Profile

z911empire

  • Location: Brooklyn
  • Favorite foods: salt, ditalini, broth, sausage, squid, basil, fresh tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, shitake mushrooms, asparagus, peas, white beans, eggs
  • Last bite on earth: crispy, piping hot, extra salty, salted squid with 2 sliced hot pepper rings from Hop Kee - 21 Mott Street, NYC

16 Great Ways to Eat Squid and Octopus in NYC

salted squid with hot peppers at Hop Kee

polpi in purgatorio at Peasant

Meet the Newest Serious Eater

Win Pop Chart Lab's Plethora of Pasta Permutations Poster

glorious soup thimbles
for fingers short and teeny
my all-time favorite: ditalini

Where to Eat Chinese Food in New York City

Cook the Book: 'Franny's'

penne with fresh peeled tomatoes, garlic, butter, and basil

Pasta alla Carbonara

in my experience, you need a 1:1 ratio of pasta to pork. 2:1 will be pretty dry.

the glory of carbonara is the wild frenzy at the end...

I take the eggs, separate their yolks, and slide them into a solo cup as the pasta is cooking.

Once the pasta is just al dente, drain it quickly and toss it briefly in the pork pan over high heat. Then separate the pasta into serving bowls, sliding one yolk on top of each plate and instructing your guests to stir vigorously. Shower with black pepper.

L & B Spumoni Gardens: A Rite of Passage in the Form of Pizza

I wish Bruce Springsteen could sing this article.

Visiting NYC? Where to Eat (and Avoid) in Little Italy and Chinatown

Congrats to the 2013 James Beard Award Finalists

Congrats Kenji, you continue to be my hero!

The Vegan Experience: How To Make Simple Saucy Pasta Without Butter

@RobC_ that was awesome

The Food Lab: How to Make Real New England Clam Chowder

brilliant...as usual

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: La Quercia's Pork Belly Heaven Package

Holiday Giveaway: The Amazing Thermapen Thermometer

my mouth, 97.6, whoop

Nicoletta: What Michael White is Really After

Yeah, believe me incurring a defensive Kenji post is the last thing I was going for here. I tell most people I SPEAK TO about SE and specifically about Food Lab.

Dustin R. articulated it much better than I did - maybe when I said "dubious ethics" I was taking all of this way too seriously, so to speak.

As for sellouts, I see what you're saying on perfection vs. having a real life, but there's a balance. You CAN have it both ways. Maybe it won't be quite as immediate or lucrative as your former Wall St. COO-adviser wants it, but I'm pretty sure Michael White wasn't a starving artist before Nicoletta opened.

Nicoletta: What Michael White is Really After

I KNOW you guys won't like this, but I'm going to say it: you're on dubious ethical ground here. You clearly have a relationship with Chef White, and although it sounds way more credible to have reached the conclusion you did, it still reads a little slimy.

After visiting Nicoletta myself, my thoughts were very similar to what Pete Wells wrote in the NYT. Whether it's intentional or not (and it sounds like it is), the blatant aspirations for franchising combined with the less-than-brilliant food left a really bad taste in my mouth.

I would love to hear SE's thoughts on why things like this bother people (like me). I know others have the same feelings. If the quality doesn't go down, what's wrong with being enterprising, right? Thing is...the quality almost always goes down. I think we hunger for the organic deterioration of places like Di Fara, Don Peppe, Hop Kee, etc. When a beloved person or business sells out, it's always a tough pill for the early adopters to swallow.

The Less Than Favorable New York Times Review of Nicoletta

the review was SPOT ON. i wrote a significantly less eloquent version on Yelp a few weeks ago with the same themes. the most distressing aspect of Nicoletta is not the pizza - which is tasty and fine - it's everything before the pizza, starting with the restaurant's conception. this place has nothing to do with giving people a pleasurable food experience and everything to do with taking people's money.

What to make with escarole?

1) rigatoni, cannellini beans, and crumbled pork/chicken sausage
2) sauteed with bread crumbs, grated cheese, and garlic
3) sauteed in the juices of a roast w/ garlic and then nestled underneath a chunk of that roast when served...SO GOOD

and ALWAYS use red chili flakes with escarole.

Drinking the Bottom Shelf: Beer 30 Light

*outstanding* work. kudos

Videos: 'Eat It, Don't Tweet It' by American Hipster + Key of Awesome

guilty as charged @BitchinFixins, on both counts. the song is awesome, the video is cool, and the message is pretty clear. i'd be pretty surprised if anyone "missed the point."

Isa in Williamsburg: Ambition Alone Does Not A Great Restaurant Make

i think i'd sooner be Munsoned out in the middle of nowhere

The Food Lab, Ramen Edition: How to Make Chashu Pork Belly

TIME Person of the Year 2012

Grilling: Chicken Under a Brick with Lemon, Garlic, and Rosemary

brilliant...i go in with ground up fennel seeds, chili flakes, super coarse salt, black peppercorns, parsley, chervil, rosemary, sugar, garlic + 2 lemon wedges in each breast.

10 minutes dying high heat skin down uncovered (and now, insert brick)
30 minutes medium heat skin up covered

we call this "tailgate chicken"

Win Chicago Food Film Festival Tickets to Farm to Film to Table AND the Pig Pickin' and Whiskey Bar

Cook the Book: Molto Batali

holiday dinner with best friends from middle school

Cook the Book: 'The Food52 Cookbook'

holy trinity chili, that's the holy trinity of meat: beef, pork, italian sausage

Lobster Knifed Through Head - Release Toxins!?

I was trying Kenji's roasted lobster technique for lobster rolls last night (though I was harvesting meat for risotto), and let's just say "the tail may wiggle a little" is a gross understatement. For a solid 10 minutes after slicing Mr. Lobster's head in half, the tail would recoil violently at the slightest touch of the shell.

Anyway, I was a little slow-mo about putting the knife through the lobster's head and the little dude really kicked around a bunch before I plunged the blade in. I've done this a few times and I have never seen the amount of (jet) black gunk as I saw last night. The tail meat was actually discolored from the stuff.

I've heard that some animals release toxins when they know they're about to die. Is this true for lobsters? Should this be a consideration?

Packing Heat w/ Grilled Lobsters

Saturday figures to be a beautiful day in NYC, so my friends and I are thinking grilled lobster. I've prepared grilled lobsters pretty simply in the past: cut in half, grill, lemon, parseley, done.

The one thing that's always a little frustrating though is the reduction of heat caused by the liquid that drips out of the lobsters as they cook over the coals.

Not sure if I just ran into some particularly juicy lobsters, have some kind of equipment issue, or maybe just need to ante up and put a ton of coals on there, but would like the board's input on grilling lobsters - related or unrelated to the aforementioned heat issue.

Encyclopedic Cookbooks of the World

I found a copy of the first edition of The Joy of Cooking tossed out with someone's trash yesterday (!), went home and flipped through it for a few hours. I lost my copy last year and I forgot how amazing this book is.

I love the approach: ingredient, concise intro passage, a few recipes. I love the little diagrams and how thoroughly it discusses the preparation of meats. The author surely looked to Escoffier's tome as a model.

I told a friend about it and he said his dad just got a copy of Silver Spoon, which apparently is the "Italian Joy of Cooking." I'm looking forward to picking that up, and in the meantime I'm wondering if other cuisines have similarly encyclopedic cookbooks, and if they've been translated to English or not.

Best Red Velvet Cake in Brooklyn

My girlfriend's favorite cake is red velvet, and her birthday party is Saturday, does anyone know a bakery that makes a notably good one?

I heard about something in Williamsburg, and though it would be a trek, I want the best!

Rainer Cherries in NYC

My girlfriend swears she saw Rainer cherries at a local market. I've heard they are officially in season in mid-July, but does anyone have a beat on where I could pick these up here in mid-June?

Citi Field Catch of the Day, Beware!

I'm a huge Mets fan, and a huge fan of Citi Field, their new ballpark. I love the additions to the normal ballpark concessions, and I'm slowly trying the new offerings. Last night I tried the Lobster Roll and the Po'Boy Sandwich w/ Blackened Shrimp on Ciabatta Roll.

The lobster roll ($18) was insultingly bad. It was served on a TINY, crappy bun, and the fish was tasteless. In 3 awful bites, $18 has never been so worthless.

The po'boy ($12.75) is essentially a huge mustard sandwich after you eat the three/four pieces of shrimp in each half, but I would definitely recommend it! The ciabatta is perfect and the sandwich is quite large. The shrimp I did get were delicious.

I know SE NY did a story on the food at Citi, but I just wanted to offer two more quick reviews.

Sopa de Pollo Recipe Approval

Whenever I see chicken soup on a menu, I usually have a bowl of it in front of me within a few minutes. Last week I had sopa de pollo con arroz at El Rincon Familiar on 5th Ave. in Brooklyn (@ 18th Street), and it was so good it's been haunting me. I really like sampling chicken soups from all different cuisines, and then attempting it at home, so I searched around a bit and found this wordy recipe:

Sopa de Pollo con Arroz from Recipezaar

How does it sound? I know the version at El Rincon added zucchini and string beans and did not include potatoes, but this sounds pretty good, no? Please respond with links, comments, and suggestions!

NY Thruway Favorite Spot?

So I'm thinking of renting a car and heading up the thruway tomorrow to get out of the city, does anyone have a favorite restaurant/diner/drive-in/farm/pizza/winter/wine/whatever spot to check out?

You know, one of those places you end up going to everytime you see an exit on the highway? The kind of place that lends itself to "you thinkin' what I'm thinkin?"-moments.

I have a few along I-95 but can't think of anything on I-87.

Suggestions?

Buy Stainless Steel Lunchbox in NYC? (Tiffin Carrier)

I don't know where I got this idea but I want to give my girlfriend her Valentine's Day gift in one of those stackable stainless steel lunchboxes. The plan is, put cool gifts in each layer, get it? Plus it's a cool storage or even serving containers.

I believe they're sometimes called "tiffin carriers" or "dabbas" b/c of the South Asian origin, but I'm pretty sure they're used in East Asia too (ever see Eat Drink Man Woman?).

Any idea where I can buy these in NYC? I know I can get them online but I don't want to deal with shipping and going to the post office.

Where can I buy Skate in NYC, In Season?

I want to try my hand at preparing skate for my parents this weekend. Does anyone have any idea where in Manhattan (or Brooklyn) I can buy some good skate fillets?

I've also read that skate is a seasonal item, is early February the season of skate?

Stinking Duck?

I got an urgent text message from my aunt last Friday: "Cooked duck for Xmas eve. Repainting kitchen to rid of stench. DON'T ATTEMPT DUCK INDOORS. Find BBQ recipe." I've never made duck before but figured this weekend would be a good opportunity since my roommate is away for the holidays. I don't want to irreparably stink up my small apartment, did my aunt do something horribly wrong or is this actually an issue?

Foodies Under Attack!

Just saw this piece on The Daily Beast (and commented on it!):
http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2008-11-14/foodies-make-me-sick/

I took offense, even though I'm not sure I'd call myself a foodie b/c of all the bad connotations, but still, I'd like to think us Serious Eaters don't deserve such venom.

Should've Known Better

I just responded to a post about Buenos Aires and it reminded of something I wanted to post here on SE:

A few weeks ago I had some friends over on a weeknight and I made steak with chimichurri sauce, homemade potato chips, and a salad - all recalling Argentina. Bueno.

After work I went to the store to buy everything and I started panicking about how little time I had to get everything together so I made a substitution:

I bought a jar of chimichurri sauce instead of making it myself (it's killing me that I can't remember the brand of this stuff but it was $5.99 for a tiny jar and it was AWFUL - not even CLOSE).

I should've known better.

Anyone want to share similarly-themed stories?

Blue Crab Pizza

My friend and I are going to get some blue crabs today in Chinatown and clean/cook them up for pizza. I've seen the first few recipes on google searches and they seem fine, but I was wondering if anyone on this board had any suggestions or imaginative ideas.

We're making a standard margerita pie as a backup, but crabs are cheap and I'm feeling adventureous this afternoon.

Food markets in Chinatown, good stuff?

In a few cookbooks I've flipped through recently, the introduction to the Seafood section always contains some preface about fishmongers and fish markets. They warn, "if a fish market smells fishy, they're carrying old fish." I walk down Grand St. almost every day and I see (and smell) a whole lotta fish. There are plenty of people shopping, so what gives?

What is the quality of food at markets in Chinatown?

The Pizza Lab: No-Roll, No-Stretch Sicilian-Style Square Pizza at Home

The ideal square pie needs a soft, moderately chewy, and pliant crust, with an almost fried crispness to the bottom. The layer of cheese should be thicker than on a traditional pizza, and as for the sauce, I like it with a hint of roasted garlic, a touch of herbs, and lightly cooked with a distinct sweetness and overt tomato flavor. I know—I'm a demanding guy, but I'm also willing to work for my pies. 23 takeout containers worth of leftovers,** 8 pounds of mozzarella, 16 pounds of flour, and more tomatoes than you can shake a stick at later, I finally achieved the pie of my dreams. Let me walk you through it. More

Cook the Book: Roasted Chicken with Tomato Butter

I've never been shy about my love of anchovies. In fact, I've made it a personal mission to convert the anchovy-opposed into fans of the oily little fishes. My preferred method of easing newcomers into the umami-rich world of anchovies is something I like to call "the secret anchovy"—dissolving a few filets into a dish to deepen the flavor. This Roasted Chicken with Tomato Butter from Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton's Canal House Cooking is a perfect example of the anchovy sneak attack. More

Who Likes Grape Soda?

Mm, soda can sweat. I'm not a big fan of soda. Sort of. By that I mean don't drink it regularly and I'm not addicted to any one kind. (This is where some of my coworkers might point out that I'm the only one in our office drinking the free bottles of Mountain Dew Throwback sitting in a giant box on the floor, but...it's right there! And it's free! I wouldn't actually buy Mountain Dew. I think.) But there's something about grape soda that I really like, thus causing me to buy a can during my recent visit to Di Fara. Does it taste like grape? Hell no—it tastes like artificially flavored grape candy. In turn, grape candy reminds... More

Seriously Italian: Saffron Fregola with Potatoes and Peas

Editor's note: On Thursdays, Babbo pastry chef Gina DePalma checks in with Seriously Italian. After a stint in Rome, she's back in the States, channeling her inner Italian spirit via recipes and intel on delicious Italian eats. Take it away, Gina! Fregola is a unique, rolled semolina pasta from the Sardinian region of Cagliari. It is most often compared to the large, pearly Israeli couscous, but I see it as way more exciting. Made with coarse semolina, fregola—or fregula—lacks the polished finish of Israeli couscous; it is misshapen and has a nubby, rough texture that makes it perfect for sopping up and conducting the flavors of sauce and broth. Another key flavor element is the toasting. After the simple dough... More

Share the Meat! Propaganda Posters

In these tough economic times we can find comfort in recalling the hardships of previous generations. During the First and Second World Wars, everything was rationed and all food mattered. I found a collection of propaganda posters, from firstworldwar.com and at the Northwestern University Library detailing what normal citizens could do to help the war effort. It seems that the messages found in these posters are still relevant today. Practical Propaganda... More

Dinner Tonight: Caldo Gallego

Halfway through making this Galician soup, I started to have second thoughts. The recipe came from Spain...on the Road Again, the Gwyneth Paltrow, Mario Batali, Mark Bittman, and Claudia Bassols public television show where they drive around Spain in Mercedes... More

Snapshots from Iceland: Grilled Whale from Saegreifinn

I visited Iceland from April 18 to 24. Although this sparsely populated country may not be known for its cuisine, there was plenty of interesting food to report on. This will be my final shapshot; the rest are here. Saegreifinn, or Sea Baron, is known for their lobster stew, but this fish shack also offers a wide variety of grilled seafood-on-sticks. With the help of four friends, I got to try seven different skewers, our most unique choice being the minke whale. Considering its appearance and flavor, I'd call it the Beef of the Sea. The flavor is similar to steak with a slightly funky fish flavor, while the texture is softer than beef and has finer muscle fibers. If... More

Scrabble Cheez-Its

Photograph from katebornstein Your favorite cheese snack multiplied by your favorite nerdy wordy board game. Kellogg launched Cheez-It Scrabble Junior in January, and it's supposedly hitting shelves nationally. No clue why it refers to the munchkin version of the game, but it's still a good day to be a wordsmith with the munchies. [via Endless Simmer] Related Sudoku Pizza Do You Use Food-Related Words When You Scrabble? [Talk] Chocolate Scrabble... More