New & Noteworthy

I was musing how this may be the first week where I made no changes to the New & Noteworthy list but a natural wine bar/restaurant in Prospect Heights from Joe Campanale, Dave Foss and Ashley Rath caught my eye.  If their names are not familiar, you may know their restaurants — Dell’anima, L’Artusi, and Fausto; and the kitchens where Rath was chef de cuisine (The Grill, Dirty French, Santina and Gramercy Tavern). It’s going to be a hot week so a crisp glass of wine and a cobia tartare may be just what the doctor ordered.

New & Noteworthy (week of July 15)

Ayada      Opened late-June

Bar Pisellino    Opened mid-May

The Fulton    Opened mid-May

Hutong      Opened early-July 

LaLou Opened late-June

Le Jardinier    Opened late-May

Pastis         Opened early June

Rezdora     Opened mid-May

Sullivan Street Pizza Opened mid-June

This weekly list is not comprehensive of every new place but a short alphabetized list of new places that I think are notable.  Restaurants that have been opened for more than three months will not be included.

New & Noteworthy

Halfway through summer (or so it feels), this may be the best time to try new restaurants as NYC tends to thin a bit.  Regarding this weekly list, I have added more current articles on the restaurants if available. Also, just a note that the restaurants may rotate in and out based on the pieces I read, i.e. something may look interesting but as the stories emerge after the opening, it may become less interesting and hence fall off the list, and vice versa. 

This week, Hutong opens in the old Le Cirque space.  On the site, the attire notes “Smart casual attire recommended. No jacket required.”

New & Noteworthy (week of July 8)

Ayada      Opened late-June

Bar Pisellino    Opened mid-May

The Fulton    Opened mid-May

Hutong      Opened early-July 

Le Jardinier    Opened late-May

Pastis         Opened early June

Rezdora     Opened mid-May

Sullivan Street Pizza Opened mid-June

This weekly list is not comprehensive of every new place but a short alphabetized list of new places that I think are notable.  Restaurants that have been opened for more than three months will not be included.

Weekend Cooking

I happily pondered recipes and meals as we spent the weekend with our friend S. S is an omnivore but most days were hot and sultry (i.e. HUMID) and so making cool dishes was top of mind.

As mentioned in a previous Weekend Cooking post, I am intrigued by Mokonuts and found a recipe for labneh with Swiss chard, black olives, and za’atar. As Swiss chard is not in season, I left it out and modified accordingly, but I can see how a green would fortify this dish as well as provide color.

Labneh with Black Olives and Za’atar

Last week’s CSA included garlic scapes and so after perusing a few recipes, I decided to make a pesto. I did not use any nuts but maybe I will next time.  It was a bit sharp and the fat from something like walnuts or pine nuts would have helped. That said, I was generous with the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Pesto always makes a great dip and it added such a vibrant green to the table. And it was great to mix with the labneh dip.

Garlic Scape Pesto

Waste not, want not. I had a fennel bulb I needed to use. And I wanted something a bit more hearty and so went with a pretty traditional French-inspired lentil salad.

Lentil Salad with Fennel and Carrots

And finally, it’s lettuce lettuce everywhere and so tossed some Boston lettuce with a shallot-mustard seed dressing.

Boston Lettuce Salad with Shallot-Mustard Seed Dressing

For sweets, I had been wondering what tahini cookies tasted like so made this batch. Overall, I found the tahini taste too strong for me. Some people compare tahini cookies to a peanut butter cookie, but while I would eat a pb sandwich, and spread peanut butter on a cracker or even just eat a few spoonfuls from the jar, I just do not do that with tahini. Next time, I would add chocolate or something else to complement the strong sesame flavor.

Tahini Cookies with White and Black Sesame Seeds

I really love cooking for friends and feel fortunate that they are open to my road-testing recipes on them!

New & Noteworthy

Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery is a baking legend. His no-knead bread recipe was like scales falling from one’s eyes for home bakers, as it immediately broadened their repertoire. He was the first recipient of the James Beard Outstanding Baker award in 2015.

As a fan of the original Sullivan Street Bakery in Soho, it’s been a confusing decade following new location openings and closings, renamings and revampings. Hearing that the Chelsea location of Co. which became Sullivan Street Bakery is transforming itself a few nights a week into Sullivan Street Pizza, the main thing one needs to know is that pizza is only served Wednesday through Saturdays after 6pm.

This is the only new addition, and I removed HaSalon.

This weekly list is not comprehensive of every new place but a short alphabetized list of new places that I think are notable.  Restaurants that have been opened for more than three months will not be included.

New & Noteworthy (week of July 1)

Ayada  Opened late-June

Bar Pisellino Opened mid-May

The Fulton Opened mid-May

Jiang Diner  Opened mid-April

Le Jardinier Opened late-May

Pastis Opened early-June

Rezdora Opened mid-May

Sullivan Street Pizza Opened late-June

Supper Club: June and Travel

June brings the end of school and the beginning of summer in earnest.  In other words, it is actually a bit more hard to schedule a time that works for all three of us.  T was traveling in Europe and M was in Asia. We landed a date late in the month.

The outdoors was on my mind (even though we would be cooking indoors) and when I came across this recipe for paella, I knew that was what would lead the menu.  And indeed, it would practically be the entire menu. 

Menu: I settled on John Willoughby’s recipe called Paella of the Sea from The New York Times that seemed the right one for us.  I could make adjustments to manage T’s allergies and M’s non-meat diet.  Also, the garlic scape relish appealed to me as it would add texture and some brightness. 

I added some roast asparagus on top so it could be a one-pan meal.  

Paella of the Sea with Asparagus and Garlic Scape Relish

Drink: White Wine and Rosé

Dessert: Odile’s Fresh Orange Cake by Dorie Greenspan

Odile’s Fresh Orange Cake

The plate has a smiley face sun and it kind of looked like Pac Man sans one slice! I love this cake as it is so simple–light, moist and packed with orange flavor.

Conversation: Travel

My friends are amazing world travelers.  In fact, I met M over a plate of cookies at a holiday party in Tokyo.  And I was introduced to T by our mutual friend when I was traveling in Vietnam. 

M told us about her adventures staying at a ryokan near Mount Fuji; and inventive dishes like uni inside a tomato (!) and Japanese-style Chinese dishes aka 中華料理.

T shared pictures from her meal at 108 in Copenhagen. She joked that she had never eaten so many flowers. The images inspired me to get back to growing more edible blooms. 

This year, I traveled to Mexico City for the first time with a college friend. And while I went on and on about the rich culture, art, ancient ruins, it was the food . . . the tacos and tostadas at the food stalls, mangoes from the market, and enchanting dinners at Casa Virginia and another at Gabriela Cámara’s Contramar (that at 6pm, we closed the place for lunch).  My Supper Club friends’ eyes were glazing over all the while nodding and smiling. It was time to stop.

But oh, the spicy hot chocolate!

Weekend Cooking

As I have mentioned before, I love making menus. We had a friend, J, in town from LA and staying with us to attend a wedding, and I immediately peppered her with questions about food preferences.  While she is an omnivore, she was making more plant-based dishes. Perfect! I had a stash of recipes I was hankering to try.

Since J would be with us in the morning, I made two types of granola/cereal. My go-to recipe is one specifically to help with workouts which may or may not happen but I really like the flavor. The cacao nibs contain seratonin for mental focus; dates for immediate energy; oats to prolong muscle function; and flax and chia to enhance burning fat.  I added matcha to half the batch for the additional nutritional boost.

Matcha Cacao Pre-Workout Performance Cereal
Date and Cacao Pre-Workout Performance Cereal

Later in the day, I had mistakenly thought that there was a friends ‘n’ family dinner on the eve of the wedding and so was planning a simple lemon pasta. When I found out J would be able to join us, I wanted to make something a bit more substantial. I had the ingredients to make a salad from some of the greens from our CSA, gyoza and steamed rice. Menu set!

Arugula and Lettuce Tofu Salad with Ginger Dressing

I made a filling of ground beef, napa cabbage, ginger, garlic, chives and a bit of sesame oil. And then it was time to make the dumplings! We made about 50!

Beef Gyoza at Dusk

The next day, I was thinking about salads and had earmarked this one from Melissa Clark. I like halving most recipes I try for the first time to see if I like it.

Salad Close-Up
Farro Salad with Chickpeas, Currants and Frizzled Leeks

The oven-roasted leeks added more flavor than I expected. I really liked it and will definitely make it again.

Another recipe I had been wanting to try is one from the amazing Mokonuts duo — the Rye-Cranberry Chocolate-Chunk Cookies — as shared by Dorie Greenspan. I modified it with what I had on-hand and used currants instead of cranberries and chocolate chips instead of chopping up bittersweet chocolate. I also reduced the amount of poppy seeds as I admit I was nervous about the volume. Overall, the modifications still resulted in a super tasty cookie and I am keen to try it using the intended ingredients.

Rye, Currants, Poppy and Chocolate Chip Cookies (yes I had half of one before I remembered to take a picture)

A great weekend of cooking made possible by inspiration from friends!

New & Noteworthy

I was trying to picture where the newest establishment from Jody Williams and Rita Sodi was on Grove Street. The website notes that it is located “across the street from the couple’s other beloved restaurants,Via Carota, I Sodi, and Buvette.”  The other day, I was in a taxi lurching through the traffic lights on Seventh Avenue South when I saw the name, large and almost glittering (I think it was glistening from the rain). It is right on the corner and while it is small, like Buvette and I Sodi, it exudes something bigger.  It definitely had the personality of a corner restaurant! 

This week, I am moving Jiang Diner and  Maison Yaki which was recently reviewed in the New Yorker, and adding Ayada, a popular Thai restaurant in Elmhust, which opened up a second location in Chelsea Market.  I have missed the hole-in-the-wall Chelsea Thai which was there for 21 years before closing due to rent increases.  I would forge through the throngs of tourists the next time I am in the Meatpacking District for some tasty Thai.

New & Noteworthy (week of June 24)

Ayada  Opened late-June

Bar Pisellino    Opened mid-May

The Fulton    Opened mid-May

HaSalon    Opened mid-April

Le Jardinier    Opened late-May

Pastis Opened early-June

Rezdora Opened mid-May

New & Noteworthy

I pruned a few restaurants off the list, and added Jiang Diner and Rezdora. I kept Crown Shy on the list as I still want to go and Pete Wells just gave it a great review (though gave it his favorite rating of 2 stars); and New York Magazine’s Adam Platt loved it (86/100).

New & Noteworthy (week of June 17)

Bar Pisellino Opened mid-May

Crown Shy Opened mid-March

The Fulton Opened mid-May

HaSalon Opened mid-April

Jiang Diner  Opened mid-April

Le Jardinier Opened late-May

Maison Yaki Opened late-April

Pastis Opened early June

Rezdora Opened mid-May

New & Noteworthy

This week, I add the long-awaited reopening of Pastis. I literally have not met anyone that has not missed and had kind words about this restaurant. Resy shows reservation times for breakfast, lunch and dinner though, of course, dinner times seem to be booked through month’s end.

Like many New Yorkers, I have my own Keith McNally and Pastis story. After waiting for hours to get into the new opening of Schiller’s, a man approached our group, apologized for the wait and asked if we would consider going to Balthazar or Pastis.  We said Pastis. The man gave us a name to ask for, and when we asked his, he said “Keith,“ we all followed it with “McNally?!“ When we got to Pastis, our table was ready as well as a glass of champagne for each of us.  The quote from McNally, “I’ve learned that if you give a customer a drink on the house once a year, he loves you” is true. The warm welcome stayed with me as I chose to patronize Pastis for work meetings, casual meals with friends, and family gatherings – all stemming from that one glass of champagne.

I also am adding two diners I neglected last week, Golden Diner from a Momofuku alum that I have been hankering to try in Chinatown and the Diner at the Mercado Little Spain.  

As I noted last week, this weekly list is not comprehensive of every new place but a short alphabetized list of new places that I think are notable.  Restaurants that have been opened for more than three months will not be included.

New & Noteworthy (week of June 10)

Bar Pisellino Opened mid-May

Crown Shy Opened mid-March

Essex Market Opened mid-May

The Fulton Opened mid-May

Golden Diner Opened mid-March

HaSalon Opened mid-April

José Andrés’s Spanish Diner at Mercado Little Spain Opened mid-May

Kāwi Opened mid-March

Le Jardinier Opened late-May

Maison Yaki Opened late-April

Pastis (Opened early June)

Van Da Opened mid-March

Matcha, Matcha

I first tasted matcha in Japanese tea ceremonies.  I was about eight years old and my mother would allow me to join her. It was how and where I understood the wondrousness of sweet (wagashi or Japanese sweets) countered by bitter (matcha tea).  I loved it. Matcha is one of the trifecta often found in Japanese desserts (along with red beans and rice in some form) and now it seems to be everywhere. There is a long laundry list of its benefits, from being dense in antioxidants including EGCg which said to contribute to cardiovascular and metabolic health.  It also has a lovely calming scent.

A friend’s birthday was coming up and I knew she and her husband enjoyed matcha, so I began thinking about what kind I should use, and what type of sweets would be best for a party. I headed over to the Ippodo Tea Shop on E. 39th Street. I was told that it isn’t worth spending a lot of $ if the intended use is in cooking and baking so I went with Hatsu-mukashi. 

Hatsu-mukashi Matcha Powder

And after much thought, I then decided on a shortbread and some financiers–both easy to pick up and eat and hopefully a nice complement any other desserts at the party.  

Matcha Financiers

I used a Dorie Greenspan recipe I liked for Brown Butter Financiers and added about 1-½ tsp of matcha powder.  I buttered the pan too liberally so a brown crust developed which I was hoping to avoid to keep the little cakes cleaner looking, but the result actually looks kinda nice. 

Matcha and White Chocolate Shortbread

I used a shortbread recipe from Melissa Clark that is my current favorite. I added matcha and white chocolate.  I had also tested the recipe for a previous Supper Club so I knew it would work.

The baked goods were a hit and I love having some go-to recipes.

That said, I am still on the hunt for more recipes to modify to add matcha. I don’t particularly like matcha sponge cakes but I think pairing whatever it is with fruit would be yummy. Maybe a thinner cookie with vanilla ice cream and berries?