Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Goodfellas at BAM

When Goodfellas came out in 1990, the New York Times called it "brilliant and breathless." Roger Ebert talked about an "element of furtive nostalgia, for bad times that shouldn't be missed, but were." EW marveled at its ability to take the "guilt out of crime." Back then, the mob movie seemed like nothing so much as a critique of the excess of the eighties. Last night, as part of BAM's Brooklyn Close-Up series, Goodfellas seemed like nothing so much as a critique of the excess of the aughts. The hair and shoulder pads might have been shrunk in the early years of the twenty-first century, but the greed and unchecked free-market capitalism loomed as large as in the 1980s, if not even larger.

Photo: thanks

Monday, January 30, 2012

Bodhi Tree

Glazed salmon with taro rice clay pot, Bodhi Tree

Of course, Bodhi Tree isn't a destination spot in the same way that, say, Zabb Elee is. And since we don't live in the East Village, this particular Thai restaurant isn't a regular go-to for us either. But the green-inflected space is nicer than it needs to be, and the food better too. A lunch of glazed salmon cooked in a clay pot and minced pork with rice left us willing to add Bodhi Tree to our ready roster of places that merit semiregular pop-ins, an entirely invented category somewhere between "special trip" and "good for carry out while wearing sweatpants."  
Bangkok minced pork basil, Bodhi Tree

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sullivan Street Bakery

Chocolate almond croissant, Sullivan Street Bakery

Sure, winter thus far has been exceedingly, curiously mild, but you never know when snow might strike. To prepare for the warmth and chunk that such frigid weather requires, we stopped in at Sullivan Street Bakery for a delicious chocolate almond croissant, a moist stone fruit breakfast cake, and two perfect bombolini. 

Breakfast cake, Sullivan Street Bakery

Bomboloni, Sullivan Street Bakery

Friday, January 27, 2012

Rather Unique at Woodward Gallery

Ka, Rather Unique, Woodward Gallery

Keely, Rather Unique, Woodward Gallery

H.veng.Smith, Rather Unique, Woodward Gallery

Kosbe, Rather Unique, Woodward Gallery

Ka, Rather Unique, Woodward Gallery

Wrona, Rather Unique, Woodward Gallery

2ESAE, Rather Unique, Woodward Gallery

Matt Siren, Rather Unique, Woodward Gallery

Darkcloud, Rather Unique, Woodward Gallery

H.veng.Smith, Rather Unique, Woodward Gallery

Lucy and Ethel, Rather Unique, Woodward Gallery

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Indian Creperie

Chicken chettinad dosa, Indian Creperie

At this West Village restaurant, dosas come big and soft, sambar spicy and warm, uttapam chock full of onions and peas. The idli crumbled, as it should, and the vada broke crisply, as it should. The last time we ducked into Indian Creperie for a snack, the owner was giving a patron email addresses of his friends in Goa and Kerala, to help prepare her for an upcoming trip to the subcontinent. That's a side you can't sell, and one not offered in most fast-casual joints on Bleecker. 

Idli vada combo, Indian Creperie

Uttapam, Indian Creperie

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Emily Dickinson at Poets House

Emily Dickinson at Poets House

Poets House is a two-story structure dedicated to verse. Astonished? It's incredibly difficult to believe that such a place could exist in Lower Manhattan, or anywhere in the United States in the early twenty-first century. Every time we're there, we pinch ourselves, as if only a sharp pain or purply bruise could prove that this place --- where anyone who enters can grab a book from the library of 50,000 volumes of poetry and read --- exists. 
Going on right now, an exhibit devoted to Emily Dickinson, including quilts that derive their pattern from her punctuation, manuscripts, letters, and other scraps of paper ephemera, a celebration of both the 25th anniversary of Poets House and this particular poet. Here's the poet alive in print, scrawling a condolence, a take on the Bible, a recipe for coconut cake.

Emily Dickinson at Poets House

Emily Dickinson at Poets House

Emily Dickinson at Poets House

Emily Dickinson's handwritten coconut cake recipe, Emily Dickinson at Poets House

Once we saw this, our plans for the rest of the day were set: hustle home along the Hudson, with a quick stop at Gristedes, a few minutes of poking about the Internet, a few more minutes of mixing, and a coconut loaf, with a good moist crumb. Writing and baking aren't that dissimilar: in both activities, you take a finite amount of ingredients (letters, foodstuff), and combine. Then you wait, hoping for the best.     

Emily Dickinson's coconut cake

Emily Dickinson's coconut cake

Modified recipe here: thanks

Monday, January 23, 2012

Serious Eats: Manolo Tapas

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

Manolo Tapas
This week's Date Night finds us at Manolo, a winning tapas restaurant in Washington Heights [read more].

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Flights to India

Friday, January 20, 2012

Melville House Books

Faithful Ruslan

For people with as many degrees in English as we have between us (uh, five, roughly half the number of bookcases in our house), we hardly ever talk about books on this blog, let alone small presses (recent trips to bookstores around town notwithstanding). But some gift cards to the Strand led to an hour of browsing, which led to the discovery of Faithful Ruslan, about a decommissioned guard dog in Siberia, the best book we read in 2011.

Hooray for browsing! Hooray for hard copies! Hooray for good design! We were drawn first to the novel's cover: a dog's head against a blue background. As it turns out, a profile in white against a colored background is the design trademark of Neversink Library, an imprint of Melville House Books, which reissues books that "have been overlooked, underappreciated, looked askance at, or foolishly ignored." Founded in 2001 and based in Brooklyn, Melville House Books recently published its 200th title; 20 books / year is a better track record than some of the conglomerates. Now that we've discovered this publishing house, we're particularly excited to read more Neversink as well as those in another imprint, Melville International Crime. If we could purchase such titles at our favorite mystery bookstore, well then our minds would really be blown.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

1000th Post

For our 1000th post, we were all set to talk about what the city means to us as individuals and as a couple, to describe what we've learned over eight years of living in this maddening, marvelous place, to go totally sentimental about why we love New York. And then we realized that such a post would be but a crude summary of something we've been trying to do since we started this blog in September 2006. So we decided to put up a Roz Chast cartoon instead.   

Well, two out of three ain't bad. Thanks for reading!

Image: thanks

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Braised rabbit legs in vinegar sauce, Prune

Prune, Gabrielle Hamilton's labor of love in the East Village, serves the rustic, gut-pleasing food you can't help but crave throughout the autumn and winter. There on a blustery night not too long ago, half the city seemed to be crowding into the tiny space (and poor Roger Ster--er, John Slattery got turned away), seeking its gustatory comforts. We started with the tangy, gooey, salty parmesan omelette and a plate of grilled lamb sausages, accompanied by pickles, crusty bread, and a delicious mustard. Our mains included braised rabbit legs in vinegar sauce, the meat so tender and delicate you could cut it with a glance, the sauce punchy and perfect, and grilled head-on shrimp in anchovy butter, tailor-made for finger-licking. And a slice of olive oil cake gave us just that little bit of extra fat necessary to step back out into the cold.

Parmesan omelette, Prune

Grilled lamb sausages, Prune

Grilled shrimp with anchovy butter, Prune

Olive oil cake with candied orange, Prune

Monday, January 16, 2012

Serious Eats: Bamiyan

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

Aushak, Bamiyan
This week's Date Night finds us at Bamiyan, an evocative Afghan restaurant in Kips Bay [read more].

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Rizzoli Bookstore


Rizzoli might just be New York's most beautiful bookstore. Across three floors, it stocks highbrow, eclectic titles, largely in hardcover, including a lovely book art version of Pale Fire, as well as lots of coffee table books that might double as coffee tables, so heavy and hefty are they. We bought our copy of The World of Downton Abbey there, which seemed about right.  

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Paris Theatre

The Paris Theatre

Where else but the Paris could we see a silent movie made in 2011 about silent movies in the 1930s?  This single-screen theater, across the street from the Plaza, specializes in foreign language (particularly French) films and evokes a time when men wore tuxes and women wore gloves, when going to the pictures was really something special. It has a mezzanine level and blue velvet-covered walls and art deco signage that says "quiet please." Last night, at least one thing remained constant from that earlier time until now: at the end of the movie, everyone clapped.


Friday, January 13, 2012

Diego Rivera Murals at MoMA

The Diego Rivera Murals exhibition gathers together most of the eight murals Rivera painted on-site for the Museum of Modern Art in 1931. Although each weighs more than 1000 pounds (it took six men to move a single fresco during the original show), they are suprisingly little (only about seven feet tall). Their power comes not from size, therefore, but from didacticism --- this is art with a message, and the message isn't a good one. To put it into today's terms, Rivera painted for the 99%, even though he was usually paid by the 1%.      

Photo: thanks


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cafe Katja

Emmentaler sausage with quark dumplings and cabbage, Cafe Katja

At Cafe Katja, the arrival of the emmentaler sausage elicits snickers in female diners and fleeting feelings of self-doubt in their male companions. But amusement and anxiety stop once the crisp skin gives way to the gooey cheese inside. Joined by quark dumplings and cabbage, it's a perfect winter dish, hearty and, um, filling. Less erotic, perhaps, but no less good were the pretzel and the cheese spätzle, a seemingly never diminishing plate of firmness and moistness.  

Pretzel, Cafe Katja

Cheese spätzle, Cafe Katja

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