Saturday, May 19, 2012

Feeding the soul

I visited the 9/11 Memorial. It was an emotional experience, more affecting than I expected; like seeing a deeply holy place. No more writing now....just photos and some captions.

Canvas signs line the streets making it easy to find 
A heavy police presence
Security lines and screening like the airport...several checkpoints follow
The visitor's pass...keep it out, it will be checked again and again
First view...a beautiful, serene place
Reflecting absence...the bottom of the center pool is always out of view

The names of victims from the airliners are placed along the parapet where the planes hit the buildings

Each pool covers an acre, the sound of the water dampens city noise        

Aerial view looking West

Cobbles and tiles for the walks are cut from the Trade Center's granite

Incomplete Memorial can see the original Trade Center Tridents and a subway staircase through the windows                             


Monday, May 14, 2012

Mentioned my name

I am so tickled...Charm City Cakes (Pastry Chef Duff Goldman) mentioned my blog in their blog. I know it's silly but they're famous and I'm not. Thank you! Charm City Cakes.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Eating the Weekend

There was a lot of visiting this weekend. For Saturday, Son and family joined a neighborhood wide tag sale and a pot luck back yard dinner followed. For Mother's Day we visited my Daughter-in-law's family where another food laden table waited.

The neighborhood outdid themselves.....
I love these kinds of get togethers where everyone brings a favorite dish and the table ends up groaning under the weight of it all. I love that I get to taste good old fashioned home cooking and can graze the table trying lots of different things.

Chicken kabobs hot off the grill, juicy with just the perfect char

Fruit salad with lots of watermelon, grapes, canteloupe & crisp green apples

No ordinary lasagna...light as air pasta, sausagey and cheesy, it arrived with extra sauce
There were some standouts among all that food and one something I'd never tried before. A neighbor's Dad grilled up some perfectly seasoned chicken burgers and topped them with a spicy tomato-corn salsa. Amazing! I wanted to take a picture of one but they disappeared before they could even hit the platter.

Artichokes to die for...I sat right next to this pan...lightly steamed, stuffed, then baked

Eat on Long Island. Thank you for two most delicious days.

Friday, May 11, 2012


A handful of forlorn strawberries stared at me when I opened the fridge the other day. I was looking for salad dressing ingredients and the strawberries gave me an idea: Strawberry vinaigrette. It was delicious.

  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 6-8 finely chopped strawberries
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 small clove of garlic, minced fine
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
A bowl of fresh salad veg tossed with a handful of mint, a handful of Italian parsley & a handful of chiffonade basil.

Put the strawberries in a microwave safe bowl. Pour the sherry over them and heat for 2 minutes. Cover and let sit until cool.

Add the mustard, garlic, honey, salt and pepper to the strawberry-vinegar mixture. Whisk together.

Continue whisking and slowly drizzle in the olive oil (about 1/2 cup) until the dressing is creamy and thick. (Or, use your blender if you don't want to whisk...just make sure there are some recognizable bits of strawberry when you're done. The texture is nice.)
Serve. Enjoy.

Makes about 1 cup.
Lovely, refreshing strawberry vinaigrette

Monday, May 7, 2012

Chef Hugh and Chef Linton

The James Beard Foundation held their annual awards this evening in a glittering event at Avery Fisher Hall (Lincoln Center) in NY City.

Two of Atlanta's premier Chefs walked away in a tie for The Best Chef (Southeast) awards...Hugh Acheson (Chef/Owner of Empire State South, Five and Ten, The National) and Linton Hopkins (Chef/Owner of Restaurant Eugene and Holman and Finch). It was Chef Linton's 5th nomination and Chef Hugh's 6th and I'm sure both men were relieved to finally walk away with the prize. I hope the share did not diminish their win.

Congratulations Chef Linton and Chef Hugh! A spectacular, well deserved achievement.

Top Photo: from left to right--Chef Hugh Acheson and Chef Linton Hopkins
Bottom photo: The Beard Foundation's 25th Anniversary cake created by Duff Goldman, aka Ace of Cakes

Friday, May 4, 2012


Ramps turned up in my local farmers market last week and I grabbed a small handful of those lovely baby leeks. I adore these wild onions and their onion-garlicky crunch but at $19.99 a pound a handful is all I dared buy. (And their season is short---just through June--- so it was buy now or wait another year).

Wash them well, trim off the root end (like you would a leek) and give them a light bath of olive oil, salt and fresh pepper. Toss them onto a hot grill just long enough to brown.  

Luscious grilled ramps
I served them with buttered spring peas, minced scallions, chives and a light rain of Maldon salt. Yum Yum. Yum.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A meal of Titanic proportions (and expense)

Imagine dining in Edwardian opulence. White gloved waiters clad in starched white coats gliding quietly around your table bearing artfully arranged food on silver trays. China is rare turn of the century porcelain and fragile crystal sparkles with Armagnac costing $400 an ounce.

The menu, a ten course extravaganza, includes a foie gras terrine, rare out of season truffles and a host of classic French and Russian creations tweaked to suit the modern palate. All of this can be had for a mere $12,000. Per Person.

Cullen's Restaurant in Houston is offering this meal through September as a recreation of what it might have been like to dine as a first class passenger on the Titanic.

The Titanic sank 100 years ago. And when it did 1500 people went to their deaths in the icy waters of the North Atlantic. Commemorating that with such blatant excess borders on the obscene. Did these people not think to partner with a charity, an organization that might benefit from some much needed largesse? Could they not have used this opportunity to seek out a good cause or someone in need and share some of the bounty? Is tossing away $12,000 on one meal really something to be proud of in this day and age?

I am, to quote my Facebook pals, SMDH.

Cullen's Upscale American Grille on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Double Zero, my visit

It's always difficult to review a restaurant when your visit there is preceded by raves and your experience does not quite match the rapture you expected. You wonder what's wrong with you. Were my expectations too high or was I too cranky too appreciate the place and needed another visit?  So, I did visit a second time. Same mixed results.

I loved these lights
Double Zero is a very large restaurant. The staff is friendly; almost too much so. Greetings ring out the minute you walk in and servers work very hard (one even handed out cards at the end requesting we visit a web site where we could review him). The food is alternately brilliant and ho-hum. The service is slooooow. The decor looks tired but fabulous light fixtures hang over long high top tables. And all of this from the team who brought us the Iberian Pig and Sugo.

Food glorious food.  Double Zero's menu is updated, polished Southern Italian Cuisine. One look at it and I knew I wanted everything and maybe that's where my already high expectations went into fifth gear. It all sounded so wonderful and I couldn't wait to eat.

Polpettine – lamb meatballs, were the best I've ever had. The menu said sous-vide which probably account for their light as air texture with (I think) must have been a quick finishing deep fry. Very flavorful. Very Delicious with little bites of mozzarella, not-too-sweet tomato jam and dollops of basil yogurt. I could have eaten a tub of those.

Polipo – grilled octopus tasted good and chewed like gum and I honestly did not care for the melange of disparate flavors on that plate: sunchoke, pancetta, asparagus puree and a salty-lemony olive drizzle that should have popped all those flavors but did not.

L'Arrosto---photo from Marilyn Wolf's food and restaurant blog
L’Arrosto – “the roast”is a huge slab (listed under small plates!) of pork shoulder roasted to tender melt in your mouth perfection. It comes to the table in a cast iron pan floating in a puddle of fragrant pork jus. Baskets of tender pizza nuvole (bread) and small dishes of pickled vegetables, pepper jelly, roasted garlic puree, chiles, apple-almond mostarda accompany the pork. Make little sandwiches and then ask for more bread to sop up all that jus

The Napoletana pizza
Double Zero refers to the kind of flour they use in making their pizza. It is the most highly refined---the silkiest---flour you can buy. It creates the tenderest, most delicate crust and all pizzas come with scissors for cutting instead of the usual knife or wheel. It is here that my expectations crashed.

I am always looking for my ultimate pizza. Thin crispy crust with a puffed rim lightly charred from a mega hot wood fired oven. Lovely fresh tomato sauce, tender melted mozzarella, a last minute sprinkle of pecorino romano and dash of sweet basil. My mouth was ready for Double Zero perfection; it didn't arrive. The pizza was OK. It was not special. The crust was was not crisp. The edges were puffy and charred...the sauce lacked flavor. The Double Zero Napoletana pizza with arugula and Prosciutto di Parma was heavy on the green and short on the prosciutto leaving my mouth with a bitter taste. The pecorino romano was not to be found.

Pizza here is just good. It is not great. I have had better.

Double Zero Napoletana on Urbanspoon