Aji’s House

Fri, Nov 21, 2014 by

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Bangalore, India

Next week marks a year from our last India trip. I still have so many stories to tell you all about that adventure and 2014 has proven full of obstacles that have kept me from typing out these moments. As a another scratch in the surface of the trip, like I tried to do back in February, I want to share my favorite meal from the entire trip.  The anniversary of this trip along with my plans for this year makes this especially relevant. Aji’s house, Missus Tasty’s grandmother, is a typical Bangalore apartment filled with the hustle, bustle, decor and food you find in most families. For me it’s the finest restaurant I could be privileged to attend. It is in peoples homes that meals transcend taste and smell and become something etherial and even spiritual. Three of the five things on the above plate were made specifically because Aji, my Aunties and my Mother-in-Law knew I love those recipes. The other two were what they love to make and they wanted to share that with me. Delicious doesn’t even begin to describe the taste but beyond that the experience of sitting in the apartment, talking, nibbling, laughing and exploring were priceless.

Next week I get another version of this meal. This time at my in-laws in Canada. The food rivals Aji’s house and is even more catered to my tastes. I am definitely a little spoiled when it comes to my in-laws. So much that my coined term “Puri Party” is a given for at least one of the afternoon meals. This year the Amsterdam contingency will be in the house as well and I can’t wait. A full house with the whole family is going to produce lots of smiles and some very full bellies. Aside from the four days of home cooked goodness that await me, this year the stakes are upped. I am learning to make those delicious puri’s from scratch. (the two golden, round things on the plate above) So watch out for that post. I might even do a step-by-step. If you need me after Wednesday I’ll be deep in a bowl of ಮೊಸರು-ಅನ್ನ…ohh uhh, I mean, mosaranna…umm, you know, curd rice?…yogurt rice!…You get it. It’s amazing!

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Old Saw Mill Delicious Dust

Fri, Nov 14, 2014 by

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Italy-June 2014

Carlo e Camilla in Segheria • Milan

As those who follow religiously know, Missus Tasty and I spent a week (two weeks for her) in Northern Italy a few months back. Amongst the small lake towns, tourist trap cities and true Italian ONLY villages we hit, Milano was the in and out point. We saved 2 days for a walk through the fashion capital. There were few highlights to note except this one. Having opted out of Carlo Cracco’s two Michelin star, 174€, tasting menu, in the left ventricle of tourista Milan, I let my well seasoned traveling gastronomer take charge. NOTE: Gastronomer might be a word I just coined* 

Michelin doesn’t just give out stars so, a chef that has two has to be superb. If that chef is business minded, or has a great business partner, they understand the need for a less expensive outpost that can turn many more covers a night and cater to those with shallower pockets. The insight here is that no two starred chef is going to make Applebee’s food at their “bistro”. On this premise we decided to book a spot at Carlo e Camilla. Tucked in the hip Navigali neighborhood housed in a repurposed saw mil, you gain access through a small wood door built into the side of a wall. Once through, the space opens up into a gravel floored courtyard with several sitting areas made from mismatched, but very modern, design furniture. Walking into the main building you are greeted by a leather and dark wood clad bar tucked into the corner. Past the bar the room opens up to a cavernous room with an enormously long cross shaped table. We’re talking hundreds of feet in all directions. Click the jump for a pic and the rest of the story.

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Forked with David DiMicco

Mon, Nov 10, 2014 by

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David DiMicco

David was shooting digital photography in 1998. I was a young junior Art Director and he was this pioneering photographer that taught me how to use digital photography in creative and in business. He also would cook me lunch whenever there was a client in the studio. It was sort of the ritual down at ICON Digital. We recently reconnected over dinner and picked up right where we left off. He’s still shooting, now in a studio down in Chelsea instead of the Flatiron where we met. He grew up in restaurants so we’ve always talked food. Here’s what he had to say..

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SF Giants Bowl of Tasty

Fri, Oct 31, 2014 by

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Cioppino-Anchor Oyster Bar

Anchor Oyster Bar • San Francisco

In honor of this weeks San Francisco Giants victory and all my SF peeps in full celebration, I think this hit is worthy of a mention. First off, this should have been a Forked with Ben Long but I “snubbed him” according to him. I eat with him so much that I think he deserves a better photo than what this joint allowed me to produce. He looks at it as a dis. We’ll remedy that shortly. Back to the bizness of taste, this “off menu” item is a secret gem (local Knowledge courtesy of the aforementioned, pissed off Ben). The spot holds a line outside for its precious 15 seats. Once settled in your chair, order like a local. Cioppino is nowhere on the menu so muster up your best confidence face and ask the waitress “What’s in the cioppino tonight?”. Then, make sure to ask for the full crab, two kinds of mussels and shrimp++++.  She’ll guide you into what’s fresh and what’s not worth of being in the stew. From there, sit back and wait. Don’t fill up on oyster crackers. When it finally came I audibly gasped at the size and smell. You all know I’m a BIG BREAD AND BROTH GUY. This hit new heights. Just look at that garlic cheese bread. The broth has such deep flavor with just the right heat and spice, I could brush my teeth with this daily.

Go there:
Anchor Oyster Bar
579 Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 431-3990

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Metropole • Cincinnati

Mon, Oct 27, 2014 by

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metropole

This week marks the launch of a campaign that’s been in the making for over a year. In that year I’ve become quite familiar with Cincinnati. There’s a lot of  Tasty that’s popping up all over town but my first trip still marks one of my favorite spots and killer dishes. Actually in this case it’s a single component of a dish. The above smoked grapes seem a simple garnish amongst the goliath, bone-in pork chop and caramelized, “burnt” carrots that shared plate space. Pulling these these fruity miniatures off the plate and giving them their own porcelain stage is the smartest move you can make. I first had one by itself. I let the smokey, grape juice run about my mouth making sure it extended the length and sides of my tongue. It’s a flavor like none other and a genius preparation. A few grapes in with some of the smoked meat never hurt the smoker and the benefit to my dish is 100 fold. It complimented the pork better than anything else on the plate, in fact, it could be reigning champ of pork accoutrements. Mighty Quinn, get on on this action. Most every other bite you can get at Metropole is fantastic. It comes out of the kitchen with much care and love and that always makes things taste even better. Check out a few of these dishes on the jump.

Go there:
Metropole
609 Walnut St
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 578-6660

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Marlowe • San Francisco

Wed, Oct 15, 2014 by

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Marlowe, Manhattan

This is a throw back from a few years ago. I dug it out of the drafts bin today because I’m planning a dinner in SF for some VIP exec types and Marlowe is on my recommend list. Thing is, since I have devoured this provolone smothered open faced sandwich I’ve been a big Marlowe fan and now a big Cavalier fan too. (more on that in a few days) One of my favorite things the restaurant had was a giant roll of butcher paper mounted to the wall. Each day they’d roll out a piece and write the specials on it. Aside from being a fan of paper on a roll, the transience of the idea matches the special food items perfectly. Marlowe just reopened in their new space at the beginning of this month. It’ll be exciting to see what they’ve done with it. With my boarding pass for SFO downloaded into my passbook, I’ll be checking out the new space and hoping to see the butcher paper roll mounted on one of their new walls. Their will be plenty of SF eats coming in the next few days.

Go there:
Marlowe
500 Brannan St, San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 777-1413

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Abigail Street • Cincinnati

Fri, Oct 10, 2014 by

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Abigail Street

In honor of this weeks project completion, I’m posting an unexpected, and almost missed, killer dish. It happened on a Cincinnati trip for an Isotoner meeting that stranded me over night. Thanks LGA. After my delay stretched to a cancellation I booked a quick Hotel Tonight room near the airport, called an Uber and was headed to the OTR within 10 minutes. That’s Over the Rhine for those not in the Cincy know. Think of the OTR as the Williamsburg, Silver Lake or Mission of Cincinnati. Converted old factories on the edge of a not so safe area has spawned a handful of stand out restaurants with more to come. On the way back to the city from Kentucky airport Open Table helped me secure a res at two of the forth coming tasties my evening would produce.

Abigail Street and Daniel Wright has their shit down. The small-ish plates menu cascades from mini tasty to hugely delicious in both size and flavor. Somewhere in the middle sits this sleeper scallop dish that shouldn’t be missed. Perfectly seared scallops with roasted mushrooms and bacon sit on top of a hearty mountain of maftoul. Maftoul is a Palestinian couscous much like, as expected, Israeli but far from the more commonly seen Moroccan version. Drizzled atop all that goodness is a smoked egg vinaigrette which makes this dish incredible. This dressing brings together the other elements in a harmonious parade of goodness like playing a Notorious B.I.G. hit on acoustic guitar and a 1990’s synthesizer. Delicate yet BADASS.

PS-More on the Isotoner project when it officially launches.

Go there:
Abigail Street
1214 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 421-4040

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This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef • Manhattan

Fri, Oct 3, 2014 by

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This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef, Manhattan

I’ve been rolling through the East Village a lot this week. The difference in the hood from when I lived off the corner of 14th and 2nd is remarkable. Not that this is news to me just that I chose now to discuss it. In those days Crif Dog had just popped up, we’d dance the night away at Plant and we’d late night munch at 7A or Stromboli. I’ll stop aging myself and spare you the sarcasm and disgusted commentary that comes with an aging, ex-East Village, resident reflecting on “How it used to be”. Honestly, there is not much to complain about. Of course, the well placed heroine addict, gaggle of onion scented squatters and random hole-in-the wall-bar-lounge-club-tattoo shop-restaurants changes the vibe, but the new regime has been focused and cool.

Amidst the single food minded set of shops that now beckon at every turn, This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef is top of the charts. Spoiler alert…Was top of the charts. Two sandwich choices is all you get. This way. A Roast Beef with Au Jus and Cheez Whiz. And, That Way. Roast Beef with Gravy and Fresh Mozzarella. (my choice above). The problem now. THEY CLOSED.

My neighborhood stroll revealed with horror that this tiny shop closed in May because of bad paper work and eviction. Discovering this on the heels of the Yaffa Cafe close (another old skool staple) is disheartening. I hope we’re not about to see another revamp of the ‘hood but given the adage, New York is reborn every 10 years…this might be the beginning of the new.

Go there:
149 1st Ave
New York, NY 10003
b/t 10th St & St Marks Pl in East Village
CLOSED

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Garces Trading Co • Philadelphia

Fri, Sep 26, 2014 by

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Garces Trading Company

Perhaps the best mozzerella in Philly, and I am sure this is going to make a stink down in the Italian Market. Let me explain. The key to a good mozzarella is fresh made curds and an old world balling technique. If you’ve ever made it fresh, you know, you can eat it immediately. Remember that time you ordered a Mozz at your local Italian deli and the hairy-eared old man walked into the back room before handing you a warm ball of cheese? Yeah, that’s because someone just made it. Probably his wife or his brother. That warmth is temperature gold. It creates a supple cheese that allows the salt and milk flavors to shine through in a way that a cold cheese never can. That’s why we love it melted on pizza. Makes sense right?

Jose Garces, a new Philly culinary hero and winner of the second season of Top Chef, has this mozzarella incubator thing down to a science. We’ve popped into Garces Trading Company several times just for this wondrous cheese ball. It is always made fresh daily and served perfectly warm. Usually it’s served with some of Veronica Foods finest olive oil (which can be purchased in house) BUT, in the case above, we had it surrounded by some raspberry compote and maldon salt. An extraordinary, in season, pairing for this lactic packing paisano.

Go there:
Garces Trading Co.
1111 Locust St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
215.574.1099

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‘Wich Hunting: Episode 15

Thu, Sep 25, 2014 by

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Yankee Stadium Audi Club – Bronx, New York

About ‘Wich Hunting: Jay and I have travelled the world eating everything from Balut in the Philippines to blood sausage in Argentina. In every destination there has always been a sandwich shop. Some were good and some were bad but they all had their unique take on this ubiquitous meal. The origin of the sandwich is highly debated and we’ll dive into that on our journey as we discover, taste and debate the best sandwiches in the world.

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