May 052011

Smoked octopus with chorizoCheese and Meat board at Fishtag

I went to Fishtag last night for the second time. Fishtag is a relatively new restaurant on the Upper West Side. It’s owned by Michael Psilakis, a successful restaurant owner and chef. He is one of the owners of Anthos and the owner and chef at Kefi; in addition to owning Fishtag, he is also the executive chef. Ryan Skeen is the chef de cuisine; he’s an expert chef who makes innovative and tasty food. Two of the dishes we had last night are pictured above. One is the smoked octopus with chorizo with a potato puree. They did a great job of cooking the octopus perfectly: crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside. I ate most of the dish before taking the picture, because I like eating food more than I like taking pictures.

The second photo is the charcuterie and cheese board; as you can see, I ordered three cheese and two meats. They presented the cheese and meats with five different sauces, olives and pickled vegetables, a date, and perfectly charred bread. This was one of the most elegant presentations of meat and cheese I have ever seen; I don’t believe anyone in New York City is doing anything as pretty right now. When Patti joined me, she ordered another set of meats and cheeses; that presentation was totally different yet equally beautiful.

We had a few other dishes that evening. I loved the chopped chicory, wild argula, and bulgur salad. Another exciting dish we had was something the kitchen was working on: head cheese served with shiso over a hearts of palm puree. When you bite into this dish, all of the flavors blended seamlessly–it makes you think that there is no way any of the ingredients should ever be removed.

In addition to the extensive menu, Fishtag has a great wine, beer, and cocktail list. I recommend checking out the dinner menu and the “appetizing” menu [warning: PDFs]. Hours are on the Fishtag website. Fishtag is on 79th Street, just off of Broadway. For out-of-towners, this is very close to the Museum of Natural History and just up the street from Lincoln Center.

 Posted by at 10:14 pm
Dec 242009

This morning, Patti Jackson and the Marzovilla family were on Good Day New York on Fox 5. They made cavatelli with broccoli rabe. Four segments were shot; Dora was shown with the grandkids making the pasta and then Patti prepared the dish with the anchor. I'll post a link to video later.

Update: You can see the video of Patti making cavatelli with broccoli rabe at i Trulli at the Good Day site, or see it below.

 Posted by at 9:46 am
Dec 212009

Many friends have expressed concern that my homemade aged eggnog may not be the safest brew. Yet my feeling has always been at approximately 60 proof, there is no way that it would prove a hospitable environment for bacteria.

And now there is some backing from science! The good folks at Science Friday spoke with some microbiologists.

 Posted by at 11:32 pm
Nov 252009

My friend Patti Jackson is the Executive Chef at i Trulli. Last weekend was the birthday of Nicola Marzovilla, the restaurant’s owner. Nicola’s wife Astrid planned a large surprise party, and Patti made a cake. Patti worked and trained as a pastry chef for a long time, and a few months ago she made a wine bottle cake for our friend Peter.

Patti constructed the cake in the i Trulli kitchen with the help of her friend Christine Lau. The top of the cake has not been finished; you can also see the inspiration for the design: Nicola’s new wine from Italy called Massoferrato
Making the cake in the i Trulli kitchen

Patti rolled out a final piece of fondant.
Rolling out fondant

The i Trulli kitchen is in the basement of the restaurant. The cake was carefully carried upstairs and left of the bar while we waited for the van. One of the trickiest parts of the evening was making sure that Nicola didn’t come into the restaurant and see the cake. The managers had to reassure him many times that everything was going smoothly that night, and that there was no reason to come in.
Ready for transport

The cake was loaded into a van. Here you can see why Patti left the cake unfinished–she needed to be able to keep the cake steady as we drove from the restaurant to the party location. In the background is Christine.
Cake in the van

Patti finished the cake by applying the previously prepared fondant to the neck of the wine bottle cake.
Finishing the cake

I helped Patti carry the cake into the venue through the kitchen.
Posing with the cake

Not only was Nicola surprised by the party, but also the cake was totally unexpected.
Nicola Marzovilla and Patti Jackson

Dora Marzovilla, Nicola’s mother, prepares the fresh pastas at i Trulli.
Nicola Marzovilla, Dora Marzovilla, and Patti Jackson

Later in the evening, candles were added to the cake.
Nicola blows out the candles

After delivering the cake, Patti headed back to the restaurant to change. When she came back, she lent a hand in the kitchen giving directions on how to disassemble and cut the cake.
Cutting the cake
Cutting the cake

The serving of the cake went quickly; servers flew out of the kitchen with trays of cake.
Serving the cake

The cake was stacks of rounds held together using dowels. The construction was similar to the construction of a traditional wedding cake.
Closeup of cake construction

Yum. Cake
Slice of cake

 Posted by at 12:50 pm
Nov 222009

Early this past summer, Michael Ruhlman issued a challenge to have chefs create a BLT from scratch. Many people responded, but a great entry came from an an American chef in Australia, . One of the most interesting parts of what he did was to create a terrific web info-graphic detailing his work: Project BLT @ One Hungry Chef.

BLT. Yum.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Nov 212009

My friend Patti has been in the media recently.

This past summer, she was featured on the Food Network on the “Best Thing I Ever Ate”:

The rabbit is a standard item on the menu at I Trulli.

She is also featured in this week’s New York Magazine for her crabapple mostarda. A photographer visited her at I Trulli to take a photo of her hands as she made the dish; to the left is the artist’s rendition from the magazine.
 Posted by at 7:48 pm
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