Ruby’s Bar & Grill

Ruby's - old sign
That’s me in white, having a sausage & pepper hero and a beer..

Ruby’s Bar & Grill

Ruby’s has been on the Coney Island boardwalk since 1934.  The boardwalk used to be lined with bars and restaurants like this but Ruby’s is the last man standing. We were worried that when the gentrification of Coney Island started a few years back Ruby’s long run would end but, lucky for us it’s still there and going strong.

They have a full bar with great beer on tap including Ruby’s Amber. Their menu speaks for itself – typical, traditional Coney Island food.

RUBY menu

Ruby's 4Ruby's 3

 

My family’s been regulars at Coney Island for a long time. Here’s a shot of my uncle, aunt and mother in 1932.

Coney Is 1932
Coney Island – 1932

 

Ruby’s Bar & Grill

1213 Riegelmann Boardwalk
Brooklyn, NY 11224
718-975-RUBY (7829)

Ruby Jacobs - circa 1975
Ruby Jacobs – circa 1975

 

Pasta Piselli

Pasta Piselli

Pasta Piselli 

A simple recipe my mother made often as a first dish. Standard home cooking that I’ve never seen on a restaurant menu. Some of the peas nestle into the conchigliette all by themselves – a nice touch.

Ingredients:

  • 7 or 8 peeled, cored & sliced cipollini (or substitute ½ onion, chopped)
  • ½ tspn salt
  • ½ tspn black pepper
  • ¼ tspn red pepper flakes
  • 1 oz prosciutto, (2 or 3 slices cut into 1 inch pieces)
  • 1 tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 14 oz. fresh, frozen or canned small peas
  • 1 lb conchigliette (small shells)

Preparation:

Pasta – Boil water in a 3 quart pot. When the water boils add the pasta and cook until aldente (approximately 7-8 minutes).

Sauce – Sweat the cipollini in oil with salt and black and red pepper in a pot on low to medium heat. Add the prosciutto and fry for a few minutes. Add the tomato and cook until it breaks down, about 8 minutes. Add 1 cup of the pasta water and the peas – fresh or frozen, cook for 5 minutes.

When pasta is cooked, toss with sauce. Add more pasta water to make it wet but not too soupy.

Colatura di Alici

Colatura di Alici

800px-Antonio_Sicurezza_-_Still_life_with_anchovies
Still Life with Anchovies,  Antonio Sicurezza

Lots of people think they don’t like anchovies. Maybe they really don’t, at least not straight from the can or jar. But they are commonly used as a flavoring and the anchovy haters don’t even know it’s there. You can dissolve 2 or 3 in some heated olive oil as the base of a sauce. It’s Italian umami.

Another way to get the flavor of anchovies (alici in Italian) is to use Colatura di Alici. It’s essence of anchovy and made by layering anchovies with sea salt in a barrel and then putting weights on top. After a time a hole is opened on the bottom of the barrel and this liquid is drained and bottled.

You might compare it to Vietnamese Nước mắm pha but it’s more complex than that. It’s  closely related to garum, a fish sauce used by the ancient Greeks and Romans.

A sprinkle of it on some cooked greens or vegetables or a salad adds a bright note. Try a little on Summer Tomato Salad.

How I like it best is as a simple, uncooked pasta sauce.

Spaghetti con Colatura di Alici Spagetti con Colatura di Alici

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz (4 tbsps) Colatura di Alici
  • 4 oz (1/2 cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  •  ½ cup chopped parsley,
  • Crushed red pepper to taste
  • 1 pound spaghetti (no additional salt in pasta water)

Preparation:

While the pasta water is coming to a boil mix all ingredients except spaghetti in a serving dish. When pasta is done, add to serving dish and coat well with the sauce. No cheese on this dish.

If you can’t find Colatura di Alici in stores just Google it – lots of places to get it on line.

The Oyster Bar

The Oyster Bar

The counter at the Oyster Bar
The counter at the Oyster Bar

The Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant is still there and still a great American seafood restaurant. map

When is opened in 1913 on the lower level of Grand Central Terminal Woodrow Wilson was President It’s been around for a while. A beautiful restaurant and historic too, with its Guastavino tile ceiling.

Oyster Menu
Oyster Menu

The menu changes daily depending on what’s fresh and available at the fish market.  Complete Menu

The restaurant is divided into roughly three sections – the main dining room, the bar and the oyster bar and counter. If I’m anywhere near Grand Central at lunch time I can’t resist stopping at the counter for my usual – a beer, a half dozen of something on the half-shell and an old-fashioned oyster pan roast.  If you sit at the counter you can watch the chefs opening the shellfish and making the pan roast – some ingredients; chili sauce, Worcestershire sauce, butter and cream. For dessert, either Key Lime Pie or Cheese Cake.

Shucking Oysters
Shucking Oysters

 

Cherry Stones
Cherrystones

 

Oyster Pan Roast
Oyster Pan Roast

 

Cocktails – Old Style

 


 

Brandy Alexander

BRANDY ALEXANDER

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz Fresh cream
  • 1 oz Cognac
  • 1 oz Crème de cacao

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Sprinkle with fresh ground nutmeg.

There’s a kid’s version that my father used to make for his grand children – use a little more cream, a little less Crème de Cacao and a lot less Cognac.


The following drinks were adapted from a 1932 recipe book called The Art of Mixing by James A. Wiley and Helene M. Griffth.

 

Milk Punch

milk punch 

milk punch

Shake with ice, pour in a rocks glass with no ice and float a tablespoon of dark rum on top.


Jack Rose

jack rose

jack rose xxx

Shake with ice and strain into cocktail glass.


Clover Club

clover club

clover club xxx

Shake and strain into a cocktail glass.


Night Cap

night cap

night cap xxx

Shake thoroughly and strain into cocktail glass.


Elk’s Own Cocktail

elks own

elk

Shake with egg white & a little bit of simple syrup.


Simple Syrup = 1 cup sugar & 1 cup water, heat until sugar dissolves and mixture is clear.

 

 

Fabbrica Restaurant & Bar

Fabbrica Restaurant & Bar

Fabbrica back bar

We were on our way to the Williamsburg Flea Market yesterday when we came across Fabbrica Restaurant & Bar.  We were hungry and it was the first restaurant we came to when we got off the ferry (N. 6th St. and Kent Ave.) It was a fortuitous find, crowded but with room at the bar.

Fabbrica bar

Their menu changes throughout the day – breakfast, brunch, lunch, late-lunch, etc. I was lucky to get there when Purgatorio was on it. That’s not Dante’s poem but eggs cooked in tomato sauce. It was the first time I’d ever seen it in a restaurant. My mother made it as a standard Monday lunch, using left over Sunday gravy. She called it Eggs in Purgatory.

Purgatorio

I looked at the dinner menu and will definitely go back – hearty Italian food, interesting industrial décor, friendly service and pet-friendly too (dogs at the bar and outdoor tables).

Williamsburg 004a

Pier A Harbor House

 

Pier A Harbor House
Pier A Harbor House

 

It’s been vacant for a very long time and now it’s a bar & restaurant with great views.It’s the 1st pier on the Hudson River, at the western end of Battery Park on the foot of West Street.

Specializing in sea food, they have an extensive raw bar.

menuprocess

They also serve standard, well-presented pub grub.

Lots of hi-quality beers on tap and a well-stocked bar.

Pier A bar

1970s
In the late 1970s when fire boats were moored at Pier A

 

 

Southern Cocktails

Mint Julep Nothing like it in summer. Try it in a silver cup if you have one. Originally made with Cognac, the standard is now Bourbon although some prefer rye.

mint julep

Ingredients:

  • Mint leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
  • Bourbon

In a rocks glass or silver cup, muddle a good size bunch of mint leaves with the sugar and a few drops of Bourbon. Pack the cup with cracked ice and mix the mint with the ice. Add the Bourbon and then add more ice and a sprig of mint.


Magnolia

magnolia

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp Cointreau (or 4 drops of orange flower water)
  • 1 ½ oz brandy
  • 1 egg yolk

Shake and strain into flute and fill with sparkling hard cider or Champagne.


Golden Fizz

golden fizz

Ingredients:

  • 1 shot of gin
  • Juice of ¼ lemon
  • 1 tspn sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Club soda

Shake thoroughly and strain into small highball glass without ice and top with some club soda.


Two other traditional Southern specialties,  the Sazerac and Ramos Gin Fizz got their own posts.

Sazerac
Sazerac
Ramos Gin Fizz
Ramos Gin Fizz

Hot Springs, AR

We recently spent a long weekend in Hot Springs, Arkansas. It’s been a resort for a long time thanks to the mineral water spring and spas. Until about the time Las Vegas came of age in the 1950s, Hot Springs was also a gambling mecca attracting Hollywood celebrities and gangsters. They even have a gangster museum 

I’ve always appreciated Southern cuisine and Hot Springs has some great restaurants. We started every morning with grits and eggs (and donuts) at our hotel restaurant (The Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa). Grits aren’t too common in NYC so I look forward to them whenever I’m in the South.

An Arlington Hotel breakfast
An Arlington Hotel breakfast

We had a great dinner at KJs Grill – chicken fried steak, French fries and local draft beer surrounded by paintings and photos of Marilyn.  

Marilyn

It wasn’t all Southern American food, there was some Southern Italian too. We had a terrific meal at Luna Bella that included arancini as good as any that I’ve ever had in New York. The same owners as KJ’s and more pictures of Marilyn.

Mineral water public fountain
Mineral water public fountain

Utensils – Part II

utensils

UTINSILS – Part II


Small Mandolin mandolinSlices garlic as thinly as Paul Scovino did in Good Fellas and it’s cheap enough to throw away when it gets dull.  Get one in a housewares store for $5 or $10. Watch your fingers, it’s sharp.


Hanging Basket hanging basket

Good for handy storage of root vegetables and perfect for drying peppers.


Mushroom Brush mushroom brush

For getting that ugly brown stuff off mushrooms.


Egg Beater egg beater

 Quicker than a whisk for fluffy omelets and zabaglione.


Fish Gripper & Scaler  fish griper & scaler

This gripper was my father’s and is over 50 years old – Delty’s Fish Gripper, Lancaster PA.


Masher masher

Use it to make a lumpy sauce smooth – squashes tomatoes, onions, etc. as they’re cooking.


Shrimp Deveiner

 shrimp deveiner

A great design by Lamson Sharp.


Pepper Roaster pepper roaster

Really a grater but it doubles as a grill for roasting peppers on a gas burner – about 2 or 3 jalapenos or 1 bell at a time.


Processor processor

This one only holds about 2 ½ cups. I use it for making a trinity or any other fine chopping.


Herb baggie

herb baggie

To keep parsley, rosemary, etc. fresh put them in water in a rocks glass, cover with a baggie and refrigerate.  Works with basil too but don’t refrigerate.  Rather than a bowl or tray, use baggies for marinating meat and fish