Saturday, December 13, 2014

Tend is an unlikely hip coffee house in Shirley, NY

Lynn and I have frequented Tend Coffee in Shirley, NY (the next town over from where we live) a couple of times.  This place is a hidden gem (so to speak) cranking out artful cup of coffee after artful cup of coffee.  They also roast certified organic coffee as well as have a small, cozy sitting area that is nicely removed from the din of the nearby William Floyd Parkway/Montauk Highway crossroads.

 Long Island taste buds are seemingly in the death grip of Dunkin Donuts, 7-Eleven and various independent delis.  It is nice to have an alternative to these pedestrian offerings in Brookhaven.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Bar Tartine: Techniques and Recipes is a next level cookbook....

There has been an embarrasment of riches this season with regard to cookbooks with first rate offerings such as Plenty,  Add to this impressive list Bar Tartine: Techniques and Recipes (Chronicle).

Bar Tartine (the restaraunt) is the San Franciso based outpost owned by Chefs Nicolaus Balla and Cortney Burns whose devotion to locally sourced food (creatively implemented) all made "in house"  has helped define the contemporary West Coast food scene and put them on the map as innovative and artistic chefs. Authors Balla and Burns don't merely churn out recipes they devote a considerable amount of time and text to identifying techniques crucial to their own food philosopy and practices such as dying herbs, making cheese at home, browning butter, making vinegar, preserving and so on.

The recipes are equally inventive with offerings like chilled sour cherry soup, beef gulyas with marrow toast and buckwheat dumplings with paprika.  Lynn and I especially appreciated the approach the chefs took toward salads which often are overlooked in cookbooks.  Chefs Balla and Burns give them their due here as a genuine meal with great inventive offerings such as Chicory Salad with Anchovy Dressing, Beet and Blue Cheese as well as Kale Salad with Rye Bread Seeds and Yogurt. 

A great book for the everyday cook to take food preparation and cooking to the next level.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Scott's Barbecue Sauce hits a nostalgic cord for Mark.....

We recently got back from Wilmington, North Carolina where  I was raised and I was r-introduced to Scott's Barbecue Sauce made in Goldsboro, NC as a result.  We used it frequently in my  household mainly to give flavor to pork but sometimes also for vegetables and potatoes.  It was also omnipresent in a lot of the Barbecue oriented rrestaurantswe used to frequent like the late great Skinner and Daniels and Flips.  Despite press and food magazine coverage to the contrary, traditional Southern food can be pretty bland and Scott's vinegary concoction can be a godsend to enhance often times neutral meats such as pork and poultry.  It also can cut some of the earthiness of acquired taste cuisine of the South such as collard greens.
The nice folks at Scott's were nice enough to send a bottle to us since I failed to smuggle one back over the Mason Dixon Line during our whirlwind trip to NC.  We have used Scott's for alternative fare other than Southern such as Kale and Tofu and it has given them a nice spike of much needed flavor.  I have not seen Scott's in New York grocer or retail outposts but here is hoping it will make the jump over the Mason Dixon line....


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Mark and Lynn love Portlandia: Cook like a local

The recent release of The Portlandia Cook Book: Cook Like a Local (Clarkson Potter) is a particularly  pleasant entry in the march of seasonal cookbooks not the least of which is it wears its foodie appreciation lightly and with much humor. The Portlandia Cook Book is a natural extension of the Portlandia series on IFC which parodies the idiosyncratic citezines and institutions of Portland.  Bike, music, hipster, bike and  literary culture are a few of the many cultures and sub-cultures that Portlandia takes a good natured swipe at.

Of particular interest to us is the show's take on food culture.  Food is a big part of the show which features cult raised (but local) chicken; a dumpster diving dinner party; a tailgate party for Prarie Home Companion; artisinal movie popcorn and so on.  The cookbook makes mention of these and other niche cuisine in the book.  Oddly enough, there are some exceptionally creative recipes that Lynn was interested in particularly the Baked Manchego-Filled Dates, the Roasted Wild Mushrooms with Foraged Greens and Hazlenut Vinagrette (topped with an egg) and the Slamburger (a giant burger which can be topped with an egg).

Still, the unique appeal of this work is the humorous sidebars in the the PCB: The CSA newsletter ("keep your voice down around the grey horse if you come around"); the coffee shop manifesto ("The Wi-Fi password is Leave.Go); A Mixologist's Guide to Ice ("A Mixologist Walks into a bar. Bartender says,'What can I get you?' Mixologist says 'A tall glass of water, four hours, and your freezer.')

The book will be great to lighten the mood over the Holidays.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Seoul Food in Sliver Springs wows Mark and Lynn (again)....

Seoul Food in Silver Springs, Maryland might be our favorite place to eat at present.  We had eaten there a little over a year ago and it was not like anywhere we had ever eaten. The set up remains as odd as can be as SF shares the same space as an Exxon gas and convenience station.  Somehow, Seoul Food manages to create a pleasant, hip ambiance despite this.  When Lynn and I were there Iggy Pop, The Talking Heads, Lou Reed and the like helped set the mood.  The colorful branding, prayer flags,  turntable and so on gave the place the feel of a hip New York outpost.

The surroundings are nice but the food is what keeps us slavishly devoted fans.  Everything is expertly prepared and artfully arranged.  I got the Kimchi Tofu Bowl  which has fragrant sticky rice and is topped with heavenly caramelized kimchi.  These elegant touches are riposted with more earthy ingredients such as tofu, fried egg (cage free), seaweed, and sesame seeds.

Lynn had the equally exquisite Bibimbap which consists of a large bowl of sticky rice topped with mixed baby greens, carrots, daikon and red radish, cage greens, carrots, daikon, red radish, and  sunny side-up egg (again cage free).

Great and memorable....



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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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