Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Brooklyn Gastronomica

Ok, so now I read in the New York Times that the Manhattan restaurant I have raved about -  Eleven Madison Park (see my previous entry) is working to up their game even more.  I'm impressed that they are not resting on their laurels and continuing to innovate.  I suppose that is necessary in this high tech, ever changing world we live in.

I know Brooklyn also has some great restaurants but this trip we were cooking in and so went with our native in the know family members and head to Faicco’s for pork sausage (for a pasta sauce), and the homemade mozzarella and the cheese and fennel pork ring  (for appetizers).  What a beautiful meat counter and I love watching the pork artists at work in their storefront kitchen.  And for dessert – of course the traditional Italian cookies from Mona Lisa’s. 

On the way back from shopping we drive by “Police Commissioner Reagan’s” house from our most favorite TV show - Blue Bloods.  They don’t film actually in this house but a fun drive by to see the house front they use in the show. 

The five boroughs of New York City.  Fun facts to know.

One of the True Heartlands of America

I am at Breezy Point in the Rockaways, New York City.  I just read Tick Tock - a James Patterson (and Michael Ledwidge) thriller that is set here.  It’s a great summer beach read!  

Breezy Point is on a narrow island near the entrance to New York Harbor.   Even though not in the middle of the country, this close knit Irish/Catholic beach bungalow enclave is one of the true heartlands of America.  At every turn there are memorials to the police and fireman from Breezy who died on 9/11, American flags line the boardwalk and streets, and the fireworks on the 4th of July are incredible.  

I’ve been coming here for decades with my husband’s family and have become more and more appreciative of this special slice of life.  I’ve even come to love those darned federally protected plover birds who often dive bomb you as you make your way through a virtual gauntlet on the way to the beach. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Alabama Jacks, Key Largo, Florida

Not a destination place but if you are in the area...

Forty miles south of Miami, on Card Sound Road, which connects mainland Florida with upper Key Largo, you’ll come to an open air shack-like structure in the middle of miles of mangroves, swamps and canals.  The food is not all that great, there are birds waiting for a bite, and good luck if it is crowded and you need the restroom.  But otherwise, this is a must stop.   Sort of a cross between a biker bar (but not many bikes – just lots of boats pulling up to stop for lunch or a drink) and a country western bar (there is usually a band playing and unique and quite! interesting characters dancing).  Lots of tourists and locals.   Try the conch fritters.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Eleven Madison Park

Is it worth it?  Yes!!!

Last summer we treated our family to Per Se.  And we all thought it was fabulous.   This summer our treat was Eleven Madison Park,  another 3 Michelin Star NYC restaurant and one of the top 10 restaurants in the world  (# 3 in the U.S.)  It was fabulous times two.  Of course Eleven Madison Park has a bit of an advantage, as we are still under the influence of the tastes and nuances of this more recent dining experience.  We of course just had to do the eight course tasting menu – no decisions to be made.  I am sometimes a bit apprehensive giving myself up totally to the dictates of the Chef.   And I typically don’t expect to appreciate and enjoy every course.   But I loved every one of the 15 or so (I stopped counting after a bit) treats we were served.  Every course was a small quantity of a very big taste.  I am now a devotee of Chef Daniel Humm.

I am still relishing the taste of the savory Parmesan and black truffle “black and white” cookies in a beautiful box with which we were presented on seating.   Then an amazing tomato tea with striking lemon thyme garnish, several so tasty seafood amuse bouches, an innovative clambake course complete with seaweed and rocks, an amazing foie gras course with a raspberry paté and a mint paté, a lobster course which highlighted the simply elegant taste of the lobster while still providing innovative garnishes, a duck course, an exquisite egg cream made tableside, and on and on. 

I can’t wait to go back!