Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
ok. i snuck in one more, closer to i.m. pei's "university village" (far less charming than the colorful glazed brick of the washington square apartments) :
Thursday, March 24, 2011
butter? i was a teenager at the time, and while i knew what smells were conjured by different whole dishes (the vinegar and garlic from adobo; the meaty, sweetness of spaghetti sauce; the mustiness of my mom's awful, awful chicken curry), my food senses were not so evolved. i was fascinated that this little guy could be so attuned to a single note. he continued to develop a keen palate. our family thought we had a future chef on our hands. (instead, we have a wonderful gourmand...)
a couple of weeks ago, he sent a link to elsewhere restaurant's menu to my sister and me. it's a butter hit parade: bacon butter popcorn, biscuits with brown butter and crushed black pepper, salt-baked fingerling potatoes with bacon butter and anchovy mayo... there was no question he'd found the perfect place for us to celebrate his 30th birthday. i only wondered how elsewhere had eluded me to that moment.
elsewhere opened in december of last year, and apart from a modest mention in florence fabricant's diner's journal, there seemed to have been little buzz. but this is the second enterprise undertaken by brian keyser and megan johnson of casellula, a wine and cheese and tapas utopia in hell's kitchen. so while their devotion to cheese is duly-noted here (hooray, the shushan snow!), elsewhere gives them the opportunity to flaunt a little more with mains. though with so many dishes to tempt, you'll likely still be inspired to share the big plates, too.
as is true of some of new york's best new restaurants, elsewhere keeps to local, sustainable, seasonal food; herbs from their back garden are front and center in these very fine dishes.
this is the best sangria i have had in new york.
i like mine juicy and strong, but balanced. hibiscus is the surprise charm here.
my sister was driving that night, so she "settled" for a their special hot chocolate with just a splash of bourbon. you like how she rolls?
bacon butter popcorn.
smoked caviar, puffed rice and herb crème fraîche. jason surprised me by making this choice, but like i said, he's got a good palate.
this is really a "snap crackle and pop" dish:
the snap of chopped green beans, the crackle of puffed rice, and the pop of salty caviar bubbles.
luscious crème fraîche and bright chives don't hurt the cause one bit.
5 SPOKE TUMBLEWEED POUTINE, you made me love you. i didn't want to do it. i didn't want do it.
(actually, i did. and you will too.) i had no earthly idea what a "5 spoke tumbleweed" was--it's a cheese. and it melts perfectly, with gravy and fries.
i opted for the palate cleansing sorbet: pineapple pink peppercorn.
this is george michael circa 1992 --just too funky for me. pineapple, like lemon, can be too intense to the point of bitterness, or just too aromatic. that's what happens here. and the crunch of the peppercorn wasn't as interesting as i thought it would be. the experience was rather like eating potpourri...
opt for that, or the cheese plate, and you won't be sorry.
one of my favorite things about elsewhere is the actual dining experience. the food is of-the-moment and eclectic, but it's not a trendy scene. the room is wide and welcoming, with a dining garden (home to a 30 year old ficus tree), and the spirit of the service is the same. they let us linger over this meal, allowed us to feel really at home.
for a lovely occasion--or none at all-- you'll find elsewhere is just the right place to be.
(and yes, i'm referencing a fleetwood mac song in the post title)
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
is there any city in the world that is easier to traverse than new york? i have been partly around the world, and still haven't found a place with such a logical way about it. maybe cities like buenos aires and paris, where one neighborhood or district slips into the next are more sexy, romantic, or more mysterious. but new york, she is smart.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011
i've recently converted another smart cookie to maximum favorite writer's camp. my cousin, jenny, declared herself officially to me, to my deep delight. she likes tennis, but obviously she already understands you don't need to be tennis-obsessed to appreciate his work. she just likes his writing. she called it relatable.
for me there is always something (a few somethings) in his posts, a phrase or image that will linger. there is one in particular that i relate to (and love) from the notebook post this week, on the view from the skies:
I’ve always liked looking out the windows of a plane; somehow the long view relaxes me, and this trip offered mostly cloudless, unimpeded views of the United States. I’ll never get enough of the sight of the lights of small cities dotting the countryside at night. There’s something warming about them, about the way they stick outside in the darkness, against the darkness. Like snowflakes and Grateful Dead shows, no two are exactly the same. Looking at them pass by slowly, I think, What can possibly be going wrong there, in that safe spot where people have decided to gather?
i am afraid of heights and flying--i actually cried the first time i got on a plane by myself, and believe me i was "old enough--but while actually aloft, i do love the marks of the land by day and the twinkling at night. it can be hard to explain to those who are unafraid, and to those who are upended by flying. he describes it simply, clearly and beautifully.
he explores that idea-- from street level and from an outsider's point of view--with a series called "homes at night." unlike the dreamy, warm view from the plane, his series can suggest something disquieting, or at least not entirely....easy.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Monday, March 14, 2011
Sunday, March 13, 2011
so, i went to octavia’s porch, a restaurant that celebrates global jewish cuisine–as they describe it, encompassing eastern europe, south africa, morocco, spain, portugal, italy– with some "flavor" expectations: a punch of lemon, rich and thick tahini and beans, nut and olive and dried fruit accents, and dill. i expected smoky preparations and pickled sides. but i suppose more than anything, i expected the fare to be good and hearty. the cultural references were wide, and the thoughtful menu presented one deliciously hard choice after another.
but as much as i enjoyed the selections my friend rachel and i made during our first visit, the modern, fresh but lightly flavored fare reminded me of only one place: california...
i love white bean dip, but think it needs one dominant flavor added to it, to bring it to life. my sister makes a family favorite that’s heavy on garlic and rosemary. this one could have used more lemon, more chive –and maybe a dollop or two of tahini to give it a rich note. and a bit of sea salt.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
as a glass of iced tea,
her bony shoulders draped
with a curtain of dark hair
that plunged straight down,
the cut tips brushing
her nonexistent butt.
I wanted to wear a lantern
for a hat, a cabbage, a piñata
and walk in thigh-high boots
with six-inch heels that buttoned
up the back. I wanted her
rouged cheek bones and her
throaty panache, her voice
of gravel and clover, the hokum
of her clothes: black fishnet
and pink pom-poms, fringed bells
and her thin strip of a waist
with the bullet-hole navel.
Cher standing with her skinny arm
slung around Sonny's thick neck,
posing in front of the Eiffel Tower,
The Leaning Tower of Pisa,
The Great Wall of China,
The Crumbling Pyramids, smiling
for the camera with her crooked
teeth, hit-and-miss beauty, the sun
bouncing off the bump on her nose.
Give me back the old Cher,
the gangly, imperfect girl
before the shaving knife
took her, before they shoved
pillows in her tits, injected
the lumpy gel into her lips.
Take me back to the woman
I wanted to be, stalwart
and silly, smart as her lion
tamer's whip, my body a torch
stretched the length of the polished
piano, legs bent at the knee, hair
cascading down over Sonny's blunt
fingers as he pummeled the keys,
singing in a sloppy alto
the oldest, saddest songs.