Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Deep fried pickles and pastrami with sauerkraut

We went to Manhattan for Thanksgiving, planning nearly our entire trip around where we wanted to eat, what specialty markets we wanted to peruse, whether to have the 3 foot high corned beef sandwich at Katz's or the 2.5 foot high one at Carnegie deli. In our current country bumpkin status living on Martha's Vineyard, with a measly handful of restaurants to choose from (at least this time of year, but pretty much all year really if your talking about the good AND affordable ones), we are giddy in the city. Ha! That just came to me!

But really, I was so overwhelmed I didn't take many pictures of my food, which is so UNLIKE me! Luckily, I did get one shot which is so far my favorite food picture I've ever taken... it's a single deep fried pickle wrapped around pastrami, served on a plate of sauerkraut at the 5 Napkin Burger in Manhattan (Upper West Side I think we were)... it sounded fascinating and tasted pretty good, actually... but boy was it dreamy looking there on the plate...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Red Dye #5

There is something special about a cherry dipped vanilla soft serve cone.

According to Facebook, at this writing at least 39 other people feel the same way. It's bright, and sweet, and soft, and cool. It's melty and drippy and just a little bit wrong.

It's a childhood summer getting sticky all over your fingers. LOVE THEM!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lambert's Cove Inn & Restaurant

Something significant has changed, can you tell what it is?

This past August a bunch of friends and I went to the Lambert's Cove Inn & Restaurant. I worked there about ten years ago, when it was managed by a friendly if slightly offbeat couple who owned 13 cats and a stinky (no, reeeaaally stinky) cocker spaniel named Martha. It was quaint, and pastel, and cobwebbed then, and stank like dog whenever Martha cruised through. Nowadays two much hipper gay fellows run the place, and the style has mutated from dusty country Victorian to... I don't know, modern Victorian chic? They've moved the place into the 21st Century; I love the crimson and gold color scheme. There ain't no 13 cats living in there, is what I'm saying.

There were 4 couples in all, a bigger crowd than I'm used to dining with.

Bookshelves- stacked with thick volumes, golf-leafed sculptures of chinese war horses and flickering tea lights- outlined the room. Young servers in starched white tuxedo shirts criss-crossed the room with linen-wrapped water pitchers. One of the dude servers had long shaggy hair swinging loose arond his shoulders, a huge turnoff for me when eating out. We weren't in his section, thank goodness. You work in a restaurant, dude. Get an elastic band, jeez. Basic.

I can't eat mussles, but these look tasty.

I had the roasted beet salad. It was apparently forgettable because even this photo doesn't jog my memory.

I DO remember the lobster gnocchi, because damn... it had lobster and gnocchi in it. Two of my absolute favorites. This was beautiful, creamy, warm, and pillow soft...


This bottle of almost Annabella Cab Sauv almost made me like red wine again, which I'd pretty much given up on. I'm just not a wine person. But this reminded me that it can be really enjoyable; complex and complimentary with your food and just damn tasty.

This wasn't mine, so I forget what it even is. But I took a picture of it, so here it is.

I had roasted duck breast that was served with a watery, nearly tasteless corn risotto. Nothing really stood out. It was rather boring.

It was served with some lovely mushrooms (can't remember what kind), which I portioned out to beef up each bite of the risotto.

Then there was a white peach crisp with vanilla ice cream. The crisp part was extra crispy and crunchy, like cut up the roof of your mouth crispy. But it was sweet and buttery too. The fruit was underripped or undercooked, one or the other. Crisp isn't that hard people. We ate it all though. It just needed a little technique tweaking.

A million dollars later and we were done. We piled into the Model T and drove back in the pitch dark. For reals.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Comb Short

Ugh, can only apologize for these stupid names. I'm just trying to not put too much effort in and just make them rhyme, but I end up with some lame shit. So feel free to offer advice (I'm talkin' to all ya'll devotees reading this and clamoring to offer suggestions).

So we took the 'rents to a fabled restaurant in the little fishing village on the western end of the island. I hadn't been there in at least a decade and couldn't remember any encounters there except it was expensive. Recently they stuck dead fish all over the walls and lacquered the entire room, so the whole thing glossy and shining, with chestnut-colored picnic tables stretching in all directions, kind of like a upscale camp cafeteria.

Does that make it sound like I didn't like it? Cuz I did. I'm just glad I didn't dress up, even though I knew there were $45+ entrees on the menu. With squeeze ketchup bottles on the tables, to boot.

Our server was young and perky, until I realized every worker in there was young and perky. Then I realized that at some point, I got kind of old. Sigh. But that's ok as long as fried appetizers remain a part of my life to some degree. Leading me to sing the praises of this calamari:

Heh nah that's just the kraken.

But for reals, this was tasty!
Even though I prefer pictures more appealing than this one, this was so lip-smackin' I simply had to take a photo of it. Crispity crunchety fried calamari and peperoncini with aioli.........perfect temp, perfect texture, perfect flavor, perfect experiment in arterial plaque.
I love you, Wikipedia.

This is a steamer:
This is a naked steamer:
Thankfully, I'm allergic.
I usually never order lobster from a restaurant, because they're always better when you do them yourself, and half the price. But this is the place to get lobster, or so they say.
So I got a baked stuffed. Even though I once saw how they were prepared when I worked at my first server job at the Barber Jew.... It's frightening and torturous and it makes you pledge to never eat a baked stuffed lobster... until you have one with drawn butter and it makes you come in your pants.

The folks running the 'Short are smart, and do the same plain veg for everyon. Nothing fancy, but cooked correctly it's perfectly tasty and consistent.
Course, I don't start with the veg like I should. I start with the drawn butter. Then there's a lovely stalk of broc left but I don't eat it. Because I'm full of butter.

We managed dessert. Brownie a la mode and Key lime pie, which rarely fails to satisfy. Again, nothing fancy, but perfectly tasty.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


A basic lesson in bread and butter, according to me (if you've got something you feel the need to say about bread and butter, start your own blog):

1. The appearance of bread is most appreciated shortly after food has been ordered and menus taken away.

2. Unless bread is homemade the day of, bread should arrive at the table warm, whether they be rosemary rolls, breadsticks, corn muffins, french bread, focaccia or what have you.

3. Butter should be above the freezing point. Which is the main problem with the photo above, taken at 'Velour'. That was a lukewarm corn muffin with a shard of butter chipped off a little plate with an ice pick. I ripped my muffin to shreds trying to spread my butter shard. Lame.

And finally...

4. Don't serve raisin bread with hummus. For the love of Jebus, just don't. Your customers might eat it if they're hungry, but it will make them feel sad.

Nursing a grey goose dirty martini, I started with lobster and crispy leek spring rolls. They were ok. One saucy was soy-y, one was sweet and soury. They were crispy and warm enough. Nothing stood out in particular but I had no real complaints.

Now this Caesar salad, on the other hand, had a major, nearly unforgivable flaw. Can you guess?

Stale, MUTHA FATHER croutons! Can you imagine my horror? Don't even try. Make me barf, stale croutons. An ugly and awful crime against any salad.

My entree was excellent. Homemade pappardelle (in Italian, “to gobble up," or so says the internet. Which never lies), with had some sort of herb that colored the pasta a speckled green. With fat pink shrimp, cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts and seared sea scallops. It was pretty oily but really quite wonderful. I'd say the homemade-ness of the pasta is what did it. There was enough for leftovers, which were equally as delicious the next day.

Then there was dessert, which never had a chance of seeing another day.

Not a great picture, but they were hot cinnamon donut bites with a whipped cream-topped mocha ...mousse? It wasn't as light as a mousse, and to be honest it looked like a teacup filled with room temperature bacon fat, sort of tannish-brown and flecked with dark goopy spots. But omg...the warm, soft, sweet, moist donut bites melting on your tongue and then chased by a little spoonful of creamy espresso and chocolate sweet squishiness...heavenly!

Friday, August 13, 2010


I ate this meal about a month ago, and still when I see that broken Gruyere ball, oozing out all it's goopy salty fried goodness, I get all tender and runny inside.

That salad was marred only by a large slice of lemon, rind and all, that had been placed surreptitiously under a pile of greens and which I placed in its entirely into my mouth. I don't know about you, but I don't find chewing on lemon rind and pith to be an enjoyable experience. In fact, I felt a little annoyed that they'd placed in there so sneakily, as that particular bite was a real buzz kill. I had been busy savoring the bitter greens and the crispy ball of fried cheese, which was large enough for me to parcel out piece by piece, so that there was one cheese bite for each salad bite, just the way I like it. Then I spent 5 minutes hating lemons with my mouth watering to get the bitterness out. Yeah, I know, "wah." Just sayin'.

Here's the salad before I popped that yummy little cheese cherry. Heh.

My entree was braised shortribs (again with the lemon, jeez... a little goes a long ways guys) and softshell crab.

The veg was baby bok choi and early radish, some hybrid sprouted from our server's boyfriend's Aquinnah garden. My but those figs look nice, hmm?
The shortribs were the most delicious thing about this dinner, once I'd scraped away half of that lemon rind. Otherwordly tender, the way only shortribs can be, marbled with layers of fatty marvelousness. Marble-ousness, if you will.
My main complaint besides that god forsaken lemon was the barely suppressed snobbishness when I asked for a cocktail menu. My companion argued for the restaurant's side (yeah, thanks), saying if they want to be strictly a "wine place" they don't have to reach out to the cocktail drinkers of the world.
My argument that they already had a full bar, why not have a small list of specialty cocktails, which makes it easy and fun to choose a drink they might not otherwise be able to come up with. By not only not having such an offering, but treating even the question with veiled contempt shows to me a lack of the kind of customer-centered philosophy that would exist in the dream restaurant I'm running in my head where everyone loves to go because it is perfect. Snarf.
But seriously. I was ready to spend money on a $12 cocktail, but I wasn't about to come up with it myself. So I drank water instead. How does that work out for you, wine snob restauranteurs?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Wham Bam Thank You Clam

I am, sadly, allergic to clams, but this is the big seafood vendor in the area and they're the place to go for fish, mollusks etc... let's call them Wham Bam Thank You Clam. They recently received a shipment of softshell crab, and were selling sandwiches cheap. It was tasty, hot, crunchy, salty, definitely 'oceany', although part of me has trouble with the idea of eating an entire crab, swimming fins, protective coverings, juicy organs and all, especially knowing they were in such a vulnerable state when they were harvested... still, add some tartar, lettuce, tomato and soft bun, and they make quite the dramatic lunch item.