Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Joe Beef: Surving the Apocalypse is the hippest cookbook of the season....

When Lynn and I went to Montreal almost exactly 10 years ago we were blown away by the restaurant Joe Beef.   Since then, the Restaurant's owners Frederic Morin, David McMillan along with Author Meredith Erickson have released two innovative, even ground breaking cookbooks which in some ways reset the idea for what a cookbook is and can be. With their latest, Joe Beef: Surviving the Apocalypse; Another Cookbook of Sorts (Alfred A. Knopf Publishing)  the Joe Beef team returns with another cookbook with great and exotic French Caniadian centric fare like Crispy Frog Legs, Lobster Sausage and French Smoked Rack of Lam.

Surviving the Apocolypse would be one of the most interesting culinary offerings of the year with only its recipes.  What takes it to another level is it's DIY spirit celebrating skills that maximize self sufficiency with recipes and instructions to make (among other things)  beef jerky, dry herbs, make syrups and smoked apple cider vinegar so if/when the apocolypse hits you are all set...M&L

(As a treat to M&L followers here are a couple of recipes from Joe Beef STA)

Smoked meat croquettes

Makes 30 croquettes

You will need:
Food processor
Digital scale (optional)
Deep fryer or heavy pot
Deep-frying thermometer
For the filling
¼ pound (113 g) cheese curds
¼ pound (113 g) smoked Cheddar, cubed
½ pound (225 g) Montreal smoked meat (lean), shredded
½ cup (30 g) sauerkraut, drained and finely chopped
1 tablespoon Montreal steak spice
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
½ cup (120 ml) Béchamel Rapide (recipe follows)
2 quarts (2 l) canola oil for deep-frying

For the breading
1 cup (75 g) flour
4 large eggs, beaten
1 cup (130 g) rye bread crumbs or plain bread crumbs mixed with 1 teaspoon ground caraway seeds
Yellow mustard (optional)
Thousand Island dressing (optional)
1 kosher pickle, thinly sliced

1.     Add the cheese curds and smoked Cheddar to the bowl of a food processer and pulse until evenly crumbled. Transfer to a large bowl.
2.      Now pulse the smoked meat in the food processer until it looks like hamburger meat. Transfer to the cheese bowl.
3.     Add the sauerkraut, steak spice, mustard and béchamel, and using a spatula or gloves, mix well.
4.     Use your hands to shape 30 cylinders into the size and shape of a wine cork. Transfer to a parchment-lined sheet pan as you work. Refrigerate the croquettes for 30 minutes to help them retain their shape.
5.     To bread the croquettes: Set up three bowls, one with flour, one with the eggs, and one with the rye bread crumbs. Dip each croquette into the flour, then the egg, then the bread crumbs. Set aside on a small tray.
6.     Pour the canola oil into a deep fryer or heavy pot. The oil should be 350 F (180 C)
7.     Fry the croquettes in batches of 5 or 6 for 21/2 minutes until golden brown. Keep an eye on the thermometer and adjust your heat up or down accordingly so that the croquettes don’t brown too quickly: you want them to be hot in the center. Use a skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
8.     Serve with your choice of yellow mustard or Thousand Island dressing and slices of kosher pickle.

Note: To make your own rye bread crumbs, process several slices of rye bread in your food processor. Spread the fresh crumbs out on a sheet pan to stale completely. Process again until fine, pass through a sieve, and keep in an airtight container until ready to use.

Bechamel rapide

Makes 2 cups (500 ml) sauce

You will need:
Handheld immersion blender

2 cups (500 ml) whole milk, cold
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup (65 g) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (60 g) cold unsalted butter, diced

1.      In a tall jar or container, combine the cold milk, nutmeg, and flour with an immersion blender.
2.      Transfer to a small saucepan, and bring to slow boil over medium heat.
3.      Whisk in the butter: Whisk, whisk, whisk until well incorporated and the sauce visibly thickens—about 4 minutes. Cook to lukewarm, then stir into the croquettes filling (opposite).

QC Spring Seafood Pie
Serves 6-ish
(feeds a family with leftovers for the following day)
You will need:
Piping bag with the largest pastry tip
Large Pyrex or Le Creuset baking dish, similar to what you use for shepherd’s pie

For the pommes duchesse
4 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons heavy cream
(35 percent butterfat)
Salt and white pepper

For the velouté
¼ cup (57 g) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ cup (60 g) all-purpose flour
3 cups (720 ml) whole milk
1 cup (240 ml) fish stock or clam juice
¼ cup (60 ml) heavy cream
(35 percent butterfat)
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and white pepper

For the filling
4 ounces (120 g) cooked lobster meat (from one 1-pound lobster)
4 ounces (120 g) whelk meat, finely sliced (typically comes in a jar)
4 ounces (120 g) fresh or frozen Nordic shrimp (aka Maine shrimp)
4 ounces (120 g) bay scallops
4 ounces (120 g) steamed and shelled mussels (from one pound of mussels)
½ pound (225 g) turbot fillet
1 Yukon Gold potato, cut into cubes the size of playing dice
7 ounces (200 g) lardons (bacon slices cut into ½-inch-/1-cm-thick bâtons)
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
1 tablespoon minced fresh chervil
1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

For the garnish
Egg wash (1 large egg beaten with
3 tablespoons whole milk)
2 sets snow crab legs, thawed, and cracked lengthwise (using kitchen shears)
1 tablespoon of Old Bay Seasoning

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C)
  2. For the pommes duchesse: Place the potatoes in a large saucepan with enough cold water to cover them. Bring to boil and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Pass the potatoes through a ricer.
  3. In a bowl, stir the potatoes with the egg yolks, butter, cream, and salt and white pepper. Reserve in a piping bag with the biggest piping tip, such as the classic plain #24 (11/16)
  4. For the veloute: Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the mustard and flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the milk, fish stock, cream, cayenne, and lemon juice, and slowly bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.
  5. Add all the filling ingredients to your veloute.
  6. Butter the inside of a Pyrex/Le Creuset/copper pot. Transfer the filling mixture to your vessel. Inside the dish, pipe the pommes duchesse in a way to make it look like fish scales. If that OTT (over the top), simply pipe in a spiral to follow the shape of the dish.
  7. Brush with the egg wash. Just before putting the dish in the oven, place the crab legs sticking out the dish as if it were crawling.
  8. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the pie is hot inside and golden brown outside. Finish with a dusting of Old bay to garnish.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Greenpoint Fish and Lobster dazzles with great seafood and alluring atmosphere...

Lynn and I got to Greenpoint Fish and Lobster Company in Brooklyn and were dazzled by the great seafood and warm ambiance.  We enjoyed the Baja Fish Tacos which were particularly unique thanks to the citrus cabbage slaw.   Besides being a restaurant, GPF&L is also a first class fish market with the usual offerings of Flounder and Striped Bass but also has exotica such as Rabbitfish, Dogfish and Sea Robins. They also carry in house smoked fish, gravlax and caviar. GPF&L puts an emphasis on locally sourced and sustainable seafood being mindful of where the finfiish and shellfish originate.   
Having said this, Greenpoint Fish and Lobster has a sexy vibe with attractive high top seating, an attractive and freindly staff and a nice wine and beer menu to pair with their menu.  No doubt Greenpoint F&L will be a destination spot for us for years to come...M&L

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Moustache Brewery in Riverhead dazzles with a chic tasting room and creative brews...

We visited Moustache Brewing in Riverhead, NY recently and were dazzled by the architectural quality of the interiors of the place (recently moved into by MB). Lynn and I were talking about how more and more breweries interiors on Long Island are becoming increasingly sleek and aesthetically pleasing.  With its attractive tabletops, flattering lighting and pleasant acoustics Moustache could easily pass for a high end restaurant. 

Lynn and I had a sampler of Moustache's brews and were particularly fond of the citrus laden "Sailor Mouth." and American IPA hopped twice.  We also enjoyed another American IPA "DJ Night." On the other end of the spectrum Lynn particularly enjoyed "Salto Mortale" (a risky step or undertaking in Italian) which had an ABV of over 12% which is brewed in Bourbon barrels with molosses, maple syrup and blackberry; perfect to warm up with on a cold winter day.
There were several other brews we did not have a chance to try including the Nine Pin Cedar Works made from apples from Samascott Orchards in Upstate New York.  We certainly look forward to visiting this jewel in Riverhead to see how their brewery evolves....M&L

Monday, October 22, 2018

North Fork Brewing in Riverhead impresses with creative brewing and hipster vibe...

Lynn and I have good friends who are serious beer nerds and, as a result, we have been introduced to the exploding craft beer scene on Long Island.  One of the lastes venues we have visited is the North Fork Brewing Company in Riverhead. Located at a former Fire Station, North Fork Brewing has the casual vibe that is so appealing on a late weekend afternoon.  The interior had a hipster vibe with its graphics which seem to be partly inspired by hieroglyphics and its over sized versions of classic games like Connect 4. 

The beers are creatively curated with my favorite being "Run The Juice" a New England style IPA with a crisp, citrus bite.  Lynn favored "Dark Side of the Maple" an American Porter brewed with fresh New Hampshire Maple Syrup.  We also enjoyed offerings of "I'm Your Huckleberry" which was a Saison style Farmhouse Ale. 
With North Fork Brewing's great combination of warmth and creative beer craft it will no doubt be a beloved fixture in the Craft Brew scene on Long Island...M&L

Friday, October 12, 2018

Mark and Lynn duck into Homecoming in Brooklyn...

Homecoming is a lovely, beautifully curated spot in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn.  While it is probably best known for its housewares and clothing there is a nice cafe menu with coffee and tea drinks along with a nice selection of pastries.  The barista served up a bracing espresso that helped us get a much needed second wind during our recent trip to Brooklyn...

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Marti Buckley's Basque Country might be the most unique cookbook of the season...

Marti Buckley's Basque Country: A Culinary Journey Through a Food Lover's Paradise (Artisan) is a handsome love letter to one of the most unique and underrated food regions in the World.  The Basque Country straddles the Northern Spain border with Southern France and has its own unique cultures, traditions and cusines.  Ms. Buckley' s blog Travel, Cook, Eat was a major source of information and inspiration when we were researching our trip to the Spanish town of San Sebastian whcih we visited in March of this year. 

Basque Country, near San Sebastian located near the Bay of Biscay is blessed with abundance from the sea and it shows in its seafood influenced bar fare such as Pinxtos which are served as small plates of (for example) sardines, anchovies and the like served typically on small slices of bread, often as bar food.  Inland areas of the Basque Country are typically characterized by fresh and cured meats, vegetables, legumes and salted fish. Ms. Buckley breaks these regional differences and variations down with great skill and affection.
The recipes here fun the gamut from soups to steaks to salads.  Many of the recipes have an undeniably rustic quality refective of the region such as Grilled Sardines, Sauteed Gerinka Peppers, and Victoria Style Fava Beans. 

Ms. Buckley includes asides about Basque culture, history and tradition which help put the recipes and the region's uniqueness in context.  She also includes desserts, and highlights some of of the unique drinks of the regions where red vermouth holds sway as the drink of choice.  One of the drink recipes she  features is an unusual combination of Red Wine and Cola which became our go to late Summer go to beverage.

Ms. Buckley's work counts as one of, if not the most unique Cookbooks of the season and is handsome enough to moonlight as a coffee table book...M&L

Monday, October 8, 2018

A Table in Venice is a love letter to the charms of Venetian Comfort Food...

Skye McAlpine's superb cookbook A Table in Venice: Recipes from My Home (Clarkson Potter) is a love letter to Venetian food and a romantic ode to the pleasures of cooking at home.  Ms. McAlpine has lived in Venice since she was six and weaves her own narrative around the recipes in this cookbook.  Her modest and sweet approach to the material makes this a particularly charming work.  She revisits old staples like Clams in White Wine Sauce as well as more exotic fare such as Poached Langoustines with Saffron Mayonnaise. Ms. McAlpine's work here is a sensual delight with wonderful recipes and one Instagram worthy shot after another. She is definitely a food writer to watch.

Fig And Mascarpone Cake (Torta Di Mascarpone E Fichi)

Serves 8 to 10
The bounty of figs is possibly one of the things I love most about late summer in Venice. We have a fig tree in our garden, and it bears more fruit than we can possibly eat—or so you’d think. We always seem to find a way of finishing them off.
Nothing quite compares to this cake in the heat of summer. While you can make it out of season with dried figs, it doesn’t quite hold the same magic as when laced with luscious fresh fruit; nevertheless, the dried variety produces a pretty fine substitute on a cold winter’s day. Use 12 to 14 dried figs, cut away the tough stems, toss them in a small sauce-pan, and cover with a little over 1⁄2 cup (130ml) milk. Simmer gently on medium to low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the figs have softened, then let steep in the milk for a further 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the milk and quarter the figs before adding to the batter as you would the fresh fruit.
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a 9-inch (23cm) cake pan, preferably springform, with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone, granulated sugar, and eggs until you have a smooth, thick cream. Sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt, and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined. Gently stir in the quartered figs. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until lightly golden on top and a knife or skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. When you press down on the top of the cake, it should spring back nicely. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes in the pan before taking it out to cool. Dust lightly with confectioners’ sugar and cut into slices to serve.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The Brooklyn Barge in Greenpoint impresses with a great setting and summer fare...

Lynn had wanted to go to the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn.  During some basic Google searches she found out about The Brooklyn Barge a restaurant and bar situated on a floating barge tethered to the waterfront of the East River.  The Barge offers nice food truck fare; Lynn had a grilled hot dog with tomatilo relish and I had a selection of tacos with vegan chorizo.  The bar had a stronger than usual selection of wines and beer focusing mostly on local offerings.
Despite the first rate food and drink the ambiance was really the draw here.  Really great energy; great setting watching the boats and planes pass by on that warm, late Summer day...

M& L

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Mark and Lynn experience the Heat of Angry Goast Pepper Company...

Lynn brought back a bounty from Vermont including Angry Goat Pepper Company's Smoke Maple Habanero Mustard. This Mustard, one of many offerings from the Angry Goat Pepper Company is an unheard of combination of sweet and heat that tastes like no other mustard we have ever had.  The company has a myriad of other products sweet, savory and everything in between. We have gone through this jar quickly but fortunately Angry Goat's website offers products online...M&L

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Lynn discovers Vermont's Stonecutter Spirits...

Lynn had recently visited Vermont with friends on a knitting retreat.  She was constantly impressed with the food and spirit scene at the Dorset Farmer's Market. Among the offerings she found there was Stonecutter Spirits Heritage Cask Whiskey. This Whiskey, aged in former bourbon and cabarnet barrels for a minimum of 4 years, the Heritage Whiskey had a distinctly smooth finish with hints of spice and oak.  We have enjoyed drinking it "neat" but the Stonecutter site lists several cocktail suggestions. The spirit is only available in Vermont and Massachusetts at present so we are treating this bottle as a "special occassion" spirit until we can get back to Vermont. 

Duke's Liquor Box In Brooklyn impresses with curated spirits...

Lynn and I visited the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn are were fairly overwhelmed by the great tastes, colorful characters and to use an overused word "hipster" culture embedded there. One of the places we visited was Duke's Liquor Box which is a beautifully curated, bespoke liquor store.  The manager there was really helpful and knowledgeable about the exotica in the shop.

We took home a savory  Fernet which we have enjoyed very much. We will definitely be back...

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Mark and Lynn duck into the charming Five Leaves in Greenpoint...

On our recent trip to the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn Lynn and I had the opportunity to visit some of the eateries that we had long wanted to visit one of which was Five Leaves. The restaraunt, in part the brainchild of the late, great Heath Ledger had a breezy, bistro vibe and hip looking servers and bartenders.  Even though we were there at an in between time arund 3 the place was jumping.  The staff handled the rush with pose and finesse.  Lynn and i had a couple of drinks and tried the Charred Shishitos and the "Devils on Horseback" which was bacon wrapped medjool dates with habenero vincotto and almonds.

The drinks were crisp and savory on a hot August day and the food was the perfect bar snacks.  Our short stop here help us get our second wind and push through the rest of our day trip.  The menu had a number of itmes that we were tempted by such as the Tuna Bahn Mi, Charred Fennel and Grilled Okra.

M & L

Green Street Food Truck brings vegan yumminess to Long Island....

I had read about the Green Street Food Truck on Facebook which is (at present) Long Island's only "plant based/gluten free food truck."  Lynn and I were lucky enough to catch them at Just Breathe Yoga recently where I had the "tuna bowl" consisting of (among other things) spinach and chickpea tuna while Lynn had the Thai  Bowl with Raw Zucchini noodles, grilled tofu and peanut sauce.
The food was great and Owner Matt Korsky and his co-worker Alissa Logue were charming and personable.  Safe to say we will continue to patronize the exceptional fare of GSFT as much as possible....
M& L

Monday, September 10, 2018

Noah's On the Road helps cap Summer 2018,,,

As is often the case, Summer got off to a late start this year with the weather chilly well into the season.  We managed to pack a lot of our Summer "Bucket List" into what felt like a couple of weekends.  One thing we checked off of our "list" was to get to Noah's food truck out of Greenport's Restaurant of the same name.  We had a delicious fish taco paired with a beer from Greenport Brewing and are looking forward to visiting the food truck when we are not trying to cram Summer into a weekend...

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Sag Pizza makes a splashy debut in Sag Harbor....

We had been excited about the opening of Sag Pizza for several months mainly because it is owned by the owners of LT Burger which we have consistently enjoyed over the past few years.  The space, occuppied for decades by the beloved Pizza Parlor Conca D'Oro has been transformed into a sleek yet warm high end pizza parlor.
We went on a busy August weekend recently and though the restaraunt was crowded and bustling it had a relaxed feel with families taking a break from the heat mostly dining on some of the imaginative fare, mainly the wood fired pizza.  Lynn had the yummy Vingole pizza with clams, garlic scallion butter, guanciale, oregano and lemon.  I had the Montauk Tuna Crudo which fairly melted in the mouth.  Sag Pizza had a nice selection of wines, many of them local such as the Wolfer Rose which was a blessed remedy from the dog day heat of the noon sun.
The vibe was full on Summer with a sexy, near ceiling height poster of Sophia Loren in her movie star prime lounging on a beach in a black one piece.  Our waiter had a charming and comically appropriate Italian accent.  The section we sat in was comfortable but the seating was tight.  In spite of this, diners were friendly and relaxed and the vibe was unhurried. Definitely looking forward to many a return visit to try the other appetizing fare such as the Farmer's Pizza (with shishito pepper among other items) as well as the Medditeranean Octopus and Chopped "Arthur Ave" salad with salami, olive, filone, pepperoncini and gem lettuce...

Friday, August 31, 2018

Peconic Gold Oysters are the "Gold" starndard for Long Island Oysters...

Lynn and I first experienced Peconic Gold Oysters arouund the holidays last year as we have tried to perpetuate the family tradition started by my Dad where we have Oysters on Christmas Day.  Lynn had read about Peconic Gold Oysters (AKA Ketchams Seafood Farms) in a publication from the North Fork of Long Island.  Ketcham's is a boutique Oyster Farm situated in the Great Peconic Bay on Long Island.  Owner Matt Ketcham distinguishes the company with sustainable practices meant to be environmentally responsible and friendly.

Very recently we were able to revisit the Peconic Golds at Jamesport Farm Brewery and the Oysters were as plump, briny and decadent as we remembered and they were particularly refreshing on a hot Long Island Summer Day...

M & L

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Copper Beech in Bellport, Long Island has the perfect Summer Sandwich...

Copper Beech, Designer Thomas O'Brien's outpost in Bellport, New York has a nicely curated food takeout counter in the back of the store.  Lynn has fallen in love with the Turkey Salad on a baquette dreamt up by her).  The Sandwich features in house roast turkey, green grapes, apple, celery, fenniel and grainy French mustard as well as farm lettuce and tomato.  A great concoction for the beach, backyard pool or picnic...

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

2 Cousins Fish Market in Freeport, Long Island is a seafood lover's treat....

Located about 45 minutes West from our Brookhaven home, 2 Cousins Fish Market in Freeport, NY is a wonder for the Seafood Lover for sure.  Teaming with fish familiar and exotic as well as shellfish, 2 Cousins has great quality and the seafood could not be fresher.  The fish are sold in steaks or you can buy a whole fish and have it filleted in whatever fashion you might like.  Lynn and I got Wild Caught Salmon and Wild Mackerel recently and got a weeks worth of dinners.  We love the place, just wish it was a little closer....

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Greenport Jerky raises the Jerky bar on Long Island....

Time was beef jerky was a kind of throwaway food; something you might get in a convenience store or gas station; an afterthought.  Much more recently Beef Jerky has gone the Artisinal route with carefully crafted, locally sourced, responsibly made beef jerky.  A great, local (to us) example of this is the Greenport Jerky Company out of Greenport, NY on Long Island.  We found them at the Hallockville Museum in Riverhead where they were selling their product on an August weekend.  We got the Whisky Beef Jerky which tasted like you would imagine; peppery and sweet with a nice finish.  We look forward to trying the many other offerings including Black Pepper and Sea Salt as well as the Gluten Free Jerky.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Acabonac Farms raise the bar for artisinal beef in New York....

Lynn and I had been meaning to write up Acabonac Farms since we had tried their grass fed beef at an event in spring at the Hamlet Organic Garden (AKA "the hog") in Brookhaven, NY.  Acabonac Farms are out of the far East End of Long Island in Amagansett and take understandable pride in sourcing their own livestock and using human and environmental conscientious practices that cultivate a sense of their being responsible stewards of their products.  We were lucky enough to get a sample and found the hamburger to be lean but succulent with a savoriness that we have rarely experienced in meat much less hamburger...M&L

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....

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. 

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About Me

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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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