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Tweaking the new dessert…

Still testing and tweaking, but here’s a quick pic of how it looks so far.

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Beignets, jelly candies and sorbet. And believe it or not, it’s all made out of radishes.

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X-Treme Chef!!!

A while back I had a call from the producers of a new reality cooking show. They wanted to know if I wanted to be on it as a cheftestant (is that what the kids are calling it these days?). Then they sent me the info about the show. It was called X-Treme Chef. They wanted me to cook while sky-diving! And fighting bears! And with only the tools I made myself out of the bones of a dinosaur that I killed by building a time machine out of what I could find in a small child’s lunch bag, going back to the Mesozoic Era and beating it to death with a pointy rock! It made me tired just looking at it. I politely declined.

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Then, yesterday, the promo for the show appeared over on Grub Street and when I got back from Taste of the Nation I watched it and I couldn’t stop laughing. Did they really think I could do these things? Run up a mountain with a backpack on? I’d just fall over, face-down on the sand and moan softly until some production assistant took pity and dragged me in out of the sun. Cook on the engine block of a car? Those things are dangerous – I’ve seen NASCAR. Cook in fake rain? I’d just wait it out. I mean, eventually those water tanks have to run empty, right? Remember to say the word, “extreme” a half-dozen times per episode? I can barely remember my name most days. I love that they thought I was capable of doing any of this. Most nights I’m capable of cooking and keeping my pants from falling down but that’s about it. Sometimes I even make it back to my apartment before I fall asleep (sometimes I actually do fall asleep and wind up in Queens).

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I can’t wait to see this show, but only if the winner gets to kill the losers with his bare hands. Or maybe the judges can put the loser’s heads on stakes and dance around them as the credits roll. Unfortunately, I am more interested in being on a show called Extreme Sleeping than Extreme Chef right now. Too bad for me they aren’t making that one yet, but if any reality series producers see this and are pitching Extreme Nap then I’m your girl.

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Goodbye, SOS

Yesterday, I got the saddest news I’ve heard in a while, and this has been a year for sad news. SOS Chefs, my purveyor who does all my fancy spices and mushrooms, is closing. Their store on Avenue B will eventually close as well. Apparently it’s just gotten too hard with the economy so tight and the margins getting smaller and Atef and Adam are exhausted from the grind. Rather than soldier on and let the quality of customer service fall as they struggle to keep up, they’ve chosen to close.

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I put in my very first order to SOS Chefs on my very first day in charge at Pure Food and Wine, and that was almost 8 years ago. They’ve always been good to me and they’ve swooped in at the last minute more than once to deliver orders that have saved my service. Your purveyors are the people you talk to every day on the phone, and when it’s a family-run business like SOS you start feeling like they’re your friends. But even more than that, Atef is the first person who ever called me “Chef.” I know that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but at the time I was working gruesomely long days at Pure Food and Wine, everything was chaos and Glory Mongin and I were trying our best to keep the kitchen afloat. It was tough, it was hard and we both felt like we were in over our heads. There were problems to be solved every day and no one to tell us how to solve them. And then to have someone I’d barely met start calling me chef, it kind of made me realize that that was what I had become. Maybe I wasn’t a good chef yet, maybe I wasn’t the most experienced chef at the time, but I wasn’t normal people anymore. I had a career.

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It sounds silly, all this sentiment over a name, but it meant so much to me at the time and for that – among a lot of other things over the years – I’ll always be grateful. It’s going to take me a long time before I stop automatically dialing your number every few mornings, SOS.

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I’m going to miss you.

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Summer Dessert is coming!

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Tonight the new dessert goes on the menu. More about it in a day or two, but I just wanted to show off its main ingredient: these stunning watermelon radishes.

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Meet our Wine Zoo: Moscofilero Skouras

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We don’t have much room to store cases of wine, so rather than offering people the same old list of Syrahs, Cabernets, Chardonnays, Pinot Grigios and all the rest of the usual suspects we thought we’d make up a wine list of the strangest and most unusual wines we could find, sort of like a wine zoo for exotic animals.

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The Greeks have been making wine for as long as anyone can remember. Hippocrates prescribed it as a cure for diseases. Dionysus cults tore living people apart with their bare hands while blotto on it. Homer wrote about it (“Looking out over the wine-dark sea, he spoke out in passionate distress…”). But the fact is, we don’t drink a lot of Greek wine. Why?

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“Look, m’lord. ‘Tis Greeks making wine.”

“Let’s screw ‘em.”

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I blame the Venetians.

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Read the rest of this entry »


Natural Flavor with other Natural Flavor

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It was late on a Friday afternoon and Triscuit needed the tag line right away. But Paul’s mind was on his big Saturday afternoon pool party and he didn’t like Triscuits that much anyway and, jeez, it was Friday afternoon. Couldn’t they wait until Monday? But no, they couldn’t. And so Paul did what professionals call “phoning it in.”

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Whatever. The pool party wound up being great.

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End of the Night/World

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Last night we had our end-of-the-week clean up. Normally we do it on Saturday night but we’re closed this Friday and Saturday nights because I have to go to Canada so we got to have it on Thursday. This is what Dirt Candy looks like at the end of a busy night, with all the overhead lights on as we stow everything, throw out food and clean up. I’m starting to understand why so many kitchens like to hide behind closed doors. This is crazy carnage.

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Emily’s station.

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Behind my station.

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Malapropism Deli

The deli near my house is run by overachievers. Sometimes when I come home late at night I walk through it just to see the newest addition to their steam table and last week they didn’t disappoint. First up was this tray of sweet potatoes. They are so wonderfully weird on so many levels, from the full-sized marshmallows on top to their radioactive orange color…

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…but most of all I love the reassurance that it’s 0% Trans Fat. I mean, technically it’s probably true but it seems to miss the point. Then there was their interpretation of beer can chicken:

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There’s something so optimistic about the sprig of rosemary and the lemon wedge.

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menu


Menu

Snack

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Jalapeno Hush Puppies $6
served with maple butter
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Appetizers

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Mushroom $13
portobello mousse, truffled toast
pear & fennel compote

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Cucumber $12
roasted cucumber hot and sour soup,
black sesame, garlic chili oil, wood ear
mushroom, cucumber jelly

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Tomato $13
tomato cake with smoked feta,
yellow tomato leather, herb puree

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Potato $12
warm potato salad, crispy Japanese
yams, grilled sweet potato, olives,
bitter greens, apples

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Entrees

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Beets $20
salt-roasted beets, thai green curry,
beet gnocchi, whipped coconut galangal cream

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Pepper $18
fennel & pepper tofu,
parsley spaetzle, grilled
yellow pepper broth,
mustard crumbs

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Broccoli $21
smoked broccoli dogs,
broccoli kraut, salt &
vinegar broccoli rabe

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Corn $19
stone ground grits, corn cream,
pickled shiitakes, huitlacoche,
tempura poached egg

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- everything on the menu can be made vegan on request.

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Dessert

Rosemary Eggplant Tiramisu $12
grilled eggplant, rosemary cotton
candy, mascarpone

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Ice Cream Nanaimo Bar$11
sweet pea, mint, chocolate

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Popcorn Pudding$11
salted caramel corn

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Celery Cheesecake Roll$10
celeriac ice cream, peanut filling,

& candied grapes

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- vegan dessert selection changes regularly, please ask your server.

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Our wine list (and other beverages)

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Gift Certificates

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