Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Murray’s Sturgeon Shop

My favorite – the classic lox and cream cheese on a bagel.

 

Murray's Sturgeon Shop

Murray's Sturgeon Shop

Murray’s Sturgeon Shop

I consider myself lucky to live just around the corner from Murray’s. I don’t even have to cross a street to get there. Murray’s Sturgeon Shop has been located at 2429 Broadway since 1946 and although the shop is small and unassuming, it’s famous throughout the City. They deal in specialty foods from egg salad & spinach sandwiches to Bulgerian Osetra caviar ($189.00 per ounce).

Murray's Sturgeon Shop

Murray's Sturgeon Shop

Murray's Sturgeon ShopMurray's Sturgeon Shop

 

Murray's Sturgeon Shop

Murray's Sturgeon Shop

Murray's Sturgeon Shop


 

Gladiator Diet

Pollice Verso (With a Turned Thumb) by Jean Leon Gerome, 1872

 

Gladiator Diet

I guess everyone has heard of the Paleo Diet – that’s what people ate 10,000 years ago. It’s basically meat, nuts, fruit and vegetables. There’s something a little more current, well, from about 2,000 years ago, the Gladiator Diet. It’s what Roman gladiators ate to stay in fighting condition. And surprisingly, it was almost a completely vegetarian diet.

Gladiator Diet

Barley Gruel


Gladiator Diet

Oat and Seed Cakes


No meat and potatoes for these guys. They ate mostly barley, beans and some pasta too, often flavored with fish sauce, trying to put on enough weight to cushion those sword and spear wounds in the arena. That wasn’t enough to strengthen their bones so they drank a sort of “sports drink,” a mix of wood and bone ash to build up calcium. They also drank goats milk and water but no wine. This combination of food and drink made them fit and tough.

String Beans a la Gladiator   (based on what we know they ate and what was commonly available in Rome back then)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. string beans
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2  chopped onion
  • 4 tbsp gaurm*

*The Romans used a fish sauce called garum. The modern equivalent is colatura di alici.

Preparation:

Boil the string beans for 5 minutes. In another pot sauté the onion in oil until soft, translucent and just beginning to brown. Add the drained, cooked string beans to the onions, add the colatura di alici and about 1/2 cup of the water you boiled the string beans in. Taste for seasoning. Colatura di Alici can be very salty and you may not need any more salt. Simmer for a few minutes and serve.

String Beans a la Gladiator


Some more information on the Gladiator Diet here –

BBC

Archaeology

Science Daily


Gladiator Diet

Definitely not part of the Gladiator Diet


Click here for updated GALLERY II

Writing Site  and  Yelp 

Shakshuska

Shakshuska

I’ve heard it’s North African, or Middle-Eastern and it’s definitely very popular in Israel. Whatever it is, it’s a hearty breakfast, lunch or dinner. The first time I had shakshuska was in an Israeli run diner in Rockaway. I asked the waitress what it was and the way she described it sold me. It was served in a small cast iron pan right from the stove. You can’t get just anywhere so I started making it myself. This is similar to Eggs in Purgatory.

Shakshuska

Shakshuska

Start by frying the onion, red pepper, and chili in olive oil. Cook until edges start to turn brown. Pay attention and don’t let it burn.

Shakshuska

Add garlic and cook for about a minute. Mix in the paprika and cumin and add the tomatoes. Simmer for about 10 minutes, check for seasoning and add the parsley.

Shakshuska

Shakshuska

The sauce should be thick enough to make five indentations in it using a spoon. Break an egg into each one. Cover and reduce the heat and cook it until egg are done.


Click here for updated GALLERY II

Writing Site  and  Yelp

Del Re’s Grinding

Del Re’s Grinding

If you cook, you know how important sharp knives are. They just seem to glide through whatever you’re cutting and make everything easier. You can sharpen them yourself using different types of sharpening stones or you can have them done professionally. I’m lucky enough to be within walking distance of Del Re’s Grinding – at least every Saturday from 2 to 6 pm. That’s when he parks his van in front of Zabar’san Upper West Side specialty food store on Broadway near 80th Street. There’s usually a line and no matter how long the line is, Mr. Del Re doesn’t rush. He’s a true craftsman and he does a thorough job.

Del Re's Grinding

The images on his truck show all of the things he can sharpen although I don’t think many people in Manhattan have lawn mowers and hedge shears.

Del Re's Grinding

He parks along side of restaurants and rings the bell above his windshield to let them know he’s there.

Del Re's Grinding

 . . . a true craftsman and he does a thorough job . . .


Dunking

Dunking

Everybody does it. Some out in the open and others in private. It may seem a little sloppy but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it.


I was with a friend and his 7 year old daughter. She asked us what  our favorite things to dunk were. Her father liked Oreos and milk and my favorite was donuts and coffee. Hers was pretzel sticks and Pepsi. An interesting variety and all valid dunking combinations.

dunking

dunking

dunking

And it doesn’t end there. British people like to dunk biscuits (that’s what they call cookies) in tea.

dunking

Lots of people who wouldn’t dream of dunking anything in tea or coffee think nothing of dunking bread in soup.

dunking

And it’s considered pretty classy in some restaurants to dip (they don’t call it dunk) biscotti in Vin Santo for dessert.

dunking

There was recently an article in the Sunday Times Magazine that dealt with this issue. It featured bread in wine and cake in orange soda –

dunking

One last combination – Reginas dunked in espresso, a perfect Italian breakfast.

dunking


Writing Site  and  Yelp

Napkins

Napkins

Napkins
Napkins
We take them for granted. Sometimes paper, sometimes cloth, we use them and forget about them. But like many other thing we take for granted, they have a history, and they weren’t always paper and cloth.

Napkins

Napkins
There’re lot’s of different ways to fold them. I’ll leave it to Martha Stewart.

Napkins

Napkins
I never thought that a napkin ring could be much of a problem. It was solved by Popular Mechanics.

Napkins

Puerto Rico Relief

Puerto Rico Relief
I’ve had some terrific vacations in Puerto Rico – friendly people, great food, beautiful scenery and beaches, and all that without leaving the USA.
We all know about the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. If you’d like to help, here are some links that will send you in the right direction:

Cheeseburger

Cheeseburger
I never gave much thought to the cheeseburger’s history. I always assumed that they’d been around forever. But they haven’t.
Here’s a New York Times article from 1947 when cheeseburgers were considered something new and exotic. The author says the beef and cheese combination “may seem bizarre.” I wonder what she would have thought of bacon. She includes a recipe too, for some very small burgers.
cheeseburger

cheeseburger

cheeseburger


cheeseburger

The New York City Bodega

The New York City Bodega
In Spanish, bodega can mean food warehouse, wine cellar or grocery store. In New York City, a bodega is a Latino run grocery/convenience store/neighborhood meeting place. (Maybe not exclusively Latino run anymore, sometimes Middle-Eastern now.) Even Taylor Swift weighed in on them – see below.
Beyond those red on yellow signs, besides groceries, you can get cigarettes, coffee, beer, sandwiches, local news, productos tropicales, and sometimes, nutcracker and a loose joint.
Lately, The New York City Bodega has become news. Some West Coast techies think they have a better idea. There  was a recent NY Daily News article by the president of the Bodega Assn, of the United States dealing with them:

New York City Bodega

New York City Bodega

New York City Bodega


As New York’s Welcome Ambassador (?), Taylor Swift told the world about our bodegas.


Here’s another article on the same topic:

New York YIMBY – Why Bodegas Are Crucial To The Continued Success of New York City Real EstateNew York City Bodega