Posts Tagged ‘fish’

…these are a few of my favorite things!

December 23, 2010

Dishes 215-218: Sea bass at Fish, 17th and Lombard

Chicken Vindaloo at New Delhi, 40th and Chestnut

Tofu Aphrodite at Caffe Galleria, Lamberville

Sweet Potato Casserole at Marsha Brown, New Hope

The best part about black tie season is the perpetual sensation of being in a James Bond movie. (And better yet if you are sitting opposite Bond, no?) There is such excess and romance of going to a local BYO for a bite before an event in full attire. So there we are, sitting across from one another in sumptuous burgundy velvet seats, abstract kitchen images lit from behind by spotlights in the background, and perfect slivers of fish sitting center stage. I can’t imagine anything better…

sexy lighting

…until two nights later, standing in the kitchen around a white Styrofoam takeout container loaded with chana masala, dal, and naan. “The trick I found,” I said, mouth full, “to getting the most of the takeout buffet, is to put down a moderate layer of rice, to keep the liquids from spilling. Then load up on the dal and chana masala. Then stuff as much naan as you can in the upper section of the container.” Tim laughed. “Molly and I are still trying to find out if Olive Garden will let us do take out of the never ending soup, salad, and breadsticks. I’d bring a garbage bag and fill it up with lettuce.”…

…Lettuce was hardly the only item available on the vegan-friendly menu at Caffe Galleria, “where the unapologetic carnivore and the dedicated vegan dine together, happily”. I had the Tofu Aphrodite, three thick slabs of breaded tofu baked until crisp and smothered in garlicky vegetables. The tofu was prepared with care and expertise—however, I stuffed myself to the brim with the rich, flavorful veggies on the side. Oops.

Gustav’s friend Sandy showed him, me, and Tracy through the best vintage shops in Lambertville, where we found a delicious Tiffany blue v-neck dress to wear for our Mad Men party the same evening. After working up a bit of a lather, we walked the bridge to New Hope and to Marsha Brown.

Caleb Lentchner of Marsha Brown treated us to the sweet potato casserole, a side dish that could comfortably make a home on the dessert menu- but why? It’s such a scrumptious surprise where it is. Afterwards, we enjoyed a tour of the premises, dominated –of course—by the massive mural in the dining room, an arched painting of several lions and men in combat. My favorite painting has to be the inside of the elevator shaft, which depicts—you guessed it—heaven, on the upper floors, and the descent into hell, with cherubs guiding you all the while.

Importance of Eating Clams Barefoot, Pt. 1

March 29, 2010

Dish 54: Bouillabaisse at Blackfish, 119 Fayette St, Conshy, http://www.blackfishrestaurant.com/

“Something’s Gotta Give” is an excellent movie. Guaranteed moneymaker, first off—love story between America’s two favorite Boomers? Please. You couldn’t make more money if you packaged dinner dates with Prince William. But it also appeals because, in the philosophy of a great writer – whose identity is escaping me at the moment—we like to watch plays about people who rank above us socially; if we do not admire and envy them, the movie will fall flat. (This theory allows us the stolen pleasure of schadenfreude as well.) And our leads, both romantically unsuccessful but totally loaded individuals, fit the bill.

Diane Keaton has this gorgeous house in the Hamptons that provides the picture-perfect backdrop to her summer wardrobe of turtlenecks and cardigans. Shades of dove gray and white contrast perfectly with Jack Nicholson’s initially black attire; exactly how the high white wainscoting and dove gray walls at Blackfish are accented by black chairs and –need I say it?—black fish.

I imagine customers would love the subtle reminder of lazy summers at the beach. The beach, that is, if you go to Montauk or Nantucket. Just as the bouillabaisse has the feel of someone else’s comfort food; like walking into an Open House and seeing that the owners have left out evidence of their lives. “It’s the daughter’s room! Look, upper level French. She must be 16 or 17. Lord of the Rings. Haha, but check out the other books, she’s very savvy. Track medals. Her first rose!” And you’re allowed a glimpse into her life—but she is still oceans away.

The bouillabaisse was fine, hot tomato broth poured over fish, mussels, clams—only the shrimp was spiced enough to satisfy me and Colleen; we wondered why natural selection had not pared the remaining seafood from the dish. The square chunk of potato was funny as a dramatic visual, but equally bland. I just find it unnatural to eat mollusks from a bowl, indoors during the cold months. Clams are meant to be eaten outdoors, steamed on the grill or straight from the bucket, hosed off a little, surrounded by your Hawaiian-shirt wearing uncles.

Blackfish was a page from someone else’s life. Someone else’s beach house. Someone else’s comfort food. Someone who a movie producer thinks I envy; someone whose life is supposedly more comfortable and glamorous than my own; fewer textbooks, more romantic drama, and heaps more money. And while the shore house is attractive, the shrimp is spicy, and Diane Keaton’s decision between Dr. Keanu and Producer Jack doesn’t seem unpleasant to someone in her situation, I think I’ll pass. I’d much rather stand around the grill, waiting for the cauldron of clams to finish steaming, and preparing to wrestle Uncle Scott out of the way to claim my share.