Why didn’t you answer comment prompt #3?
Who is the best cook you know?
I nominate my dear friend and occassional pseudonymous contributor to TAG, Katy S. To be honest, I have only eaten a few things made at Katy’s hand but each one is among the best I’ve had in that category. For example: her apple pie. She makes great apple pie! Her pastry dough is perfect. She even puts lemon zest in it to perk things up. I may do a featured segment where she teaches me how to make her pastry dough. Otherwise, her pizza is really good too. And her husband makes great waffles.
Tonight I had the inspired idea of e-mailing Andrew Sullivan—editor at the New Republic and perpetual blogger at www.andrewsullivan.com—a few food-related questions. Imagine my surprise when he quickly (and rather generously) replied. Here are his responses below. Thanks again Mr. Sullivan!
What are your favorite foods?
Yorkshire pudding; apple pie; Mcdonald’s fries.
What foods do you despise?
What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
An amazing risotto once at restaurant Nora in Washington, DC.
Anything at a church event.
What’s your favorite meal to cook?
I never cook.
Who’s the best cook you know?
One of my best friends when he was a drug addict.
Who’s better in the kitchen: Democrats or Republicans?
“Don’t write anything bad about New York Prime,” my mother warns. “I’m serious, Adam. Don’t.”
New York Prime is my parents haunt; it is their Cheers, their Casablanca. We go there every time I come home and we are treated like royalty.
The entire room shifts with excitement. New York Prime is a scene, and my parents are a vital part of the scenery.
Tonight, though, began in our house. Grandma and grandpa came over for drinks and to hear me play the piano.
After a rousing rendition of “I, Don Quixote” from “Man of La Mancha” we piled into the car and journeyed to that eternal beacon of my parents’ gastronomical gratification: New York Prime.
A young bombshell opened the door for us and eager hosts and hostesses led us to our table.
“Right this way, Mrs. Roberts.”
We stopped to chat with the regulars: a judge, a publisher, a supermarket baron.
Here is a look at the scene:
Finally, we sat, and were treated with one of the many perks of being a regular: a plate of olives and orange slices.
Mo–my parents’ regular waiter–came with their usual drinks. After several minutes of menu perusal, he returned to take our order.
Several interesting things happened while we waited.
A lobster was wheeled around the restaurant in a wagon:
A lounge singer sang a Neil Diamond medley:
Grandma and I traded glasses:
Soon, the appetizers arrived. I had baked shrimp with garlic, parmesan and breadcrumbs:
Then, the entrees came. I had a petit filet:
Grandpa had the sea bass:
Dad had a stone crab claw:
We all had sides of mashed sweet potatoes, creamed spinach and onion rings:
After consuming enough calories for the next several years of my life, I made my way to the bathroom. I thought this sign on the inside door was worth taking a picture of:
[For those who can’t read it, it says: “If you have any problems with our restaurant, ask for our customer service representative: Luca Brasi.”] [For those who don’t get it, that’s Godfather humor.]
Finally, for dessert, the table was treated to a surprise celebration for my grandparents’ anniversary. A gigantic chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream and berries. Here’s Moe lighting the candles:
And here’s the cake itself:
And that’s it. Three gigantic meals consumed in 36 hours. Tomorrow morning I’ll be on a plane back to Atlanta, where normal calorie intake will resume. The weekend of gluttony is officially over.
Today the Roberts Family decided to get fit, choosing sensible foods and exercise in lieu of heavy and rich concoctions.
We drove down to Bal Harbor in Miami—a scenic trip that provided the following views:
The back of my mom’s head:
Once we got there it was exercise, exercise, exercise! We immediately stepped into Gucci for heavy pocketbook lifting:
After working up a heavy sweat, we made our way over to Carpaccio for a light lunch.
Here’s the awning:
Here’s the scene:
The service at Carpaccio was outstanding. It reminded me of that SNL skit where Kirstie Alley goes to that Italian restaurant with her husband, and the waiters are so attentive they start making out with her. Well, it didn’t go quite that far, but it was nice to be doted on.
We told our waiter we were on a Roberts Family health kick and the waiter nodded enthusiastically.
“Yes, yes!” he said. “A light lunch for you all!’
The first course, a light and airy Insalade Inglese with mozarella, smoked salmon, tomatoes and olive oil:
Then on to our reasonable, and incredibly healthy main courses.
My dad had a lobster pasta:
Mom had a pasta vongole (with clams and shrimp):
And I had Harry’s Bar pasta, which was noodles with sundried tomatoes, arugala, and olive oil:
The noodles were actually a little undercooked but a fit person isn’t a complainer, so I ate what was on my plate.
Here’s the three of us at the table:
Finally, like any good dieters, we accepted our waiter’s offer of dessert. How else can you lose those calories?
Here’s our Atkins’ friendly, carb-free Tiramasu:
Boy, it really does feel great to make a positive change in your life. I suggest you all try the Roberts Family diet and lose a few pounds. As a reward, tonight we’re going out for steak. Photos and commentary to follow!
Yes, I have arrived safely and soundly in South Florida; my plane touching ground at 2 pm, and my parents arriving at the airport slightly late, but–in their defense–the plane landed early.
One brief note about Airtran. For the money you save, Airtran is worth the small discrepancies: the shopworn flight attendants, the buslike wear-and-tear of the seats. My problem is with the terminal. Granted, airports are airports–transitional spaces of little consequence. Yet, whereas Terminal A (the Delta terminal) has a benign, inoffensive quality, Terminal C (the Airtran terminal) is like the bathroom in a McDonalds. The grease in the air–from the bustling Popeye’s in the terminal’s center–takes on a physical presence. I felt my nostrils saturate with cholesterol and my skin begin to crisp like chicken. As if that weren’t enough, there were two Airtran hawkers pushing some sort of promotion to unsuspecting, uninterested passersby. Their annoying routine–“Excuse me, ma’am, but you know you want to save money on your next round trip ticket”–created a circuslike, fleamarket atmosphere in what should have been a quiet place to sit calmly reading my Bon Apetit and talking on my cell phone. Mr. Hartsfield shall be hearing from me shortly.
But, I digress. You’re not here for airport talk. You’re here for food.
Tonight my parents took me to Cafe Maxx which I incorrectly (in my previous post) declared to be a West Palm Beach establishment. It is, in fact, in Pompano (just North of Ft. Lauderdale).
One thing about eating with my parents is that often my body isn’t ready for it. If my calorie intake in Atlanta is a 4 on a scale from 1 to 10, dining with my parents pushes my body to its outer reaches: 9, 10, 11 and counting. I feel so full right now that the prospect of describing my dinner fills me with an existential dread.
Yet, I must press on for you, my vicarious eaters.
I was surprised, when we reached the restaurant, to see that it was across the street from a ramshackle shopping center with a Walgreen’s and a discount fashion store. The whole area had a very average, Florida-ish beaten down quality to it. No place, in other words, for a glamorous restaurant. I shot a picture of the awning before we went inside:
The space was somewhat inviting, with a nice vase of flowers in the front. My dad would later liken the interior to that of a Ruby Tuesday’s but my mom smacked his arm and said: “Oh, Brad, shut up.”
Our waitress was sunny but intelligent; she guided us through the menu, and only once tried to upsell us. (She tried to push another bottle of wine after we finished our entrees). In terms of wine, my parents chose a bottle of ZD Chardonnay.
The Chardonnay was nice, properly cool and woodier than some sweeter ones I’ve had. Admittedly, my wine knowledge is usually limited to “it was white” “it was red” so take my opinion with a grain of salt.
We started with an appetizer of duck ravioli which sounds scarier than it was. In fact, it was really wonderful: a really interesting blend of flavors—notably a peppery olive oil, sundried tomatoes and Parmesan cheese.
Next, my mom and I split a lobster bisque:
While my dad stared down his unusual caviar pie with toast tips:
“What’s wrong Brad?” my mother beckoned.
“Nothing,” he said, scraping some caviar pie on to a toast tip.
“Here dad,” I said bravely, “I’ll trade with you.”
He agreed. The caviar pie was actually good. It was a layer of egg, a layer of onions, a layer of sour cream and a layer of caviar.
“Mmm,” I said to show how good deeds have good rewards.
My dad was too busy slurping soup.
Finally, our entrees arrived. I had the signature dish, an onion glazed snapper:
My mother had lamb chops with a feta crust:
And dad had a veal chop:
We chomped away and soon we were done.
“I’m so full,” I moaned.
“Ah ah ah,” mom chided, “let’s not forget dessert.”
Dessert menus were brought. I ordered banana coconut crepes:
I could barely touch them. They rolled me out of the restaurant, into the car, and carried me up to my desk where I write to you now. Only two more days of this and then my body will return to normal. I just hope my plane takes off.
All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go. My Airtran Flight leaves tomorrow afternoon from Hartsfield to West Palm Beach. My parents will be waiting for me at the airport and our weekend of eating will begin. I plan to keep you updated continuously: minute by minute, bite by bite.
Here are some meals for you to look forward to:
– Dinner at Cafe Max in West Palm Beach. Apparently, my mother told the maitre’d that her son (moi) is an important food writer. That should be interesting.
– My parents favorite Boca haunt: New York Prime. A steakhouse that features sizzling steaks and eccentric clientele, including (but not limited to) Don King.
Those are the biggies. Check back here for updates on my weekend of gluttony.
As per my promise to serenade you each Thursday night with the contents of my meal, I present you now with a masterwork entitled “(Tonight We Dined At) Osteria” with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by yours truly. The attachment is in mp3 format and should, therefore, be accessible to all of you.
And, as if that weren’t enough, I also took pictures of the food so as to create a multi-dimensional listening-viewing experience for you all. For maximum effect, view the pictures as their contents are mentioned in the song. This will create a “music video” effect, tricking your brain into thinking you’re watching MTV. If, however, you begin to see visions of Kelly Osbourne afterwards contact a therapist immediately.
1. Caesar Salad
2. Pasta (with mussels)
3. Pizza (with mushrooms and proscuttio)