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)
Escargots à la Bordelaise in the style of Galatoire’s
Back in November I did a very silly thing. I had this Amazon gift card that had been sitting on my desk for months, and for the life of me I couldn’t decide what to get with it. This was mainly due to the fact that I felt very uncomfortable about the circumstances in which it came to be in m possession, so I could never figure out what exactly should I get. I immediately dismissed all things practical because that’s no fun, and so I was toying with adding a couple of books to my cookbook collection or maybe getting a heavier kettlebell.
Instead, I ended up getting a used copy of Galatoire’s cookbook that was in very good condition and a cast iron snail pan.
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
Thanks to the lasting influence of Good Eats, we really make a point of not trying to buy unitasker gadgets for the kitchen. Admittedly, I’m a bit more susceptible to doing this than Michael, but I usually see it as a challenge to explore other ways of using something. (On a related note, definitely watch this video of Alton Brown mocking unitaskers, even if you’ve seen it already because it’s so good.)
A perfect example of this is the iSi siphon. While I primarily use it to make creamy, foamy desserts, I’ve also made Albert Adrià’s famous sponge cake with it a few times in the summer to go with macerated strawberries. When I was poking around and looking for other ideas for applications I came across a recipe for carraway-infused whiskey from Richard Blais which completely piqued my interest, and subsequently decided to try a combination of strawberries and bourbon so we could make strawberry-bourbon juleps for a dinner party we threw a few months ago. Those came out remarkably well, and later I tried infusing strawberries with tequila and that came out OK, but my attention was drawn elsewhere and I didn’t really do much more with it. Read More
, sabor de soledad
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
Open-Face “Bikini Comerç 24” Crostini
Writing about Tapas 24 in Barcelona has been on my to-do list since we finished our lunch there three and a half months ago, but I hesitated only because I was determined to offer a reinterpretation of one of the dishes we had and it took a little time to get it right. My notebook is covered with sketches of ideas and I’ve tried a few different iterations over the past few months, and I think I am satisfied enough to provide you with a delicious, very simple canapé for any New Year’s Eve celebrations. Better yet, it will not require to you get your hands on a fresh black truffle. (I know, I know—how magnanimous of me. You can hold your applause until the end.)
A moment of relative quiet in Tapas 24.
Tapas 24—it probably helps to add some context—had long been on my list of must-visit places in Barcelona (it’s strongly recommended by the crew at Barcelona Wine Bar via its guide to the best in Spain), but it was only on our most recent trip that we were able to make that a reality. The chef Carles Abellan was an acolyte of Ferran Adrià before setting out on creating his own little empire of restaurants, and Tapas 24 became the more casual offshoot of his first restaurant Comerç 24. Michael rightly likens the atmosphere of the place to that of a bustling train station, only I can assure you that the food is far better even than the likes you would find at Grand Central Terminal. There’s a set menu of classics plus daily specials, and during our meal we were both able to find a favorite off of each menu. While Michael preferred the pork belly with cabbage, shallots, and butter lettuce, I was partial to the bikini Comerç 24 for reasons that will be wholly unsurprising.
Bikini Comerç 24.
To be completely honest, I was a little mad at this sandwich because it’s simply black truffle, mozzarella di bufula, and jamón ibérico pressed between two pieces of white toast and cut into triangles, but all was quickly forgiven when I bit into the first one. My eyes bugged out (so much that Michael kept taking pictures of me diving into the rest of the plate) and I had to pace myself from wolfing down the whole plate before he could even get a taste. Even in the haze of a sandwich-induced stupor I knew that I’d want to revisit this again and again, so once we got back from our trip I started my experiments shortly thereafter. Read More
City Hall Subway station–probably the closest I’ll ever get to it
A few days ago various sites were sharing photos by James and Karla Murray, authors of Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York as they were doing a ten-year update in which they revisited several iconic mom-and-pop businesses in the city from their book to see if they were still there or had caved to the whims of modern New York and closed. Sadly, many are no longer there, either being replaced with banks and Subway shops (seriously) or sitting as unused and blank spaces. Change and gentrification, especially in a place like New York, are inevitable, but it always hurts a little more when something goofy and unique is replaced with another soulless corporate box of steel and glass.
I’m angry that the glass box that replaced the M&G Diner is still going unused. Read More