middle eastern picnic

Pistachio baklava at Damascus. Still by Alex Lisowski. 
Damascus and Sahadi’s have been mainstays for about seven years. I love the Sahadi’s hummus, fried cauliflower, spanakopita and even the tiramisu. The Damascus pitas and baklava are likewise wonderful. Many thanks to the Matli brothers and to Charlie and Ron Sahadi for working with shooter/ editor/ director Alex Lisowski and I on this piece about Atlantic Avenue and Governor’s Island.
Posted in adventure | Leave a comment

tres leches at empellón


Still by Alex Lisowski. Tres leches with mango at Empellón.

This week’s piece was just too beautiful not to get a post of its own. How lovely is that tres leches cake?

Lauren Resler, pastry chef at Empellón, deserves credit for its creation, and my co-producer-shooter-editor-director-Englishman Alex Lisowski deserves credit for this shot. I love this dessert. You should stop by, sip some Mezcal or bubbly, and try some. That goat’s milk ice cream is just out of control.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

cheeseburger cheeseburger


A double cheeseburger at The Burger Garage. Still by Alex Lisowski.

Happy Memorial Day, folks. If you’re anything like me, you’re obsessed with grilled meats this time of year. Last week we featured the burgers at The Burger Garage in Long Island City. The brothers running the place are making a very tasty, fast food-style burger with higher-quality meat than you usually find for $6.95– and they’re really nice guys.

The Burger Garage is similar to the Shack in style–although if I had to choose a favorite fast food-style patty the Shack might edge this one out–but this place is in Queens, unlike the Shack, and there’s no line, and if you get a double with onion strings and pickles and sauce on the side and don’t love it, well, then. Hmmph.

Hope you’re having a good weekend, regardless of whether you’re a burger freak. I biked to Coney Island yesterday and it is gonna take that sort of 25-mile roundtrip to keep me in the middleweight fighting category during this summer of bourbon-vanilla ice cream and burgers. Good grief.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

fancy and unfancy foods


Video still by Alex Lisowski

I’ve been happily busy of late and have even had the satisfaction of seeing a few pieces in print. (Remember print?) Here’s a summary:

The May issue of InStyle ran a few Mother’s Day interviews with actors and their moms. I got to meet Chace Crawford (from Gossip Girl!) and his sweet mom Dana. I totally did not call him Nate throughout my interview. OK, I maybe did do that. I also interviewed Blair and Marilyn Underwood, who are lovely.

The May Men’s Health contains a couple of my pieces. I wrote a “match fancy bar food to the right drink” bit with help from the very smart St. John Frizell, and contributed to a larger feature.

Over at CHOW, where I’m a Contributing Editor, co-producer Alex Lisowksi and I pulled together a fun picnic segment thanks to flexible friends and the fine Jamaican food in Flatbush. This week we’re filming an African food segment, about which I am stoked.

Last but not least, I did some copywriting for new food site Gilt Taste. Did you know it’s possible to write 39 tiny pieces in three days? I did not. I wrote about Mitibleu and Mangalica, Persille de Beaujolais and Bee Chocolates. They’ve got a great crew over there, and I wish them the best of luck.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

pride, pernil and precocity

Pernil at Sofrito. Still (c) Alex Lisowski.

So I was keeping an eye on my niece “M” a few weeks ago. She is three, and in constant motion, which has to this point excluded her from a real role in the kitchen. And although my sister was wary, I wanted to make cookies, and I thought we could do it without burning the house down. We got an OK, so I wheeled M to the grocery store in her stroller. She held the bag of chocolate chips above her head, like a heavyweight champion hoisting his belt, all the way home.

To keep her engaged, I tried to keep every step Super Exciting, from measuring the flour– “don’t let me scoop out too much!”– to dropping balls of cookie dough on the sheets. She used her tiny paw to scoop out her own cookie, which we placed on the top-left corner of the sheet. Into the oven it went, and she ran off to watch Jungle Book, with which she is obsessed.

Ten minutes later M was standing at the oven door, begging me to take the tray out. When I did, she demanded her cookie: “Which one is mine?” We sat at the table together and she took a bite.

“This,” she declared with her little lisp, “is the vewy best cookie I have ever eaten!”

I had an identical moment in my own kitchen a few weeks later (about tomato sauce!) and realized my culinary vanity is hereditary. I love that this human instinct– to be so admiring of one’s own creative capacity– is present even in a three-year-old.

Recently my co-producer Alex Lisowski and I shot a segment for CHOW.com about the pernil at Sofrito in midtown. The chef there takes an obvious pride in his work, and I respect him for it. It is a fantastic roast pork shoulder. The recipe is on CHOW.com.

Our next piece is slated to air on Tuesday morning on NY1 in the half hour after 8am. Thanks for watching.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

chole bhatura at sapthagiri

Chole bhatura at Sapthagiri in Jersey City, NJ. (c) Alex Lisowski

Many thanks to Robert Sietsema at the Village Voice for this week’s find. He took a few food writer friends to Sapthagiri in Jersey City last year after reviewing it in the paper, and the food was just wonderful.
I loved the paneer makhni, the coconut uttapam, the samosa chaat, and this wondrous, wild chole bhatura– calorie count be damned. Thanks to Vinny and Praveen for letting us into their kitchen, and to co-producer Alex Lisowski for smart shooting, editing and directing.
Posted in Review | Leave a comment

lemon cake=virtual sunshine


Betty Bakery’s Lemon Cake

Does this weather make anyone else want to eat deviled eggs and drink Tom Collinses, or maybe dance around to the Beach Boys while wearing an obnoxious tropical shirt?

It does that to me.

This lemon cake from Betty Bakery follows the same lines of logic: It’s as sunny and sweet as the weather we’re not having, and it will brighten your mood. I am a fan of every dish I feature for CHOW.com on NY1, but this one? This one I could eat every day. Check out the video here, or catch it on NY1 this Saturday. Thanks for watching, and thanks to Alex Lisowski for directing, shooting and editing this segment.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

fish and chips, deviled eggs, and papaya salad

Hullo, there. I have three new videos up on CHOW.com, which have run on NY1 over the last several weeks. Many thanks to Alex Lisowski for his skilled shooting, directing and editing.

First, I ate some darn fine fish ‘n chips and hung out with my cousin over some Guinnesses at the Cuckoo’s Nest in Woodside, Queens. Many thanks to Paul and Michael for being so accommodating.

Next I tackled the deviled egg, with which I’m slightly obsessed at the moment– though not after making them for a recent party! Prepping and peeling a dozen hard-boiled eggs without bungling the whites is pretty tricky. In the segment I suggest some pairings, because deviled eggs actually go well with certain beers and wines– and if Tia Pol served cocktails, I would have ordered a Tom Collins, with which they’re fantastic. Thanks to Stephanie, Mani and TJ for all their help.

Finally, I headed out to Elmhurst to feature the papaya salad at Ayada Thai. It’s a heck of a dish– so different than you’d expect– and in my piece I make a stab at explaining why. Thanks to Kitty, Nina and Paul for being superlative hosts.

Looking forward to the next few weeks, and to featuring springier fare (c’mon, weather!)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

chilaquiles in harlem


Chilaquiles at El Paso Taqueria

This week’s New York CHOW Report on NY1 features chilaquiles, those great Mexican hangover slayers: Sloppy fried tortillas, tomatillo salsa, cotija, crema fresca, avocados if you ask nicely– and bam! Good times.

Please click on over to see what you think of our little video– and “like” it on Facebook or YouTube or comment with feedback! Thanks, and thanks to the talented Jenny Woodward for shooting and editing.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

nostalgia, irish coffee and dutch kills

It’s pretty nostalgia-inducing to do a piece about Long Island City.

When I lived around the bend from PS1 in 2002 there was only one local grocery store, where a cute cat roamed the premises. Less cute was the fact that the owners stowed open boxes of eggplants and tomatoes on the floor, with a box of cat litter in between them. Also, I’m pretty sure the people who lived above my apartment wore rollerblades in their home all day long, such was the hue and cry they raised.

At any rate, it’s great to see a local– Richard Boccato, who hails from Queens– gently helping transform that neck of the woods with a small, hidden bar called Dutch Kills. It got a ton of hype when he, Karin Stanley and Sasha Petraske opened the venue two years ago, and it continues to deserve it now. I didn’t have a bad drink on my visits, and I really did love this simple Irish coffee. Jameson can have a slightly bitter aftertaste, so to soften it with sugar, cream and coffee makes everything copacetic, whether you’re at the bar or making one at home.

Check it out, if you please, and long live LIC. (Many thanks to Alex Lisowski for his expert shooting and editing, and to my pal Christy Harrison for keeping me company!)

Posted in about me, New York | Leave a comment