Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Pen and My Voice

The Translation Issue of qarrtsiluni features my piece "A Do-It Yourself Kit." You can read it, you can listen to me reading it, or you can read it while I simultaneously read it to you.

Do it here.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Dine Out for Japan Relief

Now through next Wednesday a bunch of New York restaurants will be donating 5% of their proceeds for Japan relief efforts through the American Red Cross. A lot of good restaurants are involved, many but hardly all of them Japanese. The complete list of restaurants can be found at this link:

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ten Meals, 2009

1. The Blarney Stone: haute cuisine it ain't, and it's a dive, to be sure, but, as an old Horn & Hardart's commercial used to say, "You can't eat atmosphere."

2. I was flabbergasted to discover a spectacular brunch in the culinary wasteland of South Florida.

3. At Jay & Lloyd's deli, in Brooklyn, I had a world-class pastrami sandwich.

4. I had my first taste of Jamon Iberico in London.

5. At Quilon, a Keralan restaurant in London, I had one of the best Indian meals of my life.

6. The food at King Yum may have sucked, but those old-style Chinese restaurant metal plates and lids gave me goose bumps.

7. Finally, a real Hunan restaurant in New York.

8. In Peru I ate guinea pig three ways.

9. Perhaps the most dramatic setting I've ever dined at was by the floodlit ruins of Huaca Pucllana, in Lima.

10. But my best meal of the year was at La Tecla, in Mexico City.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ten Meals, 2008

1. Among the best menu items at Kampuchea are the num pang, Cambodian sandwiches that are similar to Vietnamese banh mi. Since I wrote about Kampuchea they've opened a simple sandwich shop near Union Square called...Num Pang.

2. One afternoon in Staten Island I visited four pizzerias, a luncheonette that makes classic egg creams, and a German bar.

3. There are plenty of Greek restaurants in Astoria, and one of the best of them, S'Agapo, is Cretan. And that's no lie.

4. At Ise, a midtown Japanese restaurant, I was culinarily transgendered.

5. In 2008 I discovered Zaytinya, my favorite restaurant in Washington, D.C.

6. Every time I go to Chicago I absolutely must have a hot dog, preferably from Gold Coast.

7. I was thrilled to find a world-class vindaloo at Tadka.

8. The tonkotsu broth for the ramen at Ippudo is so rich I dubbed it "Liquid Pork."

9. Who'd have imagined that the best Cantonese roast pork in the city would be found at a fast food joint on E. 60th St.?

10. Yunnan cuisine is one of the most difficult Chinese cooking styles to find in the U.S., but I ate Yunnan food in Chicago, San Francisco and Brooklyn.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Shootin' at Some Food

It took a while for me to hit my stride as a food photographer, and I'm still happy to use an idiot-proof point-and-shoot. The first obstacle was overcoming my sheepishness over taking photos in restaurants; it really took about a year after I started this blog. Once I got over that, there were the limitations of my camera; I had to use flash for indoor shots, and then try to compensate with software. I upgraded from a Canon A410 to an A590 a couple of years ago, really just the latest version of the same model, but with more megapixels and a much higher maximum ISO speed (1600 vs. 400). So now I'm generally able to shoot in low light without flash. I'll still include far-from-perfect photos to illustrate posts when nothing better is available, but my ratio of good to bad has definitely improved. As part of my five-year retrospective, here's a bunch of photos I'm reasonably happy with, either because the photo is good, or because the food looks good despite the photo, just a potpourri, in roughly chronological order, from breakfast to dessert, from four continents, and without further explanation.