We are hosting the in-laws for the first time this year. I have agonized over the menu for a week now. Here’s what I’m doing:
Quiche with spring garlic and chives
Fritatta with slab bacon
Lamb sausage poached in butter and white wine
roast turkey breast
(all sliced thin for sandwiches)
bowtie pasta, fresh mozzarella, cherry tomato and basil salad
cucumber and red onion salad w rice wine vinegar
Strawberry icebox pie with fresh whipped cream
Moe and I just split a plate of it that we picked up at Vincent’s on Arthur Avenue. It is currently my favorite thing on Earth to eat. It has a very strong lamb taste to it. Not quite gamey but maybe two steps to the left of that. The spice mix is excellent, and totally perplexes me, but it’s strong and sweet enough to stand up against a nice glass of a young red wine. I’d show you a picture, but we took a taste and couldn’t stop. Moe made noises I have never heard before.
It’s no secret that New York City’s real Little Italy is on Arthur Avenue in the Belmont section of the Bronx. I had passed through many times in the past, mainly to grab a sandwich at Mike’s Deli. He makes one of the best cold cut combos around, slicing each meat razor thin while you watch. His cappicola, prosciutto, salami and provolone sub is a work of art and I ate lunch there any time I was scouting within a few miles.
Now that I’m a resident of the Bronx I’m going to do my marketing in the area. Today was my first stab at it and the early results are pretty spectacular. There are five pork stores alone in a two block stretch, each one looking better than the next. I picked Vincent’s at random and grabbed some brasciole to make sauce with as well as some really fine looking lamb sausage. My mouth is actually watering at the thought of dinner tonight. His prime beef looked to be top of the line stuff also and I look forward to exploring his inventory as well as that of the other stores. I was the only person in the store not speaking Italian.
Scored fresh pasta at Borgatti’s. Choose the basic ricotta ravioli as well as some seafood manicotti. I love the fact that the folks making the ravioli were about ten feet away from the counter where they sell it. Fresh, indeed. They also sell an incredibly wide variety of linguine’s such as I had not seen before. Squid ink, mushroom, spinach and a half dozen other varieties. They’ll have to wait for another time.
Of course I hit Mike’s for a sandwich as well as some fresh ricotta. If you are buying mass produced ricotta in a supermarket please stop. The fresh stuff is just so frigging amazing. Smooth, creamy, airy almost. A dollop of it on top of a bowl of pasta is a step away from heaven. Find a good cheese shop and get some.
I avoided the bakeries this trip. I already know the bread is amazing at both Palombo and Addeo’s as in-laws have served me loaves from each recently. And it will be hard enough justifying all the other calories to the wife without getting some cannoli involved. I also skipped the fishmongers. My in-laws have shopped at Randazzo’s for three generations and I want to be introduced properly before buying from them.
All in all an amazing experience, and one I hope to repeat and improve on regularly.
We had a lovely, semi-casual celebratory meal at A’pizz. It was particularly nice as I have been counting calories and it was a rare treat to cut loose a little bit. I realized that on the way home we strolled past The Meatball Shop (meatballs), Stanton Social (small plates and amazing desserts), Katz’s (pastrami and matzoh ball soup) , Montanara (fried pizza), Russ and Daughters (smoked salmon, whitefish salad, house made cream cheese) Los Feliz (fish tacos), and Laboritoria del Gelato (gelato and sorbet), all of which have provided me succulent treats in the past. My God, it is tough for a food lover like me to keep on the straight and narrow around here.
I won’t get into it other than to say I was around for it and it really sucked. But tonight OBL’s remains are being eaten by crabs on the ocean floor. That same water served up a dish of Osetra Caviar that I supped on with a silver spoon tonight. I’m okay with that.
"Fuck that. We came in so far under budget that I told the studio we were going out every night for the next two weeks. We’re eating at every great restaurant in this town and they’re covering the tab."
— The coolest boss in the world
I just sprinkled a few drops of truffle oil on Moe’s lobster treat. Only because that’s how I would have wanted it, you know?
The end always comes too quickly. There is some leisure in the prep period, but you are still finding your way in a new city and have as many misses as hits when you choose your meals. By the time you start principal photography you have a good idea of where you should be eating but not enough time to get there. Most great meals are prepared by you at home during this period. So your wrap weeks are critical. It’s where the sum of all your knowledge is focused on finding the great meals, putting a proper punctuation mark on your run in that city. It’s where you reward those who helped you make the movie and enjoy the company of the new friends you made along the way.
So one attempts to find the best 8-9 meals in town. This time it’s Boston. Here’s what I have so far:
10 Tables http://www.tentables.net
Craigie on Main http://www.craigieonmain.com
O ya http://www.oyarestaurantboston.com
Open to suggestions. Where do I NEED to eat before I leave this place?