Another Restaurant Rut

I haven’t had a good meal in a restaurant in more than a month. That is not to say that I haven’t enjoyed myself, or had an excellent dish (The burger I had at Blue Smoke last night was fantastic), but I would like the total package, and it just hasn’t happened recently. I have been cooking a lot, mostly simple stuff that is nonetheless great fun to eat, but nothing thrilling to write about. Sorry. I write this blog to entertain myself. But, I will be going out to dinner in Manhattan, as close to Bryant Park as possible. Unless no one is going to come through with a great restaurant recommendation, in which case I will expand the territory to include all of Manhattan except the East Side (I am allergic to the East Side). Please don’t suggest Per Se, or Daniel, or something silly that will cost me a mortgage payment and I couldn’t get into anyway. I am thinking more along the lines of Union Square Cafe, or Barbuto. Something fun, relatively casual, and with a bar!

Mustard: The New Ketchup

Mustard is both a fruit and a vegetable in my house. Specifically, I try to eat at least the Recommended Daily Servings, which, as I recall, is nine (that can be tough during breakfast). Lest you think that mustard is boring, take a look at the incredible variety available, even in a typical market. And move on to an upscale grocery or specialty store, and the choices become overwhelming. But even good old brown deli mustard is pretty good, especially on a Katz’s Deli hot pastrami on rye. However, I draw the line at yellow mustard, which is Continue reading “Mustard: The New Ketchup”

My Wife Can’t Cook, But She Can “Assemble”

That is her word, and it is actually fairly accurate. I am unsure of the boundary between cooking and assembling, although the margins are pretty obvious. For instance, she can make a mean grilled-cheese sandwich — just don’t ask her to make a Croque-Monsieur; the béchamel is far beyond her capabilities.  But a few days ago we picked up a great looking eggplant (I guessed correctly and got a male with no seeds) although without any idea what I was going to do with it. I thought about slicing it thin and grilling it, and my lovely wife ran with that idea and suggested a sort of eggplant Napoleon, with tomato and mozzarella. So I did the heavy lifting at the grill, and she assembled the little Continue reading “My Wife Can’t Cook, But She Can “Assemble””

Van Dyk’s Ice Cream, Ridgewood, NJ

I got a small, half cinnamon-caramel and half cappuccino-oreo. I will freely admit that the flavors are odd, but I will fight to the death for the right to eat them! great stuff. And as far as I can tell, locally owned, so it can’t be beat. The ice cream is fresh, creamy, screaming with flavor, and the smart-assed high school kids serving the stuff are amusing as hell, and deserve large tips. Perhaps my perspective is skewed by the large quantity of Edmeades Zinfandel that I consumed before adjourning to this ice cream palace, but damn, this stuff is good! And, there were five of us, and everyone was happy with his (or her) choice. So toss my opinion out and trust the teenagers who live and die by the ice cream they eat.

Update 9/1/2008

Because no study is valid with only one sample, I heaved my carcass off the couch and into the car for another trip to Van Dyk’s. All indications are good that there was no radical change in the quality of the ice cream, but the line was longer. And that is a good thing, because I want this place to stay in business for a very long time.

Time Flies When You Are Eating Too Much

It has been more than a week since I last posted, and my only excuse is that I have been eating far too much and couldn’t haul myself to the keyboard without stopping for a snack. The highlights were:  excellent heirloom tomatoes with mozzarella and basil, duck quesadillas with goat cheese and sautéed corn (best in show), and my always excellent barbecued pork ribs. The lows include the honey-Dijon chicken and bacon pizza that, while tasting quite good, is probably the most significant contributor to my impending demise from overeating. Oh, the three egg-bacon-cheese sandwiches (homemade, and delicious) didn’t help.

Le Pont Bleu — Saint-Pair Sur Mer, France

Less than 3 kilometers north of Jullouville, just off the coastal road, is this lovely little restaurant where we celebrated the birthday of the mayor’s granddaughter. Needless to say, we started with champagne. Perhaps that is France’s greatest gift to the world — the invention of champagne, and the wonderful idea that it should be drunk often. Americans see champagne as a festive drink, to be consumed on special occasions, and we are partly correct. But I am going to redefine what a special occasion is. From now on, it means dinner time. And lunch time if I can get away with it. Continue reading “Le Pont Bleu — Saint-Pair Sur Mer, France”

La Promenade — Jullouville, France

Where do you eat in a small town on the Normandy coast? Well, if your friends know the mayor, who is justifiably proud of this lovely beach resort 40 kilometers from Le Mont-Saint-Michel, let him make the decision. And that was a fine idea. My only regret is that we didn’t have more time to try some other restaurants, because the two we enjoyed were both excellent, charming and, most important, they served innovative and interesting food.

We began at La Promenade, a seaside restaurant in a building that was used as a hospital by the Nazis until it was liberated by American forces in 1944. We sat on the patio Continue reading “La Promenade — Jullouville, France”

Don’t Order The Halibut

They say that hope springs eternal. They also say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing every day and expecting a different result. Continental Airlines did an excellent job of transporting me to and from Europe. Everything worked well, including the security checks at both ends. But…the fish was overcooked. Impressively overcooked. The other food was tolerable, bordering on “not bad.” So on the flight back I did the only thing that made no sense and ordered the halibut again. My rationale was that it was a different preparation, so it would be cooked perfectly. It wasn’t. Maybe I should stick to the chicken.