I thought about The Sun once this summer. As I peeled a cantaloupe rind from the bottom of my favorite sandals and stared quizzically at the war scene in front of me, I thought maybe, just maybe, someone from Cornell with an aptitude for Boston culture could explain to me what on earth just threw down on Hanover street. While on a quest to the Italian fest on the North End, I think I might have been warped into a level of Yoshi’s Story, with melons and bananas and fruit of all sorts literally dumped and overflowing from the streets to the sidewalks. I stood dumbstruck and watched ravenous Bostonians on all fours scrounging through rotten fruit for a hopeful gem.
Last year I wrote a rave review for Terrance Brennan’s Picholine. This year, I herald my return by visiting another of his Manhattan restaurants, Artisanal. It is designed to look like an authentic French bistro, complete with weaved chairs, cushioned booths, black and white tile floors, and high ceilings. In appearance it reminded me of Café Luxembourg (a bistro near where I live) and L’Express (a favorite of mine in Montreal). However, Artisanal differs in a way as would be suggested by its name. Artisanal generally means traditional and small scale and the restaurant holds an astonishing array of artisanal meats and cheeses, many of which are aged next to the diners.
Picture this. A mythological creature stands before you with three paper bags in hand. The almighty god of the food world forces you to choose one bag. The contents are the only foods you can eat for the rest of your life. One bag is bulging with chocolates, cheeseburgers, cookies, and sodas. The next is brimming with spinach, peas, oranges, and apples. The last bag contains kale, salmon, chocolate, raspberries, and fresh bread. Which do you choose? Could you spend the rest of your life with fat, salt, and sugar dripping down your chin? Could you keep from going insane on a diet that never provided any of these luxurious indulgences? Is there beauty in the bag that represents a balance of both?
This past weekend I had the pleasure of eating at one of my favorite restaurants in Ithaca, John Thomas Steakhouse. For me, John Thomas is my Peter Luger’s away from home. The meat is prime dry-aged beef, just like Peter Luger’s and everything from the steak sauce to the menu selections represent how a true American steakhouse should be. Though rustic and low key from the outside, the quality of food clearly demonstrates why John Thomas’ has been an icon in Ithaca for so long.
The exterior of John Thomas is quite plain on the outside and along with the overcast weather, paints a fitting picture of Ithaca.
I’m getting a little cranky. The problem is that I am spoiled – no doubt in my mind, no question in my head. I am responsible for this gut-wrenching craving that never seems to go away. After all of the fruitless attempts to satiate this relentless hankering, I am still here wallowing with chopsticks in hand and a furious look on my face, silently judging the chintzy plastic container of americanized and replusivized sushi.
It all started on a cold winters night in the Big Apple. All glammed up and trying to fit in with the pretentious NYC fashionistas, I shivered my way through the sleet and snow into a sushi-lovers paradise. I did not know it then but this was the night that would create an eternal craving that I am sure will persist for the rest of my food-loving life.
I’m broke. Most of us are broke. Some of us have thousands of dollars in loans and credit cards that are always in the red. I complain about this just about every day of my life to my parents who have this weird perception that being a broke college student is a rite of passage or something. Its gotten to the point where the twenty dollars of “mad money” my mother sends is like gold. And for a girl who literally has expensive taste, having no money in my pocket is like my own personal purgatory. I can’t survive off ramen or pizza or wings every single night of my life. I need the good stuff to get me by. Freshly baked artisan bread, exotic fruits and vegetables, fresh fish right off the truck. This is where my “mad money” goes.
Being the ultimate foodie and nutrition junkie that I am, I stood in front of the new Green Café on College Ave. and small tear trickled down my cheek. I opened the glorious doors to my new haven and the smells of salvation exploded in my face.
The night before I came back to Cornell, I had the pleasure of eating at Terrance Brennan’s Manhattan restaurant, Picholine. Though I had had an unpleasant experience there five years ago, complete with terrible service and even worse food, recent reviews had piqued my interest in returning. I was willing to give Picholine another chance and I was glad that I did.
From the moment I walked through the door, I could sense a distinct change in the atmosphere of the restaurant. Though the décor was still outdated compared to other bastions of haute cuisine, the proprietor had certainly made an effort to modernize.
Being the drunk and stupid college students that we are, the dreaded hangover is no stranger to our weekend routine. Dazed and confused after a long night romping around in college town, I wake up to a huge slap in the face by Mother Nature. She’s apparently pissed that I put so much crap into my body. I guess warm beer after warm beer isn’t exactly her definition of natural. So I suffer her angry wrath: a splitting headache, a sandpaper tongue, a rolling stomach, and some weird ache in my legs from my abnormal urge to run around when I drink.
I’ve always been a little set off by tofu. The texture isn’t quite right and the flavor is almost nonexistent. Until now, I’ve been dead set against the mushy mass of protein and would never so much as give it a passing glance. Over spring break, I was determined to find a way to make this ugly food a little more edible in my eyes. While listening to an episode of Martha Stewart Radio (Don’t judge me! They have great recipes!), I heard of a technique for preparing tofu that sounded promising. They stated that the key to making tofu correctly is to really dry it out, marinate it in potent flavors, and bake it until its crispy. So I placed the tofu in a glass dish, wrapped it in a clean towel, and put a fairly heavy bowl on top.