…I don’t know if I am in a new restaurant rut or the city is, but when I think about eating these days the newer options all seem to be a new burger joint, a new steak house, or some ridiculous theme spot, none of which play nicely into my ideal of a place with integrity of vision, execution, ingredient and a sense of community.
In times like this I tend to do one of two things: revisit my most favorite restaurants, and cook at home. On the revisiting front I happily declare that Cru, Lupa, Hearth, Blue Hill, Gotham and Morimoto are all still wonderful assets to our community. As for cooking at home, even though or maybe because this was one of the worst tomato seasons ever, I have been loving different things from the greenmarket that I would be happy to tell you about.
First and foremost is the kefir from Tonjes Farm Dairy. People from Eastern Europe will tell you great stories about kefir making you live forever because of its active cultures. I like it because in good versions it combines a very sour lactic yogurt flavor with a very earthy pastoral flavor, and this is a very good version. I have not learned the entire story from the Tonjes folks yet; for most of this summer they were just the guys next to Tim Stark’s stand selling very good Mozzarella I was buying to go with Tim’s tomatoes before the season washed out. Then about four weeks ago I saw kefir listed on the Tonjes’ sign and bought a bottle (having gotten fed up with not being able to find a pedigree for the Organic Lifeway kefir I had been buying from Fresh Direct which the Cornucopia Institute has rated as “ethically challenged” for producing or purchasing factory farm milk, I needed a new source). Since then I have probably had about thirty small bottles of it, and cannot only tell you I love it, I can say that I like it best around the Wednesday or Thursday after my Saturday purchase.
Keith’s mesclun greens are the next awesome available ingredient. All kinds of greens – bitter, spicy, sweet, soft, fibrous – all triple-washed and sold loose at what seems a very fair price. I have been simply throwing these in a bowl and dressing them with a drizzle of Olio Verde, a pinch of Maldon salt, and a sprinkling of the grated aged Goat cheese Coach farms sells in jars. At this point I think I am taking down about a pound and a half of these greens a week and looking forward to more tonight.
There are many other things going on as well. Thanks to Meg I tried Flying Pigs’ liverwurst when I picked up my usual bacon and eggs. I sliced it and put it on toasted Rye from Rock Hill Bakehouse with some coarse mustard and sliced onions (Keith’s Farm again). I am averaging a steak of some cut or other a week from Hawthorne Valley Farms as well as their pickles for snacking.
Except for tomatoes it was been quite a harvest this year, and everything tastes wonderful but, sadly, years of wandering the Greenmarket has officially set the end date in my calendar as Thanksgiving, so get there and eat, or at least don’t say I didn’t warn ya...