August 2007

A Queens Odyssey: Lunch at S’Agapo with The Daily News

A few weeks ago, when the new design arrived to my site, I received a comment from a reader named Eric who couldn’t believe, when perusing my new Restaurant Reviews section that I hadn’t yet been to Queens. Eager to remedy this, I wrote him an e-mail and asked him where I should go. He quickly responded and said: “I have been to a number of Astoria Greek places (S’Agapo and Taverna Kyclades) that are really solid.”

So when Rachel Wharton of The Daily News contacted me to do a story about the book (the story is live today–read it here!) I immediately suggested we meet at S’agapo for lunch and Rachel kindly agreed.


If all of the scientists in the world got together with all of the chefs and brought a giant pile of corn to a mystical temple of food and drink, with muses and angels dancing around them, they could not produce a more rapturous dish than the dish you see above: Jasper White’s Corn Chowder (click those words for the recipe). It has bacon, it has butter, it has cream. It has tumeric, which turns it that gorgeous golden color. A pount of Yukon Gold potatoes makes it hardy, but it’s the corn (fresh from the farmer’s market) that shines in this dish. I served it with a simple tomato salad–bright red tomatoes, red onion, basil–and then a peach plum cobbler for dessert. Summer doesn’t get better than this–make it while you can!

Hungry in the Hamptons at The Stone Creek Inn

This is a quick post about a dinner I ate this weekend in the Hamptons. My parents were there with my brother and his girlfriend, Tali, for a party, and I came the day before to spend time with everyone. We had a really forgettable lunch in Westhampton at 75 Main–country club food, indifferent service–and I was expecting the same for dinner. But where we ended up, The Stone Creek Inn (located in East Quogue), offered up a memorable dinner, even if it wasn’t quite a success story.

The Book Is Here TODAY

After years–literally years!–of working on it, my book “The Amateur Gourmet: How To Shop, Chop, and Table-Hop Like A Pro (Almost)” should be in your book store RIGHT NOW. Go out there today and buy it; take a picture of yourself with it and upload it to The Amateur Gourmet Book Pool on Flickr. If you live in New York, and you’d like me to autograph it, come to my reading at the Park Slope Barnes and Noble on September 24th at 7:30 PM. Thanks to the amazing people who made this book possible–my parents, my agent Elizabeth, my editor Philip, my amazing friends–and thanks to all of you who’ve been reading this site for such a long time and supporting me from the very beginning. This book is for all of you: I hope you all love it as much as I do.

Squash Blossom Serenade

I’ve always been afraid of squash blossoms. I knew you could cook them–stuff them with cheese and fry them–but somehow that seemed difficult. Plus you have to search inside each flower for bugs and who wants to take a chance that you might miss one? “No thank you,” I used to say to myself. “No squash blossoms for me.”

But then on Saturday at the farmer’s market I’d purchased the obligatory heirloom tomatoes for an heirloom tomato salad when I passed $5 packages of squash blossoms at the stand near the subway stop. They called to me and this time I didn’t run away in fear: I purchased a box and brought them home. And boy am I glad I did, as you will soon learn…

Gettin’ Figgy Wit’ It

The internet has changed how we cook. Before the internet, I might’ve gone to the store and seen figs (as I did the other day) and said, “Wow, those look nice, but I have no idea what to do with them.” Now, because of the internet, I bought the figs, brought them home, Googled “fig dessert recipe” and found this one from Kim Goodfriend on KQED. It’s a super easy, super-awesome recipe that takes no time and requires little effort. Sound good? Let’s get figgy wit’ it.

Book Buzz

Here’s some early buzz for the book which comes out in just FIVE DAYS:

– Lindsay Nair at The Roanoke Times food blog Fridge Magnet calls the book “humorous” and “well-written” and then, inspired by my first chapter, attempts tomato sauce for her first time.

– Dorothy Hernandez at The Detroit News food blog Matters of Taste writes: “I just finished reading the book, and it’s a fun, fast read of an amateur foodie’s discovery of food and himself.”

– The Boston Herald’s food blog cheers: “You’ll love Adam D. Roberts, the author of ‘The Amateur Gourmet’ (Bantam Books, $25), which is published next week.” Thanks Boston Herald. I love you too!

– A few weeks ago I went to speak at Susan Shapiro’s journalism class at The New School and one of her students, Jackie, who read the galley, wrote this on her blog: “Throughout the pages of the book, I starred things, folded down page corners, underlined intensely, and jotted notes in the margin such as ‘Oh my god! Yes! Exactly!'” Thanks Jackie. I did the same with your blog!

Finally, it seems that Random House is featuring my book on its main page as an editor’s pick but those books rotate in and out, so check back and see if you see it there.

And that’s it for now! There’s exciting stuff coming up–book coverage in newspapers, magazines, radio (in Philadelphia! but more on that later)–so stay tuned…

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