Tag Archives: Friday Five

Friday Five: Postcards from Copenhagen.

We were in Copenhagen for nearly a week, and during that time we managed to cover quite a bit of ground on foot. Narrowing down the list for today’s Friday Five took considerable effort; consider this an amuse bouche, a handful of images from various corners of this picturesque city, both on and off the beaten path.


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Friday Five: Reasons Why I Haven’t Been Writing.

Talk about the elephant in the room. There are no two ways around it: I’ve been in a bit of a slump lately. My top five rationalizations/ excuses/reasons follow, accompanied by—fair warning—a healthy dose of whining and self-pity. Read on at your own risk.

1. I’m broke.

I recently moved, as you may recall, and as a result, my living expenses have nearly doubled. I’m working fewer hours at a lower rate than I have in the past couple of years, even though I’m juggling multiple gigs—and one of my (former) primary clients is declining to pay me without some major teeth-pulling. All of that means that I’m eating out a lot less than I have been—my splurges these days are crappy Chinese takeout and the $5 lunch special (below) from the Jamaican place on my corner—and I’m cooking a lot more pantry-based, clean-out-the-fridge style meals.

How often can one write about bean soup, or dal, or various grain-based salads? And how often does anyone else want to read about these things? There’s a limit, right?

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Friday Five: Winter Hashes.

When I see caprese salad, asparagus with hollandaise or cucumber salad on a winter menu, I mentally categorize the dining establishment as one of those whose walk-in coolers are filled to the brim with plastic containers of pre-made distributor-sourced foodstuffs. Side dishes speak volumes about how a restaurant sources its food and what makes a chef tick. Coleslaw year round? That guy spends his free time watching Dancing with the Stars. He drives an SUV and only gets emotional during professional sporting events. The chef who dabbles in broccoli rabe, kale and the beloved tuber lives a different sort of life. He (or she) probably dabbled in the arts — french horn? pottery? poetry? — before deciding to make a living hovering over his (or her) knives and cutting board, turning brussels sprouts and smoked meats from single notes to entire symphonies.

While there’s a difference between seasonal and local on a menu, my respect goes out to those who attempt one or both.

I’m not the most astute at observing (or writing about) trends, but I’ve noticed that the potato, in hash form, has received much attention on my favorite menus this winter. Has it always been there, and I’m just starting to notice? I can’t say. But it’s the perfect venue for cool weather veggies and my treasured winter meats, and is often the reason I choose a dish. Like snowflakes, each is unique. Let’s take a look.

1. Short Rib Hash at Buttermilk Channel, Brooklyn

With a 2:1 beef-to-potato ratio in its hash, Buttermilk Channel — one of my favorite stops in Brooklyn — definitely knows how to make a potato seem glamorous. Served alongside lightly dressed greens, the dish is well balanced: heavy meets light, green meets beige and brown. The beef is seasoned with cinnamon and topped with a salted egg. And the soft texture of the potatoes is embellished with crispy bits of beef, scraped from the bottom of the pan, reminiscent of childhood dinners of pot roast. And if one can ever be excited about carrots, this is the time.

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Friday Five: Things I’ve Eaten Lately.

I may not have written much during the past few months, but I have had plenty of good food—and become completely obsessed with posting snapshots of said food on Instagram. To the photographic evidence!

1. Bronx pork-a-palooza.

In October, I capped off a wholesome trip to the Bronx Zoo with the amazing — and decidedly unwholesome — lechón at El Nuevo Bohío. The crackling skin alone made the train ride uptown worthwhile.

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Friday Five: NYC Food Apps.

Shortly after Jill got her first iPhone, we traveled to Vermont together, and I’ll admit—I just didn’t get it. In lieu of providing her with street names when I was in charge of navigation, Jill urged me to follow the blue dot on the Maps app; “iPhone says” became a commonly heard phrase in our Mustang rental. And then, a year later, I got my own and became an instant convert. While I might not refer to mine in the third person, I am similarly addicted. Today’s Friday Five pays tribute to the New York-centric food apps that keep me (even more) glued to my touchscreen.

1. The Scoop.

While categories devoted to bars, coffee shops, events, and day trips out of the city make this New York Times app the most well-rounded of the bunch, I particularly love the Sifty Fifty section—ex-restaurant-critic Sam Sifton’s top fifty dining destinations in the city, complete with a checklist and sharing options. (No word yet on whether or not his replacement will be renaming the column, but with “Wells” as a surname, the possibilities are endless.)

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Friday Five: Holiday Weekend Edition.

Summer holidays mean outdoor entertaining, and who doesn’t love that? For today’s Friday Five, we bring you a rundown of our tried-and-true al fresco favorites, but take no responsibility for the fickle moods of the weather gods.

And, in the event that the deities refuse to cooperate, these recipes taste just as good inside as out.

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Friday Five: Some Like It Hot.

If spicy food were as cooling as it’s claimed to be, I’d never need an air conditioner; sadly, though, I’ve developed a bit of a tolerance over the years, so once again, I’m looking at steep energy bills this summer. But every little bit helps, right? Here, in honor of New York’s sky-rocketing heat index, five sweat-inducing, tear-provoking categories of food and drink.

1. The Source.

I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: One of the best things about eating in Asia is the easy access to fresh hot chilies. Available upon request everywhere from mom-and-pop hole-in-the-walls to finer-dining establishments, I have no control around a dish of chopped peppers, adding more and more until I finish my meal with tears streaming, nose running and mouth on fire. And I must be a sadist, because I love every second of it.

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Friday Five: Yerba Buena

I’ve spent some time being jealous of my friends who work downtown. First, they don’t have to drive. (I’ve been known to loudly chant encouraging words to myself when dealing with the 315 and 270 merge on my way home from work: “I hate to change lanes, but I can change lanes!”) I dream of a simple bus ride and the company of a book or Twitter on my commute. A second point of jealousy is their access to El Arepazo, one of the best (and busiest) lunch destinations in Columbus. I’ve only been able to visit a few times (thanks, jury duty!) but every time, I swoon over their patacon (a Venezuelan dish of fried plantains topped with tilapia, banana peppers, avocado, lettuce and cheese) and drool over their cilantro sauce (available in mild and spicy). Alas, my work in the grocery land doesn’t free me to leave for lunch and my opportunities to shove my face full of their deliciousness are few and far between.

Happy news! While Carlos and the folks from El Arepazo haven’t done anything about my (relatively short) commute, they have made it easier for me to enjoy their wares, via their new food truck, Yerba Buena Latin Grill, which is parked on High Street near Glenmont on the north end of Clintonville. I visited Saturday and sampled most of the menu. I will be back. Often. Today’s Friday Five is a small selection of my favorite items from the truck.

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Friday Five: Postcards from Cambodia.

On New Year’s Day, my family and I flew from Thailand to Cambodia for a whirlwind tour of Angkor Wat and its environs. Our alloted two days would soon stretch to four, thanks to unforeseen visa issues, but that’s a story for another time; for now, five snapshots from our first day in Siem Reap:

1. Tuk Tuks.

We became accustomed to traveling by these motorized rickshaw cabs in Thailand, but that did little to prepare us for the hard-sell tactics of Siem Reap’s persistent, tourist-targeting taxi drivers. They lined the streets, waiting for someone to acquiesce to a ride; we quickly learned to say, “no, thank you” in Khmer.

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Friday Five: Restaurants to Try.

I talk quite a bit about my to-try lists—recipescookbookstravel destinationsrestaurants—in these pages, but other than offering a quick peek at the travel-planning process, I haven’t shared much list-related content. Until now.

You’ve all been dying to know what I’ve been dying to eat, right? Narrowing pages of restaurants down to my top five wasn’t easy, but anything for you, readers.

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