Tag Archives: Italian

Journey to Hoboken

“I’d never expect to meet a writer in Hoboken.”

She’s thin—thin enough to say so—with black hair, 45 years on the face and a toddler. Dames Coffee sells iced mocha chai whatever, enough of an excuse to sip awhile on a 95-degree afternoon. While circumnavigating Hoboken I sweated through my t-shirt twice, but she still bothered to notice: “Will Write For Food”: silkscreened and chipped around the corners. I love that shirt for no decent reason. It provokes awkward compliments wherever I go. On the 2 train to Flatbush, a homeless man with wriggling veiny arms shook my hand and said, “I’m a writer too, great shirt.” The shirt’s simple, banal wit resonates with an original American platitude. We all dream to be something that can’t support our dreaming habit. That’s why so many I-bankers quit Wall Street and start chocolate shops in Bay Ridge.

Frizzled from the heat: “Have you ever heard of The Moth? You should check it out,” my new friend says, explaining NPR’s live storytelling project. I wonder if she ever dreamt of writing; whether she ever realized that being a writer is nothing more than a declaration and a loose commitment. Or, in my case, an old t-shirt. Continue reading

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Filed under New York City

Notes from Night Windows: Ai Fiori

I spent most of my evening at Ai Fiori looking out the window at Burger King.

Ai Fiori is an Italian restaurant on the second floor of the Setai Hotel off Fifth Avenue. Michael White, the chef, hails from Wisconsin and cooks with a Midwestern sensibility: he has a heavy hand with pork fat. New York Post critic Steve Cuozzo called White’s lobster with white wine sauce “the greatest dish in the world.” I did not order it.

Instead, I started with scallops and celery root, seafood and vegetable sliced symmetrically, both nestled in a bone split lengthwise and slathered with melted marrow. After eating half the serving—and finishing my cocktail, a rare treat now that I am legal and ‘ready to party’—I felt full. It would be a long and distended meal, pregnant with butter—my belly swollen, sore and satisfied. Continue reading

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Filed under Columbia University, New York City, Restaurants, Reviews

Seafood Spaghetti

A note I wrote in the back of Yukio Mishima’s The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, detailing a delicious seafood spaghetti I made for dinner Saturday night: Continue reading

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Filed under Recipes

Fusilli with Crab

My ability to cook with a recipe has degenerated. I shy away from unfamiliar techniques and ingredients and avoid my cookbook collection with anxious distrust. As an immediate consequence of this aversion, I constantly cook within my comfort zone. Although my refusal to play by the book also forecloses opportunities for personal growth, I now conceptualize and execute imagined dishes with ease. And, in fact, my first stirrings of imagination emerged from my distaste for written instructions. When leaving unwieldy schematics behind, the mind glimpses a world previously hidden: the potential to create whatever the tongue desires. This potentiality appears as a seething mass of unintelligible stocks and sauces and viands, all whirling in an infinitely deep pool of possibility. Last Thursday, I wanted pasta with crab, a tingling tomato sauce, insalata caprese. So I made it.

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Filed under Recipes, Theory and Criticism

Dinner at Due

Andrew Giambrone and Katie Fein, Yale University

Anybody can cook pasta, but few people can do it as well as my grandmother. Happily, Due (pronounced doo-ay, the Italian word for “two”)—a Northern Italian restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper East Side—may come in a close second. I grabbed dinner with a friend here on a recent rainy evening, and was pleased to discover a cozy dining room that smelled like my grandmother’s kitchen. The restaurant offers an extensive menu of traditional Italian dishes, ranging from antipasti (polenta, eggplant, mozzarella) to insalate (tricolore, bianca) to pasta (gnocchi, fettuccine, linguini) to secondi (pollo, vitello, pesci). While nothing we ordered struck me as innovative in taste or form, the food at Due would appeal to any palate accustomed to simple, home-style recipes. A real gem in a neighborhood of often-overpriced eateries, Due will keep you coming back for more.

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Filed under Andrew G., Katie F., New York City, Restaurants, Reviews