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 ┬áSteak House Wine from Walla Walla, Washington.


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. ┬áThe 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?

Comice Pears

January 28th, 2018 § 2 comments § permalink

There is no better dessert than a ripe Comice pear paired with parmesan, roquefort or gorgonzola cheese and paired with a glass of fruity red wine. There is a cynical Italian saying: “Don’t tell the peasants about pears and parmesan.” BSK is expert at picking out the best Comice specimens at Whole Foods and bringing them home to reach peak ripeness. BSK learned about Comice delights when HG/BSK lived on New York’s upper west side more than a half century ago. HG/BSK were steady customers at a Mom-and-Pop fruit stand on 80th Street and Broadway. When shopping there one day, the Mom of the store rummaged around the pears and found a ripe Comice. “You don’t know about Comice pears, young lady. Take this home. Wash it. Eat it. You will have pleasure.” BSK followed the Mom’s instructions. Voila!! Comice rules the fruit world.

Gone, Gone, Gone

January 11th, 2018 § 2 comments § permalink

The bustling, noisy, fragrant Fulton Fish Market on Fulton Street and the East River in lower Manhattan is long gone. Together with the produce market that flourished on the lower west side of the borough. Both moved to Hunts Point in The Bronx. Yes, there’s better refrigeration facilities there plus transportation advantages. However, the Fulton Fish Market had a certain ambiance that was unique. Joseph Mitchell, the late New Yorker Magazine writer, liked to hang around there. He captured its essence in “Old Mr. Flood” and “Up in the Old Hotel” (about the building that housed the Sloppy Louie’s Restaurant). Close to Louie’s was the venerable Sweet’s seafood restaurant (Founded in 1845 and closed in 1992). HG dined there often circa 1959-1962 when business brought HG downtown. One dozen oysters on the half shell. Fried smelts and cole slaw. Martini before lunch. Bass ale and Guinness with the food. Cost: Six bucks. Yes. Check out the 1960 menu on the New York Public Library website and be dazzled. Louie’s was plain spoken but not sloppy. (Opened in 1930 and shuttered in 1998). The owner, Louis Morino, served very fresh seafood at low prices. There were some surprises. HG had his first taste of sea urchin roe (Uni) there. Old fogey HG mourns the transformation of the meatpacking district into a high fashion zone. (However, HG loves Daughter Victoria’s Cookshop Restaurant on Tenth Avenue, the lovely High Line promenade and the wondrous Whitney Museum). The gritty Bronx Terminal Market in the shadow of Yankee Stadium still bears the name but has become a vast shopping center with the usual tenants and dining highlights like Subway and Applebee’s. Before its dread metamorphosis, HG was the battling public relations spokesmen for the wholesale fruit and vegetable merchants that occupied sprawling stalls there. The merchants were fighting displacement. HG fought the good fight but dubious “Progress” won out. And, another colorful, lively bit of New York was erased.

BSK Oyster Pan Roast

January 4th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

New York has changed so much that HG/BSK have little desire to live there (even part time). However, great to visit (stated like a true “out of towner”). HG loves eating at daughter Victoria’s downtown restaurants (Rosie’s, Cookshop, Shuka and Vic’s). Of course, there are the wonderful museums (and sharing a plateau de fruits de mer with Victoria at Balthazar). And, Chinatown. But, when HG becomes nostalgic, HG longs for the oyster pan roast at the Grand Central Oyster Bar. Oysters, butter, half-and- half, clam juice, celery salt, Worcestshire sauce, Heinz Chili Sauce (might be missing an ingredient) cooked in a unique steam kettle and served over white bread toast. Sprinkle of paprika. IN HG’s day, the steam kettle was utilized by an aged, unsmiling Italian. HG would often precede the pan roast with a dozen shucked oysters, drink Ballantine’s IPA and have Nesselrode Pie for dessert. Yesterday, while the East Coast shivered, HG/BSK enjoyed typical New Mexico winter weather: 50 degrees, blue skies, brilliant sun. Gets colder at night so BSK made a pot of comfort: the BSK oyster pan roast. Used big, plump, Pacific oysters (modestly priced and sold in containers at Whole Foods). Most of the traditional ingredients but substituted whole milk for the cream mixture. No, it didn’t quite reach the heights of the Grand Central version, but it was very tasty. Cold Pouilly Fuisse was the right accompaniment. Cambazola cheese with ripe Comice pears for dessert, With this kind of food and this kind of weather, Noo Yawk nostalgia is blunted.


December 1st, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

SJ has discovered the pleasures of lunch. That’s what he reports in his enlightening blog, (The blog is a must read for anyone interested in food, sharp writing, Tokyo and life). SJ lives in Tokyo after years in New Jersey, Chicago, Manhattan and Brooklyn. SJ finds lunching in Tokyo a wonderland of treats. Every variation of fresh fish, meat, noodles. Best of all, these quality lunches are cheap. In SJ’s lunch post on Oishi Gevalt (“The $5 Lunch Special”, SJ mentions HG’s breakfasts of long ago consisting of black coffee and numerous Marlboro cigarettes and HG’s four-martini lunches (Those were the days when HG was a New York/New Jersey public relations biggie). No, SJ, four-martini lunches are suicidal. HG had modest two-martini lunches (plus wine or beer and post meal brandy). And where did HG lunch with alcohol loving journalists? Three places near the Times, Herald-Tribune, Newsweek and Business Week: Blue Ribbon (German food and world’s best steak tartare); Artists & Writers (German food with a specialty of konigsberger klops, a savory dish of meat balls in a cream and dill sauce); Sardi’s (lamb chops with a grilled kidney). Lunch with clients was at the Bar Room of the Four Seasons (Pool Room was for tourists). Other client lunch spot was Christ Cella, the great steak house (This was also convenient for lunching with journalists from the News, Mirror, Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine and Barron’s). These days HG has a lusty breakfast, a spartan lunch and a lavish dinner. BSK, interested in keeping HG healthy and reasonably sober, has prevailed upon HG to substitute white wine for pre-dinner vodka martinis.

Sardine Dinner

November 17th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

During HG’s New York days, HG would often order a sardine platter at delicatessens (when not in the mood for pastrami) and dairy restaurants (when not in the mood for kasha varnishkes). Did a reprise of that meal for dinner last night. Sardines. Sliced tomatoes. Sliced sweet onions. BSK gave the vegetables a hit of good olive oil and a bit of wine vinegar. The sardines got a shower of capers and a squeeze of lemon. What lifted the dish to higher realms were the sardines. Matiz Gallego sardines. These are Spanish sardines harvested off the coast of Galicia. Thick, meaty sardines bursting with flavor. HG drank Bass Ale with the meal and sopped up the juices with Whole Foods ciabatta (Cadiz sardines also came from WF). In New York, HG would accompany the sardines with Jewish rye bread, pumpernickel or bialys and pletzels (onion rolls). Drank Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray Tonic (a Noo Yawk perversion).

Peter Hellman

October 18th, 2017 § 1 comment § permalink

Peter has been a loved and admired pal of HG/BSK for many, many decades. HG met Peter when Peter was a young journalist working for New York Magazine. Publicist HG was Peter’s guide in the greedy world of New York real estate and the result was many bylined articles as well as a number of front cover stories. The HG/PH collaboration deepened into a solid friendship. Over the years, Peter’s journalism has enlivened many publications including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Wine Spectator. His interests are omnivorous as reflected in his seven books.They include crime (“Chief”, the cases of New York’s Chief of Detectives, Albert Seedman; the Holocaust, “When Courage Was Stronger Than Fear”; Israel, “Heroes: Tales From The Israeli Wars”; real estate, “Shaping the Skyline”, the career of the late real estate visionary, Julien J. Studley; wine, “American Wine Handbook.”) HG believes Peter’s true passion (besides family and friends) is for wine. For some ten years he was a contributor to Wine Spectator and a wine columnist for a New York newspaper. His passions have coalesced in his newest book, “In Vino Duplicitas.” The book jacket describes it well: “True crime pairs well with fine wine in the astonishing story of Rudy Kurniawan, perhaps the most notorious–and unlikely– wine forger in history.” Peter has the unique ability to make complex maneuvering exciting and available to the reader. So, “In Vino” is an education in fine and rare wines as well as an absorbing insight into the eccentric world of wine collectors who pay thousands of dollars for a bottle of wine that they may never drink. Besides writing about wine, Peter likes to drink wine. He has a fine palate and is a sipper, not a guzzler. Many years ago, Peter stored a collection of fine wines in the cellar of the Montclair, N.J. home occupied by HG/BSK. The wines were there strictly for storage in a cool environment. During those rare times when HG did not have a good bottle for the evening meal, HG “borrowed” one of Peter’s bottles. These “borrowings” gradually increased into the realm of theft. The wines were glorious and HG did not exhibit restraint. After a year, Peter arrived to find his collection drastically diminished. He forgave HG. The friendship continued.

Italian Shakshuka

October 10th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

HG/BSK are very fond of Shakshuka, the Israeli / Middle Eastern egg dish. (BSK uses Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipe from the “Jerusalem” cookbook). Cool and windy last night on Prince Edward Island so a hearty dish seemed appropriate for dinner. BSK, in one of her remarkable improvisations, combined elements of a Shakshuka with a recipe for Italian sausages with onions and peppers. BSK added chopped fennel and fennel seed to the fried onion, pepper, garlic mix. Added a splash of wine vinegar before mixing with the cooked and browned hot and sweet sausages. Fried eggs on top. Accompanied by a baguette to soak up the juices and yolks, it was a tasty dish. The sausages were locally made, good, but they needed the addition of fennel and fennel seed to approximate the “real thing.” In the future, HG will have to go online and order sausages from Esposito’s, the venerable Manhattan pork emporium.

Another One Bites The Dust: El Charro RIP

September 26th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

El Charro is gone. Closed. It was a charming Greenwich Village landmark at 4 Charles Street. El Charro originated as a Mexican restaurant and then morphed into a Spanish restaurant in 1959. And that’s when HG became a steady customer until leaving for Colorado with BSK in 1986. SJ (aka HG’s son) filled HG’s vacated seat and continued to frequent El Charro for years until it closed a few months back (its demise came to HG’s attention today). El Charro was the essence of Greenwich Village a half century ago. The Village had Inexpensive apartments inhabited by journalists, fledgling copywriters, painters, musicians, theater folk, embryonic novelists and playwrights, young emigres from the midwest (BSK among them) etc. El Charro was a happy place with a Village communal feeling. After one visit, the waiters treated you like a friend. Thankfully, it was inexpensive as HG and BSK had limited financial resources long ago. The food was garlicky, hearty and tasty. Typical HG/BSK meal was an appetizer of spicy chorizo followed by scallops (or shrimp) in green sauce. Finale of Spanish fried chicken. Lots of saffron rice. Flan for dessert. Mucho sangria and magaritas. There were always pals or acquaintances in the room, adding a joyous element to the dining. All gone. Gone as an older New York fades into memory. Fortunately, Sevilla, another Village Spanish restaurant still operates. HG/BSK enjoyed their huge platters of paella and arroz con pollo. HG presumes Sevilla prices are no longer those of the 1960s.