A.G. Newsletter #23: Farmer's Market Photos, Murray's, Jeffery's, John's, Lure, Chickpea Soup & Salad in a Small Bowl

Hey Team A.G.,

Woke up this morning to tiny hail hitting the window and a new compulsion to walk into the kitchen, pour Brita water into the coffee maker my parents recently gave me (a traditional, no-frills coffee maker) and scoop it in 3 to 4 big scoops of the Blendimitosis coffee I had ground at Gorilla. See, I used to limit myself to one cup of coffee a day (something latte-ish at Joe) but now that it's colder, I'm really enjoying a cup of hot coffee in the morning. I have it here next to me now and I'm not letting it go.

I hope you've all been enjoying the new pictures I've been taking with the SLR! I especially liked the pictures in my apple sauce post. Oh, also the ones in the Challah Bread French Toast post. (Someone e-mailed to ask "why did you write challah bread French Toast? Isn't that like writing brioche bread French Toast?" It's a good point.)

Here are some pictures I took this past Saturday at the Farmer's Market:

I think it's safe to say that fall is most certainly here.

And now for three meals I ate at venues that feature men's names.

Venue #1: Murray's Bagels.

Longtime readers of my site know that I love Murray's Bagels (see this post and this post), but lately it's become such a miserable place to eat, I'm conflicted whenever I go there.

The problem is it's TOO popular. There's almost always a huge line and almost never a table. I ate my usual whitefish salad on an everything bagel with tomato and onion standing up next to a garbage can:

But MAN, was it good. Oh so good. See the conflict? Great bagels, great whitefish, miserable everything else. Oy, what a dilemma.

Venue #2: Jeffrey's

One morning, Craig called me to tell me that one of our favorite West Village staples, Joseph Leonard, was on fire.

Indeed, an electrical fire practically gutted the charming spot on Waverly and Christopher. Thankfully, the owner, Gabe Stulman, had just opened up a new place across the street called Jeffery's. And Jeffrey's is now one of my favorite places to grab a sandwich at lunch.

Like this turkey sandwich:

It may not look like much, but the turkey was fresh, and there was a flavorful kick from roasted tomatoes and creamy avocado. The best sandwich there, though, was one that I shared with my friend Leland a few weeks ago: it's roasted pork with broccoli rabe. The broccoli rabe (which is cooked with garlic) adds an amazing bitter bite to everything; I almost intervened when the woman next to me, at this lunch outing, ordered her pork sandwich without the broccoli rabe. Criminal!!

Venue #3: John's

We are very lucky to live so close to one of New York's best pizza spots, John's on Bleecker. And yesterday, after deep-cleaning our apartment (closets are emptier! no more mold in the shower!) we rewarded ourselves with a large sausage, onion, mushroom pie and salad from John's.

To think I used to order Domino's pizza in college and I've now graduated to this: that's how you know you've really made it, when the pizza you order is better than you ever thought it could be. [Note: they don't deliver, but they do pick-up.]

As for a venue without a man's name in the title, I met my parents for brunch on Saturday at Lure Fishbar in SoHo.

I've written about it before for its remarkable burger (see this post) and, naturally, my dad, who never turns down a great burger, ordered it:

I, rather stupidly, ordered something breakfasty because I was in a breakfasty mood. That led to this crab cake benedict which was just ok:

The crab cakes were small and almost mealy; the eggs were properly poached and the hollandaise was well made, but it came with this weird wedge of fried shredded potato that was half-hearted and re-heated. I was not a fan.

Another stupid thing I did happened on Saturday night.

So this waitress from Dirt Candy and Ssam Bar had e-mailed me about a one-woman play she was doing about waitressing and she asked if I would come. I said, "Sure" and she sent me tickets. I asked Craig if he'd go with me and on Saturday night we left the warm embrace of our apartment to journey uptown and across 42nd Street to get to the theater. When we got there, the ticket taker tried to scan our tickets and they wouldn't scan. She looked at them: "These tickets are for MONDAY night."

(Cue that sound effect, you know, the one that goes "WAH WAH WAH.")

I felt awful but Craig was forgiving and when we came home, I cooked up a batch of Chickpea Soup using fresh chicken stock I'd made earlier in the week (post forthcoming?). Essentially, I sauteed onions, carrots and celery in olive oil with a little salt and pepper:

Then I added lots of garlic (about 4 cloves chopped) a can of drained chickpeas, sauteed that for a minute, then covered the whole thing with four cups of defrosted homemade chicken stock:

(That's the chicken stock melting in a pot.)

I brought the pot with the vegetables and chickpeas and stock to a boil and reduced to a simmer (seasoning with some more salt and pepper) and then covered and let it cook for 20 minutes or so while I did the dishes. Then I blended everything with a hand blender.

Ladled into bowls, I drizzled with olive oil and shredded some Parmesan on top:

It twas a mighty fine, mighty comforting soup on a cold autumn night, especially a night like that night which involved such stupidity.

Finally, I'd like to rant about salads served in tiny bowls. It happens at Taro Sushi in Park Slope when they serve the salad that comes with the sushi lunch, and it happens (most egregiously) at Hummus Place in the West Village when they serve their Israeli salad in this tiny bowl. It's impossible not to spill:

I'm always embarrassed when I'm done eating and I've made such a mess. Big salads in tiny bowls are my enemy.

Thanks for reading this week's newsletter!

Oh, and something exciting's going to happen tomorrow on the blog. If you watch TOP CHEF JUST DESSERTS, I'm going to be interviewing recently eliminated contestant Eric Wolitsky LIVE at Baked in Red Hook using UStream technology at 1:45 PM. So visit my blog tomorrow (11/9) and join the chat.

Thanks everyone.... hope you have a great week.

Your friend,
Adam (The Amateur Gourmet)

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