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.