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Opera Torte [split from Manhattan board]

I believe I found a solution to one layer: it was feuilleton, not dacquoise.

Feb 02, 2009
zindorf in Home Cooking

Returning to the New York I Once Loved

I think the problem is solved: it was the Westside Diner, and I remembered it as the American because they probably have a sign that says Westside American Diner.

Feb 02, 2009
zindorf in Manhattan

Returning to the New York I Once Loved

I checked some of the menus and see what you mean. Still, adding $5 to what I pay in Philly to eat in Manhattan is not too bad, the diners afford a dinner under $20. But what is up at 69th and Broadway? What's there or not there? The American was built out onto the sidewalk on the northeast corner.

Dec 26, 2008
zindorf in Manhattan

Returning to the New York I Once Loved

I may finally be able to pay an extended visit to the home I left in 1994. Are any of the old places there anymore? Specifically, the American Diner at 69th and Broadway, and does Barney Greengrass still have a little dining room with a dirt-cheap chopped liver platter?
I would love a list of diners, delis and good places where I can get a meal for under, gasp, $10.00.

Dec 25, 2008
zindorf in Manhattan

pizza in philly

You will probably be happiest with Lazzaro's on South Street, the pizza most like New York's in Center City, big-big slices, sweet taste; or Milano's on 9th Street and Walnut, which is very like the run-of-the-mill Midtown pizza joints, good Sicilian, lots of choices.

Dolce's is salty, decent crust, okay toppings, pricey.

However, there is a new place called Mix, at 21st and Chestnut, very thin crust, roasted garlic tucked away in the rim, very tasty, herbs, good flavors, reasonable price, also a full menu and a bar.

Dec 25, 2008
zindorf in Pennsylvania

Opera Torte [split from Manhattan board]

I'm sorry, but you seem to have arrived in New York too late for the tastes you crave. There were many such places as you desire on the Upper West Side: Lichtmann's, Grossingers, Gruenebaum's, and the Royal which appeared in the Seinfeld Babka episode (are they gone, too?), and last but best, the Eclair, which made the grandest Opera Torte in the world.

What I want is to reconstruct their opera torte for my birthday, but I can't figure out how to construct it in the right sequence, and there is one still-unknown element. Please search your sense memories and help me out.
It had layers of genoise, alternating with chocolate cream, mocha cream, and praline cream, apricot spread always atop the chocolate, and a crispy brownish layer that could have been a very dry dacquoise (almond or hazelnut?), all robed in dark chocolate and served "mit schlag". Now, I tried to make it once, and discovered that you have to finish with cake on top or you can't spread the chocolate very well! I believe the sequence would be cake, praline cream, cake, mocha cream, cake, chocolate cream, apricot, dacquoise/rusk. How many times should the sequence repeat? Would seven layers make the most sense? Who remembers? Where are the bakers who worked there? By the way, do you also remember the names of the 30 other torten they had on display? I only remember the Creme de Cassis torte, as I nearly always had the opera torte. After that, a traditional opera torte is a big nothing. They also sold wonderful rye and pumpernickel, and challah, I think. Their bread prices were very reasonable. Eating dinner or lunch was a little pricey. They had high prices and labor problems because they were unionized, so the overhead was terribly high, and the service could be indifferent, to be sure. My Viennese "auntie" proclaimed the backhandel and cucumber salad to be perfectly authentic. These places passed on with the gross exaggeration of commercial rents and the passing on of the wartime generations. There is, however, in Saratoga, a Mrs. London's cafe and bakery that is of exactly that type that should be visited and discussed. It may be worth a trip. They do have a website. It is my dream to someday open a truly traditional Hungarian Cafe somewhere, but where and when and how remain to be seen.

Oct 26, 2008
zindorf in Home Cooking

Gelpe's morning glory muffins (Minneapolis)

I worked at Gelpe's, the summer of 1978. I made all the yeast strudels, oatmeal cookies, challah, baguettes, reine de saba, royal mocha walnut torte, cheesecake, linzer tarts, black velvet cakes, victorias, tarts, puli tortes, but I can't remember the other things. I am trying to remember what else we made. There was a cake similar to reine de saba but I can't remember the name. Most of the cakes and such came from or were adapted from cookbooks like Jacques Pepin's La Technique, for one. The challah had wheat germ, unbleached flour, honey and barley malt syrup. The difference from other challe is more egg, and much more sweetening, and of course the wheat germ. The tough part is finding a good barley malt syrup. Forget the natural-foods brand. The best I found was in a Korean grocery, a standard Korean brand. It should be golden, much lighter than used for beer making.
For three cups of unbleached bread flour, use 2 tsp. yeast, 1 tsp. salt, 2 eggs, reserving 1/2 of a yolk for egg wash, 1-2 tbsp. oil, at least 3 tbsp. of sweetening, be it sugar, honey, dark corn syrup, or barley malt. You can also use 1 tsp. of molasses (we did). Mix and knead, etc. What was also different was that we used five braids, which is too tricky to explain. Some bread books show how to braid any different number. Try that. It comes out different at home, so adjust the recipe to taste. Mainly, it is richer, denser, sweeter.
It was a lot of fun to work there.

May 17, 2008
zindorf in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

I am quite happy with a mix of half velveeta or american cheese or gruyere wedges and half mild cheddar with a roux base or mixed with milk and rice flour as a thickener. I also learned to mix an egg in at the end to thicken it. My "invention" is to top it off with crushed Lay's potato chips, then brown it in the oven. An easy and "dietetic" substitute for buttered bread crumbs.

May 17, 2008
zindorf in Recipes

Bartons candy stores

Yep, Barton's are still around, you can get them in Philadelphia. My brother-in-law's parents brought them to Pesach from Florida. They're good but not great, I'm sorry to say. How about Hebert's in Massachusetts for good kosher chocolate?

Mar 25, 2007
zindorf in Manhattan

Land O'Lakes Pops a Stubby

We have the same thing here with a local creamery called Keller's, in Pennsylvania. I hate stubbies. You don't know how much you're taking and you always take too much. Land O'Lakes is the best, and my home town too!

Mar 25, 2007
zindorf in Features