Barbara Hanson

Fifth-generation Brooklyn native living in Manhattan.

  • Website
  • Location: Lower East Side
  • Favorite foods: Maine crab, oysters, cheese, bread (oh, all starches, really), pizza, Jersey tomatoes, nectarines...

This Week's Pizza Poll: Do You Order Sides with Your Pizza?

I don't even order extra topping (well, maybe anchovies & exra garlic once in a while). Sides? Nu-uh.

A Sinfully Bad Burger at Cloister Cafe in the East Village

Okay, now I know that you lack a sense of humor. Won't make that mistake again.

A Sinfully Bad Burger at Cloister Cafe in the East Village

Sheesh, it didn't open before the dawn of recorded history. Nor is everyone who went there in the early eighties dead of old age and unable to fill you in.
It was never Irish (what?) but rather hippyish, brown rice and sprouts, but not vegetarian.

A Sandwich a Day: Roast Beef Luger From Brooklyn Fare

I can't get past the pallid, mushy tomato. Is a tomato so essential that a crappy one is better than none?

Poll: What's the Best Way to Eat Pizza?

Eat while walking along a Brooklyn street on a crisp fall afternoon, slice folded almost in half in that odd, semitransparent pizza paper. No freakin' plate.

The Grand Central Dilemma

Everything bagel w/cream cheese and iced coffee from Junior's to eat on the train; oysters upon safe return to NYC. (I have never gotten takeout from the Oyster Bar since coating the interior of a cab with about 200 gallons of bouillabaisse.)

Veloce Pizzeria, East Village, Manhattan

I'm with you, Simon. No orange oil running up your arm? Might as well throw salad greens on the damn thing.

Serious Cheese: What Happens When a Curd Nerd Becomes Lactose Intolerant?

I second Digestive Advantage; it changed my life. The take-with-meals pills are dodgy at best, and I never dared eat dairy away from home. With DA, I take one in the morning and that's it...years of deprivation are over. I can have sour cream, eggcreams, the works. I could not recommend this product more highly.

Citifield eats?

Thanks for the tips, will also check archives, which I should've thought to do in the first place.

First Look at DBGB, Daniel Boulud's New Brasserie on the Bowery

I find it hilarious that the decor of this joint is supposed to pay homage to the restaurant supply stores that used to populate the Bowery. Force 'em out, then go all damp-eyed with nostalgia for what you have helped destroy.

Attend the Gina DePalma Fundraiser on May 18 to Support the Cowgirl Cure Foundation

As someone whose husband survived five cancer operations, I always find that "fight" metaphor disturbing, Ed, as the corollary is that those who don't beat it somehow weren't courageous or strong enough. That said, good luck with this very worthy cause.

How to Make S'meeps: S'mores Plus Peeps

How to Make S'meeps: S'mores Plus Peeps

I can't celebrate Easter without a Peepacolada!

Smörgåsboard: Fried Fish Sammie; Sushi; Beet Ravioli

Please oh please can we avoid the Rachael Ray term "sammie"?

Marine Park, Brooklyn: Pizzeria Del Corso

@Shelby: Where and when? Where did you go to school?

Marine Park, Brooklyn: Pizzeria Del Corso

What with the B becoming the D and vice versa and now apparently an express (!), never mind the mad introduction of the Q, which may or may not be the old QB, which was a kind of ghost train that showed up at 6 minutes past the hour on alternate Tuesdays in months beginning with F, I give up. But the pizza out there is damn good, if you can get there from here, which I plan on doing very shortly.

Marine Park, Brooklyn: Pizzeria Del Corso

The Q? I grew up in Marine Park, and always took the B (then the D) to and from what we called "the city." Hop on the B15 at Kings Highway and E16th Street. Frank's at Quentin and Flatbush made a wonderful pie (probably still do) and never raised an eyebrow when we ordered half without cheese, for my father.

Serious Eats? Really?

I always thought of serious in the context of this site as in, "That's one serious burger" not as in "This is a serious situation."

Photo of the Day: MMMBACON Vanity Plate

If I'm not mistaken, this plate is on a vehicle belonging to one of the bacon purveyors at the Union Square farmers market.

Breakfast at Union Square Greenmarket?

In the neighborhood, not at the market, of course!

Bissinger's Chocolate Inside a Real Hen's Egg for Easter

My family has been ordering from Bissinger's for years; could not recommend them more highly. I'm not even a huge chocolate fan, but anything from Bissinger's disappears pretty fast around here! Chocolate coated raspberry caramels, mmm...I hope I'm getting some for Easter.

Locked In for the Night at Di Fara

I still find it staggering that all these places I went to as a kid now have cult status, doubtless preventing the next generation of kids from getting in.

Concord Grapes in NYC

Actually, the biggest producer is Washington state, which was a huge surprise to me!

Concord Grapes in NYC

I believe that they are only grown in North America.

Russ & Daughters Extends Hours

Hooray! When I don't feel like cooking, I think of Russ...usually at about 6:02. This is just terrific news.

Citifield eats?

Heading out there this weekend to see the Mets; I've read a lot of reviews but would love to know what SENYers who have been there think is worth eating.

Bengal kaliji (spelling almost certainly way off)?

So, here I am, with a pulled back muscle, confined to quarters (and mostly to bed), reflecting on meals past. There was once an Indian restaurant in the East Village called Shopna, that served an amazing chicken liver appetizer called Bengal kaliji? Kallegee? I'd love to make it for an upcoming party...anyone got a clue? Can't find anything even close online.

Salt-Free Help, Please!

A friend has been diagnosed with high blood pressure. We are about to do our annual post-holiday afternoon brunch. I usually bring his favorite: satay (out, soy sauce) with home-made pita chips (out, salted). I don't have to bring a dish like that, but I am at a dead loss. I love salt and can't figure out what might be palatable without it. This is someone who loves to eat; bland and boring won't do!

Broilers: How do you judge distance from the flame?

Recipes often call for "four inches from the flame" and the like. I can't measure the distance without being on the floor, on my back, with the distinct possibility of burning off my eyelashes (erm, not that I've ever done that). I just use the middle level (my old-school oven has three). It doesn't matter all that much when I'm just finishing a dish with a little browning, but when something is cooked in the broiler only, I'd like to have a better notion of where to put that rack. Any ideas?

Where have the top-split hotdog buns gone?

I wanted to make Maine crab rolls and Maine slaw (a whole other story) for the Fourth, but neither Food Emporium nor Whole Foods seems to carry top-split buns any more. I butter-grilled the inside of two hamburger buns, but it was just wrong. Anyone got a source, short of driving to Portland?

Getting married Friday in NYC, need restaurant help.

I kinda envisioned leaving the Center Street municipal building and heading straight to Chinatown, perhaps to Nom Wah, then to New Pasteur. However, the witness-to-be demands something "nice." Can anyone suggest some middle ground downtown? And I mean downtown downtown...not Soho or the like.

Cuffins? Mupcakes?

In today's NYT, Melissa Clark declared that muffins are "sweet little cakes" no different from cupcakes. I disagree. My ideal muffin is more on the dour side, never iced, and often has additions like nuts, fruit, and so on. They can also be split, toasted and buttered. What do you think? I have a feeling we might see a regional and/or generational split here.

Simon Hopkinson Can Go Roast Himself

This complete fallacy is from his Second Helpings of Roast Chicken. In the chapter on mile, he discusses the superiority of what we would call New England clam chowder, then goes on to say : "For those who daily sit at the counter of the Oyster Bay in Grand Central Station, New York City, slurping down large bowls of Manhattan clam chowder, this would doubtless be seen as nothing less than the though of a demented heretic..."
Wrong from start to finish. I've eaten at the counter there at least one hundred times, and I've never heard anyone order, let alone seen anyone eat, Manhattan clam chowder.
He concludes with an attempt at replicating New York speech that is simply ludicrous. Has Simon Hopkinson ever, in fact, been to New York?

Anyone else keep a food diary?

Every morning, I write down what I cooked for dinner the night before, along with any special methods or sources. (I also note l/o [leftovers] and what, if anything, I've done to augment or change them. Rarer is the notation t/o [takeout].) I'll thumb through last year's diary to see what I cooked in a particular week/month. Also, since I tend to be experimental, I like to keep track of successes and failures, and sometimes just to be reminded of things that we really liked that I haven't remembered to make in a while. My friends find this habit peculiar, to say the least. Do you?

Any ideas for fresh hearts of palm?

I'm not talking about the fresh hearts of palm sold in liquid (looking rather like mozzarella) by Whole Foods; these babies are absolutely raw. I'm off to check my Florida cookbooks, but would appreciate suggestions.

One Potato, Two Potato, Three...

When I buy russets, I always get one or two more than I need because, invariably, some with have black spots that need to be cut away. Sometimes, a potato will be so riddled with black that I have to chuck it altogether. Here's the odd thing: When I make baked potatoes, I can't cut into them first, so I don't know if black spots are lurking within. However, I've never come across a black spot in a cooked potato! At long last, my question: Where did the spots go? The odds are hugely against my only picking good spuds when I am planning to bake them.

Crab Cakes

I just came across the most godawful crab cake recipe I have ever seen, in the cookbook "The Lobster Roll," which contains recipes from the Hamptons restaurant, Lunch. The crab cakes are called "old-fashioned," and are comprised of twenty ingredients, including garlic, onion, scallions, red and green pepper, olive oil, scallions, Parmesan (!), mustard, Old Bay, white wine...well, it's too painful for me to continue. I made crab cakes last night, with my usual five ingredients: Maine crab, breadcrumbs, Old Bay, mayo, a dash of hot sauce (enough for piquance, not heat), and a pinch of salt. They taste of crab, which I think they should. My insistence on Maine, and only Maine, crab is for another post. How do you make crab cakes? If you're not of the cooking persuasion, how do you like them prepared?

The Dumbing Down of Bon Appetit.

According to WWD, the magazine will be attempting to attract younger readers and to that end will adopt a step-by-step formula, assuming little to no food knowledge on the part of the reader. I'm guessing I won't be buying it after January, since I don't need to be instructed on how to whip cream. You?

Flights of mozzarella?

I remember reading about a Manhattan restaurant that was soon to open (had just opened, something like that) that offered flights of mozzarella and was, in general, very mozzarella focused. I would love to go there for my birthday, but I can't remember its name or location. Perhaps I've had too many birthdays!

Do you heart Bison heart? If so, I need your help!

I was chained to my desk today finishing a project, so my husband went to Union Square without me. He brought back grapes, apples, squash, cauliflower, cheese...and an ENORMOUS frozen bison heart. Any thoughts? My inclination would be to use it as a doorstop. I like bison, but this is a bit much!

Restaurant Girl Bloopers

In yesterday's review of a Mexican restaurant (sorry, don't recall the name, and the review is not posted on line yet, for some reason), she complained that her shrimp ceviche was "overboiled" and the accompanying tomato sauce was "mucky." Tee-hee.

The Last Buys of Summer

Yes, I know that summer's over, but summer produce is hanging on. When I saw the inexorable march of apples and squash today, I bought two quarts of blueberries, two pounds of aji (seasoning ) peppers, and four pounds of red bell peppers. How are you facing the changeover to fall and winter foods?

Pork Buns in NYC?

Used to be a great place on Division, just off Doyers. I went into a place on Grand Street about a week ago; should've known I was going to get a stinker, the place did not smell of cooking, but of cleaning fluid, and no one looked happy. And, indeed, it was the coldest, stalest second-most-awful pork bun I've ever had. (The winner was from a short-lived place on Allen; the filling was *hard*!) Anyone got a tip?

What can't you cook?

I am fairly accomplished in the kitchen, I think, and my crabcakes are renowned throughout my apartment. On the other hand, I can't cook flatfish for beans. I don't want fish advice here, I want to know what you consistently screw up yourself.

What do cookbooks leave out?

For years, I couldn't make crispy potatoes in the oven, then figured out that I had to rinse and dry them first. No cookbook mentioned this. I am probably complicit in this problem, as I have edited many cookbooks. What have you figured out on your own that books didn't tell you?