Momofuku’s ginger scallion noodles with pickled cucumbers, cabbage, and shiitake mushrooms with fresh scallions and a slow-poached egg
Remember how I mentioned that August had been a difficult month? Apparently the month wasn’t finished with us at that point, because last week came more less-than-pleasant news, albeit news that could prove to be good in the long run. What was honestly the most difficult about all of this was having to grapple with it alone as Michael was away all week for business, and what was going to be a week filled with some interesting new salads I wanted to try ended up being one in which I didn’t want to eat much of anything. Ricotta dumplings, a two-cheese omelette, and leftover pasta from the weekend made for a somewhat pathetic sabor de soledad, but comfort food was definitely the thing I needed just to make it to Friday. (I apologize for being a bit oblique, but it’s for the best.)
By sheer coincidence we had planned to go to Momofuku Noodle Bar as part of a delayed celebration for Michael’s birthday (a departure from our usual trip to Keen’s, but one he requested) and it ended up being just what the two of us needed. We were there right as it opened, got two stools right away, and proceeded to demolish our bowls of ginger scallion noodles (me) and Momofuku ramen (him). I can’t honestly say what took us so long to finally come to this restaurant given how much we rely on the Momofuku cookbook for interesting meals at home, but nothing proved the adage “better late than never” like our lunch on Saturday. Read More
Shrimp and Orange Salad with Arugula and Fennel
It’s not even August and apparently stores are stocking their shelves for Hallow-freaking-ween. I’m very much aware that holiday creep is a huge thing in retail (back-to-school seems to go back on the shelves around the Fourth) but especially after the winter so many of us had to endure this year, well, cheering on the arrival of the season of inevitable misery seems abominably cruel. It’s not like this summer has been particularly arduous here in the Northeast—we’ve had some periods of hot and/or humid weather, but we’ve been pretty lucky so far: a day or two of intense humidity have beckoned a cold front blowing through almost immediately thereafter, and otherwise we’ve had pretty pleasant weather. There have been many a weekend afternoon spent on the local beaches, and even an evening or two listening to the rain while we sit on our balcony.
In short, I’m doing everything I can to appreciate the summer while it’s here, and I will be loath to give it up because gauzy clothes and cool drinks are superior to wooly socks, fun-size candies and hot toddies, no matter what anyone says. Read More
When I’m feeling particularly industrious during a weekend morning hate-watch of the Food Network, I’ll sit down with my cookbooks and start flagging recipes to try with Post-Its. Over time the notes get a little scraggly as the books are taken off and placed back on the shelf and splatters from other cooking exploits land on them, but I can never bring myself to remove them–especially if I haven’t made that recipe. The really decrepit ones taunt me the most, and I’ll get it in my head that there’s something fundamentally inaccessible about the recipe to prevent me from making it, because why else would I continue to avoid it? Read More
Outside Taller de Tapas, L’Argenteria, en El Born
Ever since I started seriously reading through Andrew Coleman’s Catalan Cuisine a few years ago with its gentle rejection of the tapas culture found elsewhere in Spain, the quasi-misnomer of Barcelona Wine Bar here in CT (and now Atlanta!) has kind of bugged me. If tapas aren’t a big thing in Catalunya, then why name a tapas place after its capital city? Fortunately, Andy and Sasha answer that question within the first pages of their cookbook:
We chose the name Barcelona because, while we planned to offer an authentic tapas experience, we wanted to feature a wide-ranging selection of Mediterranean food and wine. Spain’s Barcelona is a cosmopolitan, pan-European city that reflects this outlook.
It’s true: you do see a very wide variety of options in the city of Barcelona, but it’s very easy to get the tapas experience if that’s what you happen to be craving. And frankly, when it’s in the mid-80s and it’s humid and you’re definitely a little parched because there aren’t enough 1.5L bottles of agua sin gas to properly hydrate anyone, tapas are really the best alternative. And if you’re going to go for tapas, why not follow the advice from the best place to get them on the East Coast? Read More
We came home from Barcelona and Caldes d’Estrac Wednesday afternoon after a long, but thankfully uneventful flight, and I am now in the process of going through the 600+ photos I took between the new camera and my cell phone. It was a restorative trip; swimming in the Mediterranean was as relaxing as wandering through city streets, and having the opportunity to not only see FC Barcelona play in Camp Nou, but to join in the roar of wild excitement, is not something that will be easy to forget as I listen to subsequent games on Radio Barca.
There are so many stories to tell and so many new things to cook as a result of this trip, but as I’m slowly making my way through it all, I wanted to at least give you a glimpse of what we saw, and what better image to share first than one of The Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria? If Fairway is my NYC food heaven, then La Boqueria is my food market nirvana.
More to come soon…
Sweet and Sour Fig Pizza with Goat Cheese, Shallots and Thyme
Do you still have “Zou Bisou Bisou” stuck in your head after last Sunday’s Mad Men? (Did I just get it back in your head after you thought you had bested that earworm? Sorry.) While it was inevitable that we were going to celebrate its return after at 17-month long hiatus with food and drink, the fact that you only rarely see any of the characters with food (with none of it looking all that appetizing to boot) meant that I wasn’t going to adhere to any strict theme, save for insisting Michael make us a round of Old Fashioneds. Certain nods to the show, after all, must be made, and cocktails have always felt far more appropriate than food.
Caprese salad and old fashioneds.
Besides: we had finally gotten a couple of new half sheet pans at Chef’s the day before, and I was in the mood for homemade pizza.
Noodles with Shiitake Mushrooms and Ginger
Turning thirty is a big deal…unless you work in market research. While I had no problem milking the day for a few nice things–like two glasses of delicious wine at Barcelona on Tuesday–I can say upon reflection that I think I struggled more with turning 25 (and therefore will do the same once 35 rolls around) because it means I’m in a new demographic age bracket. I’m reminded of the season four premiere episode of Sex and the City when Carrie receives the application to join some singles group and she laments moving onto the next age box, because suddenly you’re now in a group that’s viewed very differently from the one you just left, and somehow that can make you feel older than any one particular birthday.
But since no age-box-shifting took place on this particular birthday, no melancholy is necessary, right? Read More