Thursday, October 22, 2009

Restaurant Wars only the best part of every season of Top Chef. The fiery power plays, the execution disasters, to serve dessert or not serve dessert--the culinary intrigue is practically excruciating.  Kudos to "Revolt"-- the V-bros, chubby Eli, and, yes, even annoying Robin deserve the victory.  However, seeing Mission lose was disappointing.  Admittedly, the way Jennifer pronounces "salad" irks me to no end, but there is no contesting that the Le Bernardin alum is an incredibly accomplished chef. My heart sank when she started to choke under pressure. Her sauce broke!!! Her dish was beige!!! She cooked the shellfish to order!!!  Technically, she should have gone home, but so relieved when the ax fell on Laurine, who, let's face it, has sucked for weeks.   

If you watch Top Chef, then you have to start watching "The Morning After" videos.  Love.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Baked Goods

Form doesn't exactly follow function, now does it? But there's something adorably weird about that roll jutting out from that bowl. The bowl is part of an art project called "baked"--an "homage to bread and flour".  OK!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Terroir NYC : East Village, Wine Bar

I just recently moved to the fun, yet filthy East Village from the crime-free, yet ho-hum neighborhood of Gramercy. So, as of late,  I've been acquainting myself with all the various watering holes and cafes in the vicinity.  Last night, I had plans to meet my friend, Amy, who I met at the tasting room at  The Vines of Mendoza in Argentina while giddily swilling luscious flights of Malbec and Torrontes.  Apropos of our original introduction, she suggested meeting at a wine bar somewhere in the hood. I've strolled by the wine bar, Terroir, a number of times, but never tried the place, because it looked so formal from the outside looking in, but decided to give it a go and was surprised at how laid back and enjoyable my experience was there.  

Befitting the low-key nature of Terroir, the tables are communal and the space is cozy. The waitstaff is friendly, approachable and knowledgeable. The actual menu consists of a hefty, three-ring binder of information that includes jokey descriptions of drinks and comedic digressions in between the very serious and comprehensive wine list.  After a long week of binge drinking, I didn't think my body could take the migraine-inducing tannins, so I decided not have wine--horror of horrors--instead,  I had their specialty drink called the Abbey Flip, made of pomegranate molasses, coriander, nutmeg, egg yolks and Ommegang Abbey Ale. The concoction was rich, sweet and very satisfying. The egg apparently mellows out the beer a bit. A perfect drink for a winter/autumn day.  

The Abbey Flip

The food was not bad, we ordered the following: 
Dumpling and Escarole Soup: Despite the limp escarole, but the broth was flavorful and the dumplings were yummy.
Bacalao Bruschetta:  Rich, a bit too heavy for me.  
Arugula Salad: So fresh, slightly sweet and dressed perfectly.
Creamed Rapini with breadcrumbs:  Loved it. 
Olive Oil Cake with Roasted Apples: A bit too dry and the apples were cold.

I didn't order them, but the fried sage leaves and lamb sausages are supposed to be great.

For the ambience and wine list alone, I would absolutely hit this place again.  Bar Jamon in Gramercy was my go-to wine bar,  but now that I've moved, Terroir is definitely in the running as its replacement. 

Another reason to go is the weeknight "Happy Hour" between 5-6 PM, when glasses are only $6!!!  Un bon marché!

413 E 12th St
New York, NY 10009
(646) 602-1300

Photo via: Grapes and Grains

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Skull cake anyone?

In the spirit of the upcoming holiday... a collection of skull cakes for your viewing pleasure. 
The skeletal accuracy on this image below is disgusting and amazing. Perhaps a bit too much fondant in the zygomatic area?


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Goodbye Ashley

I'm late here, but I had to post about the recent elimination. Ashley had to go folks.  As the judges say in some form or another, this is Top Chef, not Top Saint... Ashley demonstrated character and seemed to know food, but didn't really show her culinary stuff till much later in the competition. Once Robin Leventhal is axed--which I predict will be this week--the game/kitchen will really start heating up.

See ya, Ash! Work on those flavor profiles.


Fabio's Foibles

Fabio's resto (in LA) is dunzo.  His grammar needs work too...


Monday, October 12, 2009

Naked Chef to the Rescue

Jamie Oliver, The Naked Chef,  will try to school the fattest city in the world--Huntington, W.V.
Wait, watch, and see... 

Shout out to Vida for the link... 


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Momofuku Steamed Chicken Buns

Last night, Ben and I went to Momofuku Noodle Bar to nurse our seasonal colds in soup and drown our perpetual sorrows in noodles.  I've been to Momofuku several times over the past winter for lunch, because of its dependable food, proximity to my apartment and recession prix-fixe specials. The noodle bar doesn't consistenly dazzle, but it doesn't disappoint either. However, the food was somewhat uneven last night.

We ordered the following:

1 bowl of  Pork Ramen
1 bowl of Ginger Scallion Noodles
1 order of the chicken-steamed buns
1 order of the Angelfood soft-serve ice-cream

I actually didn't try the ramen last night, but I've had  the porky, soupy delight several times during previous visits. Ben seemed to like it, as he slurped up every last drop of it.  Truth be known, I really disliked the ginger scallion noodle dish, as it was over-salted, dense and had no taste whatsoever. I could barely detect ginger, due to the high salt content. I ate a few bites and that's it.  Bleech!

Ginger-scallion Noodles: Do not order this!

The highlight of the night was the steamed chicken bun.  I typically opt for the steamed pork, but I was feeling contrarian and ordered chicken.  The chicken was flavorful, moist, and not overly hoisin-sauced. The thin, flat piece of fried chicken skin, inserted in the bun,  gave the dish a nice crunch.

The angelfood soft-serve had some sort of brown-sugar crumble on top--not bad.

I must try the fried chicken the next time I'm there... 

Momofuku Noodle Bar
171 First Avenue btwn 10th and 11th Streets
New York, NY

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bottoms Up...

According to an article on, "those who never drink are at significantly higher risk for not only depression but also anxiety disorders, compared with those who consume alcohol regularly."

Another reason happy hour  IS happy!

BTW: This is what I drank too much of this weekend--it's called a "Fur Collar":

Recipe on
Note: Fresh orange juice makes all the difference. Yum. (My OJ came from a carton of Tropicana.)


Monday, October 5, 2009

McD Map

13,000 + pairs of Golden Arches visually plotted out.  Holy Big Mac.


Gourmet GONE!

Le horreur! Gourmet has been shuttered by Conde Nast, according to Gawker.  There's a fat stack of old, well-read issues  (and various other gossip rags and news weeklies), dating back to at least the late 90s, that sits faithfully under a side table in the family kitchen. My 85-year old grandmother flips through them for every holiday meal. Shame on you, McKinsey! Number-crunching can be a cruel thing.

Via: Gawker

Friday, October 2, 2009

Hamburger Diary: In-N-Out/ Petaluma, CA

As the result of my travel exploits,  I enjoyed my fair share of food firsts in a smattering of foreign locales this summer-- Prikle in Dubrovnik,  Kurtoskalac in Budapest, Rogač in Hvar --just to name a few. However, the most pleasurable food first for me was gobbled up in good ole, Petaluma, California, during a pit stop down the Pacific Coast Highway.

What was this culinary delicacy that made such a lasting first impression on me?? An In-N-Out Burger! Yes, I've never had a freaking In-N-Out Burger.  I must say that I've read about them for YEARS,  in venerable publications, such as US Weekly, People and In Touch, as there is always some starving starlet or drug-addled celebrity who gets mobbed by the papparazi, as she/he hits the In-N-Out drive-thru after a loss at the Oscars or Emmys.  Needless to say, I was eager to try out the In-N-Our burger to see if all the slavering West Coast hype about the chain was correct.   

I was with Jason, a former West Coaster, who lived in SF for an extensive period of time, so he took the lead on what we ordered, which was:

2 burgers, both Animal Style
2 orders of fries, one regular and one Animal Style 
1 Diet Coke
1 Coke

For a fast-food joint, In-N-Out definitely delivers in taste and expediency. The burger was juicy, well cooked, and flavorful.  The fixings were very fresh. The buns were toasted more than they usually are at any burger place that I've visited. I can imagine that the toasted buns would give the burger some structure, when one bites down through the burger.  But, when over-toasted, like ours were, the buns get crumbly, difficult to handle, and, thereby, messy to eat.  IMHO, the french fries were nothing special and too salty.  Perhaps a fluke?  Overall, this is the best fast-food burger I've had and I would be happy to have a second the next time I make it out West.

010 Lakeville St.
Petaluma, California 94952

Sunday through Thursday 10:30 a.m.-1:00 a.m.
Friday and Saturday 10:30 a.m.-1:30 a.m.

Madonna Eats Her 1st NYC Pizza Slice

My incredulity is staggering, but I'm ever so pleased that she abandoned her English accent!

Via: Grub Street

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Good Morning

Have a hankering for an omelet? It's not as straight-forward as you would think....

Via: Eat Me Daily