erica's Profile

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Sad news for olive oil lovers

That article was so very sad as I remember driving in that area of Puglia, enraptured by the beauty of the olive groves. You've never seen such thick trunks or such beautiful trees. And not only in Puglia. There was a thread here (cannot find now) discussing which oil to buy this year as Spain is also affected and perhaps other countries as well.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1005231

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/998985

about 7 hours ago
erica in Food Media & News
1

Trattoria L'Incontro

My visit was a few years ago. I cannot understand the vaunted reputation of this restaurant. Food was perfectly fine, if overly fussy..a few too many ingredients in several dishes as if trying too hard but apparently this pleases the many repeat clients. Good enough but not worth making a special trip.

about 7 hours ago
erica in Outer Boroughs

Purchasing parmigiano reggiano and balsamic in ER

I've not taken a tour but you can find the items in most of the large food shops in all three cities. I would do a bit of research on the various types of balsamic vinegars and make sure to check prices before you leave. There are many variations and it is wise to know the basics before making a substantial investment.

about 7 hours ago
erica in Italy

George Mendez's New Portuguese Restaurant- Lupulo

Turned out that there was no goat on the dinner menu when we dined at Lupulo earlier this week, but we were still spoiled for choice with many interesting-sounding dishes on offer including the carabineros red prawns from the Spanish Mediterranean. ($19 per). Perhaps they upped the power of the ventilation (see OP) because I was swooning over the aroma coming from the charcoal grill. The restaurant was not smokey but smelled just divine, I thought.

We skipped those but did order and enjoy the Manila clams in green sauce, generous portion of small clams in cilantro-flecked broth. ($11).

The chicken liver pate was served with muscat grapes but was not luscious as other versions I've sampled. Would not order this again.

Baccalao Croquettes, Bolinhos, were good, served with alioli. ($6 for three)

A trio of fresh sardines under a clutch of red and yellow roasted peppers were cooked perfectly. ($21)

The peri-peri chicken was very good and served with skinny and most excellent fried potatoes; it was all I could do not to ask to take home the bottle of terrific peri-peri sauce served alongside the slightly charred bird. ($14 half chicken)

The place reminded me of a modern tapas bar in an urban setting in Spain (I've only poked my toe into Portugal) and in fact, our earnest young server, Laura, was a Catalan from Palafrugell. The dishes mentioned above were mostly very good, but had lititle "wow" factor. Know that and you may be quite pleased. Simple renditions of many classics, done well.

Best for last: "Salame de chocolate" dessert, three incredibly rich and slightly crisp discs of choclate pastry served with a tiny sphere of olive oil ice cream certainly ahd that elusive "wow" factor. I'd not had this before so please forgive the poor description. If you like choclate-ey endings to your meal, this confection will more than satisfy.

1 day ago
erica in Manhattan
1

Calabrian Bergamot/Bitter Oranges in Manhattan

Yes, slightly different varieties of citron. Both grown in Calabria.

They also sell locally made liqueur of cedro in Calabria.

More info on this intresting subject in link below.

Each year there are rabbis that make the trip to the Cosenza area to select the best fruit (citrus medica) for the holiday.

http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2011/03/...

1 day ago
erica in Manhattan

Calabrian Bergamot/Bitter Oranges in Manhattan

I've bought bergamot conserve at Eataly; made in Noto, Sicily. Your post reminded me to look in my pantry and sure enough, there is a jar of bergamot marmelade hiding in the back..bought in Belmonte Calabro. I am sorry not to be any help on the actual fruit, but you certainly might have luck around the Jewish holiday of Succoth when the fruit has a part in the harvest celebrations and much is imported for that purpose.

1 day ago
erica in Manhattan

No more ramps (wild leeks) at Union Square Greenmarket

If you are really set on ramps, take a look at WholeFoods; they sell them by the pound. Not sure if they are still available, though, but you can phone first.

I'm sorry I did not buy the ramp pesto as it was really good. As I recall, it contained cashews but cannot remember the other ingredients. (Ricotta?
Lemon?Parmesan?)

With the escalating popularity, let's just hope there will be enough ramps around to satisfy everyone in coming years.

2 days ago
erica in Manhattan

No more ramps (wild leeks) at Union Square Greenmarket

Terhune had them today at UN market.

Mountain Sweet Berry has stellar ramp pesto in Union Square for $10 small container.

Spring onions are around at many vendors.

May 20, 2015
erica in Manhattan

Betony

I have to chime in on the portion size, although I was taken to task here for saying this after my dinner there a while back. And I am not a trencherwoman!

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/925654

Great food, however.

May 19, 2015
erica in Manhattan

Eataly

On the pasta there: In addition to the dried Barilla pasta that I mentioned, above, and that I buy myself (shape: bavette no. 13), take a look the pasta from lauded Campania manufacturer Afeltra; the store carries several different types of this pasta and all are very good but I would buy the least expensive of this type. I've not seen it elsewhere in the area but I do buy it in Italy to bring home.

Benedetto Cavalieri, from Puglia, is also very good and costs about $9 a bag which is on the mark for Manhattan. I would stay away from Garofolo (not special enough to justify price) and I have no idea who makes the noodles sold under the Lidia label. Farro pasta is also excellent and they carry some of this, too. I use it for recipes using dark greens, beans, pork.

Duck fat is a decent buy, although prices have shot up a lot since they opened.
I agree with the others on fresh meat and shellfish. I find their cheeses overpriced in general.

Their olive oil selection is vast but those bottles bear a big price tag. And with the recent problems in Italian olive groves, I would think twice about splurging on one of those, especially from Tuscany and now, Puglia. Maybe try Sicilian or Calabrian oil (??) if you need oil. Remember to buy only oil with a harvest date on the label.

See if any help lies within this older thread:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/742707

May 19, 2015
erica in Manhattan
1

Eataly

Not ridiculous if you need it, but I can't imagine that your salads are going to be much different if you use a "fancy" red wine vinegar rather than Spectrum (from WF) or Pompeiian, from any supermarket. Both of these have received high marks from Cook's Illustrated in past years.

I don't know how much you have to spend, but you might investigate colatura or garum, a prized liquid made from anchovies in southern Italy. The store carries two brands and both are more or less about $10-$12 each. Both brands are very reputable: Delfino and Recca. Dress long pasta with this or add to dressings for raw and cooked greens.

http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/88...

Another product they carry are Taggiasca olives from Liguria, in jars. If you have not tasted them, and ifi you like olives, you are in for a treat. (I just bought a jar there a few days ago).

Fennel pollen is another interesting idea, expensive but not drastically overpriced in that store, and not so easy to find elsewhere. (I have found that some things are decent value there, while others are priced far higher than you can find in other shops in NYC

)

Or, treat yourself to a bottle of "traditional" balsamic vinegar, too good to use in salad dressings but great on cheese or on berries. (That only if your gift card contains a healthy amount!)

They carry Barilla pasta made in Italy for about $2 which is far better than the Barilla made in the US carried in supermarkets.

Getting back to the salads, a bottle of lemon-infused olive oil is a good idea.

Tell us how much the card allows you to spend.

May 18, 2015
erica in Manhattan

Midtown East Help Please

L: Thank you for the Land of Plenty tip. Will try!

Forgot to mention Deux Amis. Although I've not been more than a couple of times (during kitchen renovation), this is the local version of a casual French bistro/cafe/bar for the neighborhood. On 52nd near corner of First. Outdoor tables.

And: From the famous chef familiar with this area, here are three excellent food shopping destinations, two of which I frequent with some regularity. Note that he does not mention any actual restaurants in the immediate area.

http://nypost.com/2010/07/11/my-new-y...

The Wednesday Dag H. Greenmarket near the UN is a bright spot, although on the small side. Lani's Farm is the highlight here.

http://www.grownyc.org/greenmarket/ma...

May 17, 2015
erica in Manhattan

Midtown East Help Please

Welcome to the neighborhood. I've lived here (further east and further south) than you, for decades and in all this time there have been very few bright spots for dining and those that did exist have closed. "Oh but there are so many restaurants here," people say. That's true. But are they great and exciting places? No! In the past few weeks I've dined at Mission Chinese, Upland, L'Apicio, Estela, and Gato (several times for the last one), to name the highlights. Not one in the immediate area although I can walk to Upland.

Have not had any recent meals around here but then, I tend to be kind of fussy about what I eat. Where do my neighbors eat? Good Japanese, as you know. Ethos is very popular for Greek fare and will soon open a second location diagonally across First Avenue from their 52nd St. corner restaurant. Jublilee has its fans for French classics including mussels in several variations. Moti Mahal Deluxe a bit north on First in the low 60s for good Indian. Turkish light fare and great desserts (made in their bakery in Queens, I believe) at Gulloglu on Second Ave.
Walk a bit to the west to Ma Peche, which sort of passes for our local "go to" spot although we've not been since last year. Grand Sichuan on Second/55th, near you, is pretty good if you stick to the special part of the menu. Check out the Four Seasons before the rest of the glorious space gets trashed by Landlord Aby Rosen.

You are also close to Felidia and the restaurant row along 58th Street where you will find Chola for regional Indian.

Anyway for what its worth, that's one persons take on the area. There are many who might take issue with my bleak picture. I'm all ears. I don't like having to take the train or bus each time I want a great meal.

Oh, and I make the trek to Sullivan Street Bakery on 47th to buy my bread since we have no great bread bakers in the area. (You can buy TomCat baguettes in Food Emporium, and you know about the always teeming Whole Foods on 57th )

May 17, 2015
erica in Manhattan

Any recent reports on L'Apicio?

Two of us were very pleased with our dinner at L'Apicio last night.
Based on the first of what I hope will be many meals to come at this casual modern Italian restaurant, I would recommend:

Grilled Little Gem lettuce salad. This was even better than the excellent (not grilled) Little Gem salad I had at Upland recently. Two halves of a large head, grilled to to char in parts, dressed with a pungent and well balanced olive-studded viniagrette, and tossed with Parmigiano and with ground toasted bread crumbs, in the manner of the Italian South.

Grilled Asparagus consisted of a clutch of thin, grilled spears topped with yogurt and fried egg, with lavish shavings of ricotta salata. Excellent, although I might not choose again solely because I make this so often at home in season. If you don't, order it here!

(Couple next to us began their dinner with the Charred Octopus over a bed of fregola (round pasta of Sardinia); the look, and the aroma, of this dish placed it on my own "essential" list for next time. )

I had the special of linguine with brussel sprout leaves as a main course; excellent, with anchovies, olives, citrus and lemon oil in the ingredient mix.

Partner was over the moon with the Pork Meatball Polenta; we agreed that this was "the" polenta dish of the season so far, beating even Gato's new Artichoke and Pea Polenta which is pretty wonderful, too.

Service by Edward was exemplary; the restuarant is dark and handsome, and the noise level was fine in the early part of a weekend Saturday evening.

May 17, 2015
erica in Manhattan

Renting Bologna Apartment for Two Weeks...Need Advice

This book is a classic for English-language cooks:

http://www.amazon.com/Splendid-Table-...

Do you know about the HomeFood classes and dinners?

http://www.homefood.it/en/classes/

May 17, 2015
erica in Italy
1

All Clad Factory Seconds Sale

May 17, 2015
erica in Cookware

George Mendez's New Portuguese Restaurant- Lupulo

Thanks for the report..menu has so many great-sounding dishes. Baby goat!

Kurtis: I agree about Mas La Grillade, which I believe has been closed for a year or so. Looking forward to trying Lupulo, and in making a return to Aldea, where I've not been in years but was once a favorite.

May 17, 2015
erica in Manhattan

No Frills Shrimp, etc near I-95 Jacksonville vicinity???

B&Js is a highlight of my drives to and from Florida!
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/898187

May 17, 2015
erica in Florida

What ever happened to Rocco Dispirito?

UPDATE: He is now promoting his "pound a day diet" to clients such as Kris Jenner and Whoppi Goldberg. As seen on Dr. Oz show!!!

"Interested in ordering the same meal plan Sherri Shepherd is on???"

Home delivery of his "fresh'cooked meals" beginning at only $425 a week!!!

http://www.poundadaydiet.com

A new book, too!! (well, sort of new):

May 17, 2015
erica in Food Media & News

No Frills Shrimp, etc near I-95 Jacksonville vicinity???

New and interesting video on O'Steens; we loved the Minorcan chowder made with Datil peppers, when we stopped by for dinner last winter:

http://www.eater.com/2015/5/13/859590...

May 16, 2015
erica in Florida
2

Where to eat game, perhaps zebra, in Tanzania?

Believe it is illegal to sell game meat..thank goodness.

May 15, 2015
erica in Middle East & Africa

Portofino Difficulties

See if anything here, including an account of my wonderful lunch at Nonna Nina, catches your interest:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/518483

May 15, 2015
erica in Italy

Wilson Tang and Jonathan Wu Now Serving 'Creative' Chinese at Fung Tu

Interesting. So you are saying that Chinese and American are similar, but that the jerky at Fung Tu is made differently than both of those. (??)

Thanks.

May 13, 2015
erica in Manhattan

Wilson Tang and Jonathan Wu Now Serving 'Creative' Chinese at Fung Tu

Read this thread after reading NYTimes review today.

Regarding comment on Chinese jerky in review, above (thank you for taking the time to write): There are at least three Chinese jerky shops in Chinatown that I know of, including Ling Kee on Ludlow, Ping's Dried Beef, and Malaysia Beef Jerky which has been on Elizabeth Street for years and years. They all do beef as well as other meats.

While I'm no expert on Chinese jerky, I've sampled my share here and in China, and I wonder what your "well-known friend" meant by saying that Chinese jerky is not "real" jerky.

May 13, 2015
erica in Manhattan

Limencello

Any large liquor store will carry limoncello. Look for bottles with no additives, with IGP status which means they come fromd lemons grown on the coast of Campania, or on Capri. There is also some limoncello made in California but I have not tasted it.

May 13, 2015
erica in Manhattan

Is it safe to hang cast iron pans from zinc plated S hooks on a shelf?

I'd worry more about the wire shelf collapsing under the weight of all those dangling things!

May 11, 2015
erica in Cookware
1

Best unpretentious italian in NYC?

Agree. Posters complaining about White's many ingredients being "pretentious" have likely not been to Osteria Francescana, Dal Pescatore, etc etc. How often have they been to the three you mention, in the MW stable in NYC?

May 11, 2015
erica in Manhattan

Best unpretentious italian in NYC?

I've not had a pasta with balsamic glaze at MW places either. I do remember a great pork dish with balsamic glaze at Lupa, though. Long ago. And have had many dishes in Italy that were "annointed with" precious traditional balsamic, which is probably the take-off point for the ubiquitous glazes we've been seeing here in the past decade or so.

White trained in Imola, ER at San Domenico, where the pastas are not exaactly simple, three-ingredient dishes. Not every chef wants to replicate cacio e pepe from Testaccio night after night but having said that, there do exist White pastas that are fairly simple. Plenty of room for different styles.

May 10, 2015
erica in Manhattan

North Fork Farm stand report

Interesting..I guess Lyle Wells has a connection to the Wells Farm near Aquebogue. No wonder they are good for asparagus. Thank you, Coll. I'm looking forward to coming out for the season shortly.

ALL CLAD…pricing question on saucepans

Thanks. So which would be the loss leader in the sequence I mentioned above?
Seems like the 2qt is the profit engine and of course that is the one I want to buy.

May 10, 2015
erica in Cookware