ImageAs a wee lad I had begged my grandmother to buy me this Burger King doll. She did, and for some reason I thought about it the other day and decided to see if I could find it on eBay. And I did. You can find anything on eBay. The reason I loved this doll was because it came with a magic trick. A scarf in the King’s hand that changed color. It was a simple trick but as a kid who was interested in magic, this was awesome. I don’t really remember what happened to the doll but it is no longer in my possession. However, it could be once again for the low low price of $3.99. Tempting. But we don’t have any room in our apartment for roomates.

Thinking more about the fact that I wanted this doll and was for a short while a walking advertisement for Burger King (still waiting for payment) makes it clear that I must have seen commercials for Burger King that advertised this. I’m glad the fad didn’t last and I didn’t grow up wanting everything Burger King. However, come to think of it I was mildly intrigued by their meat scented “flame” cologne that was released awhile back. Whenever I see a guy walking down the street with a dog walker being dragged behind, you always know it’s that Burger King cologne.

Now I can’t stop thinking about other childhood toys that I want to rediscover on eBay. The fun never ends. Also, it’s good to be blogging again!

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ImageWhile on vacation in Rehoboth, Lauren and I went out for sushi at The Cultured Pearl and ordered edamame that came coated in smoked sea salt. It was the most delicious edamame I have ever tasted. When I got back to the city I scoured the internet looking at all of the smoked sea salt options, and there were a ton. Bourbon, hickory, oak, apple wood, the list of smokey salts were endless. I decided to try an apple wood smoked salt from The Spice Lab. Last night I received the one pound bag of salt. I ripped it open and took a whiff. It was like putting your nose in a fireplace. The smokiest scent you could imagine. And so I decided to use it on some sauteed sugar peas. Delicious. I can’t wait to see what else I can try it with. I even sprinkled some on watermelon last night and recreated the flavor of grilled watermelon. I’ve been inspired to look for other flavored salts and start using them in my cooking. Here’s a fun recipe using edamame and smoked sea salt courtesy of Food 52.

Charred Edamame with Smoked Salt and Pop Rocks

Serves 2

  • 2-3 fresh green Thai chiles or serranos
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 10 ounces fresh or defrosted edamame, in pods, dried with a kitchen towel
  • 1 tablespoon smoked sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon unflavored pop rocks
  1. Smash your green chiles with the butt of your chef’s knife until they split apart in a few places. Give one a cautious taste and, depending on how spicy you like things, add two or three to a cast iron skillet along with the canola oil. Infuse the oil over low heat for 5 minutes or so, then remove the chiles.
  2. You’ve got two options for cooking the chiles: 1) If you’ve got a lit grill and a grilling basket, that’s your best option. Toss the edamame pods with the chile oil and put them in the grilling basket. Cook, shaking your basket, over high heat until the pods are black and charred in spots. 2) If you don’t feel like grilling, do as I did and keep the chile oil in the cast iron skillet, crank the heat to high, and add the edamame, using tongs to toss them a bit so they all get a coating of the chile oil. Keep cooking until the edamame is well-dappled with brown and crispy spots.
  3. Mix the smoked sea salt and unflavored pop rocks in a small bowl and serve on a platter with the charred edamame pods. To eat, dip each (pleasantly) charred, (pleasantly) oily pod into the salt mixture, use your teeth to pop out the beans, and enjoy!

ImageHaving spent some time working in Publicity for a major studio and then co-producing Clips and Quips with the talented Boaz Frankel, I’ve spent some time at movie premieres dealing with talent and press. Last night was the first time I was able to attend a red carpet premiere as a guest and the first time Lauren had attended a premiere. While we didn’t walk the red carpet, we did get seats that weren’t in the way way back. Ironic since the premiere was for the movie, The Way Way Back. I had been wanting to see this film since I heard about it at Sundance and will say that it is certainly one of the better films I have seen in quite some time. The cast is phenomenal and they were all in attendance last night. Sam Rockwell’s performance really stands out in this film as does Liam James who plays Duncan. Many viewers will relate to Duncan’s struggles which at times felt so real. It’s a coming of age story that really has heart and that is thanks to Nat Faxon and Jim Rash who wrote and directed. They also gave themselves roles in the film and it’s clear that talent runs through their veins. I’m sure we will be seeing a lot more of these two in the coming years and I hope that this movie does well because it’s wonderful. Hoping to have an opportunity to go to more premieres. So if you have an extra ticket, let me know!

ImageEver since I first laid eyes on Dirt Candy the Cookbook I knew that a trip to the restaurant was in order. The graphic novel/cookbook is humorously illustrated while being educational and filled with some really cool recipes. Amanda Cohen is a lot of fun too, and that fun shines in Dirt Candy’s dishes which are also delightfully delicious. Last night, Lauren and I got to try some of them and we can’t wait to go back.

Walking into Dirt Candy you immediately feel at home. A cozy space, tucked away from the East Village street with 18 seats, I expected the atmosphere to be noisier. It wasn’t. It was a really peaceful dining experience. There’s also something really comforting about Amanda being there, clearly very involved in nightly operations and keeping a smooth flow of diners. Here’s my interview with Amanda which I recently did for our blog at work. If I haven’t convinced you yet, let’s give a rundown of the dishes we tried last night.

Our meal began with a delicious snack, Jalapeno Hush Puppies served with the most delicious maple butter. The heat of the hush puppies combined with the sweetness of the butter was perfection. That was a real treat.

For appetizers, we chose the Mushroom and the Cabbage. The mushroom consisted of portobello mousse, truffled toast, and pear and fennel compote. Unlike anything I have tasted before. Highly recommended. The cabbage was also really good, chinese kohlrabi salad, purple cabbage wontons, sichuan walnuts.

For the main course, Corn and Cauliflower. The corn consisting of stone ground grits, corn cream,pickled shiitakes, huitlacoche, tempura poached egg. This was melt-in-your-mouth goodness. I ate everything. The cauliflower was tasty too, buttermilk battered cauliflower, waffles, horseradish and wild arugula.

For dessert I had to try the Rosemary Eggplant Tiramisu especially after the photos I’ve seen and things I’ve read about it. I was not disappointed and the rosemary cotton candy was awesome.

Do yourself a favor and make a reservation. Every bite last night was a burst of flavors. I can’t wait to go back.

What Movies Are You Seeing This Weekend?

There are a slew of movies I want to see this weekend but this one looks most intriguing.

Image  —  Posted: January 18, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Let the Skyfall

Posted: November 14, 2012 in Uncategorized
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ImageWhen I first heard “Skyfall,” the moody-oh-so-bond theme song sung by the always lovely Adele, I knew the movie was going to be great. Disappointed with the last two Bond films, I had high hopes that Sam Mendes and team would bring back the Bond that fans have been craving. And that they did. Some great nods to classic Bond films in Skyfall and we even get Q and the “Bond, James Bond” line. The action sequences are pretty intense and a cast that is superb. Javier Bardem steals this film. His character makes you squirm, and is brilliantly evil. He fits the perfect Bond villain mold and deserves recognition for this performance. We know that James Bond will be back and it’s nice to finally be able to get excited for what’s to come.

Many years ago I began collecting all of the Ian Fleming novels and believe to have the entire vintage collection. I’m tempted to begin reading them again and re-watch the films. Just need to find some time.

Happy 50th, James.

A neighbor of ours who loves to read and always shares his recommendations once told me about this fabulous book, Cloud Atlas. After he gave me a quick summary of the novel I decided to purchase the ebook and recently began reading it knowing that I would be seeing the film adaptation soon. I’m not too far into the book and had I been when I saw the movie last night, I might not have liked it as much as I did.I wanted to give the film some time to mull in my mind and now I can’t get it out.

I’m always leery when I hear that a movie exceeds the 90-120 minute mark and Cloud Atlas clocks in at 164 minutes. If I made it through Avatar, I could make it through this.  Jim Broadbent can do no wrong and Tom Hanks for me will always be “Tom Hanks” on screen no matter how much makeup, fake dentures or facial hair you slap on him to make him look old.  The rest of the cast is also excellent and almost everyone appears throughout the film in different skins. The film is directed by (yes, three directors) Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer and Andy Wachowski and they pull off the storytelling beautifully. The weaving (ahem, not Hugo Weaving, although he is quite good in the film) of all of the characters and places in time flows as smoothly as the waters that Adam Ewing sails. It’s an impressive feat. The jumping back and forth will bother some moviegoers but not once did it bother me.

I really don’t want to say too much more about the film.  I’m anxious to see it again though and that is definitely a sign of its power. For now, I will savor the book.