Our dance critic sneaks into the kitchen of CityZen: “The restaurant kitchen is a highly physical place, and if the saucier lunging toward the stove collides with the meat cook slinging plated quail toward the waiters, there will be a meltdown. … They’re a hairbreadth from ruin, mere seconds away from scorched shoat, lost lamb, overdone duck.”
7 Foods To Eat Before I Die
I liked Josh Ozersky’s article “7 Foods You Really Should Eat Before You Die" in Time so much, that I’ve created my own list:
- Fresh bread, drenched in fresh olive oil. I don’t need to make the case for fresh bread, but since it’s quite possible that more than half the olive oil sold in the US is adulterated in some way, I do need to advocate for the astringent, peppery, make-you-cough beauty of true extra virgin olive oil. It’s amazingly good for you, but more important, it’s AMAZING.
- A tomato, grown on a vine by a human being, picked only when it’s ready, brought to the table, sliced and served.
- Soft-poached egg on toast with broccoli rabe. Toasted bread, olive oil, the creaminess of yellow yolk, ricotta cheese and the sautéed bitterness of broccoli rabe. It’s a supremely special marriage of flavors and textures.
- Homemade red wine vinegar. The mother in the vinegar is the gift that keeps on giving, slowly and faithfully converting your leftover, oxidized red wine into delicious vinegar that tastes nothing like the processed stuff you buy in the store.
- Margherita pizza, fresh from a coal-fired oven. Forgive me, for I’ve come to believe that there is no other Napolitana pizza except for the Margherita. Pizza is about bread with the appropriate condiments to compliment it. So a delicious pizza is charred by the oven, with pools of piping hot mozzeralla, a thin layer of tomato sauce and a few leaves of basil. And salt.
- Tagliatelle with bolognese. Handmade fresh pasta isn’t something to be eaten once; enjoy it often, and if you’re not into making it, then find a restaurant where they do it well. I love dried pasta, too, but fresh pasta is really its own thing. It’s soft and voluptuous, and yet strong and chewy. Every time I eat it, I think, “Wow, that came from flour, water and an egg.” As for bolognese, the sauce is my own particular choice, but I’ve used the creamy consistency of the bolognese, the rush of deep, rich, perfectly melded flavors, as a sure-fire test to grade chefs. Works every time.
- A perfectly scrambled egg. Velvety soft, creamy, custardy, cooked in just a minute over gentle heat… you can’t do this with most of those eggs you find at the hypermarket. This is something that works best with a fresh farm egg.
photo: the soft-poached egg, ricotta cheese and broccoli rabe on toast at RYE on Market in Louisville, KY
Ozersky’s list is a great start. What would you put on your list?
The inaugural tasting menu at Rye on Market last night was the most provocative meal I’ve ever eaten in Louisville: sweetbreads, tongue, delicious gamey duck, and the head of bass. It was wonderful. No one is phoning it in there.
I wish my shots were better, but they’re not, so my apologies. (click photo to scroll through pics.)
The first part of a fascinating two part interview with Christopher Kostow from The Restaurant at Meadowood.
I got to shake his hand after eating at Meadowood in August 2008, a few months after he started there. The restaurant itself is magnificent. The dinner was even better.