Tag Archives: Lamb

Spicy and Tingly Lamb Face Salad

October on Bayard Street tastes sharp like radish and blue zinc; Chinese mothers carrying cucumbers and mackerel quicken their step, bundled in black cloaks against the cold; schoolboys slurp hot and milky tea in Taiwanese snack shops; the rare tourist pauses and studies his subway map in confusion, for he has wandered far from Canal Street and needs a woman, clutched like a chicken foot, to guide him West. Against the current of the crowd sweeping over the sidewalk, flowing between lampposts and parked bicycles, pushing from Mott to Mulberry, head buried and burrowing on, a fruit stand is set. Its lights shine on tangerines and the season’s last grapes, shrunken and timid and priceless. Swimming against the mob I grab a jackfruit for dear life and poke my head above water, breathing in the light before surrendering myself to another block before dinner.

Inside Xi’an Famous Foods, I ordered spicy and tingly lamb face salad at the cash register. The morning had been a matter of anticipation, the afternoon an exercise in agonizing delay. Lunch: peanut butter and jelly on English muffins. Milquetoast fare for cubicle living. At long last, I had found the center of my office maze and escaped the gray and white and leapt free from plate glass up, out, over Midtown, across Hell’s Kitchen (sneaking peeks into ramen noodle houses and peep shows), down the West Side Highway and East, due East, into Chinatown. After changing my twenty and taking a seat, I listened to the call, “28, order 28,” and then “29,” and then, mercifully passing over the next number, “31, lamb face salad.”

I am watching Anthony Bourdain eat off my plate, fending off his pernicious fingers with a pair of chopsticks. Continue reading

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Filed under Columbia University, Dining Suggestions, New York City, Restaurants, Theory and Criticism

College Dorm-Proof Lamb Chili

For my first meal in my new kitchen, I wanted to cook chili, a dish easily prepared in the space of a Lazy Sunday afternoon. Shopping at Fairway, a labyrinthine and beautiful grocery store at 132nd Street, I spied ground lamb. Although Serious Eats offers an excessively complex—almost self-parodically so—beef chili recipe, I prefer a simpler scoop of beans and meat. My dorm kitchen, shared with six suite mates, is a claustrophobe’s nightmare. There’s no room for voluminous ingredient lists, let alone a host of tabletop appliances set aside for processing coffee beans and esoteric spices. Fortunately, great tasting chili is, for me, a matter of imprecision, intuition, improvisation, and an ex-mad scientist’s soul, one turned away from Enlightenment rationalism and embracing of melodramatics.  Continue reading


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Lamb Hash

After I watched Smoke Signals for the first time, I sat in the dark and thought about Thomas Builds-the-Fire’s breakfast story:

Hey Victor! I remember the time your father took me to Denny’s, and I had the Grand Slam Breakfast. Two eggs, two pancakes, a glass of milk, and of course my favorite, the bacon. Some days, it’s a good day to die. And some days, it’s a good day to have breakfast. Continue reading

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The Christmas Leg

Have you ever handled a leg—felt the femur’s heft, massaged its sagging muscles, pushed a gentle, probing finger into its ligamental hosiery? Nothing tastes like fresh—really fresh, freshly killed—leg, preferably eaten in December with holiday trimmings. In this Jewish house, St. Nick came in August. Last Tuesday, I dismantled my Christmas lamp with a hacksaw—sliced that leg above the knee and tore the knobbly head off the iliofemoral ligament. After wiping down the attic dust and spending a suitable time admiring its injection-molded geometry, I rubbed on brown sugar, salt, mustard, and black pepper. It rested in the refrigerator while I played “In Your Own Sweet Way,” missing more than a few notes. Ever since I broke my wrist and three fingers, my left hand hasn’t worked properly. I know the score and, with a mighty will, urge the numb thumb to slip under that tedious middle finger. Despite my constant efforts, I always stumble through the colonies of notes swarming around the bass stave. Such huge chords frustrate average hands, let alone my deformed left. While my Christmas leg marinated and developed a double deckle crust, I flopped my hands against the score, and then, when I felt suitably tired from the pointless effort, built a hickory fire in the smoker.

I decided to bring down my Christmas lamp from the attic and cook it, because my wife finally died and I saw no reason to maintain an unhealthy attachment. She gave it to me for our first anniversary. Although I grew up excessively Jewish, we decided to raise the kids—since in these relationships, some unknown quantity of “kids” invariably dwells just over next year’s horizon line—atheist. During the holidays, we would celebrate Christmas, the most atheistic option. At the time—we were both in our late twenties and ready to buy this home (and its half-acre backyard)—we gave up our once fervid revolutionary aspirations and consigned those Marxist sentiments to momentary ironies and behind-the-back sniggers. By celebrating Christmas, we could give our “kids” a normal holiday season and still gift the corporate warlords with an ironic middle finger salute. For the anniversary of our first Christmas, she gave me a studio replica of the leg lamp. You know, the fishnetted woman’s leg fashioned into a light fixture that Ralphie’s dad treasures in A Christmas Story. I loved A Christmas Story and fantasized about Ralphie’s life after Christmas. When my wife left, I put the lamp in the attic and didn’t look at it until she died. Continue reading

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Spring Snow: Lamb, Beans, Carrots

Wet snow falls violently, tumbling onto sprouting bulbs and buds with indifference. Cruel and beautiful, spring snow masks a growing world in white quietude, paralyzing birth in mid-motion. Like a forbidden love that arrests youth in its flower, snow in March is a melodrama of the unreclaimable—the season that has passed beyond recollection.

On Monday, such a snow blanketed St. Louis, surprising early risers who wandered out for the morning paper and came back inside with soaked slippers. For dinner, we had planned a spring meal: lamb chops, lima beans, and carrots. Set against such a provocative backdrop, the meal prophesied a season still buried beneath an unforgiving edifice of ice.

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Parking the Only Downside to Parc Restaurant

Erica C., University of Delaware

With Philadelphia only 45 minutes away, it has always shocked me how little I hear of students driving in for a meal. It seems as though going out to eat in Philly has become a special occasion retreat for University of Delaware students, and special occasions only. I must admit that I fall into this trap as well, only taking the trip only a few times a semester. Finally though, I have found a reason to keep going back- Parc Restaurant. This Valentines Day, the meal I enjoyed there on Rittenhouse Square may just push me to change my attitude and stop by more often. Continue reading

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Lavender Rubbed Lamb, Apricot-Walnut Relish, Fingerling Potatoes with Pork Jowl

Snipping lavender buds in my herb garden, I felt a bit girly; after all, lavender provides the floral, soapy scent so familiar in bath products and stinky potpourri. Although preparing dinner would involve searing off a hulking two pound lamb loin, I needed to get in touch with my dormant femininity to survive this obnoxiously perfumed task. In full disclosure, I actually enjoy the taste of lavender and cultivate seven varieties at home including English, French, and Munstead; I designed my recipe for lavender rubbed lamb to emphasize the herb’s resinous qualities.

While lavender tends to dominate and overpower subtle accompaniments, a rub made from salt, pepper, cumin, and chopped buds would infuse the meat with a fragrant, herbaceous savor. Furthermore, lamb loin’s intensely gamey and honeyed fat requires a powerful, piney resonance on the palate. Lavender’s flower buds usually contain the highest concentrations of essential oils, so I clipped only the most fruitful plants. During July evenings that meld seamlessly into thunderstorming nights, these lavender bushes host swarms of frantic bees. The chorus of sweet scent and melodius insects frames a dramatically beautiful suburban landscape. Continue reading

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