The Churchill Tavern

The Churchill Tavern
We had a great lunch last Sunday at the Churchill Tavern. They served their traditional Sunday Roast – a choice of roast beef, lamb, pork or chicken with a bunch of sides – and regular menu of English favorites.
Full menu here

They have a wide beer and cider selection on tap and in cans and bottles, including many English brands. There’s a nice selection of Single Malt Scotch too.
If you’re in New York and want good English food and ambiance  you should try the Churchill Tavern.

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Neopolitan Meatballs

 

Neapolitan Meatballs – (Polpette Alla Napolitana)

This is an old-fashioned recipe. You can leave out the pinoles and currants but if you use them it makes these polpettes special.
Polpette Alla Napolitana
Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup dried currants (soaked)
  • A small loaf of day-old Italian bread with the crust removed
  • Some milk to wet the bread
  • About 1 lb. of ground beef chuck
  • A handful of chopped parsley
  • 1 finely chopped garlic clove
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiana cheese
  • 1/3  cup pinoles (pine nuts)
  • Olive oil for frying
Soak the currants in a little warm water. Soak the bread in the milk. Squeeze out the excess milk, break it apart and put it in a bowl with the beef, parsley and garlic.

Polpette Alla Napolitana

Mix it well and add salt and pepper, the egg, cheese, the pinoles and drained currents.  Mix this thoroughly with your hands.

Polpette Alla Napolitana

Shape the mix into small balls (I use an ice cream scoop to get them the same size) and let them rest for 15 – 20 minutes and then fry in a good amount of olive oil over medium heat in a heavy pan.

Polpette Alla Napolitana

Keep rolling them to brown on all sides. Drain and serve with tomato sauce. They’re very good plain too.

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Eating in Little Italy

Where to Actually Eat Well in NYC’s Little Italy

I came across an interesting article in Eater New York. It’s a list and description of the best places to eat in New York’s Little Italy.

Here’s Eater’s list –

You can find the complete article here.

If you’re in NYC, you might find this list useful, and I’ll help with my opinion on the places that I’m familiar with.
I’ll start with their No. 1 – Emilio’s Ballato. I agree that it should be No. 1. It’s my favorite Italian restaurant in Little Italy. Not only that, it’s located in the building that I grew up in -55 E. Houston St. I remember the original Mr. Ballato and Emilio has continued his high-quality cooking tradition.
After that, I’d rate Il Cortille and Forlini’s as the same quality. They’re both excellent and stand out from the  mediocre red sauce restaurants in the area.
For pizza Lombardi’s is the best. They brought Napolitano  pizza to New York when they opened on Spring Street in 1905.
Umberto’s Clam House is pretty good and famous for that Joe Gallo incident but they should have also included Vincent’s, on the corner of Mott and Hester Street. It’s been around for a long time and was always one of my favorites.
Di Paolo’s is a first rate food store on Mott and Grand Street. I’m surprised the equally good Alleva on the then same block wasn’t also on the list. It was my mother’s go-to Latticini e Salumi.
Their only pick that I take issue with is Ferrara’s. It used to be good but not anymore. Instead of trying to educate their non-Italian customer on what good Italian pastry is all about, they dumbed-down their menu and quality. There are much more authentic patisseries in the area. My choices are Caffé Roma – 176 Mulberry St, Caffé Palermo – 148 Mulberry St. and La Bella Ferrara – 108 Mulberry St.

Caffe Roma

Caffe Palermo

La Bella Ferrara


The restaurants on the list that I didn’t mention are new to the neighborhood. Maybe you should give them a try and let me know what you think.

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Peugeot

Peugeot

When you hear the name “Peugeot,” cars come to mind. But what a lot of people know them for are high-quality pepper mills. We’ve had 2 of them for a very long time. They’re reliable and make a precise grind. Peugeot didn’t start out a s a car manufacturing company.  There was a recent article in FOOD 52 about Peugeot and their exceptional pepper mill.

3 Little-Known Facts About Peugeot & Their Iconic Pepper Mills

by: Amanda Sims

“It hardly matters what’s being served (simply dressed greens, strawberries and cold whipping cream, cardboard)—top a plate or bowl with freshly cracked black pepper from a proper grinder and it will take on an air of sophistication. Become something to sit down to. Wine might appear on cue. . . “

The complete article here


Our 2 Peugeots – old but still going strong.

Our 2 Peugeots - painted red and green to decorate the table one Christmas.

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Birds Eye Chilis

Bird’s Eye Chilis

If you’ve been following my blog you know that I like spicy dishes. I’ve posted a few simple recipes for hot pepper infusions and sauces and here’s another one. This calls for Bird’s Eye Chilis. You can usually get them in Chinese markets. There’re about an inch long and look like little red fire crackers. They’re small but have big heat, somewhere between Jalapenos and Habenaros.

There’re not always available but last winter I came across some in a Manhattan Chinatown sidewalk stand. I asked if they were “Hot,” and the merchant said I should taste one. I did and although it was 22 degrees my face started sweating. They were hot.

I found some in Italy that were the same as the ones I get in Chinatown. I was surprised to see them there since they were typically Asian but they were the same. Different food cultures sometimes come together.

The infusion is simple. Get a handful of peppers, about 20-25. Cut off the stems and tips so the interior of the pepper is accessible to the olive oil. Put them in a liter bottle and fill it with oil.  It doesn’t have to be EVOO.

Give it about a week for the oil to pick up the flavor and get a reddish tint. You can use the oil for frying and it’s also very good for drizzling on a sandwich, or pasta or any dish you’d like to give a little kick.
The best part is when the bottle of oil and peppers is just about empty, shake out the remaining peppers and oil into a frying pan and scramble some eggs with it – excellent!

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Starbucks in Italy

Starbucks in Italy

I’ve had espresso from vending machines in Italy that was better than any coffee I ever had at Starbucks. Now they intend to open a branch in Milan.
Here’s an excerpt from an article in L’Italo Americano that deals with the issue.

Does Italy Really Need Starbucks?

By francesca bezzone

” . . . there’s little doubt that Italian coffee remains the best in the world: it’s a typical case of “why should you change or improve something that’s already perfect?” Italian coffee is not a matter of variety, but of extremely high quality: from the selection of the coffee, to the way it’s toasted and brewed, every drop of caffé has to be absolutely perfect. And whoever had coffee in Italy knows it pretty much always is.”

Read the whole article HERE

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Negronis

Negronis

Classic Negroni
Ingredients:
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 1 oz. gin
Pour all 3 ingredients over ice in a rocks glass and garnish with an orange wheel.

Spagliato Negroni
A relation of the negroni. Spagliato means broken in Italian. This one replaces the gin with Prosecco.
Ingredients
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 3 ozs. Prosecco
Add Campari and vermouth over ice in a flute. Stir and top with Prosecco and garnish with an orange twist.

The Old Pal Negroni Cocktail
This is a whiskey version. You can use Bourbon, Canadian or rye.
Ingredients:
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 1 14 oz. whiskey
  • 1 oz. Dry vermouth
Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir and strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with an orange twist.

Each different but they all have Campari in common. Campari has been around for a long time. Gaspare Campari founded the company in 1860.  The basic Campari aperitif is simply Campari and soda with a lemon twist – simple and perfect. Throughout the years Campari has been noted for the beautiful graphics used in it’s advertisements. Here are a few – 

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Ceramic Fruit

They might look good enough to eat but don’t try it. They’re ceramic. Kaori Kurihara’s creations look like familiar fruit but are fantasies.

Article and photos at COLOSSAL

I take inspiration from the plant world with particular attention to forms and their geometric repetition. Every element of nature seems to repeat itself, but in fact there is an infinite variety of it. Then, I have the deep desire to make concrete the fruits represented in my mind and to be able to contemplate them through my own eyes. It is in this idea that I try to create pieces that are both realistic and dreamlike. – Kaori Kurihara

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French 75

French 75

We call it a French 75. In France it’s simply Soixante-Quinze. It was invented at the New York Bar in Paris in 1915 and named after a World War One,  75 millimeter artillery piece. It’s a lot like a Tom Collins – lemon, sugar, and gin – but with Champagne in place of club soda. It isn’t very strong so it makes a good morning drink, like a Mimosa.
Ingredients:
  • 1 oz. gin
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 2 dashes simple syrup
  • 2- 3 oz. Champagne
Combine all of the ingredients except the Champagne in a shaker filed with ice. Shake and pour into an iced champagne flute. Top it up with Champagne. Garnish with a slice of orange.

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