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The Amateur Gourmet
A.G. Newsletter #41: Porsena, Scuttlebutt at Saltie, Weekend BBQ, Fresh Eggs & Udon from Isle

Hello Newsletter Fans,

Last week was the debut of my new web show concept, "Someone's In The Kitchen With..." and my guest, Rachel Wharton, taught me a fantastic recipe that I just typed up for anyone who couldn't watch the video: Rachel Wharton's Pimento Cheese.

Yes, there were some technical issues, and after polling folks on Twitter, it seems the live component isn't as important as making things pleasant to watch. So this week, I'm going to record and edit Episode #2, which will feature Emeric Harney from the distinguished tea shop "Harney & Sons" in SoHo. Look for that on Wednesday.

As for things you didn't see on the blog, on Tuesday, I joined my friends Patty and Lauren for dinner at Porsena:



Anyone who's a fan of Sara Jenkins' Porchetta--and who isn't?--needs to check out her new sit-down restaurant. The place is charming and the food is pretty wonderful.

We all swooned over this spring salad of asparagus, fava beans, herbs and cheese:



These mini-octopi were so tender and delicious (they had a great char), the waitress refused to tell me how it was done. That's probably for the best because they don't sell mini-octopi at D'Agastinos:



Here's Patty with her lasagana which was served in the terra-cotta pot it was baked in:



Lauren's dish was pasta with broccoli rabe and here's my dish of ring-type noodles with lamb sausage:



We gobbled all of this up and then we rushed off to see "Bridesmaids." I kept nagging Patty and Lauren that they should buy their tickets ahead, like I did for me and Craig, but they acted like I was being neurotic.

Well!! Guess what was sold out when we got there? Patty & Lauren learned a valuable lesson: Always Listen To Adam He Knows Everything.

[And "Bridesmaids" was hilarious; but I have a feeling most of you have seen it already.]

* * * * *

Later in the week, I journeyed back to Williamsburg, to two places I blogged about a week or two ago: Saltie & Blue Bottle Coffee.

This is a trip I plan to take weekly because the sandwiches at Saltie are so out-of-this-world and the coffee at Blue Bottle (in particular, their New Orleans style iced coffee with chicory) is also out-of-this-world.

Instead of the Captain's Daughter (which has sardines and lots of pickled vegetables), this week I tried the Scuttlebutt, which has hard-boiled eggs, big chunks of feta and lots of pickled vegetables. It's a sandwich for the ages:



Needless to say, I loved it and ate it in 45 seconds.

* * * * *

Then, this weekend, we went upstate to our friend Cary's barn. You'll hear more about that on my blog when I write about my friend Mark's guacamole recipe, but here's a pretty scene from the porch where Cary (who you may know as the director of such films as "Sin Nombre" and "Jane Eyre") manned the grill



It was a really nice weekend.

Actually, one of Cary's friends upstate delivered a bunch of eggs for us to enjoy on Sunday morning, along with some flowering chives:



Look at the vivid color you get when you scramble such fresh-farmed eggs:



Beautiful, right? It pays to have friends bring you eggs in the morning.

When we got back yesterday, I didn't feel like cooking. We decided not to order in from Tue Thai (which I once listed in New York Magazine as one of the West Village's top take-out joints) because, frankly, I think I got that place wrong. It's not very good (or, when it is good, it's inconsistent.)

Instead, we ordered in from Isle (on Bleecker) and I was happy with these udon noodles in a spicy basil sauce:



It reminded me of one of my favorite take-out dishes of all time, the wok-seared udon noodles from the no-longer-in-existence LongTan in Park Slope. If anyone has a recipe for wok-seared udon noodles at home, I'd love to learn how.

Ok, folks, I'm off to my publisher's where I'm about to have my first design meeting for the book. This is the fun part!

Until next week....

Your friend,
Adam (The Amateur Gourmet)
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