Monday, February 28, 2011

Serious Eats: La Superior

Hey everyone, we're also writing about New York for Serious Eats. Periodically we'll link to content here that we produced there.

 Carnitas taco, La Superior

This week's Date Night finds us at La Superior, a Mexican place with attitude to spare in Williamsburg [read more].
spsace

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Martin's Pretzels

Martin's Pretzels

Devoted as we are to the farmers' market, we tend to stay away during the colder months. Yams? Kale? It all seems so complicated. But recently the guilt kicked in, and we strolled about the few vendors, looking for something to buy as a way of showing support to those freezing their bums off in February. Made by Mennonites in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Martin's Pretzels are toasty and crunchy, dark brown and even burned in spots. If only every atonement was so tasty.

Martin's Pretzels + Allo
thanks

Friday, February 25, 2011

Spice Factory

A doorman building

Spice Factory

Spice Factory

Spice Factory

Spice Factory

Spice Factory

Spice Factory

Spice Factory

Spice Factory

Spice Factory

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tulcingo del Valle

Mole poblano, Tulcingo del Valle

Based on the menu, the vegetariano plato conjured many possibilities: rice, beans, and roasted vegetables, wrapped in tortillas; what came out, however, was a too-cold salad, among other things. Still, the other things, including rectangles of very mild cheese, were all as filling as imagined.

Avocado salad, Tulcingo del Valle

Like the no-frills furnishings, the food at Tulcingo del Valle in Hell's Kitchen isn't about anything other than itself. The awkwardly hung paintings of traditional scenes were an afterthought, as are the colorful stiff tablecloths. Authentic Mexican, apparently, doesn't include vegetarian platters. Now we know.       

Far better was the chicken mole poblano. In fact, the mole's multifaceted flavor was enough to distract us from the X-rated version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? playing on the tv above us. First, we tasted chocolate, then cinnamon, then chili peppers, then gentle bitterness, then umami, then back on through the cycle again, bite after bite, absolutely scratching a taste itch we didn't even know we'd had.

Chips and salsa, Tulcingo del Valle

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

El Bulli: Cooking in Progress at MoMA


Wisely, we ate before heading to MoMA to see El Bulli: Cooking in Progress, another entry in the museum's Documentary Fortnight. Gereon Wetzel's movie follows Ferran Adrià and his crew as they invent new dishes for the most celebrated restaurant in the world. The creativity, knowledge, and culinary derring-do on display left the packed theater amazed, and while some of the ideas were hard to mentally taste, others --- cocktails made with fats, tangerines with oil and ice cubes, a frozen lake of mint --- set off more salivation than Pavlov ever dreamt of. A bit too meditative at times, the film nevertheless manages to avoid dull reverence by adding a pinch of humor: the scene where the staff tries to buy five individual grapes at the Boqueria Market is delightful, and the faces on the sous-chefs as they watch Adrià try their food would be at home in any absurdist comedy, where the stakes are trivial and the efforts and ingenuity anything but.

Photo: thanks
thanks 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

WWFD? at City Bakery

Hot chocolate, City Bakery

In 1992, City Bakery hosted its first Hot Chocolate Festival. How do they keep things, um, fresh year after year? By creating unique flavors like today's What Would Faulkner Do?, whiskey and lemon mixed with pure chocolate, then heated until the alcohol burns off and everything else melts into gooey goodness, with just the slightest hint of bitterness. We're not sure what Faulkner would do exactly, except probably add in a shot or six of something, but we plopped a thick homemade marshmallow into a mug and sipped the afternoon away.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Serious Eats: Le Grand Dakar

Hey everyone, we're also writing about New York for Serious Eats. Periodically we'll link to content here that we produced there.

Accara, Le Grand Dakar
This week's Date Night finds us at Le Grand Dakar, a warm, welcoming pan-African restaurant in Clinton Hill whose black-eyed pea fritters we can't stop thinking about [read more].   
thanks

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Where Are You Taking Me? at MoMA


Every February, MoMA puts on Documentary Fortnight, a two-week festival of contemporary nonfiction films that gives small but worthwhile works a moment in the spotlight. The films frequently display unorthodox takes on their subjects, as in Kimi Takesue's Where Are You Taking Me? Eschewing narrative or even translation, Takesue simply plants her camera (using "a one-person crew," as she said in the q-and-a) and watches ordinary Ugandans going about their days.

Some eye the audience warily or turn away, while others wink, flirt, laugh, or ask direct, unsettling questions, such as the titular one. Most, however, ignore it, having more important daily affairs to attend to. Her approach has its drawbacks --- intriguing stories, like that of the female weightlifters or the Kampala breakdancing school, get untold --- but it captures numerous lovely images and effectively conveys the vertiginous experience of being an outsider in the Pearl of Africa.

Photo: thanks
thanks

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Christian Marclay's The Clock at Paula Cooper


If you're not reading this on the sidewalk in front of the Paula Cooper Gallery in Chelsea, chances are that you're too late to catch the video installation that has gripped the New York art world for the past month. The Clock, by Christian Marclay, is a 24-hour exploration of time, a collage of film clips highlighting the passage of time that runs in synch with local time. (When it's 10:10 on your watch, Tom Hanks stares at a clock reading 10:10 in Catch Me If You Can, immediately followed by Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis racing to stop a bomber in Die Hard With a Vengeance.) The lines for the show have stretched to tremendous proportions, but once inside the theater you see why: this hypnotic work forces you to confront the mundane terror of the slow ticking away of life.

Photo: Benjamin Norman, The New York Times

Friday, February 18, 2011

Doughnut Plant Chelsea

Doughnut Plant Chelsea

After taunting neighborhood residents for months with its 'coming soon' sign, the Doughnut Plant finally opened in the Chelsea Hotel this week. Delicious takes on old standards like coconut cream and chocolate --- here made with Valrhona --- jockey for stomach space with the signature tres leches and innovative upstarts, such as peanut butter and jelly and rose petal. Don't worry, tasty friends, we have room for all of you.

Valhrona chocolate, Doughnut Plant Chelsea

Coconut cream, Doughnut Plant Chelsea

Tres leches, Doughnut Plant Chelsea

Peanut butter and jelly, Doughnut Plant Chelsea

Rose, Doughnut Plant Chelsea

Peanut butter and jelly, Doughnut Plant Chelsea

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Stephen Quinn at AMNH

Tumble

Like pretty much everybody who works there, artist/naturalist Stephen Quinn grew up visiting the American Museum of Natural History. Eventually he worked his way up to senior project manager of the Department of Exhibitions, where he gets to do stuff like restore dioramas and plan expeditions, including a recent trip to the African site where Carl Akeley had shot and killed the mountain gorillas on display in the Hall of African Mammals almost 90 years before.

In a recent lecture, Quinn talked about traveling to the Virungas, where he tracked a group of mountain gorillas in Rwanda and located Akeley's grave in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Today the area depicted in the diorama tells a much different story: most strikingly, there are refugee camps in what was once grasslands, and forests have been clear-cut to make way for farmland. Hundreds of gorillas no longer frolic along the slopes; those that remain owe their lives to Akeley, who was so traumatized by his own violence that he lobbied the king of Belgium to create the national park in 1925 that we visited in 2009 and Quinn visited in 2010.
   
What might be seen in another 90 years? 

Soft Eyes
space

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How & Nosm + Aryz Mural

How & Nosm + Aryz

How & Nosm + Aryz

How & Nosm + Aryz

How & Nosm + Aryz

How & Nosm + Aryz

How & Nosm + Aryz

How & Nosm + Aryz

Service Advisory

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Susan Sarandon at BAM


The Brooklyn Academy of Music's celebration of Susan Sarandon culminated on Sunday with four simultaneous screenings followed by a talk between Sarandon and her friend Bob Balaban.

We saw Thelma & Louise for the first time since our college women's studies classes. The earnest politics remain: patriarchy continues to be a problem, options for women continue to be limited. Nevertheless, the humor in its dissections of the absurdities of misogyny is much clearer now that the movie is canonical rather than threatening.

A week after moving to New York after college, Sarandon landed her first role. More than forty years later, she's best known for two things: her sex appeal and her activism. Balaban began by talking about the former, specifically her breasts. He then segued into a conversation that ranged over her Catholic childhood ("I was told I had an overabundance of original sin"), her choices, her blacklisting, Hollywood, aging on camera ("it's horrifying"), and her love of ping pong ("it's an Olympic sport, but it's so silly"). A great New York evening with a great New Yorker.   

Photo: thanks
space

Monday, February 14, 2011

Serious Eats: Last-Minute Valentine's Day Ideas

Hey everyone, we're also writing about New York for Serious Eats. Periodically we'll link to content here that we produced there.


A slideshow of excellent places that don't cost too much and won't be running special menus tonight [read more].
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Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Bushwick Book Club Presents Madame Bovary

Bushwick Book Club presents Madame Bovary

Susan Hwang, Bushwick Book Club presents Madame Bovary

Each month the members of the Bushwick Book Club read a literary work, then write and perform songs about it. In honor of Valentine's Day, they chose Madame Bovary. There was also a game called What Would Madame Bovary Do? when confronted with such situations as being drafted into the army; answers included "yearn"and "yell at the maid." Amid the occasional catcall yesterday at the Brooklyn Public Library, performers like Phoebe Kreutz and Natti Vogel sang about greed and lust, heartbreak and grooming.

The afternoon's best lines:
  • "Life is opera to Madame Bovary"
  • "I don't give a toot about being a good mother or wife"
  • "It's Yonville that makes me yawn"
  • "Uh-oh! Emma! . . . Here comes the wind again!"
  • "Money is for spending / bon-bons is for eating"
  • "I've got illusions / I'm gonna lose them / that's what they're there for"
  • "How can you think I've got it all / when you're all I've got?"
  • "Ride those ponies tonight"

Natti Vogel, Bushwick Book Club presents Madame Bovary

Alyson Greenfield, Bushwick Book Club presents Madame Bovary

Jonathan Wood Vincent, Bushwick Book Club presents Madame Bovary

Joe Crow Ryan, Bushwick Book Club presents Madame Bovary

Ellia Bisker (Sweet Soubrette), Bushwick Book Club presents Madame Bovary

Bushwick Book Club presents Madame Bovary

Joe Crow Ryan, Bushwick Book Club presents Madame Bovary

Matthew Varvil, Bushwick Book Club presents Madame Bovary

Phoebe Kreutz, Bushwick Book Club presents Madame Bovary

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