When I Eat Sushi

The slices of Yellow Fin Tuna, Mackerel, Salmon and Roe are served up at my favorite table along with a bottle of Biwa No Choju as it has not arrived sooner as imagined. Rows of piano tuning pin sized scales and slabs that sit erect next to the pickled ginger and wasabi sitting patiently on the trays outer corner sharpening its great breath.

I gaze closely to unravel the briny map that tells 0f the deep dark ocean recently carrying these narezushi to my dish. There’s an echo calling out about the Sushi slices that once rippled through the Southeast Asian currents about a place the fish began, a place I could never find on my own, nor were ever meant to.

Even the plum and the tiny eggplant are no relief. Perplexed and inflamed I continue hoisting piece after piece off my ceramic plate as the fish now seems as diminutive than possible.

My mouth opens for the last piece, exposing the truth it so desperately wanted to keep hidden from you,
and you,
and you,
and you.

Advertisements

Station House: Beer House & Whiskey Den: Positively Piquing Taste Emotions.

 

With the end of summer and the advent of winter dangerously lurking behind the few weeks we call Fall, cozy bars with great food are now in season for me.

Within the harvest season we harvest many things that we desire to store as we baton down the hatches for the ever nearing long and cold winter.
A new acquaintance, a sweater or cinnamon swizzle stick for your hot apple cider, we all surround ourselves with things that make us feel cozy and comfortable and perhaps, places we can comfortably burrow into and relax within.

My stocking consists of a short list of the finest local food and beverage establishments where I can swing by at anytime and enjoy comfort foods and some fine craft beer selections. Which has always been the motus operandi of my blogs focus. Putting Local Back On The Menu. (bestbitesclub.wordpress)

Never has Station House delivered less than top eats served up by a well trained staff and a beer list that is fit for food pairings, beer club discussions, there are no bounds to what great beer can do to lift spirits and raise a meals flavor profile.

To illustrate:
1. For lunch a friend and I ordered the special for starters. Lamb, feta cheese, cucumbers and sauteed tomatoes atop an amazingly light and crisp flat bread. New Holland’s Full Circle was the accompanying beer, light in body and tangy crisp it did not overtake the delectably light appetizer.

2. Medium rare cook temp for The Decadent Burger allowed the boursin cheese and demi-glace to work into the magnificent chopped meat creating a unique burger texture change with the braised short rib topping. As per Steve’s suggestion I dove into my Southern Tier Imperial Stout with reckless abandon.

3. The hits just kept on coming with a hearty plate of beautifully encrusted Haddock fillets, crisp on the outside moist yet well textured on the inside, I slapped some dollops of the tarragon tartar of the fishes side and down the hatch it went.

The Many Mac & Cheese has just arrived to the table, choosing the sausage and bacon meat infusion. I wavered not. Fork in hand I took down the greatest beast of comfort food but not without the help of River Horse’s Bourbon Oak Vanilla Hip Lantern.

Thank you Station House for whipping up another memorable lunch experience.


A Shape That Remains.

They were a tradition of sorts, those golden brown dehydrated sack shaped figs that magically appeared during the holiday season. “Are these exotic looking items actual fruit or mainly purchased for looks?”

I often wondered. Nobody really ever ate them, not family nor visitors and the few that I did try I would cautiously pierce into with the tips of my front teeth. I questioned the inhuman feeling of the leathery texture and the seemingly thousands of tiny seeds that find their way into the deepest caverns between teeth and gums and scrape the roof of my mouth like sandpaper.

I would always manage to chew down a few before Christmas but after Thanksgiving, yet the taste of pasty blood and brown sugar was never truly palatable, cloyingly sweet.

Come January when all the desirable treats had vanished I would revisit the figs again that now had a light coat of dust upon their cheap, cracking cellophane packaging. I liked the packaging, perhaps more than the figs.
The ‘Made in Greece’ label kept me coming back — as I conjured up views of goats with bells around their necks, just walking the mountains in this distant land, which is why I suppose I still do purchase them, but its more than that.

Now I am the faithful holiday purchaser though nobody will ever eat them but me, I have a full year to do so. Yet year after year, they endure this same debate and remain with me. I guess—they remind me of being home during the holidays which had all the joys of eating figs.


YELP Elite Event:              Japanese Tea Tasting at RESOBOX

A very calm evening in Long Island City, a sort of ease after our first bite of winter, now with Autumn pressing out a few days.

Upon the walls hung beautiful painted works, the likes of which I can not speak too and even now I reflect upon wishing I had learned more of them. This is a place of beauty, creativity and harmony — full bore body and soul.

Sitting, with attentions full forward, each of the select and exclusive Japanese teas we were too sample were to be explained then sipped & savored.
These tea have no American representation as to distribution, this tea seminar in a sheek cultural center, with overwhelming positive receptions, may have tilted the scales in our favor.

All of the time and effort was strictly on a volunteer basis, you’d never know as the entire experience was as professional and classy as having lunch with the Prince of Monaco, waited on hand and foot.

With the explanations of each teas origin, processing, (when necessary) fermenting, roasting Yame Dentou and Hon Gyokuro left many of us flabbergasted in the most wonderful way. So informative, so brilliantly tabled in an easy to understand manner, I found myself thursting to learn more upon my departure, it was that impactful.

The tea line up:

-Prime Roast Brown Rice Tea.
-Matcha 1 and 2. Hot and Cold.
-Star & Cherry Blossom Tea.
-Marubi 1 and 2. One was low grade for explanation purposes, two was the actual.
-Standard Roasted Tea
-Prime Roast Tea

1) The Genmaicha was very refreshingly light and more delicate than than the genmaichas that I usually buy at the Japanese grocery stores. I really enjoyed this tea.

2) The Matcha roasted brown rice tea had a varying level of matcha intensity and flavor. 

3) The Star and Cherry Blossom roasted brown rice tea was a delicate green tea that had crispy tiny balls of rice cracker that was filled with green tea. It was so surprising to drink this tea! Many people enjoyed this tea but I thought it was a little too bitter for me. I did enjoy the surprise of tea in the crispy rice cracker.

4) The Marubi was a favorite by all outward appearances, served two ways: cold and hot. The cold was beautiful and clear and tasted of roasted rice, and soba but in a distilled way. The hot was more aromatic and intensified the same flavors of rice, soba and umami. 

5) The Standard roasted tea tasted like pu’er tea or a simple black tea, not very intrusive — it got me thinking about crumpets.

6) The Prime roasted tea was a step above the standard roasted tea. It tasted oddly unique, as if we had tasted a decadent rose, indeed — a rose truffle at the last of the tea tasting.

——————————————————————————–

What is the Elite Squad?

We are a community of Yelpers who are all about finding and supporting the best local businesses around. We champion the mom & pop shops, and consistently add reviews, photos and more to spread the word and build Yelp into a free tool that we can all use to discover the best NYC has to offer.

What is an Elite Event?

Your personal, exclusive introduction to an amazing local business you might not know about yet. It’s a chance to sample what makes them unique and, most importantly, to mingle with other NYC residents who are also interested in the best Queens has to offer. If you make it on the guest list, introduce yourself to someone new! You probably have a lot more in common than you think


Autumns Up at Queens Museum

One foot inside and a face I recognize locks in with mine, I know this person but can not place her. She certainly remembered me tho.

With neck strapping the Don Julio Tequila bag around my neck, worked it properly in place, such as a like a feed bag for horses. It felt right and we drank up, we were merry and engage in continual chit chat having not seen many of the YELP Elites in a few weeks.

And as I walked the food line with my guest, the horrors of self temporary food deprecation really began to set in and I wanted nothing more than too do away with my Mule Bag as fantasies of sugar sweet treats, pumpkin canoils and spicy tuna danced in my head.

The sheer number of vendors was staggering, below is a listing of some of the many vendors that took part in the event, that seemed as well attended and as robust as the Inaugural Ball.

1) Thirsty Koala Lamb Chops -chocolate salted carmel lamb chops. An active Yelp restaurant participant that yearly hosts events and it should be understood.
2) ICONYC – Brewery in Astoria. Hoptrolllop: bitter & hoppy for a ‘NE-styled IPA’ & Cream Ale w/ coffee was
3) Snowdays – Pocky stick was cute
4) Juju Bowl – Slightly sweet BBQ bowl.
5) Butcher Bar: Classic brisket. *Burnt ends were the Best!*
6) Allora Italian Kitchen: Meatballs
7) Pata Paplean: Extra Spicy tuna salad. *tuna was sautéed with onions and sliced peppers*
8) Bourbon Street Cafe: Fresh and warm crunchy corn bread, was delish.
9) Rare Treats: Gourmet coconut, chocolate, green tea and black sesame soft cookies.

More Don Julio Mules – 

I was barely on the lower level choosing to stay in the second floor, where you could really get a full, birdseye view of the evenings event.
And while the DJ spinning tunes kept the karaoke going, more and more attendees whom all braved the rain kept filling in. Fortunately, The Queens Museum was more than enough space to mix and mingle and housed the amount of people on hand.

Memorable mentions;
Allora Italian kitchen,
Blend On The Water,
One Station Plazat,,
Pa-Nash Eurosoul,
Rizzo’s Fine Pizza,
Rudy’s,
Deep Eddy,
Mansi Beverages,
Bai Beverages,
Clovesz.

As to my above mentioned side note:

About four months ago, Queens Museum hosted a well attended Ramones exposition, showcasing instruments, letters, instruments and such. I lightly touched a jacket and in a flash some boob preempted to give me the heave ho to which I called him a twit and dismissed him, the curator of the event. He called security as I continued the tour and ignored his tantrum. The kind woman with whom locked in on me was the museums curator and allowed me too stay and gave me a mini tour of the innards of this magnificent building.


Le Gavroche – Menu Sneak Peek


• Soufflé Suissesse

• Cheese Souffle Cooked on Double Cream

• Saumon Mariné au Citron Aigre-Doux Gelée à la Vodka

• Marinated Var Salmon with Lemon and Vodka Jelly

• Filet de Maigre Parfumé au Ras-el-Hanout Fenouil et Riz Rouge de Camargue

• Stone Bass & Pastilla, Scented with Arabian Spices Fennel, Red Rice and Meat Jus

• Coquilles St. Jacques Grillées et Minestrone de Palourdes

• Grilled Scallops with a Clam Minestrone

• Boudin Noir, Oeuf Frit, Salade d’Asperges Crues et Chutney de Tomate Epicée

• Black Pudding, Crumbed Egg, Crackling Asparagus Salad and Spicy Tomato Chutney

• Filet de Boeuf Grillé et Purée d’Epinards Poêlée de Champignons

• Grilled Fillet of Scottish Beef, Wild Mushrooms Red Wine Shallot Sauce

• Le Plateau de Fromages Affinés

• Selection of French and British Farmhouse Cheese

——————————————————————

• Millefeuille aux Framboises et Gianduja

•Crispy Layers of Pastry, Raspberries and Praline Flavoured Chocolate

• Café et Petits Fours

                             
                            Wines
• Dry Amontillado “Los Arcos”
• Sherry – Emilio Lustau
• Vouvray Sec “La Dilettante” 2010
• Domaine Catherine & Pierre Breton
• Chateau Roubine “Terre de Croix” Semillon 2009
• Côtes de Provence
• Pouilly Fume 2010
• Domaine Alexandre Bain
• Côte-de-Nuits Villages 2006
• Domaine Claude Chevalier


Scorpions before Walters.

20170916_21333412051349.jpg

Walters Bar:

 Exiting Madison Square Garden and proceeding to pound the pavement of 8th Avenue, looking for a final brew to end the fun filled day of adventure and debauchery telling tales of drunkenness and foolery, and by chance, we stumbled upon Walters.

A fitting outpost for our post concert reflections and, if your finding yourself gabby, meeting new and luckiky, interesting people. As I chatted it up with a few fine young ladies about this and that, broski kept ordering bourbon and Fireballs, my buddy has an iron constitution and can drink like a man condemned.

Two bartenders held down the service as the late croud stumbled in, slightly aggressive in their choice of seats (IE: taken ones) but all in good spirits.
Walters has such a homely feel, bartenders add so much too cultivate that feel by giving so much of their time and every single interaction is chock full of smiles and kindness. Not trying to beat a dead horse, but both were top shelf, top of the heap — tenders of the bar.

No food was consumed, but a few red and white paper lined skewered goodies in shallow baskets were set down upon the bar, mid-chest level of a few regulars, or so they seemed too me, as they wrapped arms around their food and two for five dollar Pabst Blue Ribbons like a mother bear sheltering her cubs from any intrusions.

Very diverse croud of city folk just talkin, laughing and blowing off some weekly built up work or school steam.


Jacques Pépin’s Complete Techniques: Featuring More Than 1,000 Cooking Methods and Recipes, in Thousands of Step-by-Step Photographs

Jacques Pépin’s Complete Techniques: Featuring More Than 1,000 Cooking Methods and Recipes, in Thousands of Step-by-Step Photographs.

<for a preview, please click the link below>

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1077516.Jacques_P_pin_s_Complete_Techniques


Oysters — To go

20170721_183441-963176986.jpg

After jumping a heightened levee upon which a big black and red sign demanded “NO TRESPASSING” I swung between the pillions, landed upon the waiting Chris Craft and ate my Sweet Jesus Oysters from Virginia. They taste just a little better on a boat than in a bar. 

In the moment, I admit, I was feeling a bit of 007 adrenaline I prefer not the newer guys, although short lived, Pierce Bronson was a natural fit.

‘In a New York Minute’ was my allotted time for a drink or two — well maybe three, and some raw appetizers. Needing to jump into my buddies boat shortly, I ordered drinks in haste and oysters later than I should.

As I’d not the time for a proper sit down dinner, this review will focus on the bar service, and what bar service it was.

Having a poor recollection of names and places and such, my bartender washed away all the poor bartending experiences I feel had tarnished this Charleston visit, all of whom I’d have fired long ago.

With a full bar of forty, my presence was immediately recognized and acted upon, the mark of a true professional.
Granted my ordering methodologies were a bit hodge podge as my drink decisions were altering from brews to speciality drinks and back, my man was on it.

Finding me a seat at the bar thustly, I knew I was in no trouble of running late for the boats departure. My bartender, I noticed, didn’t spill a single drop of liquid upon the bar, every drink of the hundred he made, I was closely observing, all went in the glasses.

We chatted St. Johns Redman (Redstorm. Grr)
basketball, he schooled me on a bit of Johnnies hoops history, it was Awesome.!

Just then my cue to depart was upon me in the form of incessant phone calls. Springing into pro action, my raw oysters were individually sponned into a wonderfully makeshift creative bed of ice. Observing from the far opposite end of the bar, he never touched a single oyster by hand, not one, he spooned each one out delicately and placed them down with incredible care.

Probably the best bartender in all of Charleston, & I’ve lived here a decade.

Photo of Fleet Landing Restaurant – Charleston, SC, United States. Sweet Jesus oysters from VA, to go.
Sweet Jesus oysters from VA, to go.


Valentino Food Market, Ridgewood N.Y.!

To: All my former food suppliers.
Re: Termination of our relationship, effective immediately.

Memo: Our time together has had many fine moments, but its over, I met another supplier.

Wherever shall I begin to explain what goes down at Valentinos? Lets start with the produce that wraps around the corner, stacked three to four rows high and being resupplied from multiple angles by — gosh, there must have been seven workers, working at full capacity.

Prices were as if Valentinos has no sourcing, as if the fruits and vegetables came from their own farm. A single word was heard above the din that suggested this was not hyperbole.

At one third the price of my former suppliers, with each and every piece of fruit and vegetable being one better than the next, quality was put ahead of price in the internal pecking order of things.

Deli section. Roast beef made there, medium rare, and at eight bucks a pound, a total steal — Mortedella, Genoa Salami — my three usual suspects all came with.
Breads, olives, cured sausages, cheeses, salads and more, all looking so beautiful behind the counter, I jokingly asked if they made sandwiches – – and they did and they did.

Five dollars bought me a beautifully prepared tuna salad and tomato on a whole wheat roll, tuna salad had to account for just a hair below one half of a pound.

Man, this place is the bees knees — the cats meow, whatever your wordy preferance is, Valentinos is The Most!