Monday, September 15, 2014

Grilled Cheese by petitesoeur

I have been making my way around to the various places in New York which specialize in grilled cheese sandwiches.

Early in the summer I went to Earl's Beer and Cheese with two friends. One friend got the NY Cheddar with pork belly, kimchi and a fried egg on sour dough. Pronounced: Good but not enough cheese.  The other went with blue cheese, ginger fig, potato chips on brioche. Pronounced: Maybe blue cheese isn't the best kind to melt. I had the Earl's Taco which is a scallion pancake used as a taco shell, filled with braised pork shoulder, queso fresco, shredded cabbage, radish and cilantro. Pronounced: The winner even though, obviously, it does not qualify as a grilled cheese sandwich.

Over Labor Day weekend, I went with another friend to Say Cheese. More spacious although just as bare bones in terms of decor as Earle, this place has salads as well as sandwiches. We each went with a sandwich. My friend had a monterey jack, munster, pesto & tomato on potato bread (left). I had white cheddar with their homemade bacon onion tomato marmalade on whole grain (above). Both with well-balanced amounts & combinations of ingredients, including the bread: Crispy (from the toasted bread) , gooey  (from the melted cheese), and flavorful (from the mix of salty, sweet, sour, bitter, savory tastes).

I can't speak to the tater tots because they're not my thing. My friend consumed them with relish. I liked my rosemary lemonade even though it was on the sweet side. Excellent Stumptown coffee.
I want to go back to try the black coffee snow cone as well as the grilled cheese sandwich which is suppose to taste exactly like French onion soup. 

All the photos are from Say Cheese which has fun old timey decor as well as being light-filled, spacious and welcoming even though the floor is bare and the tables/chairs are strictly utilitarian.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Pizza from petitesoeur

More from petitesoeur:

I can't believe I ate this! 

Little Italy Pizza is a good place for a grab and go slice: lots of turnover so very fresh with a very crisp crust with a marinara sauce that's on the old school Brooklyn sweet side.

They make a lovely, on the lighter side slice that covers the marinara sauce with, in descending order:  fresh basil, fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella. That's what I usually get at this place but on  Monday (August 25) evening I went for a carb-bomb: A slice of pizza with the usual marinara, mozzarella, basil, parmesan plus baked ziti & goat cheese. It was utterly delicious.

For quite a while now, I have been baffled by the appearance of baked ziti as a pizza topping. On the evening in question, I decided it was the perfect moment to try it because I suddenly wanted lots of carbs. Usually I don't eat the bottom crust of a slice if I get one with lots of stuff on it because the crust always gets so soggy and also it's a little trick of mine to at least pretend that I am eating fewer calories by just eating the "bone." Thinking that, as usual, I would just eat the "bone," I reasoned that this slice would be sort of like eating a small bowl of baked ziti. But I had to taste the crust and it tasted so good and was not soggy at all so I ate it in its entirity. 

And, as Ralph used to say: I can't believe I ate the whole thing!

Little Italy Pizza

Monday, August 11, 2014

Delicious Sandwich & Sweets by petitesoeur

Guest blogger petitesoeur writes:

On a Saturday in August, I went hunting for a pair of sandals since every shoe store does deep discounts at the end of a season. Even though there were great bargains at Camper, there was nothing I wanted to buy and at REI the Anhu ones that I did want weren't in my size. But the trip downtown did result in two successful scores.

Later in the day, I was meeting up with a friend for an afternoon/ evening of music at Lincoln Center Out of Doors so I purchased three sandwiches from Russ and Daughters: Oy Vey Schmear (their famously delicious chopped liver mixed with hand sliced pickle from the barrel), Pastrami Russ (pastrami-cured salmon, dressed with sauerkraut & mustard) and Fancy Delancy (smoked tuna, horseradish dill cream cheese and wasabi-infused flying fish roe). I got them all on bialys in order to minimize the amount of bread we would eat.

Sitting on a bench outside the store, I consumed half of the Oy Vey. R&D's chopped liver is perfect in every way including its consistency, which is neither too smooth nor too chunky. I am sure they incorporate both onions & chopped egg into the chopped liver as most recipes call for the addition of both those items, but there's little visual evidence of either's inclusion. There's no way to know for sure as R&D does not disclose their recipe. Whatever way they utilize those other two ingredients definitely balances rather than overpowers the flavor of the liver. Word on the street: Their secret is cooking the onions until they're so soft that they melt into the liver when mixed in and only their sweetness lingers. I never would have thought to add chopped pickles to chopped liver even though I am a fan of adding (sweet) pickle relish into tunafish salad & mixing a bit of (fresh or dried) fruit into chicken salad.  It works: the (dill sour) pickles provide just the right contrast of flavor and texture.

As much as I enjoyed the Oy Vey (as did my friend when he ate his half later on) and we both liked the Pastrami Russ, finding the sauerkraut & mustard to provide a better flavor & texture contrast than the usual schmear of cream cheese, we both agreed that the Fancy Delancy was the star of the trio. It's also perfectly balanced in terms of flavor & texture but more delicate & unusual than the other two.

It was just a hop, skip and jump (nine short city blocks) to the door of Zucker Bakery where I sampled their lemon bar & a pecan bar before sitting down to enjoy an excellent. (Stumptown) espresso and a pomegranate thumbprint cookie. I purchased some mocha flavored alfajores and a couple of date/halvah "roses," aka shoshanim, an Israeli version of sticky buns. Both types of cookies are flavorful with just the right amount of sweetness and a tender melt in your mouth crumb. The "roses" were also yummy as well as being an interesting change-up to the usual cinnamon or chocolate variety of this type of pastry. It's a sweet sweet shop.