November 20, 2008
On the road again...
I have been away from my own kitchen for a week now and having lots of fun. I am being flown around by my family friends to act as interpreter for their Italian relatives on their first ever trip to America.
gianfranco and dora direct from Brescia, Italy to Central Park
We spent four days in NYC and here are just some highlights. I don't have much down time as this is a full-time job and then some. But needless to say, we have been doing some really fun things and eating some really nice food.
Before meeting up with the Italians, I spent a night in Brooklyn with my brother, Greg, a budding cook himself. Here he is with Carlo, a really great guy who cooks at Roberta's in Brooklyn.
greg and carlo with housemade dry aged steak
Located in one of the far reaches of the burrough (261 Moore St., Brooklyn), we pulled up to what looked like a garage or a dive bar. But once inside, the aromas of wood-burning oven pizzas greeted us along with the warm smiles of the local guys who run the place. It was an odd little narrow place with wood paneling on the walls, a sort of country lodge meets urban steak joint. But the food was some of the best Italian food I've tasted outside of Italy.
Carlo treated us to delicacies like fluke (fished off Long Island) crudo, housemade bresaola, a delicious, creamy acorn squash with lardo, pulled pork that melted in our mouths, pappardelle with lamb ragù, and the most delicious steak for two that I've ever tasted. I don't have any photos because I was too busy devouring everything that was put in front of me, plus the lighting was bad. Roberta's may not have been the fanciest place I ate in New York, but it was definitely my favorite.
On our last day in NYC we ate a very nice lunch at the MOMA before taking off to the airport. It was in the restaurant attached to the museum called 'The Modern' (9 W. 53rd Street). The sleek, modern decor matched the location and the clientele were all movers and shakers in suits and ladies lunching in between Bergdorf's and Saks. But the best sighting was author Malcolm Gladwell, having lunch there after a late night appearance on The Colbert Report.
Here are some of the artfully presented and creatively composed dishes that made up our lunch:
steak tartare with quail egg
cavatelli "carbonara" with wild mushrooms and escargots
And, one of the culinary highlights of the trip for me so far --risotto "mantovano" white truffles flown in from Piedmont.
This at a beautiful dinner hosted by the family in their Las Vegas home. Chef Tom pulled out all the stops, serving 8 courses each beautifully prepared like this agnello with gnocchi di zucca (lamb with sweet potato gnocchi)
I'll keep eating my way through this whirlwind Italian-American tour and hopefully I'll live to tell more tales...