Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Artisanal Fromagerie Bistro in New York

Lynn and I ate at Artisanal Fromagerie Bistro and Wine Bar as part of our whirlwind 24 hour Manhattan trip.  The restaurant, owned by Chef Terrance Brennan recalls a Parisian bistro with the Chef Brennan adding unexpected touches to traditional French fare (substituting Monkfish into Osso Bucco). 

Our experience there was very satisfactory.  I had grilled octopus which I don't think I have ever had before.  Lynn had sauteed skate wing which is a dish that we have not been able to find anywhere on Long Island and which she pronounced to be near perfect.  
the famous cheese cave

The cocktails were nice, particularly the French 75; a concoction of gin, Lemon and Champagne.  Lynn had a bracing Stilton Martini which was ice cold relief after our hot day of walking through Soho.
the famous cheese

The size of AF is nothing short of cavernous with a huge French mural circa 1930, a cheese cave as well as a sizable, separate bar area.  This makes the space impressive but also tricky in some ways as it can be an exercise in self consciousness to be one of only a few diners in a huge restaurant (this was the case when we arrived on the early side for dinner on Saturday night).  It would be particularly great to take a large party or family-perhaps one day...

Contact and other info
2 Park Avenue, New York, New York, 10016

Reservations: 212.725.8585

Fax: 212.481.5455
Online Reservations: click here
Retail Cheese Counter: 212.532.4033
Kitchen: 212.532.3876

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pigale's cold comfort in the heat of July in Manhattan

We have eaten at Pigale many times over the years and if it is not our favorite restaurant it is the one that is our main touchstone and a source of great comfort and familiarity when we are anymore near the west side. 
We had great nicios salads there last weekend and I had a crisp negroni that helped relieve the battering of the hot weather.  


790 8th Ave.
New York, NY

Monday, July 19, 2010

24 hours in Manhattan...

Wallen's in Bellport keeps our spirits up with Miles, Coltrane and the like...

Wallen's Market in Bellport is a very underrated market in the Suffolk/Brookhaven area with a good selection of produce, excellent butchers and a nice, accomadting staff.  I have noticed that they play great jazz in the afternoons which is a nice thing to shop by after the long, hot days we have had on Long Island.

133 South Country Road

Bellport, NY 11713-2522
(631) 286-0202

Sunday, July 18, 2010

180 Seconds with Josh Kilmer-Purcell of Beakman 1802 fame...

Josh Kilmer-Purcell has written Lynn's favorite book of the summer:  The Bucolic Plague.  The real life story of two guys who chucked life in the big city (a'la Green Acres) to forge a new life and identity as farmers in upsate New York at the Old Beakman place in Sharon Springs, NY.  Josh was nice enough to speak to Mark and Lynn about the rigors of farm life.

M & L : Much of the book is about the challenges of your farm experience-Was there any aspect of your experience that was easy?

JKP: "The only easy part was also the most surprisingly easy part - fitting in with the community. We were far more worried about being "different" than anyone else in town. We were welcomed with open arms, and continue to be. And it's easy to hug back too. Sharon Springs is an amazing place. And we know there are different Sharon Springs all over America that more urban and suburban people should seek out."

M&L: Any reason you guys didn't include a picture insert in your book?
JKP: "No real reason. We have so many pictures on our website ( that we didn't even think about it. We're a pretty multi-media farm."

M&L:  Is Michelle's Pink Stuff solid or liquid?  Also, how do you serve Syllabub?
JKP: "Michelle's Pink Stuff is neither solid nor liquid. I think it might be a form of suspension. But NASA hasn't returned their findings yet. Syllabub should be served only at black tie affairs, and guests should milk their own goats."

M&L: Do you feel like a "real" farmer at this point?
JKP: "I'm not sure we are real farmers yet. I'm not sure we'll ever be what most people would call traditional farmers. Our goal is to find a new way of farming that helps family farms stay in business. My gut instinct is that that will require the same sort of media and communications skill set as any modern entrepreneur."

M&L: Do you think being a farmer is a skill that anyone can acquire?

JKP "The act of putting a seed in the ground or feeding hay to an animal is not all that difficult. Getting paid enough to continue doing so is a whole 'nother issue."

Friday, July 9, 2010

Flo's in Blue Point keeps up with the times...

Flo's in  is a kind of institution on the South Shore.  According to the official Flo's placemat,  Flo's has been around since roughly 1929 and the impression is that it still has the same old school raffish appeal (despite a  facebook and twitter setup).

Lynn and I had eaten there recently and were impressed by the great tasting clams on the 1/2 shell, and fried clam strips (of which a small size was huge).  The service was accommodating and brisk despite the crush of the 4th of July holiday.  The prices are reasonable and the food was attractively plated.  Clearly this legendary eatery is not coasting on its reputation and is impressively keeping it's standards high...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What Lynn is reading on the Beach- The Bucolic Plague

Lynn is very enamored of the tale of the Beekman Boys; a tale told in The Bucolic Plague: How two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers (Harper).  Her review  which she sketched out this weekend when we were at Westhampton Beach is as follows:

"A fondness for old houses in the country, artisian soaps and the romance of living on a farm drew me to read the Bucolic Plague by Josh Kilmer-Purcell.  Centered around the 1802 Beekman mansion in Sharon Springs, NY.  It is the story of balance; balancing romantic relationships, financial concerns and adjusting to life in a small community."

"Having been a city girl who brought up kids in upstate New York it was easy for me to relate to Josh and Brent's appreciation of the artists, writers and intellects who populate many small communities in upstate New York."

"Josh tells it all with good humor and a wry sense of the Beekman boys' life as well as exhibiting a great sense of what it is like to be a gentlmen farmer."

"Read this book at the book with a nice summer cocktail"

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Christie Farriella's Holga Photos at Rosie's Handmade Revolution,,,

Went to a photography opening at Rosie's Handmade Revolution in Bellport, NY. The photos were the work of Christie Farriella whose photography is done with a Holga camera  which is a Chinese manufactured camera  for the masses that creates unusual images due to it's low tech and "junky" nature (for lack of a better way to put it).  The photos we saw had a painterly quality and resembled some of the very early color photos in their oddness and connection to painting. 

No tortured artist, Ms. Farriella was very nice and willing to talk about her work in great detail as well as recommending places to visit in Queens like the Queens Museum of Art...

Rosie's Handmade Reolution
125 S. Country Rd.
Bellport, NY

Friday, July 2, 2010

Simple Seafood helps make for a perfect night at the Beach Hut- Smith Point

Had the simplest but most enjoyable calamari and shrimp from the Beach Hut at Smith Point County Park.  Great night with a big turnout of family, people were swimming despite the tricky currents. 

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Hamlet Organic Garden makes its way into Bellport, NY

The Hamlet Organic Garden (AKA Hog) in Brookhaven is selling it's agricultural bounty next to It's Only Natural in Bellport.  We stopped by one recent Saturday to sample HOG'S wares and picked up some nice salad mix.  The HOG seems to be selling on most Saturdays so it will be nice to have access to this  organizations yield throughout summer.

It's Only Natural
118 S Country Rd
Bellport, NY

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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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