Monthly Archives: March 2010

Dedicated to Iacocca

The secret to my success at the food magazine is a couple of unlikely things.

1) I like Queens. Unlike many food writers who swoop in, get their clips, then head back to apartments in Park Slope or the East Village, I actually live and eat here. In a wood-paneled basement studio, with Greek music and cigarette smoke trailing down the stairs dammit!

2) I roll with the punches. Even when I get spanked for making mistakes, or when the publisher makes big demands at the last minute, I don’t get sniffy or curt or passive aggressive. My newfound adaptability has surprised me because honestly, I can be a huge baby.

Loosely related gossip: Did you know that the actual Julie (of Julie and Julia) lives in Queens but refuses to grocery shop here? In the land of the cheap ethnic supermarket, the dummy goes to Whole Foods in Manhattan!

a day in food, 2


12:00 pm- I call SK to bitch about the price of saffron while pacing around my neighborhood. As we talk, a limping pigeon catches my eye. Normally my heart is black and small but Pigeon Tiny Tim makes me want to bawl (it’s probably my hangover). SK suggests I buy him a muffin but instead I go home for the stale Malaysian cream crackers I got in Chinatown. Alas, he has gimped away by the time I return.

1:30 pm- Nancy treks up from the Arctic tundra (Ditmas Park) for a late brunch in the rain. Per my request, she brings a tupperware full of mac n cheese, homemade with sharp cheddar and tomatoes. In return, I give her a mini-rum cake with cannoli cream frosting. We put our gifts away for later.

2:00 pm- Our meal is at Sparrow, one of my favorite nighttime boozeholes. Hip and cozy, I dig their roughshod wood-and-tin aesthetic, not to mention their fontina/radicchio grilled cheese on pullman bread. This is my first Sparrow brunch, even though Yelpers (you know how much I trust them) say it’s the best brunch in Astoria.

2:30 pm- I order the brunchburger: seasoned beef on an english muffin with cheddar, onions and a fried egg. BOOM. Quite simply, my meal is phenomenal. The combination of sharp cheese, runny egg, fresh bread and onions creates some alchemy which elevates this burger well above basic pub food. I don’t want to talk while I eat but I’m bad at not talking.

3:00 pm- After my burger and side salad, I’m full but I want to keep eating. I order some coffee and the pain perdu, french toast made from a flattened croissant, topped with melted chocolate and whipped sweet cream. Balls-to-the-wall brilliant. It took all my (admittedly weak) will to offer Nancy the last bite. If she had accepted, I might have forked her.

Side note- the dessert took awhile to come out and Nancy made a funny. She said, “Bitch done perdued your pain, bro!” (Literally, pain perdu means “lost bread.”)

To be cont.

a day in food

7:30 am (Sunday)- Inexplicably I wake up, the taste of Barefoot white wine on my tongue. Had dinner Saturday night at Alli’s house, a panko zucchini/white bean/couscous and swiss chard affair, followed by chocolate cookies from a favorite Queens bakery. Dinner was healthy so we felt justified putting a hurt on the double-sized wine bottle, with whiskey for dessert.

Oy.

8:00 am- Still in bed, I’m starving. The thought of cleaning and operating my french press seems a fate worse than waterboarding. I make a decision to go to Brooklyn Bagel (a chain), the lamest option, but really close to my house.

8:30 am- But wait! Frank’s Bakery has a sign advertising ham and cheese challah. I screech my brakes and head inside, where Frank’s boasts in six places that it was founded in 1976, the year before my birth. I switch up in the clutch and get spinach pie instead of challah. I also order a small coffee, then upgrade to a large after briefly considering my head.

9:00 am- I drink coffee and eat spinach pie in bed, watching the second half of a documentary on Iraqi resistance fighters. I use the paper bag as a plate (my version of Risky Business). The pie is only half heated and appears to have some uncooked dough, but I’m not beyond eating the whole thing. The coffee is Queens-issue pot-on-the-burner stuff, heavily milked and sugared.

10:30 am-¬†I find a new recipe on the Web which will be good for using up excess chicken stock. This leads me to go out hunting for saffron, only to learn what every one else already seems to know: it’s rare and expensive. But unlike top-shelf items like avocados or lobster, no one seems particularly enamored with saffron, so it’s hard to find in stores. And when I do find a couple “threads” at Sai’s Organic market, it cost ten bucks! Pfft, I end up buying three small packets of dried saffron at the Mediterranean market, for $1.39 a pop.

I also get a fist-sized portion of fresh mozzarella from the deli.

To be cont.

consumption

My first instinct says we should hold this, as Edible Brooklyn just ran their backyard chicken story. Thoughts?

It’s 10:30 on a Friday night and that is the e-mail I just sent to my publisher. For the past few weeks, my schedule has been consistent: work in Manhattan until 8 or 9, come home, eat tortas or burritos from one of my favorite Mexican joints (worried I’m becoming a one-track eater), drink a Modelo, talk to SK on the phone, write, edit.

For the first time ever, this is enough. Yes I’m growing older and less socially exuberant, but I’ve also found work I enjoy doing. I cannot overstate how good that is for the soul.

edible zero

For a blog with flavor in the title, I sure don’t talk about food enough.

It begins.

I just finished editing my first official¬† feature as deputy editor, a piece on Guyanese hot sauce written by the EQ intern. Methinks he has potential but he put in the effort of someone who is 24, has a life and isn’t getting paid. I contacted the hot sauce makers to clear up some significant holes.

yellup update

I am so topical!