Thursday, March 29, 2007

What's old is new again.

London (near Smithfield market)

This is one of the reasons that British food has taken such a beating over the year. Personally I never liked the stuff. Other counties have similar items as part of their national repertoire, Yet it is the British to which the stigma of such food has stuck. Perhaps it is because thees other places have had a stronger culinary background. Perhaps too a better way of marketing things foie-gras in France is liver paste in the UK.

But with the emergence of British cooking these items are all coming back into vogue.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Pub Grub

Chalfont St Giles (just outside of London)

When the English put their minds to something they tend to do it well. Think of cars, motorbikes, and tradition these sorts of things. The one constant exception was food. If anything it was an ongoing joke. English culinary prowess was right up their with French military might. There's a history in both Case but not a glorious on.

Today the fact is that the English culinary scene is booming and happnin'. To me this is in no small part due to pub food.

Starting late seventies early eighties London pubs decided that having a decent meal for businessman at lunch time was perhaps a good idea. So they did and it was.

So it was on a cold rainy after noon that I found myself sitting next to the fire place at The Ivy House and award winning pub in the midst of the English country side. The was the kind of setting that postcards are made of. The menu showed why it was award winning there was a vast and interesting selection from ostrich to Thai noodles to sea bass.

I opted form something else. something a little more sustainable and comforting for the rainy afternoon country ham and eggs. Granted not the most exciting, but with out a doubt a very satisfying meal.

And I never had the chance to mention the view.

The view.

Friday, March 23, 2007

It's expnsive but worth it.


Despite what we think of this guy this place and his cooking lives up to the hype. One of the best meals I have had bar none.

Need I say more? Except that perhaps I was enjoying myself so much I forgot to write down what it was I had...guess I'll have to take out a second mortgage and go back (it's worth the price).

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Well worth it.


I’ve talked about crowds. Specifically what is an appropriate time and effort needed to wait for a meal? Truth is I don’t really know. The only way to figure it out is when one leaves feeling satisfied or stressed from the meal.

One of my all time favorite places for a burger is J.G. Mellon (1229 Third ave.) This place never disappoints at least as far as the burgers go. Never had a bad one.

But some times there is a wait and the bar where I eat can be cramped and a little low and the chairs a little high. This makes the seating a little awkward. And it can be noisy.

But I have never left feeling anything less that satisfied.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Pride or Brunch?


I can accept the inevitable wait for a spot at brunch. But at what point does it go beyond reasonable. Does it at some point become a matter of Pride and principle that one continues to wait it out?

These are the questions that I was pondering yesterday morning at Sarabeth’s (1295 Madison). I’ve been there before braving the crowd and the wait-times for a crack at the Almond Crusted French Toast. People have raved to me about it. The truth is I’ve had it once did mind it but haven’t ordered it again.

I thought of this as I waited in the cramped narrow area. People piling in from the street but no one was leaving the dinning area. The fact that it happens al the time is a testament to the place they must be doing something right. Even Oprah knows about it. It was getting to the point where I was feeling less and less like eating. Heading for the door and clearing up some space seemed like a better and better idea. But I had come ‘this ‘ far I wasn’t turning back.

As luck would have it we had passed the brunch time. Breakfast items were still being serve but at a quarter to one I no longer felt like French toast or something along those lines. So I opted for a club Sandwich. Every thing was great instead of the customary bacon ham was used. The turkey was moist. The lettuce and tomato were both fresh. The bread used was a hearty whole grain. All of these elements in turn cumulated it a thick satisfying lunchtime meal.

At least it should have been but after the waiting experience I felt drained.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

St. Patrick’s Day Dinner


So yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day; always a treat in NYC. This is even more so at night when one has to pass the seemingly endless amount of Irish Pubs that are packed to over flowing. The smoking ban has only added to the congestion with smokers huddling in green pack on the icy sidewalks. So I decided to go out to dinner.

Not a big fan of cabbage, or boiled meat (I know there’s more to Irish food that that.) I opted for French. I had wanted to try a little place on 82nd St. (166 E) Le Refuge. An apt name considering what was going on out side. It was crowed with what seem to be local regulars.

It is a cute place nestled about halfway up the block on a quiet residential street. It has three French themed rooms each leading into the other. With everything being presided over by a very diligent and friendly staff.

I started with the shrimp bisque, one of the specials of the night, which while shrimpy and creamy was, not overly exciting. This was followed by a salmon merlot. The chef recommended it medium and it arrived well. Despite being slightly greasy was edible.

The only real disappoint came with the arrival of the hazelnut cake. This was described in terms of having a mouse. It didn’t it was a butter cream and the cake slightly stale. Yet this did not take away from the fact the Le Refuge provide a nice time on an otherwise crazy evening.