Thursday, July 31, 2008
We had a quick meal last week at Terroir, chef Marco Canora’s wine bar in the East Village (Canora also owns Hearth and Insieme). The mid-block restaurant has a long communal table in addition to, of course, the bar. The aluminum stools were infinitely more comfortable than the wooden boxes you find at Momofuku or Momofuku Ssam.
We had a panino with duck ham, Taleggio cheese and hen-of-the-woods mushrooms (this comes apparently from Canora’s days at Craftbar), crisp risotto balls with beets and blue cheese; and lamb sausage with fresh sage.
We both agreed, the food was excellent. So was the bar service. However, I thought the “Summer of Riesling” t-shirts and posters were a bit out of place.... more appropriate in one of those chains from Seattle. The food and wine, like TERROIR, should speak for themselves.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
We were walking to THOR (The Hotel on Rivington) last night and passed by the Streit’s bakery. We looked inside the open window and saw two men taking freshly baked matzoh off the conveyor belt. Without a word, one of the bakers handed us a piece of warm, slightly salted matzoh. I grew up eating Streit’s from their famous pink box but never remembered it tasting so good. It was also nice to know that something is still baked on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
Friday, July 18, 2008
The other night we went to Pylos, a popular Greek restaurant in the East Village. We should have known what sort of attitude you might find from the first page of the menu where consulting chef Diane Kochilas is described as the world’s foremost authority on greek cuisine. Not a bad distinction for a New Yorker of Greek descent who has lived in Greece since the all the way back to the early 1990’s.
Despite not having a reservation, we were able to get a table but only if we finished by 9pm. This sort of agreement is never a great way to start a meal but we took the table anyway. And I’m glad we did.The food was excellent.
We ordered a bottle of 2006 Zoe Skouras, a rose from the Peloponnesos region in Greece and made from the agiogitiko (also known as St. George) grape. Full disclosure - this was the first Greek rose I have ordered. We told our waiter we would start with a few mezethes (appetizers) and he quickly took away all but one our menus. We had Greek giant beans baked in a honey-scented tomato-dill sauce, poikila - a trio of tzatsiki (yogurt dip) , taramosalata (fish roe dip) and melitzanosalata (eggplant dip); horiatiki (classic greek salad) and saganaki – three greek cheeses melted in a clay pot. We ate these with freshly grilled pita bread. With our 9pm deadline approaching, we decided to have have just a few more appetizers – spanakorizo (spinach-rice pilar served with feta, lemon and cracked black pepper; htapothi (grilled octopus with a balsamic sauce and capers) and keftedakia (light-as-air meatballs, pan fried in olive oil). With just a few minutes before the hour, we asked if they any small sweets like Greek cookies. Our waiter told us “no we don’t have any Greek cookies” in a not-so-nice way (think Mike Mulligan). Much to our surprise, the deadline was pushed back for a bit allowing us to have two desserts – galaktobourekakia (phyllo triangles filled with Greek custard and drizzled with honey) and yaourti straggismeno (drained Greek yogurt served with sour cherry, Greek honey and walnuts.
Everything was excellent. Its just too bad the service didn't match the comfort food.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
I celebrated Bastille Day yesterday at my office with a French lunch. We had goose liver pate, cornichons, olives, saucisson, “French style” jambon from Niman Ranch of California, Lescure salted butter and four cheeses:Chabichou du Poitou <pictured> (won name-protection (AOC), guaranteeing the authenticity of its origin. It is made in the very small geographic area above the chalky soils of the threshold of Poitou, halfway between Paris and Bordeaux.); Camembert Chatelain (Camembert is an AOC cow's milk cheese from the Normandy region in northern France) ; Delice de Bourgogne (a triple-cream from Burgundy) and finally a blue Fourme d'Ambert (Legend says it was already made at the time of the Druids and the Gauls; one of the oldest cheeses in France along with Roquefort. Made in the Monts de Forez of Auvergne. Since 2002it has had an AOC grade). We of course had a few baguettes. All this was paired with 2005 Domaine Jaume Côtes du Rhône Villages Vinsobres Altitude 420 (Vinsobres AOC was created only in 2005 , made Grenache (obligatory) and a blend of Syrah and/or Mourvedre). Finally for dessert we had a chocolate moose cake. I’m not sure we could have stormed the Bastille after that lunch.
Friday, July 11, 2008
From EatWellsLiveWells Senior Correspondent Guillaume –
un vrai vétéran de fonds d'extraordinaires
Reviews of the Wines of EatWells LiveWells - we had some wonderful stuff on the oval that evening!
Henri Boillet 2003 Batard Rich aromas of yellow plums and apricots are found in the nose. concentrated, plush, dense, packed w,sweet, pulp-laden white fruits. plump, soft, suave, generous; exhibits a long fruit-filled finish.
Gunderloch 2004 Nackenheim Roth enberg Riesling Spätlese Wine Spectator 94 Intense aromas and flavors of pineapple, apricot, wet earth and stone are exuberant and beautifully integrated with the silky texture and vibrant structure. There's fine depth and a lingering intensity. You can almost smell a spring rain rising from the warm slate. Drink now through 2022. 400 cases imported. –BS
1997 Chateau Montelena Estate Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 95 points Wine Spectator: "This California Cab serves up lots of ripe, supple black cherry, currant and plum-laced flavors, as well as pretty touches of earth, anise and mineral. Turns smooth and supple, finishing with polished tannins. Best from 2001 through 2015." (10/2000) 94 points Robert Parker: "There is no doubting the potential of the 1997 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate. Even by Montelena's standards, this is a powerful wine (in excess of 14% alcohol). There is a spicy, pungent, earthy character dominated by creme de cassis and mineral notions. Full-bodied, stunningly concentrated, and pure, but in need of 4-5 years of bottle age, this blockbuster, concentrated Cabernet Sauvignon should evolve for 25-30 years ... at the minimum." (01/2000)
Charmes Chambertin Grand Cru 1997 Domaine Dujac - Very distinctive. Once you adapt to the truffle, sous-bois (wet forest floor), mature Pinot aromas and focus on the lovely, pure, ripe red berry flavors, there's plenty to enjoy in this medium-bodied, rather racy, traditional red Burgundy. Drink now through 2005. –PM Wine Spectator 91