Sunday, March 29, 2009

Jackson Hole in Queens is great, but a long way from Wyoming...



Mark & Lynn had driven into the city a couple of times and our driver recommended this place as a kind of comfort food mecca (an overused descriptor these days to be sure). But, to our surprise the place really was a kind of comfort food shangra-la (Sp?). In any event, the place's Edward Hopper like mystique is considerable with a juke box full of so bad its cool music, offbeat looking clientelle and tough dame waitresses.

The place is most famous (and proud of) its seven ounce burger. But I, always watchful of my waistline ordered a Grilled Chicken salad which was easily the heftiest salad I have ever eaten (so much for my attempt to keep in trim). Lynn's wondorous metabolism allowed her to order a Goat Cheese burger with a shake without any effect on her except to increase her allure...

www.jacksonholeburgers.com
Jackson Hole
Neighborhood: Queens/Astoria Heights
6935 Astoria Blvd
Jackson Heights, NY 11370
(718) 204-7070 video

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Long Island Vineyard Castello di Borghese features musical great David Amram...



Long Island Vineyards just finished up the Jazz on the Vine series of the annual Long Island winterfest series. Of note was the appearance of one of America's musical greats, the composer, performer and all-around mensch David Amram. Amram, most famous for his musical scores for The Manchurain Candisated and Splendor in the Grass played a one hour set at the Castello di Borghese vineyard in Cutchogue. Mark had the good fortune to interview the great man for Film Score Monthly and Amram graciously remembered us and invited us back to his upstate farm. He said he was going to play in Madison Square Garden with Bruce Springsteen in May (for "about 3 minutes, there are about 40 bands lined up"). In any event, Amram graciously spoke to regualar folk about their own musical careers in high school band and signed copies of his autobiography.

www.castellodiborghese.com

Friday, March 20, 2009

Need Help pairing food and wine? Check out Natalie MacLean's widget...





Food & Drink Pairing Goes 3.0 at NatalieMacLean.com

New Drinks Matcher Widget Offers Thousands of Pairings Online

New York, March 10, 2009 - Which wine tastes best with pork chops in a maple glaze? Does rosemary-marinated grilled halibut invite red or white wine? Are there also great food pairings for beer, spirits, cocktails, coffee and tea?

To answer these questions and thousands more, the web site NatalieMacLean.com now offers a new Drinks Matcher widget, a portable version of the site's existing food-and-wine pairing tool. You can download the free Drinks Matcher widget in just three clicks to your computer desktop, web site, blog or social media page like Facebook, MySpace or iGoogle from www.nataliemaclean.com/matcher.

"The variety of food-and-drink combinations has exploded in the last five years," says Natalie MacLean, publisher of North America's largest wine e-newsletter. "Chicken isn't just chicken anymore: Now we eat it stuffed with pancetta and fresh herbs, rubbed with curry spices or sautéed in an orange balsamic sauce. We're looking for more interesting flavors, both on the plate and in the glass-and we want them to work together."

During the eight years that Natalie spent testing the combinations for her Drinks Matcher, she found two extremes when it comes to food and wine pairing: "Some people say that it's complete nonsense, while others insist that there's only one perfect match for every wine. Neither approach helps wine lovers."

"People want some guidance, even though the pairings are subjective. It all comes down to balancing flavors and textures. I'm a thoroughly hedonistic researcher. Of the thousands of combinations I tried, some were delicious, others were a disaster. I share the ones that worked in the Drinks Matcher."

You can search the matcher for drinks to pair with meat, pasta, seafood, vegetarian dishes, pizza, take-out, sauces, herbs, cheese or dessert; or you can find dishes to go with wine, cocktails, liqueurs, beer, spirits, cider, coffee, tea-and yes, even water. The Drinks Matcher is meant to be a springboard to help you discover the matches you prefer. The perfect pairing, of course, is between you and the wine you like.


Who will use the Drinks Matcher?

- Food and wine lovers can use it as a handy desktop tool to plan dinners and parties
- Bloggers and wine clubs can add it to their sites to keep visitors coming back for pairing suggestions
- Liquor and gourmet stores, wineries, restaurants and culinary schools can use it to help customers, staff and students


Get the Drinks Matcher:

- Post the Drinks Matcher widget in just 3 clicks: http://www.nataliemaclean.com/matcher
- Two compact sizes to fit any computer desktop, site, blog or social media page
- Mobile format for Blackberries, iPhones and SmartPhones works in liquor stores or restaurants


What can the Drinks Matcher do for me?

The Drinks Matcher will help you discover mouth-watering pairings, like these that Natalie selected for her Top 10 comfort foods:

1. French onion soup with Chilean Chardonnay
2. Irish lamb stew with Irish Stout
3. Spaghetti and meat balls with a Bloody Mary
4. Roast chicken with Burgundian Pinot Noir
5. Shepherd's pie with Australian Shiraz
6. Macaroni and cheese with Argentinian Malbec
7. Roast beef with Californian Cabernet Sauvignon
8. Pork chops and applesauce with Washington Late Harvest Riesling
9. Toffee pudding with Colombian Dark Roast Coffee
10. Chocolate cake with Kentucky Bourbon

Monday, March 9, 2009

Mark The Absinthe Drinker at Pigalle in Manhattan...






We ate at Pigalle a number of times during the past weekend and were delighted to see a number of absinthe related drinks on the menu...The best? The Picasso cocktail consisting of Gin, Lilet Blanc, Orange Liqueur and Absinthe....

Monday, March 2, 2009

Mark and Lynn are in NY for 24 hours at the W hotel in Times Square...(Part 1)







Mark and Lynn are in NY for 24 hours at the W hotel in Times Square...(Part 2)








Blue Fin at the "W" Hotel in Times Square help stave of the Winter Blues for Mark & Lynn...




A great restarunt on its own, Blue Fin located in the "W" Hotel in Times Square is an unusual combination of chic and comforting (almost unheard of in frenzied Times Square). Mark and Lynn ate and drank there twice over this last weekend and were very satisfied on both occassions:

On Saturday Night we had tuna tartar and a simple mixed green salad that was both light and substantial. The tuna in particular was a nice shot of protein with a beautiful presentation layered for a nice aesthetic affect. The bartender (who was a particularly pleasant fellow) made both of us a classic vodka martini (Mark's with a hint of Chartreuse). Of special interest was the strip of ice on the bar utilized to keep drinks cold.

Sunday afternoon just before we went home we had a quick bite and drink at the bar again, not wanting to fiddle with perfection Mark and Lynn ordered the same drinks as previous and had a lobster roll as quick lunch. The bartender a Lohanesque young woman did a nice job of making us feel comfortable and she managed to mix a nice drink (not a skill I have seen often in young bartenders)...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Living Room Bar at the W Hotel in Times Square is nice, but where is the food?






Mark and Lynn love a great bar an the Living Room bar in the W/Time Square is achingly chic with sleek, retro/modern furnishings an artful bar display, a shifting projection of abstract patterns and plenty of attractive bartenders to keep things interesting for the clientelle. The area is near the check in and it was tempting for Mark and Lynn to simply drop everything and have a cocktail during early afternoon check-in.

The only real problem with the place is that when we went past it on the way to and from our room the bar was either completely packed or completely empty (not any kind of exaggeration). The result of this is that you are either facing awkward silence and feeling like you are drinking in a furniture showroom or you are competing with desperate Type A New Yorkers. A tough bargain all the way around. The cocktails at present are well in keeping with the style of featuring "old school" heavy on the liqueur cocktails...Unfortunately, there is no food served...An odd and potentially problematic mistake and not a way to endear yourself to Mark & Lynn

Sweat at the W Hotel in Times Square helps Mark keep the grim reaper at bay...




Mark tries to stay in shape even on the road and on Mark and Lynn's recent trip to the W Hotel in NYC Mark was fortunate enough to have access to Sweat the small, but chic exercise studio on the tenth floor of the "W" Mid-Town. The facility was basic, but well-equipped with a small fleet of treadmills and excercise bikes. A small, but chic looking group of museum type resistance machines were nicely in place as well. The hotel leant out I-Pods for guests and most of the treadmills had televisions to waylay the boredom of staving off the grim reapaer...

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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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