Archive for the ‘*Erin’ Category

Elizabeth Falkner’s ORSON (SF)

April 8, 2008


Orson, Pastry Chef Elizabeth Falkner’s new restaurant in San Francisco is not to be missed. The restaurant is enormous with both upstairs and downstairs dining, and her desserts exude the same sultry sexy confidence that she does. Industrial concrete, dark table cloths and chocolate colored chairs make you feel just as sleek as your surroundings. Elizabeth also owns Citizen Cake.

Invisible, created by Elizabeth and her pastry chef Luis.


Black Espresso, Black Sorbet


Downstairs Bar/ Dining Room


Upstairs Dining Room


Orson
508 4th Street
San Francisco, CA 94107

all photos © erin gleeson

Batch & P*ONG (NYC)

April 2, 2008


Everything about Batch, Pichet Ong’s new bakery on West 10th Street, is just as lovely, adorable and amazing as he is. Pink walls, yellow peonies and eclectic hand crafted chandeliers made me almost as happy to be there as the first bite of chewy crunchy peanut butter cookie right out of the oven. Then came the chocolate chip cookies- crisp and buttery on the edges, warm and gooey in the middle. To die for!

I think my favorite, though, was the walnut melt- a bite sized cookie dusted with powdered sugar similar to a mexican wedding cookie (however, the Vietnamese coffee cake with icing was a close runner up). Coconut Raspberry Green Tea Cupcakes also looked tempting. I have to go back to try more!

The coffee was great, and was served with thick and creamy half-n-half in a glass bottle that came from Manhattan Milk & Dairy, organically produced in the Amish country. If you’re into foie gras, you can get your puppy a foie gras dog biscuit, and then go next door to P*ONG and get your self a foie gras taco.

Batch, which opened last week, is next door to Pichet’s restaurant P*ONG in Greenwich Village.


Pichet’s friend Gary works in the front and Betty is the baker


Gary talking to my friend, chef Tessa Liebman

Pichet behind the counter

Here are some other delicacies I recently photographed at P*ONG.






all photos © erin gleeson

Batch & P*ONG | 150 West 10th street new york ny 10014
T 212 929 0898 | Batch closed Mondays

Chile Relleno Burritos by the Beach

April 1, 2008


Every time I visit my family in Northern California, I get to spent one night out at the beach in Bodega Bay having dinner with my god parents, Tom and Carol. If I’m lucky, Carol makes my favorite, Chile Relleno Burritos. She has a killer recipe that gets me every time! She fills green poblano battered chiles with jack cheese, wraps them in flour tortillas, pours sauce all over them, then adds more cheese and bakes them. There are always a million toppings (my favorite) including fresh guacamole and salsa. It is perhaps the perfect meal!

appetizers: nachos!

lime and radish salad

toppings

Sunset over the ocean

Carol made fresh baked carrot cake from scratch with cream cheese icing for dessert that just blew us all away. Does it get any better than that? I can’t wait ’til my next trip out.

Thank you, Tom and Carol!

***
Just added:
Chile Relleno Burritos Recipe
(I’m not sure of the exact recipe Carol uses, but this is pretty close)

Ingredients:
One dozen flour tortillas
Large can whole green chiles
1 pound monterey jack cheese
2 egg whites
flour
green enchilada sauce or salsa verde
refried beans

Directions:
Stuff the chiles with big chunks of jack cheese cut into long pieces. Whip egg til peaks. Dip each chile in, then roll in flour. Repeat. Fry battered chiles ’til golden brown in veg oil. Drain on paper towels. Lay each chile loosely in a flour tortilla folded in half in a 9×11 inch baking dish. Add a couple TBS of refried beans to the burrito as well.Pour the green sauce of your choice inside each, then put jack cheese inside before rolling each burrito up.

Pour more sauce over the baking dish full of burritos, sprinkle with grated jack cheese and bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve with refried beans, rice, guacamole, pico de gallo, shredded lettuce and chopped black olives.

The Melting Pot

March 31, 2008


I was recently in the SF Bay Area and was very excited about a trip to The Melting Pot in Larkspur with my cousin Shannon. As fondue fanatics, we were fiercely let down.

We went at 6:30 on a Wednesday with 4 people. We were told they were fully booked and they said we’d have to eat at the bar. It was less than desirable to sit at the bar because there weren’t enough burners to keep our fondue melty. We were there for an hour and a half and there were 4 tables open behind us the entire time. Apparently tables were being held for “ladies night”. We only had one guy with us, my dad. Other groups of all ladies who arrived after us waited momentarily at the bar and were then seated.

The bread was dry and the service was bad (except for one very sweet and over worked bartender). I was so enraged at the whole experience that when I left, I told the hostess how I felt (and I usually don’t do that kind of stuff).

That said, the ambience was very cool- it was as if we were inside an old wine cave. Low lights, fun vibe. Our fondue was pretty good- just not hot enough due to the lack of burners. If only the bread hadn’t tasted 3 days old. I’ve only just now realized it’s a chain. Perhaps this explains things a little more. The Dark Choclate fondue wasn’t bad, but the dipping options could have been better, fresher. The fruit and cheesecake tasted like they were from Costco.

Not sure I’ll be back. It’s no Bougeouis Pig.



The Melting Pot
125 E. Sir Francis Drake Blvd.
Larkspur, CA
T: 415.461.6358

Dinner with Barack Obama

March 30, 2008

I am one foodie who loves Barack Obama, so I was excited to see that Gray’s Papaya endorsed him.


Jack, the biggest Obama supporter I know, enjoys a hot dog in front of Gray’s Papaya on the Upper West Side.

Watch this video to see how you can win dinner with Barack himself! I’ve just donated $5 on his website and am now eligible. You can be too! If you win, he’ll fly you in, put you up, and buy you dinner (something better that hotdogs, i’m sure).

Cupcakes For Obama

February 4, 2008

The owners of Cupcake Cafe in Manhattan are clearly Obama supporters. One of them strolled into the Obama Campaign office last week in Lower Manhattan carrying a huge box of cupcakes to feed the little office packed with hungry volunteers.

The office was bustling- so much to be done before Super Tuesday! Jack and I spent one afternoon volunteering and were pleasantly surprised by the overall feeling of the place. It was frantic, yet warm. The phones were ringing nonstop with New Yorkers calling in to ask how they could help, and the staff was so full of gratitude that you couldn’t help but feel good about being there. At one point a minister from a baptist church in Harlem showed up and said he and his congregation wanted to do whatever they could to contribute. Then a dancer from Spamalot entered the organized chaos and said she had 2 hours to give until her call time that night. A man carrying a large stack of signs that read “Veterans for Obama” came in and started to pass them out. A hipster with a faux-hawk asked if he could borrow some banners for an event he was hosting in Union Square. “Of course!” they said, and loaded him up with stickers and pins to boot.

I was asked to enter emails into the database. There was an older gentleman on the computer next to mine who had clearly been there all day. He really wasn’t so familiar with computers and kept asking me for help, but he was intent on doing whatever they needed. He knew how important it was to be a part of this effort. Around 5pm, he said he had to go, but that he’d be back in the morning. Everyone wished him a lovely evening and thanked him profusely.

The full time volunteers were overloaded and hungry. One woman on the phone lines behind me stood up suddenly and said she was starving and hadn’t eaten anything all day. Just then a very well dressed older woman arrived carrying bags of sandwiches that she put out on the table for everyone to share. This was what she felt she could do to help and it was again greeted with profuse gratitude.

I left that day, cupcake in hand, feeling fired up and ready to go. If 3 hours in Obama’s little campaign office in Lower Manhattan could make me feel so positive and hopeful, I can’t imagine what 4 years of his efforts in the White House could do. The whole world needs to feel this way and I think Obama is our best bet. I urge you all to go out and vote tomorrow. This is an amazing opportunity that I think we all need to take advantage of.

If you don’t know if you’re registered call 212-VOTE-NYC. If you don’t know your polling location, click here.

WINTERMARKET

January 21, 2008

Last month there was a gathering of sustainable purveyors in the space that use to occupy the historic Fulton Fish Market in NYC, near South Street Seaport- a place that, until recently, has held outdoor makets for New Yorkers since the 1600’s. An organization called New Amsterdam Public invited a group of local farmers, wild food foragers, producers, and cooks to create a happening called “Wintermarket”. It is hoped to be the 1st of many future outdoor markets held in this famous locale to help promote and support the “locavore” movement in the city. After a $5 donation, we were able to join the locals for tastings of fresh ricotta, organic honey, cranberry cider sorbet, liver pate, pine island oysters, ice wine from the upstate Slyboro Ciderhouse and Lady Apples from New Hampshire…to name a few.



Sheep Cheese from 3-Corner Field Farm


Hot Cider






Local Liver Pate

Scallops and other seafood from Wild Edibles

Local Nuts

Hot Cheese and Pickle Sandwich

Bonjin Diner (NYC)

January 12, 2008

On Thursday nights, there is a little record shop in Greenpoint, Brooklyn that turns into a speakeasy type restaurant. Mini cafe tables are pulled out, records pushed aside and the cutest little Japanese girl comes out from the back to greet you. Miss Momo is the creative genius behind Bonjin Diner, and along with Chef Yuji the “diner” prepares home-style Japanese four-course meals paired with a fine selection of teas. We ordered the prix-fixe for $18 and were not disappointed!

I hear next Thursday (1/17) is the last day, so hurry….go! Don’t miss out on this little word-of-mouth gem.






Bonjin Diner
at Eat Records on Thursday 1/17
6pm-12am
124 Meserole Avenue (btwn Leonard and Eckford)
Greenpoint, Brooklyn
Nassau Ave. G Train stop

Top 5 Food Moments of 2007

December 24, 2007

Manolha Dargis says (in her own top 10 list of films of the year), “Top 10 lists are artificial exercizes, assertions of critical ego, capricious and necssarily imperfect.” Well, how about a Top 5? Can that be any more meaningful?

Sure, why not– I think that Top lists are a fun way to exercize your brain, reaching back into the crevices of your memory to sift through the last 365 days. It’s pretty incredible actually– in terms of food, the possiblilities are endless. I asked UM contributors to send over their Top 5 Food Moments of 2007, where anything goes– meals, restaurants, kitchen accessories, ingredients, books, films– essentially, whatever they wanted to include (whether they had blogged it or not). I assure you that this is no easy task, but here they are.

MERRIBERRY
1. Alan Wong’s 7 course tasting menu with wine pairing (is there even any doubt that this was the meal of the year???)
2. Chez Panisse kitchen tour
3. Draeger’s Cooking School!
4. United States of Arugula (so what if it was published in 2006)
5. Bodum Assam glasses (A housewarming gift from Kayoko, great for everything from coffee to ice cream)
HUA HSU
The Top 5
5. Hudson Valley tomatoes.
4. Macallan 25.
3. Leeks.
2. The lunchtime burger at Prune.
1. Everything at Laduree.

The Bottom 5
5. That asshole waitress at Sushi Yasuda who browbeat my mother.
4. That asshole waitress at Sushi Yasuda who browbeat my mother.
3. That asshole waitress at Sushi Yasuda who browbeat my mother.
2. That asshole waitress at Sushi Yasuda who browbeat my mother.
1. That asshole waitress at Sushi Yasuda who browbeat my mother.

KANSHEFLE
1. The Next Food Network Star (Season 3) – the surprising last-minute resignation of JAG, and the upset victory of Amy over Rory. this was truly must-see tv.

2. The rise of the “localvore” / eating locally.
3. Stacy’s pesto and sun-dried tomato pita chips – not sure when they came out, but in 2007 I began eating an entire bag everyday.
4. My dinner at Brown cafe, which included the best wine I’ve had all year: 2004 Castello della Paneretta Chianti Classico.
5. Jonathan Gold’s Pulitzer Prize – the first time the prize has been given to a restaurant critic

HAMAMAMA
1. Spicy Mina
2. Sushi of Gari Omakase w/ dad
3. Wu Liang Ye’s Double Cooked Fresh Bacon ** With Spicy Capsicum
4. Go Go Curry w/ Mel & Kakabori
5. Spicy & Tasty Dan Dan Noodles & Sauteed Pork

MEL
1. Green tea chocolates from Tafu
2. Republic of Tea Wild Blueberry Black Tea
3. Konbini on 47th
4. Watermelon flavored hi-chew
5. Mochi Maker!!!!

AYAGWA
OK the thing about me is that I am not just interested in the moment of consumption, but the process of getting there, and the event of the eating. I went to a lot of fancy restaurants, oyster bars and the like this year, but in the end, they don’t make a lasting impression on the heart stomach. So I would say my top five most memorable food experiences of 2007 were:

5. What about those awesome lunches at work, the series of home-cooked lunches made by JS co-workers, from Yamahomo’s beef tongue stew, to Futoshi’s curry, and my own Yum Woon Sen! Loved the sharing atmosphere and cut down on lunch costs too!

4. Oh wow definitely the Umamiventure to the Red Hook Ball Fields. That was hella fun NY summer activity! So much to experience, so many different foods, so many fun people, the great weather, the soccer, awesome times.

3. BEST RESTAURANT of the year for me was Aurora in Williamsburg. I went there this year for the first time, after hearing about it from others and it was amazing. Beautiful space, especially if you get the garden during the warmer months, nice rich wood interior and reasonable prices for delicious foods: octopus, hand-made pastas. A very close second would be Cafe Falai on Bowery. Loved the menus in the envelopes. yum yum yum.

2. Tmonkey and I did a colon cleanse together in the autumn, as our romantic activity. We kept track of our bowel movements and physical changes down to the finest details and shared these with each other. It was a fascinating process of fasting that stripped down the cycle of appetite -> consumption –> digestion, and realized that so much of what we experience as hunger is psychological. After 5 days of fasting my skin was clear and beautiful and I felt terrific – AND amazing things had come out of my body. O Boy. I also learned that what is as important as the fasting is how your BREAK the fast. I f*cked this up royally, but will make sure to pay more attention to this when I do the 10-day fast in the spring.

1. Helping to create and eating the ultra-thin million layered lasagna made by my dearest Tmonkey — just divine!!! Kayo was there too!

TMONKEY
5. Mozza, Batali’s new eatery in LA. Went out to LA on business, had a friend whose boyfriend was the bartender there, and thus got the royal treatment. Incredible grilled octopus. Amazing amaro tasting flights at the end, free because amaro is apparently not legal in the states.

4. There’s nothing scientific about my selection methodology for this btw — I’m just picking food moments that actually lodged themselves in my brain. One of these moments was when I was in Guadalajara last month, my friends there took me to an open market (well it was covered with a roof, like Essex Market) and sat down at this stand where this young guy was cooking up a storm and I asked him what I should order, what their specialty was, and he hooked me up with this dish called “chafaldrana”, which was basically this seafood quick stew (tomato based) with tilapia (I think), octopus, scallops, and shrimp served with rice, onions, slices of tomatoes, tortillas, and these cute little mini-avocados. It was made “a la minute” right in front of me. I got it on tape — will upload pics and vid soon. Amazingly fresh and delightful.

3. Thousand Layer Lasagne: I was inspired by the recipe on 101cookbooks.com to make this lasagne which requires you to roll out fresh egg pasta dough into incredibly thin layer. I usually don’t make recipes like this (which warn you that a super-herculean effort is required) sight unseen, but Aya made me do it. Actually it turned out to be pretty fantastic, but I’m wondering how much of it was because of the incredible amount of blood, sweat and tears that went into the making of it. I think you can taste those things.

2. Another Mexico moment: I was in Jalisco, the state where Tequila comes from. It was a few hours from the Pacific coast, and my friends took me to a lake called Santa Maria de Oro, which was surrounded by mountains on all sides. There was a lone restaurant at the base of the lake, and pretty much the only thing they served was chicharrón de pescado, which is basically fried fish, which I presumed to be from the lake itself. It came with a pink-ish colored mayonnaise, cucumbers and tomatoes, and tortillas, which made me realize of course, that these were actually fish tacos!!! Amazing ones, at that. Again, I’m sure the ambience had something to do with my memory of this — perfect 80 degree weather, eating them after I had kayaked out to the middle of the lake and swum in the perfectly warm, clean water. Yeah…

1. When Aya and I were doing our week-long colon cleanse, I experienced delusional hunger pangs, fantasizing about various random foods (the most hilarious was when we were in the subway standing next to a dumb Arnold’s bread ad with a ham sandwich and Aya looked at me and intoned with a zombie-voice, “Ham sandwich….”), but near the end I couldn’t get my mind off Franny’s wood-fired oven pizza. So the first real meal we had after coming off of the cleanse was there, and chalk it up to delayed gratification and wish fulfillment, but damn if we didn’t have a bacchanalia that night (grilled octopus, sausage pizza, orichiette, and for dessert…ANOTHER pizza — our waitron did a double take when we ordered that one). I count that as a double dinner, and any double dinner should be memorialized in my book.

ERIN GLEESON
1. Dinner at the Core Club prepared by Dan Kluger and pastry chef Rob Fitzhenry

2. Dinner on the house at Maremma, courtesy of the amazing and wonderful Cesare Casella.
3. Olive oil bon-bons at the James Beard Awards

4. Cooking Thanksgiving dinner in Santa Barbara in Aunt Janet’s ocean front kitchen.
5. My 1st shoot for the NY Times Dining section, The Kingswood restaurant, NYC.

Runners Up:
– Wylie Dufresne’s presentation at the Star Chef’s Congress, NYC.
– Blueberry picking in Vermont
– Jack’s Saturday morning brunch while listening to “This American Life” (below)

KAYOKO
1. Sripraphai Umamiventure, all the way. Those drunken noodles were just out of this world, and I still dream of the fried watercress salad. Tmonkey and Ayagwa’s inspiring video immortalized the meal perfectly. It was one of those amazing meals where every single one of our 10 or so dishes were delicious, and, despite the fact that many people were meeting for the first time, we all left feeling as we were eternally connected through this one meal. Now THAT is the power of a good meal.

2. My meal at Taverna dei Consoli trattoria in Assisi, Italy. I was alone in the city for a night, and the hotel man recommended the place in the piazza. I never did figure out if this joint was what he was talking about, but it’s where I ended up and had the best dinner of my trip. They were about to close up shop but they indulged my hunger anyway. Fresh pasta with porcini mushrooms and a pork chop in a balsamic and prune reduction. Ooh la la. I went back for lunch the next day and had the same! This year, I learned to appreciate eating out alone, which is something I never did before. There’s something really meditative about it.
3. Lunch with Jose, Marta and her family at her apartment in Madrid. Nothing like Spanish homecooking— albondigas and boquerones filled with love.
4. Introduction to Shanghai Cafe by Tmonkey. It was love at first bite. Cravings for these incredible soup dumplings haunt me at all hours of the day– their steam, their scent, the marriage between crab and pork dipped in a vinigary concoction (the key: the crab does not dry out the way they do at Joe’s Shanghai, or any other “venerable” soup dumpling establishment). My dream meal is an order of the dumplings, and their lo mein, which are really thick udon-like noodles. It is by far the restaurant I frequented the most this year.

5. My chicken bag!

Runners up:
– The secret sea side shack Ayagwa introduced me to at Rockaway Beach
– Fresh northwest oysters and the cute bartender at the Seattle Airport
– The sardines from Don Quixote Restaurant at the Atlantic Antic street fair
– Leslie and Alex’s 4 hour wedding meal at Osteria Le Logge in Siena
Vintage Pyrex mixing bowls I bought from Yamahomo
– The “best cappucino in Italy” cafe in Roma

Aside from my top 5 (er, 11), the launch of this blog was perhaps the most meaningful food moment for me this year. I look forward to a plethora memorable food moments in 2008– too much for me to blog I am sure! Thanks to everyone for reading, contributing and commenting in UM’s fantastic first year.
Happy, happy holidays to you and your family, and always, happy eating!

Thanksgiving in Santa Barbara

November 27, 2007


I have a very large family and every Thanksgiving, a sprinkling of us flock to my aunt and uncle’s beach house in Santa Barbara for a long weekend of sea, sun and food. It’s truly a magical place, located right on a little cove called Devereaux. To make things easier on people traveling from out of town, we celebrate T-Day on Friday, and this year about 40 of us were able to eat together. My cousins Jaime & Shannon and I were in charge of making the appetizers, or as we call them, “pupus” (hawaiian for finger food). Here are a few photos from our weekend.

Persimmons and Clementines are in Season and Surf’s up!




Pumpkin Curry Deviled Eggs

Sweet Potato Butternut Squash Spring Rolls with a Cilantro Soy Dipping Sauce


Goat Cheese and Apricot Empanadas

Jaime & Aunt Janet BBQing the Turkey


The Dinner