- The delight of sitting at the kitchen bar (aka worshipping at the altar of Nick Ruscitto) next to my sweetie, perusing the menu.
- These insane, buttery, crisp crab fritters.
- The wonderful take on surf and turf we indulged in – beef short ribs and crab legs. That chimichurri is so beyond what any pesto could ever hope to be.
- The perfectly stimulating, yet satisfying dessert melange we enjoyed – so many flavors (chocolate, coconut, toffee, salted caramel) and textures (dense, chewy, airy)… What a treat to sample Greg’s talents!
- The unabashed enthusiasm of an owner who is able to indulge his inner DJ knowing that he (and his partner/wife) have assembled a professional staff who can keep the floor and kitchen consistently humming.
Tag Archives: eating
So…this Wednesday, 12/17, is the 7th anniversary of the Wine Bar & Bistro on Lark. Yes, that did go fast! I’ve been onboard for the last 4 years and consider myself fortunate to be able to continue having a presence in the local food scene in such a special spot, especially since my availability is generally limited to a single night of the week.
Lucky me, though, – I work Wednesday nights and will be on hand to celebrate our milestone. And you know what? You should be, too! We’ll be featuring a few items from the original menu, at the original prices, and selected bottles of 2007 vintage wines will be available at a 50% discount. See? You’re lucky, too!
That’s a date then, right?
I sampled my first pomegranate about 40 years ago. I was spending the night with a school friend who had hippy parents who joyfully exposed me to all sorts of new things – like a water bed, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors, an unusual musky smoke wafting around and pomegranates.
Although I have owned a copy of Rumors pretty much ever since, years went by before I began dabbling in pomegranates. I don’t recall if I found them to be expensive or intimidating, but I just didn’t really get into them until recent years. And now? I am obsessed with them!
I’ve been going through two or three pomegranates a week. My favorite way to consume one is either in yogurt or oatmeal. I can’t believe I ever balked at the seeds’ slight crunchiness since I now completely enjoy their firm juiciness. Extracting the seeds remains a messy, but minor challenge. Maybe you have some secrets to making the task neater? How do you take your love apples?
How about eating for a good cause instead? New World Bistro & Bar is generously donating 15% of tonight’s sales to the DelSo’s very own Normanskill Farm. Why not save that bunch of kale and box of Annie’s for another night and instead head to NWBB for something a bit more interesting? The Normanskill Farm is a magical place right here in our own neighborhood and any improvements made to their property will benefit the entire city. This event will help to provide funds for bringing animals back to the farm.
So, what do you say? Meet you there!
After a summer spent working and vacationing, I elected to spend this holiday weekend, quietly at home. Friday night I ate al fresco at The Cheese Traveler, devouring my burger and merely indicating yes or no with the motion of my head. So good! Saturday, following a run, I ate at Mingle’s bar very much enjoying my salad and paella, along with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Sunday was a day for leftovers and binging on Orange is the New Black with a side order of tennis. It was definitely a lazy weekend, other than for Jeter who spent quality time each day at the Normanskill Dog Park.
Today needed to be different. I needed to burn some energy in the hopes that I would get a good night’s sleep tonight and feel fresh for tomorrow’s back to school activities. I decided that today was the perfect day to give paddle boarding a try – weather, opportunity, mood, it all added up and so, I hit the highway for Saratoga County’s Kayak Shack. I had a Living Social deal, bought earlier this summer for $20, which gave me 3 hours of paddle boarding for two. I was solo (do you think the businesses in receipt of deals for 2 being redeemed by only 1, tsk tsk silently and sympathetically?), which provided me lots of time to focus on keeping my balance, something of which I really need to remain cognizant in a general sort of way.
So, what was it like? I loved it! I had no issue getting on my board and moving from kneeling to standing. There was a strong current, with an accompanying wind, which made my trip out quite an exertion. It is a real abdominal workout, which I welcomed. Seems like I’ve taken a few shots to the gut recently and any assistance in keeping that area defensively taut is welcome. For every 4 or 5 strokes on the left side of the board, I had to take a dozen on the right side to remain on a semi-straight path. There were a couple of moments when I absolutely wobbled and fought to maintain my balance, usually when I neglected to pay attention to what was going on in the water around me. I dumped once, but welcomed the refreshing dunk in the lake and had no issue climbing back on board. Literally.
Here’s what I found kind of interesting – I grew up in lake community and feel like I have some experience with boating, be it from my teen years waterskiing or my brief time spent sweep rowing/sculling. Today, I discovered fairly quickly that motor boaters had no real regard for paddlers. There were all sorts of instances when a boat’s wake provided an experience similar to what one would find in a wave pool. It was mostly ok, but I still felt a bit irritated by the lack of respect for those of us with a paddle rather than a throttle in our hand.
I booked along at a pretty good clip as I worked to raise my heart rate and turn my fun into a true workout. The shore on both sides was marshy with leaves threatening to begin changing colors and tons of ducks greedily going bottoms up as they munched on some delicacy underwater. I paddled to a wider part in the water where things really started to feel a bit like the Wild West with motorboats and kayaks and stand up paddle boards chaotically strewn across the water. I grew up in a town filled with cowboys, but we had more of a sense of water traffic regs than most of the people I encountered today.
Bottom line – it was a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours. If anyone wants to give it a try some weekend before the water grows too cold to be described as invigorating, let me know. I’d love to go back.
See that post title above? I have a confession about it… I seriously almost used a more, shall we say, colorful homophonic version of the word “come,” but chose not to because I was afraid it might be interpreted as vulgar. I may be salty at times with my language choices, but crass is something I do not want to be.
So – why the temptation to use a word with carnal connotations to describe a dining experience? Well, because Cucina, located at the north (east?) end of town in Woodstock, is a very sexy restaurant. From the wide porch which offers dining al fresco during the warmer months, to the painted plank floors and the understated decor, to the menu which invites exploration and sharing, this place is hot.
My number one advice for planning your meal at Cucina is this: go with people you love because you’re going to want to share your food. Until the dessert course, of course, but we’ll get to that…
My home(town)girls and I selected Cucina for our “midway” dining date based upon recommendations from the Wine Bar & Bistro Chef, Nick, and the prior experience of one of the girls. We had 7pm reservations, but arrived a little early since most of our usual shopping destinations are still on winter hours and had closed by 6pm. We began at the bar, an open, well-lit area, and perused the creative cocktail list. I struggled with personal responsibility wanting to order one of everything, gin drinks aside. Because of our mutual appreciation of wine with dinner, Ginny and I elected to share the Orient Old Fashioned as an aperitif and it was a revelation. Spicy from the ginger syrup, smooth from the Bulleit, refreshing and piquant, I easily could have gulped this down in record time.
The dinner menu came with its own impressive array of temptations, but as a party of four we were in a good position to try a number of items. I took charge (imagine!) of how many dishes we would have and collectively we agreed on what each course would contain. We started with two appetizers – the crispy squid and the shrimp and white beans. Neither dish broke any new ground in terms of composition, but the execution was exceptional. The squid was lightly battered and virtually without greasiness, while the shrimp were perfectly cooked and accompanied by beans which retained the ideal amount of firmness. Great start!
We followed the appetizers with two salads and a special pizza. The asparagus, snap peas, endive, etc salad was creative and capitalized on ingredients which are coming into their own, seasonwise. What can you say about roasted beets, Coach Farms goat cheese and balsamic vinegar other than yum? Exactly. Our beautiful pizza, topped with a riot of green veggies, including some banging jalapenos, on the thinnest of crusts, was a spicy delight.
We finished our savory experience with two pastas – the spinach and ricotta filled ravioli with brown sage butter and an evening risotto special with scallops, shrimp and saffron. The portions aren’t tremendous, but the flavors are and we were very content with the quality and amount of food we were served. Speaking of served, our server was terrific. No complaints at all , start to finish. With our meal we enjoyed a bottle of Abbazia di Novacella Kerner, 2010, a wonderful food wine which I am familiar with from the Wine Bar & Bistro on Lark. Perfect.
When it came time for dessert, I was done with sharing and insisted that it was every woman for herself. My choice, the butterscotch budino, was off the hook, crazy delicious. Butterscotch, caramel, toasted coconut and sea salt put together in ideal proportions to make a dreamy pudding-esque climax to a wonderful evening.
Yeah, I’ll come on in Cucina any time.
Have you ever participated with a CSA? I did one year and found myself more than a little overwhelmed by the array of obscure greens and heritage vegetables. While I enjoyed the challenge of trying to create meals from previously unknown ingredients, I have never been tempted to commit again to the responsibility of having to retrieve my bag of goods from a remote location. Field Goods and their convenient delivery to my school has proven to be the ideal solution for getting fresh, and sometimes frozen, produce into my kitchen and my tummy.
This week’s bag included some beautiful Portobello mushrooms and the timing of this exchange on Twitter could not have been more perfect:
Ding, ding – dinner has been determined!
I started by wiping the mushroom and removing the stems, trimming the ends a bit. Using a combination of olive oil and butter, I sautéed the chopped stems, adding minced shallots* and chopped onion* and basically softening everything up. I had about 2/3 of a cup of leftover couscous and tossed that in as well. Rummaging through the fridge, I also found a few sprigs of (kind of) fresh thyme and minced that up to add to the pan along with about a ½ cup of bread crumbs. I seasoned with salt and pepper to taste and turned the oven on to 350.
I placed the intact caps in a shallow baking dish and drizzled them with a little olive oil and put them in the oven to soften up a bit. After about 10 minutes, I filled the caps, generously piling the stuffing on. I had some kind of crappy parmesan cheese in the cheese drawer and grated it over the mushrooms and covered the baking dish with foil. I heated everything through (maybe 7 or 8 minutes) and then uncovered my tasty meatless dinner.
Delicious and satisfying! I will definitely make these again. Maybe, once Lent is finally over, I’ll add a little sausage or ground turkey…
* the shallots and onions were both from previous weeks’ deliveries.