City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Archive for January, 2009

Serious face food

Holy mother of dayboat divers! One of the specials today at Star Provisions was a scallop po’ boy. Those indistinct fried blobs pictured above aren’t just any scallops but Nantucket Bay scallops. The short, short season for these sweet, sweet beauties is upon us, and I don’t think I’ve ever had the flavor framed any better.

Imagine: Soft, butter-crisped bread, bibb lettuce, tomato, a smear of tangy remoulade sauce and an all-important pickle slice.

Now add: About 20 sweet little nuggets, each bursting with juice inside its crisp jacket of batter.

It disappeared far too quickly. I want another.

Continue reading Serious face food »

Restaurant Stories

For this week’s Restaurant Stories column we hang out with Steven Kowalczuk, the creative mixologist at Room who has a surprising back story. (You have to click through to get the link…sorry.)

Continue reading Restaurant Stories »

Who is Joël cooking for?

Ever since Joël Antunes left his namesake restaurant in Atlanta to take over the kitchen at the Oak Room in Manhattan’s Plaza Hotel, it has been tempting to imagine him cooking dinner nightly for the young lady pictured at left.

In fact, the French chef is busy putting together a Super Bowl party for a group of New York high rollers and 300 of their closest friends. The hosts include film writer and director Stephen Gaghan (whom I mostly know from his self-deprecating turn on HBO’s “Entourage”) and MSNBC anchor Dan Abrams.

And the menu? Chips? Dip? Buffalo wings?

In your dreams, Eloise. Think instead smoked salmon tartine, oyster mignonette and Welsh rarebit. Though Antunes is apparently pulling out his recipe for chili.

Would love to be a fly on the wall (or, perhaps, in the tureen) for that one.

Continue reading Who is Joël cooking for? »

Dirty Juice

We get sent all kinds of niche food products to the paper, which explains the oddities that pile up on my desk: açai-pomegranate vinegar, onion-parsley peanut butter, Bacon Salt (which is, counterintuitively, both vegetarian and kosher) and this.

Yes, bottled olive juice

I guess it does happen that one runs out of olive juice before running out of olives, particularly at a party. So this bottled brine could come in handy. 

I brought a bottle home and made a dirty martini that had a very salty, olivey flavor. (I was tempted to garnish it with a diuretic.) But, then again, I don’t really like dirty martinis, so I’m not a good judge. 

I gave the rest to my wife, who didn’t like it either. So we poured the rest down the drain and opened a bottle of wine. 

But if dirty’s your thing, check it out. 

By the way, a bartender once told me that if you reduce the olive juice, the drink is called a “dusky martini,” and if you increase it, you have a “filthy martini.” …

Continue reading Dirty Juice »

Talk about lousy timing

Chattanooga Bakery — the maker of the MoonPie brand marshmallow sandwich cookie — is marketing a new peanut butter version.

The company sent out a press release to let  everyone know they don’t use the supplier of peanut butter tied to the current salmonella outbreak.

In a prepared statement, Tory Johnson, VP of Marketing, says, “We have an ongoing and aggressive quality assurance program that prevents any contamination concerns. ENJOY this exciting and delicious new product!”

I feel so sorry for the MoonPie people that I may have to eat one, even if it is 170 calories for a cookie-sized mini-pie and loaded with partially hydrogenated oils.

Continue reading Talk about lousy timing »

Menu misspellings

From chef Todd Ginsberg’s dinner menu at Trois:


artichoke barigoule, white truffle broth 27″

But do you have to tuck a dollar bill in the bass’ barigoule?

Continue reading Menu misspellings »

Et tu, Tagalong?

Corporate downsizing takes many forms: 7,000 jobs here, a couple of Thin Mints there.

According to a report in the Dallas Morning News, some varieties of Girl Scout Cookies will have fewer cookies per box, while at least one will be physically downsized — i.e., a smaller cookie.

Is there any consolation? A little…

Continue reading Et tu, Tagalong? »

Movin’ on up 141 on that midnight train to Johns Creek

It is now official: Johns Creek is the epicenter for restaurants that doting sons open in homage to their famous show-business mothers.

We have already reported on Weezy’s Movin’ on Up Cafe Jazz & BBQ opened by Isabel Sanford’s son, Sanford Sanford.

Ms. Sanford, you may recall, played Louise “Weezy” Jefferson, who moved on up to the East Side in “The Jeffersons” — one of the classic Norman Lear sitcoms that took a prism to issues of race, class and politics.

So why do we have a picture of Gladys Knight? Because the great soul singer and her loving son, Shanga Hankerson, have decided to open the third local branch of their chicken and waffles restaurant (another is in Washington, D.C.) just 4 miles up the road.

This one promises to be the swankiest yet. Called Gladys Knight Chicken and Waffles Bistro, it will seat 120 and have a stage for live entertainment as well as an outdoor patio.

Look for all the favorites of the Midtown menu, including both smothered and fried chicken, …

Continue reading Movin’ on up 141 on that midnight train to Johns Creek »

Shakings and stirrings in the mixology scene

Eric Simpkins (left) has left the Bar at Trois to perform his alchemy at Drinkshop — the new bar in the W Hotel downtown, which will open imminently. Drinkshop comes to us from Manhattan drinks impressario Sasha Petraske, whose speakeasy-style boite Milk and Honey helped ignite today’s new cocktail culture. Simpkins, a Georgia native, cut his teeth at Pegu Club, another Manhattan martini mecca.

A new team of bartenders will work to keep Trois’ bar scene ignited, including Room’s Steven Kowalczuk and (by rumor) someone from the Restaurant Eugene/Holeman and Finch firmament. Bottoms up.

Continue reading Shakings and stirrings in the mixology scene »

Best Bi Bim Bap

I think I’ve found my favorite version of bi bim bap in the city, and it’s served as an afterthought on a menu with a completely different focus.

The specialty of the house at Bonjuk in Duluth is juk, also spelled jook, also called congee, and best described as rice porridge. Chinese versions of this dish are usually perfectly white and bland, with a few flavorful add-ins, such as pork, scallions or chunks of 1,000 year eggs. But at this branch of an international chain, the juk is Korean-style — colorful and plumbed with seasonings, minced vegetables and principal ingredients ranging from shellfish, to chicken and ginseng, to mushrooms. 

When my 11-year-old ordered a bowl of seafood juk bigger than her head, I decided to indulge a hankering for bi bim bap. Pictured is the version with kimchi-spiced pork. I figured I’d have no shortage of juk to cadge off her plate. 

This should not have been my favorite bi bim bap. No way, no how. For starters, there is no …

Continue reading Best Bi Bim Bap »