Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs

Posts Tagged ‘New York

A Tom Douglas fundraiser for Hurricane Sandy.

Local restauranteurs and Seattleites supporting the relief efforts.

Tini Bigs poured Manhattans.

Ma’Ono‘s Talde Hawaiian bread bun with Portuguese sausage, pickled cucumber, garlic vinegar mayonnaise and coriander.

Spur‘s Katz’s pastrami sliders.

Dahlia Lounge‘s Momofuku pork bun.

CanlisEleven Madison Park black truffle and foie gras macarons.

Skillet‘s linguine with clams.

Staple & Fancy‘s Esca crudo.

Hot Cakes‘ chocolate egg creams and chocolate chip cookies.

Seattle hearts New York City!

I’m in a New York state of mind…

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Listed alphabetically by state, Joe’s Shanghai (鹿鳴春) was in the New York section of CNN’s ‘50 best Chinese restaurants in the United States‘. In the same block as Momofuku Má Pêche and Momofuku Milk Bar in Midtown, Joe’s Shanghai is a double storey ‘centre of exotic specialties’.

I signalled a table for one and was ushered upstairs. Bronze deer and potted bamboos decorated the bay window. A tiered sparkling gold and crystal chandelier was suspended above the vestibule.

A curious specials menu included New Zealand mussels, T-bone steak and rack of lamb.

A mound of cold egg noodles was drizzled with sesame dressing, topped with julienned cucumber and served in a scallop shell shaped dish. I slurped the cold sesame noodles (芝麻冷麵), a simple but appetizing celebration of Chinese carbs.

The traditional trio of ginger slivers, soy sauce and vinegar were stirred in a bowl for dipping.

Joe’s Shanghai is famous for their soup dumplings. Six crab and pork xiao long bao (蟹粉小籠包) were on a bed of shredded Napa cabbage (黃芽白) in a steaming bamboo basket. The delicate morsels were juicy and meaty, although the skin was a little doughy.

Noodles and dumplings were requisite sustenance for shopping in Manhattan!

I’m an expert at booking tickets. I note the on sale details on my calendar and I’m on the website at the precise time to click ‘purchase’. Thanks to this quirk I have learnt to brine and roast chicken, knead and throw pizza dough, bake macarons, and pleat dumplings at The Pantry at Delancey.

Co-owners Brandi and Olaiya send a remainder email several days before the cooking class and the one for macarons recommended dinner prior. It was the perfect opportunity to dine at Delancey!

On a residential street in Ballard adjacent to Honoré Artisan Bakery, Delancey occupies two simply decorated rooms.

I was seated at the counter with a view of the custom made wood fire oven.

A row of lights above the counter were inverted cylindrical Weck jars.

The ornate silverware was engraved with an elegant cursive ‘D’.

Each setting was spaced with a votive candle, and dainty glass bowls of chilli and sea salt flakes.

Chef Brandon Pettit cooks every pizza at Delancey. An assistant stretches the dough and tops the wooden paddle with ingredients. Brandon then slides the pizza into the wood fire oven. As I was eating alone, I observed the dexterous pair in harmony.

I ordered the crimini mushroom pizza with olive oil, onion, mozzarella and thyme. Thin slices of crimini mushrooms were intertwined with slivers of onions and molten splotches of mozzarella. The textured crust had charred blisters, and was both crispy and chewy.

Each bite was a joyful union of flavours, the bread and toppings waltzed in time and sang in tune. After the pizza class with Brandon and being recommended by just about every Seattleite I know, I’m a Delancey convert.

I caressed my flat foil package of leftover pizza home for supper the same night.

It was ice cream weather in New York. After shopping for a couple of hours, I criss-crossed Midtown Manhattan to Momofuku Milk Bar for a sweet treat. Located in the foyer of Momofuku Má Pêche, Christina Tosi‘s neon pink homage to baking was reprieve from the humidity.

The chalkboard menu spanned the wall. Neatly printed in rainbow colours, the menu was categorised into soft serve, merchandise, cookies, flavoured milks, pies, milkshakes, cake truffles, coffee, whole cakes and daily breads.

In contrast the opposite wall was plain. Birch shelves had wire baskets of cookies, stacks of cardboard boxes and branded merchandise.

David Chang’s ‘quarterly print journal’ Lucky Peach, the Momofuku cookbook, and Christina Tosi’s Momofuku Milk Bar were displayed with bottles of Cereal Milk mix, cookie mix, t-shirts and totes.

Individually packaged blueberry and cream cookies.

Momofuku Milk Bar served Stumptown coffee. An illuminated milk sign projected a magenta glow over the croissants and bagels.

The centrepiece behind the counter was a machine dispensing Cereal Milk and pineapple upside down cake flavoured soft serve.

The Cereal Milk soft serve was squeezed into a paper cup and dropped into a larger plastic one. The double cupping insulated warm fingers and there was no dripping. I’m a slow eater and the frozen dessert was surprisingly sturdy, retaining its shape for several minutes without melting. Smooth and creamy, the Cereal Milk soft serve was luscious.

I purchased a bottle of Cereal Milk mix, a fun dessert for the next dinner party.

I will return to Momofuku Milk Bar for their savoury items, bagel bomb (bacon, scallion and cream cheese) or volcano bread (caramelised onion, potato gratin, Gruyère, bacon and pancetta)!

New York is a walking city. When I was in the Big Apple during Hurricane Irene, stores, museums and the Subway were closed. Ms H and I traipsed from Times Square to 86th on the Upper East Side in a futile search for an open cinema. We whiled away the afternoon criss-crossing the subdued neighbourhoods, pausing for a glass of vino in an Irish pub.

We were blessed with pleasant spring weather this trip. We browsed the Union Square Greenmarket late Saturday morning and backtracked to Gramercy Tavern for lunch.

Located in a historic building, a painted wooden plaque reflected the botanical display in the entryway that greeted patrons.

The tavern has street frontage and the separate dining room is at the back. Only the tavern is open for lunch on weekends. An earthy arrangement of yellow buds, blooms and branches in terracotta pots was adjacent to our table.

Square canvases of modern murals fenced the ceiling.

On a wire stand at the end of the bar was a wild bouquet of corn coloured stems.

A disc of butter and sea salt preceded a basket of bread.

A jewel toned effervescent beverage, the cranberry crush of cranberries, lime and club soda was tart and refreshing.

Served in a shallow bowl, the chunks of smoked pork shoulder and cornbread were atop salsify and in a pool of bacon broth. The meat was luscious, the root vegetable tender and the broth rich, it was a soulful dish.

A crispy skinned chicken portion was paired with yu choy, spring onions and shiitake mushrooms. The yu choy purée had an intense leafy green flavour that accentuated the simplicity of the poultry.

We shared a selection of sorbets for dessert. Quenelles of blackcurrant, roasted pineapple and mango lime sorbets rested on shortbread crumbs. The sorbets were a trifecta of vibrant fruitiness.

Thanks to Adrian for the recommendation!

New York was quiet on a Sunday morning. Four days of volatile spring weather concluded with drizzle as we walked to the Upper East Side for sweet souvenirs. I had scrawled Ladurée‘s address in my notebook for last September‘s trip but avoided the opening weekend. I had mentally prepared myself for a queue out the door and was surprised by an empty footpath. Hello Kitty macaron decals decorated one window.

Macaron towers and Ladurée branded merchandise were displayed in another.

The macaron towers reminded me of a MasterChef Australia pressure test where contestants were challenged with Adriano Zumbo‘s olive, beetroot and raspberry macaron tower.

Sea foam walls were calming and accentuated the colourful macarons on the counter. Tiers of ribbons cascaded down wrought iron bars on a mirror.

Different sized boxes were neatly stacked on shelves interspersed by mini monochromatic macaron towers.

I resisted the themed boxes (Hello Kitty!) and purchased two classic boxes of eight, one for us and one as a gift for our French friends.

I was careful with the bag on the flight and there were minimal cracks on the macarons. From bottom: pistachio, vanilla, chocolate, caramel with salted butter, raspberry, coffee, orange blossom and praline.

Despite my lack of appetite due to laryngitis I gleefully halved each of the macarons with Mr S.

I have happy macaron memories and they’re best shared!

I attended my first event at Book Larder yesterday. A community cookbook store in Fremont, it is a warm and welcoming space with the kitchen at its heart. A large group gathered for Christina Tosi, author, chef and owner of Momofuku Milk Bar.

A vintage stove is salvaged as a window display.

Cookbooks are categorised and neatly stacked. I’m enamoured by the teal walls, a regal shade against the stark white shelves.

Wooden tables are focal points for new releases and local authors.

A snapshot of the Australian section! In stock were Frank CamorraMargaret Fulton, Bill Granger, Rachel Grisewood, Donna HayLuke Nguyen and David Thompson.

The kitchen is equipped with modern appliances and accoutrements. 

On the cover of Christina’s cookbook is the neon ‘milk’ sign of Momofuku Milk Bars.

A container of cereal milk mix.

The view of the kitchen through a glass of cereal milk. Milk infused with cornflakes, sugar and salt, the sugary beverage replicates the taste of the liquid left at the bottom of a breakfast bowl.

The air was perfumed with butter and there was an abundance of sweet treats.

We munched on sample containers of cereal crunch, a caramelised cornflakes snack.

A platter of cornflake chocolate chip marshmallow cookies.

Deceptively plain in appearance, these corn cookies were chewy with a distinct corn flavour.

Sugar, butter, cream, eggs, milk, cream and oats. The core ingredients of crack pie. Its magical ratios are whisked, kneaded, cooled, baked and frozen into a dense, sticky and crumbly dessert.

Christina described Momofuku Milk Bar as a bakery that serves cookies and cakes with a personality. As a child she was a ‘picky eater with a sweet tooth’. She enrolled in culinary school in New York as an aspiring pastry chef to do what she loves which is to ‘eat sweets all day’! After she graduated she worked in fine dining restaurants. She enjoyed the challenge but was questioning her career direction when she was introduced to David Chang.

David had ‘drive and courage but no infrastructure’ and Christina was hired for the ‘etcetera’ role of ‘everything non-kitchen’ related. She would work during the day, bake at home at night and bring her baked goods into the office to share. There were no desserts on the menu at Noodle Bar or Ssäm Bar. The restaurants were chef focused where the chefs did the payroll and trained the wait staff. It was endearing but masculine.

After a couple of jokes, David was serious about Christina making desserts for the restaurants. She introduced one at a time while still doing her ‘etcetera’ role and transitioned to full-time chef. When the real estate next to Ssäm Bar became vacant, David decided Christina should open the Milk Bar. It is this passion and intuition that characterises David Chang.

Christina commented that the Milk Bar was a ‘lady approach to opening a Momofuku’. Christina built a team of small and talented people that operate the Milk Bars. Each item at the Milk Bars has intention and story behind it. Favourite components of desserts are deconstructed and reconstituted.

David opened Momofuku Seiōbo in Sydney last week and I asked Christina if she’ll follow with a Milk Bar. She explained the business has grown rapidly over the last three years and her fear is to split her team and fracture the creative process. She noted there was space available for the expansion!

Another question asked was about home cooking. Christina said the essence is home cooking but she references her formal training. She likened milk powder to ‘MSG for the baker’. She worked at wd~50 prior to joining Momofuku and it was there that she learned to think about the science of food. Her cooking is ‘tangible in unexpected ways’.

The final question was about working with David Chang. Christina spoke with respect and affection on her relationship with David. Working with David requires commitment and tenacity, they have a deep understanding and trust that is ‘silently dynamic’. She is stubborn and David knows it!

Christina brought boxes of cookies from the Milk Bar. From top right: corn cookie, cornflake chocolate chip marshmallow cookie, compost cookie, blueberry and cream cookie, and confetti cookie.

I purchased a copy of the book and I look forward to reading about the ‘intention and story’ of each of the recipes.

Congratulations to the Book Larder for a stellar calendar of events and sincere thanks to Christina Tosi for sweetening our Tuesday evening.


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