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Carey

What's your favorite Thanksgiving food?

I second the sweet potatoes, and I second the marshmallows broiled on top. Really, when else can you call marshmallows part of dinner?

Your Worst Meal Ever

I was an impressionable three years old when my mother, generally an excellent cook, decided to try her hand at Coquille St Jacques, a scallop dish with cream and butter served in a scallop shell. It was a disaster. The cream sauce was lumpy and charred around the edges of the shell, the scallops were long past rubbery, and the smell was nauseating. Not even the novelty of eating from a shell could console my brother and I, who refused to eat it. We eventually arrived at a compromise: if we ate four scallops, we could have dessert. I clearly remember walking over to the sink, washing the rancid sauce off the scallops and swallowing them whole.

Three years old, and this memory is burned into my mind. To this day when my mother cooks scallops we give her a hard time, though there has never since been a disaster on quite that scale...

Finally, a Turkey Club Worth Eating

And if you want your club without the attitude (sorry, Kenny) try the roasted turkey sandwich at 'wichcraft. A little dressier, with avocado, bacon, a herb aioli and an excellent onion relish on country bread. Tastes good in the park.

"Do rich people eat tacos?"

As to whether rich people eat tacos:

The Taqueria La Bamba is an amazing little hole in the wall in the heart (or, some would argue, armpit) of Silicon Valley. I worked at a charter school in the area last year and went there for lunch almost every day. Between noon and two there are lines out the door: half suited-and-tied businessmen, half local Latinos. The technology moguls apparently love their tacos, and the Mercedes and BMWs crowding into the parking lot say something about the wealth of a good segment of the clientele. This is no dressed-up taqueria, though; there's no seating, no decor, no frills of any kind-- just $1.82 tacos and enormous $3.65 burritos. The carnitas are the best I've ever had, and it's worth a trip just to see the speed with which the staff throws a burrito together: start-to-wrapped in about fifteen seconds.

So maybe the patrons of Taqueria La Bamba are among the spiritually enriched and materially wealthy. I would say it's hard to live in California and ignore the siren song of authentic Mexican food no matter what your income. If you're looking for the high-end taco specimen, I know that Pampano's in the city has a filet mignon soft taco appetizer that goes for about eighteen dollars. I'd rather pay the buck-eighty-two for the real thing, myself...

Everything in Moderation Does Work (Even Ice Cream)

Even smaller but potentially much more dangerous:

My favorite frozen creation would be Dibs, bite-sized bits of chocolate-covered creamy goodness. Each thin milk chocolate shell encases a little taste of Edy's ice cream, and they come in flavors from Crunch Bar to mint chocolate. Absolutely delicious, and much easier than scooping ice cream.

For the diet-conscious, one small Dib has only about 15 calories. That said, they're about the most poppable, addictive food I know, so those without portion discipline, beware...

Serious Eats in Harlem

Hey Ed (and everyone),

Do you have any experience with the Haitian and Dominican food up in Harlem? Up by 125th there are West Indies food joints on every corner, and I'd love to try some authentic island fare, but I have no idea where to start!

Blue Smoke

Serious Eats took a trip over to Blue Smoke today in search of a hearty lunch with some Southern flavor. The spacious, funky bar and restaurant serves up hickory-smoked meats with all the fixin's to a wildly diverse crowd that included, in our hour there, power-suited businessmen, large families with children, young couples and portly Southern gentlemen. Blue Smoke may not be the most authentic of barbecue joints; the Carolina boy in our party raised some questions about the authenticity of the food, looking askance at the perfectly round hushpuppies and the lightly seasoned pulled pork. But even he agreed that every dish tasted fantastic.

We started out with two classics: hush puppies and deviled eggs. Hush puppies are usually served alongside the main course but we (well, I) didn't want to wait that long; the little fried corn cakes were calling to me. They came to the table piping hot with a jalapeno marmalade on the side. Absolutely round, the size and shape of golf balls, these didn't look like the free-form babies my South Carolina grandmother used to make, and the accompanying marmalade would be an affront to any hush puppy purist. But these were crisp on the outside, soft and bready on the inside, with a clean cornmeal flavor and just enough spice. The marmalade was so good that I kept spooning it onto my plate even after the hush puppies were gone. The deviled eggs were equally tasty, fresh and creamy with an ample dash of seasoned salt and beautifully served with a watercress-almond salad.

And the food just kept getting better. My "barbecued mussels"—actually a starter, but large enough for light lunch—were steamed in a rich tomato-jalapeno sauce with garlic and pork bacon. The PEI mussels were fresh and tender, accented but not overwhelmed by the bold flavors of the sauce. One of my companions ordered the grilled shrimp lunch special, which resembled a salad more than an entree; the large serving of vegetables dwarfed the five lonely shellfish that lay on top. The shrimp were fresh and seasoned, however, and made for a solid meal.

The real standout at our table was the pulled pork sandwich. Piled high on a grilled brioche bun, the mound of steaming, hickory-smoked pork was tender, juicy and expertly shredded. There was surprisingly little seasoning or sauce, which I appreciated; the simple preparation allowed the flavors of the meat and smoke to shine through. For the strong of mouth and brave of heart, however, a healthy dash of tableside hot sauce kicks the moisture and spice up a few levels.

All in all, our experience at Blue Smoke was a great one. The ambiance was relaxed but upbeat, perfect for a social lunch. The decor was modern and exciting, with bare brick walls, creative metalwork and an enormous wooden bar. And no question- the food was excellent. I only wish I'd been hungry enough to try Blue Smoke's famous ribs, or to do more than drool over the tantalizing dessert menu.

116th East 27th St.
New York, NY 10016

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