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New York City. The saying goes that if you can make it here you can make it anywhere. But I think they were talking about young, cute, single and childless 22 year olds (which I’d like to believe I once was and, damn, that was a fun time). I don’t think Sinatra was talking about older, married, overworked parents making a decent wage but still in the lower-middle class because they live in NYC. We’re tired. Very tired. I know, I know, bust out the violins to play a sad song for our tragic city-living lives but this is a bit of a way to apologize for our lack of blogging over the past year and a half. Living in NYC may seem magical for many but for us it’s beginning to become more like hard work than “magical fun”. Continue Reading »

whole fried snapper (chillo) at TIto Bloque

Conventional wisdom dictates that one should never eat at an empty restaurant, especially early in the week, but if there is absolutely nowhere else open and you have no choice, do yourself a favor and avoid the seafood. Happily, Vieques, a 55-square mile island off the east end of Puerto Rico, and former bombing range of the US Navy, if it doesn’t exactly flaunt convention, certainly defies it. And Tito Bloque, the only restaurant off the malecon in the village of Esperanza, and therefore the only empty restaurant, personifies that defiance.

Blazing overhead strip lights do nothing to obscure the restaurant’s complete absence of customers. In fact, when the only visible human forms in the place are a signed photo of Charles Bronson in his Death Wish era and an old man dozing in a hammock fashioned from a Puerto Rican flag, the feeling of unwelcomeness is only accentuated. Continue Reading »

Pork Chop with Sherry and Almonds

With wine there is probably more room for personal interpretation and opinion than in any other area of gastronomy. The sheer variety of wines available from across the globe encourages this, but the reputation of the wine connoisseur and his often ridiculous descriptions of the perfumes to be nosed out of the glass makes wine-tasting seem a spurious and silly pursuit to some and downright intimidating to others. Continue Reading »

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As you already know, we don’t do reviews of products we haven’t really enjoyed and would continue to use and enjoy in the future. When we were contacted to give Adobe Lightroom a whirl we were excited to use a product we never considered purchasing but had heard was an excellent tool. Once our excitement subsided, the reality hit that we may have been chosen to test it out because our food pictures were not really up to snuff and, in a nice way, we were being told, “Maybe Lightroom can help?”. Yes, our photography skills have come very far from the early days of such beautiful and well-lit/well-plated pictures such as this, this (the chip in the plate really brings out the vibrancy of this dish) and this beauty but we still have a long way to go. Let’s be honest – we used to suck majorly when it came to photography. Once we discovered that instead of using our $8 IKEA lamp to illuminate our photos we could, or should , use something called a Photographer’s Light Kit things began to improve a bit. Along with lighting, we began paying attention to plating and using light colored plates to make the food pop. Yet, even with these things, we still aren’t up to the photo-quality level as many other food blogs. I’m totally not crying into my bowl of Ecuadorian Ceviche (shameless plug) but I have always wondered, what the hizzel are they doing that we’re not? Continue Reading »

lamb's liver and spring vegetables

Rarely on time, and never on trend, we are perennially late to the party. Yes, we may have been blogging about offal since way before David Chang made it cool, but we have yet to purchase our first ironic message tee featuring butchery terminology or get our forearms inked with a selection of cutlery. This may be even more surprising given that we live in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn, where the hardcore of Williamsburg’s hipsters would move if only they were cool enough. But if further illustration of our being behind the times were necessary, look no further than our brand new facebook page, now only a week old (feel free to “like” us, as the kids say). Continue Reading »

Chicken in Cider with Chanterelles (pollo en sidra)
“We may have lost paradise because of the apple, but we’ll get it back with cider.”
– Asturian saying

“Reach out your arms, as far apart as possible – one high, one low – then just bend your wrist, but do not look!”, instructed the waitress. “Oh, and beginners like you must stand over the barrel,” she added. I followed her advice exactly but still ended up with a soggy shirt-front and damp shoes, wasting half a bottle.

Even though the cider was cheap, learning to pour it like a local wouldn’t be and accepting I could be thirsty for a long while before I acquired the knack, I invited my hostess to demonstrate proper form. Sure enough, her aim was perfect and my glass was soon two inches deep without the loss of a drop. “Now, drink it! Fast!” she cajoled. “Before it goes flat!” Continue Reading »

Mincemeat-Stuffed Quince

Most Brits associate mincemeat with Christmas – its intoxicating mix of fruit, spices, booze, nuts and mixed peel provide Pavlovian stimuli, stirring memories of cherubic choirs a-caroling, roasted poultry, and the Queen’s speech – whereas I associate it with Easter, because it was always around then that we finally ran out of mince pies. I use the term “ran out” quite deliberately, as mince pies were the kind of thing that, growing up, were considered within the realm of “supplies”, so numerous were they. Every year in early December, my industrious mother would make at least six, but often as many as ten, dozen individual mince pies, fashioned lovingly from homemade mincemeat she had prepared several months in advance. Continue Reading »

Beef and Guiness Stew

I often think that living in a small scruffy New York City apartment is akin to a pioneer life in a log cabin somewhere remote. Sure, the commute is easier, but the myriad quotidien affronts and man traps of a city existence certainly resemble the perils of life on the range. Continue Reading »

halibut aioli garni

I’m not very old, but for much of my youth in the north west of England, it was almost impossible to find fresh foods that weren’t local. Today such a statement seems like an echo of Victorian times, but, literally, that’s how it was until a supermarket was built behind the Knutsford courthouse in the late 80s. Continue Reading »

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Since parenthood came into my life, so has weight gain. It hasn’t been all that bad but I think I weigh a bit more now than I did in the days after I pushed that child out. Why? Because the gym is now a long-distant memory. Since we clearly like to eat, the gym was once my very good friend four or five times a week pre-child. Now, I’m lucky to even get a long walk to the park. If I still have energy after a day of chasing after a 1 year old, I’ll may pop in a yoga DVD, but I now realize that “5 Minute ABS” only works when you are doing more than just “5 Minute Abs”. I refuse to stop eating or drinking wine but I miss those carefree days of hitting the gym whenever I wanted to sweat off my stress and weekend steak and potatoes.

So how does Mariah Carey fit into this post? Well, recently, Mariah debuted her “post baby body” – a phrase I’m kinda getting sick of seeing on magazine covers. Yeah, yeah, she did it through diet and exercise and did gain like a million pounds while on bedrest with her twins but she has a FLAT STOMACH AGAIN! How about this chick - she did a Vickis Secret bra and panties modeling shoot a few weeks after giving birth. I was still wearing my “belly band” at that point. Continue Reading »

white risotto with fennel sausage meatballs

I was recently introduced to an Australian with whom I had a number of interesting discussions (that is not meant as a joke). The first, an hour-long discussion of the age-old cricketing rivalry between England and his native land is of no concern here, but the second, a frank exchange of views about the quality of sausages to be found in the United States has rather more relevance to the subject matter of these here web pages. His view, that American sausages simply aren’t up to snuff compared to the quality and variety of those available in Australia – a country in which the mystery bag has achieved almost legendary status for its role in the great Aussie barbecue – is not one I share, even if there were no other examples of fine forcemeat here than the glorious boudin of Louisiana, although, in his defense, he was careful to exclude American-made Italian style sausages from this otherwise careless dismissal. Continue Reading »

Red's Lobster Roll - Wiscasset, Maine

Ah, Maine, with its mossy forests, its briny cliffs dotted with picturebook fishing villages, its bracing salt air, and its discount-tastic outlet malls! What could be more uplifting to the benighted soul of a grimy city-dweller than an autumnal visit to the cheerful redoubt of the gaily-painted puffin, the marshy lowlands of the lumbering moose, or the azure waters of the delicious lobster? Such was our spirit as we bounded north of the city, clad in windbreakers and LLBean gear two weekends ago. Little did we know that behind the facade of unspoiled nature’s bounty lay an altogether more sinister side to the state known as “Vacationland”. Continue Reading »

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