Entenmann’s: The Father of all Temptation

June 10th, 2012 § 3 comments § permalink

HG is a man of iron will: Satan, get thee behind me!! That is the HG motto when temptation tempts. But, when HG is confronted with Entenmann’s Chocolate Donuts in the super market, HG may shake his fist, HG may call upon the gods, but resistance to the Entenmann’s temptation is for naught. Get the point? Yes, HG loves those donuts and in HG’s younger years HG would knock off a box (accompanied by glasses of cold milk) as a bedtime treat. We are in the midst of National Donut Week and Freeman Public Relations (successor to HG’s old firm, now headed by the brilliant Bruce Maguire) is making sure that Entenmann’s is getting the attention it deserves.

Yummy Baked Goods of Yesteryear

June 8th, 2012 § 13 comments § permalink

Sutter’s Bakery. Just say these two words to old New Yorkers and watch their happy faces as they rummage through delicious memories. The Manhattan location of Sutter’s Bakery was at Greenwich Avenue near Sixth Avenue. Next door was the later demolished Women’s House of Detention (Ladies of the night were locked up there and had animated conversations through the bars with their business agents gathered on the sidewalk below). Sutter’s had the best pecan ring, Danish pastries, cookies, croissants, brioche, etc. It was a big place with outstanding variety. (There were equally great Sutter’s on the Grand Concourse in The Bronx and Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn). HG and BSK recall many happy, Winter Sunday mornings during their early married days. The Sunday Times. Radical radio station WBAI broadcasting subversive joy. Sutter’s gently warmed croissants and brioche. Sweet butter. English marmalade. Steaming mugs of Droste’s cocoa. Snow might have been pelting down W. 67th Street and the wind might have been whistling a frigid tune. But, all was toasty joy in HG and BSK’s rent controlled paradise.

The Joys Of Fresh Garlic

June 6th, 2012 § 2 comments § permalink

There’s fresh garlic, just pulled from the earth, at the Santa Fe Farmers Market. This is the way garlic should taste. Subtle, savory, vaguely sweet and with a higher water content which drowns out all burn or bitterness. For most of the year HG and BSK (like most of the world) make do with dry (mostly over the hill) garlic from the grocers. So now is the time for spaghetti with very good olive oil, sauteed fresh garlic, some hot pepper and chopped Italian parsley, And, time to sup on Spanish garlic soup accompanied by grilled bread rubbed with fresh garlic and ripe tomato. The Farmers Market also has delicious small turnips and lovely radishes. BSK likes to fill her metal barbecue basket with spears of zucchini. thick slices of sweet onion, red peppers, turnips, radishes — and a few head of fresh garlic. When roasted over the barbecue, this melange is the perfect accompaniment to grilled spatchcocked chicken previously marinated in lemon juice and herbs. Oh yes, I’ll have another glass of that chilled Coppola Rosso.

Is Paris Overrated?

June 5th, 2012 § 2 comments § permalink

The answer to this question is: Yes and No. If you are talking about food and the price/quality ratio, New York tops Paris. Also, Paris is, for the the most part, a one trick pony. True, many of Paris’ most edgy restaurants and 3 Star Shrines have increased the use of Asian spices and cooking techniques to touch on a type of fusion cuisine; but overall, what you get in the majority of Paris Restaurants is French food. With the exception of Moroccan, other ethnic cuisines are dumbed down to suit conservative Parisian tastes. Compare that to New York which has three distinct Chinatowns each with an enormous amount of eating spots. There are whole neighborhoods in Queens (and in other boroughs) devoted to ethnic dining: Korean, Vietnamese, Indian, Greek, Italian, Mexican, Argentine and Colombian, Russian, Jamaican — and much more. And those are just the outer boroughs. Within Manhattan itself, you are able to go on a veritable world cuisine tour in just a 4 block radius. And, yes, great Jewish pastrami still lives in, alas, fewer and fewer places. Makes Paris seem very provincial. Small town. In addition, New York has steak houses like Peter Luger’s and Spark’s that are true carnivore heavens.

But, Paris still has that indefinable something, Call it charm. Call it elan. Call it sparkle. Whatever. HG is thinking about late night meals at the art deco brasserie Le Vaudeville which seemingly hums with joy and the promise of good times. Brass. Aged, cigarette-smoke stained marble. Perfect lighting. Or, dinner at the brasserie Le Stella on posh Rue Victor Hugo. Low voices. Women who know how to tie scarves. Men in well cut tweeds or blazers. Soaring towers of fruits de mer. Or, the died-and-gone-to-heaven grilled sole drenched in the best butter at Le Dome. Or, the intimacy, warmth and sheer sexiness of many small bistros serving unassuming food. There was a left bank place called Balzar where the clientele and atmosphere were so diverting that the so-so food was forgiven. (Taken over by a chain some years ago, HG does not know if the place still pleases). Other Paris pluses: Steak tartare (always bad in New York); Belon oysters; blood sausage (boudin noir); tete de veau and offal. (An exception: Paris tripe doesn’t compare to New Mexico menudo as served by places like El Parasol near Santa Fe).

Probably, the most beguiling quality about Paris restaurants is their sheer professionalism. No surprise. The restaurant, as we know it, was invented in Paris. But, if your interest is in variety and getting a dining bang for your buck, New York is incomparable. Yes, “What street compares to Mott Street in July, sweet pushcarts gently gliding by?”. But, an after dinner walk in Paris with the Eiffel Tower sparkling in the distance is nothing to sneer at.

Morels

June 4th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Morels are the kings of the mushroom world. They have a unique, sponge-like interior and a honeycomb shape. They taste musty, woody, earthy. A sensual mouth feel. They have many names. Among them: Hickory chickens, merkels, miracles.

In the Department of silver linings: They can often be found in areas that have had a recent forest fire. Grizzly bears like to eat morels and so does HG. They were a luncheon special recently at Santa Fe’s Compound Restaurant. Simply sauteed in butter, tiny bit of cream and some fresh herbs. HG ate them and drank some chilled Gruet Blanc et Noir. Nirvana.