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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

You Win Some, You Lose Some...

BEING a part of the printed publishing industry certainly has its rewards. There are the highs of seeing your hard work in print, spread across (insert big city here) for hundreds, even thousands of people to read. And there are the super highs: when you've worked extra hard on what you'd consider your "masterpiece"; you've received plenty more press than you normally do for a piece; or you receive an "accolade" of some sort. There are plenty of satisfactions. 

Alas, there are also the lows (and the low lows); but one can only carry on, persistently.

THIS week was a busy one: I had two "on the street" assignments for two different publications--one was to be a new one, which was slated to publish its premiere issue next month. Both articles would be due during the same week; I had a full schedule at my 'day job'; social obligations; and I had to eat and sleep on top of it all. By Monday, I awoke to notice a subconjunctival hemorrhage on the white of my eye (Halloween had come early).

And tonight, as I was whittling away the whiteness of my Microsoft Word screen I'd received notice that the publication, which was slated to debut next month, had folded before it'd even begun. (That's the short version of it.) What to do with the hemorrhage-causing article, now finished... for naught?

THE DISH* (title of column)

by Patrick Bradley



What’s just as New York as pizza, bagels and deli coffee? Saturday brunch. 

And we New Yorkers are often a picky lot; that’s why if you go to Cookshop anytime between 10:30 a. m. and 4 on any given Saturday or Sunday, you’ll most likely be met with a queue—because brunch at Cookshop is as tried-and-true as a black-coffee-breakfast or that 3 a. m. hit-the-spot dollar slice.

I’ve been brunching at Cookshop for nearly three years now and have come to learn that it’s best to make your brunch reservation at least two weeks in advance, lest you find yourself with the lot of bloody Mary-sipping standees, restively awaiting an open table. Speaking of bloody Mary’s: Cookshop offers a whole slew ranging from the mezcal-lacedOaxaca Mary,” to others doused with pickle juice or cold-pressed spinach, and there’s even one version garnished with a whole strip of bacon! Moving on to the dishes, my Cookshop triad has for long been the DiPalo’s fresh ricotta beignets; house made semolina macaroni with five cheeses and seasoned breadcrumbs; and the can’t-miss chipotle-spiced potato hash (clearly, I’m all about health). But having graduated to “alumni status,” I’m more often branching out to taste some of Cookshop’s other choice selections as of late.

Last weekend—at my usual corner table—I was given the opportunity to taste two recent additions to Cookshop’s brunch list: smoked bluefish rillettes and chopped egg salad crostini. The bluefish rillettes, served on organic rye toast with crème fraîche and pickled daikon radish were the freshest-tasting rillettes I’d ever tasted! And the chopped egg salad crostini with roasted red peppers, arugula, Dijon dressing and fine-quality boquerones (no canned anchovies here) was as good on the palate as it was on the plate. For my main course, I selected poached eggs with beefsteak tomatoes, choron sauce, toasted rye croutons and basil. Having had a taste of Cookshop’s choron sauce (think fresh-tomato hollandaise) on a recent visit, anytime I see it on the menu, it’s hard to resist.

Slicing my first portion of the multi-colored tomatoes, I was beyond pleased with a taste so good that I swore I was eating heirloom tomatoes. And the soft, poached eggs paired with the crunchy, yet tender rye croutons and the silky choron sauce made for a most decadent experience (for which I had moved on to prosecco from my former “BLT Mary”). All that remained was dessert for which pastry chef, Amanda Cook is always serving up something that is sure to please! Pointed out by my server, the peanut butter & jelly sundae was an easy decision for this suburban-raised transplant who’d spent a majority of his formative years sustained on little more than p. b. & j. sandwiches and cereal (living here more than half my life now, I finally feel comfortable calling myself a New Yorker). With peanut butter ice cream, concord grape sorbet, peanut butter shortbread and a concord grape (‘tis the season) sauce, Ms. Cook’s sundae was a refreshing spin on what one could easily view as a rather “pedestrian” dessert combination. As my server dutifully saw to my every beck and call (good food is near naught unless combined with good service), I vacated my corner banquette of another satisfied diner. But next time, I’ll remember to wear my elastic-waisted pants—a carefully placed napkin did nothing to conceal the damage!

Patrick Bradley is a freelance food writer and author of the blog, “From Behind the Open Table” frombehindtheopentable.blogspot.com.

*Changed to maintain the integrity of the publisher
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