Very Well Bread

May 17, 2016


Four days of extraordinary eating has convinced me that this is a very exciting time for food in New York City.  I’ll be writing about the best of those meals over the next few days. But right now I want to point out the latest trend in cutting edge cuisine: bread.

For starters there is the bread above, at Del Posto, served in a plate designed by the chef, Mark Ladner. The bread is just what you want: crusty, flavorful, fluffy inside.  But it’s that butter substitute that really gets your attention. It’ looks like mozzarella, but it’s crème fraîche and cultured cream whipped into a frenzy. I dare you to leave even one scrap on the plate.

Then there’s the bread at Blue Hill at Stone Barns.  Complex and chewy, it tastes not only of wheat, but of the weather.  Eating this bread made me think of drinking wine; it is bread with terroir.  (And I loved it so much that I forgot to take its picture.)

Then there is the bread at the new Agern in Grand Central.  The brainchild of Claus Meyer, who co-founded Noma, the restaurant is serving absolutely fascinating food; it is unlike anything else you’ll find in New York right now. They certainly care about their bread, which arrives in two different forms:


This crusty loaf, which is very light inside. It’s served with butter that’s been lightly whipped with a bit of buttermilk (think acid tang), and whipped lamb fat laced with lamb cracklings.


Later in the meal a second little loaf appears: this dense slightly moist rye bread, tasting faintly of caraway.

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And then the other night at Le Turtle, before the perfect Caesar salad and the fabulous chicken cooked in hay, this delightful loaf appeared:

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It was surrounded by butter: one plain, one tossed with lovage and citrus (sprightly, spring-like, herbal), and a third spangled with snails (frankly I didn’t think they added much).

Tomorrow: more about the meals.


More Vintage Restaurant Recipes

May 15, 2016

A few more gems from the Ford Times Cookbook.

My German father frequented the old world German establishments of the city, but we never went to Jager House.   We were regulars at Luchow’s and The Blue Ribbon, and when we went up to Yorktown to eat at Kleine Konditorei. Now I wish we’d gone to this place; the goulash is appealing. Look at that meat-onion ratio! And then imagine grating six pounds of onions…..


I feel like I can almost see this one, modest sentinel outside the current New York Times building. I love how evocative that chef’s posture is. And I love the fact that this down to earth restaurant was using fresh spinach in the spanakopita.  Looks like an excellent recipe. IMG_5459

And last, this hodgepodge of a Pacific-rim restaurant in Washington D.C serving Korean style chicken. Isn’t it strange to think about the fact that even in a restaurant the cooks were using powdered ginger and garlic instead of the real thing?IMG_5460


And Now a Little Less

May 14, 2016

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As promised yesterday, here is a little taste of The Less Cookbook.

One of the things I love about this book, is how thoroughly the concept is executed; the More Cookbook is white, the Less is Black. The More Cookbook uses a fat serif face; Less is lean sans serif. Here’s the end of the introduction (for the beginning, read yesterday’s post).

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Most of the recipes in the book are sophisticated and appealing. But these first two…. are decidedly strange.

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More or Less

May 13, 2016

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This is one of my favorite cookbooks; I’ve had it since 1969 when the Hammermill Paper Company sent it out as a Christmas present to publishing customers like my father.  It is, I think, fairly rare; I can only locate a couple other copies.

The two volumes – each exactly the same number of pages – were meant to show how different a book would be depending on the paper selected. The More Cookbook is almost twice as hefty as the Less Cookbook.

Beautifully designed, with great illustrations by David Levine….

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it’s written in a wry tone

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and contains remarkably sophisticated recipes.

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Tomorrow, a few gems from the Less Cookbook…

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On the Road Again

May 12, 2016

IMG_5458Michelin had the idea first, but it was a good one.  The Ford Times Cookbook might not offer quite as many restaurants “worth the voyage,” it does offer a wonderful window into the great American road trip of the sixties.

The interstate highways did away with too many of these old motels; it’s nice to have a little reminder.




In addition to pretty pictures, there are also a few scrumptious looking recipes. Stay tuned for those tomorrow…

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