Thursday, June 14, 2018

Mark and Lynn get a taste of Hell's Kitchen at the Hourglass Tavern...

Lynn and I went to the historic Hourglass Tavern on a recent visit to Manhattan. The Hourglass has been around since 1894 in the heart of Hell's Kitchen near the Theatre District. The origin of the name "Hourglass" has to do with the need to turn the tables over on an hourly basis as there were only 7 tables available and many patrons had to get in and out and to the theater on time. An hourglass was used to manage this necessity.

The interior held much of the turn of the century vibe and energy.  It was easy to image characters from Gangs of New York or The Alienist dining here circa 1894.  The menu was unfussy with a nice selection of pasta, seafood and some small plates.  The PEI Mussels I had were as savory combination of white wine, garlic and herb broth with chopped bacon.  Lynn had the pecan encrusted Tilapia which had an interesting combination of honey cumin sauce and toasted coconut rice.  The service was great with our hip hostess Megan making us feel completely at ease.



Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Seoul Food DC makes a giant leap to Takoma Park....

Seoul Food, one of our favorite places in the world has recently relocated from a space in Silver Spring, Maryland (shared with a service station) to a chic space in Takoma Park.  We recently visited this new location in Takoma Park.  There was some trepedation that moving into a more traditional restaurant space might take away from the place as a great deal of the charm of the Silver Spring location was the fact that being located in a service station was a source of great novelty and charm. 

I should not have worried for a moment.  The new place retained the cheerful, hipster vibe of the old place and then some.  It was great to see Ana and her husband and our facvorites, the Kimchi Tofu Bowl and Bibmbap retained their out of the world mix of tastes and flavors.

There were even some improvements.  SF offers beer and wine and the seating is much easier than in their previous location.  Needless to say we are very glad that the place has moved and retained and even improved on its excellence....

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Mitsui Sushi in Bay Shore impresses with its innovative menu...


Lynn and I recently experienced possibly the best sushi we have had on Long Island at Mitsui Sushi in Bay Shore on Long Island. The Sashimi Salad was somehow delicate but substantial with the bonus of being pleasing  to the eye.  The Crispy Calamari was delicate in its coating and not chewy like fried calamari can be in some restaurants that overcook this offering.

The staff was good humored and attentive and helped us negotiate the nuances of the restarurants menu.  We rarely venture towards Bay Shore but Chef Eric Mitsui's great touch will definitely make his namesake restaraunt a destination for us in the near future....
M&L

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Burgoo, Barbecue and Bourbon is an homage to Kentucky Cusine

 
 Kentucky Cuisine at its finest is celebrated in Burgoo, Barbecue and Bourbon


University Press of Kentucky continues to celebrate its native culiinary heritage with Burgoo, Barbecue & Bourbon : A Kentucky Culinary Trinity.  This work, a combination of folklore, history, recipes. Burgoo is basically a stew indiginenous to Kentucky  that has historically had a variety of ways in which it is prepared.  Indeed, some of the older Burgoo recipes included squireel, groundhog and wild rabbit.  Burgoo is/was often prepared to feed large crowds or groups such as an Army unit, community gathering or political event.  In general, all Burgoo recipes have meat from "one bird of the air" and one "beast of the field" usually smoked. Traditionally, Burgoo is often paired with other Kentucky culinary and spirit mainstays such as Barbecue and Bourbon.

This work is a celebration of this heritage.  It contains numerous recipes, some historic and legendary such as Dr. Bow Reynolds Recipe which included as some of the ingredients 40 bushels of tomatoes, 40 bushels of potatoes and 1 1/2 tons of beef. This recipe anecdotally could feed up to 10,000 This kind of recipe was typically used at political rallies in Depression era Kentucky when many Kentuckians were out of work as a result of Prohibition and there was not much certainty about where there next meal might come from for many.  There are also updated Burgoo recipes more suitable for viewing parties relating to the Superbowl, Kentucky Derby or Final Four the recipes of which are suitable for 8-10 people.

The book also touches on Kentucky's rich heritage of Bourbon production with a chapter devoted to Bourbon recipes familiar (Old Fashioned) and esoteric (Hot Tom and Jerry).  There are also chapters devoted to Desserts the idea being that the Burgoo, Barbecue, and Bourbon  all work in concert to create "A Kentucky Culinary Trinity" and are some of the foundations for the regional pride Kentucky natives have for their unique food and spirits.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Birth of Bourbon chronicles the narrative of Kentucky's Native Spirit

Bottling Line Split, T. W. Samuels Distillery in Deansville Kentucky. The Split Lines might convey boxes on one side and bottles on the other, allowing for efficient packing and storage. (University Press of Kentucky)

One of the best recent coffee table style books relating to spirits, The Birth of Bourbon: A Photographic Tour of Early Distilleries (Photographs by Carol Peachee) is a hauntingly beautiful tribute to the origins of Bourbon told through the antiquated interiors and exteriors which help tell the story of Kentucky's singular connection with America's native spirit.

The architecture of many of these distilleries is surprisingly ornate and varied; the Old Prentice Distillery was built in the vein of Spanish Mission Architecture and the Old Taylor Distillery Company has arched stone windows and crenelation which gives the structure the grandiosity of a European Castle.

Many of the images, particuarly the interiors show a sense of historic decay.  Somehow, however, the decay has the kind of grandeur of Classical European ruins.  Ms. Peachee does a wonderful job of conveying the narritive, decay and beauty of these structures which helped define, and continue to define, Kentucky's history and heritage.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Small Cakes Patchogue is the perfect after dinner destination in Patchogue, NY

Small Cakes Patchogue is quickly becoming a fixture in the growing dining scene in Patchogue, NY.  Small Cakes specializes in Cupcakes and offers Ice Cream, Coffee and Milkshakes.  Lynn is particularly drawn to the cupcakes with her favorites being red velvet and "birthday cake."  Lynn appreciates the lightness of the baking and the flavor which is sweet but not cloying.  We usually get our order "to go" but the seating area is welcoming and comfortable.  Perfect to meet a friend for a coffee and sweet. 
M&L

Friday, April 13, 2018

Paries satiisfies sweet cravings since 1895....

Lynn loved these after dinner treats that the baristas would patiently wrap. We brought these back as treats for our friends. .Lynn's favorite was fleur de self with the lauburo image symbolic of Basque unity in San Sebastian.  

M & L

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I (Mark) have written for The Christian Science Monitor, Clear Magazine, Picture Magazine, Film Score Monthly, Dan's Papers, Rue Morgue, In Flight USA and a lot more publications that I can't remember.... My wife Lynn was a model with the Ford Agency and her photography has been featured in most of the publications I have written for...

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