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brunch

Burrata with salsa verde and weeds

With all of the traveling we’ve been doing in the last few weeks (two weekends ago we were in Philadelphia, and then this past weekend we were in Chicago), opportunities to cook fun stuff at home have not come as readily as they normally do for us. Since I had a half-day on Friday and could work from home for it, we decided that it would be the perfect day to make dinner at home rather than go out as is our usual wont and so I went about looking for something special to make. My cookbook flipping took me to Mexico From the Inside Out, and while I came up with a fun menu for that evening, what initially drew me in was a dish I had to make for myself for a decadent lunch: burrata with salsa verde and “weeds.” (More on that in a bit.) As soon as I hit the official office closing time I shut my laptop and headed out to take the commuter boat over the harbor to hit up both Whole Foods and a local Mexican grocery store called Cinco de Mayo to get the necessary supplies. The latter was perfect for getting tomatillos and blue corn tortillas and limes in bulk, while the latter had my burrata and a few other things I needed (like a ludicrous amount of cereal to bring to work). Read More

Croque madame and croque monsieur, porquois pas les deux?

You guys, I’m pretty stoked about a plate, and I swear there’s a good reason for it.

If the design rings a bell for you, it’s probably because it’s based on a fairly famous wallpaper print by the company Scalamandre. If you ever went to the New York restaurant Gino’s in Midtown you would have seen the walls covered in this paper because it was specifically designed for this restaurant:

Gino’s in Midtown. Sadly, this place is now long-gone due to rent hikes. (source)

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Palomas with Grapefruit Salt Air

It’s funny–when I was looking for restaurants to add to our New York itinerary, I largely relied on old favorites first but then took advantage of the time of year and started plumbing the best-of-2015 and 2016 eating guides. I didn’t get very far because Adam Platt’s Where to Eat 2016 gave me way too many places to even consider for a two-day stint, and so I populated my custom Google map accordingly.

Initially for Saturday brunch I wanted to go to Corkbuzz down by Union Square, since we also had plans to wander around the greenmarket in the morning for old time’s sake. Unfortunately they no longer do Saturday brunch so that was out the window, so instead I suggested a place from the brunch section of Where to Eat: Cosme. Platt describes it as “the ultimate in gourmet brunchtime pleasure” and the menu seemed pretty enticing so I was sold, and oh, what pleasure was in store for us. Read More

Open-Face Croque Monsieur from Pastis

Despite the fact that it’s been years since we’ve been there and it’s been well over a year since it closed, every once in a while I still get a craving to go to Pastis. In spite of all of the irritations about the place–the crowds, the rather ridiculous prices, the cramped banquettes and tiny tables–every visit there would still be a pretty fantastic food experience, and I’ve even taken their lead on a few dishes and incorporated them into our normal recipe rotation.

Plus, it was arguably the prettiest of Keith McNally’s very pretty restaurant empire: lots of dark wood and penny subway tile, but not as dark as Balthazar nor as intentionally run-down as Lucky Strike. (I have yet to visit his newer places so I can’t speak to them, but I imagine they are also very, very pretty but probably not as aesthetically pleasing to me as Pastis.) While it helped that there always seemed to be a preponderance of European tourists eating there at all times of the day, you really did feel like you were being swept into a bustling bistro in a hip Parisian neighborhood and the only thing missing was being able to light up a cigarette or two while you lingered over French 75s and omelettes. Read More

Frisee Aux Lardons avec Ouefs Pochés et Gorgonzola/Frisee Aux Lardons with Poached Eggs and Gorgonzola

Frisee Aux Lardons with Poached Eggs and Gorgonzola

Another day, and more eggs. Only this time they are in a salad, and they are far more pleasing to look at because I took this photo last June when we were enjoying the height of natural light. (Oh natural light, how I miss you.)

But of course, this proves the eternal truth that just because a salad is called such a thing, there is no guarantee that it’s going to be rabbit food, given that friseé is one of those greens that isn’t the most nutritionally dense (at least compared to the ubiquitous kale) and it’s basically coddling a wonderful combination of Gorgonzola, bacon bits, and poached eggs–nary a spa food in the lot save for the greens. But that’s kind of what makes it wonderful: it strikes the right balance between heavy and light that leaves you satisfied without feeling like you have a gut full of food, and it’s also a one-course meal that can come together relatively quickly if your multitasking skills are in peak condition. (Mine vary by how tired I am when I get home from work, but I can still pull this together in about 20 minutes.)

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Kumquat-rosemary marmalade over goat cheese and toast

Did you know that Stamford’s motto is “Stamford: the city that works?” It’s kind of prosaic until you realize how many companies have offices here: from international banks to cosmetic giants to The Maury Povich Show. (Seriously–the studio where it, Jerry Springer and the show starring one of Jerry Springer’s security guys is on the next street over from us, a factoid that delighted my father-in-law to no end when we took him on a tour of our neighborhood.) It’s a good thing because all of those workers help support the local restaurant scene, but since most of them are commuting from other places, there seems to be a dearth of weekend brunch options around here. Even though we were never big brunch people when we lived in New York, it was oddly comforting to see all of those people out and about on a Saturday or Sunday diving into steak and eggs and sipping mimosas.

Here, not so much. Maybe when spring comes I’ll do a little more research, but for now we’re on our own if we have a craving for brunch food. Read More

Sobrasada Tapa

I had it in my head to make brunch on Saturday. We never eat brunch–I eat breakfast when I get to work, and Michael tends to only have oatmeal on hand, and fighting the crowds on Broadway to enjoy overpriced eggs and bacon holds little appeal for us. Sometimes, though, we’ll make it when friends are staying with us and that’s always fun, but it’s also a lot of work. So the idea of making a few small tapas for brunch had immediate appeal for me: filling but not overwhelmingly so. Michael tends to just eat a few hard-boiled eggs on weekend mornings to get him through until dinnertime, so using that as a base for ideas, I flipped through The Book of Tapas, made a shopping list, and on Saturday morning got to work.

The sobrasada tapa pictured above was by far my favorite–and that includes the tapa that I made with smoked salmon, for crying out loud! It was by far the easiest of the three to make, though, and when it comes to making a brunch spread at home, that’s really important.  Read More

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