Ramps Signal Spring; Ripe and Runny Cheese Comes Early
The pink, white, and green flag of spring has been raised: Little ramplets reared their heads a few inches from the damp earth last weekend, and Greenmarketers are already engulfed in the savory fumes of their oniony funk.
In the Magazine
Nature Bursts From the Pages of This Week’s Issue
In this week’s issue, as befits spring, nature is bursting out of our food coverage. Snails and sea urchins take supporting roles in Adam Platt’s review of the highly rarefied Anthos; Gael Greene flutters into a restaurant called Tree; Rob and Robin talk tomatoes, spring almonds, and even more snails; and, in the spirit of growth, our food editors lay out two Short Lists of places where you can introduce young, growing gourmands to their future lifetime pursuit. Plus, four new restaurant bloom in the April sunshine, all in New York this week.
At the Greenmarket
Getting Fresh With Extra-Local Lettuce and Immature EggsThere’s already lovely salad to be had, and farms south of the city are beginning to pull up the first shoots of green garlic and chives; farmers upstate report that early crops will be harvested the moment the ground warms up enough.
At the Greenmarket
Union Square Bursts Into BloomFarmers are just now planting seed; if storage potatoes and onions don’t scratch your spring foraging itch, greenhouse greens and a profusion of flowering plants, budding fruit-tree branches, cut flowers, and potted herbs should do it. We’ll be keeping tabs on seasonal foods at the gourmet markets until local produce is going strong.
Artichokes, Straight Outta CaliAgata & Valentina Ristorante draws on its sister market’s first-class produce, and right now, that means Castroville artichokes from California, the very first of the season. “They’re meatier and more tender than the ones we’ve been seeing, which all come from South America,” executive project manager Sarah Taylor tells us. “They’re bigger, and they have more flavor, too.” Tonight, in honor of these new arrivals, chef Salvatore Fraterrigo is offering a stuffed-artichokes special ($9). The veggies are crammed full of bread crumbs and garlic, per the traditional recipe, then supplemented with tangy anchovies, rich but mild caciocavallo cow’s-milk cheese, and Parmesano Reggiano, standing in for the more usual Pecorino Romano to give the dish an extra dose of class.
How to Eat in LondonThe Gobbler’s recent Rabelaisian adventures in London produced a piece of measured and in-depth reportage. As usual with pieces of in-depth reportage, however, plenty of stuff got left out. The Gobbler forgot to mention his favorite Indian restaurant (it’s Pakistani, actually), his favorite outdoor market, his tips for ordering dessert (any dish that includes the word “sticky” will do), and his secret strategy for not blowing all of your precious cash (there isn’t one). So here, in slightly expanded form, are the Gobbler’s ten rules for eating well in London.
Cute! Kiwiberries and Other Fresh ‘Babies’
In a culture that prizes youth, it’s no surprise that we’ll pay twice as much for a half-size fruit or vegetable if it’s called a “baby.” But are those Lilliputian Brussels sprouts and their ilk actually young? And do they have a special taste?
Chicken Soup for the House-Bound SoulRight now there are two kinds of New Yorkers: those with a cold, flu, cough, sniffle, ache, or fever, and those trying to ward off everyone else’s germs. Our advice: Stay close to home, and let the chicken soup and orange juice come to you.
At the Market
Red Rice, Pink Beer; Ruby Grapefruits to Share, Cure ColdsWhen it comes to Valentine’s Day, lovers cannot live on chocolate alone — there’s also the obligatory pink-food category! Unlike conversation hearts and wax lips, the following rose-hued delectables are all delicious enough to seek out more than once a year.
Spoiler Alert: The Story of Oedipus, With Scenes of “Vegetable
If you missed its debut on the Sundance channel last week (or its showing at the actual Sundance festival), prepare to veg out to the above: Jason Wishnow’s take on Oedipus is, the subtitle informs, “the story of Oedipus, in 8 minutes, performed by vegetables.” The stop-motion flick, featuring elaborate stage sets worthy of Ben Hur, depicts what is perhaps the goriest vegetable-on-utensil violence since food surrealist Jan Svankmajer’s Exhaustive Discussion as well as the only tomato-on-potato incest scene we can remember (and trust us, we’d remember). The day after a party for the film at Manitoba’s (owner Handsome Dick isn’t exactly a veggie guy, but we’ll disregard that), we asked director Wishnow what it was like to spend two years of his life shooting produce.