Saturday, October 24, 2009

First visit to greenmarket this year

Mabel and I finally made it to the Union Square Greenmarket today for the first (and maybe only) time all year. We had such plans back in the spring, but our schedules didn't line up, we'd been keeping too busy, and our kitchen was down for a while. We bought a double-thick in-bone shell steak at Florence, the same cut we tried at BLT Prime, and headed over to the greenmarket for some accompaniments.

We got our annual decorative pumpkin, some French breakfast radishes, wild arugula, celery greens, and purple carrots. I didn't realize the purple carrots were not purple inside until later. We picked up enough vegetables, but Mabel saw a bunch of beautiful Italian dandelion greens and we brought that home too.

Hopefully we'll get a chance to come back before there's nothing but potatoes and onions.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Grand Central Oyster Bar

Dave had been craving oysters for a while. But reading this NY Times article galvanized us into action.

We learned that there are several mom-and-pop oyster farms on the Damariscotta River in Maine. The owner of one farm, Barb Scully, grows seedlings for a year, then plants them 40 feet in the muck. She waits 4 years and then dives down to harvest them by hand. Her children help her with the harvest. The result are Glidden Point oysters. Who wouldn't want to try these oysters?

We ordered a dozen Glidden Points as well as a dozen Pemaquids, which are from a neighboring farm. The Glidden Points are very large (I think that if I had been new to oysters, I might have been a little scared to eat them), briny, and heavenly when you add just a touch of the vinegar that Grand Central provides. They are the best oysters I have ever had. In my life.

We also ordered the oyster panroast, which is a kind of tomato-tangy soup mixed in with oysters and a slice of white bread. Dave liked it, but it left me with the same feeling I get when I drink too much hot chocolate. We also tried the uni, which was fun at first because it was served in the shell (all the spikes had been cut off), but ultimately an unpleasant experience due to some slimy black stuff that tasted horrible. We gagged a little and decided that we much prefer the cleaned up uni served at Japanese restaurants. I guess we just can't handle sea urchin au naturel.

Grand Central Oyster Bar is a vast restaurant. It was fun sitting at the counter. Peter N. tells me that there is a saloon portion of the restaurant where you can still order all the same things on the menu but in a cooler ambience. I think we may try that when we order our next round of Glidden Points.

Grand Central Oyster Bar
89 E 42nd St
New York, NY 10017

Friday, October 2, 2009

Miss Maude's Spoonbread Too

I was at Harlem Hospital this morning dropping off a gift and decided to get some fried chicken at Miss Maude's Spoonbread Too.

I ate here a couple times while I was on my Neurology and Pediatrics rotations and discovered their awesome fried chicken and collard greens. The chicken has been perfectly done every time I've been here. And the collard greens are nice and smoky; I was convinced that they used bacon, but they use smoked turkey. So it's good and good for you.

Miss Maude's Spoonbread Too
547 Lenox Ave (btn 137th and 138th St.)
New York, NY 10037
(212) 690-3100

Thursday, October 1, 2009

BLT Prime

Mabel had a $25 gift certificate to BLT Prime, so we went last Sunday to check it out.

Overall, we found it sorely disappointing, mainly because the steak was either not cooked right or because the steak itself wasn't great. We got the "BLT" cut (their quotes) which is a double-thick bone in NY strip steak for two. Medium-rare. Sounds like you couldn't go wrong with that, eh? Well, the outside of it was double-burnt and it was cooked more or less rare-raw. I think they forgot to finish it in the oven, but that's a big thing to forget. Now, I have nothing against almost raw steak, but it has to be good. This steak was dry and a bit grisly. It was definitely aged, but it made me realize that I've taken Florence and the meat from great steakhouses for granted. Now that I think of it, I've been taking Outback for granted as well. The sauce, which was provided in a mini gravy boat was very nice, but the sauce should not make the steak.

Aside from the steak, the rest of the meal was lots of fun. They started us with complimentary chicken liver pate which was really fantastic, and a nice touch. They also give you free popovers which was completely unexpected and fun, a nice alternative to a bread basket, although they took them away when the rest of the meal came which I thought was strange. We ordered hash browns with leeks which were a bit of a let down, and sauteed chanterelles which I liked but Mabel thought were too salty (I though the saltiness offset the blandness of the hash browns).

I was kind of offended by the wine list where the vast majority of wines were over $100. This place was nice, but not that nice. It's just obscene.

So the meal was very mixed. They did high and low brow, well and poorly cooked, bland and salty. I don't understand how this restaurant survives. Anyway, it was educational. When Mabel got back home she said that the BLT Prime steak made her crave the steaks we get from Florence more. I'll be grilling a couple of those tonight.

BLT Prime
111 E 22nd St (btn Park & Lexington Ave)
New York, NY 10010