About this blog

My mother was a great cook. My father loved to eat.
I am the Man from Pawtucket and this is my story. Here you will find a collection of observations, from Central Falls to Central Park, from Pawtucket to Paris, about Eating Well. Bon Appetit.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

La Tour de Montlhery Chez Denise restaurant

Paname, December 29, 2009.

My last meal was comforting. This time I needed something more
challenging!
A couple of weeks ago my girlfriend Dayana and I took advantage of the
snow storm in New York to go to Peter Luger in Brooklyn. We called the
restaurant that night expecting a few cancellations and booked a table
at the last minute. We walked to the restaurant under the snow defying
the freezing wind. We shared a dry aged Porterhouse steak. To be
honest it was not what I was expecting but it was very good anyhow.
I couldn't let my last meal be so comforting! I wanted to challenge
myself, leave my comfort zone. The other night my parents, my sister,
and I went to La Tour de Montlhery Chez Denise in Paris. Chez Denise
is a relic from an era long gone. It is located near
Chatelet-les-Halles where the wholesale market (les Halles) used to
be.


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At that time Paris had a belly (ventre) as Emile Zola puts it in
his book Le ventre de Paris referring to les Halles. Nowadays - I
quote food writer Francois Simon – Paris only has a belly button! So
Chez Denise is allegedly the only restaurant left from that time. It
is meant for people with appetite like the one of Gargantua.
My father, following my advice, ordered the tripes au calvados
(chitterlings). This is what I usually order when I go there. They are
served in a copper saucepan. It's not peppermint, it's not chocolate
but it's delicious! My mom chose the civet de cerf sauce grand veneur
(deer). Actually I chose for her, as she couldn't make up her mind as
usual. My sister had the steak tartare. A classic of French cuisine.
It was the size of a camember! Last but not least, I chose … the tete
de veau sauce ravigote (veal's head)! First time ever. To go with the
dinner we ordered a bottle of Brouilly, a red wine from the Beaujolais
area, light and fruity.
When my dish arrived on the table I was very excited. I inspected it
carefully. There was obviously the brain, the cheeks, the tongue, and
… the rest! I couldn't even identify most of the pieces.
I decided to start with the brain. The sight of it had not deterred me
from eating it. I courageously cut a piece of this white creamy offal
and put it into my mouth. It's surprisingly good.
The taste is good, the texture is soft. So why is it so hard to
swallow!? My palate finds it quite good, my mind as open-minded
food-wise as it can be is revulsed, I have a knot in my stomach. Each
mouthful is psychologically a challenge. I need to breath profoundly.
But so far so good. The most difficult is behind me. Then I tried the
different pieces. Some were meaty, some were chewy, others were
crunchy. Overall the taste is fine and delicate, the smell reminds me
the one in a butcher shop.
The tete de veau is well known to be the favorite dish of Jacques
Chirac. A lot of people love it. Although I won't crave for it –
hopefully because that would be another challenge to find it in New
York - I like it. Actually I tried it at the restaurant because Dayana
had already warned me not to bring home a pig's head to make
headcheese or anything like it.
Even thought the tete de veau was more than fulfilling, I ended the
dinner with a baba au rhum, a spongy cake soaked in rum.
Now it's time to think about what my first meal of 2010 should be.









Guillaume P Delpech

Deputy Correspondent

Friday, December 11, 2009

Siroc, Washington, DC

Siroc Restaurant, 915 15th Steet in Washington, DC. Lunch with Lurker W's older brother... the tax masta of K Street. We had the 4 appetizers - octopus 'salami'; beef rolls; potato torte and scallops with artichokes. For the main plates, we had capellini with clams and tagliatelle with scallops. A good time was had by and well worth a return trip.

Bistro bis, Washington, DC

Bistro Bis, Washington, DC. After a great brunch a few months ago, I decided to return to this restaurant located close to Capitol Hill. For starters I had venison sausage followed by cassoulet. While not the rich, creamy one I had at Christian Constant's restaurant in Paris, it was pretty good. Made all the better, with a few glasses of gamay.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The other island


December 5, 2009

After a cold and wet soccer game we were in need of some food and warmth so we found ourselves at Gennaro's, at the corner of Hyland and New Dorp Lane on Staten Island. We had a large plain pie and one with garlic and anchovies. While I can't say it was the best pizza, it was fresh and hot and a perfect stop after a game at Miller's Field.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Opia

December 4, 2009

I had a surprising decent lunch at Opia Restaurant. I had eaten there a few times before and was quite disappointed. Today was a pleasant surprise, particularly the beef, which in the past had been cooked to a tough, chewy, gray hunk of meat.

Crepe Farci (crepe stuffed with Chanterelle mushrooms)
Tournedos Rossini (filet mignon, fois gras and truffles)
Tarte tatin with vanilla ice cream

Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Do numbers lie?

#4030.

If you want to buy Italian Kiwi Fruit, that's Price Look-Up code, or PLU, you'll need. Otherwise, you might be charged for homli fruit (#4300)!

Conventionally grown products will have a 4 digit PLU code.
Organic products will have a 5 digit code starting with the number 9.
Genetically engineered (GE or GMO) products will have a 5 digit code starting with the number 8.

My kiwi fruit was not organic.

For a complete list, look here International Federation for Produce Coding


Monday, November 16, 2009

Rhode Island Trip Report

October 2009

Last month brothers Bob and Lurker W traveled to Providence
RI, for a weekend of eating before a big Pats game in
Foxborough.

The eating started right in at Twins Pizza in North
Providence, a local landmark that just celebrated its 50
anniversary. We feasted on RI favorites snail salad, sauteed
peppers, and grapenut custard pudding. The main event of
course was Twins's famous pizza. We got one with black
olives and mushrooms, and one with linguica and banana
peppers -- both ordered "well done" as opposed to medium (a
Twins peculiarity). The crust was excellent on both pizzas,
but I liked the traditional olives and mushrooms a little
more. (see pictures)

Saturday morning we had an excellent breakfast at Nick's on
Broadway
, a very popular spot with the hip West Side crowd.
Somewhat of a wait even though it was early on a rainy
Saturday, but it was worth it. Breakfast sandwich with
prosciutto and a bowl of yogurt, granola, and fruit for me,
omelet for Lurker W that was devoured in mere seconds. Great
coffee too. (see pictures)

Lunch on Saturday was just leftover pizza that held up very
well, and a muffaletta that Lurker transported from Central
Grocery in New Orleans
.

For dinner we drove over to the Back Eddy in Westport MA.
Because it was rainy we didn't get to experience the Back
Eddy's legendary sunsets, but we got the usual fresh, well
prepared local seafood (oysters, swordfish, cod). (see
pictures)

Pregame breakfast on Sunday was once again at the Modern
Diner in our hometown of Pawtucket. We each got one of the
Modern's weekend French toast specials, and made short work
of them. Tip: go early on Sunday to avoid the waits, which
can be very long. (see pictures)

Finally, a trip to RI would not be complete without some
greasy pizza strips. We picked up some at DeFusco's in
Cranston. Delicious as usual.

Another great eating trip to RI!






Saturday, November 7, 2009

Rabbit Day






November 6, 2009 -

Today was rabbit day. Under the guidance of Chef Mark, we made a fricassee of rabbit served over fresh egg noodles, roasted bacon wrapped rabbit loins stuffed with garlic, rosemary and bacon and a fricassee of brussels sprout (or brussels sprouts) and more bacon. Everything was delicious.

Lurker W's Younger Brother

Friday, November 6, 2009

Motorino Pizza Napoletana - NYC

November 5, 2009

I tried Motorino Pizza Napoletana for lunch with a couple of food lovin out of towners and came away pleasantly surprised. Located in the same space that formally housed Una Pizza Napoletana in the E. Village, this branch of the Williamsburg original is welcome addition to the neighborhood. The $12 lunch special comes with a pie of choice and either a mixed green salad or ice cream.

The mixed green salad came with a little red onion and chive and served with side of balsamic and olive oil. I liked everything about this salad. Fresh greens and just the right amount of vinaigrette. For the pizza's we tried one with brussels sprouts, smoked pancetta, mozzarella, garlic and pecorino and the soppressata piccante with mozzarella, spicy soppressata, garlic, chili and pecorino. Both pies came to the table with that nice blistered char that you could only get from a VERY hot wood fire oven. The crust had the right amount of crunch to chew ratio for me and the toppings complemented, but didn't overwhelm.

Everyone enjoyed these pies and I'll definitely be back!
Sam W.




Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Creek, Long Island City, Queens, NYC

For some great tacos check out The Creek in LIC on Jackson Avenue. Part restaurant, part bar with live music, The Creek serves some of the best tacos in town.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Schnitzel Haus in Brooklyn







October 17, 2009

After a very physical soccer match against the Chernomorets Black Sea at Dyker Beach, we decided to try out the Schnitzel Haus in nearby Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. It appeared to be the perfect choice for a cold, rainy October night. We were right about everything except the food and service (the beer was excellent). After a long wait for a table, we ordered some appetizers which took longer than the wait for the table. The salads came with 'house vinaigrette' (rather haus) but tasted more like Russian dressing. The schnitzels, instead of being tender and juicy, were tough and dry, made even more difficult to eat with the $0.25 fork. Despite the challenging food and service, a good time was still had by all.

Lurker's Plums



Lurker's Plums....a delicious tart.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Elaine's Cafe - Milo, Maine

October 10, 2009

If you find yourself in Milo, Maine and looking for some home cooking then head straight to Elaine's Cafe (24 West Main Street Milo, Maine; 207 943 2705). We all ordered the Saturday Morning Special of biscuits & sausage gravy with 2 eggs for $4.99. I also ordered a grilled raspberry muffin as I can't pass up "homemade". With the exception of the coffee that tasted weak and watery, everything else really hit the spot on this chilly morning.

Upon paying the tab I noticed a variety of donuts at the register. After hearing that they were homemade I picked up a dozen for the camp. Apple Cinnamon, Blueberry, Molasses, Chocolate, Glazed, Old Fashioned, Cinnamon & Sugar. All were good, but the Blueberry were OUTSTANDING! We'll definitely be back!
Sam W.




Thursday, October 1, 2009

Lewes, Delaware Trip Report

August 2009
Lewes, Delaware Trip Report (a little Rehoboth and Dewey too)

By Lurker W’s Older Brother

We're back from a week in Lewes, and the news is good. There is a ton of great food to be had in that wonderful little town.
Blue Plate, Savannah Rd, Lewes.: We tried this place for breakfast. It was crowded when we arrived and more crowded when we ieft. With good reason. The food is very good (omelets, french toast, etc.). As you'd expect from the name, nothing too frou-frou. Just good solid food. Great choice for families with small kids.

Jerry's Seafood, Second St. Lewes: As many of you know, this is the home of the famous crab bomb. The crab bomb is a ten-ounce softball-sized mass of lump crabmeat and not much else. It costs $34. The question is, is it worth it? The answer is yes. Ten ounces of lump crabmeat is a lot of crabmeat. Really good. Ours came with decent redskin mashed potatoes and very good haricots vert. We also got a good appetizer of fried calamari (decent amount of tentacles). The twins shared a portion of pan-fried shrimp in sherry butter sauce. Quite luscious. Note: The menu item was pan-fried trout and shrimp, we asked if we could just get shrimp, the answer was yes, and the price was $4 less than the trout/shrimp combo. Well played, Jerry's.
They also have the usual kid's menu but ours love shrimp so we let them split an adult entree.

Cafe Azafran, Markert Street, Lewes: OK, this is a great place. It seems to be beloved among the locals, and with good reason. We had a wonderful meal on the patio (dog friendly, btw). Mrs. W. got the Seafood Tarragona (a bouillabaisse sort of dish), the twins got bowls of al dente orichiette (!) with butter, and me and my brother Lurker W. shared 9 tapas/appetizers. A word about the tapas: You might think small plates, but these are not small plates. You will be well fed. We over-ordered and were very well fed. Standouts included the sea scallops, the fresh mozzarella and roasted peppers, and the La Mancha plate (cheese, ham, chorizo, romesco sauce). We could have had a third person share these dishes and still been quite full.
Add to this very good bread, assorted olives, white and red sangria, and wonderful desserts (I got panna cotta, everyone else was too stuffed), and you've got a real winner. Oh, particularly good service too.
Note: this place is open all day and appeared to be packed whenever I looked in. Beseme, Hotel Rodney, 2nd St, Lewes: We hit this place for a late breakfast and had the lovely dining room to ourselves. We mainly got crepes, which Beseme is known for, and were not disappointed. Maybe a little too expensive, so not what I'd call a "deal," but still worth a stop. We'd go back. Notting Hill Coffee Roastery/Lewes Bake Shop, Second St. Lewes: This is Oby Lee's Lewes outpost. Same great coffee. Nice people. Very cozy little place.

Crabs: Lazy Susan's vs. Crabby Dick's, both on Route 1 (Coastal Hwy between Rehoboth and Lewes). Lazy Susan's claims to be the home of "hot fat crabs." All they had were mediums at $36/doz. They were hot, and tasted fine, but in no way were they fat. In fact, they gave us more than a dozen. The steamed shrimp at $14.99/lb were decent, as were the hush puppies. Overall, nothing special.
After that, Mrs. W was still craving crabs, so she treated herself to a few at Crabby Dick's. Her verdict: No contest. The ones she got were around $60/doz, but were huge (she sent me a pic of one of them). So, despite the silly name, Crabby Dick's gets Baltimorean Mrs. W's seal of approval.

Pizza: Grotto and Louie's. We hit our usual two spots and both delivered. Grotto in Dewey -- basic large cheese, with salad and meatballs. The garden salad is way overpriced at $5.99, but the pizza was great and the meatballs were too -- the twins devoured them as always -- but a little smaller than usual.
Louie's on Rehoboth Ave -- again, the basic large cheese pizza, and grilled hot dogs for the kids. Two winners.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Café Constant







September 10, 2009

For starters, we had tartare of oysters, salmon & bar, terrine of shin & foie, for main plates, stuffed quail & roasted guinea fowl with polenta 'lincoln logs'.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Chez L'Ami Jean







September 9, 2009

We went to Chez L'Ami Jean for dinner. This is chef Stephane Jego's bistro in the 7th arroindisement.
For desert we had the "le riz au lait" , described as the best in ze world. It was certainly the biggest bowl we have seen for two people.