Monday, December 31, 2012

Lacrima di Morro D'alba

Really lovely fragrant nose
It is like drinking perfume in a good way
Smells like violets and roses
Smooth, med body 

One of my favorite wines. This is the 2009 but we just drank a bottle of the 2010 and it's similar. Cost <$20.

Lacrima di morro d'alba
Conti di Buscareto
Eataly Wine Store

War Horse

Last Friday we were trying to figure out what to do in the evening and decided to go for a walk to the little park in Lincoln Center. It was 7:55 when we got there and on a whim we stopped by the theater to see if there were any tickets left for War Horse which Mabel has wanted to see for a while. Turned out that they just released 2 tickets in the 5th row center. We took them. Good show.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Per Se

We scored a reservation to per se by pure luck. We were on the wait list for Saturday and I was calling to change our dinner wait list date to another date. The reservationist waited until I said my piece and then asked if I would like to take a last minute cancellation for Saturday at 10 pm. I took it.

Eating so late is somewhat challenging - the meal was for David's birthday so we wanted to make sure we remembered this meal. So we took naps and I had an espresso in the evening.

We were seated at a large table with just the two of us facing out toward a grand view of Columbus Circle (funny looking at the time because of the exhibit around the Columbus statue). The wine menu was a 117 page document on an iPad. Our food menu was easier to navigate.

They gave us two nice amuse bouches - a tiny pastry filled with warm cheese and an ice-cream-cone-shaped coronets filled with salmon that were gone in two bites. We started with "Oysters and Pearls" which was this heavenly concoction of savory tapioca, oysters, and caviar. La ratte potato "vichyssoise" was memorable for a rather large slice of black winter truffle in the middle. We were floored by the butter poached scottish langoustines, which were soft, buttery, and utterly delicious. The elysian fields farms' "selle d'agneau" was tasty and was followed by a nice cheese plate by andante dairy's "etude". The "spiked tropical punch", a fig leaf-vodka granite with pineapple and tropical punch soda was extremely refreshing, and felt like a sorbet on crack. We drank a Pinot from Anthill Farms "Demuth Vineyard" from Mendocino in the Anderson Valley (2010). The rest of the meal is a blur with memories of exquisite macaroons, fancy chocolates, chocolate covered nuts, and a package of homemade cookies.

It was one of the best meals we had ever had. Perhaps we will be lucky enough one day to visit a second time.

Tuna from Mitsuwa

Back in March of 2012 we got lean and fatty tuna from Mitsuwa

It's a deal but at the same time I developed a new appreciation for toro in restaurants. It is not easy to prepare toro in an appetizing way.

The fish looked beautiful but the fatty tuna was a bit sinewy.

Also picked up wasabi fish eggs and served them on top of rice.

I took another shot at it in April. We went hiking in the Shawgunks in New Paltz.

On the drive back, picked up a different grade of fatty tuna at Mitsuwa. I tried cutting in between the sinew.

  I had a very low yield.

I made chopped tuna from the scraps.

Fatty tuna is best left to the professionals.

595 River Road
Edgewater, NJ 07020
(201) 941-9113

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Mabel was working on Thanksgiving and somehow I had the day off. We opted for a goose because it was just the 2 of us and there was no reason to get a turkey.

For some reason this year Mabel was obsessed with the idea of a sweet potato and marshmallow dish. Artichokes just because we like them. Besides, maybe in a few years we'll discover that they had artichokes at the first Thanksgiving like eels in that times article. Also green beans and the customary stuffing and cranberry sauce. Red Burgundy and Volvic to drink.

Sushi Yasaka

One of my neuro-oncology attendings told me about this sushi restaurant. It's basically like Sushi of Gari but half-price (i.e. neighborhood sushi prices with really quality fish and preparation). It has not disappointed.

Saw softshell crab roll being made the last time we were here at the sushi bar. Had to try it. (It's great.)

Also got a marinated salmon and avocado donburi and a sashimi plate. They have the best tempura that I've come across as well. And a good soju selection mainly centered around sweet potatoes.

Sushi Yasaka
251 W 72nd St (btn Broadway and West End Ave)
New York, NY 10023
(212) 496-8466

Dinner 12/27/12

Cooked a few things that we haven't had for a while. This is a UWS version of the Village meals we used to have.

I went to Flatiron for a suit fitting (upcoming interviews) but they were closed for the holidays. I decided to go to the Eatly wine shop to pick up a favorite wine (a lacrima). Once there I ended up splurging on an Amarone:

Begali Amarone 2007. The winemonger said that it was a "non-industrial" Amarone with heart. Not so much of the glycerin-characteristics. Well-balanced. All true. One of the best wines that we've ever drank.

I put together a meal around the wine. Had some bone marrow in the freezer for the past several months. Still good! I like getting the bone cut the long way now. We're also using Murray River pink salt which is perfect for this kind of dish.

The UWS Citarella sells Newport steaks which I thought only Florence Prime Meats was allowed to sell. It's still from the tri-tip. Not as good as Florence but pretty close. We have a new lodge grill pan which makes for nice grill marks.

We finished our meal with Brie d'Nangis and Tomme de Savoie. The brie was good and salty. And I pretty much like any of the Tommes.

Eataly Wine Shop
200 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10010
(212) 229-2560

Friday, December 28, 2012

Roast Chicken with bacon skin

I roasted a chicken using bacon earlier this month.

It is a great way to go. No nervousness about crispy skin because the bacon itself is crispy.

So moon nam jip

This is our favorite place to get Korean BBQ in Palisades Park. They use hardwood charcoal in the grills.

So moon nam jip
238 Broad Ave
Palisades Park, NJ 07650

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Gerenser's Exotic Ice Cream in New Hope

We're visiting my parents and Mabel had a craving for ice cream. We headed to New Hope.

I remember Gerenser's from elementary school and they've been around forever. Mabel has never been here but she always sees people eating ice cream on the nearby bridge and wanted to see what all the fuss was about. They have flavors like African Violet and Wasabi Almond.

Dave got Puerto Rico Banana and Mabel got Moose Tracks in honor of our attempt to see moose in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Gerenser's Exotic Ice Cream
22 S Main St
New Hope, PA 18938

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Rocky Mountains, Day 13: August 13, 2012

We woke up hoping to go to the top of one of the local summits to have breakfast, but the road traversed private land and a fence blocked our way. Foiled, we went to a scenic viewpoint by the highway instead and had our oatmeal and coffee.

We saw a small rabbit.

Dave was obsessed with the fact that we were in South Park.

We packed up and took a scenic byway through Guanella Pass.

It was a good day to be driving - it was rainy and cold. We passed by a waterfall on the way. There were some male mule deer in someone's driveway. We passed by thinking that it was some cheesy lawn decoration, realized that people don't do cheesy lawn decorations in the mountains and drove back to double check (they were real). The national forests are administered by different folks than the national parks, and the campgrounds seemed occupied by more locals and a little more laid back. We drove through, passed a reservoir and dam, and ended up on a local street in Georgetown. We got on I-70 and drove to Denver, checked into a hotel, took showers, and marveled at how good it felt to be clean and in clean clothes. We then went on our own beer tour based on a package that the hotel gave us.

It felt great walking around - the city was full of fancy pit toilets that flushed and the trail was very flat and marked every few steps! We passed a sad looking dog that was looking for a chance to escape outside.

We went to Rock Botton, Wynkoop, Denver Chophouse and Brewery, Breckenridge, and back to Great Divide. Hands down, our favorite was Great Divide.

At Great Divide, Mabel ended up doing a tasting of the Yetis, although she did feel like the Blueberry Girl afterwards. She really liked the Belgian-style Yeti; Dave like their wheat beer.

Wynkoop was our next favorite; they had this really delicious Cow Town Milk Stout. Dave really liked their ESB. We got back to the hotel room at 6 pm and Dave passed out while Mabel looked up national parks to go to for the next five years. This vacation was drawing to an end - it was another good one!

Rocky Mountains, Day 12: August 12, 2012

Mabel and Shelli took Fleurise to the airport early in the morning. Chris and Shelli made David and Mabel a wonderful breakfast of scrambled eggs with swiss chard and their awesome home roasted coffee. I felt pretty sad about driving off after such a fun weekend. We got to Kenosha Pass in about an hour but then frustratingly passed it about 5 times over 2 hours because:

1) We drove past it accidentally looking for the campsite.
2) We back over it to have lunch at Al’s Pits in Grant (town before the pass)
3) Decided to get gas at Jefferson (town after pass)
4) Realized Mabel forgot her purse at Al’s and went back to get it
5) Came back to campsite. Ugh. I guess this technically doesn’t count as going over it a 5th time, but we were tired of crossing the pass!

Lunch at Al's felt pretty random.

There was a funny little park beyond the BBQ pit that Al and his wife had set up. We sat at a picnic table next to a nice creek.

Al and his wife recycled cans. Mabel used the can crusher for the first time.

Being Sunday night, Kenosha Pass campground felt pretty empty. We sat around for a bit.

The water supply was via hand pump.

We did a short hike on the Colorado Trail where we found a vista of the landscape beyond the pass.

The pass was beautiful. We could see what Walt Whitman meant:
I jot these lines literally at Kenosha summit, where we return, afternoon, and take a long rest, 10,000 feet above sea-level. At this immense height the South Park stretches fifty miles before me. Mountainous chains and peaks in every variety of perspective, every hue of vista, fringe the the whole Western world is, in a sense, but an expansion of these mountains.
We came back and did an interpretive trail across the highway. 

We went back to camp, had soup, hot chocolate, and a roaring fire where we roasted marshmallows, and went to bed.

Rocky Mountains, Day 11: August 11: 2012

We all woke up and caught up with coffee in the backyard. It was still really surreal that the three of us were all together!

We headed to Lucille’s for a creole brunch. There was a little bit of a wait, but it was fun watching Calder play in the grass next to the restaurant.

We had beignets covered with powdered sugar (delicious!), biscuits with homemade jam (yum!), and then creole-inspired breakfasts.

Mabel and Fleurise had the Eggs Rockefeller, which had fried oysters. Amazing! Fleurise and Chris had Bloody Marys, which were really good and came with toothpicks spiked with a shrimp and an okra. We rolled out of the restaurant and rested back at home for a while. Chris’ parents came over to babysit Calder and we went on a brewery tour. Our stops were Renegade,

 Great Divide,

and Strange.

It was super fun going to the different breweries and tasting the different kinds of beers. Mabel learned that she really loves bitter IPAs and the flavor of hops as well as stouts. It was amazing to taste flavors like coffee, vanilla, and cherry in the beers. At Great Divide we sat down outside with 2 guys from out of town; Fleurise chatted them up as we munched on tacos and bahn mi from a nearby truck. We touched base at home and then headed back out for dinner at the Cherry Creek Grill, where David got his Colorado trout and Fleurise got her steak. We had a fun desert of banana cream pie and tres leches cake. We again rolled back home and chatted late into the night.

Rocky Mountains, Day 10: August 10, 2012

We had breakfast at the top of a small rocky hill near our site (coffee and leftover smoked cheddar; I had a banana nut Clif bar, as well). Packed up in a little over an hour. Hiked 5 miles in a little over 2 hours. Not bad. We were relieved to see the car hadn’t been broken into by any bears. We headed over to the Alpine Visitors Center to buy a pika stuffed animal for Calder, but they were out. There were a whole basketful of them at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center. We had BBQ again at Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ and Taphouse, returned the bear cannister to The Warming House

and found out why there were so many dead trees in the national park (the pine beetle). On the way to Denver we saw this truck delivering rocks.
Once we got to Denver, we saw Shelli and Chris and Calder! Calder was super-cute and it was great catching up with Shelli and Chris. We were also welcomed pretty enthusiastically by Lily and Diamond, the dogs. They (Shelli and Chris) gave us a tour of their home (!) and then fed us well with delicious grilled eggplant/tomato/mozarella, grilled beer-boiled bratwurst on homemade pretzel buns, pasta salad and beer. Shelli and Mabel took naps and then picked up Fleurise at the airport. It was so fun to be all together in the Mile High City!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Rocky Mountains, Day 9: August 9, 2012

We woke up extremely stiff. Our 16 mile day yesterday (and 7 days of straight hiking) really tuckered us out. We had a lazy morning. Some of it involved getting rid of a particularly persistent squirrel who seemed very hungry. Our bear canister was actually a squirrel cannister.

The smell of salami was driving it crazy. We sat at the edge of the meadow. No moose, but it was quite beautiful. We followed a small trail and discovered a creek. We sat on our foam mats and listened to it course by.

We took a plunge in a deeper area and felt refreshed.

We took our time packing up, and then hiked up the 3 miles to the Granite Falls camping site. We were tired. It took us a while. When we got there, Dave was inspired to work on his NICU cover letter.

Then we collapsed for a few hours. Finally, we got up and got water at a secret set of falls higher up than Granite Falls. We cooked another Backpacker’s Pantry dinner (beef stroganoff) and ate by the secret falls and then called it a day.

Rocky Mountains, Day 8: August 8, 2012

We drove to Green Mountain Trailhead. We saw a red fox coolly trotting around on its spindly legs.

We set up camp next to Big Meadow, an extremely large Serengeti-like plain of grass. Big is an understatement - it should be called Ginormous Meadow. Ran into some illegal campers who hiked in at 9 pm the night before without a permit; they were nice, but we were just mutually annoyed to have company. Hiked around Big Meadow, sat by Granite Falls and got a little lost due to poor cartography in the region of interest; we were looking for a trail to Haynach Lake, but could not find a sign. We finally just followed the sign to the campsite; the trail extended beyond the site. We followed it and fell into ridiculous valley after forest after creek after ridiculous valley.

We saw a mule deer. I felt like I was in Narnia - the weird version as described in book 6 or 7 of the series. We suddenly came upon a gorgeous alpine lake surrounded by mountains with a sister lake just down a ridiculously beautiful valley.

There was total solitude. It was amazing. We both plunged into the icy water and felt great. After we had a snack and refilled our water, we reluctantly left this isolated paradise. We saw a small herd of elk cows on the descent back.

We booked it back - after 7 miles, we were spent. We had our first meal from the company, Backpacker's Pantry - dehydrated macaroni with meat chili sauce.

It was decent, but amazing in its convenience - just boil water, cook in situ, and eat with spoons, no dishes! Night fell, and we saw the brilliant night sky, almost like we hadn't seen since we were kids. Every other trip had a night sky with clouds or a full moon, but not tonight - it was gorgeous. We slept without the tent cover.