Friday, November 2, 2012

Skipping Sandy while Skipping Time

Hong Kong International Airport by Shizhao
This is not how the journey to Thailand and Cambodia was meant to be. I was planning on using my last few days to plan, research, take care of the laundry list of final details (including a wax). Hurricane Sandy erased all of my best laid plans.

Instead, I spent my last sleepless night in the devastated East Village going to bed at 7:30 by candlelight, tossing and turning in the din of police headlights, hoping that I would actually get on a flight to Bangkok okay. I got a goodbye hug from my nephew and later from my friend Beth last night. They both stood outside my dark building yelling out my name until I came to the window. No phone, no text, no buzzer could announce a visiting guest in the aftermath of Sandy. They climbed the stairs in the darkness (no working elevator), armed with the requisite East Village accessory - the flashlight.

This morning, I waited til the sun came up, hastily packed and then headed to the fridge. I got a big garbage bag and threw out a wealth of half rotting goodies in the freezer - my recently made coconut pumpkin muffins, homemade chorizo mushroom pizza, my perfected recipe for turkey burgers, frozen meats of all kind, Thai chilis grown by my friend Laura's mother, and the coveted Trader Joes pumpkin ice cream. It's seasonal. So much for that.

I prayed that my ride to the airport would turn up as I had no way of contacting the shuttle van if it was running late (no phone service, no emails). Thankfully, at 10 am, with the aid of my neighbors who held a flashlight as I lugged my bag down the dark flights of stairs, I spotted the waiting van, and just like that, was whisked out of darkness and Sandy's wrath. Got to JFK in under an hour.

I am at the Hong Kong airport now, skipping time, waiting for my flight to Bangkok. It's just past 8 pm. Excited for the big lights of Bangkok to come into view. And for the meals to begin. But with a part of me so pained by the sorrow I just left behind.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Exploring Toronto's St. Lawrence Market

The real deal: authentic Canadian peameal bacon sandwich
Only two ingredients are needed to make a peameal bacon sandwich, one of life's greatest edible pleasures: bacon and a soft roll. So why is it that this culinary masterpiece can only be found in Canada?

Fresh peameal bacon by the pound
It's hardly worth arguing over and just an excellent excuse to head to Toronto (which I must do for the annual Toronto International Film Festival) and b-line straight to St. Lawrence Market. One of the world's great markets, this vast gastronomic hub boasts hundreds of types of seafood, cheeses, oils, fruits, vegetables and international delicacies. It's also the market of choice for Toronto's top chefs, sitting on the original City Hall site.

And it's where you can find the famous, and many argue, best peameal bacon sandwich ($5.75) at Carousel Bakery. Just look for the lines.

What Americans call "Canadian bacon," as in the flaccid meat in an Egg McMuffin, has no resemblance to the real deal. It's lean, slow cured pork loin rolled in cornmeal. Once grilled, the coating add a lovely crunch to the sweet-salty bacon. Historically, the meal was originally ground yellow peas, which was used as a preservative. If I weren't flying home, I'd have bought a hunk of bacon in a heartbeat.

Fresh grilled salmon
Once fortified, meander along the two floors of eye opening, crave inducing goodies. Multiple gourmet bars lay out a superb array of Mediterranean staples: stuffed prosciutto rolls, grape leaves, olives, and all kinds of tapenades and spreads.

If you're ready for lunch, head to the back of the main floor to Buster's Sea Cove for the fresh "catch of the day." Part of the fun is taking a seat at the counter and watching the lively chefs in action. Your chances of snagging a prime spot are better on a weekday. Go for the grilled swordfish or fish + chips. Buster's also operates a year-round food truck serving lobster rolls and fish tacos.

Make sure to sample and stock up
The newer North Market is located across the street. This building houses up and coming food artisans including Toorshi Foods, a purveyor of delicious Armenian pickled vegetables. Owner Hratch Vartanian will gladly offer samples, which add zing to sandwiches (especially hummus) or in salads. They make great gourmet gifts too.

Speaking of pickles, I spotted local Brooklyn favorite, McClure's Pickles, at the market too. The best from around the world, indeed.

St. Lawrence Market
92 Front Street East
Tuesday - Thursday, 8am -6pm
Fridays, 8am - 7pm
Saturdays, 5am - 5pm



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Vendy Awards Crown Best of NYC Street Food

Winning street food looks like this: Best Market Vendor winner Lumpia Shack

Saturday, under a bright blue, blustery sky, I was, um, stranded on Governors Island with nearly 2,000 other eager foodies with nothing else to do but eat our way through 24 of the best street food vendors in NYC. The two dozen contenders, selected from the area's 10,000 mobile chefs, is a rarefied group. And for the past eight years, the NYC Vendy Awards have honored our city's rich, diverse street food culture with a day-long celebration.

Winner of the top prize, the Vendy Cup, went to Piaztlan Authentic Mexican, whose rich, complex flour tacos and homemade salsas begged for more.

The People's Taste Award went to The Cinnamon Snail, a significant nod to the truck's inventive vegan food and desserts (chamomile donuts with lavender glaze are sinfully good). Lumpia Shack took home the Best Market Vendor prize for its delicate Filipino spring rolls. Melt Bakery won Best Dessert for its creamy ice cream sandwiches, and Phil's Steaks was recognized as Rookie of the Year for its authentic Philly cheesesteaks.
Baby Got Back Ribs galore

Award-winning vegan delicacies from The Cinnamon Snail
And Cinnamon Snail's vegan desserts

Savory roti making at Parantha Alley

Piaztlan Authentic Mexican's Vendy Cup winning tacos 

Juicy Chinese Mirch momo
Pestle and Mortar's lobster ceviche

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Three Great Brunches on the Bowery

Pulino's smoked trout salad and eggs
Dining options on the Bowery have simply taken off and that includes some standout brunches.Those who've dined with me know that a brunch menu had better offer more than a standard plate of eggs, bacon and home fries to get my attention. Enter Pulino's, Peels and Hecho en Dumbo.

I never used to consider a pizza joint for brunch. Not anymore. Pulino's not only serves a worthy weekend brunch, but it's one of a few neighborhood restaurants that offers a proper weekday breakfast too. Dominating the corner at E. Houston, interiors feature Keith McNally's trademark subway tiles. It's friendly and airy, perfect for groups and families. The unusual smoked trout salad and eggs ($15) looks like a giant bagel with the works, but is light and satisfying. For a heartier option, try the cheesy skillet baked eggs and fettunta (garlic bread).
Peels build-a-biscuit piled high
Peels is southern comfort on a plate. So what if everyone looks like they walked out of "Gossip Girl"?

If the weather's nice, snatch one of the few coveted outdoor tables. The build-a-biscuit is a classic breakfast sandwich that starts with one beautiful buttermilk biscuit. Then choose your vice. Eggs with bacon, ham, sausage? Smothered in red eye gravy? All up to you. All worth the calories. Peels is also open for breakfast during the week.

A hearty Mexican chilaquiles verdes
Hecho en Dumbo has been serving a consistently delicious and buzzy brunch since opening two summers ago. Not to mention a great value.

A $17 prix fixe gets you an authentic Mexican dish - sweet or savory - served with a cocktail or fresh non-alcoholic beverage.They always greet you with a little plate of deliciousness to start. Sometimes it's tiny palmiers, other times fresh mini sweet buns. I'm partial to the stew-like chilaquiles verdes, featuring corn tortillas and a fried egg layered with shredded chicken and a spicy tomatillo sauce.

282 Bowery @ E. Houston

325 Bowery between E 2nd St + Bleecker

Hecho en Dumbo
354 Bowery between E 3rd + E 4th Sts

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Delicious 'Lunch Hour NYC' Exhibition Opens

Automat, 977 Eighth Ave, Manhattan. Berenice Abbott, 1936
Courtesy NYPL The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art

I love the New York Public Library even more now after catching a preview of its newest exhibition Lunch Hour NYC. This free exhibition opens Friday and celebrates the modern history of the mid day meal that NY virtually invented. 

Power lunches, the rise of the Automat, cafeterias, the soda fountain, school lunches, the 10 cent meal, the first cooking school--it's all in here. Brought to life with dozens of fascinating displays and memorabilia. And it all reflects the evolving yet enduring relationship that work obsessed and time strapped New Yorkers have always had with food. The modern lunch had to be quick, filling and inexpensive.
Video preview of exhibition

A highlight is the Golden Age of the Automat, created by Horn & Hardart, and considered a wonder of the city. Its fancy flagship location opened in Times Square in 1912 and became an instant marvel. A nickel in a slot would get you a hot, fresh, delicious meal from a machine. H&H dishes included lobster Newberg and beef Burgundy from a Cordon Bleu chef. It was the most successful restaurant operation in the country. And the exhibition includes a restored wall of Automat machines, including the back end where all the magic happened.

Other items not to miss:
  • The personal, annotated copy of Noah Webster's dictionary, noting the entry for "lunch."
  • A 1932 menu listing sushi (debunking the thought that sushi first appeared in NYC restaurants in the 1960s.)
  • Pages from the Horn & Hardart restaurant manager's book, instructing managers on preparing menu items and managing the shop
  • Menus from Delmonico's, where the power lunch was born in 1837
  • A "10 cent meal" display showing how tenement mothers fed their families on pennies a day
  • A mid 1900s business map of Midtown Manhattan, noting all of the eateries around Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street

The exhibition continues through February 17, 2013. If you've ever eaten lunch in the city, don't miss it. Check here for related programs.

Free public tours Monday-Saturday at 12:30 and 2:30 pm and on Sundays at 3:30 pm.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mission Chinese

Kung Pao pastrami (front) and pork jowl with radishes

Eating at Mission Chinese, the hottest new restaurant in the hood, is like going to a hipster house party. With really good food. Upon arrival for dinner, you're asked to help yourself to the beer keg while you wait. And there will be a wait, spilling onto Orchard St. That gesture in itself sets the tone for the place. They care.

Sichuan pickled vegetables
It's a good time to take a peek into the open kitchen, where you may catch a glimpse of chef Danny Bowein, creating his magical thrice cooked bacon ($11.50). Chunky belly is steamed, smoked and then stir fried with chewy rice cakes, tofu skin and a little bitter melon. The spicy dish is a must for bacon lovers.

When your table is ready, you'll follow a long hallway into a ramshackle dining room, buzzing with diners. Plates are generous, made for sharing. Start with pickles. Both the turnips and long bean pickles with cumin ($4), and Sichuan pickled veggies ($4) are zesty and refreshing - and spicy.

Many of the dishes are fired up with Sichuan peppercorn. Be forewarned. If you haven't tasted this spice before, be ready for a heat that sneaks up on you, numbs your tongue and doesn't let go. The signature Kung Pao pastrami ($11), with meat smoked for 12 hours, sets your mouth ablaze. That didn't stop me from taking home the leftovers and whipping up an omelet the next day.

Thrice cooked bacon
Other standouts include the non-spicy stir fried pork jowl and radishes, topped with fresh mint ($11), and the broccoli beef cheek ($13), whose tender meat sits in a pool of smoked oyster sauce.

Charity also plays a role for the New York outpost of this San Francisco cult favorite. A portion of sales goes to the Food Bank for New York City.

While Mission Chinese is eyeing Brooklyn for a second location, enjoy it now.

154 Orchard Street (at Rivington)
212 529 8800
Lunch 12pm -3pm
Dinner 5:30pm - 12am
Closed Wednesdays

Mission Chinese Food on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 8, 2012

Smorgasburg Saturdays

Buttermilk Channel fried chicken

Smorgasburg 2012 is the summer's Must Eat event. It's the best of NY's feverish food scene, the motherlode for good grub lovers.

Each Saturday, up to 100 artisanal food vendors - serving everything from crispy fried chicken to spicy bulgogi on a bun - descend on Williamsburg's East River waterfront, transforming it to an all day, family-friendly food orgy.

Besides the quality and variety of food, there's a palpable level of passion from the vendors. It's as much fun to get to know their stories as it is to sample their fare. Meet Steve Blanco, who will tell you how his Moroccan mother's recipe for cookies inspired his creation of Black and Blanco Sandcastles, an addictive selection of crumbly, organic sandies. Or Neill and Renae Holland, a husband and wife team whose mutual love of anchovies and heavy metal spawned Bon Chovie, and a cult following (including me).

Here's the complete vendor directory. Saturdays 11am - 6pm.

Bon Chovie delectable fried anchovies

Fried whiting from Handsome Hank's Fish Hut

We Rub You beef bulgogi
Right Tasty ramp vinaigrette

Take me home

A fest with a view

Friday, June 1, 2012

Nifty Food Items at IKEA

Instant tuna salad with Ikea horseradish sauce
With my recent apartment move came the eventual trips to Ikea in Red Hook. I've never eaten the famous meatballs or been to the cafeteria, but am now a big fan of the Swedish food section. And the prices are so good, it's worth being adventurous. Here's a recap of my new favorites:

Cukes with crab spread
Sås Pepparrot/horseradish sauce (190g $2.99) - Skip the mayo and mix in a tablespoon of this seasoned cream to a can of tuna for a zingy salad. Add a squirt of lemon juice, a handful of chopped celery and onion, celery salt (optional), and salt and pepper to taste. Couldn't be simpler.

Pastej Krabba/crab spread (150g $2.49) - This is an instant party canape in a tube. Amaze your friends with a few squirts of spread on fresh cuke slices. Or even crackers. Garnish with some chopped parsley or chives and voila. It also comes in other flavors like salmon and fish roe.

Sill/jarred herring (250g $2.99) - If you're a fan of pickled herring or curious to try it, do it here. There are five varieties for under $3. I canvassed several Swedes while shopping and the consensus was that it was good stuff. I polished off a jar of herring with onion and carrots, served on some toasted pumpernickel. Delicious.

Mashed potatoes get a flavor upgrade with fried onions
Lök Rostad/fried onions (100g $1.49) - Crispy onions in a tub are another kitchen time saver and perfect to top baked potatoes, blend into creamy mashed potatoes (left), omelets, or in salad dressings.

I didn't get to try everything. So would love feedback on your Ikea edible favorites.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Gelato Ti Amo - Love at First Bite

Wild berry sorbet
I worked on Memorial Day. The assignment involved food. A private gelato tasting to be exact. Someone had to be the first to report on the East Village's new Gelato Ti Amo, the only US outpost of this small, Italian chain.

Co-owner Luca Meacci spoke to me as he worked a small batch into its final stage, softening thick, creamy ribbons of` hazelnut gelato, pausing to add whole nuts along the way.

All 20-25 traditional flavors are made on the premises, using all natural, seasonal ingredients. So the colorant free-pistachio, won't be mint green, but a soft beige from using the finest Italian pistachios from Bronte. Results yield a just sweet enough dessert that allows the soft nuttiness to shine.
Decadent cheesecake gelato
One flavor created in honor of the New York opening is cheesecake. My first bite left me wondering how to refrain from becoming addicted to the sweet, strawberry swirls. It really does taste like cheesecake, thanks in part to a proprietary cream cheese-like ingredient.

Gelato dates back to the Renaissance. The technique uses few ingredients and differs from ice cream in three main ways: a lower butterfat content, a slower churn and a lower storing temperature. The result is a denser, creamier consistency with more intense flavor.

A handful of non-dairy (and non-fat) sorbets taste equally rich and luscious. The outstanding lemon is intense and refreshing. And the mango tastes just picked.
All of the packaging is biodegradable from the spoons to the cups ($3.80 - $7.30) and elegant to go containers ($12.80 - $25.80).

68 Second Ave (at 4th St)
Open daily 11 am - 12 am

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Gourmet Sausage Fest at 5 Boro PicNYC

As noted last month, I'm a huge fan of the humble sausage, which deserves far more respect than it often gets. That's why it's so exciting to suddenly see more chefs getting creative with signature dogs.

I spoke with Jimmy Carbone of Food Karma Projects (and Jimmy's No. 43) about the Memorial Day weekend 5 Boro PicNYC and his decision to give sausages a starring role.  

So big NYC food festivals have gone one of two ways lately: amazing with lots of food and drink available, or abysmal with endless lines and runs on food. How’s 5 Boro PicNYC shaping up?

Food Karma Projects is an experienced NYC food event producer. This will be our third year on Governors Island. We've learned a lot! 5 Boro PicNYC is a manageable food fest. We won't oversell. And our lineup is interesting but straightforward: grilled sausages, tacos, grilled cheese, hot sauce tastings, sides, snacks and desserts. Plus free ferry rides, bicycle rentals, and historic buildings all on a beautiful, kid-friendly island.
And craft beer and live blues are key too! 

The gourmet sausage is such an ideal picnic food. I’m thrilled you are showcasing it this year. How did you make that choice?

It is an ideal picnic food and our partners are creating some incredible varieties. Fossil Farms out of New Jersey has an amazing lineup of wild game sausages and specials like Kobe beef dogs! Chef Jason DeBriere at Peels has been smoking his own sausages in preparation. I visited our sausage partners this week for a preview. What can be better for a summer Memorial Day weekend event?        

Tell me more about what meat lovers can expect to taste.

Grilled kielbasa from East Village Meat Market, custom smoked sausages from Peels, BBQ chicken from Jimmy's No.43, kimchi chicken tacos from Dave Miss (with Tortilleria Nixtzamal in Queens), chili from Lucky 777, and more!

What will my vegetarian friends feast on?

Grilled cheese! Jarlsberg is sponsoring a grilled cheese cook off! We'll have side stations with potato salad, pickles, and cole slaw. And organic rooftop garden salads from Brooklyn Grange.

 Are tickets still available?

Yes, tickets are still available online. There will be tickets for sale day of too. General admission is $25 and premium tickets are $55.

I know Food Karma Projects likes to have a charitable element to your food events. Are you working with any community charities this weekend?

It's true. One of the key components of our events is that we always have charitable/community non- profit partners. We're trying to make a "happening" that brings a lot of people together. Our charitable partners for 5 Boro PicNYC include: Slow Food NYC, Earth Matter (compost center on Governors Island),and Teen Battle Chef (teen culinary program created by Family Cook Productions). Many of the food stations will have teens cooking alongside chefs too!

5 Boro PicNYC takes place on Saturday, May 26 and Sunday, May 27th. 11:30 am - 4:30 pm

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Vendy Awards Creates Sustainable Meat Event

Sustainable jerk chicken, greens and rice from Veronica's Kitchen

Here's an NYC edible experiment worth cheering about.

What happens when you pair local street carts with sustainable local farms, and one outstanding food market? The Vendy Awards + New Amsterdam Market's "International Meats Local."  The concept was launched at this past Sunday's outdoor market.

Former Vendy winner Solber Pupusas drew a crowd
Vendy Awards managing director Helena Tubis hatched tha plan with New Amsterdam Market director Robert LaValva. Tubis sees it as a "really important project [to be] studying the economics of local sourcing for street vendors; seeing how it could make sense for them to use a better quality of meat; and how this would impact the pricing of their food."

Tickets ($20-$35) were exchanged for hefty tastings of five international dishes: meaty pot stickers, spicy jerk chicken, chorizo breakfast burritos, gooey pupusas and fresh tamales.

Taiwanese chicken and beef potstickers from A-Pou's Taste
Former Vendy Award winners - A-Pou's Taste, Veronica's Kitchen and Solber Pupusas - joined  nominees Eggstravaganza, and Guadalupe's Tamales as the vendors paired with sustainable purveyors Bobo Poultry, Marlow & Daughters, Dickson's Farmstand, Saxelby Cheesemongers, Shushan Farm, S&SO Produce Farms, and Rogowski Farm.

And now the Vendys have plans in the works to help vendors source sustainably in general. Can you hear me cheering?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Mile End Jewish Deli Hits Manhattan

Smoked meat sandwich is smokin'
Visiting Mile End on Bond St. on Day One of opening week is really too early to tell much other than the meaty menu will lure me back. Specifically, smoked meat is the star by far. Whether it's the classic smoked brisket (aka smoked meat sandwich), smoked lamb, or smoked mackerel, the process is all done in-house. Ditto for bread baking and veggie pickling.

The Bond Street sandwich shop is the first Manhattan offshoot of the original Montreal-style Jewish deli in Boerum Hill. Husband and wife team Noah Bernamoff and Rae Cohen created an enticing menu of old and new. Jewish classics such as whitefish salad ($10) and chicken and matzo ball soup ($8) sit side-by-side with fried eggplant, ramps and haloumi on pita, smoked lamb sausage with harissa slaw on a zatar roll, and pickled veal tongue with onion raisin marmalade on pumpernickel. Sides include golden beets ($10) and dandelion greens ($10).

Deluxe platter with poutine ($21) was uneven
I stuck with the deluxe ($18) with poutine ($3), a platter that includes the smoked beef brisket on house-made rye, with a side of coleslaw, pickles and poutine, the classic dish of gravy and cheese curd-smothered fries from Montreal. The soft sandwich slices were small but piled high with thickish slices of spice-crusted meat. The infusion of smoky flavor means that nothing more than a schmear of mustard is necessary. It's very, very good.

Unfortunately, other than the hefty sour pickles, it was the only item on the platter that was polished off. The red cabbage slaw was bland, but the real disappointment was the poutine which came out with warm fries coated in cold gravy and cheese curds. I know that wasn't the intention.

The interiors are shiny and bright, with white tiled walls and a giant blond wood high top table in the center. The table is designed for standing only, but has boomerang shaped grooves, to keep parties clustered together.

Mile End adds to the haute deli sandwich concept which is alive and well in the area, from Joe Dough, to This Little Piggy and even legendary Katz's a few blocks away. It's good to have options.

53 Bond St near the Bowery
212 529 2990
8am - midnight daily

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cooper's Craft & Kitchen Elevates Pub Grub

Signature fish 'n' chips shines

One of the most misused food buzz words these days is gastropub.

A mostly American craft selection
The term was born in the UK in the early 90s when quirky London pub The Eagle started serving high quality food with its craft brews. Nothing pretentious, just decently priced, well sourced fare; dishes detailed on blackboards instead of menus. The trend flourished and naturally found its way to our shores. Unfortunately, the concept frequently got lost in the translation as any ol' restaurant was suddenly claiming the title.

One East Village newcomer that actually is a gastropub is Cooper's Craft & Kitchen. Craft beers galore? Check. Tasty comfort food? Check. Chilled, local vibe? Check.

Restaurateur Tom O'Byrne (Dempsey's, Slainte) transformed the out-of-place former Kurve into a welcoming neighborhood corner. Reclaimed wood interiors were once a Pittsburgh barn. Check out the original farm doors along the back wall while scanning the blackboard beer selection. The focus is on rotating American, even local, craft brews, with 24 on tap and 40 bottle options. 

Classic chargrilled steak
Beer also makes an appearance in dishes including the signature fish 'n' chips ($14). It's a stand out. Two meaty hunks of fresh Chatham, MA, cod burst through a crispy IPA-battered golden coating. The pulled pork sandwich ($13), satisfyingly sweet and spicy, is marinated in Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale.

Even the Cooper burger ($14) is topped with a beer tempura onion ring, but also comes with a half dozen other toppings which don't entirely mesh. I am hearing good things about the Drunken Drumsticks ($9), deep fried in breadcrumbs and coated in lemon and thyme.

Craft beer lovers take note: starting next week, Cooper's will offer 5 different brews for 5 bucks a pop, Monday-Friday, 4-7pm. Cheers.

87 2nd Ave at 5th St
646 606 2384
Cooper's Craft & Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bite into Sausage, Inc.

Lamb and pistachio sausage

Here's a great little Cheap Eat in honor of Tax Day.

Tucked under a Greenwich Village block of scaffolding is a little sausage shop with big flavor. Somehow six month old Sausage, Inc. fell under the media radar despite the customer raves. Time to change that.

A small variety of artisan sausages - including a meatless option - are ground fresh daily and served grilled on a pretzel bun and sauteed onions. A hefty mouthful for $5.51.

A tiny sandwich shop with big taste
The most popular is the classic pork and basil filled Blanco. The Farmer blends beef and bacon into meaty goodness. The Thanksgiving, packed with turkey, stuffing and cranberries, is basically a holiday on a bun. Watch out for daily specials including the juicy lamb and pistachio. It gets better. There's a row of homemade sauces for experimentation. Any place with homemade condiments gets high marks from me. Go crazy.

I wish the artisan sausage culture were bigger here. The humble food is often maligned in our country for mystery additives. Sausage, Inc. uses prime cuts of meat with no chemicals or MSG. My vote for additions to the menu: the English banger, Moroccan merguez and Spanish chorizo for starters.

106 University Place (between 12th + 13th Sts.)
212 414 4344
11 am - 2 am daily

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

IACP Inspires NYC Chefs to Reinvent Bagel + Lox

Chef Ryan Tate's gorgeous 'bagel + lox'

I'm involved with the International Association of Culinary Professionals, the world's largest culinary organization. This week, the 34th annual conference takes place in New York City. As part of the festivities, we challenged five top NYC chefs to welcome IACP members with a signature bagel + lox dish. The results were as inventive and playful as ever. 
The Contenders:
Russell Moss, Cafe 92YTribeca executive chef
Ryan Tate, former Savoy executive chef
The Results:
A classic from Zucker's
Most Authentic – Matt Pomerantz has been making bagels for more than 20 years, so it’s hard to mess with a classic. Fresh plain Zucker’s bagel, cream cheese, fine Scottish salmon, Lucky’s tomatoes, red onions and capers made for the perfect deli bite.

Most Inventive – Hands down, Moss’s warm potato pancake with house cured gravlax was the most unexpected culinary delight. The hearty pancake created the perfect bed for layers of caraway and coriander crusted salmon.  Topped with crispy capers and Swedish mustard dill sauce, the dish disappeared in seconds. 
Moss's house cured gravlax
The Work of Art – Tate’s deconstructed plate was almost too beautiful to eat, but my fellow judges and I devoured it nonetheless. A canvas of red cabbage gastrique artfully held a tender cube of milk poached lox, grilled cucumber, an everything bagel ‘cannoli,’ and fromage blanc.  Creative genius.
The Decadent Gut Buster – Spangenthal’s “Rascal” took the cake for pure indulgence. Fresh poppy seed bagel layered high with baked salmon salad, Nova Scotia salmon, tomatoes, onions, chive schmear, and crowned with a dollop of salmon roe. Served with fries! An outrageous Borscht Belt classic.
Spangenthal's guilty pleasure
Pacifico's classic bistro fare
The Classy Bistro – Pacifico’s dish oozed class. Smoked salmon, tossed with fresh greens, capers and preserved Meyer lemons, accompanied a toasted bagel topped with house made cottage cheese and one perfect, crispy poached egg. Clean flavors and elegant simplicity.
The Locations:
Back Forty West, 70 Prince St.
Café 92YTribeca, 200 Hudson St.
Kutsher’s Tribeca, 186 Franklin St.
The conference is hosting a variety of foodie events open to the public, including the largest ever Book + Blog Festival, to meet your favorite culinary authors, on Sunday, April,1. Check the website for details and tickets.