Lunch at the new Red Farm, Upper West Side

October 31, 2013

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Craziness on a rainy Halloween afternoon!  How do all these people crowding into Red Farm know the place has opened?  Red Farm is so squeaky new it isn't even serving dinner yet, but if Joe Ng and Ed Schoenfeld thought they were going to manage a soft lunch-only opening, they were very much mistaken.
Food people are pouring in; today it's John Besh at one table, Chris Cannon and Josh Wesson at another. And isn't that the actor,  Tom Skerritt, in that booth over there?

It's wild insanity, and enormous fun. Strangers pass tidbits from one table to the next and pour out glasses of wine.  (The Ruggine Josh Wesson's drinking is lovely; slightly fizzy, it's an unusual wine that's perfect with this intensely flavorful food.) 

The food itself is fantastic.  These soup dumplings:
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are huge, floppy, juicy creations that are almost unimaginably light. They're so satisfying and delicious that if I'd eaten nothing else I would have left a happy woman.
But that would have meant missing the vegetable pancakes
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a fantastic riff on mu shu that redeems this too-often ordinary dish.
And you definitely do not want to miss the pork chops:
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slightly charred, the crisp edges taste of lemongrass and garlic, and come perched on a mound of the most wonderful fried rice. 
Dessert? The fruit plate was as pretty as that tuna salad which started off the meal. (See above.)
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Note from Chicago

October 29, 2013

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At Frontera Grill with the wonderful Rachel Joyce (author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry).
She landed from London, hungry for Mexican food. Favorite dishes: Mexico City quesadillas, smoked ruby shrimp, garnachas de pato.  And those beautiful Scarlet Waves. 
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Things I Love

October 25, 2013

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A surprising new product for the Hudson Valley.

This is from the farmstand at Etcetera Farm, in Harlemville. 

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The Chocolate Babka!

October 24, 2013

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So rich it drips chocolate and butter on your fingers when you cut it. So flaky it's more croissant than a cake. And so delicious… it is irresistible.
Mimi Sheraton told me that the babka from Breads (on 16th Street) was the best babka in New York. And I agree!
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Notes from the Road: Seattle

October 17, 2013


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Had a lot of great food in seafood city, at restaurants with wonderful names. We had drinks, warming our hands by the fire as we ate lovely beef tartare, sparked with cod roe and tamed with asian pear at Joule. Then on to The Whale Wins, where we ate an entire array of vegetables, roasted marrow bones and a most fantastic piece of pork shoulder (among other wonders).  A great night of crudo and pasta at Anchovies and Olives.  But what I’ll remember most is an early afternoon feast at Taylor’s Shellfish in Melrose Market.

The Olympia oysters are superb right now: small and plump, with that coppery flavor that resonates in your mouth like a bell.  Shigokus – their deep shells so filled with oyster liquor that you slurp them down as both food and drink. Dungeness crabs – so sweet. So rich. So satisfying.  And finally a little dessert of geoduck sashimi, the only seafood I know that’s crisp enough to chew.  

All I could think, as we sat there, eating with our hands, was this: If I lived here, I could do this every day.  Reason enough, I think, to live in Seattle. 

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