I’ve been working with Haven in Paris for just over six months and have fully enjoyed and adjusted to working from home. Constant conversation with my colleagues has made it feel like we’ve known each other for years, but the truth is I just met a few of the ladies for the first time a few weeks ago. We had a wonderful meal together at Al Di La, a Park Slope favorite I’ve been dying to try out. We were all chatting and getting to know each other, planning big things for Haven in Paris, so just a few photos of my delicious lunch:
The house had a hearty kale and sausage soup as a special that day, but I went with the winter citrus, fennel, and mint salad. I generally don’t opt for cold salads in the winter, but the delicate freshness of this one turned out to be perfect.
Though I was waxed healthy on the first course, I went all out with a guanciale and black pepper spaghetti for my entrée. It. was. so. good.
All in all, Al Di La absolutely merits the the love it gets. I’ll be back soon, and probably many times again.
Joys of the Table has been embarassingly dormant for the past few months, but here is our promise to post more! And it’s only appropriate that our first post back is of a steak dinner. Filet and mushroom risotto in celebration of Chris wrapping up his first semester of his PhD program last December.
Chanterelles + Oysters + Shiitakes
And the constant stirring begins.
The plate: stand-alone filet, risotto finished with a (heavy-handed) drizzle of white truffle oil, and garlic spinach.
If you have a bit of time, making a roast is one the best ways to spend it. Although it takes a while, the results are undeniable. For this meal, I wanted to elevate a relatively inexpensive eye of round with a rich red wine sauce and decadent mashed potatoes. I also used a bunch of herbs, because that’s always a good decision.
I am often tempted to add extra components to dishes, and whether they need modification is an issue that arises often. For this dinner of whole-wheat penne, mozzarella-topped chicken, roasted asparagus and nothing-done-to-it arugula, I originally planned to use some “UglyRipe” heirloom tomatoes and fresh herbs in a slow-simmered sauce, but when I composed the plate, I found myself tempted to call off the sauce entirely and leave the dish well enough alone. Now, not everyone loves olive oil and pecorino romano cheese as much as I do, so if that’s not sauce enough for you maybe you would not even stop to ponder the issue. But for me, it is worthy of contemplation.
Did I use it? The answer lies just after the jump!
As some of you know, I have the crazy fortune of being in Paris for the next two months! So, a very simple post to start. For Parisians, the baguette plays a very small part of their daily lives. For me — the carb-loving American — it’s a gem that the States simply can’t replicate.
I’m living in Montmartre during my stay – the neighborhood known by most from scenes in Amélie – and here are two neighborhood favs I’ve stopped by (or frequented multiple times…)
Le Grenier à Pain won of the 2010 Grand Prix de la Baguette and produces what I would typically consider a perfectly balanced loaf. It’s deeply golden and crusty on the outside, airy and spongey on the inside. Delish.
Coquelicot won 7th place for the best baguette in 2009, 6th in 2007 and its eponymous baguette is a bit different: it’s floury on the exterior and delicate to the touch; I always bring it back to my apartment very carefully. The outside isn’t particularly golden, and it certainly isn’t very crusty… so what makes this baguette so great? For me, it’s the variation, something that generally isn’t praised in baguette-making. It’s doughier, denser, generally thicker. And a big bonus point? It isn’t entirely hard the next day. I can have pieces for breakfast and even lunch the next day (and yes, I totally eat lots of bread at every meal).
More to come!
Leftover pork — it’s a daunting concept. You don’t want to overcook it and dry it out, especially with a lean cut like tenderloin, but there are so many great things to do with hot pork that a cold sandwich feels a little bit like giving up. My solution is similar to my solution for most things — add basil, broccoli rabe and fresh mozzarella cheese.
Let’s get serious for a moment here. Serious about life, serious about the future, serious about pork. There are a lot of people who don’t eat pork, and that’s okay. I ain’t mad atcha. But for those who do — what parts of the pig do you like? How do you like it cooked? If you’re like me, the answers are “all of the parts,” and “all of the ways,” respectively. One of my favorite things to make is a basic pork tenderloin. The tenderloin is a blank canvas upon which you can create a masterpiece. Marinate it, brine it, rub it with spices — the choice is yours. Tonight I chose a spice mixture and added in some fresh garlic for added zing.
Digging around in my phone uploads folder I found this photo of the chocolate chip almond cake from The Chocolate Room. It’s served warm with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream, and it is rich* and delicious.
*But not heavy — I could eat many slices. Then again, I once ate about a third of a pan of Ina Garten’s outrageous brownies in one sitting, so I guess I’m not the most trustworthy source for heaviness gauging.
I have a serious sweet tooth – really more like a mouthful of sweet teeth – so when I first passed The Chocolate Room on 5th Ave in Park Slope, I was intrigued. After a bit of research I realized I may have found my new favorite place to satiate chocolate cravings… I was right. My first experience there was with my parents when they were visiting, but I’ve been back several times. I can’t wait to try their hot chocolate when the weather cools!
After noticing the array of press their three-layer chocolate cake received – including serious accolades from Oprah – my mom and I decided to share a slice and a scoop of homemade Madagascar vanilla ice cream; my dad got a chocolate milk shake. Always trust Oprah — both were pretty delicious.
What better excuse to go to a Park Slope brunch spot I’ve been wanting to try than the ‘rents visiting…here’s what we had:
My Eggs Benedict