The Chef Dazzles

August 12th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Daughter Victoria and husband, famed chef Marc Meyer, have joined La Famiglia on Prince Edward Island. They came bearing cases of extraordinary wine, glorious salumi, cheese, anchovies, a big box of Meyer flatbread…and more. With appetites honed by salt water and sun, La Famiglia dinners have taken on epic proportions. MM has been on a roll. Here are some of his creations: Rounds of oil brushed toast topped by sardines and an MM shallot sauce; cod with salsa verde; tagilatelle with an unbelievably fragrant and robust pesto; a Caesar salad that makes all others pale in comparison. Yes, and his fresh haddock brandade. HG watched with awe and admiration as MM prepared and cooked food with respect, concentration and awesome knife skills. MM showed the difference between a chef and a good home cook. All paid MM the appropriate tribute: We overate. MM cooking can be sampled at his and Victoria’s three New York restaurants — Cookshop (Chelsea), Five Points (Noho), Hundred Acres (Soho). We hear there may be a fourth — in a historic Brooklyn location. Good luck, Dynamic Duo.

Birthday Dinner

August 9th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Big birthday dinner for Brilliant Daughter Lesley R. Up from New York, and leaving behind their trio of New York restaurants (Cookshop, 100 Acres, Five Points), are Restaurateur/Daughter Victoria and husband/chef Marc Meyer. Armed with Prince Edward Island’s auspicious sea bounty, Marc made the ultimate brandade for the birthday dinner — screamingly fresh haddock poached in milk and whirled in the blender with olive oil, garlic, boiled potatoes and a bit of sweet cream. Then popped under the broiler to develop a brown crust. Magic. Better than classic salt cod brandade in Paris or creamy mantecato in Venice. Marc has the touch. There was also lots of lobster and steamed soft shell clams. Melted butter. Lemon juice. Tabasco. A jolly family time as all wished BLR scores of happy returns.

Cookshop: The Perfect Summer Lunch

July 4th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Okay, pals and buddies, let HG tell you about the perfect summer lunch. The place: Cookshop on 20th and Tenth Avenue (one of three downtown New York restaurants run by HG daughter Vicki Freeman and chef/husband Marc Meyer. The others are Five Points and Hundred Acres. All superb). HG and BSK’s luncheon companion was Stephanie Pierson, author of The Brisket Book among many other rollicking prose accomplishments. It is very hard to have a bad time when Stephanie is around. She’s a true wit with a flair for friendship, laughter and good food. She is also the creator of the world’s best chicken pot pie.

So, what did Vicki and Marc serve the trio on a more than tepid late June day? Long Island Blue Point oysters (briny jewels). Fried zucchini blossoms stuffed with smoked mozzarella. Crispy Rhode Island calamari with capers and a state of the art aioli.(Yes, there were white wine spritzers for HG and non-alcoholic pleasures for the ladies). Grilled shrimp salads (for HG and Stephanie. BSK is allergic to crustaceans). Chicken salad for BSK. Sound mundane? Not when the salad contained the very best, fresh-from -market vegetables and perfectly cooked, heritage chicken. Finished with a nicely curated cheese platter .Cookshop was busy and bustling (as it deserves to be) during this weekday lunch. A snappy crowd. At a neighboring table were two black suited, white shirted guys from Italy. The stylish gents ate some huge salads and did a lot of damage to a bottle of red wine. Permit HG to assure you. The HG party didn’t get special treatment. Vicki, a warm and glowing soul, makes everyone welcome. Marc, a pioneer in barn-to-table cuisine, uses only the best ingredients and then gives them a creative tweak that makes the diner stop with fork in mid-air and say “Wow!!”. HG advice: Get over there. Say HG sent you.

Vicki Whites

December 9th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

HG’s usual beverage with Chinese food is beer (sometimes mixed with Guiness Stout for a Black-and Tan). Never found an agreeable wine that enhanced Chinatown cuisine. Until…

At the feast HG recently enjoyed at Congee on the Bowery, Restaurateur Daughter Vicki F. brought two wines that added a new, positive dimension to the meal. Wine One: Sauvignon Blanc. Box O’ Birds, Marlborough, New Zealand 2011. Wine Two: Riesling, Thirsty Owl, Finger Lakes, N.Y. 2009. Super yummy. Would go nicely with Indian food, HG believes.

New York Is Chinatown

December 7th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes, New York is world capital of culture, finance, style, skyscrapers and virtually everything else. But, to greedy HG, New York means Chinatown, dim sum, congee and other treats. So, after a night’s sleep following some 11 hours of air travel from Bologna it was off to Chinatown for a dim sum lunch with Gorgeous Restaurateur Daughter (Five Points, Cookshop, Hundred Acres) Vicki F. Destination for HG and BSK was Nom Wah (SJ recently posted a memorable piece of prose about this vintage eatery).

Talk about a trip down Memory Lane. As SJ has remarked, the old place got cleaned up but retained every bit of its funky appearance. HG was startled. It seemed nothing had changed since he first ate there some 56 (!!) years ago. Vicki ordered brilliantly and though the decor had not changed, the food was better. Har Gow and Shu Mai were among the best HG had ever consumed.

That night the trio was joined by SJ. Exquisite Maiko, Adorable Haru and Vicki’s husband and partner, Marc M. The site was Congee on 98 Bowery. Yes, there was congee. But, also fried squid, a couple of large, steamed flounders, clams in blacks bean sauce, sauteed greens, etc. Lots of food. Lots of joy.

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