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.

HG’s Vegetable Gumbo

September 20th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

The best gumbo in the world is SJ’s chicken and andouille (or chorizo) sausage gumbo. Far better than vaunted New Orleans Creole or Cajun gumbo. Unlike talented (as writer, cook and reggae impresario) SJ, HG doesn’t have the patience or skill to make the flavorful roux that is the base of lush gumbo. So, last night HG turned out a simple version of bacon and vegetable gumbo. Reinforced with splashes of Frank’s Hot Sauce, it turned out to be a robust dish. HG browned five slices of thick cut bacon, onions and okra. When the mix had softened, HG added a can of Italian plum tomatoes and simmered for twenty minutes. Three ears of left over Blum’s corn were in the fridge. Added the delicious kernels to the pan and warmed for another ten minutes. Stirred with File powder (left over from SJ’s last PEI visit). Served the gumbo over basmati brown rice. No match for SJ’s masterpiece. However….

September 18th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

SJ has long had thousands of Facebook followers for his brilliant “SadChairs” instagram account and blog. In various forums he has written penetrating political and cultural insights plus, SJ is noted expert in everything about reggae music, reggae events, vintage records, Jamaica, etc. The consummate New Yorker/Brooklynite has moved (with family) to Tokyo. SJ has an affinity for big cities so it is no surprise that SJ is falling in love with Tokyo. SJ is reporting on Tokyo’s food, culture, regional distinctiveness in SJ’s just launched blog, If you ever plan on visiting Tokyo, Oishi Gevalt is essential reading. The blog will also bring pleasure to all who are interested in food and brilliant, evocative writing. OG surpasses HG. Makes HG proud. HG is also pleased that SJ continues to edit and illustrate And, happily, SJ is discovering many gloomy chairs in Tokyo.

Birthday Hot Pot

December 28th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

SJ plus pals. Exquisite Maiko, Handsome Haru, Adorable Teru. HG and BSK. All gathered around a big table at Mister Hotpot in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park Chinatown. A joyous celebration of SJ’s birthday. As the name suggests, Mr. Hotpot is a hot pot restaurant — but elevated with a wonderfully curated selection of high quality seafood, meat and veggies. Mister Hotpot delivers a unique, milky, homemade Pork bone broth which is the basis of the meal. This delicious broth (which only gets better as different selections cook in its depths) simmers upon electric burners set into the table. The happy diners cooked a variety of vegetables, udon and rice noodles, slices of beef, whole crab, shrimp, home-made won-tons, shrimp paste and more in the savory broth. A variety of spicy condiments enhanced the food. Lots of sake, beer, two varieties of vodka gave emphasis to the merriment. A birthday party to savor and remember fondly.


Viva SJ! Ole!

July 25th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

Ten for dinner. The extended HG clan plus Noel and Yossi M., BSK’s sister and brother-in-law (owners of super verdant PEI property south of HG/BSK’s home). After many nights of seafood, it was SJ’s turn to create a pork feast. SJ knows how to glorify the piggy wiggy. The dinner group, maddened with hunger honed by salt air, walks along the bluffs and beaches, awaited the food with (understatement) eagerness. SJ had rubbed a pork shoulder with a mix of brown sugar, chile powder, white pepper, garlic powder, celery seed, mustard, cumin and salt. Smoked it on the barbecue for five hours. This was the basis for pulled pork enhanced by a homemade vinegar based barbecue sauce. In the oven was another slow cooked pork shoulder prepared in the Mexican/Oaxacan/ Puerto Rican (pernil) style. The pork was stuffed with slivers of garlic and baked with onions, orange juice, lime juice, salt and cumin. Produced lots of sauce to enrich rice. As a side SJ also produced a spicy stew of black beans and Hungarian sausage and some fresh pico de gallo. BSK did a salad of PEI’s wonderful yellow beans and Lesley R. sliced heirloom tomatoes, sweet onions and avocado into a sprightly mix. There were plenty of tortillas on the table plush icy Gahan’s beer and Spanish Tempranillo wine. Finished with Lesley R.’s blueberry and strawberry gratin — a perfect desert balancing the sweet, the buttery and the sour. Though the day was grey, SJ created food that brought Mexican and Caribbean sunshine to the table. Viva SJ !!


Roast Fish & Bread Fruit – An SJ Posting

May 27th, 2015 § 3 comments § permalink

Grilling a cut up Bell’s Chicken in my Brooklyn backyard I was drawn into reverie about another of My Most Important Food Memories: Around ten years ago I was way up in the hills of St. Ann parish in Jamaica searching for old records. At a little bar I met a older Indian-Jamaican who told me to come up to his house as he said he had records. We drove together up the winding hills to his home. He pointed me to a crawl space under his house and said the records were there. Now I have a general aversion to low spaces and the insects that teem in those dark regions, and in the tropical environment of Jamaica those insects proliferate even more and going under that house was like being thrown into the Insect House at Turtleback Zoo — Enormous roaches, spiders large enough to speak, crazy millipedes with pincers; in any case I persevered and dragged out 4 trunks of moldering 45s. In between the Patti Page vinyl, the horrific mold spores (which later gave me a rash lasting 4 weeks), the records so destroyed by insect and rat urine, I managed to find five records that I wanted. Negotiation time. It went badly. The old man demanded $200 each for songs barely worth $5 and when I wouldn’t agree…He just got mad. Yelled at me for wasting his time. I apologized and apologized and finally went to a little street side shed and got two cold beers for us to assuage any hurt feelings. Well…in the quiet moments as we sipped our beer and smoked a slow cigarette, the old man asked if I was hungry. And yes…I was starving. Jamaicans tend to eat a big breakfast and last on that all day, but I am not a breakfast man, so driving in that country I often found myself starving. The old man announced that ever since his wife died he refused to cook inside. “Everything taste better on the fire!” He then popped up and his formerly elderly frame belied a new energy and he simply bounded up a breadfruit tree and cut two fine specimens down. He gathered together some dried twigs and logs and quickly had a blaze going. He went inside and grabbed a rudimentary grate, some salt cod, margarine and a ratchet knife. He cut the fish and breadfruit into rough chunks and dropped them on the flames. The smell was heavenly — pimento wood, roasting flesh and the open, clean air of St. Ann’s. After a bit he removed the grate and heaped margarine onto the charred salt cod and breadfruit. I gathered up bit of both and devoured it — smokey, little bit gritty, salty, fishy, buttery, rough yet totally comforting and unbelievably perfect for the moment. We were silent — me and the old man — breathing the air, chewing, savoring the flavors and licking our black ash fingers. He broke the silence: “Dem nah eat this food in Kingston. This a pure Countryman thing,” He cackled, “Dem curry or fry everything in Kingston!!” He held up a particularly burnt piece of breadfruit dripping with margarine: “This a the real Jamaica!” and popped it in his mouth. And me? I had to agree.


Spring Asparagus – An SJ Post

May 5th, 2015 § 1 comment § permalink

SJ here. Last night I prepared a risotto with asparagus and fresh chives alongside a mix of greens (Chard, Spinach, Arugala) sauteed in olive oil and garlic and topped with a fried egg. While delicious, the meal plunged me into reverie concerning one of my most important food memories: Nearly 20 years ago I had a friend who lived on an apple orchard in Michigan that was surrounded by farms. While walking through the orchard we found, to our surprise, countless asparagus growing wild — seeded no doubt from blowing winds from nearby farms. We filled a paper shopping bag with these asparagus and steamed them in a big pot. Served with some drawn butter and a squeeze of lemon, they were a revelation. From top to the bottom they were impeccably tender with none of the tough, fibrous ends which I had been accustomed to. The taste was as if I had re-discovered the asparagus — vegetal, sexy, with a layered, almost mineral quality. It was the taste of Spring embodied, heightened by the almost certain reality that those flavors were disappearing from the second the asparagus was snapped from the ground. It moved me, this discovery of what a fresh vegetable could taste like; alternately, the discovery made me almost sad, because I knew that I would surely not be able to have this experience in my daily life. For the next two days I pretty much ate only asparagus — watching in horror as many of the unpicked plants flowered and became inedible. On my last day I filled a bag and brought them back to the city and when I prepared them for dinner that night, I noticed that those hours in transit had sapped that vigor, that technicolor palate of flavors and reduced the heavenly asparagus back to the earthly plane. If everything alive is connected with an energy that draws us all together, and which departs into the common ether upon death, then I believe I tasted the soul of an asparagus and nothing has ever been the same.Asparagus-spears-in-spring2

Family Likes, Dislikes and Eccentricities.

April 28th, 2015 § 2 comments § permalink

HG’S darling daughter-in-law, Exquisite Maiko (one of the world’s great cooks) doesn’t like cumin. Says it smells like “pencils.” (Go figure). Gorgeous Granddaughter Sofia has many aversions: Mussels, eggplant, cucumbers, fish. Sofia has a mad lust for Israeli couscous. Could live happily on tortillas that are dusted with cheese and popped into the toaster oven. Grandson Haru is finicky. Likes omelets (the way his father, SJ, prepares them); pasta with oil, garlic and anchovies; salmon caviar; grilled mackerel. And, that’s about it. (Loves ice cream and other sweet treats, of course). Daughter Victoria is a vegetarian and owns (with husband/chef Marc Meyer) four restaurants that feature many meaty dishes. (Go figure). Gifted Daughter Lesley R. is a wonderful cook with a robust appetite. Doesn’t like walnuts. (Go figure.). SJ is an omnivorous, ambidextrous eater. Will eat almost anything but found himself unable to get down more than a bite of French chitterling sausage, a mainstay on traditional French bistro menus — found them vile in terms of taste and smell. Brilliant Granddaughter Arianna (very, very slender) has a big appetite, a lust for Korean ramen, hot spices and smelly cheeses. Son-in-law Massimo R., the distinguished Italian Professor and scholar, has Italian and cosmopolitan tastes. Unlike most Italians, Massimo happily devours sushi, Indian food, etc. He lacks sentimentality and will eat with good appetite a variety of dishes shunned by civilized folk: Horse meat, donkey sausage and stew; offal. Shares HG’s passion for tripe (SJ and Sofia are also fans). But, the Professor has a typical Italian superstition. Won’t eat cucumbers. Claims they are semi poisonous and an enemy of good digestion. (Go figure). BSK is allergic to crustaceans. Does not like fatty, unhealthy foods (chicken skin, for example). Pickles and peanuts are a significant part of the BSK diet. Eats loads of fruit and vegetables. But, BSK’s English ancestry has made BSK lust for (a passion BSK keeps in check) a cloyingly sweet and nasty confection (in HG’s opinion) called Licorice All-Sorts. (Go figure). HG”s attitude toward food, wine and strong drink, is: “Bring it on (and in big portions) !!” However, the greedy fellow turns down beets (except in the form of borscht). (Go figure).


Geechie Boy (and SJ) Rules

April 23rd, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

The New Mexico skies are very blue and the sunshine glistens. However, a north wind is blowing and there’s a chill in the air this morning. BSK meets the challenge of unseasonable low temperatures by cooking HG’s favorite breakfast: Cheese grits and poached eggs. The grits are the Geechie Boy brand, down home, stone ground, with true corn flavor. The Geechie Boy grits are a gift from SJ, the Brooklyn gourmand, reggae impresario, barbecue chef, urban poet. Geechie Boy grits are not the instant variety. They take a lot of patient stirring (a quality they share with true Italian polenta). BSK’s poached eggs are state of the art. When the yolk is pierced and the lush yellow mingles with the grits, HG”s appetite scales the heights. It is all reminiscent of a time (many, many decades ago) when little HG (for a brief time) lived in an Athens, Georgia boarding house. A motherly, large African-American woman presided over the kitchen. Her grits, biscuits and red eye gravy with fried ham gave little HG much morning joy. A very happy memory. Well, BSK is not African-American. BSK is Anglo-Irish-Welsh-Canadian. BSK is not a chubby lady. BSK maintains a very svelte form. However, BSK’s cool weather breakfasts have a touch of African-American soul.


Holiday Feasting

December 22nd, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

HG/BSK are going east for the traditional feasting and gifting jamboree with their joyous Anglo-Irish-Canadian-American-Italian-Jewish-Japanese family (Quick! Please have eligibles marry an African-American and a Latino so we can complete our Rainbow Coalition). Festivities will start in New York a few days before Christmas where HG/BSK will dine at Vic’s, the much-lauded new restaurant venture of HG’s daughter, Restaurateur Victoria F. Scheduled is a dim sum feast at Dim Sum Go Go in Chinatown with the SJ family (and Victoria). Also on schedule is an Uzbekistan Grand Bouffe in Queens celebrating SJ’s birthday. And, while BSK is doing some last minute shopping, HG will knock off some oysters and wine with Victoria at Balthazar, the brasserie which keeps the old time Paris traditions alive. (Yes, the best Paris brasserie is located in New York). Christmas Eve means the traditional Jewish Feast of the Seven Fishes (courtesy of SJ and Russ & Daughters). And, what surprise will Gifted Daughter Lesley R. spring on Christmas Day? Brisket? Osso buco ? Bollito misto ? Traditional turkey? And, is there a new Rhode Island restaurant to be tried? HG has heard rumors about an Indian restaurant in Bristol. Of course, there is old standby Hemenway’s which serves splendid New England oysters as well as Rhode Island clams on the half shell (best in the world), an HG favorite. Hey, food lovers, are you envious? You should be.


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