Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Friday, July 27, 2007
Sunday, July 22, 2007
And even we can pretend that I have nothing at all to bring to the table (I'll admit it's a far stretch to say the least)Let us imagine that I am invisible, but what about the other things going on in the world beside food? What about the war? The election? Global Warming? World Hunger? Health Care? The decline of the middle class? Hell, I would have even enjoyed talking about the latest person voted off some shit-for-show on Saturday afternoon tv.
At least the food we ate kept me entertained. Wylie Dufresne's "mad scientist" reputation is clearly backed up in his food. He was doing things with food most people couldn't imagine: 'see it to believe it' type of stuff that leaves you saying, “How did he do that?”. Some highlights would include the 'bread' for the table which was a thin-as-a-coke-head-crispy-seseame-salty-melt-in-your-mouth-treat, knot foie had flavor matches that seemed to be brought together by an ancient matchmaker, pickled beef tongue like I have never tasted created a clean food-memory in my head, and the deconstructed sandwich with its tiny fried mayo cubes were simply melt worthy.
I would like to get to know Wylie more. He seems like the type of person who takes life very seriously. Working furiously fast on the hot apps station as his perfectly cut hair brushed past the tops of his shoulders, he appeared as a serious methodical chef.
50 Clinton St
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Executive Chef Ken Callaghan entices guests with his smoky flavors and juicy meats at an East side eatery with a built in jazz music box: Jazz Standard, located conveniently downstairs. Danny Meyer invested is money wisely in a BBQ joint with a mock view of grass and plants out its south facing windows. As you walk in you might be confused upon the first greeting. You might wonder, "Is this man seating me the maitre'd or a guy fresh from a Thursday at the office?" After all, he was wearing jeans and button up colored and collard shirt. In fact, the whole staff was wearing the same thing. I couldn't really tell the staff apart from the patrons waiting for their various pig products. Except for the servers, they all wore jeans too, but also a black "Blue Smoke" tee.
Okay, enough about the clothes, but I will stick with the front of the house. Greeted promptly, as I should have been. (Take a note please, in this. Some of you other joints seem to think I like standing in a crowded restaurant entrance with shopping bags ripping grooves into the palms of my hands forcing me to wonder if in fact I am wearing an invisibility cloak.) The service was clumsy at best. Not once, but twice servers came to drop food off at our table while suddenly looking frazzled as they realized we hadn’t ordered that, or anything yet. Annoying.
Now the food. It was very good for the price and pretty much exactly what I expected for this BBQ place that was well suited for families with children crawling over the red booths, the business men, the UES moms and strollers and the wonderfully happy gay couple to our left. We ordered: chicken wings, creamed spinach, hush puppies, a sampler of BBQ, fried green tomato salad and chocolate cake with ice cold milk. After receiving our cowboy looking mini bucket for sticky chipotle chicken wing carcasses we dove right in. The wings were great-larger than expected, crispy on the outside, warm and tender on the inside. But nothing crazy. Just good wings. I liked them. The hush puppies were next, terrible for your heart, but heartwarming to eat with their soft but firm, flush-white center and perfectly "golden-brown", thick exterior. Content with the sampler because it was, for lack of a better word: a sample. Now we know what to order the next time. And what to skip. Would get the pulled pork again, though it was a little dry. Actually, everything needed more BBQ sauce on it, but thankfully it was already on the table. Maybe they knew. The St. Louis ribs had a smoky flavor and smell and the flesh was teasingly tender. Fried green tomato salad was a salad that actually matched the dressing it was dressed in, delightfully. A buttermilk dressing quickly aided in the strict bitterness of the baby arugula. Would not, and I must actually repeat: would not order the creamed spinach again. It lacked seasoning and thus flavor. We added plenty of salt, but still it was a watery, pond looking mess. No worry though, there is no real need to order sides at Blue Smoke. Unlike most other pop-restaurants in the city, Blue Smoke offers larger portions. An entrée and an appetizer ought to do it. We especially overdid it with the chocolate cake. His idea, not mine. For a simple piece of chocolate cake, it was done most excellently. Too often are cakes over hyped on sugar and hard to bear with each new bite. But this cake was moist, yet not flimsy under the pressure of icing and paired perfectly with milk. Does the sommelier take care of that?
All around, I enjoyed Blue Smoke. Nothing to throw a ticker tape parade over, but loving and warm, matching its price to the food-gifts it tenders.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Link to the slideshow: http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2005/03/24/magazine/20050327_TATTOO_SLIDESHOW_1.html
Article itself (minus the pics)
Every profession has its rituals and idioms, but there is something especially
tribal about cooking. Chefs spend years developing their craft, working nights
and holidays in the celebrated pressure of a restaurant just so that a stranger
may enjoy a passing moment of pleasure. The devotion is beautiful -- and a
Naturally, cooking ranks with the Navy and the yakuza as
one of the great tattooed vocations, though the images sometimes differ. The
most committed chefs are known to ink tools and ingredients onto their bodies --
a sign that they're in it for more than just the endless desserts. Not that
chefs aren't already marked by their trade. Look at their hands, and you'll see
cuts, calluses, scars; look at their arms, and you'll see burn marks from
reaching into an oven in a busy kitchen.
Once a friend was buying a
knife at Bridge Kitchenware, and he asked for a professional discount, a
standard practice, but he had forgotten his restaurant's business card. He held
up his ruined hands and asked, ''Will these do?'' The chefs on these pages could
have shown their tattoos. OLIVER SCHWANER-ALBRIGHT
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Writing this on my sister's computer in the heart of America. Spending time with the fam for the 4th. Already heard about 379 times, "Where is the chef?". HE'S WORKING, OK!?!? Another holiday alone, but I'm comforted in the fact that my fellow chefswives are celebrating the holiday alone as well. Plus the fam is great-nothing better. Look, I know this is not a political blog, nor do I want it to be, but I do have to say one thing. Take this week and celebrate America. You don't have to like Bush, eat apple pie, or play football-but do this please: give thanks and appreciation for running water, a/c, and the freedom to vote. Too many people can't do that. Now that said, enjoy your hot dogs and hamburgers, sparklers and beer. Happy Independence Day.