Doug’s bro-skies give him flack for his abundance of wife-generated “activities.” And it’s true; I do love them. Just last Friday night, we stayed home to drink sake and fold fresh dumplings in advance of the first gathering of a supper club I’ve started with our friends. Random, yes, but activities are winter’s lifeblood. You can’t quite embrace the “aimless meandering” spirit of the city when it’s ten degrees outside. Our shorter, darker days crave purpose, people.
In connection with our New York City-themed gift night this past Hanukkah, I gifted, of course, an activity. We love the local brewer Sixpoint, which began gracing New Yorkers and others with its tall cans of specialized brew in 2004. While widely distributed varieties such as Sweet Action can be found on taps and in Duane Reades across the area, other beers in the Sixpoint arsenal are more elusive. In fact, some beers are so exclusive that they were inspired by, and created for, specific establishments.
But how does one find the watering holes that offer Sixpoint? Enter the Sixpoint Beerfinder on the brewery’s mobile app, which can easily be used to curate your own local Sixpoint Beer Crawl. In mid-January, after some advance preparation on my part, we crawled.
I’m a sucker for seafood. Any New York City restaurant plugging super-fresh specialties from the sea can almost guarantee my visit. By this theory, The Clam deserved one by name alone. This new Hudson Street establishment focuses on (you guessed it) those little shelled guys and a few of their underwater friends, executed via casual yet untraditional fare.
When taking in the atmosphere and menu, I was reminded of a favorite restaurant from my days in grad school downtown: The Mermaid Inn. Only upon writing this ditty did I learn that Chef and Owner Michael Price first lead the kitchen at The Mermaid Inn in 2003. It all makes sense. The Clam is a natural progression for Chef Price, with its small-plates-heavy offerings and downtown vibe, targeting a new generation of stylish food enthusiasts.
Happy Monday, friends!
My apologies for missing in action this week, but I assure you, this blogger never sleeps (figuratively, that is). Aside from drafting a fun food piece that will hopefully be featured somewhere locally, I continued plowing right through my 2015 Bucket List with a trip to The Clam on Saturday night.
More importantly, I expanded my social media horizons and launched an Instagram account for all the goodies shared here. It will be a long road from my current 14 followers, but no hashtag worth writing is easy, right? Did that work? Maybe?
Anyway, PLEASE FOLLOW along at @avgjoelle. See you there!
Did you know that eggplant is technically a fruit? Earth shattering, isn’t it? I’m always looking for new ways to experiment with this supposed fruit, hoping to take it beyond the common eggplant parmesan. Doing a little research on Moroccan spices inspired this bountiful bowl, tossing together eggplant, couscous, and a blend of herbs and spices. For protein, I kept it lean with turkey meat, but I can guarantee it would taste better with ground lamb. The fat, though, the fat! Must focus!
Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till Parm opened an Upper West Side location and ohmygod it’s four blocks from my apartment. Four blocks! Parm!
The news broke months before, but seeing the brown paper rolled off the windows of the old Lansky’s delicatessen to reveal our very own outpost from the folks who’ve crushed the game downtown felt like love at first sight. Coming off the heels of an artisanal mustard boutique (you heard that right) replacing one of our few reasonably priced restaurants down the street, the neighborhood rejoiced. I could feel it the moment I stepped inside.
Locals fluttered around the bar area waiting for their taste of the casual, classic Italian that put Parm on the map. It’s really wonderful how well certain elements of the old space integrated with the new atmosphere – the glass display case, the patterned tile floors, the booths in the back, all familiar but new. The menu draws upon that familiarity, bringing diners back to the simple dishes of Sunday Supper at grandma’s, or in my case, that Italian joint in the strip mall in Jersey where I grew up, but the best possible version of what that could be. That is Parm – lovingly familiar, but better than what you remember.
Whether we share them or don’t, we all have resolutions. Those promises we make to ourselves for our actions, profession, or attitude to be better than last year. I’ve made one involving my dress size that I’ll leave off the table. I’ve made another resolution, which may contradict that first one, but for good cause: to eat through my 2015 Gotham Grub Bucket (of Food) List. The following list is comprised of new hot spots, special occasion splurges, little-known surprises, and – at the risk of losing credibility – a few places I should have already made it to. Here we go:
Happy birthday, you blog, you. Who's a big girl?!
On New Year's Day 2014, I published Average Joelle. The point was to have a place to display links to my published essays. But my New Year's Resolution was to write more, so I started to blog - about cooking, dining, and travel. I could not have guessed how inspired I would be just one year later. Thousands of visitors have perused these pages, many more than I ever expected. And as Average Joelle continues to grow and evolve, so do I.
To my readers: thank you for supporting my Little Blog That Could, from the bottom of my heart. Please continue to share, comment, link, like, tweet, and talk about what you read here. And reach out to me directly with your thoughts, because they will only help to make it better.
Happy New Year!
Wow. We say it for different reasons, but this year has truly flown by. For me, this has been such a stellar year that I could barely keep track of the weeks. I learned new skills in the kitchen and traveled around the country for business, pleasure, and sometimes both. I continued to explore my cherished New York City, which never ceases to amaze me, as we both are constantly changing.
I am fortunate to be able to write, eat, and write about eating here. Honestly, at times, I have been too busy eating to write about it, which is not good. I will make it my New Year’s resolution, among others, to make sure my hands keep up with my mouth in 2015.
On the New York City dining scene, I had some colorful experiences this year, some not worth rehashing, but there were more hits than misses without question. For your end-of-year pleasure and in no particular order, these were my favorite Gotham Grub meals of the year:
Eleven Madison Park
To the chefs, restaurateurs, and everyone else in the talented army it takes to run a successful new restaurant here, thank you, for inspiring average joe(lle)s like me. Writing has been my passion for years, but food is somewhat new. In a way, your food has inspired all facets of my writing, more than my writing could ever describe your food.
Merry Christmas! We are keeping traditions alive on the blog this week. I hope my readers out there are enjoying the holiday with loved ones, gifts from Santa, and lots of wonderful food.
While we are not decorating trees or stuffing stockings, we Jewish folks have our own Christmas tradition. Did someone say Chinese? It’s true. Unless my not-so-subtle fishing for a Christmas invite to a friends’ home ever works out, I will be eating Chinese food for all of eternity at this special time each year.