Ben & Jerry’s: the Yoplait of Cannoli

There’s a reason why pies, cakes, cookies, and yes, cannoli, are stand-alone desserts. So when I spotted a pint of Ben & Jerry’s with the word “Cannoli” plastered on it, I knew it would not bode well for either my palate or the reputation of these Sicilian delicacies. But my curiosity as to just how disastrous this concoction of “mascarpone ice cream with fudge-covered cannoli pastry shell chunks and mascarpone swirl” might be seemed worth the $5.99, and so the pint found its way into my shopping cart. And now, my trash can. Not only was the beauty of the cannolo - its crisp outer shell and fluffy fresh filling - completely lost, but the ice cream itself tasted like oversweetened, spoiled cheese.

If you want pie, eat pie. If you want cannoli, talk to Salvo. Word on the street is that his mamma’s are the best.

-Sara (with unsolicited commentary from Laurretta)

{Unsolicited?! Excuse me, I was the trusty stenographer, ghostwriter, photographer for this post, until Sara decided to take over. She only left one line that I wrote. #bigsistersarebossy}

Why do even Ben and Jerry have to remind us we’re an oppressed colony? Mascarpone ice cream my ass. -salvo #ricotta #cannoli #vermonthippiesnoshitabputcannoli

tags: cannoli,

Ben & Jerry’s: the Yoplait of Cannoli 
There’s a reason why pies, cakes, cookies, and yes, cannoli, are stand-alone desserts. So when I spotted a pint of Ben & Jerry’s with the word “Cannoli” plastered on it, I knew it would not bode well for either my palate or the reputation of these Sicilian delicacies. But my curiosity as to just how disastrous this concoction of “mascarpone ice cream with fudge-covered cannoli pastry shell chunks and mascarpone swirl” might be seemed worth the $5.99, and so the pint found its way into my shopping cart. And now, my trash can. Not only was the beauty of the cannolo - its crisp outer shell and fluffy fresh filling - completely lost, but the ice cream itself tasted like oversweetened, spoiled cheese.
If you want pie, eat pie. If you want cannoli, talk to Salvo. Word on the street is that his mamma’s are the best.
-Sara (with unsolicited commentary from Laurretta)
{Unsolicited?! Excuse me, I was the trusty stenographer, ghostwriter, photographer for this post, until Sara decided to take over. She only left one line that I wrote. #bigsistersarebossy}
Why do even Ben and Jerry have to remind us we’re an oppressed colony? Mascarpone ice cream my ass. -salvo #ricotta #cannoli #vermonthippiesnoshitabputcannoli

Salvo, Sara, and I were supposed to go to Porsena last night to sample Sara Jenkins’ Sicilian pantry, but Sara was sick, and I, the dutiful sister, stayed in to make sure she was OK.  I was bummed to miss it.  I loved the pork chop we had there the last time, and the place is so cozy.  I had been looking forward to Porsena’s Sicilian night ever since we found out they were doing a regional menu.  See, I love pretty much anything having to do with Sicily…even though I don’t eat fish.  Yeah, that’s kind of a problem.  You can’t be an Italian & not eat fish.  Anyway, I had a hankering for some Sicilian dishes, so I made one of my favorite of all peasant meals: pasta ‘ca fasola.  

Pasta ‘ca fasola (pasta e fagioli in Italian, pasta fazul in Bruculinu {if you can figure that out, you will be my bff forever}) means “pasta with beans,” and it usually refers to a thick, soupy bowl of dried beans (usually cranberry or cannellini beans) and any kind of small pasta you have in the house (I like ditalini).  Sometimes, though, my grandmother makes pasta with flat green beans.  And that is my favorite.



PASTA ‘CA FASOLA VIRDI 

{for two girls who had pretty much already eaten dinner.  I’d double the recipe, if you want it to be a full meal.}

Three handfuls of flat green beans (I told you I make it like my grandmother does — no measurements!)

Half a box of linguine 

Salt

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

                                _____

Put a pot on the stove to boil.

Break (or cut) the ends of the green beans, pulling off any tough strings.

Rinse the beans and drop them in the boiling water.

Add salt & stir.

When the beans are almost cooked, remove them from the water.

Put the pasta to boil in the same pot.  

When the pasta is almost cooked, add the green beans, and cook for two more minutes.

Take the pot off the stove, and immediately remove the pasta & beans from the water.  If you leave them in there, it will become a soggy mess.

Add olive oil.

Enjoy!

(Sometimes you can add a drop of fresh tomato sauce, but I like to keep it simple, especially in the wintertime, when tomatoes aren’t in season.)

xo lauretta

tags: recipes, at home,

The John Dory

ACE Hotel 1196 Broadway


Last month, trapped at Penn Station yet again, I did the only sensible thing - I hit the John Dory to make my escape from Manhattan less painful. The oyster pan roast, a creamy oyster bisque served with a uni butter on toast, still one of the best soups I’ve ever tasted, and the only time I’ve really enjoyed cooked oysters. Squid stuffed with chorizo, another classic that’s a must have here. They also had a special of nearly rare scallops with a french butter sauce, the kind of plate that makes you forget about sushi. 

-salvo

#thejohndory


510 Hudson Street

Is it loud? Yes. Is it still really a bar they slapped a restaurant on in the back? Yes. Does it have hands down the best steak tartare and the best rib-eye in the city? Hell yes. 5 trips and still a great journey from that beautifully creamy tartare to that steak that will put hair on your chest. If that wasn’t enough meat, we also tackled the bison short ribs with polenta. Sides were a potato gratin and black-eyed peas, desert was cheesecake (and we stopped daring to order cheesecake at typical steakhouses ages ago). Most of these items can be found elsewhere, but always mediocre at best (here’s looking at you, BLT)

-salvo

#employeesonly #beststeaknyc

Robin Sloane, “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” (via luciaferr)

The suburban mind cannot comprehend the emergent complexity of a New York sidewalk.

Came with Lauretta to attempt the regional menu but we were scared off by the val d’aosta menu… sorry, we come from the other side of the boot. I had the gnocchietti with mustard greens and garlic, I love bitter greens in pasta, although the pasta was a hair too al dente to my taste. We shared the pork chop which was as perfectly cooked as you’d expect in a roman trattoria…. did come with al dente cannelini beans. We prefer our veggies like our mammas make em, cooked to death.

We’ll come back when the regional menu leaves germany.

-salvo

The pork chop really was perfect, but I have to say that my favorite part of the meal were the snippets of sage Salvo advice (i.e., do no harm; marry the person who you keep having fun with; try the pasta even though you don’t know what’s in it).  There’s something about a cozy little trattoria with simple, non-fussy food that makes you feel like you could almost be sitting at your mamma’s kitchen table.  even though, yes, our mammas would never have let us eat cannellini beans without the requisite starchy softness that comes from overcooking them.  pasta al dente; fagioli al mushy. (except for green beans.  my mamma cooks hers to perfection. #somuchtolearnfrommymamma) 

xo laurretta

#porsena









tags: RR,

Talde

369 7 Avenue

Talde comes from Dale Talde, a former Top Chef contestant who is establishing a little empire in Park Slope. Asian - American fusion is the idea here, and overall is pulled off very well, even if many of the sweet chinese sauces aren’t really for my palate. My favorite items were a fried kale salad, crispy and salty, and a wonton soup which was more like a ramen, but if the average chinese restaurant made wonton soup this way we’d all be eating much better. The wontons themselves were as delicate with ravioli, the way I have to imagine some chinese grandmother would make, a world apart from those pasty, chewy, turds you get everywhere else. Korean fried chicken served with a kimchee yogurt sauce - may be one of the best side sauces I’ve ever had. 

-salvo

#talde

30 St. Marks Place


Had the terimayo after every effort to stuff myself at porsena extra bar failed… I’m not so big on fancy hot dogs, but this was easily the best I’ve had. Good pork flavor, nice umami seasoning. My buddies who actually had tried Japadog in Vancouver (where it originates from) said it was better over there. 

-salvo

#japadog

Porsena Extra Bar

21 E 7 Street

Came here a couple times in the last week, once playing hooky during lunch for this brilliant fig and salami sandwich; also had a terrific farro and apple salad at that sitting. Came back another night with two friends, we tore through quite a bit of food, the highlights being the dollar oysters, the serryano ham dish (a serrano style virginia ham), and a Manteca cheese from the abruzzi (a caciocavallo with an edible rind and a cream cheese center - salty, chewy, and creamy; a brilliant cheese).

All in all terrific food but for the evening course after about 8 disches and 2 bottles of wine we were still hungry - so we went to japadog.

-salvo

#porsena #japadog 

tags: RR,

Porsena Extra Bar
21 E 7 Street
Came here a couple times in the last week, once playing hooky during lunch for this brilliant fig and salami sandwich; also had a terrific farro and apple salad at that sitting. Came back another night with two friends, we tore through quite a bit of food, the highlights being the dollar oysters, the serryano ham dish (a serrano style virginia ham), and a Manteca cheese from the abruzzi (a caciocavallo with an edible rind and a cream cheese center - salty, chewy, and creamy; a brilliant cheese).
All in all terrific food but for the evening course after about 8 disches and 2 bottles of wine we were still hungry - so we went to japadog.
-salvo
#porsena #japadog 

355 W 14 Street

Post Sandy Recovery Post 2


I had a relatively unimpressive first time here a couple years back when it first opened, other than the unique space - the greenhouse bathes the restaurant in sunlight on bright days, instinctively uplifting the environment. Given the continued praise on all sides for this place, I gave it another go. They are very well known for their spaghetti al sugo… however this being a staple item I consume at least twice weekly, I still find it difficult to actually pay for this in a restaurant. We tried the pumpkin casonsei (stuffed pasta typical of Lombardia) with amaretti biscotti and peperoncini …. the kind of combination that sounds ludicrous on paper and probably would cause most nonne to shake their heads in disgust; but this plate of pasta had a foot both in tradition and modern cooking, a tight rope of sweetness and heat. I went next for the lardo wrapped halibut, which turned out to be a simply prepared and perfectly  cooked piece of fish, about all I could ask for. 

I’ll be coming back… haven’t seen this level of fine italian dining downtown that often. 

-salvo

#scarpetta 

tags: RR,

acuppaday:

Unknown Crop to Cup blend at Fair Folks & A Goat. Stange space, but friendly service. 

what a beautiful cup

acuppaday:

Unknown Crop to Cup blend at Fair Folks & A Goat. Stange space, but friendly service. 

what a beautiful cup

230 W 4 Street

Post-Sandy Recovery Post 1


We trudged out to Empellon the Saturday after Sandy, with the city eerily quiet and abandoned. The guacomole as always was outstanding, as were the lobster and hen of the woods mushroom tacos. And we ordered skirt steak tacos for desert. Just as well, other than a great tres leches I had the first time I was there deserts were just ok for me. Steak definitely better. Mezcal margheritas were a pleasant smoky deviation from the standard. 

-salvo

#empellon #tacos #downtownrecovery

Momofuku Ssam Bar/ Booker & Dax

207 2nd Avenue

Took too long to write this post, so the details area a little fuzzy (grayed further by the addition of excellent cocktails since I last visited), but if you’re willing to brave crowds and sit at a bar cafeteria style and pay fine dining prices for one of the best restaurants in the world, ssam bar doesn’t disappoint. I’ve been in love with Momofuku for years now, and all the reasons are still there, some of the most creative and delicious cutting age food in the city with no snobby french waiters in sight. The highlights were a jerusalem artichoke soup with bacon and snails, a singapore noodle dish, and a virginia ham served with a coffee mayonnaise. 

They have a bar attached now, even at 9 on a Saturday it was a haven for grown ups looking for a well made drink. 

-salvo

#momofukussambar #bookeranddax

Surviving Sandy with olive oil via the sicilian Underground Railroad

-salvo

#sandy #oliveoil #sicilianundergroundrailroad

tags: at home,

Surviving Sandy with olive oil via the sicilian Underground Railroad
-salvo
#sandy #oliveoil #sicilianundergroundrailroad

Motorino

349 E 12th Street  

212.777.2644

No comments Lauretta? Well thanks for posting these pics. I know its hard to lament the state of pizza in NYC where in comparison to the sad state of affairs in most of the US outside of the tri-state area where everyone is apparently reliant on pizza sold by some quarterback and Herman Cain. For most of my life, we’ve been chugging along with NY style pizza (gas burning brick ovens, a “version” of mozzarella which is closer to scamorza or provolone than anything resembling mozzarella di bufala), which while admittedly not the real thing, is a heckuva a lot better than the crap they sell in Chicago. 

So along come “artisinal” pizzerias, attempting to make DOC pizza alla napolitana. Motorino probably comes closest to accomplishing this, certainly in terms of the quality of ingredients and their care with toppings to avoid overwhelming the pizza. However, once you get past the really basic pizze (the margherita comes closest to a a very well done pizza), the crust really lacks the crispiness to be considered a great pizza. 

The really hard part about Motorino is they have no espresso. I mean, seriously, no espresso. They claim to demonstrate knowledge of italian cooking, and they serve no espresso. You can get espresso everywhere in this city these days…. but not at an artisanal pizzeria napolitana. 

Let’s see what else culinarily speaking is Naples famous for? Aside from the pizza, the san marzano tomatoes, the mozzarella di bufala…. it’s the coffee. Naples is famous for making the best coffee in Italy. Naples is the first european city to import granulated sugar by the ton… for coffee consumption. 

Unless someone drags me there, I ain’t going back. It took me 90 goddamn minutes to get a proper coffee. 

-salvo

#motorino #espresso #margherita

tags: RR,