The Best Hash for your Cash

Posted: September 8th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | 398 Comments »

Breakfast is like math class, it’s boring but important–and because it’s usually eaten in a rush, whether it’s a banana or a bowl of oatmeal, the quickest and most filling an option is usually chosen. Every once in a while I’ll get to eat a real breakfast, you know, with pancakes and waffles and the ubiquitous eggs benedict. But amongst the sea of oft-chosen options there lies the hearty and filling dark horse dish I love to choose: Corned beef hash.

My ideal plate of corned beef hash is beefy and well-seasoned, served with two sunny-side eggs whose yolks are runny and inevitably sopped up by two buttered slices of crispy toast. Oh, and dont forget the breakfast potatoes–devoured with a tangy and spicy mixture of Tabasco and ketchup. My mouth waters as I write this. I had the amazing task of eating breakfast for dinner at three different places in Manhattan to see which made the best plate of corned beef hash.

2nd Ave Deli
2nd ave deli is an homage to the good ol’ days of New York. The waitstaff could easily be mistaken for United Airlines flight attendants: Older, on pension, cranky–yet caring–with service provided with a raspy cigarette smile.

Second Ave Deli

The plate of hash is visually stunning, a huge serving which would give a heartattack a heartattack. Biting into the big chunks of beefy goodness there’s an immediate punch of onion which then proved to be a constant note- not a big problem but certainly distracting.

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Alcoholic Milkshakes – A Play in Three Acts

Posted: June 28th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | 383 Comments »

Disclaimer: The following review is a dramatization based on a true story and was performed by trained, albeit lightweight, food tasters. Consumption of alcohol may lead to impaired judgment. Don’t try this at home.

On one hand, I am an adult (well, legally at the very least). I can sit patiently for extended periods of time. I like listening to the news first thing in the morning. I eat vegetables every day. I enjoy a glass of wine with dinner.

On the other hand, I am a mess of a young person. I can’t keep my bedroom clean. I prefer to eat with my hands. I will borrow $20 from my parents any chance I get with no intention of repayment.

In between, there exist several fusions: adult kickball leagues, bars crowded with arcade games and skeeball, and the subject of the adventure that follows, alcoholic milkshakes.

Act 1, BLT Burger
In the West Village, three friends and I embark on an Oz-like mystical journey of what is sure to end in heartburn and possibly in vomiting: consume as many alcoholic milkshakes as possible in one evening.

BLT Burger

We begin at BLT Burger, the homeliest of the many fiefs under the Kingdom BLT. Four of us, four ‘shakes on the menu. There is the Nightrider, with chocolate ice cream, Kahlua, chocolate liqueur, and Oreos. It’s frozen hot chocolate with a tame alcohol bite, excluding the crushed Oreos, which shoot up your straw like booze soaked Kamikaze pilots aiming for your tonsils.

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trois français onion soups …

Posted: April 28th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | 440 Comments »

As a self-diagnosed sufferer of Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D., indeed), there are few things that ease my worries as I’m dragged kicking and screaming into the deep freeze chambers of autumn and winter. These include: tiny sweaters on dogs, the hibernation of subway station stenches, laughing at people fall on ice skating rinks, and soup. Ah, yes, soup–specifically, of the French onion variety. Is there a more perfect union of liquefied flavors? Salty, sweet caramelized onions sit in bath of beef broth and red wine (or sherry, or port, or who-cares?-there’s-alcohol-in-this-soup) and then finished with a soup-soaked crouton and melted white cheese in the broiler. Are you soup or are you the miniature hot tub of my dreams?

Our first stop on the French onion soup trail is Tartine, an adorable teacup of a restaurant in the brownstone-and-sex-shop labyrinth that is the West Village. Seriously, will someone explain the mathematical paradox of the intersection of West 4th and West 11th? Geometrically impossible! But I digress. Although the diners at Tartine are practically sitting on top of each other, the tangle of wooden chairs and motherly stress lines on the waitresses’ faces create a comfortable, familial air in the tiny space. Also, BYOB wine helps.

french onion soup - tartine

As for the soup, it arrives in the traditional striped crock, sealed in with a layer of Swiss cheese. The cheese is dotted with burnt spots and unmelted slivers, adding to the homey feeling of the restaurant and its food overall. It doesn’t look perfect, but no one cares. It will be delicious and it is. The broth’s star flavors stand out while balancing each other: the wine doesn’t disappear beneath the stock’s beefiness, the onions seep a lovely sweetness into the soup base. They’re so well caramelized they dissolve on your tongue. On the other hand, the soup’s cheese crouton hat could use some work. Swiss doesn’t add much excitement in terms of taste and the bread has more or less disintegrated by the time the bowl hits the table. It does however lend itself to passing what I consider an important French onion soup test: ensuring a bite of cheese toast with each soup slurp. Swiss cheese here is easily cut with just a spoon, thereby acing the cheese toast test and also avoiding the awkward stretch, stretch, stretch of stringy cheese that ultimately snaps itself into a cheese goatee on your chin. Tartine: for polite and tidy French onion soup eaters.

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