Dinner: Wine, Cheese, a Little NY Phil, and About 100 Thousand New Friends

By far, the largest communal picnic I’ve ever been at.

photo-2I’ve seen a lot of crowds, but this was a first. Nearly 100,000 New Yorkers and friends, all eating, drinking, laughing, managing to carve out a tiny plot of grass in which to hold court.

Our really impromptu picnic — well, my attendance was impromptu — consisted of a pair of cheeses and salumi from Murray’s Cheese Shop, some other crudities, a bottle of wine, and nearly 100,000 of our new, closest friends. (I keep repeating that number because really, it was amazing!)

photophoto-1My favorite of the night was the Asher Blue (right), a cow’s milk blue cheese from Sweet Grass Dairy of Georgia. As the story goes, the cheesemongers at Murray’s were so impressed by the prototype that they bought the entire inaugural batch.

I don’t blame them — this is a really, really interesting cheese. This blue is so young that it’s almost not blue. (Well, that’s not true, but it is such a baby!) You can see the mold is still mostly contained to pockets, and spreading outward, but that large sections of cheese remain a strightforward cow’s milk cheese, more or less. Check out this picture of a much more mature Asher Blue. What a difference! I, for one, was really enjoying the contrasts of the cheese. I’m going to be checking in on it at Murray’s while their supplies last, and see how perceptably it changes.

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Editor’s Note, aka Discovering the Knishwich

If this blog project really is my own personal marathon (as I state on my “About” page), and I believe it is, I hit the proverbial wall this weekend.

For the first time since launching the BLD Project, I found myself utterly fatigued from the constant writing and the constant planning and the constant frustrations with my technology and the constant running out of time and the constant lack of resources (which means all the great ideas I have for making this blog endeavor that much better are constantly being put off). I just couldn’t do it.

My crisis culminated at dinner last night, at Lansky’s, a classic “Jewish deli” in really gorgeous digs — the fleur de lys pattern that runs across the top of their website is the same sumptuous, vaguely Deco pattern as the wallpaper that sets the tone of their dining room, which is stunning, in an almost head-spinning way. 

From the specialty sandwiches menu I ordered something I’ve never heard of, but I truly believe is destined for greatness (a quick Google search reveals it’s popping up on occasion, but infrequently, so far). The “knishwich” begins with a soft, fluffy potato knish (sort of like a baked mashed potato pocket), halved, and topped with corned beef, pastrami, thousand island dressing, coleslaw and melted Munster cheese. 

Oh. My. God. Heaven in a bite. And as I’m sitting there, assessing the lighting and debating in my head whether to pull out my iPhone and take a few pictures, or not — I already had great pictures from my spin on the traditional English breakfast (or “fry,” if you prefer) from Saturday morning, which I hadn’t (haven’t) yet blogged about, but since I only need one blog per day on weekends, I still could (didn’t) blog about breakfast later — my friend’s wife pulls out her awesome camera and begins snapping photos of their food for her food and lifestyle blog. 

I’ve seen her blog; PlayingHouseBlog is a fantastic idea, with a great custom-template design, and she takes fantastic food photos, like the good, close-up, drool-worthy kind. Not the shitty, blurry, iPhone kind. Needless to say, I didn’t take any pictures. (I’ll post a link here to Amy’s post on Lansky’s once it’s up.)

Knishwich leftovers
Knishwich leftovers

All of which is to say, at this two-month mark of my own little fledgling project, I’ve got a lot to think about. In no way am I quitting or even slowing down the pace, but I’ve got to find a way to break through the wall. Any and all feedback is welcome.  

Tip: The Coney Island Knishwich, as it’s called at Lansky’s, is absolutely perfect on its own. But have fun, vary your bites (it’s knife-and-fork food) by spearing a slice of sour pickle, or swabbing a bit in the spicy mustard that comes as a tabletop condiment. 

Lunch: Wednesday, April 8, 2009

photo34Oh yeah? Check out these cracked peppercorns.

Found myself in the neighborhood of Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop today around lunchtime, so I had to stop. Especially after seeing it on a DVR’d episode of No Reservations, the “Disappearing New York” episode, and the fact that I hadn’t been there totally killed my average.

Not in the mood to stare down a mountain of meat, so I took a nod from the menu which calls the bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich an Eisenberg classic.*

approved use of iceberg lettuce
approved use of iceberg lettuce

Took rec. no. 2 from the manager, who said, “coleslaw, hands down,” when queried about which is better, the potato salad or coleslaw. Which brings me back to the peppercorns, because the coleslaw was pretty, well, coleslaw-y, which generally in my book needs a little doctoring up.

Reenactment: Shake, shake, shake. No pepper. Inspect shaker, confirmed pepper granules inside. Shaking more vigirously — no go. At which point I unscrewed the top and poured some samples into my palm to suspect and … ay caramba!

All of which is to say, Eisenberg’s doesn’t mess around. I restrained from ordering a Lime Rickey — I’m saving that for a day when it doesn’t feel like it’s about to snow. [Sigh.] Maybe someday soon …

Interior shot of Eisenberg’s, and key to asterisk, after the jump: Continue reading “Lunch: Wednesday, April 8, 2009”