You know that feeling when you’re little, you shake hands with a famous person, and you swear you’re never going to wash yours again?
I spent the hours after my meal at Little Serow in Washington DC this past weekend determined never again to clean my teeth (or eat), in a desperate attempt to preserve the Laotian / Northern Thai party going on in my mouth.
Johnny Monis and team do a phenomenal job at Little Serow. The wait is long, but the vibe is great, the people are super friendly, and the smells coming out of the open kitchen are tortuous if you’re hungry.
The menu is set, and rightly so. Having grown up with beautifully fresh Thai food in Australia, it’s been a painful struggle to get the good stuff in Manhattan, of all places. But a short hop to DC and all is right with the world.
The use of a crisp fresh vegetable basket in place of bread is genius - it’s healthy, allows the ever-present chilli and lime to stand on its own, and doesn’t fill you up. The lightly fried tofu was amazing, the khao poon catfish curry with stinging nettles was wondrous, and the si krong muu ribs almost had me on the floor in delight.
Monis’s use of dill is different, yet strangely right.
And - long live sticky rice.
Had one of the best meals I’ve had in a looooong time tonight, and essentially unexpectedly. Balaboosta in Soho is nothing short of superb, from the crispy olives to the brussel sprout salad, and from the smoked eggplant bruschetta to the melting lambshank. Lots of small plates finished off by a banana bread pudding. Service with a smile, great wine recommendation, and great espresso to boot. Cannot say enough how impressed I was.
I invented a dish today. The Crosby Hotel in Soho, with its penchant for pencils as pictured here, has a luscious brunch menu which includes their fabled BLT and A, or bacon-lettuce-tomato with avocado. I asked if I could add an egg and make it a TABLE. They said yes, and it was good.
Amazing weekend at Martha’s Vineyard. Rigging and masts all pointed to the American Lobster Mart en route back to NYC for the greatest lobster roll ever. Thanks to Larry.
So +Jon Chonko, aka #scanwiches, is resolutely guilty of relentlessly making me ridiculously hungry whenever I am not.
McSorley’s Ale House, still going strong just round the corner from us in the East Village. This taken in 1942, part of an amazing collection of vintage colour photos of New York via @thm_a.
Galileo once said that “wine is sunlight, held together by water”. L’Artusi in the West Village (on West 10th Street between Bleeker and Hudson) is close to my favourite restaurant in New York. Its wine list would challenge the best in Florence or Rome, with the bold red cover simply stating “water for body, wine for soul”; a mantra which could easily be extended to the food. It is interesting that the quote is attributed to the father of Slovenian wine, Ales Kristancic, although the wine in the cellar is unflinchingly Italian.
Gabriel Thompson’s roasted mushrooms with pancetta, ricotta and egg are outrageous - who’d have thought you could concoct something equally epic for breakfast, lunch, dinner or late-night-post-booze snack? And the octopus, truffle tajarin and brussel sprouts are simply superb. Italian tapas at its finest, and served in a permanently buzz-filled atmosphere which never descends into pretentiousness or clutter, although quite how they manage it I’m not sure.
Many may not know that Pellegrino Artusi, after whom the restaurant is named, was the father of Italian cuisine. He died exactly a century ago in 1911 and is the author of the spectacular “La Scienca in Cucina e l’Arte di Mangiare Bene” - a sublime text which captures the sheer timelessness of raw flavour and simple old world recipes.
Do it all.
Everyman, on 13th St and 3rd Ave. Along with Abraco and 9th Street, hands-down the best coffee in the East Village, if not New York.
Long lunch carnage in Portland, ME. They call it “Blunch”.
Take a ferry across from the main port to Diamond Cove, on Great Diamond Island, and settle in at Diamond’s Edge Restaurant. The most spectacular, simple and “I don’t want this to stop” long lunch we’ve had in a while. Try the Fried Chicken and Blue Cornmeal Grits, Pressed Duck Confit Salad, the oysters (wow), the Burger, or, obviously, the Lobster Roll.
Lobstah for evah.