Thursday, October 20, 2016

October 19, 2016 Lunch – Taj Mahal. Dinner – Beer cooked Brats, Sauerkraut, and Potatoes and Carrots

October 19, 2016  Lunch – Taj Mahal. Dinner – Beer cooked Brats, Sauerkraut, and Potatoes and Carrots

I was happy to be back in the office this morning.  I talked to Aaron At 10:00 and we decided to meet for lunch at Taj Mahal at 11:15.

The Taj was wonderful as usual.  I said hello to the cousin who manages the Taj in Shamiz’ absence who I like very much because of her shining disposition and waved to Mr. Singh the Executive Chef.

Aaron filled me in on his trip to Romania, from which he returned at 11:00 last night.  He said the wineries he visited were very impressive and the harvest is almost complete.  

As we were eating Mike Verhagen came in and I invited him to join us.

I also invited Mike to join us for dinner and the debate.

After we finished lunch I went to Sprouts and bought four brats, a lb. of sauerkraut, some mushrooms, some peanut clusters, milk, an eggplant, and string beans.  I then drove to Quarters and bought a case of out of date Coors beer and a case of Wicked Cherry cider on sale for $10.99 per case.

I returned home at 2:00 and did a letter for Aaron and then drove to Poulin Design for a 3:00 appointment.

I arrived home at 5:45 from my appointment, just as Suzette was arriving.

We discussed dinner and since Willy was coming also, decided to boil the brats in beer and make potatoes and carrots and the sauerkraut and to serve grilled artichokes with a mayonnaise dressing.

Suzette soon had the beer water heating and peeled the potatoes.  I went to the garage and fetched the carrots and went to the garden for a sprig of tarragon.  I then diced the six potatoes and two  and covered them in a sauce pan with water.  I then diced 1 onion, 3/4 of a red bell pepper, and a Granny Smith apple, which Suzette sautéed in olive oil to make into a garnish for the brats.
Suzette boiled the potatoes and carrots and the drained them and added a bit of salt and butter to them, sautéed the bell pepper, onion and apple, and boiled the brats.  

We had no mayonnaise so I made about two cups of it using Julia Child’s recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking volume 1, by mixing four egg yolks with 1 ½ T. of  fresh lemon juice, ½ tsp. of  salt, and ¾ tsp. of prepared Dijon mustard and then slowly adding 2 cups of olive oil.  I then stripped the leaves from the tarragon sprig and chopped them and added them to the mayo.

I added about 1 cup of the newly made Mayo to the bowl of PPI mayonnaise and yogurt dressing and placed it on the table.

Mike arrived at 7:00 and Willy arrived a little later.  Suzette grilled the eight or nine PPI artichoke halves and served them as a warm appetizer and as avegetable with the meal. Everyone dipped the artichoke leaves in the mayonnaise sauce and enjoyed them.

  The grilled artichokes and mayonnaise dressing

Then Suzette plated the brats, the potatoes and carrots, and the sauerkraut and I fetched a sweet Bavarian mustard and the jar of Grey Poupon Dijon style mustard and I poured apple ciders for all and we enjoyed a very Alsatian/Normandy style meal.

I was awful during the debate yelling about Donald Trump’s refusal to answer the questions and his negative insults to Hillary.  I hope she wins so I can stop my ranting.

After dinner I fetched the Calvados and cognac and the newly purchased chocolate covered peanuts, which were not very good because the chocolate coating was waxy and bad chocolate.

We talked with Mike and Willy until 10:30, when we bid each other goodnight.

Bon Appetit 

October 18, 2016. E town to Albuquerque

October 18, 2016. E town to Albuquerque 

We took the 12:17 train from E Town to NY Penn Station.  Suzette mapped our route to La Guardia Airport on the MTA app and we took a subway to the Jackson Heights station, where we transferred to a Q70 bus that took us directly to Terminal B at La Guardia where our American flight left from.  We made sandwiches but somehow got separated from them on the train.

We felt like real NYers having seamlessly made three connections to different forms of public transit and made our flight back to Albuquerque.

Here are pictures of the Manhattan skyline at sunset from the La Guardia waiting area as we boarded the flight to Albuquerque.

  The building nearest the tail is the new Freedom Tower at One World Trade Center.  The building above and to the left of the truck lights is the Empire State Building at 34th.  The tallest building to the right of the sunset is one of the new ultra high residential buildings being built.

Here is a picture of the Freedom Tower.

Bon Appetit 

October 17, 2016 Lunch - Quentin Tavern, Dinner – Wrightsville Tavern

October 17, 2016 Lunch - Quentin Tavern, Dinner – Wrightsville Tavern

In Pennsylvania taverns serve both food and beverages.  In the morning Suzette’s mom, Suzette, and I drove the twenty miles through heavy woods to Lebanon where the Quentin Tavern was located.  We arrived around 11:15 and found that the tavern did not open until 11:30, so we walked across the street to an antique shop.  Suzette immediately found five vintage Thanksgiving cards. I found a number of lovely fabrics and we were torn between an Irish linen tablecloth and a Sumatran sarang of woven cotton in a colorful batik pattern   We chose the batik.. 

We then walked back across the street to the tavern and were seated in one of the three dining rooms.  We immediately were impressed with the extensive menu, but then saw that the 17th was the first day of a three day Lobsterfest.  

   Quentin Tavern

A 1 ¼ lb. lobster with two sides was offered for $24.95 and Suzette immediately agreed to order that.  We also ordered lobster chowders and Suzette’s mom ordered a lobster salad.  

  My bowl of Lobster chowder

Soon bowls of lobster chowder arrived.  There was corn kernels, small chunks of potato, large chunks of imitation crab, small dumpling like chunks of undissolved flour and very little if any lobster meat.   The milk based chowder had a good flavor, which partially redeemed it.  After our unexciting chowder experience platters arrived with crackers and then the waitress served us a nice sized lobster that looked every bit of 1 ½ lb.

It was a soft shell lobster, like the cold one we ate at the winery yesterday, served with a baked potato and Cole slaw.

We liked this lobster much better.  It was cooked to just beyond gelatinous, so that the meat was firm but it contained a goodly quantity of salt water.

We loved the lobster.  Suzette drank a beer with the lobster and I ordered a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, which turned out to be vey light and perfectly complemented the mild delicate steamed lobster meat.

We started with the claws and worked our way through the entire lobster.

After lunch we drove back to the Lindemuth’s house in E town and took naps.  

We awoke around 4:30 and dressed and drove south to Marietta, where we crossed the Susquehanna River to Wrightsville and soon found the Wrightsville Tavern.  Soon Don and Bev and Bev’s two nieces from North Carolina and Lamar and Sally, who are friends of Don and Bev arrived, so we put together a table for ten in a side dining room.

The reason Don recommended the Wrightsville Tavern for dinner was because Monday night it serves a Broasted chicken special.  You can either order five pieces with Cole slaw for $6.99 or all you can eat for $9.99 with unlimited French fries.  The waitress was very friendly and soon offered us free samples of the Oktoberfest ale and the pretzel wheat beer with a glass ringed with Hershey’s chocolate syrup.

Suzette ordered an Oktoberfest beer and I ordered the wheat beer  in the ringed chocolate syrup glass.

Soon our orders of chicken arrived Andy they were so hot I could not bite into the pieces.  I ordered a five piece dinner and when the waitress asked me whether I wanted dark or light meat, I told her my preference was to have five thighs.  We decided to try the fried haddock, so Suzette ordered it and I traded her a thigh for some haddock, which was not as good as the fried haddock in Maine, but still quite good.  

I could not believe I ate four thighs and a good quantity of fried haddock, but I did.

Here are some pictures.

  The Fried Haddock 

  The Carolina nieces and Suzette's Mom and Dad eating chicken and Suzette's arm

Bev told me that broasting is cooking chicken in hot grease under pressure, which cooks it more quickly.  Apparently that was the reason it was so hot when served.

I loved dinner.  The chicken’s crispy skin was wonderful.  

After dinner we went to Don and Bev’s for dessert.  We shared a bit of Lemon meringue pie, chocolate cake and a slice of carrot cake.

Finally we went home and watched the Antiques Roadshow and some MSNBC including the first pictures I have seen of the siege of Mosul and the burning oil fields left in the retreat by ISIS.

Bon Appetit 

Monday, October 17, 2016

October 16, 2016 Spring Gate Vineyard, Harrisburg, Pa. Dinner – BBQ Pork Ribs, fava beans, corn, and apple sauce

October 16, 2016 Spring Gate Vineyard, Harrisburg, Pa.  Dinner – BBQ Pork Ribs, fava beans, corn, and apple sauce

Don and Bev and Jeff and Kathy came down in the morning and Don and Suzette made us egg croissants.

At around 11:00 Jeff and Kathy left for Ohio and Don, Bev, Suzette and I drove to Spring Gate Winery near Harrisburg.  Spring Gate produces wine, beer and cider.  We tasted the wines and found little like so we bought a flight of ciders.

We took our cider outside and found Don and Bev.  Don and I went to the the Kelly seafood booth and bought two 1 ¼ lb. lobsters for $12.50 each and a lb. of smoke bluefish that had been brined in salt and brown sugar for 24 hours and then smoked.

The lobsters were soft shell and easy to open served with lemon juice, but the smoked bluefish was amazing, tender slightly sweet with caramelized and gelatin pockets of congealed fat.   We loved both the lobster and the smoked blue fish.

The original cider was fine, but I did not like the dry, apple, and pumpkin ciders.  Don said the Irish ale was delicious also.

At 5:00 we returned to E town and ate the pork ribs that Don had prepared with fresh steamed fava beans and corn.  I cut slices of onion to eat with the meal.  

The ribs were delicious and we loved having fresh fava beans again.

I later ate a bag of caramel corn.

Bon Appetit

October 15, 2016 NYC to Elizabethtown and Don’s Retirement Party

October 15, 2016 NYC to Elizabethtown and Don’s Retirement Party

We got up early and taxied to Penn Station at 7:00 and ate bagel and egg and sausage sandwiches and a coffee.  I also bought two salads, a brownie and chips that we took with us on the train that left NY at 9:20.

We arrived in E town at 12:00, where Jeff, Suzette’s brother, picked us up and drove us to Suzette’s folks’ house where there was at able filled with potato chips and plates filled with chunks of Lebanon Bologna, hams, cheddar cheese, and apple and pear slices.  

Then we washed clothes and took a nap. 

At 5:00 we got dressed and went to the VFW hall, where Don’ retirement was held.   The party was catered and included chicken and dressing, sliced baked ham with a ginger glaze, green beans, and potatoes au gratin.  Then after dinner there was desserts, including a lovely chocolate and peanut Butter cream icing cake in the form of a suitcase, a carrot cake, a lemon meringue pie, cheesecake, and a terrific carrot cake.

Don was a wonderful stand up comedian demonstrated through a series of speeches by his friends, cigar store owner, and work mates.

    Don being induced into the White Hat and belt Club

  Don being roasted by his work mate

  Another worker named Miller roasting Don 

  Don's boss explaining some of Dollars n's unique workplace antics

  Don singing his edited version of The Times They Are A Changing 

  Don entertaining the crowd

We enjoyed the evening and were happy we had come to Don’s party.

Bon Appetit

October 14, 2016 Lunch - Guggenheim Museum’s The Wright Restaurant. Dinner – Metropolitan Breuer Museum’s Flora Restauran

October 14, 2016 Lunch - Guggenheim Museum’s The Wright Restaurant. Dinner – Metropolitan Breuer Museum’s Flora Restauran

We started the day going to a coffee bar to meet Luke for coffee on Bleeker near Second Ave on the East Village.  I saw no redeeming benefit from the coffee shop, except we got the chance to walk by McSorley’s Ale House on Bleeker to get to it.  Oddly, Luke did not know the history of McSorley’s.  He was kind enough to guide us to the Uptown station for the Green Line metro.  We took it to 86th and Lexington and then walked to the Guggenheim Museum to see the Agnes Martin Retrospective.  As soon as we obtained our tickets we walked down the hallway to the Wright Restaurant.  The Wright is my favorite museums my restaurant because it was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright with the most exciting architecture of any restaurant I have ever seen.  We like to eat at museum restaurants and The Wright is right at the top.  Check out Miss Suzette in its architectural space.

  A photo of the waiter walking out of the kitchen and the ceiling above him

The Wright has a rather limited menu without a huge amount of creativity but with good execution and top ingredients and today was no exception.  We both agreed that the best dish on the menu was the pasta special of the day, a wide pasta tossed with fresh English Peas and Fava beans, chunks of butternut squash, pea sprouts, and arugula pesto.  I chose the salmon on a raclette wafer on a puddle of mustard cream sauce with sautéed lobster mushrooms and sprouts.  We shared both dishes and ordered glasses of rose wine.

After lunch Luke joined us and we viewed the Agnes Martin Retrospective.  Her work radiates the empty hermetic feel of New Mexico to me, while the surface of pencil and a paint wash moves and shimmers to the eye.

  Agnes Martin's last painting of 2004

After the Guggenheim we took the 5th Ave. bus down to 64th and walked to the Club Macunado Near Madison.

  The cigar case at Club Macundo

 It is a large space with dining areas and lots of cigar smokers.  We bought three cigars for Don’s retirement gift and then walked to the Met.  

I was tired and bought a coke and pretzel for $5.00, which I shared with Suzette.  A little after 4:00 Melissa arrived and we toured the Met for about two hours.  The Met is stuffed full of art treasures.  I wanted to see the Flemish Renaissance and soon we found ourselves in a gallery filled with five Vermeers.  Here is the one I liked the best.  It is hard to believe I was looking into the eyes of a 450 year old face.  

   The Young Servant by Vermeer

Then we saw a good Gaugin.  Here it is.  

Then we visited the Boulangue exhibit who was claimed to have been the best painter for the 150 years preceding Courbet.

We then walked to the Met Breuer on 71st and Madison around 6:00 and saw the 90 Paul Klees given to Met by the Berggruen family and the Diane Arbus photograph collection.

Although Suzette had been unsuccessful in securing a reservation we went to the basement to Flora and were offered a table. 

We cancelled our reservation Café Boulod and looked at the menu.  The offerings were interesting. I decided upon a lobster crudo appetizer that turned out to be small for $21.00 but very delicious.  The raw lobster meat was combined with salmon egg caviar and salmon flavored oil that gave it a deliciously oily flavor.

The best dish we had was a salad of fresh red endive leaves with an artisanal blue cheese and toasted pecans with a sorrel juice vinaigrette.

The other really good dish was a small omelet with a mound of Hackensack caviar, a mound of salmon caviar and a mound of creme fraiche.  We spread the three mounds, folded the omelet in half, and cut the omelet into thirds.  We ate the omelet and other small dishes with slices of sourdough bread.  Our final choice was lamb riblets with a jalapeño sauce and yogurt that was greasy and heavily rubbed with spices. 

Ordering the wine was the best experience of the meal.  We looked at the wine list and tried a taste of a gamay rose that had a slightly bitter aftertaste.  Then a really tart white.  When we could not decide on a wine the waitress who was a pretty young woman and was friendly said, “Let me send over the sommelier.” Soon a tall thin young man who was well dressed arrived at our table and we told him the issues we had had with the two former wines and I asked him, “Do you have a full bodied white with a long finish?”  He said something I did not understand but soon brought a well chilled bottle of white Lugano.  I thanked him for thinking of this wine.  I it was lovely and immediately made me recall our trip across the lake country of Northern Italy with Debbie and Greg about 15 years ago.  When we arrived at Lake Garda, we stopped at a wine cooperative that offered sampling so far the wines of the region, which included Lugano.  I remember that the assistant was so friendly that he encouraged us to go to the supermarket down the road and buy salami, ham, cheese and bread to enjoy with the wines and Greg and I drove to the supermarket and we had a feast on a table in the wine cooperative tasting room.

We enjoyed telling Melissa this experience since she and Suzette are both friends with Debbie.  

Anyway the wine tasted like my favorite whites, chenin blancs from Savvennieres in the Loire Valley because it had the same fruitiness plus minerality in perfect balance for me.

We sipped the last of our wine instead of eating dessert and said good night around 9:30.  We caught the Green line to Union Square and the changed to the yellow R line to DeKalb street and took a taxi firm that station the last ten blocks to Like’s apartment.

A lovely day of art, wine, and food in NYC.

Bon Appetit

Saturday, October 15, 2016

October 12, 2016 A Full Day in Woodstock

October 12, 2016 A Full Day in Woodstock 

We ate cobbler and then went to Woodstock and shopped for stuff for Luke’s house at Restore It.  Them we bought sandwiches. Suzette and I split a sliced turkey and Brie and then Luke drove us to Mink Hollow, where we hiked up the trail by the creek for about a mile.  We spent a few minutes on a rock in the creek listening to the gurgling brook.  Luke took this picture of us.  

  Luke on the trail.

  The winning leaf

Then we returned to town and bought some more spinach and a  smoked trout and went home to fix an early dinner.

Suzette had a great recipe in mind.

Smoked Trout on a Sautéed Medley of red and yellow peppers, onion, corn, and spinach served on a mound of creamed pumpkin and potatoes.  This was one of those progressive dishes that just got better after a day of accumulated dishes.  We had creamed blue Peruvian potatoes with a roasted French red pumpkin the day before.  We had PPI onion, a little spinach, 4 or 5 each of yellow and red sweet Italian peppers and three ears of fresh corn.  Suzette said, “Let’s put them all together.”  We stopped an the Sunstore Market and looked for some fresh fish.  There was none that looked good, but there were lots of the fabulous tasting smoked trout, so weight one and more fresh baby spinach.  

We started cooking around 4:00. I husked the three ears of corn and shaved the kernels of of them. I them diced 1/2 onion and three or four cloves of garlic and three red and three yellow Italian sweet peppers. Suzette reheated and added half and half to the potato and pumpkin mixture we made last night.  I skinned and filleted the smoked trout. 

Suzette then sautéed the onion, peppers, and corn in butter and olive oil and when they softened added spinach to the skillet and sautéed the spinach with those ingredients.  In a few minutes everything was ready.  Suzette made my undos of the potato and pumpkin mixture and the we spooned the sautéed vegetable medley over it sand garnished each plate with smoked trout.  This was the most creative and delicious dish I have had on the trip.  We drank French rose with the dinner, whose lightness complemented the lightness of the smoked trout.


We loved the meal.

Then we drove up the mountain to the Zen Mountain Monastery, a Tibetan monastery, where we meditated for ½ hour at 7:00 in the huge Buddha Shrine Room.  

The most fun thing of the day was spotting a flock of eight or nine wild turkeys crossing Luke’s property while we were prepping dinner.

Bon Appetit