May 2008

My Favorite Manifesto Comment

I’ve really enjoyed reading your responses to my Anti Dress-Code Manifesto (which was difficult to punctuate, by the way: is it Anti-Dress-Code?), but my favorite was the last one written by Natty of Life Is A Feast. Here’s what she had to say:

“From a woman’s perspective, I like dress codes because, come on, it’s a suit or a sports coat. I wish I could look that good, that easily, that cheaply! A man can own ONE suit. ONE. Uno. 1. He can wear it everywhere and look sharp.

“Me? I have multiple outfits for all the parts of life that require looking sharp– weddings, job interviews, funerals, fine dining, etc. I have different outfits depending on the weather, time of year, and whether I’m home or traveling. I could try and get away with one little black dress but even that has its limits.

“Is it really hard for you dudes to put on suits? :-) We go out to dinner somewhere amazing I’m wearing Spanx under that flirtly little dress that tastefully shows of my cleavage. Do you know what Spanx are? No? You lucky, lucky devils.”

Make sure to click the comments in the last post to read the rest of what she had to say.

No Jacket Required (An Anti Dress-Code Manifesto)


The man was a regular. He walked in confidently, with an air of entitlement about him. I’m not sure what he did for a living–was he a stock broker? An investment banker? A bestselling novelist?–whatever he was, it didn’t matter. He smacked of success; he glowed with accomplishment.

He moved briskly from the door to the maitre’d, an equally polished man who stood alongside an equally polished woman, there at the entrance to one of the city’s finest restaurants: Le Bernardin.

“Good afternoon, Monsieur,” said the maitre’d.

“How are you?” said the man in a deep, resounding voice, shaking the hand of the maitre’d. “I know I don’t have a reservation, but can you squeeze me in?”

The maitre’d carefully, but subtly, looked the man up and down. And the man, who possessed charisma and charm and a killer smile, lacked the one thing the maitre’d was looking for: a suit. The man was wearing shorts and an untucked buttoned-down shirt.

“I’m sorry, sir,” said the maitre’d. “Perhaps if you went home and changed?”

“Oh right,” said the man, laughing. “I’m not wearing a suit.”

“We’re sorry sir,” said the maitre’d. “We have to uphold our dress code.”

“I understand,” said the man, making his way for the door. “Thanks anyway.”

He exited and I felt like I had just witnessed something important, something I wanted to write about. As for myself, I was wearing a suit I hadn’t worn since law school, waiting to meet my friend Phoebe Damrosch. When she came, she complimented me on looking so dapper and the maitre’d happily led us to our table. Maybe it was because of what I had just witnessed, but the feeling was nothing less than triumphant.

What was the best thing you ate this weekend?

Every now and then I like to ask you, reader, a question. And my question, after this lovely Memorial Day weekend, is this: what was the best thing you ate this weekend? No, not the 2nd best thing, the BEST thing. Tell us about it, will you?


Here’s some unsolicited advice, reader: if you want to enjoy a nice dinner out, don’t plan it. I think the unhappiest experiences people have eating out are cases where it’s overplanned–the expectations are so high that something’s bound to disappoint. But when you wander out of your apartment, as Craig and I did last week to enjoy the nice weather, and you stumble upon the well-regarded Park Slope restaurant Applewood on 7th Ave. and 11th Street, you’d do well to embrace this as an opportunity for a positive dining experience.

nibbles 5.23.08

* Iron Chef Michael Symon celebrates the reversal of Chicago’s ban on foie gras. “It always boggles my mind how quickly people bash foie gras but in the meantime have no problem with mass produced chicken, pork etc….let me assure that these ducks live a much better life than the “yellow chikens” that seem to be at every grocery store.”

* Pim visits Pink’s in L.A.. “Waiting half an hour for a hot dog was certainly a new experience for me.” (Long ago and far away when I lived in L.A. for a summer I visited Pink’s with a friend and enjoyed it. Though the celebrated “snap” of the dog, which Pulitzer Prize winning food writer Jonathan Gold made note of in his indispensable L.A. eating book “Counter Intelligence,” didn’t quite please me the way a soft, New York city street dog does. Maybe because the city dog is the dog I grew up with.)

* Davivd Lebovitz eats at Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower. Strangely enough, I’ve been there too: my parents took my brother and I to London and Paris when we were too young to appreciate it, though I remember getting dressed up and riding the elevator up into the belly of the Eiffel Tower for dinner. When we asked for our table, the maitre’d kindly informed us that there’d be a small wait because “the American actress Sally Field hasn’t gotten up yet.” When she got up, we asked for her picture and she said no.

Hush Puppies

Brooklyn Fish Camp is a restaurant built for summer. And yesterday, before it got gray and cloudy (though not quite rainy), Craig and I adopted the summer spirit and sat outside on the Fish Camp benches, benches that reminded me of summer camp (minus the bullies). The sun beat down on half our table, and I angled my body to stay in the shady half. I was pretty sure I wanted mussels, a nice light lunch because I knew I was having a big dinner, and Craig wanted his usual trout BLT on focaccia bread. But then the waitress went and told us the specials and one of the specials was a side of hush puppies served with a lemon aioli. How could we say no to that? So we ordered those too.

The picture you see above is what she brought out. Hush puppies are basically corn meal fritters; a dough made from corn meal, eggs and milk. The lemon aioli was a nice touch, but the hush puppies were terrific on their own. I can’t think of a better beacon for summer: these should be an obligatory treat on Memorial Day. If you have a recipe, please share it in the comments!

What’s In My Fridge?

Looking into a person’s refrigerator is like looking into their soul. What will you see when you open the door? Will you like what you see there? Will its emptiness betray an emptiness of spirit? Or will there be goblins like that scene in Ghostbusters with Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver?

A long time ago when I lived in Atlanta with my friend Lauren, I showed you the contents of my fridge. Looking back on that post now, I feel like I’m looking at the soul of a different person. Our fridges change as we change and now that I’ve been food blogging for almost five years (“lord have mercy!”) it’s time to peek in again and see how I’m different. Are you ready? Here we go….

Tuesday Techniques: Cheese Soufflé

We all remember those episodes of bad sitcoms where a character would be making a soufflé and insist that everyone stay quiet in the kitchen lest their precious prize collapse. Then, of course, an Urkel or a Punky would knock over a tray of pots and pans, the soufflé-maker would cry out and hilarity would ensue. This is how most Americans perceived soufflé, as a disaster waiting to happen. And most people, I’d wager, still think of it that way–which is why, perhaps, so many of you requested soufflé as the next technique I tackle in my Tuesday Techniques.

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