Izzy Eats: The art of raising a gourmand, one bite at a time
Friday, August 31, 2007
As soon as we could, Izzy and I returned for a full portion of that luscious meat. We received one hunk o' meat, cooked to silky sweet tenderness. Paired with spicy, tart collard greens and macaroni and cheese, Izzy and I had a meal with leftovers. The cornbread was a perfect accompaniment to this hearty meal.
We have since eaten the oxtails which are another example of slow-cooked meat at its best, though beware of the spicy polenta which even my spicy-seeking husband had trouble swallowing.
We have only tried a few items from the menu but from my vantage point, each passing dish looked worth trying and everyone seemed to be happily eating their meals. I hope Soul Flavors gains a large following and that the naysayers are outnumbered, which from the looks of the contented diners it seems they already have been.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
I suspected something was amiss when I saw that they had a sign that read, "Closed For Two Weeks Starting July 23"..yet it was well past that date and there was still no sign of life inside. I saw one of the owners today who confirmed that they had indeed sold. Sad news that GO failed but let's face it, it needed work.
The good news is that the owners of La Rustique, which many consider to be the best pizzeria in Jersey City (which may not be such a high accolade considering how dire our pizza situation is) have bought it and have some plans to turn into more of a deli/pizzeria..
I can only hope that the bring an affordable and tasty new eating option to the Hamilton Park neighborhood, for we could truly use one.
p.s. Despite its many faults, I will always hold fond memories of Izzy sampling cheese at GO and craving the ficelles they used to get from Hudson Breads...alas, it wasn't meant to be.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
At first he used to ask.."Why does that ice cream truck come out so late? Who is eating ice cream now? Shouldn't they be asleep? (I swear none of these statements were prompted by me.)
The past few nights, his tune has changed. He seems angry at the truck. As soon as it arrives he yells: GO AWAY YOU STUPID ICE CREAM TRUCK! I NEED TO GO TO SLEEP!
Tonight I had a good mind to go outside a reprimand the ice cream man. Thankfully I had the good sense to stay inside.
Monday, August 27, 2007
This was a sight I had never expected to see, but then again A. has thrown me for a loop on other food occasions. She, as many of us, has her own unique brand of crunchy/meets junk food eating behaviours. I learned this on a supermarket excursion when her eldest was pleading for some candy that she had apparently sampled before. I wouldn't have pegged A. to be the candy-eating/feeding sort, especially since she is always attempting to substitute a bit too much whole-wheat flour to certain baked goods, in hopes of creating a healthier dessert.
But I digress. Back to the scene of the crime..There I sat, stunned at the sight and when I expressed my disbelief I was silenced with the standard line from parents with two, which is something to the effect of, "You wouldn't understand..."
Perhaps there is something to that. I do have vague memories of being overly critical of certain parenting techniques before having had a child and being told I didn't understand. I was certainly forced to eat a few of my words (not all, mind you, just a few) on that count. So why not in this case too.
The mania of having two children could very well force a mama to resort to drastic measures. Though I must say the idea of main-lining sugar would not have occurred to me as being one of them.
Did A. learn about this old-fashioned pacifying method from her grandma? I mentioned it to my grandfather (98) and he knew exactly what I was talking about. He laughed and said, "The mothers would wrap the sugar in cheesecloth and let the child hold it to their lips. Sometimes they would even soak it in bourbon!!!" I suggested that this might not be so healthy for the child. In response he said, (which I'm sure A. would much appreciate? "It may not be healthy for the child but it is healthy for the mother. She can get a break from the child's nagging."
Well what do you know? My grandfather and A. share similar child-rearing techniques and meanwhile I am left wondering...
1. Is A. going to be a repeat offender?
2. What else can be used to replace sugar lumps? Are they preferable to rubber nipples?
Might I suggest..a hard, salty pretzel. They used to keep Izzy busy for hours, and of course boobie always came in handy in restaurants. Any other suggestions might be appreciated.
It is obvious that in those days, healthy eating was not a priority. Ignorance was bliss and I had no clue as to the junk I chose for nourishment (which I imagine was purely emotional). On the bright side, weight was not an issue and I eventually kicked the habit. I haven't had one of those sodas in more years than I would like to admit...nor have I craved one. Until today.
Izzy and friends stopped in at Torico's and I was in the mood for something different. I looked up at the menu board and saw the listing. The craving hit me and I had to have one, a vanilla soda with chocolate ice cream. Turns out, the chocolate ice cream machine was down so I had the opposite. It was every bit as tempting as I remembered. I even let Izzy have a sip - I could see that he too was smitten. I hope he doesn't remember it the next time we are there. I don't wish to renew old habits...
p.s Izzy's friend O., also looked tempted..behold his wistful expression as he eyes my soda from across the table..but that is a whole other story.
Whilst poking inside my freezer this morning, I discovered the old Passover brisket and decided to bring it back to life. Of course given my current status as laziest cook ever, I chose the easiest possible route. I allowed the meat to defrost and then chopped it up into small pieces. I sauteed two large onions until nice browned, added a bit of hot green pepper, chopped cilantro and a jar of this miraculous Salsa Verde sauce from Trader Joe's. I served the beef with soft tacos, tomatoes, rice and sour cream. I think we all preferred it to the Passover meal and it was certainly less stressful.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
When nursing an infant, you can only imagine what flavors your milk might have on a particular day. I thought that things would be different with toddler nursing but Izzy was never especially vocal about flavor, just insistent upon having his beloved "boobie" without many accompanying remarks.
Now he barely nurses at all and when he does, he is usually in a state of half-sleep. This morning was different. He sleepily nursed on one side and rolled over. I got up and when I returned to the bed he sat up and said "I want this."(pointing to my boobies). I said you already nursed and he said, "I didn't have both sides.." I couldn't very well argue so I agreed and he nursed for about 30 seconds, looked up with a big grin and said, "Mama, your milk tasteses(sic) different every time." "Like what? I asked. "Like flavored milks." He answered.
Now I want to know if it was chocolate or strawberry..
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Odd thing is, I only recently came to this realization. Until now, I couldn't quite pinpoint why I itch to throw parties and cook outrageous amounts of food, yet become decidedly crabby when the events are actually taking place.
The truth is I want to shop for fabulous ingredients. I want to come up with an enticing menu. And this is where my plans go awry:...I would then like someone to do the mise-en-place MY WAY and then I want the glory of producing the exciting dishes. I would then like to sit down and enjoy the food with my guests and when all is said and one I want a fairy to wave his magic wand and clean up the entire mess.
The closest I can get to my dream scenario is to have friends help with mise-en-place and hire someone to clean up (which I have done on occasion and it has been swell). Meanwhile, I ordinary days, I think that the key to making cooking more relaxing is to be more organized which is something I just need to keep working at.
This was on my mind this evening because Summer is the absolute worst time of year for the lazy cook, and even more so for one with no air conditioning in her home. Each day I try to come up with reasons to either A. Go out for dinner or B. Just make something for Izzy and graze after he has gone to bed. Mind you, I rarely do either of these things but certainly not for lack of musing over them.
It sure smelled pumpkiny to me..maybe that's what happens when you leave it outside the fridge for too many days. I thought the air was cool enough but perhaps today's heat did them in.
Whatever the case I had no choice but to discard the grated mess. Meanwhile, the larger one of the two still waits, taunting me on the counter. Ideas?
Friday, August 24, 2007
Aside from the bread, one of the best reasons for going to Pecoraro is the sheer amusement value. Each time I leave there I have a tale to tell, for Carmine, who usually mans the counter, is quite a character. Today, as he was lauding Izzy's scooting skills and complimenting his appearance ("he looks like da alta boys on Christmas cards", a black cat emerged from the back of the shop. He introduced her to us as "Midnight, the mother cat. Soon after, her children, Carmella and Stella appeared.
Not only were we sufficiently entertained, but we left with two sauced focaccie, an olive bread, a small sliced white loaf and two rolls gratis (for Izzy). All that for nine bucks!
Home for lunch which was the simplest affair..Focaccia sprinkled with goat cheese, splash of olive oil and oregano.
I know that my neighborhood did not have a falafel joint either (though it does now). As I write I have conjured the memory of me eating falafel in the West Village at The Olive Tree Cafe..I know the place had Middle Eastern food so it is possible. I was 17 years old.
When and where did you eat your first falafel? Read about Izzy's first falafel experience here.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
They know I will rant. They know I will rave. They know I will have the uncontrollable urge to tell the world of their indiscretions. Yet right before my very eyes they have the chutzpah to do something (that may have been a practice our grandmothers used) which practically caused me to lunge from my chair and remove said item from their child's sweet, unknowing mouth.. I sat at the table in disbelief, thinking it was a mirage and then said to the offender something to the effect of, "How could you? You are begging to be featured on my blog."
Do I dare expose the unmentionable act? What is an honest food blogger mama to do?
I knew that she was interested in doing a bit of shopping and I figured lunch and maybe a museum would be in order too. I seemed to forget that Izzy needs ample park time to boot so we didn't get to everything I had in mind.
Since we were arriving close to lunchtime, first and foremost on my mind was where to eat? J. is a vegetarian and I wanted to her to have something memorable. Should we eat in some hip, veggie spot or stick with tried and true? Falafel seemed like a mundane choice but I know Chickpea is a sure bet and I figured it would be better than other falafel she had tried.
When I told her where we were going I expected her to roll her eyes with boredom. You can imagine how shocked I was to find that she had never eaten falafel before!!! How does a vegetarian make it to the age of 15 without having eaten falafel? Isn't that akin to a carnivore never having eaten a steak? All of a sudden I was more than thrilled to take J. to Chickpea since it would be a great initiation into the fabulous falafel universe.
Chickpea was pleasantly empty so we were able to have a nice quiet spot in the back. J. had an original falafel sandwich. I had the Chickplant and Izzy had the Grilled-Artichoke Falafel. J. did not rave about her sandwich but I surmise that she enjoyed it since she finished the entire sandwich. Izzy wasn't thrilled with his Artichoke stuff but was more than happy to share mine. We all sipped our Lemonatas and had a relaxing meal.
After our meal, we meandered along Ninth Street and Seventh Street, popping in and out of variety of small shops, while Izzy railed and shrieked for park time. He certainly made his presence known to the shopkeepers and we finally had to relent.
We took a short break at Tompkins Square Park and after it was over we barely had time to grab some ice cream and get back to Jersey City.
Izzy and I had a great time with J., who was full of tales for me and spunkiness for him. The shopping may have been less than stellar, but despite that, I hope this is the beginning of many more outings with "Cousin J." After she had left Izzy wanted to know if I had such fun cousins and sadly I had to say no, for I barely know the two I do have.
Meanwhile, I am left wondering about the culinary state of Hunterdon County and how it can be that my niece has never before encountered a falafel. I suppose I can partially blame myself for not spending much time with her yet on the other hand, what has my dear brother been feeding her??
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Izzy: Mama, I never sneak out of bed a night so you could just go there tonight while I am sleeping.
Me: What if you woke while I wasn't here? Wouldn't that bother you?
Izzy: No. That's okay.
Me: Well I would never go out and leave you home.
I couldn't stay away from Union Square altogether so I had to stop there first to pick up some of Sprout Creek Farm's highly coveted Doe-Re-Mi cheese before it sold out. I'm glad I did because the vendor told me that the season for that cheese is ending. I may need to stock up in the next few weeks.
With cheese, bread and eggs in tow, Izzy and I took the subway up to Bryant Park to meet our friends. A., E. and baby L. The first order of business was a ride on the old-fashioned carousel which plays French songs. Izzy wanted to go on alone but the carousel operator insisted I stay beside him. For the second go round he agreed to allow Izzy to go solo and he and E. rode joyously around together.
The carousel meeting place was key to part two of my plan which was lunch nearby at Taam Tov, a Bukharian Jewish restaurant in the diamond district. We ambled on over there, braving the 47th Street throngs and three flights of stairs with three toddlers. At the top we found ourselves in a cramped noisy, space, crowded with diners enjoying heaps of kebabish looking foods and more unusual fare.
We ordered a bunch of things to share, including Manty (bukharian meat dumplings) and Samsa (meat pie), Golubtsy (stuffed cabbage) and Israeli pickled vegetables. The Manty and Samsa seemed to contain the same filling which was a spiced beef with tons of onions. Izzy loves onions so he was content with both dishes but his friend E. eyed them rather reticently and required more coaxing to try them, though to her credit, she did manage a few bites. Izzy seemed to enjoy the odd pickled vegetables more than A. and I. Nobody but A. touched the hot peppers but the mini-eggplant (if that is indeed what they were), small, dark pink and sourly squirty were a good accompaniment to our meal and Izzy couldn't stop chomping on the pickles.
The homemade bread, warm from the oven, was hit with everyone. Overall, this is hearty, ribsticking fare and I felt stuffed hours later. We had an enjoyable, well-priced meal ($30 for everything) and I would recommend this place if you are in the neighborhood and in the mood for filling food with a touch of chaos on the side.
Sufficiently stuffed, we made our way by bus uptown, to the Whitney Museum, for the Summer of Love exhibit, which surprisingly featured interactive, psychedelic amusements for the toddler set. Turned out to be just the way to spend a gray NYC afternoon.
After having spent a record amount of time inside a museum it was time for some fresh air. Once outside, Izzy heard the word gelato and I had to deny his request so we could get back home in time for dinner. The boy certainly has willpower because, arriving back at Newport, he suggested we buy a gelato and bring it home for dessert! I agreed to this plan and lo and behold, he ate his dinner and only managed a few bites of dessert before bedtime.
It was a long day for everyone. Or so I thought.. Once under the covers, as we recounted the day, Izzy said, "We didn't really do that much today. We didn't even get to go to the park."
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
I decided to honor his request because I figured we would have to try it sometime and if worse came to worse we could just hop in a taxi (and risk his life with no seat belt, I know.) He took his scooter. I brought my picnic backpack, a string bag and small purse.
Izzy scooted with ease, narrowly dodging passersby, whilst I tried my best not to intervene too much. He did fine. I, on the other hand, had a very difficult time.
I had nowhere to put my food purchases. My back ached from the backpack, filled with food, toys and other kid paraphernalia. My arms were sore from the string bag stuffed with Whole Foods purchases. Not only that, but from time to time, I needed to carry the scooter when Izzy just felt like walking. Mind you, that was a day of light shopping.
I suppose I could just start taking the granny cart but that seems like a bit much for light shopping..There must be a better way..
Monday, August 20, 2007
Izzy: I'm hungry. When's dinner?
Me: Soon. Why don't you clean up your papers from the table so we can sit down and eat?
Izzy: I am not a cleaner. I am an eater.
I chuckled at that response, thinking it to be quite clever but my grandfather thought otherwise. He said he thought Izzy was being fresh yet he couldn't suppress a chortle himself. And I had to think, "Fresh?" Nah..simply amusing.
More like, lemonade, $4...at Bouchon Bakery that is...which I guess shouldn't surprise me that much since it is located in the fancy Time-Warner building. At least it was large, lemony and thirst-quenching for Izzy and me.
Little did I know I was on the way to lemonade lunacy. I figured one lemonade expenditure like that for a week was no big deal. After all, how often do I buy homemade lemonade anyway..?
Apparently more often than I mean to since the next day I came face-to-face with the lemonade stand at "da feast". I had to buy one for Izzy since it was the only alternative to soda (an extreme no-no) or water which was too dull a beverage for that event. It was surprisingly good but shockingly expensive for the venue. I plunked down three bucks for that one. And I found myself doing the same the following night.
I think it may be time for Izzy to open his own lemonade stand... If he charges $1 it will definitely be a bargain!
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Instead Izzy chose a strawberry cone and I had a cup of blueberry. The flavor choices are simple and one patron mentioned that their mint chocolate chip is the best ever. The strawberry was creamy and old-fashioned and Izzy deemed the actual cone to be "much better than Torico's". My blueberry was in need of a dose of sugar but gained points for having whole blueberries peeking out. This is homemade, small batch ice cream which seems to be a rarity in this day and age. I would need to test more flavors for a complete review but at this point I would see, go if you are in the neighborhood...
I suspect that many parents don't feel like engaging in the negotiations that may inevitably occur when trying to introduce new foods. Others immediately assume their child doesn't like "fill in the blank" after they have offered it a few times. That is most likely not the case.
I was reminded of this today, when, on our way to the East Village, I offered Izzy the choice of pizza (I am dying to try Una Pizza Napoletana), or Momofuku Noodle Bar. The Noodle Bar was the clear winner, no budging on that decision. Our early meals there when he was about two and a few months clearly made the right impression on him.
Today we had the Shitaake Mushroom Buns(two generously filled buns with sauteed shitaakes and sweet pickled cucumber slices. Truly a textural marvel of soft/oily/crunchy. This was followed by a giant bowl of Momofuku Ramen, which as you can see, is filled with all manner of tastes and textures, from the crisp of the seaweed to the unctuous porky pieces, each component a wonder.
I watched as Izzy lustily tucked into his soup, slurping up spoonful after spoonful of broth and fishing out tidbits with his fingers. What better way to initiate children into the pleasures of the table then with this bowl of ramen noodles..p.s When you do take your children out for taste experimentation, it helps to have them hungry (this works best when they are over three). They will be more likely to try what is put in front of them. They may resist for a few minutes but if they see that is all there is, they will be more inclined to at least take a few bites.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
The first Holy Rosary Festival we attended in JC was a hit with Izzy. He must have been two and he was able to go on some tiny rides. I managed to eat some fabulous rice balls. Last year, at three, the feast was somewhat of a washout since it was only one evening and they didn't even have the rice balls.
This year, I am thrilled to report, the feast has returned to some its former glory (at least the glory of three years ago). It has been going on since Wednesday and runs through Sunday night. We made plans for Friday night to go with Izzy's friends T. and E. so when the rains came we thought we would be postponing..but NO..these friends braved the rains for da feast..
Izzy and I arrived first, between lulls in the storm. Soon after purchasing our rice balls, we found ourselves huddled in the church doorway. When mass ended, we were pushed aside as old ladies bemoaned the sinfulness of it all as they watched the rain and asked G-d why he had done this...
Izzy was hungry so I fed him the rice balls whilst holding my purse, a lemonade and getting drizzled upon..when our friends arrived the rain stopped long enough to play some games and go inside and eat more rice balls and some dull desserts. These rice balls seemed to lack cheese, salt and some other component which made the ones from a few years back so desirable. These were filled with chopped meat, peas and some parsley as far as I could tell. Izzy was happy to have them but me..meh...
When the rain gave up for the evening it was time to dance with Izzy and T. who had a routine worthy of Saturday Night Fever..picture Izzy with fingers in the air and T. twirling around him (awaiting guest snapshot from T.s dad). Izzy was so tired out after this I could barely get him to walk home and he pleaded for more rice balls the entire way back, even though it was way past bedtime.
The Sassy Sweet vendor ( baked goods), mentioned that they were only informed Wednesday morning that the market would no longer be taking place. Wednesday afternoons were so lively. The whole thing is such a shame and it truly is too bad that we can't have some other kind of market, sans farmer in Hamilton Park.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Apparently the market closed because the participating farmer was not meeting a certain quota. For some reason, without said farmer, there are certain regulations that will not allow the other vendors to set up shop. These unfortunate circumstances left me without the mozzarella from Hoboken Farms (not really a farm but a gourmet food purveyor of sorts) that I was counting on for our Wednesday dinner.
How is it that Hamilton Park, a gentrifying neighborhood within the 12th largest city in the U.S., cannot sustain a meager weekly market? I have heard people mention these possible factors that may have contributed to the market's demise.
1. Farmer's merchandise was overpriced, not organic and some didn't appear to be local or grown at that farm.
2. Low foot traffic to the area
I wonder how the other vendors were faring? It seemed that Hoboken Farms had a fairly decent following and thankfully they do sell at the Van Vorst Park Market on Saturday mornings, though I doubt I will make it there.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Following week same locale. Still no more plain goat cheese. This time though they had some flavored with fresh figs..mighty fine pairing so I bought it. Why was there flavored cheese but no plain? Inquiring minds wanted to know.
The vendor sheepishly (goatishly?) explained that the goats were not producing enough milk..Why was milk available for flavored cheese but not for plain? It seems that scant amount of milk that the goats were actually producing was not rich enough to be made into plain cheese so instead it had to be doctored up.
Today..got to the market quite late..was there any plain goat cheese? YES, she sold out 30 containers..and last week, while we were away, the market was empty and hardly any sold..
Fine goats you are, increasing your milk production while we're away, see if I care..
Until yesterday when I approached Torico's, only to find they were waving that same 24 flavor banner. I immediately inquired.."You don't really serve 24 flavors here, do you? The young lady explained that they have "flavor extracts" which are magically mixed into the vanilla, no-sugar vanilla, or chocolate soft-serve, instantly creating these flavors. "Is there anything artifical in them?" "No, they are all natural." (hmm..would love to see the ingredient list)
It goes without saying that I had to try one. I ordered a cup of banana and watched in amazement as the scooper proceeded to pump a mysterious liquid into some vanilla soft-serve, mix it with a machine which then reswirled it. The ice cream turned a light shade of yellow and had a light banana flavor which didn't take completely fake but had a chemical aftertaste.
The entire experience was mystifying. Perhaps further research will uncover the truth. How natural can this product be, given that most soft-serve is not full of the finest ingredients.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
A few weeks ago, I went in there with Izzy and asked for the kid size. I was told that they no longer offered it. I expressed dismay and asked to speak to the owner. She denied this and said of course they still offer it.
Then, I return this week and again I am told they no longer serve a small size. I became extremely perturbed but the young lady insisted and got the owner to come out. This time she changed her story and explained they don't carry that size anymore..mumbling something about it not being worth it..
I just don't get it..Izzy can't eat the larger portion and we have to throw it out. Plus I will only buy one regular size which is cheaper than two smalls so they will lose money.
I am truly tempted to boycott the place despite the fact that I wrote a glowing article (as yet to be published) about them. I guess I can't since they are one of only two potential ice cream spots in town.
Monday, August 13, 2007
The odd thing is, my two older brothers detest eggs. I have always wondered how that came to be that they both harbor a vehement distaste for what I consider to be one of my favorite foods. What went awry in their eggucation?
Until this weekend, I had always thought that it was related to one of them becoming ill after having eaten eggs. My brother G. (who could not really explain his own dislike for eggs) shed some light on the matter concerning our brother E. He seemed to recall that on one particular occasion, my mother had served E. a plate of scrambled eggs which he did not want to eat . She supposedly insisted that he eat them and he said, "If you make me eat those I will throw up." He finally ate them and then proceeded to stick his fingers down his throat.. And from that day forwards, he has not touched an egg (although he will eat French toast if the egg is well-beaten and mixed with milk so as to be less noticeable).
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Pearl Street Market (Beach Haven): Gourmet market with NYC prices. Tasty breakfast sandwiches, French Toast, pastries and much more. Good for a picnic or to pick up some organic items you might not find elsewhere. Also has a butcher/seafood section.
The Bagel Shack: Bagels fresh from the oven..always a line but definitely worth the short wait. Great choice to avoid the awful breakfast crowds elsewhere
Mario's Deli: "Good for LBI" Italian deli food. Fresh mozzarella, along with above average Italian prepared foods. Perfect for a picnic.
Holiday Snack Bar: Just go!
Chowder Hut: Just chowder and not much more. Good for a quick bite in Bay Village. We did a taste test with the chowder spot across the street. Chowder Hut was the clear winner.
Daddy O's: New sleek upscale hotel/restaurant..Surprisingly kid-friendly but far too noisy for my tastes.
Bistro 14: Worth a second visit.
The Gables: An island gem, romantic but still surprisingly kid-friendly.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
We waited an entire hour before being seated at Uncle Will's. The menu is certainly reasonably priced which might account for its insane popularity. The food itself, was a different story. I had eggs over easy with a side of pancakes with fresh peaches. The pancakes were spongy, the peaches none too fresh and they were served with faux maple syrup. Izzy's french toast and turkey sausage was none too pleasing either. My brother, not usually picky, didn't even like his bagels and lox. My niece, J., remarked, "I could make better pancakes myself." Only L. was happy with her dish, some type of quesadilla. We also sampled many other items from the menu, none of which would warrant such interminable waits.
There was nothing particularly remarkable about this restaurant aside from the kitsch factor and the low prices. Wouldn't it be simpler to just have a bagel and get to the beach?
I had to wonder about this distinctly American phenomenon. Why indeed do Americans endure these waits, especially during Summer vacations where it would be best to eat light before squeezing into one's swimsuit..?
Friday, August 10, 2007
Thursday, August 9, 2007
This doughnut shop appears to be a local institution for those in the know. I am not sure that I would travel great distances for them but if you are in the area they make a fine morning outing (They are open from 9-2 p.m. but it seems that doughnut making ends around noon.)
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Today was the hottest day thus far so I decided we would keep away from the beach until the late afternoon. The morning slipped away after a simple breakfast at home of yogurt and watermelon. When 11 o'clock rolled around and we still hadn't ventured out, I decided it was too late to start slathering up and preparing for sun, only to have to come back home and bathe for lunch.
At around 12:30, we hopped into the car with Grandpa Joe and Grandma Laurie, in search of something to eat. We pulled up at the Holiday Snack Bar and I was sent on a reconnaissance mission. This unique establishment seemed to be lifted from another decade, a fascinating relic with a counter full of cakes and pies. Unfortunately I knew the lack of air-conditioning would make this choice an impossibility for today but I assure you: Izzy and I will be back and SOON for a more complete picture.
Meanwhile it was back in the car for a quick ride over to the Black Whale, another restaurant in the fried foods beach genre. I could tell from the looks of it that it wouldn't be my cup of tea but the others wanted to try it. I ordered a soft-shell crab sandwich which only had one measly crab on it and I ordered some garlicky baked clams for Izzy. Poor Izzy ate his six tiny clams and was still ravenous, munching on some sort of tasteless oyster cracker that had been placed in buckets on the table. I felt hopeless as I watched him pop those crackers into his mouth, along with some of the mediocre fries and a pickle that had come with my meal. He was clearly still hungry.
When this unsatisfying lunch was over, back into the car again, with a plan to check out Marvel's, a place L. had told us had homemade doughnuts. Well Izzy, overloaded with carbs and fat, promptly fell asleep in the car and when we arrived at Marvel's it was closed. We made our way back home and I was able to transfer Izzy into his bed where he proceeded to nap for over two hours until I finally woke him, worried that he would never go to bed.
We did eventually make it to the beach, where Izzy splashed around for a bit until the black biting flies chased me away. Good thing because it was almost time for a late dinner. In the car, yet again for a ride to Raimundo's, one of the Island's better Italian restaurants.
To be continued...
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Here's the thing: I find your blog to be so unbelievably snobby and almost embarrassing. Yet, I still read it. I am French (raised here by my parents and grandparents). So, you probably think that's great, given your self-described "francophile" label. Anyway, I feel like I could rip apart almost every one of your entries. They are so annyoing! My children have been eating all the things your child eats, for the past 15 years. You haven't "invented" anything here. Is there any way you could write about something more interesting or novel? There's potential here.
Dear Dissatisfied Anonymous Reader,
What compels you to continue to read if you find my posts so "unbelievably snobby and almost embarrassing?" Why are you so incensed that you feel the urge to "rip apart almost every one of my entries.?" Surely there is something here that attracts you...perhaps you could let me know what that might be...In the meantime I offer some food for thought.
I have never professed to having "invented" anything. Have you read my blog from the beginning? My early posts may give you some insight into my frame of mind and reasons for writing. I think this blog may serve many purposes some of which are the following: First I am simply chronicling the ways in which I feed my child, hopefully inspiring others to feed their children differently. I am very interested in eating locally and organically and wish to share my knowledge of how to do so. And of course it is a memoir for Izzy, interweaving food-related tales with our lives. Restaurant reviews, recipes and other food-related items only add to the mix...
Having lived in France and worked with many French children (I am a former teacher at the Lycee in NYC), I am well aware that children can be raised to eat a wide variety of foods. I believe and have written that it is a distinctly American phenomenon for children to have such limited palates. I am glad that your children are such wonderful eaters and it would be nice to hear your insights into how that came to be.
I am sorry that you are so dissatisfied with what you have read and I take heart in knowing that I have helped to inspire some of my other readers and friends to change or (at least try to) their eating ways.
If indeed I do have potential, what would you suggest? What sort of novel ideas did you have in mind?
May your love/hate relationship with my blog continue...how did you find it?
p.s. Have your children eaten cow udder?
I remember a visit to Crane's Beach in Massachusetts and the discovery of a roadside ice cream stand. There I ate a dreamy cup of ice cream, made with Maine blueberries..it almost seemed like a mirage for when I returned a year later, it had vanished.
Maybe I won't find ice cream like that ever again (unless I make it myself) but there must be something comparable..I still have a few days here to find it.
Monday, August 6, 2007
He whined that he was till hungry and proceeded to eat his goat cheese tart and some of my dinner. He would have eaten more but I had to stop him because I worried that he might get sick. We left the restaurant before the others because he was completely overtired. He went home, straight into bed and instantly fell asleep, no doubt gathering energy for the next day's adventures.
Sunday, August 5, 2007
When we arrived, the place was bustling with activity. The menu was ordinary seafood fare; lobster bisque, clam chowder, crab cakes etc.. The only thing unusual to catch my eye was the French-Fried Lobster. Our friends raved about the dish but I couldn't see ordering the whole critter. Instead I had a crabcake with three pieces of fried lobster on the side.
My dish turned out to be a mushy crabcake. The accompanying lobster was a sad case of a wonderful food gone awry. The fried coating obliterated the delicate lobster flavor. Something was terribly wrong with the very concept of this dish. And dipping the already greasy pieces in butter was beyond overkill. The most telling sign was that Izzy tried a bite and didn't request another.
I sincerely had to wonder what all the fuss was about. I am all for a fried tidbit once in a blue moon but what is it about the American lust for greasy fried seafood by the sea. Wouldn't something lighter be in order if you plan on fitting into your swimsuit the next day.
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Friday, August 3, 2007
Marco and Pepe is the Jersey City restaurant you take your friends to when they are so kind as to make the "trip" from the city to visit. After all they must be rewarded for even venturing on the Path train. The best part is, once they eat there, you can be assured they will visit again.
I managed to lure my friend Sarah over on Friday night with promises of dinner at Marco and Pepe. She was delighted to oblige, despite the soaring temperatures, especially since she had been dreaming of it since her last visit.
Izzy and I walked up to find her already seated al fresco and we immediately sat down to study the menu. We all shared a fresh and colorful lobster and corn salad, topped with dollops of guacamole, which somehow rendered the dish both rich and light all at once. It was lovely to behold as well as eat. One taste caused Izzy to proclaim, "Mama, I love lobster!"
Following the lobster, Izzy had his usual risotto variation and I had the burger, which has been my inclination the past few occasions we have eaten there. Sarah had a half-portion of cod which turned out to be just the right amount. Our meal was perfect but there was only one problem, in our zeal to eat, I kept forgetting about photos, even though I had Sarah with me, who happens to be a great photographer, with camera in hand. I would only remember after I had already disturbed the artful presentations. How do food bloggers do it? How and when do they photograph their food? I find it so difficult, especially when Izzy is itching to dig his fork into his dinner.
Not only was Izzy happy with his food, but he was also suitable entertained by his friend M., who we seem to always run into eating there with his family. They entertained each other quite nicely throughout the meal, making dining leisurely for all. We will be sure to return to Marco and Pepe as the food is consistently good and as I have mentioned before, the menu has the most kid-friendly option imaginable, the half-portion.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Yesterday, after an afternoon spent at an exciting new water park discovery in Hoboken (thanks mommy poppins!),I was able to pick up some of Fiore's mozzarella, an essential ingredient for this truly ten minute dinner: The classic tomato, mozzarella and basil sandwich, on olive bread, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper, salad greens on the side. The key to the success of this dish is using the best possible ingredients and I just so happened to have most on hand. Beautiful tomatoes, basil and salad greens from Catalpa Ridge (my csa), olive bread from Jersey City's own Pecoraro Bakery and the aforementioned locally renowned mozzarella. It doesn't get much easier than that.