Sunday Feasting in The Bronx

November 28th, 2012 § 3 comments § permalink

Read with interest the New York Times interview with HG’s favorite writer of fiction, Philip Roth. It seems Roth has had his say. No more books, no more arduous attention to the brutal task of writing. Sad news for serious readers. (And, why hasn’t Roth been awarded the Nobel? This is an injustice). The last time HG saw Roth it was breakfast time at Barney Greengrass, the venerable smoked fish emporium on Manhattan’s upper west side. Roth looked gloomy. The lox-bagel-cream cheese and coffee combo he was eating didn’t seem to lift his spirits. HG mused that the author was probably thinking that one more day of word wrestling lay before him. These varied Rothian thoughts lead HG back to long ago memories of Sunday-Breakfast-In-The-Bronx-With-Mom-And-Pop. (HG uses caps because this traditional breakfast was always an epic feast). No matter where HG had spent Saturday night, or from what bed HG had arisen, young bachelor HG always called Mom early Sunday to discuss breakfast (yes, the meal began at about 10:30 or 11 so these days it would be called brunch). HG visited the “appetizing” store on Kingsbridge Road and procured Nova Scotia smoked salmon, sable, pickled herring, a robust smoked whitefish, Greek olives, sour kosher dill pickles, potato salad and cole slaw. On that same morning Pop was off to the bakery for bagels, bialys, onion rolls, Jewish rye bread and Stuhmer’s pumpernickel. The table was set with plenty of sweet butter, Daitch cream cheese and sliced tomatoes and onions. Lots of coffee plus a bottle of cognac (both HG and Pop liked to “correct,” as Italians put it, their coffee with shots of brandy. The smoked fish delights lead into a big platter of softly scrambled eggs with fried onions and mushrooms. Danish pastry for dessert. HG worked all of this off in Central Park. Rough touch football. Ah, youth, you magic time.


November 20th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

No, HG is not referring to that member of the Russian marten family whose luxurious pelts are favored by the world’s wealthiest and most luxuriously dressed women. HG refers to the fish known as sable (or black cod or sablefish). Its habitat is the deep waters of the North Pacific. Smoked sable, in HG’s opinion, is far preferable to smoked sturgeon. Moister. A more buttery taste. A better mouth feel. The best sable comes from the venerable Russ & Daughters on New York’s lower east side. Happily, it can be ordered online. HG likes it on Jewish rye bread or Russian pumpernickel lavishly spread with good cream cheese. A grind of black pepper is obligatory. HG banishes lemon as interfering with the taste. Accompanies the treat`with icy vodka. But, this isn’t the only way to eat sable. Trader Joe’s now carries very estimable frozen unsmoked filets of sable. All they need is a gentle saute. Flavor them with a bit of soy sauce and maple syrup. The salty/sweet mix will accent the richness of the fish. Delicious and healthy. Lots of valuable Omega 3.

Joe Brings Home Some Goodies

October 22nd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Lesley R., gifted daughter of HG and BSK, has spent much time living in Italy with her family. When HG has visited them (in Bologna, Venice, Siena) meals often started with a platter of Bresaola (thinly sliced, air dried beef). Lesley covered the beef with fresh, baby arugula, good olive oil and shards of Parmesan. Splendid dish. HG hasn’t encountered Bresaola in the USA and feared an Italian trip was the only way to access this delicacy. Well, happy news. Trader Joe’s is now carrying Citterio’s Bresaola and it’s mighty good. Had it last night with arugula fresh from the Farmers’ Market.

Some more nice taste news. When HG and BSK lived in their Vancouver loft, they often enjoyed Black Cod (also known as sable — when smoked it is that lush stuff found at Russ & Daughters, Zabar’s and other New York smoked fish specialists). Vancouver chefs sometimes prepared it with a maple syrup glaze or sauce. The sweetness complemented the richness of the fish. Well, don’t want to sound like a Trader Joe’s press agent, but TJ is now carrying frozen Black Cod filets. HG has sourced a nice recipe for Black Cod with “maple syrup gastrique” — a fancy way of saying maple syrup sauce. HG is not a fan of frozen fish but HG’s had a good experience with TJ frozen sole. So, the Black Cod may be a winner. Will keep you informed.

Quack Quack

January 14th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

New York Times had a story on the duck lunch at David Chang’s Ssam Bar and the “duckavore” dinner at Wong in the West Village. Duckalicious. The descriptions of the ducky delicacies were so riveting and appetizing that HG was tempted to leave for The Big Apple post haste. However, HG stayed put and ransacked his memory for tasty webbed foot treats.

Best duck dish ever was the braised duck with olives at the late Le Pavillon. Crisp and juicy, the abundant richness of duck fat cut by the sting of the olives. A runner up was the crackling Peking duck at the Peking Duck House in New York’s Chinatown. When in Paris, HG often indulges in the ubiquitous duck confit; however, the best HG has ever tasted came not from Paris, but was found behind the counter of Oyama, the great French-oriented charcuterie and cheese shop located in Vancouver’s Public Market on Granville Island. In Chinatown (both in New York and Vancouver), HG often does a simple (and cheap) lunch of barbecued duck and pork plus a bowl of rice and pot of tea.

During their ten years of residence on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, HG and BSK had a tradition of late Sunday dinner a deux (little ones safely snoozing). The duo devoured a rotisserie barbecued duck from the Bretton Woods Butcher on W. 86th Street accompanied by a salad of sliced orange, sweet onion and avocado. Then, a crusty baguette, runny brie. Two bottles of red wine. A nice way to close the weekend.

Yes, Sunday was a day of indulgence in HG and BSK’s rent controlled paradise. The day began with a breakfast of Zabar’s smoked salmon, sable, scallion cream cheese, bagels and bialys. The fat Sunday Times on the table. It was all worked off with long bike rides in Central Park. SJ strapped to HG’s back. Little Miss LR in a kiddie seat. Peaches, The Wonder Dog, racing along on a leash. Happy memories of food, fun and family — a ducky time, indeed.

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