In a random but oddly enjoyable interview with Harold Dieterle, the Perilla chef and Top Chef laureate tells Gridskipper he loves Bangkok for its duck and deep-tissue massages — but not that kind.
Debriefer: Top Chef Harold Dieterle [Gridskipper]
Don’t get us wrong: We like mirror balls, cramped apartments, and warm bottles of cheap tequila as much as the next person. But if we were in the money? And New Year’s Eve were to be truly a blowout? We would turn our back on everyone we know to get to even the least extravagant of the New Year’s Eve celebrations offered at the ten restaurants in our New Year’s Eve guide. And while our New Year’s Day repast will probably be dehydrated hash browns and a sense of profound remorse, we would hit the places in our New Year’s Day brunch guide too. That is, if we had any sense.
Flawless First NightBegin With Brunch
The hardworking listings department at nymag.com has just added a stellar new feature: recipes! Our extensive database includes dishes drawn from New York’s finest restaurants. Get Laurent Tourondel’s instructions for chestnut-stuffed guinea hens; serve Tom Colicchio’s bruschetta of clam ragout; and assemble your own tartlets, just like they do at Gramercy Tavern. Search by ingredient, cuisine, type of dish, and more. Now there’s no excuse to eat out.
nymag.com's Recipe Finder
If there’s one thing you can count on Gael Greene to deliver, it’s tales of seduction by food — and her latest post has it in spades. This time, it’s from the male point of view, as Gael offers a “service feature on seduction,” courtesy of her friend Francesco, “the teflon Romeo, in and out of love constantly, an outright chauvinist pig, in fact, but as a pal, really fun, full of zest and unfailingly loyal.” Francesco’s advice includes the following helpful tips:
Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet. That’s the name of model turned Top Chef dictatress Padma Lakshmi’s new cookbook, and that’s just how she behaved before swooning fans last night at her Strand book signing. After donning “serious” glasses to read food-related mini-memoirs from the book, she told the crowd that saying “Please pack your knives and go” to Top Chef’s weekly loser was “the hardest part of my job” … and divulged that men often ask her to say it to them in a dominatrix-y sort of way. (“It creeps me out!” she insisted.) She said the show had knocked down any remaining foodie limits she might have had: “I’ll put anything in my mouth once.” Oh, Padma!
Chefs tend to be notoriously bad husbands and boyfriends, and the reason is obvious: They’re at work all night, they love to pop corks and hit the dummy pipe, and there are always foxy waitresses, servers, and even diners eager for the “fourth course.” But don’t despair if you’re stuck with one of these scoundrels. There’s a blog for you. It’s called Desperate ChefsWives of NYC. Essentially a one-woman support group written anonymously, it’s filled with details of her personal life, from her man's addiction to plastic wrap to her discovery of other women in the same predicament via Google. "So many other women have e-mailed me who are in the same situation," the blogger tells us. "They say, 'I can't believe you said that, because I say it all the time.' Some lady in Ohio wrote asking me if she should leave her boyfriend. There are a lot of us out there."
Desperation aside, the author's own domestic situation seems rather stable, which kind of detracts from the site's entertainment value, you know? What it really needs is more sob stories! We want a blog that reads like a chef-y telenova! But given what goes on in those naughty chef circles, it's only a matter of time. We'll wait, breath baited.
Also, the real question: Who's her husband? What chef has inspired his wife to blog? Check out the site for yourself; your guesses (and yes, we expect you to have some) in the comments below, please.
Desperate ChefsWives of NYC
Today’s eGullet kerfuffle on the riches of New Jersey cuisine is exactly the kind of thing that makes us love New York all the more. eGullet co-founder Steven Shaw started a thread in which he berates New Yorkers for their neglect of the Jerz's fine food: The argument goes that with the Japanese market in Edgewater (hm), Newark's inherent awesomeness (um), and the fact that 60 percent of New Yorkers have a car (wha?), we've got no excuse not to visit our neighbors. His conclusion, therefore, is that New York foodies are “lazy” and “lack a fundamental element of cultural literacy about food in the New York metro area.” We're not going to say anyone's got a chip on his shoulder, but … wow.
The responses poured in — but true to our reputation for self-obsession, the only part of Shaw’s post that made any impression on New Yorkers was his rather dubious assertion that a majority of us own cars. As one commenter put it:
On the eve of Momofuku Noodle Bar moving its base of operations up the street, NPR’s feature today on the “fifth sense” of umami has a certain timeliness. (In the ramen business, every day is umami day.) The Japanese word for “yummy” is used to describe the taste of meat, animal fats, cheese, dashi, and other foods in which glutamates have broken down – it reflects the “savory” sensation that everybody likes in chicken soup, ramen broth, and other foods not notably salty, sweet, bitter, or sour. The feature is a kind of combination of Science on the March, with Escoffier standing in for Madame Curie, and a Paul Harvey piece: “and that flavor, that scientists said was just a figment, was umami. Now you know the rest of the story.”
Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter and Umami [NPR]
Since the birth of Grub Street, we've been aware of the need for some kind of interactive feedback. And it's not that we weren't listening; we just didn't do anything about it. But now we have, and after a herculean investment of time, labor, and funds, we are officially unveiling our spanking-new commenting system. Yes, all of your “worst post ever!” and “I saw Daniel Maurer drinking ouzo at 4 o'clock yesterday morning” insights can now be shared with the world, for the low, low price of registering and typing them out.
Nick Tosches, a writer best known for his books about the tormented inner lives of Jerry Lee Lewis, Dean Martin, and Sonny Liston, seems on the surface to be a weird choice to write about Tokyo’s Tsukiji seafood market and the world sushi trade. But Tosches’s article in this month’s issue of Vanity Fair should be required reading for anyone with even a passing interest in the subject. From its portrait of the market, which handles literally 4,000 times the amount of fish as the New Fulton Fish Market in the Bronx, to the elevation of bluefin tuna from its once-lowly status as an uncommercial “garbage fish,” to Tosches’s own twisted desire to eat the weirdest-looking thing he can find, the piece is wildly informative and has that slightly bent Tosches touch too.
This past weekend’s Big Apple Barbecue Block Party was bigger than ever, and any number of bloggers, Sunday newspapers, and podcasters have tried to capture the excitement. But for our money, nobody has really done it like Jason Perlow, whose enormous Flickr slideshow on Off the Broiler conveys the appeal of good-natured Southerners handling massive amounts of meat. Check it out: It’s not the same as being there, but it’s better than just looking at images of ribs and chicken. (Not that we mind looking at images of ribs and chicken.)
Big Apple Barbecue Block Party 2007 Slide Show [Off the Broiler]
Any number of bloggers can opine on the merits of Soto’s uni, or Morandi’s veal. But we only know of one who can consitently turn out cogent criticism of junk food. Yes, it’s a happy day on Grub Street, because Phoood, one of our all-time favorite blogs, is back up and running.
You may recall that restaurant- launching chef Sam Mason stars in an Internet show called Dinner With the Band, where he teaches tricks of the trade to participating musicians. Intrigued by this concept, we wondered what other rockers eat. How handy are they in the kitchen — or in the parking lot, as the case may be — without the help of a professional? Kara Zuaro, editor of the Brooklyn Record, has the answers in her new book, I Like Food, Food Tastes Good: In the Kitchen With Your Favorite Bands, a collection of recipes she gathered from musicians at festivals, bars, and friends’ homes. There’s wild-boar ragù from the Violet Femmes, semi-raw everyday pasta from Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, buttermilk pie from Okkervil River, and much, much more. After the jump, Grub Street provides a taste of a few New York favorites.
Let’s be honest here: When we have an excuse to publish a photo of a faux-marble floor made from salami, we’re gonna do it. (See above.) For this opportunity, we have this weekend’s Armory Show show to thank. Belgian Conceptual artist Wim Delvoye, creator of the meat mat, will be showing there. He also recently met with Daniel Boulud about possibly executing a set of commissioned works for the chef’s new wine bar, as well as the restaurant, announced here earlier, that he’s planning in Beijing.
Blogger Buddha Drinks Fanta gets around — she has posts on Southeast Asia and Australia as well as the U.S. Which is partly why we’re flattered that her new photo essay, “Tongues and Bungs: BDF Does Chinatown,” was inspired by Zak Pelaccio’s picks in this issue’s Chinatown guide. BDF also drops in on several places Pelaccio didn’t mention, including some especially interesting meat stores. Those of you with vegetarians in the office: These pics are most definitely NSFW.
Tongues and Bungs: BDF Does Chinatown [Buddha Drinks Fanta]
Zak on the Prowl [NYM]
The cooking on Top Chef is, as most chefs will tell you, about as realistic as the medicine practiced on House. But that doesn't mean you can't see the real thing if you look hard enough. Consider RealMeals, a brand-new, just-launched website which specializes in videos of both professional and amateur chefs actually cooking. This kind of instructional/aspirational video has been coming into vogue in recent months (Chow has produced a number of really good ones.) But RealMeals is both more interesting and more New York-oriented.
You may remember that not so long ago our friend the Gobbler presented his case against the Michelin guide. Among his objections: “Lofty opinions are fine, but what New Yorkers really want in a restaurant guide is facility and ease of use. In other words, they want the goddamn address and phone number right now.” Ken Shepps knows the feeling. His new green guidebook not only includes the goddamn address and phone number but also comes in the form of an accordion-style map. One side shows the island from Battery Park to 121st Street, plotted with subway stops and 117 numbered squares. Each number corresponds to a restaurant listing in one of eight fold-out panels. (No. 51 on the map, for instance, goes with Balthazar, a “superlative brasserie and next door patisserie.”) On the other side, there are mini-maps with neighborhood descriptions and specialty stores, like Lady M Cake Boutique on the Upper East Side and Sullivan St. Bakery in Soho. Is this the perfect portable NYC restaurant guide? Well, you’ll definitely look like tourist if you consult it in public, and we’ve got our own opinions on where to eat. But this is definitely a step in the right direction. — Lori FradkinMappetite [Official site]
Are you ambitious enough to try to figure out what kind of beer will go best with the your Super Bowl snacks but too lazy to attend the beer tastings at the likes of Jimmy’s and Bierkraft (or even consult this recent article)? Meet Sam Merritt, former brand manager of the Brooklyn Brewery and man behind Civilization of Beer, an organization that’s now offering private tastings. Merritt, in other words, brings the brew to you. (Thrillist, unsurprisingly, has already given him their grunt of approval.) We clamored to ask him a few questions.