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thedilettantista

I live in the Triangle and sometimes post on my blog. http://thedilettantista.wordpress.com. Check it out--lots of NYC food porn, NC food porm, and other beautiful photographs from random places.

  • Website
  • Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • Favorite foods: Tart frozen yogurt with mochi, pizza, my random tossed together stir fry with udon, scrambled eggs, peas, and soy sauce, hot fudge and hot caramel, avocado, raspberries, sweet potato fries, sushi, peanut butter, etc.

3-Ingredient Matzo Sandwiches For Passover

Beans are not Kosher for Passover, which is a HUGE bummer to me.

North Carolina: Our 8 Favorite Food Trucks in the Triangle

sar_t--Chapel Hill city ordinances have made it very hard for food trucks to park and sell in town. Durham has very few ordinances that limit food trucks, and Raleigh is getting much better in regards to their laws. This, and places like the Cookery where food truck owners have access to a large kitchen, is why so many of the food trucks are from and park in Durham.

North Carolina: Our 8 Favorite Food Trucks in the Triangle

Yeah not sure I'd agree with the list--the omission of Will & Pops makes me really sad, and I actually prefer Klausie's pizza to Pie Pusher's (personal preference, both slices are solid). The Parlour and KoKyu are amazing, however. And Only Burger's Breakfast Burger is one of my favorite greasy eats in the Triangle--lucky (or unlucky) for me, the brick & mortar store is five minutes from where I live

Visiting NYC? Where to Eat in New York, The Best Restaurants And More

The trick to eating at lots of these places is to eat at weird times. On my last trip to NYC, I got into the Breslin for breakfast on a Saturday with zero wait by going at 9:00am. Same for going to dinner at Co. on Saturday night around 5:30. I've eaten at a lot of these places and live out of town, but when you're a tourist and have all day to browse and eat, well, it makes it a little easier!

Cook the Book: 'A Girl and Her Pig'

Oh dear, I'm a good Jewish girl but here we go, um, the belly? That's good. Where does bacon come from, that's delicious too. Also, ribs.

Breakfast/Brunch, This Saturday Morning, VERY Early

Hi guys! Just wanted to share: we ended up at the Breslin. He had the lamb burger, which he loved, I had this cheesy eggy hammy sandwich. Actually, I broke Passover a little early with that cheesy, eggy, hammy sandwich--talk about a treyfy way to break Pesach! All of it was fantastic and since we got there around 9:00am there was hardly anyone there yet. 9:00am might sound early for a lamb burger but we'd been up since 3:00am, so it was lunch time for us!

And Sleep No More was INCREDIBLE!!!!! We are already planning a trip back to NYC to see it again. I have seen a lot of theater (a lot of theater). Broadway, off, experimental, everything. This was unlike anything I have ever seen; it was mind blowing and amazing and I loved every minute of it and cannot recommend it enough!

Breakfast/Brunch, This Saturday Morning, VERY Early

Hi Teachertalk--I don't need to go close to my hotel, I'm more than happy to roam and to get my day started! I've been to NYC many times and lived there for a bit, so I have no problem getting re-adjusted to the atmosphere.

Alaina, that's why I thought maybe the Breslin. They open at 7:00am. I've been to Veselka and I didn't love it, but maybe they are better for breakfast? I'll check out The Bowery Diner.

Have You Ever Tried to Quit Diet Soda?

CAREY! This is my existence right now. I totally quit Diet Coke cold turkey a few months ago. I stopped buying it for my house and I didn't have it for nearly two months. I had gotten myself down to a can a day before quitting and then I just stopped. Now I only have Diet Coke on occasion, maybe if I am out to dinner or as a treat, no more than once or twice a week mind you. And I definitely keep it to that--there is still no soda in my home. I drink a lot of green tea now instead of Diet Coke. I am definitely happy I mostly quit soda, it is definitely less expensive!

Double Cheeseburger at Eleven Madison Park, Coming Right Up

The two restaurants are owned by Danny Meyer, so I don't really see the problem. Glad to see they have a sense of humor. The one time I ate at 11 Madison Park I skipped dessert and instead got some custard across the street at the Shake Shack. The best of both worlds.

Sam Sifton Leaving 'New York Times' Restaurant Critic Position

I did not like Sifton as a restaurant critic. He placed far too much importance on the mood, scene, and ambiance and not enough importance on the food. His writing was a little flowery and twee for my taste. Bruni was amazing, I loved his reviews and am glad that he still has a presence at the Times.

No real thoughts on a replacement, I'm afraid.

Confessing The (Dinner Party) Blues

Some people just don't look at food the same way we do. The Serious Eats staff doesn't have a problem eating food both high and and low end (string cheese, anyone?) and I think they set a great example for all of us. Food should be taking seriously, but not *too* seriously! After all, food is meant to be fun and enjoyable! Even Ferran Adria infuses his admittedly very serious, very high-end food with a sense of fun and whimsy.

Additionally, if you read the great writings of Roger Ebert regarding his inability to eat or drink anymore: he misses food, of course, but what he misses more is the social act of eating. He misses the ability to share a meal with people more than he misses the food itself. He misses the easy conversation and camaraderie that, when surrounded with good company, infuses the most humble of meals with a sense of grandeur and importance.

If someone who can't even eat or drink anymore misses the people more than the food, well, I think that says something about how the majority of America looks at "entertaining." I, for one, do tend to go all out when I have people over, even if it is a big buffet-style party for Halloween or the Superbowl. But not everyone has the skill, means, or time to do that (although the above posters are probably correct about Salpico's one, isolated incident at the friend's house. She was probably showing off her swank new kitchen. But if you read the post more closely Salpico seems to be taking offense at the majority of the dinner parties he has recently attended, not just this isolated incident). However, if you gave me the choice between mediocre food and mediocre company, I'd probably take the mediocre food. There is always another meal just a few hours away, after all. But good friends*, well, those are few and far between.

*(please, excuse the sap, I'm not usually this gushy but I'm going through a rough patch and my friends are really being golden and wonderful people, so I'm feeling general goodwill toward mankind right now!)

Confessing The (Dinner Party) Blues

I actually find the original poster rude and ungrateful. People are kind enough (and like you enough!) to invite you to their house for dinner and all you do afterwards is complain about the food? For some people cold fried chicken and supermarket salads are a great, relaxed summertime meal. I doubt that they view their choice of food as insulting and are probably perplexed by your demeanor. If you really hate the food your friends are serving you then maybe suggest social interaction at a restaurant or do something with your friends that doesn't involve eating, such as taking a hike or playing tennis.

I want to add I used to be very much like this--very critical of everyone who didn't do things "my way." Their house wasn't clean enough. The food wasn't good enough. The table setting was poor. Etc. And then I realized that I was being an ungrateful, miserable snob. If you go through life expecting people to do things as well as you do it then you are bound to be disappointed. Everyone is different and we should all be thankful to have friends who want to share meals and time with us, whether it be cold fried chicken or a fancy roast and souffle.

Seriously dude, get over yourself. You are going to end up with no friends.

Food Blog Devoted to 'A Song of Ice and Fire' Fantasy Series

Adam when it says SPOILER SPOILER that means don't read! But yeah, I don't think I gave anything away that wasn't in books 1-4, as I recall that Ramsay Bolton was betrothed to "Arya Stark" and Jaime Lannister actually saw "Arya Stark" off on her journey. It is one of those giant feasty scenes, of course. PS I'm not sure where you are in A Dance With Dragons but power through. The first half is really rough and there is a lot of exposition, and a few of the characters have just miserable dull storylines (municipal government really?) but the second half of the book is proving most page-turningly fun.

Food Blog Devoted to 'A Song of Ice and Fire' Fantasy Series

Woo hoo this is exciting. I'm 70% through A Dance With Dragons. SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER

I hope he makes the Frey Pies served by Lord Manderly at the Ramsay Bolton/"Arya Stark" wedding feast. Every pie tastes a little better with some Frey thrown in for good measure!

Meet and Eat: Adam Richman, The Man of 'Man vs. Food Nation'

I love this show but I was horrified when he came to Chapel Hill and went to Time Out. Gross Adam gross! We have so so so much better!

Regardless, he seems like a smart and fun dude and while I would never attempt an eating challenge myself, there is something fascinating and horrifying about the whole Man vs. Food concept. I think, for me, the most horrifying was one of the Boston challenges involving burgers. Adam was competing against a really obese kid, and all I could think was "please stop eating burgers really obese kid, please stop eating burgers..."

Milk Burger in East Harlem: No, This Is Not Shake Shack

To add: the yogurt place is still up and running, just with a different name and paint job. Milk Burger should probably change their menu language and tweak a few other things so it doesn't seem such an obvious knock-off.

Milk Burger in East Harlem: No, This Is Not Shake Shack

Um, I think Danny Meyer and Co. might need to file a cease and desist order stat. A fro-yo place opened in my home town that looked just like a Pinkberry, but they called themselves Whiteberry. You can bet Pinkberry cease and desisted them all over the place.

Power Dining on Cape Cod: A Day In The Life of a Serious Eats Editor

Okay so while I am jealous here is the question: How are y'all not 500 pounds? All this food looks delicious and amazing but I think I gained 15 pounds just looking at it! Y'all must train like Kobayashi and Joey Chestnut!

Serious Entertaining: July 4th Cookout

Yes when I grew up in Sarasota, Florida, I didn't think about the usage of the words grill vs. bbq, they were both the same to me. Now I live in Chapel Hill, NC, and you can bet that I call putting some food on my Webster kettle grilling vs. BBQ, which I can get a number of excellent locations within a 30-minute radius of my apartment. Never again will I make that mistake!

Happy July 4th everyone, btw, may your cooking ventures be excellent!

Around Cedar Point?

Oh my lord Cedar Point, haven't been there in forever, best coasters in the world truly.

This isn't outside the park, but if my memory serves me correctly there is a custard stand inside the park, in the "midway" area, that has great custard.

SO JEALOUS. The coasters are really the best, you'll have a great time!

Things to eat while reading a book

Solution to having issues while reading: KINDLE. I used to read while eating my lunch and it was a to do. Now I have a Kindle and my life is so much better.

Okay maybe an exaggeration but the Kindle is amazing, really.

Fast Food International: Amorino, French Gelato Chain Comes to the US

Woo hoo, I remember finding this place in Paris after spending 6 weeks studying in Rome (and eating their Gelato). I'd been in Paris about a week and was really craving a gelato fix. This hit the spot! That was back in 2004 so I'm excited to see it has come to the states.

Breakfast at Untitled

I hope this work. I interned at the Whitney back when Sarabeth's was still there and they were already having issues with the space. It is tricky because it has to be a mobile space as the area is often used for parties so it needs to be cleared out quickly. Also the Whitney store is right next to the restaurant. Anyways, I'm glad to hear that Danny Meyer is setting up shop and wish him and the Whitney luck!

Welcome to Serious Eats: Sweets!

Oh well, there goes my whole "healthy-eating" plan (maybe I'll just stick to the fruit-centric desserts...maybe).

Raleigh, NC

I posted to this thread and it didn't appear (or rather, has not yet appeared) and yet I am still getting e-mail follow-ups which means that Serious Eats seems to think I have posted. Readers of thread is my previous (super long) post visible? And Serious Eats staffers I guess this is me alerting you to a problem in the system.

Breakfast/Brunch, This Saturday Morning, VERY Early

I'm returning to NYC after far too long an absence for a very quick weekend of fun and seeing friends and also "Sleep No More," about which I am way excited! Since this will be a quick weekend I am flying up CRAZY early Saturday morning, and my plane will land before 7:30am. I have taken this flight before and I usually am able to get to my hotel and drop my bags before 8:30 and will need a fortifying breakfast STAT. We're staying midtown East but can go anywhere; I prefer to stay in Manhattan due to the weekend's time constraints. Tell me, where should I eat this early, when all the brunch crowds are not yet awake? I was thinking The Breslin, since I hear it gets mad busy at other times and it could be a good opportunity to give it a try. What are some other suggestions y'all have? I want someplace sit down, where we can linger a little bit and recover from a 6:00am flight, drink some coffee, have some great food, and prepare for the weekend.

Thanks for y'all's suggestions!

Does anyone really like brunch?

NYMagazine posted this great interview today with 30 Rock's Robert Carlock where he basically said that brunch is this silly, invented idea of fun and he doesn't understand the point of it. (you can read all about it here: http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2011/05/robert_carlock_showrunner_tran.html).

I'm pretty much inclined to agree with him. I've never seen the point of brunch. I'd rather sleep in, roll out of bed super late in my pajamas, and just eat a bowl of cereal while reading the New York Times. I have things to do on Sunday and therefore don't have time to sit around for hours in a leisurely manner sipping mimosas. Also, if I really want eggs or hash browns, I can just make it myself.

So, does anyone really like brunch? Or am I alone in my disdain and apathy?

Denver and Fort Collins Eats

Hi All,

I am taking my first trip to Colorado this weekend with my parents to see my sister, who is in a dinner theater production in Fort Collins. None of us have been to Colorado before, and my sister isn't really a foodie. I'll be based in Fort Collins but we'll be flying into and out of Denver and plan to day trip to Denver and other areas within an hour to two hour radius. I'll be there for fourish days (coming in early Saturday and leaving Wednesday) and we'll have rented a car. I'll be more or less following the parents but they trust me as a foodie tour guide type of person and will respect my suggestions.

So, I am asking you for yours. I don't know much about Denver, Fort Collins etc. other than what a few travel books have told me. Where should I eat? And, sort of unrelated but not really, any must-dos? I'm an East Coaster from Florida and North Carolina and this is as far west and as mountainous as I have ever been. I'm really excited!

Thanks in advance for your answers and advice!

--Lindsay

Game of Thrones Food Truck

Dear Serious Eats Readers and Writers living in NYC or L.A.,

Please please please visit the Game of Thrones food truck sometime this week (NYC) or next week (or whenever it is in LA) and try the food for me. As a big fan of the books and as a big fan of Tom Colicchio and food trucks in general I really, really, really want to know how it all goes down. Is the food good? Do you feel like you are eating the "fare of Westeros"? Does this strike you as a ridiculous, awesome, or ridiculously awesome publicity stunt? Are you seriously wanting to pull a Misery on George R.R. Martin in an attempt to make him finish the series? (seriously, dude, come on). Anyways, if you are planning to visit or have visited then report back, please!!!

Sincerely,
Seriously, dude, I'll go all Kathy Bates on you

New Le Creuset, now what to do with it...

A magical, extremely heavy package arrived in front of my apartment today: a belated birthday present from my parents containing THREE Le Creuset pices in cherry red:

1) 5 1/2-qt. round dutch oven with lid.
2) 1 1/2-qt. saucepan with lid.
3) 4 1/4-qt. sauté pan with lid.

So the question is: WHAT DO I MAKE WITH THIS NEW AMAZING COOKWARE. I have never cooked with anything this fancy or awesome before and I feel like I should do something special to christen them. Also, any suggestions/advice as to how to cook with these? Again, I've typically used not-that fancy, non-stick pots and pans. I'm excited to learn how to cook with the gorgeous Le Creusets. Also, any advice on how to keep it looking and working well for as long as possible?

The one thing I will definitely make is Jim Lahey's no-knead bread. My main worry in terms of making it was the lack of a dutch oven in my kitchen supplies. Problem solved!

Anyways thanks to my parents for an incredible kitchen upgrade and thanks to all of you in advance for your food suggestions and advice!

D.C. Eats, seeking suggestions!

Hi All,

In a few weeks I will be visiting Washington, D.C., with my boyfriend. We will be staying with friends in the Woodley Park area by the Zoo. I don't know much about D.C., I've been a few times but these were either with parents, who marched me around, or school groups, so I was too busy looking at museums to consider food. I will be in the city over a long weekend.

So tell me what to eat! One of my friends is a vegetarian but otherwise no one is picky eating-wise. We'll also need a celebratory but not incredibly expensive place where we can celebrate two birthdays (my host's and my own). We're looking to keep meals moderate to affordable as none of us is a high roller. Authentic, off the beaten track is good.

Anyways, looking forward to hearing y'all's suggestions.

On Not Eating: Yom Kippur Y'all

Hi y'all,

Once again I (and many of you I am sure) am about to embark on that 24+ hour journey into no-food-and-no-water land called YOM KIPPUR. I do it intensely and partake of NOTHING during the period, and I do so by not leaving the synagogue at all on Yom Kippur Day. And then rushing the small children who walk around with the baskets of hershey's kisses once the Shofar is blown. Bless them.

Oh and then I gorge on the break fast please let there be cheese blintzes please...

So if you are fasting for Yom Kippur (or Ramadan for that matter) how do you get through the day? What are your pre-fast tricks (I drink my weight in water)? What is your favorite break fast food.

An easy fast to all of you who are doing so and, as they say, a happy sealing.

What I ate in Boston

Hi all,

So you helped me decide Boston eats these past few weeks, and now that I have returned from my adventure I can provide you with a recap of what the:

Thursday: Sticky buns from Flour (I don't love sticky buns but these weren't too sweet), Zuni Roll (awesome) and the Schlow (disappointing) at the Parish Cafe, drinks (baci ball and another I could not remember) and candied bacon cashews at Drink in Southie, corn ravioli (tasted like summer) at the Franklin in the South End.

Friday: spicy chicken wings and potato and vegetable pizzas (they should call them flatbreads) at Cambridge 1 in Fenway, sweet cream ice cream with hot fudge at J.P. Licks in Brookline, Legal Seafood in Back Bay for clam chowder, crab dip, lobster dinner (yay yay Shabbat Shalom yay and I barely ate my sides) and numerous free desserts (one of the hosts works there). Also, too many drinks for my hosts at Lega Seafood and 28 Degrees (I am not a big drinker and if they ever do The Real Housewives of Boston, they should film it at 28 Degrees).

Saturday: South End Buttery breakfast (Peanut Buttery with jam, AMAZING), Toscanini's ice cream for a snack (burnt caramel was so-so but the honey lavender was incredible go try it NOW), Russell Tavern in Harvard Square for lunch (got the toad in the hole which came with the best hash browns of my life), Harpoon Brewery Tour for funsies (I don't like beer but the cider was fantastic) and a three-hour wait at Neptune Oyster for the GREATEST LOBSTER ROLLS OF ALL TIME. Totally worth the wait. Dripping in butter, filled with sweet lobster, so awesome. I also got some Jonah crab claws for an appetizer, which are like stone crab's smaller, gentler cousins.

Pre-plane early morning (4:30 am) breakfast was cannoli from Mike's pastry. Didn't care for the pastry shell so ate the filling straight. Wonderful, if a little too sweet for 4:30 in the morning!

Thanks for all the suggestions! I can't wait to go back to Boston one day to try the rest!

Would You Impose Your Dietary Restrictions at Your Wedding?

Hi all,

This is in response to an article I saw regarding Chelsea Clinton's WEDDING OF THE MILLENNIUM. Apparently Chelsea is vegan and gluten intolerant, so her menu is going to be vegan and there is a gluten-free cake. However, she is providing grass-fed beef for the carnivore guests, which is kind, I suppose.

Now the question I am asking is, naturally, the one in the title: Would you impose your dietary restrictions at your wedding? Now ordinarily I would say "no" but this gets a little funky when your wedding is a religious one. For instance, while I do not personally keep kosher if/when I get married I plan to have a kosher reception (fish, naturally, so I can have some dairy-based desserts and because I generally prefer dairy-based kosher meals, sorry meat lovers!) My Bat Mitzvah party dinner was kosher for the adults but the kids got chicken fingers and an ice cream bar. No pork or bacon though.

My parents attended a vegan wedding a year or two ago that definitely had them raising their eyebrows, and they are open eaters. I attended a wedding last year where the bride and groom were vegan but the food was all-inclusive (chicken, ice cream, etc.).

And, recently, I attended a super-Christian wedding that had no booze, no dancing, and no seats--but a small table with nibbles and a cake in the shape of a fish (not a Jesus fish, just a gold fish, the groom is a marine chemist). Go figure.

So what do y'all think? Have you had any bizarre experiences at weddings of individuals with dietary restrictions? What would you do?

Consider the Lobster

So I had a lot of time at work today to read the entirety of David Foster Wallace's article for Gourmet in the mid-2000s regarding lobster. Needless to say it was an incredible article and everyone should read it: for mindful eating, for curiosity, for David Foster Wallace's incredible prose. I love that he asks us questions that might make us uncomfortable but he does it in such a...self-conscious, fantastic, intelligent manner. This was a great, great, great article, so if you haven't read it give it a read!

http://www.gourmet.com/magazine/2000s/2004/08/consider_the_lobster?currentPage=1

Boston Brewery Tours

Hi all,

Going to Boston mid-August and my boyfriend would maybe like to do a brewery tour. Here's the rub: I really don't like beer at all (not for lack of trying). However, I like history and learning things. So if there a brewery in Boston that has a good combination of tastings (for him) and history/learnings/science (for me). That was we can combine both our likes into a happy afternoon of fun?

PS: Sam Adams is his casual go-to beer when he doesn't want anything fancy, if that helps in terms of taste...

Lobster rolls (and other food) in and around Boston

Hi friends! Need your help!
Visiting Boston in the middle of August for the first time since the summer of 2001. All I really want is a LOBSTER ROLL ( I live in the south, what can I say ) but I will be there for three lunches, three dinners, snacktimes, and a breakfast or two and as much as I love me some lobster I figure I'll need to eat something else. We'll be eating at Legal Seafood at least once because one of our hosts works there, and will hopefully be able to get us some special treatment and/or a sizable discount. We might also take a daytrip to P-Town or Providence.

We are twenty-somethings who are looking for mostly affordable to moderate priced eating experiences but are willing to splurge for one fancy dinner if the food is phenomenal. We'll be staying with friends in the South End but will be doing the tourist thing and so will be around the MFA, the ICA, Cambridge/Harvard, the Freedom Trail etc.

So tell me: where do I get the best lobster roll in Boston? What about traveling to P-Town or Providence? Where else should we eat? Great seafood please? I love desserts and ice cream, what specialties does Boston have in this area? Please instruct me on where to feed myself!

Thanks so much, can't wait to hear what y'all say. I love getting the Serious Eats feedback and then following up via Yelp and TripAdvisor, I find that combination really helps me to get the best of the best when I'm traveling...

Serious Exercise for Serious Eaters

Okay. This is serious.

What do you, serious eaters, do to counteract all the serious goodness? Like the Veloce-Motorino double-tiramisu bomb suggested in today's New York Sugar Rush (what a diet killer!) Or, you know, just general eating of lobster rolls and corn on the cob and berry cobbler and soups and tarts and noodle dishes etc. All this talk is making me hungry.

Basis for this question: I am a female in my mid-twenties, 5'4, and of perfectly average, healthy weight (around 140). However, I would like to kill five pounds just for my closet's sake and because I know weight loss is harder as one ages, so I'd rather give myself a head start as I confront the slowing of my metabolism (not that it was ever awesome, mind you). I watch my food intake, work out five to six times a week, but I know I need a big kick to my fitness routine.

So how about it, serious eaters, what do you do when you know you've seriously eaten and have to seriously burn some calories?

Dear Serious Eats, Thanks so much...

Dear Serious Eats,

I wanted to thank you for yet another wonderful food suggestion, but wasn't sure how, so I figured I'd do it here.

Last night, after nearly three years of living in the Raleigh-Durham area, I finally made it to Ed Mitchell's The Pit in Raleigh. I know, took me long enough, right? With all the recent talk on the awesomeness of Ed Mitchell, I figured it was time to get myself in gear and make my way out to Raleigh. And boy, Serious Eats, was I glad that I did.

The meal was quite wonderful. My dinner mates and I waited for about an hour for our table (reservations are taken, but they fill up fast!). Luckily we snagged seats at the bar and started with appetizers of fried green tomatoes with basil (delicious) and skillet corn bread with maple butter (I've never been the biggest fan of corn bread but I'd eat that butter on anything). When we finally were seated we were given a basket of hush puppies and biscuits (awesome and awesome, and MORE BUTTER). This was then followed by our meals, mine was the best brisket I've ever had with a side of excellent macaroni and cheese and cole slaw not swamped in sauce (yay). And desert: banana pudding, a little too sweet for my taste, but the marshmallow topping was great.

So thanks, Serious Eats, for finally convincing me to get to The Pit. And thanks for past recommendations, from NYC favorites such as Levain, Kefi, Bouchon Bakery, Keste, Motorino (and heading to 11 Madison Park this week, after reading such great things!), to recipes such as Best Ever Salad for Leftover Meat and Turkey Chili. And, of course, looking forward to trying out other recommendations in my area (Allen and Son's! Scratch Bakery!) and seeing future recommendations.

Yours truly,
The Dilettantista

P.S. I would love to know what places/recipes/suggestions your readers have enjoyed, and I hope that they will post them in this thread!

Where to feed a Tony Award Winner lunch in NYC?

Yet another NYC-food question, and yes I know NYC and I know that there are dozens of columns on where to eat in NYC, but there are a lot of specifics here:

My sister has incredible luck and has fallen under the friendship/roommate-ship of a Tony award winning Broadway star (let's just say she's a shining beacon of musical comedy perfection and played someone's girlfriend on an HBO show, awesome). My parents and I are going to visit said sister in late June and the parents want to take the Tony award winner to a nice lunch on a Saturday to thank her for being so kind to my sister. Dinner is out as she is performing at the Carlyle(!!!) that night. Also, I would love to be able to dash to a matinee (probably in the Broadway/midtown area) so relative speed and proximity to a subway/midtown is important. We plan to start at noon.

So, friends, where should we take this Broadway star? Which of the awesome restaurants written about here (Del Posto, 11 Madison Park etc.) have prix fixe lunches on Saturdays? Of course we want it to be a special time, but, again, so much to do in NYC, so little time!!!

Thanks!

I miss Frank Bruni: Complaints about Sam Sifton

So I just read Sam Sifton's latest review, of ABC Restaurant:

http://events.nytimes.com/2010/06/02/dining/reviews/02rest.html?ref=dining

Maybe it is because the weather system tearing through my area is giving me a raging headache, maybe it is because my boss just returned from two weeks of vacation, maybe it is because I am hungry, but I just can't handle Sam Sifton today.

He is so, how do I say it, precious. He uses the words "very good" far too often, a good writer, in my opinion, should rarely resort to using the words "very" or "good" apart, let alone together, let alone as a frequently used statement.

Sometimes I like his writing: it is atmospheric, imaginative, evocative. I prefer his writing for the column, The Cheat. He equates food with an imagined setting (in this case, the home of an eco-conscious wealthy WASP in the Hamptons), and sometimes that is charming (such as in The Cheat). Sometimes, however, he goes overboard. Too many emotions, too much evocation, not enough straight forward criticism. I find I have to wade through the fluff to get to the meaty bits (pun intended).

I miss Frank Bruni. He had a bit more bite (pun intended? Sorry), a bit more spark, a lot more snark.

So the point of this long, long post (apologies): How do you feel about Sam Sifton? Do you love him? Do you hate him? Do you not care? Do you want to tear me down for criticizing him? How do you like your food critics? And who are your favorites?

And do you miss Frank Bruni the way I miss Frank Bruni?

Breaking the Passover!

So who else is tired of Passover? My willpower is seriously wavering as we head into the final day of shoveling matzo into our mouths. I, personally, do not see how avoiding glorious bread for 8 days simulates being a slave in Egypt, but I'll go with it. As my father said: "Chill, it'll be over before you know it."

What are you doing to kill the end of the holiday cravings? What do you plan on eating for your first after-Passover meal? I traditionally do a carb fest: either a giant loaf of bread from a bakery or, like some friends and I did in college, pizza/garlic rolls/beer (for them, I'm not a beer drinker/calzones etc. as a local pizzeria. Tomorrow I'll be at a birthday dinner at a place that is lacking in pizza (SO SAD, ALL I WANT IS A PIZZA) so I'll have to make due with bar food and sandwiches.

What about you?

Bar help!

Hi all,

So I am an out-of-towner who knows NYC like the back of her own hand; I've been there many times and even lived there one summer. What I'm trying to say is, I am not a tourist.

However, I do not know much about the bar scene, and I need some help! I will be in the city the last weekend of March for a rapid weekend, and I want to see all of my twenty-million friends who live in the city. I figure the best way to do that would be to plant myself at a bar and just hold court.

The question is, which bar? I LOVE the Frying Pan waaaay out in Chelsea (on the river!) but it closes at midnight and I was hoping to go later. I am very low-key, as are my friends, so i prefer kind of a low-attitude dive bar to a glitzy place. I'd like to stay on Manhattan since that is where most of my friends live. Could I start at the Frying Pan and then go elsewhere (any Chelsea/nearby suggestions?) Should I just hold court at a bar in the LES or the West Village for the evening? I predict anywhere from 5-15 people coming and going. I am looking to y'all for the best suggestions!

Thanks so much!

Food in art (or movies...or books...)

Saw this little book today in the NYTimes Style Magazine:

http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/12/fresh-from-the-louvre-and-tasty/?ref=fashion

Food in art at the Louvre! With some recipes! Although the skate one sort of terrifies me because that stingray looks icky and I imagine it is now covered with cat hair.

So, what is your favorite food in art/movie/book (I figured I'd expand it because not everyone loves Dutch still lives). I'm a big fan of that ridiculous eating scene from the film Tom Jones. We had to replicate it in a high school production of the play, and since I was the prop mistress I was charged with keeping us in fresh roasted chickens. Good times!

Turkey Legs and Mead

Two questions:

How do I cook turkey legs. Renaissance Faire style would be great, but any offerings would be much appreciated. I am making them for a birthday party with a Meat and Mead theme, and have ordered a case of about thirty frozen (I know, right? But they don't sell them any smaller) drumsticks. I will have access to an oven (maybe two) and a grill.

Also, if anyone in the Triangle Area of North Carolina--Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill etc.--knows how to get mead, please please please let me know. Otherwise it'll just be wine and beer, but mead'd be super cool!

Thanks so much!

Sunday night dinner for a medium-sized group

Hi y'all,

I need dinner recommendations for a Sunday night going-away dinner for a medium-ish group, 8-10 people. Moderately priced since my parents will be paying for all of us (thanks parents). No real food issues but fish/veggie options are a must as I have some semi-vegetarians in the group. Any type of cuisine acceptable! Prefer Manhattan, as most of the guests live there.

Thanks so much for your help!

My Thai: Chicken Red Curry Stir-Fry with Green Beans

This is an extraordinarily simple stir-fry of green beans and chicken with red Thai chili paste. It requires only six ingredients—seven, if you want to add extra umami to it by way of oyster sauce. This is very practical for those living in a small space with an electric frying pan, a microwave, and a refrigerator the size of a shoe box (A.K.A. every college student in the world). But the result feels like a hug from Thailand. More