It’s always great when you learn something new, especially when you’re eating some fabulous tasting food. Couple weeks ago I had a grand meal at Osteria il Paiolo in Williamsburg with my friend Melissa. What I learned that night was how proper polenta is made, in a giant copper pot or a il Paiolo. In keeping with his family tradition, owner Alex Palumbo makes sure to make his polenta in a il Paiolo. Unlike most polenta I had, this was extremely creamy yet there was no dairy added to it whatsoever.
Osteria il Paiolo is one of the few restaurants in Williamsburg to have tables on the sidewalk. Go enjoy your summer nights with a glass of wine and some fantastic polenta.
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As the weather gets warmer, my desire for cool, sweet treats grows exponentially (and it’s already pretty high). Here, in chronological order, are some of the best desserts I’ve enjoyed over the last month. We start with the After School Special, a pie from Four & 20 Blackbirds that’s only available on Tuesdays. At the bottom is a layer of peanut butter, then honey, then sliced bananas, then banana cream, then a huge layer of whipped cream. It’s one of the best pies I’ve eaten from Four & 20, and unlike most of their other pies it’s served cool out of the refrigerator.
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I’ve detailed my first experience with good, fresh radishes before, so I’ll forgo that story today. Suffice it to say that I love radishes, both raw and cooked. I couldn’t resist picking up a bundle of these multicolored ones at the Greenmarket, a mere $2.50 for the bundle. Don’t forget, you can also use the greens when cooking. Just make sure you wash them thoroughly, as they tend to get very sandy.
Here’s something I’ve been WANTING to do but never got the chance (more like me being lazy) and finally doing it (YES). You may not know this but I’m helping out Blondie and Brownie with their cookbook as a photographer along with Ultraclay. They’re writing about the New York City street food scene and one of the must-not-forget-and-missed food street is Roosevelt Ave in Queens. All along Roosevelt Ave, it runs directly underneath the 7 train, from the 111th St stop on the 7 train to the 74th St stop and beyond, you’ll find the most delicious food trucks/carts serving tortas, tacos, tamales, esquites, fried fish, pork with rice and beans and many things I’m not too familiar with. Even if there weren’t any trucks or carts, you’ll find so many good looking restaurants along that street that may make you think about moving there just to eat at all the restaurants.
So couple weeks ago Blondie, Ultraclay and I were joined by Jeff Orlick (actually I think we kidnapped him when he was having dinner with his family?) where he took us around and explored Roosevelt Ave in search of good food. Jeff is an expert of everything Roosevelt Ave and gives midnight food tours along the avenue. So yeah we were in pretty damn good hands. We walked from 111th St down to 74th St and ate..explored along the way.
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Have you been to Avenue C? Few years ago I would’ve said HELL NO to go alll the way to Avenue C. It felt like going to the edge of the world and it still does in some ways. But after having my meal at Bobwhite Lunch and Supper Counter, opened back in January, I have no problem going to the edge.
I have had my fair share of fried chicken eating in this town (Pies ‘n’ Thighs, The Brooklyn Star, Hill Country Chicken, Buttermilk Channel, and The Redhead.) but there’s still so much I haven’t tried and keeping a list doesn’t actually help me eat more fried chicken. Anyways, I met up with Molly for dinner at Bobwhite. The atmosphere, the feeling I got when I sat down, the super nice workers and ultimately the delicious fried chicken totally put this place on the top of my fried chicken list.
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When I get bad news — really bad news, not just annoyances — my first inclination is to make a big dish of baked pasta. It’s what I did when I heard my grandfather had died, and it’s what I did when I learned that a co-worker had been admitted to the ICU. It’s not the same as comfort food, really. There’s something about the process, the ritual of it, that helps me deal with the situations I’m in. What follows is my standard recipe, though it’s simple enough that can certainly be tweaked to your liking, and it feeds two-to-four people (or one person in a truly foul mood). Let me know what your bad news food is in the comments below.
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Lentils are great. You can do crazy, fancy and elaborate things to them or just plain simple like adding them to miso soup. They are great at absorbing flavors and at the same time hold on to their own distinctive flavor. They are cheap, healthy and delicious.
Here’s a quick way to eat lentils. Saute diced garlic and onion with lentils in some olive oil. Add enough liquid (water or stock) so that there’s about half an inch between the lentils and the top of the liquid. Bring to a boil and simmer till lentils are done. Add tomato paste, ketchup, salt and pepper to taste. Serve an egg (fried, poached, hard boiled) with the lentils.
Here are few more ways you can cook lentils.
Lentils, Beans and Pork Cracklings over Toast
Pork Belly Stew with Lentils and Kale
Lentils with Pasta
And then there’s always the reliable lentil soup or if you some have some spices laying around, try making daal.