Dinner at Desmond’s

A few weeks back I attended a fun event for the Royal Wedding at Desmond’s, so it was on my mind to return and sample some of Chef David Hart’s British fare. His menu features traditional classics with a twist: like Duck Shepherd’s Pie (photo right) and Tomato Bisque with Welsh Rarebit Croutons. If you are a meat lover, I can recommend the steak, which is accompanied with bone marrow (photo left), and the pork belly appetizer as exceptional. The space is also a knockout, combining a classic elegance with modern graphic touches. Although not large, the double-height ceilings and mirrored sections give it a great feeling of airiness and peace. See more photos from dinners and cocktails at this link.

EAT OUT SERIES: part one

Whether its on a terrace, in the park or backyard, it’s time to take entertaining outdoors.

Fyrkat Cone Grill
This adorable Martian-like grill won’t take up much space on your deck, but offers 2 levels for grilling, plus a battery-operated rotisserie. Based on a design from 1962, the cone shape supplies maximum heat—not to mention a maximum cuteness factor! The outside shell is made of enamel-coated steel and comes in red, orange, green and black, with chrome-plated steel legs and heat-resistant silicone handles. Available online at the Bodum store, for $179.95.

Grill incognito

For those totally pressed for space, Black + Blum have designed a clever solution. What looks like a terracotta pot, actually hides a charcoal grill, whose handle/tongs are stored in an opening on the side. Herbs can be grown on the top, ready to incorporate into your favorite rubs or marinades. Removing the top reveals the stainless steel grilling surface, with a spot for charcoal underneath. The inside of the pot is coated in ceramic to retain heat. Pot is 14.6” round, with a cooking area of 11.4”. Available directly from Black + Blum online for $124, or at The Brooklyn Kitchen, 100 Frost St @ Meeker Ave.

Keep it cold: IceOrb

Place the iceorb in your freezer before heading outside with food and beverages. Then use it to keep your bottle of champagne, dip, or say, ceviche, nice and chilled. The cute video on the Fusionbrands website shows you how its done. $16.


A Nod to the Royal Wedding

I seem to be in the minority of the people who were not interested the Royal Wedding. But that did not stop me from attending a cocktail party honoring it, sponsored by Beefeater and hosted by Lucy Sykes and Euan Rellie. The soiree was held at Desmond’s, originally a bank, whose space has been transformed into an elegant supper club. The space was decked out with British flags, a Beefeater at the door, and the hosting couple even cut a wedding cake and threw a bouquet in honor of the event. It was quite the swank affair, with a Beefeater Royal wedding punch served in glass tea cups, a special martini dedicated to the bride (seen in photo), and wrist corsages and boutonnieres were created on the scene by Hatch Creative Studio. See more photos of the evening here.

BRUNCH: Asellina and La Follia

I’ve been making a habit out of brunch lately. It seems like the best time to get together with friends, and have a little weekend vacation. Asellina, in the Gansevoort Hotel on 29th and Park has just added live jazz to its repertoire. It was so nice to sit near the open doors and hear the live sounds from the next room. The food is top notch, with some creative items on the menu, like seared tuna panini on the lightest, freshest bread, and baked eggs, Italian-style. We had to get (a few rounds of) the Prosecco Quartino with trio of juices (seen in the background of tuna panini photo): blood orange, peach nectar, and guava. See more photos of the food here, they will have you drooling. La Follia, on Third Avenue and 19th street, is the neighborhood spot I have been praying for. The owners of sadly defunct Irving Mill, of which I was a huge fan, have scaled down in size, but not on the food. The space is divided into two areas: a small dining area, and a casual wine bar. The pasta menu alone is a reason to stop there. I’ve been to brunch twice, starting with a traditional omelette, then going after my heart’s desire: the Carnivoro Panini with mortadella, soppressata, prosciutto, pecorino & arugula (photo below). There is no need for dinner! See more photos of the food here


On the Table

At the recent tabletop show at 41 Madison, there were goodies galore. My friend Frank and I explored the showrooms top to bottom to see the latest collections from Lenox, Dansk, Rosenthal, Guzzini, and more. Our timing was perfect—as we hit the brand new Michael Aram showroom there was a cocktail party just starting. So, while viewing the latest designs, we got to see the Aram serving trays in action. Frank kept diving into the grilled cheese with pulled pork, but my attentions were focused on the tea smoked chicken salad on wontons. Turns out, Michael Bick of Some Things Fishy Catering, Ltd was on the scene, and was generous enough to share his recipe. The combination of the spices were refreshingly unique (and exceptionally delicious), and the fried wontons lent a nice crispy edge. Michael recommends using lapsang souchong tea for its smoky qualities. If you don’t have a smoker, you can use a wok or large casserole pan with lid. Chef Cathy Shambly has some great step-by-step photos on her blog, Showfood Chef, that take you through the process. I once did a fish cooking class at the Institute for Culinary Education, and we smoked salmon in a similar way, using 2 roasting pans. Totally worth the effort! Photo above, Michael Aram’s Olive Branch napkin holder keeps things neat! See more photos of my tabletop picks and the party food here.

Tea Smoked Chicken Salad by Michael Bick

2 chicken breasts, raw

1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup mirin
1/4 cup sesame oil
1 TB Nori Kome Furikake rice seasoning
1 tsp Shichimi Togarashi

Smoke Mixture:
1/2 cup loose leaf tea
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup rice

Sesame Aioli:
2 large egg yolks
2 TB dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 TB yuzu juice
1 3/4 cups soy oil
1/4 cup sesame oil
1 TB soy sauce
1 TB Linghams sweet & spicy hot sauce
1 TB Nori Komi Furikaki rice seasoning

Salad Mixture:
1 red bell pepper, diced small
1/2 red onion, diced small
2 jalapeƱos, seeded & minced
2 inch-long piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons pickled ginger, minced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, minced

Marinade: In a non reactive bowl, mix ingredients together and marinate the chicken breasts for 1 to 2 hours.

Smoke Mixture: Combine ingredients and place in a stovetop smoker. Follow directions on smoker and smoke marinated chicken for 8 minutes. Remove from smoker and finish cooking in a 350 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes. When cool, shred by hand (this is a big pain but worth it).

Sesame Aioli: Place yolks, mustard, garlic, juice, in blender. While blending, drizzle in both oils, until thick and mayonnaise-like. lt may need more oil. Season with soy, sweet chili, and rice seasoning.

Salad: Combine shredded chicken with all prepared vegetables. When you are ready to serve toss with Sesame Aioli.