March 14th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

HG likes to end dinner on a sweet note. BSK passes on dessert (one of the reasons BSK is perpetually svelte.) If accompanying dessert with the last of the evening’s red wine, HG likes crackers with a dab of Bonne Maman preserves (mirabelle or cherry). Another choice would be dunking Trader Joe’s chocolate covered almond biscotti in the wine. Sometimes HG nibbles a TJ chocolate truffle. If no wine, HG likes a scoop of vanilla ice cream with a discreet pour of maple syrup and a scattering of pecans. BSK stocks Trader Joe’s Belgian butter cookies, waffle biscuits and shortbread for afternoon tea. The best desserts of all are served in Paris bistros and brasseries. Here’s the honor roll: Ile Flottante, Creme Caramel, Profiteroles with Chocolate Sauce, Tarte Tatin with Creme Fraiche, Baba au Rhum with Whipped Cream. Vive la France!! Vive la Paris!! However, HG is not moved by the very elegant chocolates produced in chic shops throughout Paris. Best candy in the world is the butter almond toffee produced by Enstrom’s in Grand Junction, Colorado. (The late, great writer James Salter was an Enstrom’s fan. Liked to climax dinner parties with cognac and the lush toffee Nice flourish.).

Horseman’s Haven Cafe

March 11th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Giddyyvap!! Horseman’s Haven has a simple motto: “Famous For Green Chile.” Believe the words. HH is heaven for those who like hellishly hot food. HG tried the chile today. Ordered a three egg omelet (“Very soft, please.”) accompanied by home fries and a tortilla. As requested, the omelet was cooked to HG’s demanding taste and smothered with the cafe’s “standard” green chile. “Standard” turned out to be very, very hot and spicy. Sublimely flavorful once the initial sting wore off. (HH also serves a “Number Two Chile.” When asked, the friendly waitperson said: “Señor, numero dos is much, much hotter. Mucho!!.). Obviously, “standard” is for gringos and wimps. Number Two is for hombres who have been eating hot coals since childhood. Macho,indeed!! Horseman’s Haven is a warm, rustic room. Located on busy, unbeautiful Cerrillos Road in Santa Fe. BTW, HG’s big green chile plate cost $6.75.

You Tube Madness

March 8th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

YouTube is a treasure for a nostalgic gent such as HG. However, it can be addictive. You log in for one video and are lured down the rabbit hole viewing one after another. Poof!! goes the day. These are some of the videos that lighten for HG (the very few) rainy and snowy afternoons in The Land of Enchantment AKA New Mexico. “Around a Quarter to Nine” with Al Jolson and Ruby Keeler. This is insane, surreal, racist and subversive fun. “My Baby Only Cares For Me” with Nina Simone on vocal and piano. (There’s also a funny version with Eddie Cantor). “Romania, Romania”, Yiddish scat singing by Aaron Lebedoff. “Baryshnikov on Broadway with Liza Minnelli”. This is a blockbuster. Joel Grey in “Cabaret.” Another blockbuster is a collection of Rita Hayworth dance routines plus her dance duets with Fred Astaire. For a display of pure talent and laughter not much beats Billy Crystal’s opening routines at the Academy Awards. Neil Patrick Harris hosting the Tonys is another virtuoso performer.

Neighborly Fun and Feasting

March 7th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Oscar night. A group of knowing and jolly neighbors (including one actor, one producer, one theater authority and one ex-actress) gathered before the big screen at David F.’s home to watch the Academy Awards. Luckily, David’s controls allowed the group to miss the commercials so the evening ended at a reasonable hour. However, HG found the show tedious. Only solace was that most of HG/BSK’s favorites won. Big annoyance was that the incomparable Willem Dafoe didn’t win the supporting actor prize. Few laughs. Where were Billy Crystal and Chris Rock? They rocked when they emceed. The pot luck edibles the neighbors brought were splendid. Crusty fried chicken. Country mashed potatoes. Nice sautéed broccolini. Fruit salad with Kirsch. Home baked shortbread. Much red wine and artisan vodka. BSK’s contribution was a big platter of roasted vegetables that were flavored with premium extra virgin Italian olive oil. Also, a bowl of crudités featuring peppers, carrots and endive. What made BSK’s assortment of raw and cooked vegetables worthy of a mini-Oscar was a large bowl of aioli. Pungent with garlic and topped with smoked Spanish Pimenton. Pungent deliciousness.

Walla Walla

March 5th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes, that’s a funny name for a city. But, Walla Walla, Washington, and its surrounding valley make HG/BSK’s favorite wines. Charles Smith, a California-born, innovative winemaker, is an HG hero. After world travel (nine years in Denmark), he opened a wine shop in Washington’s Puget Sound and then moved to Walla Walla to begin winemaking. His first effort was House Wine, an inexpensive, very tasty red blend. Both House and Steak House, a Cabernet, were later sold to a Seattle company (the wines remain splendid). Now, Smith produces the pricier (but still affordable) Velvet Devil, a Merlot; Boom Boom!!, a Syrah, and Chateau Smith, a Cabernet. All outstanding. HG/BSK learned about the grandeur of Walla Walla wines in an unlikely place: Big Timber, Montana. On their motor trips from Denver to Vancouver, a city where they owned some long sold residences, HG/BSK would always stop for dinner at the restaurant in Big Timber’s Grand Hotel. Served the best rack of lamb the duo ever tasted.(Robert Redford ate it almost every night when he was filming “The Horse Whisperer” at a nearby location). The restaurateur was a wine aficionado and the wine list was capacious. He touted Walla Walla wines and HG/BSK drank some wonders (this was before the prices of these important wines deservedly soared upwards). HG/BSK still consume gallons of the previously mentioned Walla Walla moderately priced wines but augment them with Beaujolais, Italian varietals, Argentine and Chilean Malbecs, whites from New Zealand and Roses from Provence.


March 1st, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Cauliflower is having its moment. You can find it on many chic New York restaurant menus. Whole heads. Slices. Florets. Kale has gone mainstream, too predictable for many trendy eateries. When the spring season gets underway, asparagus will take over. BSK does a lot of good things with cauliflower. Roasts florets in the oven with olive oil and garlic. Uses Vikram Vij’s recipe to maker savory Indian-spiced cauliflower “steaks”. HG’s favorite BSK vegetable dish is pappardelle with a gorgonzola (or roquefort) and cauliflower sauce. BSK blanches cauliflower florets and then chops them into smaller pieces. They go into a saucepan with olive oil, garlic, anchovies, cherry tomatoes, the cheese, lots of fresh sage and a dash of white wine. This sauce is mixed with the pasta and a bit of pasta water. Grated parmesan and a black pepper grinder on the table. Sublime eating and a perfect companion for  Steak House Wine from Walla Walla, Washington.

“Nice Cup Of Tea”

February 28th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes that’s what you get in any proper English (or Canadian) home, restaurant or cafe. In the land that loves assault weapons (otherwise known as the Land of the Brave and the Free) you get a cup of hot water and a tea bag. Insipid. BSK, granddaughter of English immigrants, knows how to make “a nice cup of tea.” Scalds the teapot with boiling water. Empties the now very warm pot. Puts in tea bags (or loose tea in a metal perforated container). Refills the pot with boiling water. Covers the pot with a tea cozy (knit by her late beloved grandmother). Lets the tea steep for an appropriate amount of time. Pours the tea into cups warmed in the microwave. Adds a dash of milk. Nothing can be more comforting after a walk in the wintry air. A bit of shortbread is a pleasant accompaniment. HG’s late father, Hershele Tsvi Freimann (anglicized to “Freeman” at Ellis Island), was a Belorussian immigrant and liked his tea Russian style. Very hot. Very strong. With a heaping spoonful of cherry preserves at the bottom of the cup. Sometimes he added a squeeze of lemon to the tea, omitted the preserves but clutched a sugar cube between his teeth as he sipped.


February 28th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

So, Jared Kushner’s White House security clearance has been downgraded. Kushner, married to Der Trumperer daughter, Ivanka, has been a major figure in the White House. His functions include the possible brokering of a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Seems odd since the Kushner family real estate company has considerable links to Israeli financial institutions. Conflict of interest? Possibly.  The FBI has been looking into these relationships as well as his numerous global voyages to spark investment interest in 666 Fifth Avenue, the money losing New York office building that burdens the Kushner family with a billion dollar debt plus mortgage. Clock is ticking. It comes due in 2019. Well, as HG knows, 666 Fifth (located on the west side of Fifth between 52nd and 53rd Streets) has always had problems. HG”s public relations firm handled public relations for the Tishman family which managed the building. Tishman Realty and Construction built the structure in 1957 and sold it to Sumitomo Realty in 1976. The first problem HG faced was the address: 666. Those learned in biblical lore would recognize that these numerals are the sign of the devil, “The Mark of the Beast.” Companies with any sort of Bible Belt connections would be loath to lease in a building with such a scary address. HG got busy getting testimony from numerous authorities, religious and secular, that any Satanic connection was nonsense. HG’s next problem at the building was “The Businessman Mugger.” This scoundrel was an elegant (but traditional) dresser. Wore expensive shoes and hat and carried a Mark Cross attache case. Every inch a successful executive. He would enter men’s bathrooms without suspicion and mug the occupants. A gentle mugger. No injuries. Just took watches and wallets. HG publicized the building’s newly installed security system and its hiring of an experienced New York detective as security chief. The goniff was caught. Peace and safety restored. Recently, Vornado, which owns 49.5% of 666, said it wants to divest its holding and Kushner may be the buyer. So, where’s the money coming from since Kushner hasn’t made payments on its portion of the mortgage in some time? HG is not superstitious. However. Hey, Jared, is there a strange horned figure hanging around the building smelling of fire and brimstone?

Blood Orange Bitters

February 26th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Blood Orange Bitters are a magical addition to cocktails produced by a company called Stirrings. HG buys it at the Kokoman wine and liquor store in Pojoaque, a few miles from HG/BSK’s residence. Kokoman has a big selection of bitters as well as an encyclopedic range of beers (domestic and foreign), fine wines, single malt Scotch, etc. Yes, there’s more to New Mexico drinking and dining than Budweiser, tacos and green chile sauce. HG uses the Blood Orange Bitters in a self invented, pre-dinner cocktail HG has dubbed “The Gerald.” It is composed of freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice, vodka, the bitters and a splash of Topo Chico sparkling water. Served on the rocks. Stimulating beverage. The Stirrings company also recommends adding the bitters to the usual whiskey and sweet vermouth for a superior Manhattan. They also suggest putting a sugar cube in a flute, soaking it in the bitters and adding chilled Champagne. Sounds nice. HG will try it with Prosecco.

Angry HG

February 25th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

The usual bullshit. That’s what we’re getting from the Republicanazis, their mouths firmly locked on the NRA money tit. None of them will admit that the AR-15, the weapon of choice in school killings, is an attack weapon, a military weapon. It is designed to kill people as rapidly and efficiently as possible. Easy to buy. Easy (sadly) to use. They should be banned. They are not used for hunting or self protection. HG assumes they are flying off gun shop shelves as crazy copycats dream of murder.