Food is my favorite lens through which to see the world.

  • Location: Kingston and Manhattan, New York
  • Favorite foods: Salmon roe, M & Ms, good butter, extra-virgin olive oil, lamb, salmon, caesar salad, cold soups, romaine lettuce, butterleaf lettuce, asparagus, hen eggs, duck eggs, sushi, potato salad, Whopper with cheese value meal.
  • Last bite on earth: My mother's Mu Shu Pork.

Where To Eat Near the High Line in New York

Tipsy Parson, for both food and atmosphere. And maybe this is too far east, but La Zie 2000 is a northern italian place on 7th avenue and 20th street, beloved by food writers and all but unknown to the rest of the world. A groaning board of appetizers for two is $20, the chicken liver pate is not to be missed.

Top Chef: Who Are Your All-Stars?

Carla, Kevin, Fabio. Although even I can see that he's way too Med-centric to be a Top Chef. He needs a show, a theme restaurant, a seat at the Judge's Table? He's not a Top Chef but he is FABULOUS.

How do you tell people their food could be better?

How do I tell people who have been living without manners or courtesy for most of their lives how much more satisfying life can be when you start living with courtesy?

In this case, courtesy means that you don't offer any kind of a critique until it is asked for.

This applies to almost any recipe in life. Understand, you can judge as much as you want--just keep it to yourself until your friend says, "Please tell me how you like this food, and how it can be improved."

Recap: Top Chef DC, Episode 1

Yes, I too saw the Carla/John crazy eyes resemblance...perhaps they are related?

As far as I know, "dreads" form when you don't wash your hair for quite a while. "Cornrows", those tiny rows of braids, take work and time and talent, and are washed like any other "permanent" hair style-coloring, perming, whatever.

I lived through the Bo Derek "10" look and this is what I remember.

What Are Your Favorite Regional Farmers' Markets?

Rhinebeck Farmer's market in Rhinebeck, NY is my favorite market just because my daughter and I have been going there since she was little and out favorite vendors always chat with us. Quattro's Poultry Farm has wonderful chicken and eggs. Migliorelli's and Taglierro's produce are wonderful. Monkshood Nursery has wonderful herb and vegetable starts, and Farmhouse Soups are wonderful. And that's only the ones I remember offhand. Great place.

The Grand Central Dilemma

I like the sushi joint, Masa's, although it isn't very creative. Sandwiches from Juniors or wraps from Zaro's. The Soup place is good and so is the Little Pie Co. The Indian place is good too. But the best is the Grand Central Market and, for dining in, raw bar at the Oyster Bar or chowders, soups and roasts at the Oyster Bar in cool weather.

Not your average NYC restaurant request

Shake Shack! Can you get a discount there? Not just the best burger in town, but the best burger this side of In-n-Out.

Would You Eat This Lobster?

A lobster of that age should be respected and protected. But I don't think we have to take an oral history or anything.

Video: Japan's Rabbit Cafe

Incredibly cute, but when one brings one's own rabbbit to socialize with other rabbits, what does one do if the result is more rabbits? Or does the cafe supply rabbit contraception?

Because the fact is, they breed like rabbits.

Frozen Shrimp: To Use or Not to Use?

@dbisping, you are looking for Cook's Illustrated Online. This isn't that.

I grew up cleaning fresh shrimp on the Atlantic Coast, and as a result I hated shrimp. The someone told me about cooked, frozen shrimp. I thaw them in cold running water and I never by any chance cook them or add them directly to hot preparations--but, for numerous salads, cocktails, sushi and garnish preps, they are awesome.

I agree that they taste flavored. Much better than I could.

To Sir Cutlets, with Love

Adam, I want to see a visual of this self-sacrificing moment, in the style of a biblical illustration: Chang's solemn finger pointing at you as you rend your garment, exposing yourself to the lightning bolt; Ed weeping, his patriarchal head in his hands, and Robyn as an airborne cherub photographing the whole thing for posterity. Piles of sacrificial pork buns are seen throughout.

Best Raw Oysters in NYC

@simon, I always do sit at the counter, and I've seen the plates of opened oysters lined up in their dozens. So no, they are not opened to order.

I'd try the smoked trout if you're buying.

Best Raw Oysters in NYC

I don't think they do either (the Grand Central Oyster Bar I mean). On the other hand, every oyster I've ever had there has been fresh and tasty, even in July. Oh those Kumamotos! And by the way, don't order anything else except the raw bar and oyster stews. The rest of the menu is dreadful.

Anthony Bourdain drunk on latest episode!?!?

Susquehanna--and that liver belongs to Michael Ruhlman.

Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 80: Remembering Our Serious Eater Beagle Brass

My cat and I are very sorry for your loss. How brave of you to let him go when the time was right.

a mouse in the house

Cats can be the complete solution--or not. It tends to depend upon the cat. I had one who liked mice even less than I did, plus another who remembered how to kill mice but not how to dispose of them. My present cat, Fuzzy, is a champion mouser. All cats are supposed to be hard-wired to do this, but not all of them are.

Watch It with Us: 'The Next Food Network Star,' Episode 7

I hated these challenges so much I had to mute the sound. Now these people are under a huge amount of stress--let's make it even harder for them in completely arbitrary ways. It was just plain abusive and I would have kicked someone in the face.

The Joys of Unnaturally Flavored Sodas

Fresca! Fresca! Fresca!

Does anyone remember No-Cal Chocolate? It had a creamy head like root beer.

Video: The Ross Sisters Sing About Solid Potato Salad

Slightly more charming is a recorded duet between Lena Horne and Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, which ends in a mere jitterbug. I've only heard it on CDs but maybe there's a film clip somewhere? Anyway, it's actually about potato salad, not crotch-flashing.

Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 74: Can My All-Pie Fourth of July Diet Work?

Ed, why don't you give yourself one day of sensible, non-diet eating as you will do it once you hit goal weight? That's got to be pretty soon now, so start getting used to it!

The New Breed of NYC Hot Dogs: Are They Really Better?

Ed, you ought to try Dogmatic at 26 East 17th St. (just north of Union Square). French baguettes are prepared by grilling from the inside out on hot spikes. Then a grilled gourmet sausage (or asparagus for vegetarians) is slipped into the roll with any one of six sauces, including truffle gruyere. Lamb sausage with gruyere was completely excellent. Also house-made sodas.

Video: 'Le Café,' a French Animation About Coffee Addiction

Well, the folks at Serious Eats have actual jobs to attend to, so they can't be expected to devote as much attention to YouTube as you do.

'The Next Food Network Star' Week 3

Watermelon, feta and onion salad is wonderful when it's done right, but it certainly is tricky. People who roll their eyes at their team-mates should just be shot on sighto

Summer reading and food: Anyone read these two or suggestions?

I didn't like Wizenberg's memoir. She's charming, but she's way too young to be reflecting on her life (in print, anyway). She lost her beloved father and she met and married a great guy...but she writes as if these will be the only two dramatic points of her life. I think a person ought not to write a memoir until he or she is at least 50.

The Fest: Our Humblest Apologies to All

Yow! Come back to NYC, Ed. Sounds like your life is in danger.

Anything new in San Francisco?

I'm going to San Fran for three weeks in September--also Calistoga/Napa/Sonoma and Santa Cruz/Los Gatos. Anything new since last year? This year's reservations include Manresa, Redd's, Gary Danko. Any other ideas, high brow or low, meals or snacks?

Can't-Miss Eats in DC?

I'll be in Our Nation's Captiol for five days later this week. Any suggestions for can't miss eats? Also, are the farmers' markets open there?

What happened to Chez Laurence?

I mean the wonderful french patisserie-lunch place on Madison Ave. around 35th st. I've eaten pain au chocolate and iced coffee from there since before the 21st century. Haven't been in the nabe for a few years and now I notice the awnings and signage are still up but the place is dark. Any info, Ed? You touted me onto "Larry's Place" over 20 years ago!

Wine Whine

After reading a recipe for Bordelaise sauce, in which red wine plays an important part, I wondered if anyone else out there refuses to/is unable to cook with wine, and what they do about it.

If the recipe calls for a tablespoon or an eight of a cup, I substitute acidulated water. But when the wine, especially a red wine, really is an important part of the meal, how do you substitute?

I should mention that I am of the school which believe that you can't cook off 100% of the alcohol...and I can't have ANY alcohol.

Truth or Manners?

My sister-in-law asked me to bring two desserts to the family Thanksgiving, which is at her house. (She is a very busy professional lady so her sister, mother, aunts, cousins and I all pitch in and bring dishes from home).

I emailed and asked her if a store-bought cake and a home-made fruit saladf would be nice. She emailed back and said thanks anayway but she really anted a store-bought chocolate cake and a store-bought mandelbrot. (Kind of like Jewish biscotti).

On the one hand, I'm glad to know what she really wants and what would be most useful at the dinner, but, on the other hand, doesn't the hostess kind of have to put up with whatever anyone is kind enough to bring?

In my family of origin, no one was crazy about Aunt Zelda's quinona (sp?), but it arrived every year rain or shine and we all thanked Auntie and took two spoonfuls of it to bury under the mashed potatoes.

Which is more important--Truth or Manners?

MASH-- a terrific soda/juice drink from Boylan's

Has anyone tried this and, if so, in what part of the country? It's a great drink, not too sweet, with flavor mixes like pomegranate/blueberry and ginger/citrus. Also the bottles are 21 ounces which, to my mind, is just the right size (I like a lot of beverage). Been trying to get these near me (Hudson Valley, NY) or online but they are hard to find. Anyone know anything about this?

Ruhlman, forgive me: I really disliked The French Laundry

Yes, I said it, and now I'm standing here on the outskirts of humanity looking for some support.

Has anyone ever felt like this? Am I crazy? I have a full report on my website, but basically I felt that the service was chilly and that, not being especial friends of the house, we were rushed through the meal and touted onto the easiest selections rather than the best.

Shopsin's in Yountville? Not quite, but I wouldn't want to go back again. Anyone had a similar experience, or am I out of my mind?

Where Should I Eat/Shop in San Francisco?

Serious Eaters, I am going to change Annie's New York Eats into Annie and Carol's San Francisco Treats starting 8/8/08. My best friend and I are going to spend a week in San Francisco, followed by another week in Yountville (and surrounding area) and a few days in Santa Cruz.

I have read all the SF threads on this board, as well as Zagat, Chow and Yelp, but I need more, more, more.

Please tell me about restaurants, bakeries, food shops, malls, "only in San Francisco" experiences, and whatever else you feel I ought to know.

I made my reservation on a Friday specifically so that I could be in SF for the Saturday Farmers' Market at the Ferry Building, and I have reservations at Gary Danko's, Manresa, the Acme Chophouse, Incanto, Sushi Ran and, ahhhhhh, The French Laundry.

Also I really want to hit In-n-Out.

Please tell me All.

Are We Eating Tomatoes Now?

When BK put a couple of slices on my Whopper last week, I took 'em off (although I wanted them. Wanted them bad.)

When I found them chopped into a prepared salad at Whole Foods, I said, "Perhaps this isn't just a silly mistake?"

And yesterday, when slices of tomato were placed upon my bagel-lox-and-cream-cheese at Russ & Daughters, I gave in and said, "Oh, if you think it's okay..."

So what goes on?

OMG, I got that French Laundry rez!

Yes, friends--it was absolutely due to all the helpful advice I received here. I had the phone with the number set on speed dial, plus a watch with a sweep second-hand set to Geenwich Mean Time, and STILL I was getting the busy signal...then I thought of those tables that are always on Open Table...and quickly reserved a table for 4 at 5:30 PM on August 18.

After I had given them my info and gotten the email back and spent a few minutes wandering around my kitchen in a happy daze, I realized that my best friend and I, the diners for this dinner, are only 2. Not 4.

And if I cut down the number of guests in the rez, I have to pay $100 per guest.

But I'm not afraid. I'm going to ask everyone I know in the SF area if they want to come along (and, I should add, pay for themselves.) I'm going to put an ad on Craig's List. Try to sell my story on Grub Street. Ask Wookie if she really meant she and her husband would come along.

And how about any of the rest of you?

Reservations at The French Laundry

Okay--I'm going to take the plunge and try to get a reservation at The Greatest American Restaurant of Our Time for my 50th birthday.

The website says they will take reservations two months to the day before the date on which you want to dine.

Anyone have any idea when the reservation line opens, or any other good ideas about getting that reservation?

Very much appreciated.

Hostile Blogger Gets Friendly Email from Lisa Garza

In the interests of fairness--also because I feel like a worm--I have to tell you guys that Lisa Garza, the Demonic Diva of The Next Food Network Star, sent me an extremely good-natured letter explaining her point of view and linking to the Monday-morning blog which she is writing for the local Dallas magazine, "D", during the run of TNFNS.

I no longer have the email (ACCIDENTALLY deleted it--I'm switching from PC to Mac and am very, very confused) but she is sending it again. Today I wrote in my blog (Annie's New York Eats) about the letter; with luck she will send again and I can reprint it.

She's not angry, defensive, fiesty or mis-spelled. She's a high-profile person who has an individual point of view.

So, you draw your own conclusions, but I think she's a class act.

How do you trim oyster mushrooms?

I had been slicing, but last week I sauteed/steamed a batch and the actual curly stems came out very tough. I'm not explaining this very well; perhaps I need to illustrate wth a photo of oyster mushrooms, but can anyone help please?

Mussels and Mussels, alive alive o!

When I buy mussels, I always throw away the ones which are gaping open, but what about the ones where you can slide the shells against each other but they're not really open? This accounts for at least 1/3 of the mussels in some bags. Do I need to throw them away?

Where in NYC can I find chicken feet for soup?

Well, there's question, pretty straightforward.

The feet need to not be attached the chicken. The chicken needs to be dead. The feet need to be clean, or at least cleanable.

And please, if you're going to say "Try Chinatown"--yes, but does anone know of a shop or an address specifically?

I've already tried Jeffrey's in the Essex Market, Lobel's, Dean and DeLuca, Eli's. Anything else? A free quart of chicken soup to anyone (in NYC) with a good answer.

Where to eat in SF?

In town for about a week, any restaurant suggestions? Chez Panisse and R&G lounge are on the agenda. Friends have suggested: Zazzies Tao Cafe Fresca's Tango Gelato Boulangerie Zarzuela Anamandara Godzilla Akiko's sushi Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly... More

Foodie Spots in San Fran

I am heading out west next month and wanted to know places that might be interesting to visit and/ or eat. I know they have a great market there but would love to know a few other places worth checking... More