Saturday, June 30, 2007

June 30, 2006 Dinner

I was recently tidying up my hard drive and found a menu that we prepared for a dinner exactly one year ago today.

It was our first dinner party as a married couple, when we were still living in Washington Heights.

The initial goal was to cook a meal that would go well with a Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Jen Shim had been wanting us to try this wine, and so the deal was that she would supply a nice example of one and we would supply the food.

I decided to make an old Julia Child chicken dish as the main course. But then we started adding courses here and there until we had a full menu. At that point we figured that since much of it was French--the wine, a few of the courses--we might as well arrange the courses in the traditional French manner, what with the salad after the main course and so on. Just for fun.

Since we were going to make all of this food, we thought to invite a few more people. And so it turned into our first dinner party.


Dinner at the Chungs'
June 30, 2006


Apéritif
Prosecco di Valdobbiadene, Mionetto

Bellinis

Hors d’Oeuvres
Hummus with Baba Ganoush, served with Crudités: Endive, Celery, Orange Bell Pepper, Blanched asparagus, and Medium Carrots with Green Tops

Soup
Vichyssoise

Main Course
Fricassée de Poulet à l’Ancienne with Buttered Egg Noodles and Fresh Green Peas

Wine pairings
Tardieu-Laurent, Cuvee Speciale 2003, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Chateau Franc-Mayne 2001, Saint-Emilion

Salad
Hearts of Romaine with Balsamic Vinagrette

Cheese Course
Pyrenees Ossau Vielle
Hard sheep’s milk cheese.

Selles sur Cher
Ash-covered disc of goat’s milk cheese.

Brillat Savarin, Affinage (Murray's Cheese)
A soft, salty, and creamy cow’s milk cheese.

Dessert
Homemade Lime Ice Cream

Fresh Strawberries

Chocolate, 68% Ivory Coast Cacao
Caro, Aragon, Spain

Wine pairing
Villa Schinosa 2003, Moscato di Trani

Coffee
Sumatra, French Roast

Digestif
Laphroaig, 15 year

Hosts:
Mabel Chung
David Chung

Guests:
Jason Baek
Keith Chu
Nicole Cuenot
Christine Hung
Jennifer Shim


We didn't get a picture of everyone during the dinner, but we have one of the aftermath.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Beef tenderloin

When we went to Fairway last weekend, we also picked up a whole beef tenderloin. I had no choice. It was only $21.44. For the entire thing of meat.


Last night I decided to cut it into steaks.


They were a bit uneven. I think next time I'm going to try wrapping it in saran wrap first to make things easier. I've seen real butchers do that. But I didn't think of it this time around.

We had some bacon in the fridge so I decided to wrap the steaks in it. The bacon helped to hold them into a nice round shape.


We had some of the steaks for dinner tonight. It's definitely worth the effort to wrap tenderloin in bacon. The bacon adds really good flavor, although it doesn't get crispy, so it's better to just leave it to the side and not eat it.

Monday, June 25, 2007

El Presidente

Mabel was up in Washington Heights this morning to run some errands and play the piano, so we decided to get lunch at El Presidente.

I forgot how inexpensive restaurant food can be. Mabel got Stuffed Plantain with salad for $2.95. I got Roast Chicken with white rice and beans for $4.50. Bread comes with the meal. And we each got a $1.15 Cafe con Leche.


They gave me the white meat of the chicken and it was a bit dry, but that was mostly remedied with a squeeze of lime that comes with the dish. Mabel's plantain was pretty intense. It was a sweet plantain stuffed with a ground beef mixture. She liked it.


For some reason, the New York Times seems to like this restaurant a lot, especially Eric Asimov.

I like it too. Lots of food and very good coffee. And ridiculously cheap.

El Presidente
3938 Broadway (at 165th St)
New York, NY 10032

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Trip to Robert Moses Beach

Mabel and I got a Zipcar and went to Robert Moses Beach today.

We wanted to bring lunch and dinner to the beach so I figured that we could stop by the Harlem Fairway on the way. Except that I discovered it was way out of the way.

Fortunately, there's a Fairway on Long Island on the way to the beach. Who knew? These were our directions.


Wow! A suburban Fairway! We picked up our food and headed to the beach.

When we got there, we were so hungry we just started eating.

I had some rice, "Malaysian" spareribs, and fried shrimp from the pay-by-the-pound section at Fairway Cafe. The rice was edible, the spareribs were pretty good, and the fried shrimp was kind of chewy, but still okay. I've decided that spareribs are a pretty low risk food. It's difficult to mess up spareribs.


Mabel had a tuna salad. Which was just a regular tuna salad.

Everything was fine until the wind kicked in and got sand in our food. Beach picnics=bad idea. Best to keep things simple.


We had a tiny cooler to put our stuff in. I thought that having the ice packs underneath everything would keep the cheese cool enough, but I was wrong. The chocolate didn't melt at least. Also present is our customary bottle of Volvic. That water is our current obsession. The baguette from the Long Island Fairway was decent, unlike the terrible baguettes I once got at the Harlem Fairway. I'm glad we had the pineapple. It was good pineapple.


I was trying to figure out some function on my camera and took this picture by mistake.


This is Mabel's favorite Brie. It is called Delice de Bourgogne although the label had it as Belice de Bourgogne. She had it a few weeks ago for the first time. It's salty and awesome. Fairway's plastic wrap description of it is: "Fabolous [sic] triple-creme from France. This is what St. Andre tasted like ten years ago, before mass-production blandified it out of all recognition. If you like St. Andre, you'll love this. Insanely rich and decadent."

Boy, Fairway sure is bitter about St. Andre selling out. But I'm glad someone is keeping an eye out for these things. It really is a decadent cheese, even more so half melted.


We ate these wraps for dinner. They weren't very good and we could only eat half of each. Mine had just too much gorganzola and dried cranberries. Mabel could only eat so much soggy food (from being in the cooler). I will skip the wraps the next time around.


Late in the day, a fisherman set up shop in front of us. He looks kind of like Mario Batali, doesn't he? I didn't want to bother him so I never found out for sure.

We decided to go back to Fairway on our return trip.


We pretty much shopped like there was a hurricane or a big snowstorm coming: lots of toilet paper and paper towels, canned goods, pasta, beer, and a case of Volvic.

Fairway (Long Island)
50 Manetto Hill Mall
Plainview, New York 11803

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

Went to Dinosaur BBQ tonight with a group of 20 for a lab dinner.

I've been here twice before and both times it was good. The meat isn't as smoky as that from R.U.B. and the ribs lack the pink smoke ring you come to expect from great barbecue, but they have the texture right, everything tastes good regardless, and the restaurant is fun.

We did a set menu of Pulled Pork, Pork Spareribs, and Brisket with sides of Corn, Baked Beans, Mac and Cheese, and Corn Bread. The meat was excellent. It was all freshly sliced, moist, and fatty. I usually don't enjoy pulled pork as much as other things because it tends to be dry, but tonight it was moist and flavorful. The spareribs were also prepared just right. And the brisket was the moistest, fattiest brisket I've had.


After sitting for about 30 minutes, though, the pulled pork and especially the brisket lost its succulent texture. That's why it's important to go to a place that will give you their product at its peak. Dinosaur is definitely one of these places.

The sides were good, though the baked beans and corn bread were just okay. The corn was amazing. Nicolas thought it was too sweet, but for me the other flavors balanced out the sweetness.

I think that the food might have been better because we were such a large group. We had to wait a little before the barbecue started coming out--a waitress apologized that it was taking so long--but to me that just meant that we were going to get the freshest barbecue. It was worth the wait.

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
646 W 131st St (at 12th Ave)
New York, NY 10027

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Koryodang Korean bakery

We also stopped by Koryodang to pick up some Cream Chestnut buns for breakfast tomorrow morning.


I like this place for their Pat Bing Su which is a Korean shaved ice dessert. Their version contains shaved ice, kiwi, mango, and other fruits, mochi (a sweet rice cake), a malt powder, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream with a cherry on top. I don't know of a better place to get this. There's enough for at least two people to share.


I also like it here because I get a kick out of the melodramatic music and the Korean-feeling architecture. It's a little pricy to sit and eat in the cafe, but whenever I do I feel like I'm in Korea, even though I've never been there.

Koryodang
31 W 32nd St (b/n 5th and 6th Ave)
New York, NY 10001

Pinkberry

We went to Pinkberry after chicken. It's less than a block away. The line was out the door, but we stood in it anyway ... until we stepped inside. The air conditioner was broken. No wonder no one was sitting at the tables. We left.


But we love Pinkberry. Mabel discovered it completely by chance right after it opened in K-town and before it justifiably got ridiculously popular.

It's basically just yogurt that's frozen. It's not typical frozen yogurt, because what is commonly known as frozen yogurt tastes nothing like yogurt. Pinkberry fro-yo actually has the tang and freshness of yogurt. And it's awesome. The first time you have it is a revelation. Plus there are a variety of toppings.

They only have two flavors, plain and green tea. Plain is by far the best option. I usually get some sort of fruit or their off-menu mochi as a topping.

Pinkberry
7 W 32nd Street (near 5th Ave)
New York, NY 10001

Bon Chon Chicken


Mabel and I decided to check out Bon Chon Chicken tonight. It's a Korean fried chicken place that was covered by the New York Times recently in this article.


The restaurant was way more hip than I expected. Since it was a fried chicken place on the second floor of an old building I expected a dive with fluorescent lighting and old simulated wood grain tables. But it was pretty much the opposite. Kind of trendy. Nice lighting, though a bit on the dark side. I guess the whole second floor thing ended up giving it a secret place kind of feel. Their door was all whatever.


The chicken was super good. We got the large Special which is a mix of chicken wings and drumsticks. I love that those are the only chicken parts that they sell (the best tasting parts), although I'm not sure why the thigh didn't make the cut. We also opted to get Ginger Soy on half our order and Spicy sauce on the other half.

The chicken wings are the best I've had. The closest rivals in my memory are the wings at Ye Olde Forge near Williamstown, MA. The wings at Bon Chon have very crispy skin and are perfect in combination with the flavor and heat of the Spicy sauce.

The drumsticks were also good, but pale in comparison to the wings due to the relatively low skin to meat ratio. The Ginger Soy sauce was tasty but did not go as well with the chicken as the Spicy sauce (even though it was less painful).

They had a small shredded salad and some cool, lightly pickeled radishes to ease the heat of the sauce. A beer was critical.

We also ordered French Fries with Rosemary. They were steak fries, but I would call them potato wedges they were so huge. I'm a fan of skinnier fries. But it came with a nice salty mustard mayonaise dipping sauce (my ideal french fry sauce next to aioli) in addition to ketchup.

And they deliver! They have cool take out containers which we used as a doggie bag. I think we'll be giving them a call pretty soon.


Bon Chon Chicken
314 5th Ave (at 32nd St)
New York, NY 10001
(212) 221-2222

Gordon Ramsay on Hell's Kitchen

I saw part of Hell's Kitchen on Fox last night. Just by chance. It's a really trashy show with poor editing and low production values. I guess there's a reason why it's not mentioned very much.

After seeing the show, I'm not sure why Gordon Ramsay has such a bad reputation for being a mean, irrationally angry chef. I can understand why he's so upset on the show. The contestants are awful. I would be yelling at them if I were in charge of a restaurant. Or even if they were in my home kitchen.

One of them took spaghetti out of the trash, washed it off, then re-boiled it ("killing all the bacteria"). She would have gotten away with it if another contestant hadn't seen the whole thing and vetoed the idea. She was actually going to serve it to people! What I don't understand is how she thought she could get away with it at all. There are cameras everywhere.

And she wasn't even the worst contestant. Someone else got kicked off in the end.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Babbo

Mabel and I decided to go to Babbo tonight for our second wedding anniversary. I made the reservation the day of, and we got an early seating which I prefer (although we didn't have much choice anyway).

Unfortunately, we couldn't catch a cab to get there. Where's everyone going at 5pm on a Sunday anyway? We took a bus downtown, walked across several avenues in the humid 90 degree weather, and arrived sweaty and late.

When we arrived, they guided us to the upstairs dining room where we started to cool off with a bottle of sparkling water and a quartino of Savignon Blanc (Ronco delle Betulle 2005).

I'm really glad they put us upstairs. I think this was our fifth time at the restaurant and the third time we were able to sit upstairs. In my mind Babbo is three different restaurants. There's the bar area that only takes walk-ins, the downstairs dining room on the same floor as the bar, and the upstairs dining room.

The bar area is crowded and tends to have mediocre service. I used to think that as long as the food was the same it shouldn't matter. But it affects your perception of the food, and the stress of the waiters and people pushing in through the door can't be great for the digestion. I think that at most the thing to do here is get a bowl of pasta and make a quick getaway.

We've never been seated on the ground floor dining room, and I'm glad. It's a bit dark, and loud, and there are banquettes which I don't really like.

The upstairs dining room, however, is like heaven. It is light and airy. There's a large skylight. It's quieter, but there is still a nice energy to the room with the same eclectic soundtrack and lively conversation as the rest of the restaurant. And the service is more coordinated and seamless.

To start, Mabel wanted a leafy salad but was warned that her choice of Vegetables with Coach Farm Goat Cheese was actually a bunch of grilled vegetables. So she changed her order to Warm Lamb’s Tongue Vinaigrette with Morels and a 3-Minute Egg.

We've had that dish before, but she got it mostly because she wanted to see how properly prepared morels tasted. They taste very good. Not like the ones we tried to make at home a few weeks ago.

I ordered Asparagus “Milanese” with Duck Egg and Parmigiano which was fat asparagus with an egg on top. Tasty.

For the primi, we split a serving of Goose Liver Ravioli with Balsamic Vinegar and Brown Butter. Mabel was initially apprehensive, but it turned out to be the best pasta dish we've ever had there, and we've had all the commonly known ones. It had the sweet and savory thing going for it. We ordered a second quartino of wine to go with it (Trimpilin 2004). It had a nice subtle anise flavor.

For the secondi, Mabel got Rabbit with Peas, Pancetta and Carrot Vinaigrette. Neither of us have had rabbit before. It was good. It tasted like chicken which is not a bad thing, I think. It also had these cool little fat, squat carrots that we hadn't seen before. The pancetta pieces were awesome.

I got Grouper with Charred Leeks, Warm Treviso and Pancetta Vinaigrette as my secondi. Really good. The fish was perfect. The way the whole thing was put together the fish could have been a piece of steak or fatty pork (a good thing). What I mean is that it had the satisfaction of a great steak or braised pork, but it still tasted like fish. The large pancetta chunks only made things better. I love bacon.

We finished things off by sharing an especially jiggly panna cotta that came with an unexpected side of peach sorbetto, and we washed it down with a light and bubbly Moscato d'Asti.

Babbo
110 Waverly Place
New York, NY 10011
212-777-0303

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Tony's Cuba East at Tasty Deli

I just had the cuban sandwich at Tasty Deli in Washington Heights. It was almost as good as I last remembered it and is still the best cuban sandwich I've been able to find.


I'm not sure exactly what makes it so good, but I have a feeling that the secret is in the bread and the peppers. The bread is a sesame roll encrusted with garlic that has a thicker crust than most rolls typical of cuban sandwiches. The red bell peppers, aside from great flavor, have a tang to them that offsets the relative dryness of the roast pork.


I like that they use ordinary ingredients to make a great sandwich. No need for perfectly cooked heritage pork and a fancy cheese here.

Tasty Deli
4020 Broadway (between 169th St & 170th St)
New York, NY 10032
(212) 923-0700

Tredanari olive wine

I had a really interesting wine last night at Josh and Eve's potluck. It tasted of olives, in a good way. A little salty with an olive taste.

I didn't find the person who brought it, but whoever he or she is, I think they're special. A google search on the wine brought up nothing, or only websites in Italian.


The bottle itself was kind of bizarre. It seems like it may have been bought in Italy because there is no importer name nor is there a surgeon general's warning. Instead, there is a picture of some random guy on the back.


Tredanari 2005
Vino Rosso della Cava del Castelli
Vino Prodotto ed Imbottigliato del Castello

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Daisy May's

Just got back from my first visit to Daisy May's BBQ USA, the putatively "Best barbecue in New York City" according to Zagat.


I have to say that I was severely disappointed. Their Kansas City and Memphis Dry Rub pork ribs were dry and not fresh. Which I could have forgiven. But not only were they dry and not fresh, they were pre-cut. That says something about how much the managers care about their product.


It's not that much extra effort to keep the ribs whole until someone orders them, especially if that means that they stay moist. You could tell from how sunken and dry the cut edges were that the ones we were served had been sitting for a long time.

That said, the ribs were still tasty, although in an overcooked salty ham kind of way. Also, the beef short rib that Mabel got was perfectly prepared and impressive, falling apart and moist. It wasn't exactly smoky, but it was still very good. The whole bone that they served it with was an interesting touch.


The sides were excellent, especially the creamy corn with cheddar, the love-child of corn and mac & cheese.

Sweet tea in a mason jar was good but only worth the price because we needed to buy a mason jar anyway.

I like barbecue. Even disappointing barbecue. So I'll be ordering delivery from Daisy May's in the future. But I'm not hiking back to their restaurant unless they redeem themselves sometime in the future. After this one visit alone, I have to rank Daisy May's on the bottom of my list, after RUB, Dinosaur, and even Virgil's.

Daisy May's BBQ USA
623 11th Ave. (corner of 46th St.)
New York, NY 10036
212-977-1500

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Mabel's first Patricia Wells recipe

Mabel has been seeing references to Patricia Wells lately, first in Life is Meals by James and Kay Salter and then in a Mark Bittman article promoting Wells' new book.


She couldn't resist the urge to go out and buy a copy of Bistro Cooking, an older cookbook that Bittman pronounced "a near-perfect collection of family-restaurant recipes from around the country." (I guess she wasn't as impressed with the description of the latest book.)


Mabel has first dibs on these recipes. I'm banned from them until she loses interest. Tonight was supposed to be a relaxing evening of cooking her first recipe from the book, Tagliatelle aux Moules Brasserie Le Coq, but she didn't realize how long it would take to shuck 4 lbs. of mussels and peel and core tomatoes. By the time she was finished, the main thing she could think of was the mess in the kitchen.


Regardless, she pronounced: "I think Bistro Cooking is off to a good start." The recipe was pretty good. I don't think either of us had ever bothered to peel tomatoes before, but it's a nice touch.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Bad cheese

I never thought I'd meet a cheese I didn't like. Earlier today, Mabel picked up a wedge of Camembert at the Manhattan Fruit Exchange in Chelsea Market. They seemed like a trustworthy enough merchant. Even though it was a no name Camembert, labeled simply "Camembert" in plastic wrap, neither of us are picky enough to care. As long as it is good.


Well, lacking better words, I would describe it as necrotic cheese. The rind was crumbly and rotten-tasting. The cheese itself had a runny, watery texture with little taste. And it wasn't cheap. Ugh.

Manhattan Fruit Exchange
Chelsea Market
75 9th Avenue
New York, NY 10011

Austrian white wine

Just want to comment on the wine we had with dinner tonight. A recommendation from the wine shop in Chelsea Market. It had a nice acidity, and it was interesting because it's Austrian, cheap, and should go well with crab (though we didn't have crab tonight), but it was otherwise unremarkable.


Weingut Hofer Gruner Veltliner 2006 (Austria) o

Chelsea Wine Vault
Chelsea Market
75 9th Avenue
New York, NY 10011

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Taiwan Cafe


My mom, my two brothers, David, his parents and I went out to Taiwan Cafe in Boston for my graduation dinner. To avert the parental horror of ordering too little food, we ordered a good number of dishes including two orders of "Oyster pancake with gravy," two orders of "Mini steamed buns with pork," one order of "Mini steamed buns with pork and crabmeat," and orders of "Sauteed noodle with beef and vegetable in sa-cha sauce," "Sauteed snow pea sprouts with garlic," "Sauteed scallop, shrimp & calamari over green," "Steamed stripe bass with ginger and scallion," and "Steamed taro over duck in special house sauce."

The dishes I liked:

The edges of the oyster pancake were crispy and the plump oysters were pleasantly flavored by the hoisin-y "gravy."

I thought the sauteed noodles had a nice smoky taste, although my mother thought they were a bit too greasy.

The sauteed seafood came on a bed of halved baby bok choy - delicious!

I don't remember too much about the sauteed snow pea sprouts, but I remember liking them.

And although I thought the ginger and scallion sauce was a bit thick, the fish went very quickly, even at the end of the meal when people were already full.


The dishes I did not like:

Sadly, the mini buns were not as tasty as I remembered in past times. These buns were soup dumplings, which I was excited for my brothers to try for the first time. Perhaps it was because we were already three-quarters of the way through the meal, perhaps because they had to sit a while as we worked our way through all 24 dumplings, but they were not quite as soup-y nor as flavorful as during my prior visit. The dumplings were so good when I had them before that I prefer to think of this encounter as an anomaly.

The steamed taro and duck was tasty, but so hearty and so filling that no one could eat more than a few bites to taste. It is a pretty heavy dish; perhaps ten years ago when my metabolism was faster I might have been able to put this in the "dishes I like" column, but dishes of a certain density that fill me up too quickly - no matter how tasty - just take the fun out of a nice, leisurely dinner!

Taiwan Cafe
34 Oxford Street
Boston, MA 02111
617-426-8181
Monday to Sunday: 11am to 1am

Almond ring

I'm in Williamstown for my 5th year college reunion and got one of my favorite baked goods in the world, the almond ring.

The local coffee shop sells it. This isn't exactly the coffee shop that was here when I was a student. It's in a new building and goes by a different name. But the important things are the same, like their recipe for almond rings. I haven't been able to find something like it in ring form anywhere else, although a fellow alum told me that she once had something like it at a bakery in Iowa.


It is basically a fluffy marzipan-like core that is coated with sliced almonds. It is crunchy and soft, and not too sweet.

As I was confirming the address of the place, I ran across the blog of a guy who works at the coffee shop, The Coffee Guy. It is clear that he really loves his coffee and Tunnel City, but he strangely neglects to make mention of my beloved dessert anywhere on his blog.

Tunnel City Coffee House (formerly Cold Springs Coffee Roasters)
100 Spring St
Williamstown, MA 01267

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Dinner

Last night we had Henry, Ben, Josh, and Eve over for dinner and drinks. Ben had just come in from out of town. I made chicken, spinach, and pho-stuffing with Amy's Bread bread. Mabel made an awesome fresh squeezed orange sherbet for dessert and a garlic herb dip from a mix. Henry brought a nice soft cheese and a refreshing white Burgundy which was perfect for the warm weather.

I broke out a bottle of Le Cigare Volant that I had been saving for a while. Henry pronounced it cooked, so I decanted it to bring it back a little. I suspect that that's just the style of that wine now. I liked it all right but not enough to give it another chance. Oh well.

I liked the bottle of Chateau Lalande-Borie enough to get it again. I wasn't in any condition to organize what I thought about it except that it had what I want in a Bordeaux plus something a little different.

And I was finally able to have an occasion to bring out the Tenzan sake that's been sitting in the fridge for a while.


Saint-Veran "Les Pierres Grises" 2005 (White Burgundy)
Le Cigare Volant (Bonny Doon) 2001 ooo
Chateau Lalande-Borie 2003 (Saint-Julien) ooo
Tenzan (Heavens Mountain) Junmai Genshu Sake ooo

Dry-salted chicken

Last night I made my dry-salted chicken. I got the idea from a turkey article I found in the Washington Post two or three Thanksgivings ago. I've heard that this method of salting is pretty common in Chinese cooking.

1 chicken, 4-6 lbs.
2-4 tablespoons salt
1 shallot, quartered
half a lemon
a few sprigs of thyme
a cube of butter
ground pepper

Wash the chicken, pat dry, and sprinkle with salt, inside and out. Don't be stingy, but don't go overboard.


The idea is that the salt will initially draw water out from the chicken, dissolving the salt. But as it sits longer, the water will be drawn back into the chicken, along with the dissolved salt. How does the water know what to do? The magic of osmosis! What you put on the surface makes its way into the meat. Salt according to your palate.

Put the chicken in a large Ziplock bag and let it sit in the fridge overnight. This time around I only had 8 hours and it turned out fine.

Take out of fridge and let everything come close to room temperature if you have the time.

Stuff the cavity with the shallot, lemon, and thyme. Then truss the thing.


I like to truss my chicken. Not because I'm a fancypants, but because it makes things easier to handle and it keeps all the stuff from falling out.

Place upside down (meaning breast side down) into a 400 degree oven in a roasting pan with a rack. I do this to give the dark meat a head start.

After 10 minutes in the oven, impale the cube of butter with a fork and spread it wherever you can on the chicken.


After 30 minutes total, flip the chicken so that it is breast side up. Spread the rest of the butter on it. Sprinkle ground pepper on top.


Cook until done. Usually I use an electronic meat thermometer measuring 160 degrees at the breast and 180 degrees at the thigh. But since the move I haven't been able to find it. I guessed and it turned out fine after an hour total cooking time.


I forgot to take a picture of the finished bird before we ate it.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Amy's Bread

Picked up some bread from Amy's Bread today. It's our favorite NYC bread place and we were lucky to find that their original store is in our neighborhood.

There are a few tables in the back, and I overheard one of the customers say how good their coffee drinks were. But it was a little smokey (like from one of their ovens) and a bit warm and humid. Maybe a nice place to hang out in the winter.

They're open until 11 pm Monday through Saturday and the bread is the best we've found so far. Very good bread.

Amy's Bread
672 9th Ave (b/n 46th and 47th St)
New York, NY 10036

Hot Dog across from MoMA

We went to MoMA this afternoon to see the Richard Serra exhibit before it opened to the general public, and Mabel was starving afterwards. So she picked up a hot dog at a stand across the street.


It was your typical $1 New York City hot dog with ketchup. Pretty good, but not much to write about.

Hot Dog Stand near MoMA
20 W 53rd St (sidewalk, b/n 5th and 6th Ave)
New York, NY 10019

Friday, June 1, 2007

Soft Shell Crabs at Cottage Noodle Shop

Mabel has been excited about the soft shell crab season since reading Mark Bittman's soft shell crab sandwich article and seeing signs for it in restaurant windows.


So we walked up 9th Ave to Cottage Noodle Shop which had a particularly quaint handwritten soft shell crab special sign. (And also advertised them for $5 less than the Thai place next door.) The next day, when I took the picture, the sign was a particularly quaint computer-generated sign.


Mabel got soft shell crabs with ginger and scallion sauce. She liked them because it was crunchy and new and fun, but the sauce was kind of strong and she wished there were vegetables other than lettuce and decorative carrot.

I got noodles with roast pork. It was okay. The roast pork was mediocre and the "thin Cantonese noodles" weren't quite right.

But we really liked our waiter and, hey, it's Hell's Kitchen, not Chinatown, and it's cheap.

Cottage Noodle Shop
596 9th Ave (b/n 42nd and 43rd St)
New York, NY 10036

Berkeley Pizza in New York

I tried to eat pizza from Cheeseboard for the first time when I was in Berkeley last November, but their precise hours and my vacationy attitude confounded the attempt. I've been wanting to try it ever since Priscilla told me about it before my trip, and I was bummed that I missed out.

Well, Priscilla brought me two slices of their goat cheese, tomato, and onion pizza from her last trip home! That pizza traveled 2600 miles! So after waiting 7 months plus 10 minutes of defrosting in the oven, I got my first taste of Cheeseboard for lunch.


It was really good. Even reheated. Well worth having it brought from across the country. The key is in their thin sourdough crust. It's crispy but has a nice chewiness at the same time. The goat cheese didn't hurt either. I doubt there's anything else like it outside of California.

It's definitely worth navigating the Cheeseboard's hours to get a bite of their pizza. I know better for next time.

The Cheeseboard Pizza Collective
1512 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94709
Hours: Beware!