Posts Tagged ‘Delicious’
Thursday, February 14th, 2013
This year for Valentine’s Day I skipped over the chocolates and passed on the flowers. Was a time these would be top items in the romance offerings but alas they seem pointless while my love remains unrequited.
Nope, this year I will have to make do with a tart. Make that a yuzu tart from the Parisian ERIC KAYSER, a recent import that is nestled in the very un-Parisian environs of New York City’s Upper East Side. Yes, there was the woman with the Hermes Birkin bag and young ladies with French manicures, but alas this was all on the lacking-in-glam Third Avenue – a bit too far away from the haute-ness of Madison Avenue. These ladies, disinclined to use knifes, wrestled their salads with forks only, every now and then assisting entry with their index fingers. Such unladylike manners, they were all fur coat and no knickers.
With all this going on, it made sense to go with the tart, no?! At MAISON ERIC KAYSER it may veer towards Le Pain Quotidien – the ubiquitous chain found throughout the world – but here the restaurant design and the bakes take on a more polished edge. With Kayser’s Viennoiserie,
boulangerie and patisserie, we’re talking about serious tres bien yum!!! The salads, croques and quiches may satisfy – perfect for those who excel in fingering food into their mouths -but who wants a mediocre and tepid quiche when you can have a bang from a voluptuous tart?
With yuzu think grapefruit meets the mandarin orange for a uniquely aromatic East Asian edge. In this tart the sturdy pate sablée crust supports a tangy curd that has a bitter-sweet edge from a sprinkling of citrusy zest. No lemons here, not when your valentine is a yuzu tart.
ERIC KAYSER, 1294 Third Avenue, at 74th Street, Upper East Side, New York City, and soon to a neighborhood near you.
Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013
If a big rise is on your mind don’t get too excited about the loaves at the PALM BEACH BAKERY & CAFE. However, if dense, dark and toothsome is what you’re after in a loaf then search no further than the ruis limppu aka rye bread.
Forget the seeded rye of that delicious pastrami sandwich you had at Katz’s Delicatessen – lofty and soft may be a perfect mate to that meat but the problem is is that’s not rye bread. Think of it as white bread with a caraway edge. For the real deal your most likely option are the packaged loaves tightly sealed in plastic surrounded by puffed up Wonder whites at your local grocery store. In Scandinavia and Eastern Europe bakeries are abundant with varieties of rye bread while in America chances are you’ll be stuck with that brownish black shrink wrapped brick.
Not so at the PALM BEACH BAKERY & CAFE in the workaday locale of Lantana, a mixed demographic blip in Palm Beach County. Owing to its Finnish population – the largest outside of Finland – this is the read deal in Scandinavian bakery appeal even if it’s less than a mile from Florida’s Atlantic shores.
Nothing fancy at this shack of a shop on a side street just off of Federal Highway. But there’s a history to the owner and baker, Jouko Vaskivuo, who started as an apprentice in Pietarsaari, Finland in 1962 and came to the Florida in 1975. When he arrived he opened a bakery which was later sold, had a stint in a Miami restaurant and also worked for a cruise line before returning to his native Finland. After nearly a decade away he returned to Lantana and opened THE PALM BEACH BAKERY & CAFE in 2001. A dozen years later it is still going strong and it is a de facto community center for Finnish and Swedish expats to gather for homeland eats and chats in their native tongue.
While there’s lots of demand for the bakery’s yeasty pastries like the exceptional cardamon-edged cinnamon bun and sweet “pulla” breads, rose buns and fruit-centered danishes, it’s clearly the ruis limppu, aka rye bread, that is the staple as well as star . Whether in round or rectangular loaves Mr. Vaskivuo’s gets the sourdough starter going daily – there’s no yeast – so that your ruis limppu is just right every time. Ahead of getting that bread home the shop’s savory offerings include a thick slice of rye underneath a hard-boiled egg and smoked salmon or a rolled out rye that forms a crust filled with rice and topped with egg salad. This is all seriously good comfort food.
Mr. Vaskivuo attributes much of the ruis limpu’s unique taste to the sourdough starter’s 10 to 12 hour fermentation regimen along with the simple and natural ingredients – no preservatives are ever used – in his densely
rich rye bread. This and the low moisture content also make way for a long shelf life: a loaf is likely never mold over and will last for a good four days before turning rock solid on your kitchen counter. It’s just the sort of sturdiness you’d expect from the the kneads of Northern European stock.
Bread is not dead at the PALM BEACH BAKERY & CAFE.
Palm Beach Bakery & Cafe. No Website. 206 East Ocean Avenue, Lantana, Florida. Tel. 561-585-0222. Closed Sundays, holidays and in summertime, usually a few weeks in June.
Friday, September 14th, 2012
I kneaded to meet Jim Lahey.
The owner of Sullivan Street Bakery (oddly no longer on Sullivan Street after a split with his partner many moons ago and a move to Hell’s Kitchen and a newly minted outpost in Chelsea), proprietor of the pizza-centric restaurant and cookbook author, Mr. Lahey has made a defining mark on bread. He is gracious about his art and so self assured that he offers up his recipes in formats that are achievable for even the most awkward of home bakers.
You know his “pane” – the filone, di comune and pugliese – if you eat out in New York City since the bread on your table or in your shopping bag came by way of Sullivan Street Bakery’s wholesale business. So, even if you’ve never been to the bakery chances are one its crusty loaves have made it from his oven to your palate. Though, if you do have the chance it’s definitely worth the trip.
From the minimal-comforts of the small retail counter at the wholesale minded operation on West 47th Street to the sleekly industrial styled bakery-as-cafe on 9th Avenue, you’re in for some seriously great bakes. Thankfully, you’ll find no cupcakes here. His craft, honed in Italy,
started with a bit of wild yeast and small-batch artisanal baking that has spread to Roman-style pizze, rustic Italian dolci (the bombolini is what all donut makers aspire to but rarely achieve) and cookies. Oh, and the panini: seasonal and organic ingredients are specifically paired to breads for outstandingly delicious and nuanced sandwich creations.
Bread is not dead at Sullivan Street Bakery.
Friday, August 10th, 2012
What to do with the queue?
The once genteel world of making a reservation has long gone by the wayside in New York City. In London the No Reservation Policy (“NRP”) is beginning to take hold. Many of the new “hot” restaurants bring price and inventiveness together and draw in diners with no guaranty of when they get to sit down and dine.
What to do about all that NRP stand around time? Luckily cell phones add some freedom to the equation – a long wait can be transformed into a nearby drinks moment or a round of window shopping until you’re called back to the
feeding trough. You could also hit the same restaurants for lunch when they’re less busy and their NRP is suspended for less flexible business clientele. Be the early bird – “seniordom” here you come – and show up at the door when the restaurant opens or sidle in fifteen minutes before the predictable rendezvous hours
of 7 and 8 o’clock. My preferred entry for NRP spots is later in the night: I often make your entry from 9:30 to 11 o’clock and good chance you’ll get a table or bar seat without a wait.
In these busy Olympic times here are a few of London’s gold medal NRP venues and what to do with their queues.
BURGER & LOBSTER, 29 Clarges Street. Mayfair, Tel. 020 7409 1699
Simplicity rules at this surf and turf locale where a lobster, lobster roll and burger make up the menu along with chips and salad all for 20 quid. It’s good food that is priced to satisfy, problem is the NRP and the inevitable queues.
What to Do: a stroll over to Green or Berkeley Parks, window shop along Bond Street or have a drink at the Wolseley on Piccadilly.
10 GREEK STREET, 10 Greek Street, Soho, Tel. 020 7734 4677
You’re here for the daily changing menu of modern European fare. Along with the refined comfort food and understated industrial style, you’ll also get a wait ahead of that fine dinnertime plate.
What to Do: it’s Soho so just walk the web of surrounding streets where pubs, bars and shops overflow with locals and tourists.
MEAT LIQUOR, 74 Welbeck Street, Tel. 20 7224 4239
It’s all about the burger and the booze in 21st Century neon and graffiti accented American diner style. These patties pack in a swell of loyal followers so expect a lot of time before you meet with your meat.
What to Do: drink. Yes, you can loop around to Oxford Street but it’s all in the name – the liquor concoctions here are part of the game.
The etiquette of the line is pretty simple – wait your turn. What you do with that queue is up to you.
Monday, August 6th, 2012
Oxford Street, the old one that is, packs in Olympic shoppers even on non-Olympic summer days. This year on this high street of high streets that stretches from the Marble Arch to Tottenham Court Road, the very black-clad burqa gals from steamy-hot Middle Eastern lands stroll the cool outdoor mall of Oxford Street immersed in a flurry of colorful London 2012 crowds.
Need a reprieve? Lucky for you there’s MARYLEBONE.
Slip off of Oxford Street onto Marybone Lane – once your a few blocks along you’ll traverse some charmed London architecture and the destination-worthy WALLACE COLLECTION at Manchester Square (just east on Hinde Street). You’re here because four generations of the Marquesses of Hertford House filled this onetime private residence with artwork and furnishings spanning the 15th-19th centuries. Once you’ve had your fill of the arts, time for you to hit Marylebone High Street and from there you can enjoys the greens of Regent’s Park.
Take the turn of off Oxford Street to Marylebone Lane and kiss-kiss the big retailers goodbye. There’s nothing much to the first segment of your journey but cross over Wigmore Street and Marylebone’s charms shine through. It’s old school at DAVID PENTON AND SON, aka PENTON’S hardware shop where locals have been coming sInce 1841. Next up, THE BUTTON QUEEN a quirky shop where buttons, vintage and up-t0-date, are the rule of the day. To the barber add a delicatessen, sausage shop and oh, a smattering of small boutiques to prep you for the niche branded retailers along Marylebone High Street.
Lots of polish to the forward thinking and sustainable-organic minded plates of ONE08. If the up-to-date contemporary style that looks out-of-date isn’t part of your taste level then onward Eater to the charms of CALDESI, an Italian restaurant paired with a cooking school and its add day CAFFE CALDESI. A stop in London wouldn’t be complete with out a bit of fish and chips and THE GOLDEN HIND (73 Marylebone Lane, tel. 020 7403 0123, no website) has been frying up haddock, plaice and cod excellence for decades. Go from surf to turf across the lane where it’s a straight menu of steak frites at LE RELAIS DE VENISE. This may be a chain but we’re always game for this well primed meat stop. For a light bite or just an eye site, make your way to BIGGLES, an oddly adorable sausage shop and the old school British delicatessen PAUL ROTHE & SON (35 Marylebone Lane, tel. 020 7935 6783, no website).
Pheww, still hungry? Then time to hit Marylebone High Street. There’s a good chance you’ll be underwhelmed by the slew of restaurants that try to beckon you and your dining dollars indoors for not necessarily bad but not exceptional food.
Play it safe at PAUL or LE PAIN QUOTIDIEN - they may be all over London but heck, you can’t go wrong with their satisfying rustic-edged eats. Sidle to Moxon Street for a stop at THE GINGER PIG butchers for a sausage roll to go or LA FROMAGERIE where the food shop is elevated to art installation. From its acclaimed cheese selection to produce and vegetables, you’ll pay a bit of premium but justly so to satisfy your finely honed sustainable, organic and artisanal grocery list. If
there’s a seat, by all means take the time for a plate of these cherry-picked eats.
Reserve a table at THE PROVIDORES restaurant or roll into it’s all day TAPA ROOM where breakfast, lunch and dinner make for inventive and satisfying dines. On your way up the street pass by ORRERY EPICERIE which falls flat but do make a stopover at the second floor ORRERY restaurant, a Terrance Conran production that is a Marylebone fine dine and, if the weather is in your favor an ideal terraced London lunchtime.
Now that you’ve eaten, perhaps a short stop at the St. Marylebone Parish Church Gardens and then, tallyho, to the greens of REGENT’S PARK you’ll go.
Thursday, August 2nd, 2012
A different day, a different side. We found
bliss at our recent visit to NOPI where samphire (a seaweed meets Broccolini briny-edged veggie) was well paired to asparagus topped with some shavings of Pecorino. They lived happily ever after. NOPI 21-22 Warwick Street, Soho,
Friday, July 27th, 2012
formation!!! LONDON 2012 OLYMPICS Opening Ceremony here we go, go, go!
Albion Cafe, Bakery & Grocery 2-4 Boundary Street, Shoreditch, London
Thursday, July 19th, 2012
Okay, you’ve got everything you need. The camera and smartphone combo with GPS and, just to play it safe your printed guide (better be a MAPPETITE!), a raincoat and an umbrella, though that could turn out to be a dangerous accessory on this city’s Olympic congested streets. Oh, and don’t forget patience - if the crowd swells are what they’re predicting you could be in for a constant crush – with just about two weeks to go, London Town is already a squeeze. As far as food is concerned, not
to worry – London has your back with great on-the-go-eats during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
With shops that seem to be on every corner, it’s always easy to play it safe at PRET A MANGER. With its organic and natural ingredients edge, it’s a medal winner in the sandwich-to-go-athon. No doubts, PRET is leagues ahead of it’s competitor EAT though English grocer M&S FOOD and it’s mini-me M&S.SIMPLY FOOD keep the event competitive with less expensive seats.
Even as the luxe DAYLESFORD ORGANIC enters the
race with its newly minted sandwiches to-go, I have my wager on GAIL’S BREAD in the upscale takeaway sandwich-and-bakes-athon. From France, the sandwich-and-bakes-sprinter to watch is definitely PAUL; this French athlete knows how to consistently perform. In the pricier prepared-foods-and-bakes-to-go-athon the GROCER ON ELGIN and posh nosh OTTOLENGHI will both definitely make their way to the victory podium. Oh, and keep an eye out for Japan with ITSU leading the pack, followed by WASABI - that will definitely make for a close race and cheers from fans in the bento box.
Saturday, July 14th, 2012
The Statue of Liberty, gift from the French, and the Washington Square Arch, modeled after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, are two of New York City’s “French-est” landmarks. Then there is patisserie and boulangerie, the Napoleon and the baguette. If a visit to Liberty Island leaves you with hunger pangs for a croissant and a cafe au lait you’re out of luck. However, that’s not the case when you’re in Washington Square Park.
Anchored by the arch at the base of Fifth Avenue, Washington Square Arch commemorates the centennial of President George Washington’s inauguration. Reminiscent of the Arc de Triomphe, the very French design is by the renowned architect Stanford White. These days the arch and park are all aglow – no reminders remain of its former status at the turn of the 19th Century as a potters field (countless bodies are buried under its grounds) and the days of 1960s “peace & love” linger on solely with the few stragglers singing Neil Young songs and pot dealers soliciting you with a mumble under their breath. With its recent refurbishment a la the French garden style it is a magnet for locals and the New York University student body who hang out at this fountained oasis of green smack-dab-center in the heart of Greenwich Village.
Head south from the park, down Laguardia Place to the very oddly “suburban” Morton Williams supermarket at
Bleecker Street and you’re on the edge of the gardened and wooded five acre expanse of the SILVER TOWERS apartment complex. Sitting center stage in the broad plaza fronting the three mid-century Internationalist Style buildings designed by architect I.M. Pei’s is the Bust of Sylvette, the massive statue modeled on Pablo Picasso’s smaller original. It’s really quite the setting, something more reminiscent of a housing project you might come upon in a Paris’ 13th arrondissement rather than in New York’s typically predictable urban grid.
Take a short stroll from the imposing neoclassical arch, past the fountain sprays and newly refurbished gardens of Washington Square Park to Laguardia Place and, voila, you’re at MILLE FEUILLE BAKERY CAFE. The shop, recently opened by a French engineer turned pastry chef may be simple by LADUREE standards (the haute Parisian patisserie chain recently opened a macaron boutique on the Upper East Side) but, on this city stretch of city blocks that hosts a strip mall and NYU campus housing, it’s a moment of bakery opulence.
At MILLE FEUILLE there’s no “wow” factor to the resplendent-less design. The small shop is centered around an unremarkable stone counter running the length of the bakery; the front displays patisserie and the back serves as the prep table where excellent croissants take shape. In addition to the croissants there’s the bakery’s outstanding namesake, the mille feuille (aka Napoleon). There may be lots of beautiful visuals with these very French bakes, especially with the rainbow of ever-so-popular macarons but, we’re not sure where they got the idea to use plastic wrap for the mounds of cookies and sliced loaf cakes – this is a serious faux pas for such haute-minded bakery crafts.
More French on your mind? Well, you’re set to enjoy the offerings at FPB, aka FRANOIS PAYARD BAKERY NYC, on West Houston Street, just on the cusp of Greenwich Village and across from SOHO. You’re here for outstanding boulangerie and patisserie though don’t go out of your way for their lunchtime fare. Also, while we love the concept of chocolate – who doesn’t? – we’re not fans of the chocolate filled plastic squire bottles on the tables nor the design of the shop – even with its broad windows looking into the kitchen it’s disjointed layout is resplendent with bad feng shui.
Of the gateaus, exceptional and simple are words to describe the gateau Basque – something my friend Joe turned me onto when we were traveling in Southwest France many many moons ago. It remained a distant memory until a visit to FYB. Nothing gooey to this crumbly moist cake and its subtle flavoring and sweetness from almond flour, pastry cream and sugar. We drove that summer along the coast from Biarritz, France to San Sebastian, Spain with lots of wonderful meals and wonderful desserts of which the gateau Basque, in all its simplicity, took the cake.
It’s also a reassuringly safe patisserie play o rustic-edged breakfast and lunch time at the French inspired chain that is LE PAIN QUOTIDIEN. It may be everywhere in the world but this Belgian born company gets patisserie and boulangerie right. Hearty breads with an all day breakfast and lunch menu where tartines (in Yank talk, sandwiches) and tarts are consistently a-okay. Friends endearingly call it the “Pain” but nothing hurts about this comfort chain just one block away from Washington Square Park.
Welcome to Greenwich Village, France.
Sunday, July 8th, 2012
Professional pugilist (a veteran of the ultimate fighting circuit) turned artisan baker, Kamel Saci has quite the basket at Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria.
Rise to the occasion without any yeast for flavorful and crusty breads that follow time honored traditions along with knockout ingredient twists. Beyond the deliciously strong and sturdy staples like focaccia, ciabatta and country bread go down for the count with the daily changing and seasonal varying blackboard specials like fig hazelnut, Parmesan baguette
and for the lover of all things cocoa, a chocolate laced loaf.
Get their by early afternoon as this dough goes quick.
At Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria, Bread Is Not Dead.
Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria, 53 Great Jones Street, between the Bowery and Lafayetee Street, NYC, tel. (212) 837-2622