A.G. Newsletter #3: Lilacs, Ribs, Odeon & Granola

Hey there Newslettereaders,

Sorry if I seem a bit distracted---I just announced the winner of my Coco Cookbook Contest. There were some great entries, so it was hard to pick a winner; ultimately, I went with storytelling over technical prowess. Hope I made a good choice!

Did everyone have a good weekend? Mine was fun if a little low-key. We saw "Alice in Wonderland" (because I love Tim Burton and old "Alice in Wonderland" movies, but thought this one was a real dud) and on Saturday I went to the farmer's market and bought these lilacs:

Aren't they lovely? I'm not much of a flower blogger (are there flower bloggers out there?) but the power of these flowers is enough to melt the hearts of even the most hard-hearted flower hater. They smell just like spring; and as I carried them home at least 8 people stopped me to ask where I got them and if they could sniff them. "Oh, I just love lilacs," said this one woman on my street. "Well they're mine!" I shrieked, kicking her in the leg and running off.

The only thing is they don't last very long. Mine died, pretty much, 24 hours later. But that smell was worth it.

Now let's talk food. Earlier in the week, I joined my parents (who love to visit) at Danny Meyer's rib joint in Murray Hill, Blue Smoke. (I once wrote about Blue Smoke on my blog and gave that post the most tasteless, ridiculous title ever. Please don't click this.)

I chose Blue Smoke because my mom loves ribs. She devours them like that T-Rex in Jurassic Park devoured that goat chained up in the cage. This is a very dark terrible picture, but here's the rib sampler that my mom and I both ordered:

Again, it's very dark in there. The sampler platter comes with Kansas City spareribs, Memphis baby back ribs and Texas salt & pepper beef ribs all for $19.95. It's not the best BBQ in New York (that title goes to Hill Country) but the atmosphere at Blue Smoke is calmer, more welcoming and definitely better for parents. I think my folks liked it.

Later in the week, I met my friend Kirk for lunch at Odeon in Tribeca. Apparently, Odeon, once upon a time, was THE hot spot downtown---I remember reading about it in old issues of New York Magazine. I'm not sure if it's still a hot spot, but Kirk (who works in the neighborhood) wanted me to join him there so he could order his favorite dish--the duck meatloaf sliders:

They were, indeed, tasty sliders (I had a bite). I was feeling a bit too guilty about my massive rib consumption the night before, so I ordered a delicate, heart-healthy lunch---this spring risotto that actually was made with a healthier grain than rice (was it farro? No, something even HEALTHIER (I just don't remember!!)):

True, I was still starving after I ate it, but anything that has fiddlehead ferns in it has my seal of approval. (There were also peas, fava beans and shallots.) It's definitely a good, light lunch option for that neighborhood. (And seasonal too.)

Finally, I wanted to show you the granola I made yesterday for breakfast (another attempt at eating healthier after binging the night before at The Strip House; do you see a pattern here?):

Don't be too impressed---that granola (made from my favorite granola recipe)--has lots of brown sugar and honey in it, so not sure how healthy that is. But the yogurt was plain, low-fat yogurt that I pumped up with two tricks: the zest and juice of an orange and vanilla extract (tricks gleaned from The Barefoot Contessa). Try it the next time you're trying to be good at breakfast.

Thus we conclude another Amateur Gourmet newsletter. This week on the blog check back for Kim Severson's Meyer lemon meringue pie recipe (our friend Rob called it one of the best desserts he's ever had), a picture from the bathroom of Lupa (what!?), and my thoughts about ramps.

Until next week,
Adam (The Amateur Gourmet)

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