That is inevitably what people say to my wife when they find out that I'm a chef. But the truth is, we mostly go out.
Take this past holiday weekend. Five meals out. One meal in.
Holiday weekends are the best in New York: The city completely empties, and it's a real opportunity to check out places that would normally be mobbed. On long weekends, I catch up with some of the food spots I've been wanting to either check out or revisit. When everyone else takes the Long Island Expressway to the Hamptons or the Garden State Parkway to the Jersey Shore, I take the 7 train to Woodside, Queens, or the D train to Midwood, Brooklyn. I’m not talking about the fancy restaurants here, but the ethnic places in the boroughs, the little bits of Americana and the taco trucks. This is where much of my culinary inspiration comes from—not from big chefs but from more soulful, roots-based cooking.
Over Memorial Day weekend, we had fried chicken at Rack and Soul in uptown Manhattan's Morningside Heights (where I've wanted to eat ever since food writer Ed Levine said it was his favorite in New York); then we hit Grom Gelato, which just opened to hour-long waits on Manhattan's Upper West Side. We headed out to the soccer fields in Red Hook, Brooklyn, for cow's-foot tacos, agua frescas and arepas. We checked out Il Brigante, recently hailed for serving the best Neapolitan pie in NYC (a distinction that's definitely debatable). And finally we went back to Boqueria, a Spanish tapas bar in Chelsea, and had some awesome suckling pig and two pitchers of sangria (I went with the intention of learning something new about Spanish wines, but it was hot, and I was thirsty).
When I do cook at home, which is once or twice a month, I usually keep it pretty simple, leaning toward Mediterranean stuff. I don't do a lot of entertaining at home: We’re talking about meals eaten in front of the TV while watching The Sopranos or Family Guy late on Sunday nights. So what do I drink with dinner? That depends on my home stock. I usually have some nice bottles around—gifts from generous customers—and I just can't resist opening them. So a whole roast chicken and salad, for instance, gets paired with a 2001 Mouton; broiled fish and some veggies with a '98 Marcassin. A bowl of pasta with lamb gets polished off with a '95 Ornellaia.
So what was my one meal at home over the holiday weekend? Leg of lamb marinated in fennel, chili, coriander, garlic, some dried black mint from last summer and Greek yogurt; new potatoes crushed up with chives and olive oil; a cucumber, red onion and tomato salad. And for dessert? Some of the first cherries. Simple and delicious.
What did we drink with this homespun feast? A 2001 Karl Lawrence Cab, a generous gift from one of my customers.
What have been some of your favorite meals lately, in-house or out on the town?
Damien Carter — June 5, 2007 11:52am ET
James Scoptur — WI — June 5, 2007 4:55pm ET
Karl Mark — Geneva, IL. — June 6, 2007 9:33am ET
Gregory Brown — June 6, 2007 11:26pm ET
Alessandro Lunardi — NY — June 12, 2007 9:28am ET
Andrew Carmellini — June 12, 2007 2:21pm ET
Andrew Carmellini — June 12, 2007 2:28pm ET
Alessandro Lunardi — NY — June 12, 2007 11:21pm ET
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