Yes, if you love down home, authentic Japanese cooking this is the culinary event of the year. Vicki Freeman and Marc Meyer are doing five pop up restaurants at 33 Great Jones Street right next door to their celebrated Vic’s Restaurant. Vicki thinks her sister-in-law Maiko Sakamoto aka Exquisite Maiko is the best Japanese chef in New York and HG agrees. There is no other chef HG/BSK would rather dine with. Maiko’s stand–Oni Sauce– is one of the stars at Brooklyn Smorgasburg and Vicki has been pleading with her to do a tasting menu of all the wonders she’s tasted at Maiko’s Brooklyn home. Maiko relented and now you’ve got your chance. Maiko and Oni Sauce will be doing a 12-course tasting menu on March 23. There are two sittings: 6:30 PM and 9:00 PM. Limited seating, so act fast. Expect among many other delights: Sake steamed clams. Fluke carpaccio. Mackerel tataki. Pork belly and daikon radish stew. Reserve at Eat@onisauce.com . Cost is $75 per person. Much cheaper than air fare to Tokyo or Osaka (plus hotels, etc.). You’ll leave the Oni Sauce experience with a happy, enlightened appreciation of what Japanese cuisine is all about.
The answer to that question is: “NO!!”. HG enjoys occasional pork chops, steaks, chicken, Mexican menudo and other carnivorous goodies. BTW, can’t wait to taste the Japanese fried chicken that is getting raves at daughter-in-law Exquisite Maiko’s Oni Sauce stand at the famed Brooklyn Smorgasburg. But, for the most part HG and BSK have a diet that emphasizes vegetables, fish, pasta and fruit (There are always apples in the refrigerator and oranges, tangerines and avocados in one of BSK’s big pottery bowls on the kitchen granite island. When summering on Prince Edward Island, HG/BSK eat many pounds of seasonal PEI blueberries and strawberries). It must work because HG is reasonably spry as HG’s 87th birthday looms. BSK will reach an advanced age next month but looks decades younger and is energetic, athletic, creative and joyous. Genes, diet and exercise contribute to BSK’s senior beauty. And, best of all (in the eyes and tummy of greedy HG), BSK’s dinners (after just about 53 years of marriage) keep getting better (and healthier). A few nights ago, BSK prepared Orecciette with Broccoli, a dish from the Italian province of Puglia where it is a regional specialty. Orecciette means “little ears” and these little pasta shapes enclose the broccoli sauce effectively. Permit me to turn this post over to BSK and allow BSK to share the recipe with you lucky readers:
Put chunked stems, 2 cloves of garlic , a large shallot (or spring onion) and a handful of Italian parsley into food processor with a little good quality olive oil.
Saute 3 or 4 anchovy fillets (diced) slowly then add more olive oil and the mixture from the food processor and cook slowly. Add salt, pepper and red pepper to taste.
When the pasta water boils add the broccoli heads and cook briefly (they should still be bright green and have a little crunch). Add them to the anchovy/stem/garlic mix and toss. Keep cooking on low heat.
Cook pasta till it’s not quite done — add it to the mix, turn up the heat and toss vigorously – add a couple of ladlefuls of the pasta water – keep tossing — till it turns creamy. Taste the pasta if it’s still not done – add a little more water and keep tossing.
Serve with good grated cheese (and – if you like top with some chopped fresh tomatoes and some cubed mozerella).
HG/BSK plus SJ, Handsome Haru and delicious little Teru, are busy having sun and sea fun at the RAM SEA CONDO complex in the North Redington Beach neighborhood of St. Petersburg, Fla. The group has a nice and big beachfront space (three bedrooms and two bathrooms plus laundry room) with a spacious terrace overlooking the sea. Only thing missing is Exquisite Maiko. HG/BSK’s talented daughter-in-law is running ONI SAUCE at the Brooklyn Smorgasburg and delighting the crowds with her fabulous Japanese fried chicken, Gobo Chips and Beef Skewers all drenched in her incredible Chili (Rayu) and Onion sauces (also for sale). So, Florida fun this year without EM. Lots of sun and swimming today. Ocean water is warm and friendly. Ended sun fun with a hot tub soak and bracing shower. Raging dinner appetites. Off to Keegan’s Seafood Grille for a feast. Scallop ceviche. Conch fritters. Steamed, warm Gulf shrimp with melted butter. Gumbo. Broiled grouper with cole slaw and French fries. Fried calamari. Oysters–raw and steamed. (This was only disappointment. Not as tasty as last year’s bivalves. Must be getting them from another source). Back to the apartment for salt caramel gelato, almond honey crunch and bourbon whiskey. Joy. Joy. Joy.
Dave Frishberg, the witty singer/song writer/musician, now an LA resident and formerly a New Yorker, is often asked that question. So he wrote a song: “Do You Miss New York?”. And, the answer, of course is: Yes!! HG/BSK have lived in the Western United States (Colorado and New Mexico) and Canada (Vancouver and Prince Edward Island) for the last 31 years. BSK does not miss New York (or New Jersey). HG has complex feelings. There’s nostalgia, of course. HG is nostalgic about the Upper West Side in the sixties. Movie houses. Street scenes (old Holocaust survivors; junkies; professors; musicians; writers; sex workers; crazies; burglars). Apartments (huge and cheap). Food (Zabar’s, Barney Greengrass, Citarella’s, Nevada Meat Market, Broadway Nut Shop, etc.). Dining (Fleur de Lis; Paramount Famous Dairy; Gitlitz Delicatessen; Tip Toe Inn; many good, cheap Chinese and Cuban joints.) HG got a jolt recently while watching Mad Men. Roger and Joan get away from Madison Avenue and dine at Tip Toe Inn (set designers did a great job). They are mugged after their meal. Yes, that was a possibility on the old West Side before the real estate monsters and condo-maniacs chewed up the neighborhood. Zabar’s, Barney G. and Citarella’s remain. All else is gone. Today’s New York? It’s a place where foreign bad guys hide their money and a family has to earn a million bucks a year to enjoy an upper-middle class life (Condo or coop; housekeeper/nanny; summer home; private school for the kids.) HG/BSK had all of those things on $40,000 (or less) a year. Didn’t have a coop but paid $292 a month for a huge apartment (big living room with view of the Hudson River and The Palisades; separate formal dining room; modest windowed kitchen; four bedrooms; three bathrooms.) Read it and weep. There are things about the New York of 2016 that HG loves. The museums are still great (the new Whitney on the West Side and the Met Breuer on Madison are grand additions). Strolling on the High Line. HG daughter Victoria and husband /chef Marc Meyer’s four superior downtown restaurants: Rosie’s (Mexican); Vic’s (Italian); Cookshop and Hundred Acres (farm to table ingredients, American with Mediterranean flavors). Good value, wonderful food, deft service, joyous atmosphere. Dining with SJ in Flushing (Chinese and Korean) and the Forest Hills neighborhood of Queens (robust Uzbekistan cuisine). HG’s annual lunch with Victoria at Balthazar, better than any Paris brasserie. Shopping with BSK at Uniqlo. Gallery and museum hopping with BSK. Wandering (and eating) in Brooklyn, much hipper than Manhattan. HG/BSK mourn that they can’t eat at Oni Sauce, the fabulous Japanese home cooking and Asian sauce stand daughter-in-law Exquisite Maiko Sakamoto (and partner) are running at Smorgasburg, Brooklyn’s famous al fresco food court. So, does HG miss New York? Not often, but sometimes.