Oh, spring! Even if they're still being shipped out from California, I am in thrall to the thought of asparagus and strawberries and the tender little greens of spring. If I can wrangle a few people over for dinner, I'm going to try making asparagus risotto. Not something I usually make, but hey, what can happen?
Je ne veux pas travailler...
Food-world sighting at last night's Food & Wine Best Chefs 2005 event: Gastropoda's Regina Schrambling. Unlike most chipper bloggers (my cats! My hubbie! My cookies!) Schrambling hates everything. Most of all she hates her former employer, the New York Times. Boy, does she hate them. But she doesn't confine her bitterness to the NYT; no, she has a special little vial of vitriol for just about everyone. Her commentary on food-world idiocy can be a trainwreck of scorn and loathing, but she's not just bitchy for the fun of it (see Veiled Conceit for that); instead, she's truly outraged at the collapse of standards, journalistic, gastronomic, and otherwise, with the knowledge and experience to back it up. Still, she does make me think of that Roz Chast cartoon, where the teenager berates her befuddled parents, "Why you have to hate on everything all the time?" However, she was deep in conversation, and I was too intimidated to bust in and thank her for being so mean.
je ne veux pas dejeuner...
On our continuing quest for civilized late-lunches-with-wine in the neighborhood, B. and I ended up Cafe Quercy this afternoon. When we wander in around 1:45, two or three other tables are finishing up, including one older lady with the remains of a fabulous-looking roast chicken salad in front of her. We decide we'll both have what she's having, along with the day's special asparagus-dandelion soup. Then the waitress comes over, she's so sorry, but they're all out of roast chicken, and the next batch won't be ready for another 40 minutes or so. Well, we're suitably bummed. But I order the skate; B., repulsed by my description of it as "sort of soft and gelatinous" goes for the duck-confit salad. As we're waiting, B. spots a big platter coming out of the kitchen for the staff meal at the back of the restaurant. It's filled, nay, heaped, with roast chicken. And salad. Mais helas, pas pour nous.
But our lunch is surprisingly delicious anyway: smooth, buttery, grass-colored asparagus soup, with just a slight early-spring bitterness from the dandelion leaves, then lovely soft, succulent skate with capers and brown butter for me, plus haricots verts and all the cold beets off B.'s plate. For $10.95 each (the two-course prix fixe) a very good deal.
je veux seulement l'oublier
And playing in the background, accordions! Cafe Quercy, 242 Court St. at Baltic Street, Cobble Hill (718) 243-2151.
Et puis, je fume.
French Music for Spring (in honor of la belle Christina and her fabulous mix, Music to Drink Vin Chaud By)
1. High, Low, In (Paris Combo)
2. Je Ne Veux Pas Travailler (Pink Martini)
3. Folle de Toi (Benjamin Biolay)
4. Nuages (Django Reinhardt)