Archive for the ‘New York City Eats’ Category
Ever since I picked up the Momofuku cookbook, I have been wanting to procure a pig’s head and make the pig’s head torchon that is laid out on page 200. I have made my way through most of the “easier” and “more practical” recipes, and have found myself eying the “Mt. Everest” of the Momofuku recipes: the one that requires a whole pig’s head. This weekend I finally got everything together, called up my friend Cody, and went ahead and did it. I think it goes without saying that there will be rather graphic pictures of a pig’s head in this post, so don’t say that you weren’t forewarned. If that doesn’t scare you off, kindly join me as we journey to the outer boroughs, tackle a crux of a recipe, and convert a part of the pig that usually gets thrown away into a refined and composed dish that you won’t see everyday.
About a year ago, Fatty Crab opened an Upper West Side branch on Broadway between 76th and 77th (Warning: their website has sound effects). I’d never been to the Village location, so this made it very convenient for me to check them out. And believe me: I’m glad that I did. The fatty duck is a crispy, spicy taste explosion; the pork belly buns are baconly succulent (only outdone by Momofuku in my opinion, and yes, I made up the word “baconly”) and the wings are lick-your-fingers-and-dip-anything-you-can-find-in-the-sauce good. Sweet, sticky, and spicy. I decided that I had to make them for the Superbowl party I was attending, and was determined to find a recipe that was somewhat close to the Fatty Crab original. They are apparently inspired by Malaysian street food, the “Jalan Alor” wing. Imagine my surprise and delight when a quick Google search pulled up Chef Zak Pelaccio’s own Fatty Crab Malaysian wing recipe, on FoodandWine.com. Unbelievable. I love the interwebs.
On Thursday I took a trip out to Brooklyn to see Malcolm Gladwell and Chuck Klosterman speak at a small gallery under the Manhattan bridge with a couple of friends. The plan was to meet for a beer, check out the speaking gig, and finish off the night with a trip to what is arguably New York’s best pizza shop: Grimaldi’s. Nestled under the Brooklyn bridge, Grimaldi’s has been a New York institution since the first pizza joints opened up in 1905. It boasts one of the city’s oldest coal fired pizza ovens, and one of only a handful still in existence today. For pizza nerds, there is really no alternative to the coal fired oven. The smokiness and crispiness that the ovens impart to the pizza cannot be recreated by any other means, apparently. The older the oven, some say, the more the flavors of generations of history are baked into the pizza. I have heard that New York City (for good reason) no longer allows new coal-fired ovens to be built (and hasn’t for quite some time), so they are relatively rare, and worth seeking out.
While we were eating the conversation inevitably turned to the subject of what the “best” pizza in New York is. Grimaldi’s topped everyone’s list, for sure, but the more remarkable thing was that everyone agreed that it’s much harder to even find a decent slice of pizza in the city than it is to determine what’s the best. For a city that purportedly invented the thing, there sure are a lot of hideously crappy pizza places out there. Just off the top of my head I can think of at least 6 places within a 4 block radius of my apartment that are just terrible. Only one stood out as even decent. You’d think by now people would be able to get it right, or at least palatable. Needless to say, having Grimaldi’s pizza is a treat for me.
I had planned to take lots of photos, and post a photo essay on Grimaldi’s, but as I lined up to take a photo of the coal fired oven I was told in no uncertain terms that there was NO PHOTOGRAPHY ALLOWED. So you, my dear readers, are looking at ILLEGAL PHOTOS. These are the lengths to which I am willing to go to bring you the real stories, the real truths, and the really poor quality iPhone snaps:
On Saturday I attended the Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ festival, an event that is apparently touring the country, here in New York. A flat fee gets you admission, a t-shirt, a tasting glass, and unlimited access to over 60 beers, 40 bourbons, dozens of BBQ booths, and massive heartburn. What could possibly be better?
This weekend I took a trip down to Chinatown to wander around, enjoy the atmosphere, and pick up ingredients for dinner. The array of goods that are available in such a small area is mind-boggling, and a little overwhelming, especially when all of the signs are in Chinese and you have no idea what half of these things are.
The dried seafood store was one of the more interesting places that we visited. I’d been there before, but I didn’t have any reason to buy anything, and I wouldn’t have known what to do with it if I had bought anything. This time, however, I had a recipe from the Momofuku cookbook that called for dried scallops and shrimp, so I was prepared.
The proprietors of the Sunburnt Cow have (soft) opened a bar in my neighborhood, the Sunburnt Calf. My buddy Hugh met the owner at a bar one night, found out about the soft opening this weekend, and we wound up going over there for their inaugural brunch today. It was excellent, and I don’t think I’ve ever had a burger with more toppings than this:
Burger, cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, beets, onions, pineapple, fried egg (seriously). It sounds like it’s too much, but really it works. I want to put beets on my burgers from now on.
After the jump…the cocktail deals!
When you were a child, did you ever have Kraft Macaroni and cheese with cut-up hotdogs in it? I remember it fondly as a dish that my Dad would make us when my Mom wasn’t around to cook, because it was simple and it was pretty much the most delicious thing ever. Last night I ate at Ditch Plains here in New York with some friends (29 Bedford St, NYC). I saw THIS on the menu and my decision was made immediately:
I give you… The Ditch Dogs. Two hot dogs topped with one of the most delicious macaroni and cheeses I have ever had. A-ma-zing.
Ditch Plains Website