50 Cent Bronx Dinners Circa 1940

November 15th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

HG’s beloved parents, Harry and Ida, long deceased, almost never went to restaurants. They were out of the question during the Great Depression when pennies were carefully counted. However, the economy picked up by 1940 and a once-a-month family meal was a happy occasion at Tower Delicatessen and Restaurant on W. Kingsbridge Road in The Bronx. Cost of the meal was 50 cents per person plus a generous tip of 35 cents. So, what did you get for a half buck in this Jewish kosher eatery? Choice of chopped liver (plenty of chicken fat) or gefilte fish (fiery horseradish). Then a bowl of chicken soup with either noodles or kasha. Main dish was boiled chicken with a boiled potato and mushy peas and carrots. More fiery horseradish, mustard and pickles. Lots of rye bread and challah on the table. Dessert was stewed prunes. Beverage was seltzer. Finale was tea.

El Parasol Menudo

November 13th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

HG’s favorite New Mexico food is green chile menudo (tripe stew) from the El Parasol restaurant in Pojoaque (quick drive from HG/BSK’s home). Many levels of flavor: A certain barn-yard funk from the innards. Rich broth. Heat from the chiles. Soft and firm tripe textures. Crunch from chopped sweet onions. New Mexicans claim it is a cure for hangovers. HG can’t vouch for this since (despite some vigorous alcoholic intake) HG is never assaulted by hangovers. Cold and raw weather last night so HG brought home a pint container of El Parasol menudo and gave it a generous hit of onions and cilantro, Cost: $6.31. This is usually mixed with posole but HG likes his menudo unadulterated by starch. HG drank red Malbec with the cold weather defeating treat as BSK (no tripe fan) looked on. BSK was content with a healthy salad. Sopaipilla Factory, another local restaurant, serves a more refined (and pricier) menudo, where the slight tang of offal funkiness has been cleaned up. HG prefers El Parasol’s rugged version. Curiously, HG has never eaten tripe in Europe. Once took a bite of a tripe sandwich from a food truck in Rome. Feh!! Threw it away. In Paris, HG has never tasted the Calvados laced tripe at Chez Denise or the Tripe a la mode de Caen at Le Stella. At 89, HG is still optimistic about seeing Paris again.

BSK Cuisine

November 12th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Blue skies. Golden sunshine. Cool temperatures descending down to 20 degree fahrenheit in the evenings. BSK is responding with “twofer’ meals: Hearty cooking ample enough for two dinners. First up was a roast spatchcocked chicken with plenty of natural gravy accompanied by Garafalo orzo mixed with fried onions and shitake mushrooms. Plenty of left-over meat for lunch, bones for stock. Next was a huge crock of Texas chile. BSK uses Wick Fowler’s chile mix but adds lots of original touches. New Mexico pals and neighbors Karen K. and David F. joined HG/BSK in the chile feast. Toppings of grated cheddar cheese, chopped raw onion and fiery chipotle peppers. Karen K., The Dessert Queen, brought home baked brownies and corn bread. Watched the election results together. Given the Democratic gains and the hearty food, it was a happy night.

89

November 11th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes, 89 on November 9th. HG now qualifies as an old, old guy. Never thought HG would live so long. But, glorious BSK keeps HG alive with care, love and wonderful food. And, HG’s family in Rhode Island, Tokyo and New York is a source of ongoing comfort, love and pride. HG/BSK’s wonderful friends Antony and Claudia C. (residents of Colorado, England and Salt Spring Island, B.C.) hosted a birthday lunch for HG/BSK at the Compound restaurant in Santa Fe. The generous duo gifted HG with splendid wines and chocolates. All dined well in a sunlit room. HG took particular joy in a steak tartare cut and spiced to order and adorned with an orange egg yolk. Confession: Better than any steak tartare in Paris. Lavish dessert. Much wine (left HG with midday dizziness). Joyous birthday celebration (made better with the many kind remembrances from friends and family). BSK topped off the day by gifting HG with Spider socks, insuring HG with a winter of comfy feet.

Land of Enchantment

November 10th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes, that’s an accurate description of HG/BSK’s New Mexico. A blue tsunami hit the state on Election Day. Governor, Senator, Congressional candidates all were victorious with generous majorities. Plus commissioners and judges and state representatives, etc. The state is as blue as the skies. Oh, yes, HG/BSK are happy to be in the state with azure skies, light that continues to inspire artists and brisk nights that make sleeping a joy. Have HG mentioned green chile menudo and green chile pork stew plus Christmas chicken enchiladas, breakfast burritos, guacamole? More. Yes, much, much more. Margaritas, for example.

Final Destination: Santa Fe County

November 8th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

After a long journey, finally back to the Land of Enchantment and a good night’s sleep in HG/BSK’s New Mexico bedroom (home is just a bit north of Santa Fe). As HG/BSK left Quail Springs, Oklahoma, noticed the sign on the facade of the very good Kwan’s Kitchen: “Dim sum carts today.” Very enticing. Reluctantly, HG/BSK turned down the culinary offer since a big bar-b-q lunch awaited at Tyler’s in Amarillo, Texas (one of ten best barbecues in the Lone Star State). Big mistake. Tyler’s was closed on Sunday. Half hour wait at good Mexican restaurant. So, HG/BSK lunched at Waffle House. Long drive home. Upon arrival, HG had size XXL vodka cocktail. Then red wine with the tasty kale soup left for HG/BSK by thoughtful Vicki B. A snifter of Jack Daniel’s, a ball of salt caramel Talenti gelato. Then a long, happy snooze.

Kwan’s: A Happy Surprise in Oklahoma City

November 7th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Final hotel stay at the upscale La Quinta in the Quail Springs Office Park, Oklahoma City. Short stroll to Kwan’s Kitchen, a spacious and beautiful Chinese restaurant. The food was sensational. On a par with New York, Vancouver, LA or San Francisco. Started with chicken (also available in duck) lettuce packages. The iceberg lettuce leaves were cold and crisp. The chicken mix was the best HG ever ate. Then, there was Mapo Tofu. HG/BSK murmured: “The best.” The tofu was slightly firm but silky. Very similar to the great tofu served with spinach at the Fortune Garden restaurant in Vancouver (first stop when HG/BSK used to arrive at their Mt. Pleasant loft). The Kwan Mapo Tofu sauce hit a very nice balance between fire and flavor. Another dish was sliced eggplant. The slices were dusted with rice flour and fried to a greaseless crisp and topped with sweet/sour chili sauce. Kitchen mastery. HG/BSK shared a sorbet for dessert. The meal’s pleasures were augmented by a good cold bottle of rose’. The check was modest. Go figure. One of USA’s best Chinese restaurants in Oklahoma. Few people in the restaurant on Saturday night. HG is worried about Kwan’s Oklahoma future.

Third Night Barbecue

November 6th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Third night of travel, destination New Mexico, was spent in a La Quinta motel on the outskirts of St. Louis. HG doesn’t like the politics of Missouri (present day and pre-Civil War). But, the state features some excellent barbecue. Calvin Trillin swears by Arthur Bryant’s in Kansas City. Others prefer St. Louis ribs and “burnt ends.” Fortunately, the La Quinta was adjacent to Smokehouse Barbecue. Big, friendly place with a wide variety of bar-b-q, sauces and side dishes. Famished HG/BSK drank local beer and over-ordered: Ribs, pulled pork, cole slaw, string beans and onions. And, for HG a big side dish of macaroni and cheese. Super generous portion. Sauces were great ranging from smoky sweet to raging hot. Plus, surprise, Carolina yellow mustard and vinegar. Beer and bar-b-q. Nice way to spend a St. Louis night.

Road Trip Second Night Hotel Picnic

November 5th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Spent the second night of travel to New Mexico in an attractive Drury Inn located in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio. HG enjoyed paddling in the indoor pool. Even though the dog friendly hotel offered an evening buffet dinner, HG/BSK opted for dinner in HG/BSK’s room. Good decision. That’s because HG/BSK stocked up on many good things at The Italian Corner in East Providence, R.I. This is a wonderful Italian grocery and soup and sandwich specialist. The pasta e fagioli is an HG favorite. BSK bought olive oil and other specialties for HG/BSK New Mexico pantry. The delicatessen counter provided the substance of the in room feast. Porchetta, mortadella, cooked prosciutto and prosciutto san daniele (the best). Plus bread, cheese and olives. Opened a bottle of red wine and had a jolly time.

Ups & Downs In Lewisburg, PA

November 4th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

First layover after leaving Rhode Island was Leiwsburg, Pa., site of a notable Civil War battle, a giant federal prison, Bucknell University (alma mater of the late Philip Roth), and Reba and Pancho’s Restaurant. HG/BSK had a spectacular meal there in 2017 (see post in archive) so that’s where the famished duo headed after swims and stretches. Sipped a very good white wine with two spectacular appetizers: A crisp “Skinny Pizza”, goat cheese topping instead of the usual mozzarella; Fundido, a casserole of melted cheese mixed with jalapenos and greens. These starters were state of the art and very filing. HG/BSK realized they had over-ordered. That’s because a platter of pommes frites, crab cake (for HG) and salmon in an unusual sauce (for BSK) were on the way. HG asked the waitperson if there had been any change in the composition of the crab cake. Reply was the crab cake was identical to the one which delighted HG a year ago (this was a lush crab cake composed of lump crabmeat). Big disappointment when HG tasted the 2018 version. Shredded crab meat, not lump, which make the crab cake taste like a very ordinary fish cake. BSK said the salmon was okay but left over more than half. These dishes were accompanied by two more glasses of the white wine. Top flight cuisine returned with two Paris bistro desserts, creme brulee and chocolate mousse. Two complaints: Waitperson deluded HG about the crab cake. Also, did not inform HG/BSK about the price of the white wine. It was $14 a glass, four glasses for $56. If informed, HG/BSK would have purchased a modest bottle. HG’s counsel to folks who want to try R & P, order Mexican inspired dishes, skip the crab cake and ask the price of wine by the glass.