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BYOG

by in View All Posts, January 6th, 2009

Not too long ago, I was craving noodles. Since I am fortunate enough to live close to Chinatown, finding fantastic hand-pulled noodles was a no-brainer. My husband and I dashed over to 88 Food Sing Corp, a small noodle shop at 2 East Broadway. It just so happened to be a Friday night after a busy workweek, so we were also hoping for a glass of wine to go along with our noodles. I decided to see if 88 Food Sing was open to a BYOB philosophy.

Knowing that they would likely not have a bottle opener on hand, I packed my bottle of white along with a corkscrew and set off to satisfy my appetite for slippery, chewy noodles and spicy broth.

The waitress was happy to see us when we got there, since she remembered us from previous visits. After we ordered, I politely asked if it would be ok to open our bottle of wine. She looked at me, and contemplated the question, really struggling to give me a response. She told us to wait a minute and went to speak with someone. Moments later, she returned and said, “ ok, but not too much,” with a parental tone. I instantly felt like a child and assured her that we would be responsible.

Then I asked her for some glasses, at which point she said they didn’t have any. I repeated the question, thinking perhaps she misunderstood, because how would we even be able to drink responsibly without glasses? (We were not desperate enough to drink out of the bottle.) On the second request I hand signaled that I needed to pour the wine into something. She smiled and nodded and rushed off, returning with two 1-ounce plastic cups, the kind that you sample food in at Costco.

Well as the old saying goes, beggars can’t be choosers, and we graciously accepted the cups and poured away. With each sip, my smile grew bigger; I had not enjoyed a dining experience quite that much in some time. But the waitress kept looking at us. Now I wondered, did we do something wrong, were we eating our noodles improperly? Not slurping enough or perhaps too much? Not spicing with the appropriate condiments? Why was she staring at us? About two 1-ounce sample cups through my wine, she came over to the table and asked, “How is it?” to which we replied, “Fabulous, delicious, the best noodles ever!” to which she said, “No, not noodle, wine. can I try some?” We felt ashamed we had not offered to share sooner and responded, “Of course, yes, please, sorry and would you please offer some to the noodle maker in the back” she nodded yes, and brought 2 more sample cups which she ran back to kitchen to share.

When she returned, she said, “Thank you, I never had, it’s good, and he liked it too.”

At that point, I figured that it was best to cork the rest and leave it for them to share — since after all, she cautioned us at the beginning not to have too much. My noodles were the best ever and now I know that on my next visit, should I be craving a little wine, it may be best to byob and byog!

Cheers to 88 Food Sing Corp!

Claudia Sidoti, Recipe Developer

Sr. Bacalhau Demands Your Allegiance

by in View All Posts, December 16th, 2008

You Can See Your Reflection in the Luminescent Chocolate Bust

by in View All Posts, December 15th, 2008

Continuing on the food pareidolia theme, except this time it’s totally justified: for the cover of her new album, singer/model/legend Grace Jones commissioned 16 life-size versions of herself to be sculpted out of chocolate. I’m not going to lie; the eyes on the one she’s holding are sort of terrifying to me.

If you were to sculpt yourself out of any medium, what would it be? Me, I’d have to go with liverwurst.

Rupa Bhattacharya, Culinary Writer

Simulacra, Simulation, and Sevruga

by in View All Posts, December 11th, 2008

My pal Nico just sent me a thoroughly-non-work-safe picture of the first course he was served at Le Bernardin last night. It was salmon tartare topped with caviar, plated in such a way that I totally can’t post it. Regardless, it led me to wonder about the phenomenon of food pareidolia — which is to say, food that looks like not-food.

For example, there’s something very charming about this eggplant’s day out, the whole bento box phenomenon is worth a post of its own, and we’re fond here of the art of Saxton Freymann.

But to what extent does cuteness/anthropomorphicness factor into deliciousness? Is this like Easter bunnies, where the post-beheading guilt detracts from the experience? Or are these like those sugar-coated Easter marshmallows, which would be totally inedible if they weren’t cute? Also, why is this only discussable in Easter terms?

Rupa Bhattacharya, Culinary Writer

Hot Fresh Cookies

by in View All Posts, December 11th, 2008

Once a year, our Ad Sales team throws a huge cocktail party to thank their top clients.  A regular holiday party just won’t do for us, so we combine a cocktail party with a full-on holiday cookie decorating experience, where guests can decorate gingerbread or sugar cookie men and women in all kinds of colors.  In addition to the food and cookies, they always want cocktails; this year’s signature cocktail was the “Sidewalk Santa,” a truly intoxicating blend of top-shelf bourbon, Lillet, cherry liqueur, and a few other secrets.

In the end, 400 cookies were decorated, some in ways that we never could have imagined, as reported by several of our staff who were a little surprised by what was left behind on the tables at the very end of the night. Apparently several tables had abandoned cookies that were decorated — well, let’s just say scandalously!

But I still can’t figure out why no one wanted to take them home.

Kudos to the entire Cookie Party Team and all of the guests who participated in making it a fun and fresh evening for everyone, especially the cookies!

Rob Bleifer & Claudia Sidoti

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