Gothamist launches recipes

Yesterday Gothamist launched a new food section that will feature a weekly column/recipe from Joe DeSalazar, founder and chef of foodie. Using Thomas Keller's Butter Poached Lobster recipe as a starting point, Joe's created Butter Poached Lobster & Peach Salad Avocado, Mint, Frisee. It sounds delicious and like something I might have to try and create. I'm sure I'll be checking in weekly to see what else Joe concocts.

The declining state of diner dining

A rather disheartening article in the week's New York magazine, The Death of the Diner: What's killing the cheeseburger deluxe?

Sad but true: The classic New York coffee shop is fading fast. The recession is part of the problem; according to Pan Gregorian Enterprises, a purchasing co-op for coffee shops and diners that has 475 local members, revenues were down 20 percent last year. But there are other forces at work, from skyrocketing rents to Starbucks hegemony, that are forcing coffee-shop owners…into retirement.

Some of my favorite Manhattan places to eat are diners: in Tribeca I frequently had lunch at the Square Diner (at the intersection of Leonard and West Broadway), closer to my hood I like Joe Jr's on Sixth Avenue and the Bonbonniere on Eighth Avenue. And whenever I go to the movies up on 34th Street, I like to have a pre-theatre meal at the Cheyenne, at Ninth Avenue and 33rd Street.

One of the things I missed most about the east coast during my tenure in San Francisco were diners, and one of the highlights of my first return to New York City after an absence of many years was our trip to the now-demolished Jones Diner. It might have been the final push I needed to move back east. I've never tasted a better grilled cheese, or a worse cup of coffee, or had a nicer time on a cold winter's afternoon with the light fading into a cruddy January grey. There's a lot I could do without in this world, but I can't say that I want to live a life without my diners.

I scream for poutine

In the midst of lively recounting of Canada Day, Maciej enjoys his first dish of the Canadian delight, poutine (cheese curds, brown gravy, and french fries).

The brown gravy was turpid and dark, with a sturdy tannin structure supporting notes of oak, wood smoke, spice, aniseed and musk. There was the faintest hint of chocolate and raspberry in the finish, though that may have reflected a previous use of the serving dish. In the nose, the poutine was beefy and slightly insolent – I detected an almost wanton playfulness, the evanescent flavors frolicking together like young beavers in a GaspŽ pond at dusk – but in the mouth it opened to reveal a velvety (or perhaps Velveeta-like) smoothness that tenaciously clung to every membrane in my mouth, esophagus, and stomach for the next three hours.

Now who wouldn't want to eat that?

Dear Roger “Fatty” Clemens

Today in Slate, an open letter to former Red Sox pitcher (and tonight's starter for the National League in the All-Star Game) Roger Clemens, Roger and Me: Why I hate the greatest pitcher of all time.

But here's the real problem with your behavior: Fans like to think that players are giving it their all. All the time. I like to think that, anyway. But then I'm just a simple, good-hearted man, a man who wants to believe in heroes. How can I believe in heroes, Mr. Clemens, when the world is home to people like you? It's clear that you just try hard when you feel like it.

Sadly that seems to be the general state in sports these days, and why I tend to be a big fan of the hustlers still making names for themselves. I can relate to the author's anger. Also he calls The Rocket, "wicked fat." Ha ha ha. What is it with ballplayers? They're like the fattest professional athletes, with so many guts and bellies. I mean, if you're a nose guard, sure you've got a gut. But you're not supposed to dive and make a catch and run between bases. Wicked fat. Ha.

More of a good Blue Hill thing

New York has a review of the new restaurant, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, located 30 miles north of New York City in Pocantico Hills, New York. I'm a big fan of Blue Hill in Greenwich Village, and when I first heard about the new spot, I added it to my list of restaurants to investigate, it sounds delicious. Also if you're interested in Blue Hill, be sure and check out the article (not available online), "Back on the Farm" in the July 2004 Gourmet by Blue Hill chef Dan Barber. It's all about going to his family farm with his staff to plant and pick veggies. Sounds wonderful. And yummy!

Just a truck kind of gal

I don't come from a family of car people, you know, those kind of people that actually car about cars, buy new cars, keep their cars clean, and/or actually name their cars. No, my parents represented that rarest of California demographic during their eight years in the Bay Area: the one car family. Nearly my whole life our four-person family had one solid, dependable car. Nothing too flashy, and rarely anything new. At this very moment, my parents swear their current car (purchased used) is satisfactory, even though they just had the door welded back on because it was rusted through and nearly fell off.

So imagine my surprise this summer when I discovered that there was a vehicle for me! After years of avoiding driving as much as possible, and in general demonstrating great distain for all things car, I've unlocked one of my life's mysteries. You know how they say you really figure out who you are in your thirties? Well I've discovered I am a truck person!

I've been lucky to have a 1996 Ford pick-up at my disposal this summer, and boy have I enjoyed tooling around in it! Aside from its obvious greatness due to its green color, it's also just fun. It bumps along the dirt roads in a very satisfying manner. Its bed is perfect for holding my clamming gear, or mulch, or just beach chairs. And everywhere I go, I share knowing nods with other island pick-up truck drivers. Yup, I may not be a car person. But I sure am a truck person.