?  I'd like to see her in my kitchen making dishes like she does on TV.   

Alright, time to get started on the topics...(Thanks Giada).

Since the cooking is on a hiatus we're moving on to this morning's Top 10 list.  I promise this will be my last. 

Top 11 Essentials for NYC Apt Cooking.   

**Please note, the opinions of this blog are mine, so in know way am I telling you what you need. Thx. ** 

1) A good chef's knife.  Bourdain told me I need an 8" Global Chef Knife and man was he right.  Since then I've moved on to 10"'s of greatness but in any event a good knife or knives is extremely important

2,3,4) A Double-Boiler, Cast Iron Dutch Oven, and a stainless frying pan.  You don't need all the crazy sizes, stir fry pans, non stick stuff.  Just one of the each listed  I promise you.  You can cook anything & everything in them.

5) Lodge Cast Iron 12" pan.  My all time favorite.  Make sure you season it every so often but you won't realize how great $34 of iron can make you cook like a champ!

6) Salt & Pepper grinder.  It's simple...Toss the S&P shakers out in the trash and give some freshness!

7) Mixing bowls, oven proof casserole dishes, etc. As you can see space is limited but you will use this stuff constantly. 

8) A good size cutting board - John Boos preferred, silicon or plastic not really an essential but good to have for raw meats.

9) An Apron - I never wear it but adds some character to the kitchen!

10) Bar - A selection of the "finest" is a necessity. Trust me on this, you'll cook with it & drink it.  But most important, it's keeps guests out of the kitchen wondering what on earth you're doing:)

And finally....

The 11th essential in a NYC kitchen.

A woman's touch.

Need I say more.

Enjoy the week.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Must-Eat 2011 lineup

As a follow up to my well traveled 2010 "best" comes the must have's in 2011

In no particular order.
  • Torrisi Italian Specialties - Heard great things about this place from coworkers & friends.  This would make the list for "What i'm most pissed off at myself for not eating at in 2010!"
  • Locanda Verde - Could care less about De'niro, it's all about Andrew Carmellini.  Can you say "Little Owl"?
  • Babbo - Batali's finest.  One of the hardest reservations to get in the city but I heard the walk-in bar seating is pretty awesome!  To my wife...birthday..Vday..any day???
  • Winepub, Burger & Barrel - The bash burger at Lure was amazing. So why not.  Besides on Monday's they throw the Short Rib Reuben with braised short rib, horseradish, Russian dressing, coleslaw and Taleggio cheese. YUM!
  • Marc Forgione - This year's winner of "The Next Iron Chef" seriously seems like an awesome chef...and a cool dude to grab a beer with.  The NYTimes review of Rob Lieber getting thrown out of his restaurant makes me even more interested in checking out this place.
  • Dressler in Brooklyn - Just heard too many good things about this place not to check it out. 
  • Fatty Cue - Just another one of those Hipster/Trendy places in Williamsburg that's a must eat.  Already taken down Pies & Thighs, Fette Sau, Lugers & River Cafe.  
  • Ma Peche - David Chang.  Need I say more.
  • Korilla BBQ - Ok so actually this is a not technically a restaurant but I've heard great things about these guys. Truth be told they may be somewhat of a knockoff of Kogi BBQ of LA but who cares.  Rumor has it they make a mean burrito.
  • Russ & Daughters - Southside version of Barney Greengrass.  
Notables:  Ai Fiori & the "White Label" burger, ABC Kitchen, Kin Shop, 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Whatever happened to Joe Jr's

Saturday morning's in the W.V. just haven't been the same since that day.  The smell of fresh coffee, the plate of runny eggs, the plain site of rice pudding behind the counter.   What every West Villager used to do on an average Saturday morning disappeared overnight almost 2 years ago for reasons that no one will ever understand.

Joe was of the unique, sparse kind.  The counter seating, leather brown stools, wallpaper in need of a facelift, the local crazy who was given first class treatment above everyone else.   He didn't care for credit cards, wouldn't serve those with smart phones, nor had he ever heard of Seamless Web.  He didn't like turkey bacon, egg beater's, or dry toast.  He simply ran the place one way, made the food his way...the only way.  

"We Regret To Have To Inform Our Loyal and Steady Customers That Joe Jr's, After 35 Year, Has Lost It's Lease!  We Thank You For Your Patronage And Support.  We Will Be Closing Our Doors Permanantly on Sunday, July 5th 2009.  Again, Thank You All!"

After that last Sunday there was a subtle anger in the W.V.  There were those that put up signs, sent letters & setup local petitions.  There was even a rumor that a young woman tried to get Joe's added as a proposition on the November election.  But through all the anger nothing would ever be the same.  Joe was gone...forever.  

What actually happened to Joe back in July remains a mystery. After 35 years does one's lease run out?  The rumors of fires, code violations, rowdy pedestrians, etc all may all be but true.  Yet, a true landmark like this should never disappear.  

On July 5th, 2009 Joe closed his doors for the last time.  The smell of coffee disappeared, the plate of runny egg's was no more.  The local crazy never showed up again to eat her split pea soup.  

482 6th Ave became a vacancy, a corner without a name....and it still remains that way today.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Top 10 Things I ate in 2010

As the first two days of 2011 pass by, I thought I would take a shot at delivering what I call my Top 2010 list.  A little different than what you would read by Sam Sifton or Frank Bruni.  There won't be any bonito or black truffle reduction, no five star restaurants or those that take up to 2 months to find a reservation. In all, my "top" will be dummied down for the simple man.  A man that truly enjoys food, whether medium rare or well done, whether it costs .99 cents or 20 dollars, or even if it's fresh or already prepared.  You may be a reader of this blog and feel in disagreement with my food choices..but then again I don't really care.

So with that enjoy...Feel free to add your own. 

In no particular order

1) The Lobster Roll @ Luke's Lobster - Rumor has it they only use knuckles & claws. Either way a masterpiece.  If I have one knock it was the size (although I split it with my wife!).  But for the price it's simply remarkable. 

2) Momofuku Ramen @Momofuku Noodle Bar.   Pork..Pork..and some more pork. I swear someone in my family was drinking the pork broth for dessert.  This might of been the best meal of the year in all.  Great company...great food..great fun.  Hats off to David Chang!

3) Pulled Duroc Pork sandwich @Num Pang.  I heard of this place on the Top 100 Sandwich List @grub street. Although this one didn't actually make the list, it definitely should have. The spicy honey sauce on top of the sweet pork makes a true "melt in your mouth" moment.  

4) Keste* @ Keste Pizza - Tomatoes, Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella, Prosciutto di parma, Arugula, gran cru, EVOO.   Fantistco!  Rumor has it the wood burning oven flown in directly from Naples does the trick!

5) The Speckan Wolf @ Roberta's.  I actually never been to Roberta's but got to enjoy their food 3 times over at the Madison Square Park food fair.   Another oven specialty, this place does pizza right!  

6) BBQ @ Fette Sau in Brooklyn.  Probably one of the coolest places I've ever been to.  Metal Trays, Kitchen knife beer taps & picnic tables for chow.  Brooklyn's finest. 

7) Green Falafel @ Taim.  I first heard about Taim while watching an episode of "Chopped" on the Food Network. I've always been a fan of falafel but resorted for the popular Mamoun's or Rainbow Falafel.  Needless to say the Green Falafel at Taim was the best yet.  For a mere 5 dollars you get a gigantic pita stuffed to the top with homemade falafel, hummus, Israeli salad & hot sauce!  

8) Lox, Baked Salmon Bagel @ Barney Greengrass.  One of the oldest standing joints in Manhattan, "The Sturgeon King" experience is always just right.    Fresh Lox, Hot Bagels, and an exceptional potato latke make this meal a memory.     Special thanks to Pete J. for allowing us to join the mayor's table.

9) Pescado Taco's @ La Esquina - I'm always on the hunt for great Fish Taco's.  If you haven't had the opportunity to try..put it on the list.  

And my #10 top food in 2010

10) Steak for 2 @ Wolfgangs - I'll say it again...better than Lugers.

New Years Weekend Breakfast

Hangover Special...

Part II

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Slow Braised Brisket Sandwiches

Pictures do all the talking.  See below for revised recipe.
  • 1 5-7lb brisket
  • Spice Rub (garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, chili pepper, paprika, red chili flakes)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 packet of Lipton's French Onion Dip mix
  • 1 bottle of Heinz Ketchup
  • 1 Bottle of Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce
  • 2 16 oz bottles of Nut Brown Ale
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 bottle of hot sauce 
  • 1/2 cup of secret ingredient (optional)
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Rub marinade on both sides of brisket and set aside for an hour.  Rub with Olive oil and sear both sides over high heat in large dutch oven pot.  Stir together remaining ingredients and pour over brisket fat side up.  Liquid should be just enough to cover brisket.   Cook brisket in oven for minimum of 8 hours (until fork tender). 

Do not cook for more than 15 hours!  

Brisket should be tender to the fork (otherwise continue to cook).

Cool brisket and pull apart.  

To complete sandwich pile a handful of brisket over a lightly toasted role (brioche).  Top with cole slaw & pickles. Serve immediately.  


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Pizza Pancake

The morning after.

I came across an article in the times recently talking about a "Baked Pancake".  Although I've never been much of a pancake chef, the article brought me back to a time I spent in Boca Raton, Florida with my wife and family.  During the entire trip she kept raving about a local pancake shop that her grandfather always brought her to when she visited.  The pancake, which she commonly referred to as the "Dutch Baby" was an oversized pancake cooked to perfection with heaps of powdered sugar & lemon.  Now I realize that in now way, shape or form was I going to be able to remake the "Dutch Baby" but after reading the recipe I figured it was worth a shot.

My version of the "Dutch Baby" or as my wife says....Pizza Pancake!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Top Sandwiches in New York

It's been a slow start but i promised I'd get at it.

So far so good in NYC.

No. 7 Sub Shop

"Smoked Meat" - Mile End meat, Lychee's, potato chips & Chinese Mustard!

Kalustyan's - The Mujadara Sandwich - Pita, Tahini, Lentils, L&T & Hotsauce

Barney Greengrass - Toasted Poppy Bagel with Baked Salmon, Cream Cheese, Tomatoes & Onions.

Num Pang Sandwich Shop - Pulled Duroc Pork