food 01.8.13

Winter Meals

THE MORNING LINE "The true New Yorker secretly believes that people living anywhere else have to be, in some sense, kidding."
John Updike

Want to pick a fight with a French person? Show them your cassoulet recipe and tell them it's the authentic cassoulet. Oh la la. Don't pay too much attention to provenance and head to Ardesia on January 13, where chef Amorette Casaus prepares her version for cassoulet night. Or join the scrum at Jimmy's No. 43 for their Fifth Annual Cassoulet Cookoff, on the same day, January 13, 1-3pm.

Brisket is a forgiving cut that rallies under almost any circumstances. Make the most of those circumstances with Stephanie Pierson's The Brisket Book: A Love Story with Recipes. Contributors include Nach Waxman, Zak Pellacio, Anita Lo, and Temple Emanu-El… Don't want to DIY? Dan Delaney's Briskettown, 359 Bedford [S. 4th/5th] 718.701.8909, will do very nicely for smoked meat.

Trestle on 10th, 242 10th [24th] 212.645.5659, has fondue Sunday dinners through the end of February.

Even a so-so Tom Yum soup makes us happy. But why settle for so-so? You could head to SriPraPhai in Woodside and have it with shrimp or pork leg. Or take out from East Village Thai, 32 E. 7th [2nd/3rd] 212.673.4610, as unprepossessing as can be. Its looks are deceiving; the flavor's not.

We trust Cesare Casella for just about anything Italian and that's why we'd warm up with his osso buco at Salumeria Rosi, 903 Mad [72nd/73rd] 212.517.7700.

When the French make a sauce, they make a sauce. And when they make a stew, they make boeuf bourguignon. Order it at Le Gigot, 18 Cornelia [Bleecker/W. 4th] 212.627.3737, a tiny Village spot with outsized charm.

Or you can slow cook at home. This Cuisinart Slow Cooker is hardly the cheapest out there (lists for $300, Amazon has it for $150), but it's Cuisinart quality and a multitasker; its tricks include, in addition to slow cooking, browning, sauteeing, and steaming.

Dream of Baja breezes at April Bloomfield's brand-new Salvation Taco, 145 W. 39th [Lex/3rd] 212.865.5800, where tacos—al pastor, fish, Moroccan lamb (on naan), plus an intriguing cocktail list, are the point of embarkation.

From ramen-deficient to ramen-rich, the city now has many fine purveyors of hot noodle soup goodness. Gotta give some extra love to Dassara, 271 Smith [Degraw/Sackett] Bklyn 718.643.0781, for its exemplars and for its option (an additional $2) to add matzo balls to the mix.

More cross-cultural deliciousness: Brooklyn's Center for Kosher Culinary Arts mulligatawny recipe!
Girl With a Pearl Earring author Tracy Chevalier is back with The Last Runaway, set in 1850 Ohio, about an English Quaker who gets involved with the Underground Railroad.

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Will Self's Umbrella, alternating between a British mental institution in 1971 and Edwardian London, about a feminist who contracted encephalitis lethargica, (hat-tip Oliver Sack's Awakenings), is a challenging, stream-of-conscious modernist novel.

The Times magazine just headlined George Saunders Has Written the Best Book You'll Read This Year about Tenth of December, the author's first collection of short stories in six years. A bit of hyblurbole, especially since it's, you know, January 8th. But new work from Saunders is certainly most welcome.

The Universe Within by Neil Shubin (author of Your Inner Fish), has an irresistible subtitle: Discovering the Common History of Rocks, Planets, and People. We assume our inner geekiness, stoked by the premise, is a universal element.

Should you be susceptible to the adventure yarn, and we are, you'll want to pull out your flashlight and read Jungleland: A Mysterious Lost City, a WWII Spy, and a True Story of Deadly Adventure by Christopher S. Stewart, under the covers.

The New York Grimpendium: A Guide to Macabre and Ghastly Sites in New York State, published last fall, has a niche audience, and you know who you are. The author, J. W. Ocker, will give an illustrated lecture (followed by a book signing) at Observatory, 543 Union [Nevins], Bklyn on January 14, 8pm, $5.

AMNH (from 2008)

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