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Friday, February 9, 2018

Adventures in Juice

I don't know about you, but I'm obsessed with fresh, cold-pressed juices.  God knows there's nothing like a fresh, cold, nutrient-rich juice.  Today I was in the Long Island City region on business and as I walked the streets, all of a sudden, I could smell rich antioxidants and minerals, a smell of fresh, organic roughage.  The smell was primal and organic, and I knew it could be only one thing: the smell of large quantities of fruits and vegetables being pulverized into fresh juices.  I followed the smell and found myself at a factory for Juice Press, the popular cold juice chain!  Indeed, Juice Press mass-presses its juices and bottles and sends them to their numerous retail locations.  Now, to be quite honest, as a juice aficionado, ideally a juice should be pressed to order on-site.  However, Juice Press bottled juices are an acceptable alternative if your local pressery is closed, inconvenient, etc.  The Juice Press factory in long Island City is in a re-furbished building near LaGuardia Community College, and there is a small retail counter where you can purchase a recently pressed juice.  I got myself a "Doctor Green" with apple. pineapple, lemon, kale and ginger.  Ahhh!  So refreshing.  I LOVE THIS COLD, FRESH JUICE!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Yeheshua and Fresh Garlic

Many years ago in Palestine there was a man named Yeheshua.  He came from Nazareth and went around talking about the kingdom of god and other such nonsense.  At the end of a long day of preaching or performing miracles, he was hungry.  I mean, REALLY hungry.  He would frequent the various meat and stew houses of Galilee, tired but excited for a filling meal with friends.  What will it be, the server asks.  To which Yeheshua replies: well, definitely some hearth-baked pita, a cucumber salad would be nice, and this spread I see,  does it contain...fresh garlic??  Oh yes sir!  That's our famous tomato and pepper spread, and it contains plenty of...fresh garlic!  Oh good, Yeheshua says! Soon bread and spreads are brought, and Yeheshua dips his pita generously in the fresh garlic spread.  This fresh garlic is so pungent and aromatic, says Yeheshua!  His friend Judas is not impressed, and Peter says he loves it but keeps coughing up the spread into his napkin.  But Yeheshua is intoxicated with the fresh...garlic.  Soon various roasted meats are presented, and Yeheshua is pleased to note a distinct flavor of fresh and roasted garlic.  And then he says to his friends, what good is it to gain the whole world and not eat plenty of...fresh garlic?

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Jesus and Fresh Garlic

Do you lust for fresh garlic?  The bulbous, bulby little goblet of pungent, earthy flavors and aromas. Fresh garlic is good in many dishes, including...pizza!  The garlic can be used in the sauce, or even as a topping.  Join me in recalling some recent garlic and pizza adventures...

Prince Street Pizza, SoHo New York City.  Years ago it was a Ray's, but now it's called Prince Street Pizza.  The square pies here are incredible and filled with fresh garlic!  The sauce is sublime and the cheese is creamy and tangy.  The flavors of fresh garlic overcome me and I grab and start shaking an elderly women standing next to me.  "This fresh garlic is amazing!" I shout as I knock her around the room.

Bruno's in Clifton, NJ.  An old-fashioned parlour in a New Jersey strip mall.  You enter and there are formica booths and a counter top with stools.  They have round pies, but what's this I see?  Square pies, similar to the square pies at Prince Street Pizza?  Give me a slice, I say!  Also, can I get some...some...fresh garlic on that?  The slice is very good.  The sauce was very robust.

Last, Santillo Brick Oven Pizza in Elizabeth, NJ.  Old Santillo is a master, whipping up daily almost a dozen distinct styles of pizza, including but not limited to a "1990 American Style," a "1967  Pop's Style," and even the hard-to-find "1948 Tomato Pie" style.  The only style missing from the roster?  A 1983 Fresh Garlic Pie, although you can get garlic as a topping on any of the pizzas.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Noodles of New York

Hahahahaha YOU FOOL.  You go about your mundane existence and do not realize that a world of wonder awaits you in your very backyard!  That's what I often think when travelling on the subway for my next noodle adventure.  Look at the chap over there!  Reading the New York Post with a bored, desperate look, probably going home to his nagging wife and annoying kids.  Don't you understand?  Get off the train, next stop, Canal Street, and explore the noodles of New York!

It was a chilly November Friday.  My week of work was over and I decided to head downtown on the 4 train to Great N.Y. Noodletown, a noodle institution.  I approached the glowing yellow signage and entered the drab, utilitarian box that is Noodletown.  "Yes my good man, I'll have an order of the Singaporean Chow Fun and also half a pound of barbecue pork to go!"  In no time at all my order was ready and I headed home to feast.  What is Singaporean Chow Fun?  I'm glad you ask.  It's lovely wide rice noodles stir fried with vegetables and delicious soy glaze with a slight curry flavor.  The yellowish stir fried noodles are amazingly fragrant and delicious!  Oh my delicious!

The next evening I wanted more noodles.  This time, I wanted something a little less comforting and old school -- something a little more daring, might I say?  Lava Kitchen is a relatively new Sichuan parlour on Upper Broadway, and I had been dying to try its intoxications.  A veritable feast was ordered: cucumbers with smashed garlic, cold chicken with sesame and chile oil, stir fried spicy and numby beef, and don't forget Sichuan cold noodles!  Everything was delicious, and the intense Sichuan tinglings were jumping up and down in my mouth!  Hahaha.  The noodles were springy and in a most incredible Sichuan vinaigrette.  The Sichuan oils were in full effect; these oils tantalize me.  Bring on the flavor!  Thank you!

Great N.Y. Noodletown

Lava Kitchen
Upper West Side

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Trials and Tribulations of Manchego

Part I

Buenos dias.  My name is Javier.  When I was a boy I felt lost, and I didn't know where to go or what to do.  One day when I was running around the hills of Spain I came upon a sheep farm, and I smelled something, something salty, creamy, and a little tangy.  "What is this delicious smell!?" I thought.  I ran home and told mama.  "My little, hombre," she said, "you had your first smell of manchego cheese!" 

Finally I knew my life's purpose.  I returned to the sheep farm and had my first taste of manchego cheese.  It was smooth and ever so pungent.  Senor Poope, the owner of the sheep farm, saw my passion, and he offered me a job.  He started me off in the pastures tending to the sheep which would provide the milk, but as time went on Senor Poope allowed me to work in all parts of the cheese process.  My passion increased until all I could think of was manchego cheese!

One day, many years later when I was a young man, I was walking to Poope's dairy, and the hills were very green and there was a fine breeze.  I saw Senor Poope and he smiled, he was always smiling, and he said "Javier, you are a good young man."  Then he grasped his chest and fell over.  I ran to him.  "Senor Poope!" I said.  "Javier, the sheep, the dairy, the cheese," it will be yours.  I looked at him with great tenderness.  "But Senor Poope," I said, "I can't bear this great responsibility."  He looked at me one last time and spoke: "I have taught you everything I know."  His eyes closed and the smile returned to his face and he died peacefully among a great friend.

It was then I understood the great mystery of the universe and manchego cheese.

To be continued....

Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Chronicles of Creams

Spiral: "winding in a continuous and gradually widening (or tightening) curve, either around a central point on a flat plane or about an axis so as to form a cone."

Paris-brest: "Created a hundred years ago to honor a bicycle race, wheel-shaped choux pastry stuffed with hazelnut mousse and hazelnut nougatine, topped with powdered sugar and toasted hazelnuts."

Before Braggadocios Roberts left for Paris, I made one request: "Bring me a Paris-brest."  If you've never tasted a Paris-brest, you must.  Go to wherever fine Fresh pastries are sold, and buy one and eat one.  

I have sampled my fair share of Paris-brests, in America and France, and they've always been individual sized wheels of pastry and hazelnut cream.  When Braggadicious returned she carried a large bag filled with a cake-sized box.  "Damn it!" I said.  "I wanted a Paris-brest, not a wedding cake!"  I opened the box and was stunned by what I found.  It was a Paris-brest, but a Paris-brest unlike any I had ever seen.

First, it was massive.  But it wasn't a traditional wheel-shaped pastry.  Rather, it was a curving structure, starting from a center and sloping around and around outward, a creme spiral for the ages.  The pastry was delicate and tender with powdered sugar and crushed hazelnuts.  The pastry was filled with dollops of incredible hazelnut mousse.  

It was one of the finest cremes I've ever tasted.

La Patisserie Cyril Lignac

Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Chronicles of Creams

A brisk fall day, October, 2017, the year of our lord.  Have a lovely pasta dinner at Dell'anima, a wonderful neighborhood trattoria in the West Village, with Braggadocios Roberts, a cute and stylish member of the New York media elite.  We lick our plates of pasta clean and demand the check.  "Waiter, bring the check right away!"  The check is brought.  We pay.  We leave.  It's time for cream.

The Office is  an "intimate speakeasy" in the Mandarin Hotel, located on Manhattan's Columbus Circle.  Sometimes it's good to be connected to the media elite, because I wouldn't have known of this fine establishment were it not for Braggadocios.  We enter the Time Warner Center and take the elevator to the 57th floor and enter the warm, elegant, yet rustic speakeasy, and are struck by the views of Central Park South.  We are led to a cozy room filled with handsome leather sofas ans chairs, solidly constructed wood tables, bookshelves with volumes of Dickens and "How to Hunt Geese," crackling fireplaces, etc.

Now to the cream.  The Office has table side sundae service, whereby you are brought 1) a portion of vanilla ice cream in a sundae dish; 2) a rotating glass serving platter filled with assorted goodies -- brownies, peanut butter bars, candied fruits, various pieces of chocolates, and, the piece de resistance, a mound of freshly whipped cream; and 3) homemade fudge and butterscotch sauce.  Yes, these items are brought before you, and you are amazed by sheer, creamy spectacle of it all.

I instantly got to work filling my ice cream dish with all manner of treats, sweets, and creams.  I took nearly the whole mound of fresh whipped cream and plopped it onto my sundae, the fluffy yet firm cream mixing with the cold, hard ice cream.  "Oh my god this cream is amazing!" I shout in sheer joy.  Braggadocios urges me to contain myself, but I am in cream heaven and cannot hold in my screams of creams.

The maître d' approaches.  "Sir, we understand our creams are exhilarating, but you are frightening the guests.  Please, let me escort you to our soundproof chamber that we have for just such occasions."  The maître d' is a skilled cream technician and leads me to the chamber, expertly orchestrating his staff so as to transport my sundae along with me.  We arrive.  The maître d' presses his hand to a fingerprint scanner, which then opens up a retina scanner, which confirms the identity of the maître d'.  "Chamber ready" a computerized voice says.  "Sir, I cannot follow you beyond this point, but the pod is controlled to keep your sundae at the perfect temperature and you will be able to fully express your cream emotions."  We shake hands.  "It's been an honor," says the maître d'.  I take my sundae inside the chamber and I hear a loud suction noise as the door is closed. Now, it is just me and my creams and my screams.

For Braggadocios