Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What Happens When

Pork chop etouffee, What Happens When

Though Heraclitus is hardly a household name anymore, everyone knows the quotation that Plato ascribed to him: "You cannot step into the same river twice." This spirit pervades What Happens When, the nine-month restaurant "installation" helmed by John Fraser of Dovetail. Every month, the restaurant completely changes in response to a new inspiration (the blush, winter hunting, a Renoir painting). Naturally, a certain amount of pretense follows --- the iterations are called "movements" --- but the idea is intriguing and admirably ambitious.

Muffaletta, What Happens When

With a very special guest in town, we visited the latest version, inspired by the birthplace of jazz. We were greeted with miniature muffaletta sandwiches, delightful bite-sized evocations of New Orleans, as well as a pot of warm, soft, spicy garlic cheddar rolls.

Garlic and cheddar rolls, What Happens When

For our first course, spinach and artichoke dip with deviled eggs conjured the simple pleasures of summer picnics. The bacon and oyster po' boy, while not bad, broke that spell as it was too complex and disjointed to say much of anything.

Spinach and artichoke dip with deviled eggs, What Happens When

Oyster and bacon po' boy, What Happens When

Fried boudine, on the other hand, came in perfect simple spheres, like meat-and-rice hush puppies. Our only complaint was that there were three, as opposed to, say, twenty-seven.

Fried boudine, What Happens When

Among the mains, a pecan-crusted flounder with maque choux disappeared so quickly it seemed a mirage, while the massive pork chop etouffee and the jambalaya (with andouille sausage, shrimp, and Cornish game hen) satisfied, if not with the same verve as the flounder. 

Pecan crusted flounder with maque choux, What Happens When

Jambalaya with shrimp, andouille sausage, and Cornish game hen, What Happens When

Desserts included a take on bananas Foster, which originated in New Orleans, as well as a plate of cheeses, oat cakes, and rhubarb. Best by far was the bitter chocolate and strawberry bread pudding, its lovely notes of sweetness taking us out into the evening and beyond. 

Bananas Foster, What Happens When

Cheeses and rhubarb, What Happens When

Bitter chocolate and strawberry bread pudding, What Happens When
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Monday, May 30, 2011

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Know the Past, Find the Future

NYPL

As part of its centennial celebrations, the New York Public Library asked 100 writers, artists, musicians, and scholars to name their favorite works from among the millions in the library's collections. The resulting tome isn't available for sale; instead, Penguin and the NYPL left 25,000 copies in parks, train stations, the branch libraries, and elsewhere.

Some selections are rather mundane: Zadie Smith picked Shakespeare's first folio, Lou Reed a page from  Edgar Allan Poe's work. But others are as unique and interesting as the stories behind the choices: Laurie Anderson selected the Declaration of Independence, because as a child she wrote her own colonial newspapers. Ishmael Beah picked Treasure Island, evoking his own childhood in Sierra Leone, while Colum McCann ate a flake from the first edition of Ulysses. Concluding the description of her choice (photographs by Brassai), Francine Prose writes, "You don't need a borrowing card, or citizenship, or papers" to access an item in the library's collection. Anyone can walk in and arrange to see these treasures. "The only things required are the curiosity and the desire that every human creature would have, if only we were encouraged." It's a truly democratic institution, and that's a fact worth celebrating.
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Friday, May 27, 2011

Serious Eats: Ghenet

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

Ghenet

This week's Date Night finds us at Ghenet, at which we discover just how sexy Ethiopian food can be [read more].
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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Inside Out Project in Park Slope

Inside Out Project in Park Slope

Inside Out Project in Park Slope

Inside Out Project in Park Slope

Inside Out Project in Park Slope

Inside Out Project in Park Slope

Inside Out Project in Park Slope

Inside Out Project in Park Slope

Inside Out Project in Park Slope

Inside Out Project in Park Slope

Inside Out Project in Park Slope

Inside Out Project in Park Slope

Inside Out Project in Park Slope

Read the full story here.
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