Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Pure Food and Wine only serves raw food --- nothing processed, nothing packaged, nothing cooked over 118 degrees --- and the prices are hefty enough to make you plotz, as our Jewish grandmother would say. We can't say a dinner there made us any healthier, but sitting in the Gramercy restaurant's back garden, sipping organic wine, celebrating some good news, enjoying the beautiful food and beautiful people . . . it was the best meal we'd had in a while.
We started with spring greens and lemon salad, a medley of textures; a bowl of house-cured olives with fennel and orange; and a "cheese" plate made from cashews, some milky, others spicy. Everything was seasoned so delicately, so deftly. Rather than let the ingredients assert themselves, the chefs proded and poked them, adding freshly ground magic. Any worries about being handed a few crudites were eradicated by the first course.
While seemingly everyone around us ordered the lasagna, we bucked the trend with squash blossoms and a cauliflower-stuffed tomato. Both lovely, although the blossoms were downright chilly (everything else had been served room temperature or warmer). Each bite sent out a squiggle of cheese, which mixed with the tomato "cream" sauce, but this was the weakest dish we ate there. As for our other main, the cauliflower had been flavored with garam masala, lending the dish a warm complexity. Next time, though, we'll try the lasagna. Lesson learned: sometimes being lemming-like is worth it.
As desserts, the salted caramel chocolate tart had caramel made from pecans, dark chocolate ganache, and vanilla cream, but the not-so-secret key ingredient was the salt. Suddenly the dish had a maturity. And the mille feuille featured fewer than a thousand layers of mint, unfortunately, but had exquisite bits of berries. Plus, they were both so gosh-darn pretty.
Did we miss the fat and sugar and unprononcable preservatives we normally eat? Nope, we sure didn't. Would we want to eat like this every day? Nope, we sure wouldn't. (For one thing, we have to pay our rent and keep our cat in wet food.) But the meal was a special treat in every way, and that's what makes it memorable.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
When people talk about contemporary art in New York, they generally mention Bushwick, Williamsburg, Long Island City, Chelsea, and the Lower East Side. But this past weekend, Staten Island was on everyone's lips as it hosted Lumen, a nighttime projection, illuminated sculpture, and performance art festival. In the vein of Bring to Light and Flash:Light, Lumen saw the former Coast Guard depot in St. George transformed into a canvas, as nearly 100 artists lit up the city.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Hey everyone, we're also writing about New York for Serious Eats. Periodically we'll link to content here that we produced there.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
There are some things you can firmly count on seeing at an independent film festival in Brooklyn: quarter-life crises, people coming to terms with things, irony, and kitsch. You have to go pretty far down the list of expectations to get to movies about interdimensional telepathic sasquatches, which is why we leapt at the chance to see Christopher Munch's Letters from the Big Man. We can honestly say that we've never seen anything quite like it. Judging from the Q&A afterward, Munch seems to believe in the reality of sasquatches, talking as if he'd made a documentary, and the film contains nary a ripple of incredulity (or humor) about its subject matter. The story is often confusing, the acting sometimes as wooden as the surroundings, and the cheesiness meter goes well past eleven, but there are moments of startling, bizarre beauty, and we admired the audacity of its uncompromising earnestness. One of the producers, whose advice Munch had ignored but who came to see the finished product at the New York premier anyway, struck this same note at the end: "This is a brave movie. You've dared to not make a work of art."
Friday, June 24, 2011
Earlier this week, Mike Bodge released N SKY C, a complilation of the New York sky. Every five minutes an image of the sky outside of his Soho office window is uploaded to a server, which analyzes the image to determine its average color, then loads the color onto the site. The resulting mosiac is beautiful, subtly shading from light to dark to light, a record of the minute perceptions we witness but don't, or can't, always notice.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
We arrived at Delhi Heights, beneath the 7 train in Queens, on Father's Day, minus our fathers but ready to eat. "It's a special buffet," our waiter said, tilting his hand back and forth in the universal gesture signifying 'it's going to be more expensive than usual.' At the tables were curry chicken wraps, veggie wraps, three neon-hued mocktails, including a Pepto-pink coconut rosewater and the one (below) called "khos kola," chicken kebabs, chewy-sweet vegetable manchurian meatballs, samosas, potato balls, goat curry, butter chicken, tandoori chicken, potatoes and okra, biryani, naan, basmati rice, dal, saag paneer. And when the check came, the grand total was $11.95 a person. Unbelievable, and unbelievably good.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Few events on the New York cultural calendar combine the practical and the aesthetic quite so well as the Crest Hardware Art Show. Overseen by Joe Franquinha, whose father opened Crest Hardware in Williamsburg 49 years ago, the total delight of a show features more than 150 works spread throughout the store and its garden center, making it occasionally, pleasantly difficult to discern the art from the appliance or tool (more photos here). The show runs until the end of July, so you've got some time to stock up on widgets and wingnuts and curious beauty.