Thursday, August 15, 2013

Spinsters get up for breakfast

That's a Lady Edith quote, she being a useful spinster and all.  I've been thinking about Lady Edith a lot this week, but my thoughts on Downton Abbey will wait for another time.

I feel like I've been spending all my blogging time talking about infertility stuff, and even though I feel like I could talk about it ad nauseum, I do other things and think about other things too.  Mostly I think about food. 

The other day I mentioned to Anh, perhaps my biggest blogging cheerleader from back when I started this thing all those years ago, that I was blogging again.  Her first words: “Are you blogging about food?  Oh, I hope you’re blogging about food!”  I felt so sad that my blog posts have not only had nothing to do with food, but have generally been mope-tastic.  So this food post is really for Anhabella.

Jeeves and I eat at a lot of great places, but mostly I cook for us at home.  So I’ll start out with some recipes I tried this summer that worked out very well.  Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures – I don’t really bother with pictures of things I’ve cooked.  Also, almost everything I’ve cooked falls into the “healthy” category because I’m pretty anal about eating a lot of vegetables ever since Dad was diagnosed.  We don’t eat a lot of meat at home, and if we do, it’s chicken or fish (although we did have a really good dry aged NY strip for our anniversary dinner at home). 

Back in the spring, I went with my friend Tati to Frankie’s 457 in Brooklyn for lunch.  We shared a fennel, parsley, celeriac salad to start.  I’m not generally a big fennel person (I don’t love licorice as a flavor), but this salad was amazing.  So I found the recipe online and made it at home.  It wasn’t quite as good as the version at Frankie’s, but still so good and worth making.

I’ve gotten really into Smitten Kitchen, and if you haven’t bought her cookbook, do yourself a favor and get it.  Everything is relatively easy to make and I have not had a single bad meal from it.  And from her website, I’ve made some amazing zucchini fritters and two carrot recipes: a carrot harissa salad and roasted carrots with avocado.  We get carrots every week from our CSA and it’s pretty easy to make them delicious.  Oh, and also her crunchy salad is divine!  A great way to use up cucumbers and radishes and any other crunchy vegetable you want.

I’ve also been baking a lot because we signed up for the fruit share of our CSA this year.  One particular thing I baked that turned out quite well was this cherry rum cake.  Quite easy to make.  Not healthy at all, but that’s fine – dessert doesn’t need to be healthy.

And where have we been eating?  This time I have pictures!  Back in June, I went to Craft with Roo, Devon, and her husband.  Three out of four people at the table had the fried chicken.  It was stupendous – moist on the inside, crispy (and well-seasoned) on the outside.  I’m a Top Chef fan and I recalled the fried chicken challenge from this season.  After eating Craft’s fried chicken, I can see why Tom Colicchio is so picky.

Jeeves and I went out to dinner at Alder, Wylie Dufresne’s new, casual place.  It was quite good, although a few things really stood out more than the rest.  We particularly liked the asparagus dish (not currently on the menu) and the chicken liver toast.

At the end of June, we went to see Eleanor Friedberger at the Music Hall of Williamsburg (I really heart her).  I tend to rag on Brooklyn a lot.  It’s not that I think there aren’t good things there.  I know there are good things there.  It’s just that I feel they tend to be overhyped and overcrowded.  One night a couple of years ago we went out for dinner at this new pizza place somewhere in Brooklyn.  Our friends who live near it went on and on about how great it was supposed to be.  It was completely mediocre, in my opinion, and I think everyone was just excited because it was the first thin crust fancy pizza place in that neighborhood.  After dinner, we spent 30 minutes going from bar to bar before we found a place where we could actually get a seat.  And people say Manhattan is crowded.

Anyway, I had super low expectations about our pre-show dinner at Allswell, but dinner there was really, really good.  I had the flatiron steak – perfectly cooked and super flavorful (and we learned that you need to have flatiron steak cooked medium, not medium-rare, otherwise it will be too chewy).  Our appetizers were good, too, and if I had been in the mood for a non-alcoholic drink (instead of the wine I had, because why not?), they had a mocktail option.  The only downside is that it pays to get there on the earlier side as they tend to run out of stuff.  By the time we left, all of the entrees except for one were sold out.

Over the 4th of July weekend, we had a whirlwind of good food.  4th of July in NYC is the absolute best time to go to places that are usually very crowded.  So, on the Friday of that weekend we hit up Pok Pok Ny (Thai food out in Brookaleen, again), on Saturday we went to Mighty Quinn’s BBQ in the East Village (with Reefy, of course, because I feel it’s wrong to eat barbeque without Reefy), and on Sunday we went to Uncle Boon’s (more Thai food) on the Lower East Side.  Each meal was fantastic in its own, unique way.

At Pok Pok, we put in our name and waited down the street at a bar until they called us. The standout dish was this pork belly in curry.  I could drink a cup of that curry sauce straight.  Super flavorful.  The papaya salad was great too. 

At Mighty Quinn’s, we agreed that the brisket was kind of dry.  But the brontosaurus rib and the pulled pork – fantastic.  The sides were generally good, though I actually felt like there was too much meat in the baked beans.  Reefy did not agree with me.  We had absolutely no wait there – thank you, holiday weekend!

Uncle Boon’s was my favorite meal of the weekend.  Absolutely every last dish we had was fantastic. Unfortunately I have no pictures of it.... I'm not sure why.  We were eating there with Dave and Jess and they certainly aren't the types to judge me for taking food photos, but I think it must have been because we were so hungry, we descended upon the food like those crazy beetles in the rain forest that eat everything in their path.  The mee krob (spicy sweetbreads) and the spicy chicken and banana blossom salad were particular standouts.

For Jeeves' birthday at the end of July, we went to Wylie's flagship - WD-50 and had a great tasting menu.  But before dinner, we went to Attaboy, a bar on the Lower East.  Attaboy is now in the space that used to be Milk & Honey.  It has a similar vibe, but you don't need a reservation, and the bar has been lengthened.  Best of all, it's run by Sammy, our favorite M&H bartender.  Sammy was tending bar when we stopped in and we got to have a couple of exceptional cocktails.  Dinner at WD-50 was phenomenal, although a little less quirky and molecular gastronomy focused than our first visit a few years ago.  My favorite dish of the night was a cold egg drop soup with uni.  I pretty much love anything with uni.

And now for the big dinner of the summer (I know, we're fucking ridiculous - the big dinner?  Like the rest of these were little trips out or something.).  Jeeves got us a reservation at the Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare to celebrate our second wedding anniversary.  I was a little nervous about this dinner because it is a) very expensive; and b) they send an e-mail of rules, such as dress code (fine, no biggy), no picture taking (ugh) and no note-taking (what?).  So I have no pictures of this meal, and I can't give great details about each course because I can't remember all the ingredients.  What I can say is that the food was absolutely 3 Michelin star worthy.  It was perfect.  One course was uni on this tiny brioche with a truffle gelee on top.  It was the best bite of food I've ever had.  Hands down.  There were so many incredible sashimi fish courses - types of fish flown in from Japan that I had never even heard of before.  Unbelievable osetra caviar with potato.  A Wagyu beef course that was cooked to perfection.  A memorable chocolate and apricot dessert.  The service was professional, but it was not seamless and not particularly warm.  And the pacing of the courses was far too quick for Jeeves' and my taste.  Still, for the food alone, it was memorable and worthwhile.

Phew, and that's been our summer of eats.  No wonder I've gained weight.


  1. Hooray! I love reading anything from the Mind of Meggers, but you're right. The food is where it's at. A DC girl has gotta live vicariuosly and you are my NYC Foodie Connect!

    Keep posting. It's good to see your heart on the page. Sending you love and hugs from down south.


  2. I love food. I feel like that's weird to say but I can't help it. Eating new and delicious and INTERESTING food just makes me so happy. I'm jealous of your culinary adventures :)

    1. Thanks, Anne! I don't think there's anything weird about loving food. Good food just makes me happy.