Thursday, March 31, 2011

Best If I Don't Have Anything In Particular to Blog About

. . . I can always keep blogging about what I've eaten.

I cooked this pasta with tomatoes, arugula, chickpeas, and sausage.

I've been working on my breakfasts,

And gave cassoulet 2.0 a shot.

Just the other day I finally lunched at Rai Rai Ken, a cheap little ramen place on East 10th I've been curious about for 7 years.

For $11 you get a bowl of ramen and a small plate.

Roast pork with marinated scallions

Shoyu ramen


Miso ramen

It hit the spot.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Best Preliminary Attempt

For a while I have been curious about the Momofuku cookbook's tomato and tofu salad recipe, particularly because it quotes Jean Georges Vongerichten calling it his favorite Momofuku dish.  It's like an Asian riff on Caprese salad, with tofu replacing the mozzarella, shiso replacing the basil, and a sesame-oil leaning vinaigrette instead of the balsamic sort you'd expect at an Italian place.

Really what had been keeping me from trying it was my inability to find shiso leaves, but earlier this week I was in the neighborhood of Sunrise Mart and they hooked me right up.  I didn't splurge on a nice container of heirloom tomatoes of all sorts of colors as it was my intent to just get a feel for the recipe this week.  

The verdict: It was fine.  Sorry.  That's the verdict. Just "fine."  I expected the dressing to be zingier.  That's my fault, I suppose.  I'll try it again with a zingier vinaigrette and prettier tomatoes.  I'm sure it will be wonderful that way.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Best Falling Short of the Best

Saturday evening I met Carol at Prime Meats in Carroll Gardens to do some research.  I had had lunch their a month or so ago and had schnitzel and pretzels and spatzle and . . . you know, sampling their German dishes as it's sort of a German restaurant.  I found the food to be fine, not extraordinary, and in that sense a bit of a bummer.

But later that day I learned that I heard from a friend that I had really messed up by not having the Prime Meats burger.  A little additional research found some individuals on the internet saying it was better than the famous Black Label Burger at the Minetta Tavern.  So I resolved to return and get it, and Saturday nght that resolution was resolved.

Look at this son of a gun.  Look at that bacon.  

With his hat on it was nearly impossible to know how to eat it.

And my opinion?  Frankly, I don't know if I can properly opine as my burger, ordered medium-rare, arrived completely well-done, gray all the way through, with barely a lick of fat leaking out at my first bite.  This burger is supposed to be made of an incredible blend of fine beefs, but I wouldn't know, cooked as it was flavor was only suggested in the tiniest hints. 

The fries were nice, though.

And another gripe:  The burger is $16.  Without cheese or bacon.  Which are $2 a piece.  So for the full-on burger experience, that's $20.  Add my share of a side of kale (because vegetables are good for you) and dinner was an even $30.  I don't mind $30 for some dinners, but on this occasion, it was definitely too much.

But here's some pros re:Prime Meats.  The restaurant is beautiful, perhaps the most beautiful restaurant I've visited in ages.  Lots of windows, lots of old-world charm, it's almost worth the trip to take a look at it.  And as it is run by the folks at Frankies, I believe there must be something wonderful to eat there.  Perhaps if I return and get the burger rare?  Or ask them to only just barely seer the outside?  Neighboring diners were enjoying the steak frites, which looked very nice, and beef sauerbrauten, which looked amazing.  So I will come back again someday and give the restaurant another shot and hopefully have a meal worthy of the hour long trip from my house to Carroll Gardens.

Additional pluses: The tiny Prime Meats store, around the corner from the restaurant, is a miniature wonderland of provisions, selling everything you could ever need for the recipes from the Frankies cookbook or to have your own Prime Meats dinner at home (they sell burger patties at $6.50 a piece, for example.)

Also, Frankies is just next door and looking real nice for the spring.

A Hamburger Today found the Prime Meats burger to be decent, but too expensive at $13 . . . like I said, it's $16 now.
 AlwaysEating reviews almost everything on the menu, circa 2009.
DudesonFoods love the burger.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Best Add This to Your Instant Queue

Does anyone know a blog or tumblr or website that recommends movies hidden inside the incredibly difficult to browse streaming video service known as Netflix OnDemand?  Or have any recommendations for movies hidden inside the incredibly difficult to browse streaming video service known as Netflix OnDemand?

While you are considering my questions, let me offer a recommendation of a Netflix gem that was recommended to me by fashion-icon Collin Mapp.

Beavers, 1988

This thing is better than March of the Penguins!  I never knew beavers were so noisy, they make little humming noises all the time.  It sounds like they're trying to talk, no, it sounds like the noise you make to indicate you can't talk because you're brushing your teeth or have a mouth full of food.  Watching the beavers at work and swimming around has been so soothing and educational . . . and it's true what they say, beavers do keep busy.  I can only imagine what it would have been like to have seen this in an IMAX theater during its original release.  Maybe we can start an email campaign to have brought back to theaters?

Another nice thing about Beavers is that it is not long and I have a very hard time staying seated and watching a whole Netflix movie on my own without getting distracted.

P.S. If Netflix has done one thing for the betterment of mankind, it's probably that we can all spell the word "queue" now.  Eleven years ago, in London, I didn't even know what that word was.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Best Street Fashion

Look who was spotted in today's NY Times South By South West Street Style coverage:

Over there on the left, do you see him?  Come on!
Good job to Claire for being the discoverer.

Best Restaurant News of the Day

Potbelly Sandwiches are coming to New York!
Coming to 2 Gold, to be precise.  Guys, remember how much time we used to spend at 2 Gold?
Now I won't have to get a layover (or show up early) at Midway to enjoy one of their surprisingly delicious chain subs.

Best Sunday Full of Magnificent Failure

Sunday was Macaron Day.  What is a macaron?  It is like a small french hamburger.

And what is a Macaron Day?  Well, just another made-up corporate holiday like Valentine's, except on this made-up corporate holiday a great many of the city's French (or slightly French) bakeries give out free macarons.  Free macarons for everyone!  All you had to do was find a place that had any left.

Because, you see, in New York we don't often come across "free" very often so free things don't last long.  And if you wait until after church on Sunday to go on your macaron crawl, your mission won't be full of victory.

In the end, out of six establishments visited we were able to get macarons at two of them . . . we got wise and started calling places before visiting them to check if they had any left.  If we hadn't done that then our average would have been even more spectacularly low.

At the place called Macaron Cafe I had a pumpkin macaron.

And at the place called in the FC Chocolate Bar in the Plaza Food Hall I had a passionfruit macaron.  I should have had chocolate.

But when I said we only got macarons at two places I lied.  Because when we arrived at the Francois Payard Bakery on Houston we got their very last remaining macaron.  We let Sidney have it.  Or probably those of us willing to eat another passionfruit macaron split it, and Sidney was the one holding it when I took the picture.  (By the way, everyone, this is Sidney.  Claire's sister.  She met Greg when she was in the MTC and knows a lot about Poland.  Because she just got back from her mission there.  She doesn't know the Polish word for Wednesday, though. [inside joke, people.  don't be jealous.])

But something good that happened on Macaron Day was that I saw this skull.  You know anyone giving away free Pan de los Muertos or sugar skulls on November 2nd?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Best Addition to the Family

I got another nephew, yo.
I'm not the sort to be bragging about his nieces and nephews all the time, but haven't you seen that I've got the cutest ones?

Additional Proof. (in the form of my sister's blog)

There is a rumor this child will be named after his father.  We'll see . . .

Best Thursday, Friday, Saturday

I had a fairly active Thursday, Friday, Saturday.  Let me share . . . 

Thursday Paul and Alisha and their kids were in town for the day and I got to hang out with them for a bit.

We lunched Ukrainian-style at Veselka.  I'd never seen kids so crazy about potato pancakes, pierogis, and stuffed cabbage.  Plates were licked clean, literally.

Then we walked over to the Milk Bar to try out the new pie-flavored softserves and some good old cookies and cakeballs.

If I had to pick a backup set of kids to go to Disneyland with, I'd take these ones.

Took a little walk over to Washington Square Park.

And that was about it for me and Paul's family.  For now.  Because we will definitely hang again.

A few hours later I found myself at the Milkbar again, this time with some tourists from DC.  Tourists like Rebekah.

And Grant.

And Kat.  (incase cakeballs need advertising, I submit this on-the-go endorsement)

Then it was Friday and I saw these balls.

And my initials.  I didn't write them there.  I  Promise.

Looks like one of my favorite graffiti guys is on his way out.  Someone must have been messing with his timestream.

Later on, saw a West Village Deli Cat.  You don't know about deli cats? 

That night I met up with the DC tourists at the Noodle Bar and finally met the famous Maggie.

And finally met the famous Melissa.

And finally met the new shrimp bun.  (That's a patty of shrimps that I'm guessing are meat-glued together and then fried [I'm not guessing that it's been fried, that I can say I'm positive about], a total hit . . . shades of my beloved Ebi Fliet-O)

And then we rolled up on the Milk Bar one more time.  Friday nights it gets a little busier in there.

Then I dropped the travelers off at Grand Central, they had a train to catch.

Would you believe this is the best shot from a series of pictures I managed to really ruin?  Sometimes I think "looking distracted" is a good pose for photographs.  It isn't.

And Saturday night I went clubbin', which is something I do every couple years.

Went to the Pyramid Club which plays 80s music but, thankfully, does not require 80's-themed apparel or featured 80's decorations.  Right, Jen?

But my last visit's dance-gladiator was better than this dude.  Sorry!  You can't beat the Road Warrior.

Ingrid had been modeling that day.

Monica displaying proper dancefloor enthusiasm.

Wait . . . is that Chris?  Yes.  Yes it is.

A mage appeared with pet lightning for sale.

Take our picture, they said.  We're not ready yet, they said.

Okay, ready.

Laser blasts all over the place.

And then it was time to go home.

Now you might be wondering, "What about Sunday?  Did you do anything Sunday?" and in response I must say, "Wait. Wait for a very short but important post."