Your Alternative Thanksgiving: Surprising T-Day Recipes From Empire Diner & Au Za’atar

Share Button


Of course, not everyone can be with family for the Thanksgiving holiday. So if you’re not going to be stuffing yourself with mom’s mashed potatoes, why not gather your similarly stranded friends and mix it up a bit? We consulted two of our fave NYC restaurants on how to do an alt-T-Day at each – and even got a couple of exclusive recipes, should you opt to stay home and fire up the stove.

At John DeLucie‘s groovy reboot of Chelsea’s legendary Empire Diner, give thanks for the pleasures of comfort food and old-school cocktails. Start with the buttermilk biscuits and Exec Chef Justin Nuebeck’s cheeky butternut squash bisque, with lobster stock and peekytoe crab; then substitute sourdough pretzel fried chicken for the gobbler…or maybe a prime hanger steak with apple cider roasted brussels sprouts; and ditch the tired old pumpkin pie for a mad decadent signature Empire Sundae with peanut butter ice cream. Sorry mom!

Feeling exotic? Why not do a Middle Eastern Thanksgiving at Tarik Fallous’s Au Za’atar in the East Village? Kick off the feast with grilled halloumi salad; then do Lebanese turkey, in the form of their Fattet Djaj – shredded chicken with chickpeas and yogurt. Or, to make it really feel like a T-Day table, order up a few dishes from the extensive mezze menu (fried & herbed cauliflower, lamb tartar, minced meat with onions) and pass lovingly around. Dessert? Do the nammoura, a semolina and orange blossom cake.


Butternut Squash Bisque from Executive Chef Justin Nuebeck of Empire Diner


Dish Components 
1qt butternut squash puree
2qt lobster stock
¼ cup chili pickling liquid
1oz peekytoe crab
2oz shaved delicata squash
Minced chives as needed
1lb butternut squash roasted and separated from the skin
1/4C onion sliced
1tbsp. garlic sliced
2C vegetable stock
Grapeseed oil as needed
Salt and pepper as needed
In a medium size saucepan over low heat sweat onions and garlic till tender and roasted squash and saute for about 3 minutes to cook out any excess water. Add vegetable stock and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes then transfer to a blender. Puree till it has a smooth consistency without any grains of squash. Then transfer back to a clean medium size sauce pot. Over low heat add lobster stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Season the soup with chili pickling liquid, salt, and pepper. Season shaved delicata squash and crab with extra virgin olive oil and heat in a 350F oven till hot. Place soup in each bowl and garnish with squash crab, and chives


Fattet Djaj from Executive Chef Tarik Fallous of Au Za’atar 


Image by Liz Clayman



1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
3 pita breads, cut into small square 
1 cup boiled chickpeas 
2 cloves of garlic, mashed
2 cups plain yogurt
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts and sliced almonds to garnish
Chopped parsley to garnish
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Toast the pita square until golden brown. Prepare the sauce by combining the mashed garlic and the yogurt. Whisk until smooth. Add the tahini while whisking and, finally, the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. 
Make sure your shredded chicken and boiled chickpeas are warm before assembling the FattetDjaj and work quickly so everything is still warm when you serve it. In a servingplatter, start with the pita squares, evenly distributed in a single layer. The next layer is the chickpeas and finally 2/3 of the chicken mixture. Top with the yogurt sauce and the remaining chicken and finish by sprinkling the toasted nuts, melted butter, chopped parsley and touch of cumin.


Exalted Sushi Master Masa Takayama Opens Tetsu in Tribeca

Share Button
All Images by Dacia Pierson 


Lording over his three-Michelin-starred Masa above NYC’s Columbus Circle, he could arguably be called the the greatest sushi chef in America. Indeed, Masa Takayama has been causing critics and devotees to swoon and wax endlessly rhapsodic since opening in 2004 – even more so since expanding the empire in 2014 to include Kappo Masa at the Gagosian Gallery on Madison Avenue.

Now he’s at last brought his particular brand of Japanese culinary alchemy to Downtown, this week opening his new robata grill Tetsu on Tribeca’s buzzy Leonard Street. In a striking interior that marries stark Asian minimalism with a sort of industrial-rustic-gothic, the new restaurant manages to be both cooly chic and alluringly sensual/romantic.

But the menu is definitely “approachable” Masa. Most plates are under $20, and include raw items like seared tako ceviche with bottarga, and kanpachi poke seaweed; surimi pasta dishes like squid pasta with garlic, bacon & chili; and specialities from the robata including yellowtail tataki skewer, and salmon belly himono. Oh, and a deceptively decadent lamb burger.

Pair with a rum milk punch (with Japanese horchata) or a Soju Thai Basil cocktail.

Okay, we’ll say it: Tetsu has Masa-ppeal.



An Utterly Transcendent Food + Wine Tour of New Zealand’s North Island, Part I

Share Button


There’s a tendency for those of us who have chosen to reside in cities like NYC in our ridiculously overpriced luxury shoeboxes, to possess a particular sort of snobbery about the privilege of knowing that the chef-of-the-moment has just opened the most talked about restaurant in the universe right down the street. Which only makes it all the morning humbling to be reminded that they can do it just as well elsewhere, usually without all the haughtiness.

Which is precisely what transpired on our recent visit to New Zealand, where, during a weeklong stay, we ate and drank our way across the landscape to rapturous effect. Truly, the level of excellence we encountered could hardly be conveyed. From Auckland to Wellington, Hawkes Bay to Waiheke Island, we were duly impressed at every turn…and we didn’t even make it to the South Island.

Speaking of excellence, the delightful flight on Air New Zealand also reminded us of why US airlines could use a few lessons in impeccable service. And for some reason, the day-and-a half-time difference resulted in minimal jet lag…perhaps partially thanks to the employment of the appropriate medicinals?

Here’s how our epicurean tour of Kiwi country’s ethereal North Island played out.



After a painless 13-hour flight from LA to Auckland, our first meal allowed us an intimate look at typical Aucklanders out on a Saturday night – and at Depot, across from the famous Sky Tower, they were loud, proud, and knew how to have a good time. The restaurant specializes in casual fresh and sumptuous shareable plates, from oysters and clams to the NZ meat board, which included wild rabbit rillettes, popcorn duck tongue, wild pork salami, beef bresaola and smoked pork loin with cherry relish and fig & fennel crostini. Any doubts as to N-Zed’s chefs’ ability to sit at the big boys table were immediately dashed.
On our first morning we breakfasted at the popular SKYCITY Hotel, before hopping in a rental car and heading an hour or so north (more on driving on the left in another story). Our destination was the Brick Bay Winery and Sculpture Trail, and on the way we stopped for a coffee at the unbelievably charming Puhoi General Store, where the comely young checkout girl seemed genuinely excited that we were from Brooklyn; we only had to go 8,699 miles for that to happen.



Once at Brick Bay we delighted in strolling the 2km long trail and mercilessly critiquing the 45 sculptures on display; most received raves from us, however, despite our tendency towards cultural jadedness. Then it was back to the winery for a tasting from what is one of the Matakana Wine Region’s top boutique vineyards; we were particularly partial to their crisp rosé. The beautiful Glass House Kitchen restaurant paired BB wines with simple yet delectable menu items, such as the grilled chorizo and fried egg sandwich (with free range bacon, buffalo mozzarella, and roasted garlic aioli).
Matakana also has a town of the same name; and we took a stroll amongst the quaint boutiques and shops before stopping at Sawmill Brewery for a tour and tasting of the local suds. That included an impossibly delicious and healthy lunch of miso baked gurnard with asparagus and preserved lime gremolata. Co-owner Rei Harris’ tale of kayaking to work from his house “upstream” challenged us to come up with not horrible tales of our daily L-Train commute; we failed miserably.


Above: Orphans Kitchen; Sawmill Brewery


That evening we skipped a traditional dinner and went straight for one of the most creative and decadent desert experiences we’ve ever had the pleasure of…experiencing. Inspired by couture fashion houses, science, art, and technology, Giapo Petrucci and his wife Annarosa make ‘haute ice-cream’ in the form of mind-bogglingly inventive creations like the chocolate covered giant squid, at their namesake Giapo. The couple were so passionate about their creations that we couldn’t disappoint them by not trying them all.
The following day, before saying adieu Auckland, we checked out some shopping on Ponsonby Road, and had yet another impressive lunch at Orphans Kitchen. The simple, quaint restaurant on a boutique-lined street serves food so fresh there isn’t a standard menu; but our waiter suggested wood roasted chook with kiwifruit mole, kumara tortillas, as well as a side of oysters and a cheeky glass of Pinot…and who were we to disagree?


Waiheke Island


Our next stop was Waiheke Island, a stunning, 32-square-mile rock, just a 30-minute seaplane ride east of Auckland, that is home to over 20 wineries and close to 50 hotels. During the summer its 7,000 permanent residents are inundated by 50,000 visitors (think: The Hamptons, without all the hangers-on).
Auckland Seaplanes dropped us off at 10am on a seemingly deserted beach in a stunning cove, and promptly departed. We were about to start gathering wood and laying animal traps when we were welcomed by an amiable missionary from Man O’ War Vineyards, located about 50 yards from our position, who escorted us to the tasting room (so, we were “stranded” for all of about five minutes). Named for the battleships that Captain James Cook of the British Royal Navy sailed in the 1700’s, the winery is one of the island’s finest – although that impression may have been influenced by the thrill of drinking good vino at 10 in the morning. Their Sauvignon Blanc and Tulia Blanc de Blanc were the definitive standouts.


Man O’ War Wine Estate


We spent the remainder of the afternoon being ferried around Waiheke by a wonderful guide from local tour operator Ananda Tours, who had once worked in the Auckland music biz. He regaled us with a constant geyser of information about the island between stops at various vineyards and restaurants. First up was an alcohol-free vineyard (or “orchard”), which excelled in another dinner table staple, olive oil. The Rangihoua Olive Estate is an award-winning 100% NZ owned purveyor of the extra virgin variety, which we sampled in abundance.
Stony Ridge and Mudbrick vineyards followed, both of which were in the grand tradition of opulent wineries, the former focusing on luscious reds, the latter including cottages and a lodge for when one doesn’t want to sleep too far from the next bottle. We had a late lunch of local Te Makutu Bay oysters, olives, and the vineyard’s signature Shepherds Point Merlot in the Mudbrick restaurant, overlooking the rolling hills and ocean beyond.
Our final stop for the day was our room for the night at the gorgeous Boatshed, a boutique hotel where our four-course dinner was served in the downstairs sitting room with yet another ethereal view of the baycr The crème brûlée was to die for, and a sublime cap off to our visit.
In Part 2 we travel south and east explore Wellington and Hawkes Bay.


The Boatshed





BlackBook Exclusive: Delectable Ceviche + Crudo Recipes From Brooklyn’s New SUGARCANE raw bar grill

Share Button


DUMBO is the one Brooklyn neighborhood that seems to have managed to avoid a particular sort of worrying commercial encroachment that has spread so quickly through the rest of the borough. And so the arrival of Empire Stores on Water Street in late 2016 actually seemed a reasonable addition to the area.

In addition to the fashionable retail offerings (West Elm, Shinola), it’s also become a genuine epicurean destination – FEED Shop, Cecconi’s, Smile to Go – something which DUMBO had yet to cultivate. And its buzziest new scene is the one unfolding every evening at SUGARCANE raw bar grill (their stylization). Of course, its founding locations in Miami and Vegas have been magnets for the international culturati – so no surprise, the frisson has carried over to its first NYC outpost.

But SUGARCANE built its rep on the food, most of all – an imitable fusion of Asian, Latin and American influences. And so in celebration of the opening, we asked Exec Chef and Partner Timon Balloo to grace us with two of his best signature recipes.


Fluke Crudo (pictured above)

“I have so much respect for the Japanese approach to cooking, and this dish is my tribute to the technique of marinating fish on the kombu.”
Fluke, 5 thin slices
Kombu, 1 pc
Amazu sauce, 1 tbsp
Green grapes, 1 pc
Red radishes, 0.5 pcs
Olive oil, drizzle
Maldon, salt to taste
Garlic chips, 5 pcs
Red shiso furikake to sprinkle
Method of Prep
Cut 5 thin slices of fluke and arrange them on kombu over ice. Dress with amazu, olive oil and top it with a salad of red radishes and white grapes.
Finish with red shiso furikake

Snapper Ceviche

“The ceviche is a Miami staple, I bring it to every SUGARCANE raw bar grill location to give diners that tropical feel. Guests can take a little trip to the tropics.”



Peruvian yellow pepper, sweet potato, crispy corn 2.5 ounces of Snapper cut sashimi style, tossed with ceviche base (lime juice, orange juice, white soy sauce, garlic, and aji Amarillo) chopped jalapeno, chopped cilantro, shaved celery, red onions, sweet potato and crispy Peruvian cancha corn.
Prep Yields Two Portions 
8 ounces local Snapper, sashimi sliced thin
1 tablespoon jalapeno, chopped
2 tablespoon celery, shaved
2 tablespoon red onion, julienne & washed
2 ounce sweet potato, cooked & diced
4 ounces ceviche base
Pinch, cilantro chopped
1-2 tablespoons maiz cancha (fried fresh daily)
Micro greens (optional) cilantro/celery
  1. Toss together fish, aji amarillo, celery, onions, cilantro, and lime juice
  2. Carefully mound fish high in the center of bowl
  3. Garnish with sweet potato, maiz cancha & micro greens.
Ceviche Base
¼ cup lime juice, strained
¼ cup orange juice, strained
2 tablespoons white soy sauce
1 teaspoon aji Amarillo paste or chipotle
1 clove garlic, chopped
pinch, sea salt, maldon
Combine, puree and reserve.


BlackBook Exclusive: Chef Jonathan Wright’s ‘Terrain-to-Table’ Recipes From the Silo Ridge Field Club, Part I

Share Button


In spring of 2014, the announcement went out: Brit Jonathan Wright was named Executive Chef at the newly reopening Rainbow Room. The restaurant was arguably New York’s most famous ever, an icon of the city since 1934; so despite having done time in such high-profile kitchens as Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxford and Raffles Singapore, he would surely be facing the greatest challenge of his life at 30 Rock.

Nearly two years after leaving a successful run at the Rainbow Room, he could surely be forgiven for retreating from the rigors of big city chef life. Now as CEO of Wright Food & Co, he is heading up the culinary program – and the Ridge House restaurant & bar – at Discovery Land Company‘s private Silo Ridge Field Club rural estate in Amenia, NY (Dutchess County, Hudson Valley). Overseeing a vigorous organic gardening curriculum, and surrounded by farming communities, the on-site and very local sourcing has allowed him an unparalleled level of creativity and freedom.

We chatted with him about the new opportunity, and asked him to share some of his most inspired recipes. (More to come in Part II.)


What made you want to venture out of the city?

I naturally gravitate to the countryside, farmland and rugged, natural landscapes. I was born and raised in an agricultural environment and spent much of my youth working on farms in Shropshire, England, which I loved. In my profession as a chef, I like having the ability to influence the ingredients that I use. I value a close relationship with the farmers who grow and rear my ingredients, and this is easier to cultivate when you’re actually cooking near the farms that are your sources. In my opinion, Silo Ridge Field Club offers one of the best and most unique culinary experiences available.

Do you find a lot of the so-called farm-to-table claims by NYC restaurants are just “marketing?”

Farm-to-table as a catch phrase feels a bit overdone, so I prefer “terrain-to-table” as a more meaningful claim. It was a way of life when I was growing up in rural Shropshire, where we grew most of our produce and reared our own meat and poultry. Nevertheless, I believe that the principles and intentions behind the present-day farm-to-table movement make sense to the health of our communities, our local economies and simply our physical well-being. Call it what you want, but it is not going away.
However, consumers are increasingly knowledgeable about the origins and quality of the ingredients that go into the food they are putting into their bodies, so simply ‘farm washing’ a brand to make it appear authentic is not going to ring true to the growing population of savvy consumers. I take “terrain-to-table” seriously. The education of everyday consumers of food is a very positive thing; professional culinarians should already be knowledgeable about their sources and purveyors.



What are the concept and “mission” at Silo Ridge?

The concept is to evolve with and feature the best of the Hudson Valley seasons. We make our own vinegars, sourdoughs, jams, honey, and we utilize local artisans for foods we don’t produce ourselves. We work with our gardener, Sandra, to cultivate produce in our kitchen garden. We try to maximize our resources and byproducts; for example, the ash from our wood burning oven is used to make a salt crust to roast our beets and carrots, and the rest goes back to the soil, so we have very little waste. We also compost our vegetable matter back to the garden. What we don’t grow is mostly sourced from 75 vendors within 25 miles of the property.
We also cure and smoke almost all our own meats, and make all our own breads using natural fermentation processes. Many of our chores are based on the seasons and the tasks they evoke; this allows us to stock our pantry for the long winters and enjoy many of these flavors and ingredients in deep winter.

What is special about the bounty of the Hudson Valley?

The Hudson Valley seems to have an influx of young entrepreneurial farmers and artisans looking to create a new life for themselves and their families. They are distilling bourbon and gin, making charcuterie, raising heritage breeds of livestock; it’s an exciting time to work here.

Who is your clientele there?

Most are Silo Ridge members, but some of the clientele come from Manhattan, the surrounding region, or they may own a property at another Discovery Land community. Discovery Land develops very unique, private lifestyle communities in stunning locales that include Abaco Islands, Bahamas, Chileno Bay in Cabo San Lucas, and the Yellowstone Club set in the Rocky Mountains. At Silo, members can be in touch with nature, and the clientele appreciate the Hudson Valley setting.

What are you doing that is special for autumn?

We are air-drying our own corn – we planted two acres – to make cheese grits from scratch, which we serve with a slow-cooked, 62-degree egg and bacon crumble. We puree our sunchokes and serve with oven-roasted and pickled sunchokes with braised lamb tongue and crispy lamb belly. One of our new dishes is Samascott apples, hollowed out, lined with apple butter and then baked as an apple soufflé – served with Applejack [apple brandy] sorbet. We also have the Hudson Valley roasted and lacquered duck.

How would you ultiimately describe your “terrain-to-table” philosophy?

I see my terrain-to-table philosophy as being a continuum of what the farmers do. It takes farm-to-table to another, more devoted level of culinary expertise. For example, we buy from a local sheep farmer that rears heritage breeds. We then prepare and serve the lamb with the sort of plants that are natural to the lamb’s environment (sometimes what the lamb itself would eat). We might roast it in hay and serve it with parsnips and turnips. Deer eat blackberries, huckleberries, chanterelles, which compliment the natural flavors of venison. This has been done for generations and generations, so at Silo Ridge we’re just staying true to what dining was always meant to be.



Chef Jonathan Wright’s Silo Ridge Recipes


Silo Ridge Sourdough

Yield :  Two (2) Loaves
Ingredients: For the Leaven
  • 50g 100% hydration starter
  • 50 g water
  • 70 g bread flour
Ingredients: For the Dough
  • 160 g leaven
  • 620 g water
  • 605 g bread flour
  • 200 g whole wheat flour
  • 16 g sea salt
Method: Build the Leaven
  1. 4-6 hours before you are to make the dough, build your leaven.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the starter and water to form a slurry.
  3. Add the flour and mix with your hand. It should feel somewhat stiff.
  4. Cover and allow to ferment at room temperature until bubbly.
Method: Build the Dough
  1. Combine the water and flours in a medium bowl and mix until the flour is hydrated and no lumps remain.
  2. Cover with plastic and allow to autolyze for 1 – 2 hours, letting the gluten proteins assemble and build strength.
  3. Sprinkle the salt over the dough and mix with the leaven until it is completely incorporated and no visible streaks remain.
  4. Cover with plastic and allow to autolyze for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove the dough from the bowl and perform the slap-and-fold method for 5 – 6 minutes to further build strength.
  6. Slap-and-fold method: Performed outside the bowl, pick the dough up to about eye level and release it gently, dragging the edge of the dough as it hits the counter.
  7. Fold the dough up to about eye-level and release it gently, dragging the edge of the dough as it hits the counter.
  8. Fold the dough still in your hand over onto the portion on the counter, using quick and light motions.
  9. Repeat, using bench knife to lift the dough if necessary, giving it a quarter turn each time until the dough tightens (5 – 10 minutes).
  10. Cover and allow to bulk proof for 3 hours, turning and folding every 30 – 45 minutes.
Method: Shape the Dough
  1. When the dough is puffy and almost doubled in size, divide in half and preshape.
  2. Cover with plastic and allow to bench rest for 10 – 30 minutes.
  3. Final shape according to preference and place seam-side up in floured bannetons or a couche.
  4. Cover with a towel and then plastic and refrigerate for 8 – 24 hours.
Method: Bake
  1. Preheat oven to 500 – 550 degrees F at least 1 hour prior to baking with hearthstone in it.
  2. Remove loaves from refrigerator and allow them to come to room temperature.
  3. Position roasting pan on the rack below your stone and dust peel generously with cornmeal and/or coarse semolina.
  4. When the oven is ready, turn your loaves out onto your peel, seam side down, shaking the peel to ensure they do not stick to its surface. (Alternatively, you may use parchment to prevent the loaves from sticking to the peel.)
  5. Score the loaves and carefully pour 75 – 80 grams of water into the hot roasting pan.
  6. Immediately shut the door to trap moisture, bake for 2- 3 minutes.
  7. Open door once more and spray the walls again with water.
  8. Immediately shut the door and bake for 5 – 7 minutes before turning heat down to 450 degrees F.
  9. Bake for another 20 – 22 minutes, being careful not to let the crust get too dark.


Farm House Pate

Pate de Campagne
  • 750 g ground pork shoulder
  • 250 g ground pork belly
  • 300 g pork lard/ fat back
  • 300 g shallot finely diced
  • 5 cloves garlic finely diced
  • 4 g thyme leaves
  • 2 g fresh oregano chopped
  • 200 ml port
  • 200 ml madeira
  • 200 ml reconstituted cepe’s in water
  • 2 g 5 spice
  • 100 g pistachios whole
  • 80 g chopped apricots
  • 300 g chopped chicken liver
  • 2 g ground juniper
  • 18 g salt
  • 3 g black pepper
  • 1 case thin sliced bacon
  • For the terrine, sweat the shallots and garlic, no color. Add the water from the reconstituted cepe’s and reduce. Add the port and madeira and reduce to a syrup and cool. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, add the reduction, season well. Line the terrine mold with 2 layers of plastic wrap. Lay the strips of bacon on either side of the terrine mold, slightly overlapping. Pack the forcemeat into the mold and cover with the bacon, pulling tight and cutting the bacon before it overlaps on the top too much. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, then again in foil. Place in a hotel pan and fill halfway up with boiling water. Cover the entire container in foil. Cook at 300 degrees F for approximately 50 minutes. Temperature at center should reach 150 F. Cool and store well when done.

Hummus, Roast Lamb Belly, Parsley and Mint Gremolata

Grilled Bread

  • 500 g Dried chickpeas
  • Teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 3 Liters Water
  • 540 g Tahini
  • 8 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 8 Large Garlic Cloves
  • 200 ml Water
  • Salt
Lamb Belly
  • Three (3) Lamb Bellies
  • 100 ml Olive Oil
  • Four (4) Cloves Garlic
  • 20 g Cumin Seeds
  • 6 g Smoked Paprika
Parsley and Mint Gremolata
  • 50 g parsley leaves, sliced
  • 20 g fresh mint, slice
  • 1 green chili, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 300 ml Olive Oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
To Finish
  • 200 g Fried Onions
  • 200 g Toasted Pine Nuts
  • Olive Oil
  • Soak dried chickpeas overnight in cold water, twice their volume
  • Next day drain chickpeas, place in pan over medium heat with baking soda
  • Stir for 3 minutes
  • Add 3 liters water, bring to a boil
  • Skim off foam and any skins that float to surface
  • Cook for 30 – 40 minutes until very tender
  • Drain chickpeas
  • Blend in food processor until you get a very firm paste. With machine still running, add tahini, lemon juice, garlic, 3 teaspoons salt and finally the 200 ml ice cold water
  • Blend to a very smooth paste
Lamb Belly
  • Salt
  • Remove silver skin from lamb belly, score
  • Mix all ingredients together and rub into surface of lamb belly
  • Roast at 350 F on wire rack for 3 hours
  • Allow to cool, thinly slice
  • Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse until coarsely chopped 
  • Spoon Hummus into shallow bowls, leaving a slight hollow in the center
  • Warm the sliced lamb belly
  • Place into a bowl
  • Add the parsley mint gremolata, pine nuts, crispy onions, some fresh parsley leaves and gently mix before spooning into the center of the hummus.
  • Drizzle with olive oil before serving with grilled bread, drizzled with olive oil and rubbed with a clove of garlic.


Pan seared Artic Char

Poached Asparagus, Crushed Peas, Salsa Verde

Yield : 10 
10             5 oz filet skinless arctic char
70 piece    medium asparagus spears
Pea shoots
Wood Sorrel
Salsa verde 
12oz    Peas, blanched , fresh/frozen is fine
3oz      Olive Oil
2/3 oz  Dill
2/3oz   Mint
2/3oz   Marjoram
Lemon Juice
pinch   Salt
pinch   Sugar
pinch   Cayenne Pepper 
Salsda Verde
1          Garlic cloves
5g        Capers
10g      Gherkins-small
3          Anchovy Fillets
30g      Flat Leaf Parsley
20g      Basil
20g      Mint
1Tsp    Dijon Mustard
3Tsp    Red Wine Vinegar
8T        Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ t       Salt
¼ t       Black Pepper -ground
Salsa Verde
  1. Finely chop the garlic,capers,gherkins,anchovies,and herbs, place in a  bowl
  2. Add the mustard and vinegar, slowly stir in olive oil to achieve the right consistency
  3. Balance the flavors with salt and pepper and if needed more vinegar
Crushed peas
1.Finely chop the herbs, use a sharp knife
2.Place all ingredients into a robo coupe,coarsly crush the peas and herbs
If the vegetables are not blended finely then the right flavours and texture cannot be obtained. All vegetables to be used, must be ripe
Herat pice of butter in none stick pan
Add chard, lightly brown one side
Season with salt and pepper and lemon juice.
Poach asparagus in a little butter and water with salt.
Warm pea puree, add some lemon juice to taste





Never Mind the Politics: High-Tech Art, Egyptian Cats and ‘Doffles’ in the New D.C.

Share Button
ARTECHOUSE image by Hasnain Bhatti


As we approach the one year anniversary of that fateful day of November 9, 2016, it bears repeating that the post-election hysteria had people threatening to avoid at all costs a D.C. that had a White House occupied by…you-know-who. But seriously, it’s still our capital, kids – and these days a significantly more interesting one at that.

At the first sign of autumn, we rode the (Amtrak) rails down to the majestic Union Station, only to find it was actually still pretty balmy in D.C. – perhaps due to all the hot air being produced in the halls of Congress. But the city has plenty to be excited about: an awesome new concert venue, Anthem, from the 9:30 Club people (upcoming shows include St. Vincent, Morrissey and Erykah Badu); a fascinating new subterranean cultural space, Dupont Underground, in an abandoned trolley station near Dupont Circle; and, what we were especially excited for, the reopening of the Smithsonian’s Freer|Sackler gallery of Asian art.

For three days took in as much food and culture as the physics of time would allow. Here’s what we did.


The Embassy Row Hotel

The name says it: this playfully stylish hotel sits majestically amidst all those grandiose international embassies – though it aesthetically roundly rejects the stuffy pomp of some of the city’s more trad sleeps. Indeed, there’s an adult game room (challenge a politically ideological foe to some fierce foosball or ping pong), a grab-and-go coffee bar, the casual chic Station Kitchen + Cocktails, and easily the city’s grooviest rooftop bar scene, complete with poolside partying. (And yoga/meditation programs for speedy morning recovery.) Rooms have regal blue-and-yellow color schemes and dazzling skyline views. The hotel also hosts silent disco in the bar (full disclosure: as longtime clubbers, we admit to finding this concept a bit awkward), and it was packed out on a recent Saturday night.




It makes sense that technology has enough cultural frisson to now warrant its own dedicated galleries. And the whimsically cool ARTECHOUSE hosts exhibitions that tend to be quite visually striking – but perhaps also remind that tech maybe isn’t quite the same as dada, Abstract Expressionism and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Opening November 10 is Kingdom of Colors, an immersive experience conceived by French filmmaker Thomas Blanchard and artist Oilhack, with a soundtrack by composer Leonardo Villiger.

Freer|Sackler Gallery

As America’s relationship to Asia grows more complex by the hour (including threats of, erm, nuclear conflict), it’s surely advisable to brush up on that continent’s glittering history at the Smithsonian’s newly relaunched and most buzzed about gallery. But seriously, don’t come here with your thinking cap on too tightly – rather, bask in the sheer aesthetic majesty of centuries of Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Himalayan and Islamic art and artifacts. Current exhibitions include Encountering the Buddha: Art + Practice Across Asia, and a little less seriously, Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt. Don’t miss the Peacock Room.



The Phillips Collection

This is one of those sorts of museums we’re particularly fond of, as it’s like visiting the stately home of an exceedingly cultivated art collector friend (one who happens to own Rothkos, de Koonings and van Goghs). The current exhibition, Renoir and Friends: Luncheon of the Boating Party, contextualizes the proto-Impressionist’s most exalted painting in terms of the art, society and fashion of its times.

Blind Whino

We’re not sure if the name is intended to provoke – but the programming certainly does. This radical little community arts center in a now wildly reimagined 1886 Baptist church hosts perception-challenging performances and exhibitions, including the recent female-focused Superfierce. Check the schedule for the latest happenings.



FRESHFARM Dupont Circle Market

Okay, everyone’s got a farmer’s market now. But the Wall Street Journal actually named this one of the best in the country. (And that includes places where there are actual farms, obviously.) It’s also just half a block from the Embassy Row Hotel – so you can stock up on farmstead cheeses, gluten-free pastries, perhaps even a few seafood empanadas, and have a brunch bash back at the hotel’s lobby or game room.

Station Kitchen & Cocktails 

The Embassy Row’s trendy-fun lobby bar and restaurant does a daily special served in a bowl designed by students from the Corcoran School of Art & Design – and a portion of the price is donated to So Others Might Eat. The positive side of global warming? You’ll likely still be able to dine on the hotel’s colorful terrace (with an impressive view of the Indonesian embassy) until at least Christmas.



B Too

We’ve never even attempted to hide our Belgophilia – so this hip Belgian eatery was surely one of our favorite discoveries. And since Brussels is the EU capital, you might just find yourself rubbing shoulders with a visiting Eurocrat or two here. Brunch is a scene for mussels, Green Eggs Belga and, of course, Broodje met Gegrilde Zalm (that’s a roasted salmon sandwich, for those of you who never bothered to learn Flemish). The signature creation is called a Doffle (think: waffle-ized Cronut), which is so decadent it could spark a revolution.


This is different. It’s got the Yosemite Sam name (“Sufferin’…”), and serves down home, though somewhat culinarily elevated Southern cooking from chef Edward Lee…but in the breathtakingly grandiose setting of the landmarked former Equitable Bank – which actually looks sort of like the once home of a baroque-era Austrian nobleman (book a table on the mezzanine for full-effect). The deviled eggs are killer, and the chicken & waffles and fried green tomatoes with cornbread are elegantly presented and every bit as good as they sound. Succotash is also nirvana for whisky aficionados.


Image by Clarence Butts




Epicurean Fall Getaway: Wine, Whiskey and the Good Chocolate Stuff in Loudoun County

Share Button


Sunset Hills Vineyard


The lure of autumn weekends in New England has, let’s face it, been dampened by a climate change reality that finds the thermometer hitting 92 degrees in mid-October. So as the cooler temps at last began to register, we decided to forego the foliage, and instead headed south to Northern Virginia – Loudoun County to be specific – to investigate an artisanal tippling culture that has started to generate a palpable buzz.

What we found was a laid back sophistication, with just the right dose of southern charm, plenty of breathtaking scenery…and yet just a short zip from all that D.C. culture and urbanity. It’s also one of the wealthiest counties in America – so, as happens, there’s a serious equestrian scene.

Here’s how to do Loudoun County right.


Lansdowne Resort and Spa

A sprawling estate of greenery and serenity, occupying 476-acres along the majestic Potomac River in Leesburg…and it’s very much focused on the restoration of one’s health. The spa offers signature wine facials and wine wraps, Aromasoul ritual scrubs and River Rock stone massages; there’s also yoga, guided meditation, zumba and PIYO, a TRX Suspension Trainer, and an indoor heated pool. Amateur melittologists and horticulturalists will want to check out the onsite beekeeping program and commune with the herb garden that feeds into Lansdowne’s kitchens. Seriously, you could really just luxuriously lose yourself in this place for a few days – but make sure to take them up on their custom hiking and biking excursions, so as not to miss out on the beauty of the surrounding nature.



Loudoun County Wine Country

There are actually more than 40 vineyards now scattered around Loudoun County; and from Food + Wine to The Washington Post to Wine Spectator, many of them are starting to win raves. Our fave was the rustic-yet-modern Sunset Hills Vineyard, where the main tasting room is housed in a 150-year-old Amish barn, beautifully restored; there’s also a stunning terrace overlooking the vineyard. The winery itself is powered by a couple of hundred solar panels. Highly recommended are their Viognier, Cab Franc and Rosé.
Other top Loudon County wineries: Stone Tower Winery in Leesburg, for its small planting wines like Rousanne, Nebbiolo and Pinot Noir; Purcellville’s rustic Otium Cellars, with striking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains (try their Blaufränkisch); and the opulent Creek’s Edge in Lovettsville, for its Viognier aged in acacia wood.

Vanish Farmwoods Brewery

It’s true, even in Virginia, this small brewery comes off pretty hipstery. But they offer 20 excellent beers in a stylish, rustic-industrial taproom (and terrace), on the 53-acre Black Hops Farm. Ask for a flight of four, and make sure it includes the Ghost Fleet IPA, the Wraith witbier, and their exceedingly flavorful milk stout. On weekends there are decadent barbecues, and every other week they host Sunday Morning Yoga (with beer, of course). Weekdays, pick up tasty sandwiches, salads or box lunches from Leesburg’s South Street Under before heading to Vanish.



The Horse in Ancient Greek Art

A can’t-miss for the equestrian-inclined is the National Sporting Library & Museum in Middleburg. And this fascinating exhibition explores the role of the horse in Ancient Greek society and mythology, through an impressive collection of art and pottery.

Lansdowne Smartphone and Winter Wildlife Photography Classes

Face it, you’re always snapping away on your smartphone camera without really putting all that much thought into it. So book a session with Lansdowne’s resident photographer Gregg Stuessi, who will guide you around the ethereal grounds to learn some incredibly insightful techniques, those that will make your Instagram page seriously pop; add another class specifically for winter wildlife shots. Share the results at #LansdowneLife.



Coton & Rye

The Lansdowne is a particularly epicurean destination, as well – with half-a-dozen options for sating your autumn appetite. Absolutely do book a table at their signature restaurant, Coton & Rye, where the name hints at its culinary pièce de résistance. Indeed, its great point of pride is a namesake private label rye whiskey, created in partnership with the nearby Catocin Creek Distilling. Start with their signature Cherry Blossom Julep, which is made with that same rye, or The Boulevardier cocktail, with rye, aperol and sweet vermouth. German chef Marcus Repp’s menu takes in the best of local ingredients: Chesapeake blue crab dip, Tidewater seafood chowder, roasted rockfish, heritage pork chop with Virginia mustard crust…even the, um, Swiss cheese is sourced from the Old Dominion State.



Lansdowne Cooking Classes

Every Saturday afternoon guests and locals gather with members of the Lansdowne culinary team to learn how to better incorporate real (as opposed to the marketing-speak) farm-to-table ethos into their own cooking. And, of course, to eat the finished product.

The Conche

Located nearby in downtown Leesburg, this chic restaurant is built around its Chocolate Lab (get it?), which influences much of what celeb chef Santosh Tiptur presents on your plate. To wit, mac & cheese with chocolate covered applewood smoked bacon; New York strip with Burgundy chocolate reduction; deviled eggs with cacao nibs. Dessert is obviously insanely decadent, from the Guanaja sour cream chocolate cake, to the Manjari Madagascar chocolate mousse, to an artisanal chocolate platter that might just change your life. There are also cocktails made with chocolate bitters, and signature spiked Tipsy Coco drinks. For full immersion, book a chocolate making class.
Other Loudoun destination restaurants: Mokomandy, for contemporary Cajun-Korean fusion; The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm, which serves on-site-sourced organic dishes in a beautiful greenhouse setting; and Hunter’s Head Tavern, an authentic English pub in an 18th Century heritage building, with a menu of Certified Humane, sustainable Anglo and American comfort food.

The Conche

The Oscar Wilde Bar’s Discerning, Eurotastic Whisky-Sipping Guide

Share Button


Much as we love Camus and Baudelaire, one imagines if there were bars named for them, they might not be all that much fun. But NYC’s glorious new Oscar Wilde Bar is precisely as brilliant as a you’d expect a bar named for the legendary Irish wit to be.

But, cultivated tipplers that we are, we were especially thrilled to discover that it wasn’t all Jameson and Tullamore when it comes to their whisk(e)y selection. Indeed, esteemed Beverage Director Denise Prykanowski has stocked the place with the very best of the brown spirit, from countries you’d never actually expect it come from. After all, have you ever bellied up and asked, “Could I get a whisky rocks? And make it Austrian?”

Intrigued, we spent an evening there taking something of an EU tour by way of whisky (with one quick diversion to Taiwan.) And Oscar Wilde’s head bartender just happens to be one of our fave Downtown nightlife impresarios, one Johnny Swet – who threw in a couple of his best whisky cocktail creations for good measure.

And so here are Prykanowski’s top whiskey/whisky picks (along with her rather rapturous descriptions), and the recipes for Johnny’s Whisky Nowadays and Smoked Old Fashioned cocktails.


The Belgian Owl Single Malt, Belgium

Produced from all local ingredients in Hesbaye, Belguim, the whisky is distilled in copper pots from spring barley and aged for three years in American Oak (ex bourbon casks) from one distillery. A lighter, younger style of whisky that is approachable for the first time drinker or easy to sip all night long. Delicate and fresh with notes of ripe pear, apples, lemon, cocoa cream, and hints of vanilla on the nose and palate.


Navazos-Palazzi Grain Whisky, Andalucia, Spain

Produced from 100% Spanish corn and finished in fresh Valdespino Palo Cortado casks. A savory style of whisky with prominent sherry notes that give it flavors grounded in roasted nuts, dried fruit, toffee spices and a touch of salt. Perfect for sherry lovers.

Reisetbauer 12-Year Limited Edition Whisky, Austria

Hans Reisetbaur is well known for his eau-du-vies and he uses a farm-to-bottle approach for the production of this whisky. The barley is grown on his farm, malted, twice-distilled in traditional copper pots and finished in trockenbeernaulese barrels (Trockenberrnaulese is a sweet wine made from grapes affected by Noble Rot). The whisky is elegant and complex, opening up with red apples, cherries, mocha and fine herbs, with a slight sweetness on the finish from the barrels.



Penderyn Single Malt Welsh Whisky, Wales

Part of the Gold Collection from Penderyn, this medium-bodied whisky is produced from barley and distilled in a unique Faraday copper still, then finished in Madeira casks. Pale gold in color, it opens up with tropical fruit, hazelnuts, lemon peel with light baking spices and raisins on the finish. The higher proof gives the whisky a little edge and balance on the palate.

Kavalan Whisky Sherry Cask, Taiwan

A sweeter and fruitier style of whisky made from 100% malted barley, distilled in pot stills and finished in sherry casks. The tropical climate gives the whisky a deeper, richer flavors of dark red fruits, chocolate, dates and dried plums with underlying savory notes. A great choice for an after dinner whisky.



Johnny Swet’s Top Whisky Cocktails for the Oscar Wilde Bar

Whisky Nowadays

build in Collins
3 dash angostura
.25 honey syrup
.25 lemon juice
1 Montenegro amaro
1.5 templeton rye
In a tall glass, ice, ginger ale and twist



Smoked Old Fashioned

In a smoked glass,
3 dash orange bitters
0.5 smoked simple syrup
2 Jim Beam bourbon
In a smoked rocks glass, add block ice, lemon twist


BlackBook Exclusive: Heavenly Lasagna (For Two) Recipe From NYC’s New ‘Don Angie’ Restaurant

Share Button


Image by Ashley Sears


They’re the hottest young Italian-America chefs, if you’re judging by the buzz. But Angie Rito and Scott Tacinelli are anything but traditional. It’s well known by now, that their Quality Italian chicken parm pizza gave them instant Instagram street cred, and inspired copycats across the country.

Now, with the opening of their new Don Angie in the West Village, the husband and wife “power” couple are proving once again they are not afraid to shake up the old school. The airy and popular corner spot is allowing their inspiration to shine, on a neighborhood that certainly loves creative, intimate restaurants.

Angie recalls, “Last fall we did a pasta Omakase pop-up that was right below our apartment and [made a dish] using Japanese ingredients.” And the buffalo milk caramelle pasta at Don Angie is a riff on that dish: a traditional ricotta filled pasta dough, tie-dyed with sesame paste ribbons and egg-yolk pasta. Dotted with a house made persimmon jam and purple basil, it’s easily one of the most original Italian dishes in a very Italian NYC.


Scott Tacinelli & Angie Rito, by Nicole Franzen


“We sort of take it in a different direction,” she says. “The West Village is pretty saturated with traditional Italian, so we try to make food that’s delicious and interesting. If we find an ingredient that we really like, we’ll make it work.”

Even Chinese? Yep. The Caesar salad is done up with chrysanthemum greens.

What’s next? “A play on a tortoni,” Angie reveals, “an ice cream dessert, where the chefs will fold in cookies from the family owned bakery in Cleveland.”

Like all true Italians, Don Angie’s loves family style dishes, and, like all great Italian cooks, were happy to share their delectable “Lasagna For Two” recipe with BlackBook.


Don Angie’s Lasagna For Two

For the Pasta

1 C plus 2 tablespoons “00” flour
7 tablespoons durum flour
8 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
Mix dough in a food processor until it comes together into a ball. Wrap with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes. Roll dough into large square sheets with a pasta roller to desired thickness. Cook pasta sheets in salted, boiling water, submerging in the water for one minute then immediately placing into an ice bath. Remove from ice bath and set aside to cool.

For the Besciamella

1# unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 pint “00” flour
2 quarts cold whole milk
2 shallots, sliced
2 pieces bay leaf
4 sprigs thyme
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed pot. Add shallots, bay, thyme and peppercorns. Cook over low heat until shallots are translucent. Add flour and stir well. Cook over medium heat for five minutes, stirring constantly. Add milk and stir. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Season with salt to taste. Remove from heat and strain through chinois. Place in refrigerator to cool.

For the Bolognese

1# sweet Italian sausage
1/4# pancetta, ground or processed in food processor
1# ground veal
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 C tomato paste
1 C white wine
1-pint whole milk
2 pieces star anise
2 Spanish onions, chopped coarsely
4 cloves garlic
5 ribs of celery, chopped coarsely
2 carrots, peeled and chopped coarsely
2 small cans San Marzano DOP Tomatoes, processed in food processor
Process onions, garlic, celery and carrots together in a food processor. Set aside. Sear sausages and veal in olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over high heat. Remove from pot and set aside. Add pancetta to the pot and cook over medium heat until crispy. Add processed vegetables and cook over medium heat until soft. Add tomato paste and stir. Cook for five minutes. Add wine and allow to cook until fully evaporated. Add veal and sausage back into the pot. Add milk and San Marzano tomatoes. Stir well and cook over low-medium heat for two hours. Season with salt to taste. Remove from heat and place in refrigerator to cool.

For the Tomato Sauce

2 cans San Marzano DOP tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 sprigs basil
4 tablespoons olive oil
Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot. Add garlic and cook over low heat until soft. Add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Immediately remove from heat and add basil. Season with salt to taste. Place in refrigerator to cool.

To Assemble the Lasagna

Cooked Pasta Sheets
Tomato Sauce
Mozzarella, shredded
Parmesan, grated
Lay out a pasta sheet on a clean countertop. Spread a thin layer of béchamel evenly across the pasta sheet. Place another sheet of pasta on top of the béchamel. Sprinkle with parmesan and mozzarella. Spread a layer of bolognese evenly across the second pasta sheet. Roll the layered pasta into a log. Place in refrigerator to cool.
When cool, slice the lasagna log into pinwheels. Remove garlic and basil from the tomato sauce. Ladle the sauce into a casserole dish to cover the entire bottom of the dish. Lay lasagna pinwheels into the casserole until the dish is full. Bake in a 400-degree oven until pasta edges are golden brown. Serve.