On our second trip to Puerto Rico, we stayed in San Juan, where you have not just the beautiful beaches of Isla Verde but also the sophisticated restaurants that are part and parcel of a life in a big city. San Juan, founded by the Spanish in 1521, is a rambling mash up of old and new. In the Santurce neighborhood surrounding La Placita, a crowd comes out to drink and dance salsa on a Friday night, spilling out of the Taburna Los Vazquez and onto the streets, where you can go buy a mojito or a greyhound made with freshly squeezed grapefruit and stroll through the plaza. (more…)
My aunt recently gave me a whole trove of recipes from my late grandmother. Hand-written on index cards, they contain some midcentury curiosities we would probably never want to eat again (deviled egg casserole, anyone?), but also a few gems that might otherwise be forgotten.
As soon as I came across this recipe for orange bread, I remembered eating it as a child in her kitchen, though that was a long time ago now. My grandmother had a meat grinder bolted to the kitchen table for grinding her own hamburger meat. This recipe used that grinder on orange rind to mince it into small pieces. (Now everyone would freak out about E. coli before doing that.) You can do the same with a food processor. Whether or not you want to “test for doneness with broom straw,” as her original recipe suggests, is up to you. (more…)
One blustery day in Paris I was craving French comfort food – not so much a specific thing, but the idea of it. There would be chicken and leeks and mushrooms and a very French sauce.
We were renting an apartment with a kitchen, but I didn’t want to buy a bunch of groceries we’d just have to throw away later, so the recipe would have to be simple. So this is a chicken fricassee-slash-coq au vin blanc, made without chicken broth or lots of extraneous ingredients. Instead, white wine, butter and cream do all the work. Serve with rice for a comforting meal with a French accent. (more…)
Of all the neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Dumbo is perhaps the most radically changed since the bad old days of early ’90s New York. Where there once were abandoned factories, artist squats and dark, deserted streets, there’s now a buzz of pedestrian activity, luxury condos and even a fancy florist taking up two storefronts. Atrium Dumbo is a sign of the times, bringing artisanal food and $13 cocktails to a once forlorn area right by the river. (more…)
When Wylie Dufresne’s 71 Clinton Fresh Food opened in 1999, it was notable – and notorious – for luring wealthy uptown diners to the Lower East Side, then the land of artists and immigrants. Blocks away from early hipster hangout Max Fish, Clinton Street was clogged with black Town Cars loitering outside while their well-heeled charges dined inside, drawn by news of Dufresne’s molecular gastronomy. (more…)
Try as I might, I could never be a sushi purist. As much as I appreciate the exquisite creations at places like Neta, where local fish gets molded onto a bed of perfectly seasoned rice right before your eyes, there are some times you just want a deliciously inauthentic spicy tuna roll. To paraphrase the Paul Newman paradox: why go out for a hamburger when you can have steak at home? Because sometimes you just want a hamburger. (more…)
For the last ten years, one man has dominated the French restaurant scene for downtown New Yorkers: Keith McNally. It’s hard to imagine the Meatpacking District without Pastis or SoHo without Balthazaar, two highly stylized restaurants that stole Paris bistro decor and food so effectively that the trend of antiqued mirrors, subway tiles and flea market fixtures has been stolen back by a copycat place in Paris.
But with Pastis closing for nine months in 2014 as a new building is constructed above and longtime chefs Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr leaving McNally’s empire, change is afoot. Now popular local chef Andrew Carmellini (Locanda Verde, the Dutch) is throwing his hat into the ring with the opening of French mega cafe Lafayette. The old Chinatown Brasserie (and Time Cafe/Fez) space has been overhauled with no expense spared, columns covered in glossy Art Deco patterns of inlaid wood, red leather banquettes ringing the raised dining level, walls opened up with huge plate glass windows, copper pans glinting in the saucier and rotisserie station and glassware glimmering above the bar. Baz Luhrman could walk right in and film another scene for the Great Gatsby. (more…)
This weekend, the Mignorelli stall at the Union Square Greenmarket featured a sign that read:
Broccoli Rabe $3.50
I don’t know if that’s really the particular variety of broccoli rabe, but thank God this long New York winter is over. It’s time to get cooking with one of the first non-root-vegetable vegetables to finally make an appearance at the markets. One dish we’ve seen at a lot of NYC restaurants recently is the Apuglia standard of orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage. Though it is often priced at $12 and up on menus, it’s ridiculously easy and inexpensive to make at home. (more…)
If it’s true that “you are what you eat,” we also are what we grow up eating. Harold Dieterle, the chef behind the Thai restaurant Kin Shop and American restaurant Perilla, has gone back to his roots with the Marrow, with a menu that highlights German offerings from his father’s side, “Familie Dieterle,” and Italian dishes from his mother’s side, “Famiglia Chiarelli.” (more…)
For some reason the city’s Thai restaurant entrepreneurs seem to have banded together and decided that what we want is fast casual spots with uniform wood-and-polished-metal design schemes and heaping portions of sweet, bland noodles. So it’s a relief to walk into Pok Pok Phat Thai and find someplace just a little bit weird. (more…)
Txikito is too old to be trendy, too democratic to be a tough reservation. It’s not as crowded and cramped as Tia Pol or as chichi as Boqueria. But it is one of the better tapas places in the city and one of the few reliable restaurants in far west Chelsea. So why hasn’t everyone been here yet? (more…)
Milan gets a bad rap as an “industrial” city, but it can be beautiful in the springtime, especially when the huge Salone del Mobile fair takes place. And when you’re visiting here, it’s always a good idea to get dining recommendations from a local, as we did from street style photographer Giia of Tonics, who sent us to a little southern Italian spot in the Brera. (more…)
It only took 10 years to get a reservation at Casa Mono.
This little Spanish restaurant has been perpetually jammed since Mario Batali and Andy Nusser opened it on a pretty corner of Gramercy in 2003. Just mention the words “Mario Batali,” and suddenly a line of 20 people will form at the door of any restaurant. Though you can put your name in and wait for a table at Bar Jamon next door, numerous failed experiments to do so led D. and me to hold out for an Open Table reservation in that prime slot between 7 and 9pm, which mysteriously never appeared even weeks ahead of time. In the meantime, Casa Mono inspired a host of other tapas places in the city and a mini Spanish food revolution, as flavors like pimenton and the whole small-plates dining concept spread like a contagion. (more…)
There are a couple places near my apartment where I would eat once a week if money were no object. One is Blue Hill, another is Neta, the sliver of a sushi restaurant opened on an unlikely block of 8th street populated by defunct shoe shops and a Gray’s Papaya. The omakase, made by Masa alums Nik Kim and Jimmy Lau, will set you back $95, but it is money so well spent that, as at Blue Hill, you will start plotting your next meal here before you even walk out the door. (more…)
As restaurants go, Pearl & Ash has all the makings of a super trendy one. It opened in a one-block area of Chrystie and the Bowery where four other concept restaurants (the Bowery Diner, the General, Cata, Cocktail Bodega) and two cocktail bars (Bantam, Experimental Cocktail Club) have opened in the past year. It has the currently favored __ + __ name scheme, and chef Richard Kuo used to be one half of the popular pop-up restaurant Frej, which was – of course! – Scandinavian. (more…)