Tortilleria Nixtamal

Yesterday I made a journey I’d been putting off for a while.

Actually, it wasn’t even a journey I knew I could make. See, for my cookbook, I needed to track down fresh corn masa. I wasn’t sure where in New York I could get that until I read this excellent post on the Cooking Issues blog which details Dave Arnold’s attempt to make fresh corn tortillas in the French Culinary Institute kitchen. Dave ultimately finds fresh corn masa at a place called Tortilleria Nixtamal in Queens.

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The Hot Dog at Katz’s Deli


There was a time in my life when I couldn’t conceive of going to Katz’s Deli and not ordering the pastrami.

That would be like going to France and eating pizza; or going to the world’s best sushi restaurant and asking them to cook your fish. Go to Katz’s and not order pastrami? You’ve got to be kidding! Only the other night, after we saw our friend Cary’s movie “Jane Eyre” (Cary went to film school with Craig), we found ourselves at Katz’s Deli and I was very hungered. And the line for pastrami was oh so long. Reader, I got a hot dog.

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A Walk to Chinatown (Lunch at Sheng Wang)


I recently read an interview with my favorite food writer, Calvin Trillin, in which he said that when guests come to town, he walks them from Greenwich Village (where he lives) to Chinatown. Since I live in Greenwich Village, and since Saturday was beautiful and Craig was busy editing, I decided to follow Trillin’s lead and to walk to Chinatown myself. Granted, I had a leg up on the Trillin walk to Chinatown because once, as part of The New Yorker Festival, I attended Calvin Trillin’s “Come Hungry” tour (an event that sells out faster than you can blink) in which he leads hungry New Yorker readers on a walk from–you guessed it–Greenwich Village to Chinatown. So this was a walk I felt confident taking.

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Pies n’ Thighs


It took two trains to meet my friend Cole for lunch in Williamsburg–a D to Grand Street and then a J to Marcy Ave.–and for some, that might be a long way to go for a lunch time meal. Not me: especially when that lunch time meal is comprised of fried chicken and pie.

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Excellent Pork Chop House


When going to lunch with a James Beard award winner, it’s best to let them choose the venue.

Such was the case when I had lunch with Rachel Wharton last week. I first met Rachel years ago when she profiled me for The Daily News and we ate lunch at S’Agapo in Queens. I thought Rachel was one of the quirkiest and most spirited food writers I’d ever met and also one of the hardest working. Now her hard work has paid off: she won the 2010 James Beard award for her “Back of the House” columns that appear in Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan, beating out luminaries like Colman Andrews and Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl in the food-related column category.

Which is all to say that Rachel really was the one to choose where we’d eat lunch when the lunch date we’d planned arrived last week. I pitched Chinatown and sure enough Rachel came back with a James Beard Award-worthy response: “Excellent Pork Chop House.”

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Cafe Gitane at The Jane Hotel


If you want to know the best thing about Cafe Gitane in The Jane Hotel, you’re looking at it. It’s an utterly charming space; big, bright, airy. There’s even an alligator on the wall.

When Craig’s Uncle Chris, Aunt Liz and Cousin Katie came through New York a few weeks ago, they wanted to take us out to brunch. At the time, I had a copy of New York Magazine’s Best of New York in my hand and under the category of “Best Brunch” they chose Cafe Gitane for “an ambience that feels airlifted from the Left Bank with a detour to Cuba.”

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A Weekend in The Catskills (Kate’s Lazy Meadow, Peekamoose, Sweet Sue’s & Cucina)


There was a lot to celebrate this past weekend–Craig got hired to direct an episode of MTV’s “Made,” I (insert secret exciting thing here), plus it was our four year anniversary–so we decided to go away before our lives got incredibly busy. I researched online various options for us, places easy to get to from Manhattan (some contenders: the North Fork of Long Island, the Hudson Valley, Asbury Park) but when I typed in “Catskills New York Times” and this page loaded up, I had to call Craig in from the other room to tell him what I’d found.

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