For a festive, dressy-but-easy first-course salad for the holiday season, you can’t go wrong with sea scallops. Yes, it’s true, wild Atlantic sea scallops (the ones you want) are a bit pricey, but that’s exactly why I recommend them as a first course. You can feed four people with only three-quarters of a pound.
When I’m in Paris, it’s always exciting to see great piles of sea scallops, or coquilles St. Jacques, still in their beautiful giant fan-shaped shells. Every fish merchant sells them this way; they are shucked to order in the blink of an eye. Fresh? Of course.
In this week’s City Kitchen column there’s a recipe for a simple Meyer lemon vinaigrette that’s a bit on the chunky side, almost salsalike. And it takes only one Meyer lemon (or two small ones) to make it.
The Meyer lemon is sweet and floral, with hints of bergamot, another fragrant citrus, though it is probably a cross between an ordinary Eureka lemon and a variety of orange. Its soft smooth peel is entirely edible and not at all bitter, and its juice is not in the least sour. » continue reading
or read the full article at New York Times Diner Blog
Clockwise from top left: Three scenes from Hotel Chocolat, Fond Doux Estate, Delft Cocoa Estate, St. Lucia. Center: creation by Isabel Brash at Cocobel Chocolate. | Meridith Kohut for The New York Times
By BAZ DREISINGER
ONE morning on St. Lucia, as I was waking from beatific dreams, I discovered that I had turned into a luscious, ripe cocoa pod.
Or so I imagined, borrowing freely from Kafka’s opening line in “Metamorphosis.” For three decadent days, I had been eating chocolate-stuffed liver pâté, cocoa-encrusted kingfish and, for breakfast, cocoa-and-cashew granola. At night I drank cocoa Bellinis. I indulged in a cocoa oil massage, hiked through cocoa fields and created my own chocolate bar. Dawn consistently carried the pungent aroma of cocoa trees, because I was staying on a verdant cocoa estate — and sleeping in a cocoa pod.
Well, sort of: Hotel Chocolat, a boutique property in St. Lucia, features not rooms but “luxe pods,” where even the magnificently minimalist décor (rich mahogany floors, ivory-colored bathroom with open-air shower) evokes the essence of chocolate.
Perhaps thanks to Mr. Sperber, each of my children passed through adolescence and young adulthood without serious sexual mishap — no pregnancies, no S.T.D.’s — so I figured I was off the hook in the sex-talk department. Nothing prepared me for the moment in 2002 when Ethan, who had recently started his own design firm in San Francisco, came out — not as gay, but with something much more shocking.
“Mom, I’m going to design vibrators.”
If I’d been drinking tea, it would have come out my nose. My mind whirled with images of bleached-blond porn stars in black bustiers, dark “Adult Only” storefronts in the sleaziest part of town, a leering Hugh Hefner surrounded by his bunnies. I couldn’t reconcile my sweet, funny son with those images. Where had I gone wrong?
The photograph, at the heart of "Men at Lunch," a new documentary investigating its subjects and context (Bettman/Corbis)
By JOHN ANDERSON
WHEN they don’t involve sailors kissing nurses, the symbolic photographs of New York City usually involve skyscrapers: Alfred Stieglitz’s snowy shot of the Flatiron Building; Berenice Abbott’s electric “Night View”; Margaret Bourke-White perched atop an art-deco eagle of the Chrysler Building. And Lewis Hine’s celebrated portrait of 11 Depression-era ironworkers, lunching along an I-beam on the unfinished Empire State Building.
No, on several counts.
The shot isn’t by Hine. And it’s not atop the Empire State Building — despite common misperceptions, misrepresentations and an Internet that insists otherwise. Taken Sept. 20, 1932, during the construction of Rockefeller Center, the well-known portrait of 11 immigrant laborers, legs dangling 850 feet above Midtown, ran in the Oct. 2 Sunday supplement of The New York Herald-Tribune, with the caption “Lunch Atop a Skyscraper.” Everybody knows the picture. Nobody knows who took it. And for most of its 80 years no one has known who’s in it.
This is a better version of a ubiquitous salad found in takeout shops all over France. Salade Russe, as it is called, is a mayonnaise-dressed mixture of potatoes, diced carrots, peas and other vegetables, but usually not beets. Yogurt vinaigrette stands in for mayonnaise here. » continue reading
or read the full article at New York Times
Alex Ott experiments with fragrances and essential oils in his New York City apartment. | Michael Falco for The New York Times
By JEFF GORDINIER
IT is not unusual for a bartender to offer you something that’s supposed to make you feel good. You might say that’s what the job of making cocktails is about: delivering a brief splash of bliss.
But Alex Ott sees himself as much more than a bartender, and when he talks about making a drinker feel good, what he has in mind tends to be something more specific and lyrical than your run-of-the-mill lightness in the head and looseness in the limbs.
“I can make a cocktail that will take you back 30 years,” he said the other day. “If you tell me what you had as a child, I can take you there in one second — take you back to when your mommy tucked you in and gave you a hot chocolate. The same exact scent.” » continue reading
or read the full article at New York Times
Here’s something that I know about leeks: The ones planted in the fall and left in the cold ground until the first thaw in early spring taste sweeter, earthier and deeper than new-crop leeks in summer.
This makes spring the ideal season to let these mild-mannered alliums star. And since the farmers’ market has little by way of competition this time of year, those green and white bundles easily tempt.
Usually I gravitate to a creamy potato leek vichyssoise to flaunt my spoils. But after a long winter of spooning up soups, I wanted something heftier and more substantial, something I could eat with a fork and knife. » continue reading
or read the full article at New York Times
A dish of raw scallops and black truffles with mushroom powder. From "Edible Selby" | Inaki Aizpitarte
By MAURA EGAN; PHOTOGRAPHS By TODD SELBY
While most top toques in Paris sharpen their knife skills at the city’s elite kitchens, Inaki Aizpitarte started his career as a dishwasher in Tel Aviv. Today the Basque-born chef continues to defy convention by tweaking traditional bistro food — pork belly with licorice root, foie gras with sliced radishes, deconstructed pot au feu — at Le Chateaubriand, his wildly popular restaurant in a scruffy section of the 11th Arrondissement. Recently, Aizpitarte expanded his empire with Le Dauphin. The chic new spot, designed by Rem Koolhaas, offers small plates with big, big flavors that already have the critics and cool kids raving.
Slow-cooked short ribs bathed in a mission fig syrup on top of a black mole sauce. After Mr. Plascencia cooked it at the Test Kitchen, a Los Angeles restaurant with a rotating cast of guest chefs, Jonathan Gold, the food critic for LA Weekly, named it one of his top 10 dishes of 2010. | Credit: Sandy Huffaker for The New York Times
By JOSH KUN
TIJUANA, Mexico.—No matter where you sit in Mision 19, it’s impossible to forget where you are. The restaurant, perched on the second floor of a sleek office building, is a handsome study in concrete, wood and glass, wrapped in floor-to-ceiling windows. Tijuana confronts you from all sides.
“I am proud of being from Tijuana,” said Javier Plascencia, the restaurant’s chef and one of its owners, sitting behind a wall of wine bottles at his private chef’s table. Nearby, waiters in dark coats and ties gracefully maneuvered among tables of women in suits and men with sweaters tied over their shoulders. Hints of cologne mixed with musky wafts of mesquite and charcoal.
Eli Zabar samples a yolky egg salad sandwich at E.A.T.
By Elaine Louie
PHILOSOPHERS may ponder the chicken-egg question. But for cooks, a far more pressing concern is the yolk-white question. Which comes first depends on whom you ask.
For Danny Meyer, the chief executive of the Union Square Hospitality Group, it is undoubtedly the white, at least on weekdays. Two or three mornings a week, Mr. Meyer eats breakfast at one of the group’s restaurants, Maialino. When he does, he invariably gets the frittata bianca, or egg white frittata, made with sautéed leeks and pecorino.
In my article about coconut oil on Wednesday, I mentioned in passing a recipe for popcorn cooked in coconut oil. In my view, I think it is a perfect way to make popcorn. But if you want to get slightly fancier, try this double coconut version. The coconut flakes get brown and toasty and the mustard seeds add zing. If you don’t have mustard seeds, leave them (and that step) out and add a pinch of cayenne to the coconut flakes instead. » continue reading
or read the full article at NY Times Diners Journal
Michael Yarish/AMC | Christina Hendricks as Joan Holloway Harris, Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson, and Cara Buono as Faye Miller in Mad Men
by Daniel Mendelsohn | February 24, 2011
Since the summer of 2007, when Mad Men premiered on the cable station AMC, the world it purports to depict—a lushly reimagined Madison Avenue in the 1960s, where sleekly suited, chain-smoking, hard-drinking advertising executives dream up ingeniously intuitive campaigns for cigarettes and bras and airlines while effortlessly bedding beautiful young women or whisking their Grace Kelly–lookalike wives off to business trips in Rome—has itself become the object of a kind of madness. I’m not even referring to the critical reception both in the US and abroad, which has been delirious: a recent and not atypical reference in the Times of London called it “one of the best television series of all time,” and the show has repeatedly won the Emmy, the Golden Globe, the Screen Actors Guild Award, the Writers Guild of America Award, and the Producers Guild of America Award for Best Drama Series. (A number of its cast members have been nominated in the various acting categories as well.) Rather, the way in which Mad Men has seemingly percolated into every corner of the popular culture—the children’s show Sesame Street has introduced a Mad Men parody, toned down, naturally, for its tender viewers—suggests that its appeal goes far beyond what dramatic satisfactions it might afford.
At first glance, this appeal seems to have a lot to do with the show’s much-discussed visual style—the crisp midcentury coolness of dress and decor. The clothing retailer Banana Republic, in partnership with the show’s creators, devised a nationwide window display campaign evoking the show’s distinctive 1960s look, and now offers a style guide to help consumers look more like the show’s characters. A nail polish company now offers a Mad Men–inspired line of colors; the toy maker Mattel has released dolls based on some of the show’s characters. Most intriguingly, to my mind, Brooks Brothers has partnered with the series’s costume designer to produce a limited edition Mad Men suit—which is, in turn, based on a Brooks Brothers design of the 1960s.
Even when you live there, Updike said, it still glitters from afar. Tom Shone on real life in a city that has aspiration built into its very architecture ...
Tom Shone | Winter 2010
There is nothing quite like the heat of your first summer in New York. The asphalt feels spongy underfoot. The avenues shimmer in the haze. The Union Jack handkerchief your mother insisted you pack—whoever heard of a hankie in New York!—proves no match for the sweat pooling in your eyebrows and running between your shoulder-blades. As you hop from one cloud of air conditioning to the next, peeling the shirt from your back, you feel like an animal that has chosen the wrong element in which to exist: a frog in flight, a bird underwater, an Englishman abroad. Your Union Jack hankie will double nicely as a flag of surrender.
Now it’s one of the things I most love about life in New York—along with the arctic winters, during which the city seems almost to travel back in time, the cars and roads disappearing beneath an even white blanket until there is little in your line of sight that would look out of place in a daguerreotype. You get your money’s worth with the seasons in New York. So unlike London with its single grey mono-season, interrupted by a few days of sun and a few more days of rain.
Marvellous article by Farhad Manjoo in Slate about why you should never, ever, use two periods after a space. Many do this, and they’re the one’s who think of a computer as a typewriter on steroids. It’s not, of course. Proportional fonts don’t need two periods, it’s as simple as that.
And it looks really, really ugly.
You also don’t need underlining. Manual typewriters couldn’t do boldface and italics. They couldn’t resize or change fonts. A computer lets you do all that and more, and your average word processing program is pretty close to a true desktop publishing environment, at least to the extent it allows for far more complex formatting than was ever possible before.
Robin Williams’s book, *The PC Is Not A Typewriter* also lays out some excellent rules for working with documents on computers. It’s a very handy reference or guide. For years, I tried to explain these fundamentals to a friend — he passed away a few weeks ago — but would he listen? He insisted on sending out stuff (even on email) with underlining, two spaces after periods and more. Given how much he wrote I suspect that one of the reasons people stopped reading his stuff carefully or attentively was because of the horrendous formatting.
Richard Perry/The New York Times | The orderly and oh-so-neat work of Barbara Reich, a home organizer.
By ELISSA GOOTMAN | January 7, 2011
GLIDING into Susan Hitzig and Ken Yaffe’s apartment, in a doorman building off Central Park West, Barbara Reich did not waste time ogling the obvious: the sleek kitchen, the view of the American Museum of Natural History, the sophisticated living room bearing no trace of the couple’s three children. Instead, Ms. Reich peered into a closet, where she found mismatched hangers and decreed, “This is wrong.”
Ms. Reich zoned in on a pile of books and games on the floor: “There’s no reason we should have a stack of stuff like this.” Then she got to work.
A puzzle with a missing piece? Garbage. A half-assembled Playmobil boat? Likewise. A drawer full of wooden blocks? Gone. Birthday party favors were subject to the 24-hour rule: “You let them play with it for 24 hours, then it’s garbage.” A checkers set was a recent gift from a relative, but had only black pieces. “She won’t love you any less,” Ms. Reich said as she tossed it. Then there were the notebooks, now touching artifacts, filled with the earliest handwriting of the couple’s 8-year-old son, Lucas. “Everybody’s going to learn how to read and write,” Ms. Reich said. “You don’t need the evidence.”
Sara Krulwich/The New York Times | Brian Bedford, left, as Lady Bracknell and Charlotte Parry as Cecily Cardew in the latest Broadway revival of "The Importance of Being Earnest".
By BEN BRANTLEY | January 5, 2011
LADY BRACKNELL, that unbending arbiter of social correctness, would surely not approve of Brian Bedford, who portrays her in his new production of “The Importance of Being Earnest” at the American Airlines Theater.
It’s not just that Mr. Bedford, born to an English postal worker and an Irish factory weaver in a Yorkshire market town, grew up far from anywhere Lady Bracknell might consider a fashionable address. Her Ladyship, you see, likes people to fit snugly into categories, and Mr. Bedford is quite unclassifiable.
Steve Hebert for The New York Times | Kodak stopped making Kodachrome film in 2009.
By A. G. SULZBERGER | December 29, 2010
PARSONS, Kan. — An unlikely pilgrimage is under way to Dwayne’s Photo, a small family business that has through luck and persistence become the last processor in the world of Kodachrome, the first successful color film and still the most beloved.
That celebrated 75-year run from mainstream to niche photography is scheduled to come to an end on Thursday when the last processing machine is shut down here to be sold for scrap.
Kuni Takahashi for The New York Times | The apartment is spread over two levels. On the main level are the living area and kitchen.
By AMANA FONTANELLA-KHAN | December 29, 2010
MUMBAI, INDIA — At Ashiesh Shah’s housewarming party in November, amid clinking champagne flutes, one of his friends joked that his apartment is actually an art gallery in disguise. Looking at the sculpture of a two-foot-long baby made of material from a spinnaker by the Canadian artist Max Streicher suspended above the staircase, any guest to his home might agree.
Seth Kugel for The New York Times; Joshua Bright for The New York Times; Robert Caplin for The New York Times | Clockwise from top left, Doughnut Plant for guess what; the Guggenheim for pay-what-you-wish; Grounded Cafe for bagels and ambience; the Lower East Side for a podcast walking tour.
By SETH KUGEL | December 28, 2010
HOW much spending money should you set aside for a weekend in New York City that includes taking in some theater, museums and experimental film, dining out at restaurants for every meal and having a few beers, too?
Does $100 sound reasonable?
Perhaps not, but it should. Manhattan may seem like the most expensive place in America — you could make $10,000 disappear in a weekend if you really wanted — but it can also be cheap. Even with just $100, you can paint the town red without going into the red.
Rob Schoenbaum for The New York Times | The princess torte, center, sponge cake with layers of raspberry jam and cream, is usually wrapped in bright green marzipan, but this version at Xoko is white
By STEPHEN WHITLOCK | Published: December 22, 2010
In London you can enjoy scones with jam and clotted cream in a genteel tearoom; in Paris, macarons on the Champs-Élysées; in Vienna, take your pick of tortes (Dobos, Sacher or linzer?) in some gilded grand cafe. But in Stockholm?
The boom in Scandinavian crime writing has done nothing to dispel the image of the Swedes as a rather dour people whose cuisine is dominated by the infamous trio of herring, meatballs and crispbread. In reality, Swedes are among the world’s most keen and discerning coffee drinkers. They also have a sweet tooth. One of the first Swedish words any new visitor learns is fika, which means a coffee break, usually enjoyed with a little cake or pastry, much like the British term elevenses but with no time restriction.
For nearly 60 years the portrait of a baby-faced Philip IV by Velázquez hung in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s European paintings galleries, a stunning example of the only 110 or so known canvases by that 17th-century Spanish master. Majestic in size, it was rare in its depiction of a young, uncertain monarch and was the earliest known portrait of Philip by Velázquez, who, as the king’s court painter, went on to record his image for decades.
WHAT is the winter solstice, and why bother to celebrate it, as so many people around the world will tomorrow? The word “solstice” derives from the Latin sol (meaning sun) and statum (stand still), and reflects what we see on the first days of summer and winter when, at dawn for two or three days, the sun seems to linger for several minutes in its passage across the sky, before beginning to double back.
Indeed, “turnings of the sun” is an old phrase, used by both Hesiod and Homer. The novelist Alan Furst has one of his characters nicely observe, “the day the sun is said to pause. … Pleasing, that idea. … As though the universe stopped for a moment to reflect, took a day off from work. One could sense it, time slowing down.”
Advani seems to have abandoned his blog, which is a shame because it has some lovely little nuggets.
The post-modernism post:
The following text may be read as (among many other things) a ready reckoner that any Postmodern (PoMo) subject may use to subvert the totalitarian, homogenizing discourse of a Liberal Humanist (LiHu) interlocutor. Seven polemic devices are provided - but these are by no means to be regarded as canonical.
It is 3 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time in the New York office of Keith Richards’s manager, a place that might look ordinary if every wall and shelf were not crammed with some of the world’s most glorious rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia. Mr. Richards has a 3 o’clock appointment. “Come on in, he’ll be here in a minute,” an assistant says — and here he comes in a minute, at 3:01. This from a man who once prided himself for operating on Keith Time, as in: the security staff ate the shepherd’s pie that Keith wanted in his dressing room? Then everyone in this packed stadium can bloody well wait. The Rolling Stones don’t play until another shepherd’s pie shows up.
Two articles, two columnists, same newspaper, same day, same page, same issue … and a vast gulf in quality. In the Indian Express today, Meghnad Desai’sSuccession Politics, on the feudal nature of India’s democracy, is a thoughtful reflection on the state of the world’s largest democracy. In contrast, Tavleen Singh’sWe Live In Neo-Feudal Times is utterly pedestrian and the kind of sophomoric rant that fills college papers. And it certainly doesn’t help when Ms Singh says things like “us political pundit types”. Political pundit? Who, Tavleen Singh? When did that happen? This defining moment in history seems to have escaped everyone.