[Click to enlarge.]
Sometimes the name of a dish sounds so intimidating your immediate reaction is: “Pish posh! I can’t make that! And why did I just say pish posh?”
Such might be the case with the pizza you see above. You hear “pizza” and that doesn’t sound so difficult, but you add “caramelized onions, rosemary and gorgonzola” and you feel like you’re on Planet Impossible. Well come back to Earth, Earthling, and let me assure you: that pizza you see above may SOUND difficult, but it’s really a cinch. Here, let me convince you.
One of the best things about working at Food Network, which is located in the Chelsea Market, is that the elevators that get you up there are directly across from one of the best coffee bars in the city. That coffee bar is Ninth Street Espresso which many of my barista friends (including those that work at my favorite coffee shop, Joe) speak of with such great reverence there’s often a coffee glow in their cheeks.
Ninth Street Espresso takes its coffee seriously, as evidenced by its menu which does not allow for sticky, gloppy, blended coffee drinks but, instead, sticks to the classics: espresso, cappuccino, latte. They only come in one size, so no “super grande iced mocha latte with a twist of vanilla”–this is coffee as philosophy, as a spiritual exercise. And, correspondingly, patrons of Ninth Street Espresso gather around the bar like worshippers at temple: there’s a calmness in the air, a peacefulness and community cheer that’s unusual in this fast-paced city. It doesn’t hurt that the drinks are outstanding.
The cappuccino, as shown here, is an artful marriage of frothy milk and deep, dark espresso. Normally, I put a packet of sugar in my cappuccino but the balance is so right-on here that such an act would be criminal. It’s as if a cloud floated down to earth and landed in your cup–if you let go, the whole thing might float away.
Working at Food Network has been a very happy experience thus far, but Ninth Street has made it that much happier. If you plan to judge Iron Chef or guest on 30 Minute Meals any time soon, don’t miss Ninth Street on your way up. It’ll make your day.
At the end of the weekend and our trip to The South Beach Wine & Food Festival, my director, Matthew Horovitz, turned to me and said, “You’ve met everyone now. There’s no one left to meet!”
Watch the following video–the 2nd official episode of “The FN Dish”–and tell me if you disagree.
If that video left you dazzled and discombobulated, allow me to walk you through everything you just saw: a day-by-day breakdown of the festival with some big surprises thrown in too.
What a chore this Food Network job is turning out to be… now I have to leave this 26 degree New York weather for the tropical beaches of Miami and a forecast of 83 degrees. Could life get any harder? Feel free to hate me. Full reports and videos on Monday! Until then, have a great rest of your week.
At a party recently, I was chatting with Amanda from Eater about how disconnected I feel from the world of New York dining; how I rarely know what’s new, what’s not, what’s worth eating at and what’s worth avoiding. How does the Eater gang stay so informed? And how do the throngs of savvy New York diners know where to descend each week? And, come to think of it, where should I go if I want to go somewhere new and hot and relevant?
“Merkato 55,” she answered, quite simply. “It’s Marcus Samuelsson’s new African restaurant in the Meatpacking district and it’s going to be a big deal.”
That nugget was confirmed today in Frank Bruni’s NYT article Newest Restaurants Still Reflect Flush Times. Wrote Bruni: “But neither Adour nor Bar Boulud is as daring as the experiment under way by Marcus Samuelsson. Mr. Samuelsson, renowned for his Scandinavian cooking at Aquavit, is betting that he can make pan-African cuisine magnetic enough to fill about 150 seats at Merkato 55, which jostles for attention and affection among the Asian and Mediterranean behemoths in the meatpacking district.”
I’m a big fan of Aquavit (see here), I’m always game to try a new cuisine and Lauren–the friend who shares my birthday–wanted to take me out tonight to celebrate. So I said, with great self-satisfaction: “Merkato 55. That’s where it’s at.”
“Sounds great,” she said. “See you there at 7.”
Well what was I supposed to do? I was cameraless and therefore limbless in the world of blogging; what’s a food blogger without a camera? What’s an opera singer without a lung? I did what I had to do: I cashed in on a birthday gift from my parents (thanks mom and dad!) and headed to B&H, home of Hassidic Jews and hardware, where I took the advice of my dear friend James Felder (of Snapshot Artifact) and purchased the mighty and powerful Canon PowerShot G9.
It was a tough call–all of the cameras you guys recommended looked great too–but basically it came down to: a small camera that fits in your pocket that takes very good pictures or a big blocky camera that’ll be a nightmare to lug around but that takes fantastic pictures. Since great food blog photography is essential (see here and here) I chose the latter and I’m really glad I did. What follows are the first pictures I took with it at Joe on Waverly. I didn’t realize then as I realize now that the camera was set to shoot insanely large pictures that make giant files that take forever to upload on Flickr, but I just changed the settings and future pictures shouldn’t be a problem. So please enjoy these fresh coffee shop and outside-the-coffee shop pics from my new camera baby. Can anyone suggest a name?
Missing: my big black Canon S70 with pictures from my birthday dinner at Hearth (a surprise from Craig), pictures of chicken knees at Yakitori Totto where I went with Diana, and the dessert she and I had at P*ng where the bartender practically hissed at us for not ordering drinks. Likely camera location: outside Food Network (at The Chelsea Market) where, yesterday, my umbrella inverted and I went tumbling into the street. (You may have seen me: I was literally splat on my face and my umbrella went gliding into the distance).
In the very likely chance that my camera is gone forever, any suggestions for a pocket-sized camera that takes good food photos? With my track record, I don’t think I’m ready for an SLR.