A.G. Newsletter #34: The Ham Sandwich at Joseph Leonard, Drinks at the Jane & Dinner at Barbuto



Hello A.G. Readers,

Two things right off the bat:

(1) Last week I buried the lead, but I'm actively reviving my Facebook Fan Page. You must click and become a fan so you can get my daily links to all the great articles, recipes and restaurant tips I encounter over the course of the day. Trust me, you'll love it. Click here and "LIKE"!

(2) You've got to click over to this post I just did about the warm chocolate chip cookie at Jacques Torres. I won't spoil it by pasting the lead image here, but once you click you will get so instantly hungry and sad that you're not eating that cookie, you'll have to call an 800 number so someone can help you cope. Click here to have that awesome experience!

This last week, I ate a ham sandwich at Joseph Leonard:



The remarkable thing about this sandwich wasn't the ham (which was very good) or even the bread (which was nice) but the condiments that were on the sandwich itself. Namely: chopped up cornichons, which gave everything a nice acidic flourish, and the spiciest mustard I've encountered in ages.

Seriously: my nostrils were flaring as I ate my way through this sandwich; I felt like a horse in Central Park in the winter with smoke coming out of my nose.

But it was a good kind of pain--to quote John Cougar Mellencamp, it "hurt so good"--and I'd gladly go back to eat that sandwich again.

Last night, after another full week of recipe testing (24 recipes tested in 6 days) I was ready for a night out. So Craig and I journeyed up Hudson and remembered the cool bar at the Jane Hotel. I've written about it before on the blog---at least the cafe next door, Cafe Gitane (see post here)---but we'd never had drinks there before at night. So here it is at 7 P.M. on a Sunday:



The problem with this place is that it's just so cool--aesthetically, atmospherically--that it's now known as "cool" so you get a collection of hipsters and cool-seekers who detract from the actual cool factor. That said, we sat in a nice banquette and Craig had a Maker's Manhattan and I had a glass of white Bordeaux. We talked about the film industry.

After that it was off to dinner and I suggested Barbuto which was just a few steps away. I've written about Barbuto (Jonathan Waxman's restaurant) before in a newsletter, but it's a lovely place to go, especially when the weather is warmer and the big garage doors are pulled open.

As it was, the garage doors were closed but we didn't mind. We shared this beet & farro salad:



The surprising thing about it was that it was served warm. The heat came, probably, from the farro which must've just come out of hot water. That touch made the whole salad interesting; and thre was a wonderful balance of acidity (from vinegar) and creaminess (from goat cheese), with the earthy beets and crunchy walnuts. It's a great salad.

For our entrees, we each got the famous Barbuto roast chicken:



This chicken is famous for a reason: it's outrageously good. So good I kept remarking: "How is this so good??" I've read articles about how it's made--all in a wood burning oven--and I suppose the oven must be the secret. It's definitely a chicken to write home about.

We shared roasted cauliflower as a side:



I always love roasted cauliflower, but this was made interesting with the addition of slivered pickled red onions. A very nice touch.

For dessert (which I insisted on ordering) we shared a caramel panna cota which wasn't too sweet and which was comforting in a chocolate pudding sort of way:



Yes, it was as good as it looks.

And that was my reward for a week of testing recipes; this week--hopefully--will be my last full week of cooking four dishes a night. Next week I'll test anything I missed and re-test the ones that didn't work and, hopefully, I'll be able to turn it all in next Friday. Pressure!

Ok, everyone, I better get cracking. Don't forget to be my Facebook Fan!

Until next time.....

Your friend,
Adam (The Amateur Gourmet)

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