the city block that makes you either yearn to live in ny or run screaming from it
a happy new year to you. the inbox is back down to fewer than 10 emails and i am wearing a clean shirt. these two are not insignificant achievements.
- new year's resolution: spend holidays doing only uninteresting and restful things. the presence of small animals and spirituous beverages of high quality are permitted.
- jewish weddings: congratulations to the kaplammers, and particularly to david hammer for using the word oikos in his tisch lecture! the wedding involved plenty of food and dancing in circles. the renegade california contingent (table 2) tried and failed to introduce hexagonality into the proceedings.
- the best sandwich of recent months: the restaurant school special at koch's deli, just down the street and around the corner from julian's house in philadelphia. corned beef, honey turkey, brisket of beef, hot pepper cheese, cole slaw and russian dressing or mustard on a hoagie roll. an unholy combination of many meats and cole slaw (which i had previously avoided in sandwiches for introducing unnecessary and unemulsified liquid). no photo, as it was consumed too quickly. perhaps the pulled roast pork sandwich with garlicky greens at dinic's (also in phl) would have been even better, but dinic's was sold out and the comparison thus awaits a future visit.
- single malt scotch: a stellar glass at zuni cafe in 2005 converted me to calvados. julian's ardbeg 10 year did me for single malts. these tasting notes seem to me wildly off-base: this stuff has the scent of syrup made of rock sugar and pandanus leaves.
- old friends: are the easiest ones to grouse with. helps if they have good scotch and live close to a great deli. [thx julian]
- eating prodigiously: i ate with the alpha hound in jackson heights a few days ago. the experience left me nearly prostrate, but also happily stuffed with fried watercress, fresh korean tofu, fenugreek paratha, russian milk chocolate, and a pint of guinness, among many others. the food was good, the conversation was better. this is his contribution to the art of rating food (i think the inclusion of reference OJ is what tips it into brilliance).
- banh mi: have i complained before that cambridge has no (not one) vietnamese sandwich provider? not long ago, there was a small cafe on massachusetts avenue just south of porter which had a beautiful, minimal banh mi for $2.50. i went there once before it closed, to be replaced by a bakery selling undistinguished and overly-sweet cakes and pastries. while in the big apple, i loaded the nyt banh mi map onto my phone* and finally made it to baoguette on murray hill. for $5, the cilantro was wilted, the daikon and carrot pickles were limp, the bread was not crusty, and there was too much stuff inside it. crushed, i slunk back to boston where, at the tail end of a grocery run in chinatown, i accidentally picked up the best banh mi i've had in years: cilantro leaves plucked off the stems, a freshly-toasted baguette with an open crumb, a thin smear of pate and a shaving of ham, crisp pickles, and a scattering of finely-chopped hot chilies ($3 at lu's sandwich shop, on knapp st in boston. you can buy a bangle or some gold bars in the attached jewelers should the mood strike).
- the shake shack: was closed when i went by on new year's eve. smart people. their frozen custard is a riff on ted drewes from st louis, which sometimes i dream about (part 3 of my encounter with ted drewes, part 2 and part 1 are the preamble). this is the shake shack custard calendar: M gianduja, T blood orange, W salted caramel, Th roasted peanut, F carrot cake, Sa mint chocolate chip, Su cinnamon toast. i would go back every day.
- pourovers: newly possessed of a hario burr grinder and pourover cone, and a bag of barismo kagumoini, i fabricated a canvas filter with some scrap #10 and bookbinder's linen this morning and am anticipating good things tomorrow. apparently barismo has become one of the new epicenters of the artisanal coffee roasting movement. this is unsurprising but pleasant.
- precipitation: there is nothing like a persistent snowfall to make you feel good about having lots of oranges in the house, a large mug of coffee, and 200 pages of hermann hesse to go.
* why does the iphone not have native mymaps support?