Restaurant Review: Brasserie Pushkin

A note about my restaurant reviews: New York City counts many Eastern European restaurants scattered across the five boroughs, most of them ignored by restaurant critics and diners alike. I intend to visit as many as I can and report! Russian restaurants seem to be opening faster than I can visit them these days. I feel […]

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Tokaji Wine Review: Úri Borok Eszencia 2006

During numerous trips to the Tokaj-Hegyalja region in Hungary, I’ve had the opportunity to taste hundreds of Tokaji dessert wines, and I’ve managed to build a small personal collection. With no great claim to being a sommelier, I will share with you my impressions about the wines, and stories about the people who make them. […]

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Restaurant Review: Revisiting Karczma

A note about my restaurant reviews: New York City counts many Eastern European restaurants scattered across the five boroughs, most of them ignored by restaurant critics and diners alike. I intend to visit as many as I can and report! I reviewed Karczma in Greenpoint nearly a year and a half ago, but two more recent visits […]

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Apple, Vodka and Birch Syrup Babka with Cranberry Mors Sorbet

Here’s a recipe that gives me lots to talk about: Babka is a brioche-like yeast cake found in many Eastern European countries, from Albania to Russia. It’s often baked for Easter Sunday, and it’s not infrequent that you see dried fruits added to the mix. The babka was the inspiration for the more widely known French rum […]

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Happy May Day, and Spring Recipes

You may be working today (I am), but I wish you a happy May Day all the same! And now that spring is more or less here — the first ramps, asparagus, and strawberries have made their appearance at New York’s farmers markets, but it was snowing in the Finger Lakes on Friday — here is a […]

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Apricot Kernel Ice Cream

Apricot Kernel Ice Cream

Every apricot pit conceals an intensely aromatic kernel. Eaten raw, this kernel is unpleasantly bitter, but once toasted its taste gets somewhat milder, reminiscent of almond. This should be no surprise, since it can contain up to 5% of amygdalin. In fact I just learned while writing this post that apricot kernels are sometimes used […]

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Lyulya-Kebabs: An Epic Journey

I’ve often spoken of lyulya-kebabs, whether to criticize the ones I’ve eaten in New York  restaurants (such as here, here, or here), or to sing the praise of the ones I’ve had in Azerbaijan (here and here). Truth be told, it’s not all that easy to excel at preparing those skewers of ground lamb, partly because […]

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