Thursday, February 16, 2006


February 16

When you're an editor, it’s really not a good idea to wander off to a press lunch on the day your pages close when not all of the art is in yet. It’s irresponsible.
But I had confidence that Jay Caputo, the chef at Espuma in Rehoboth Beach, Del., would come through with his picture of deckle carpaccio.
This deckle is different from the deckle used to make pastrami, which comes from the brisket. Instead, this cut, also known as calotte de boeuf, is the part of the prime rib that’s separated from the main body by a layer of fat and gristle, and it’s usually cooked more than the rest of the meat on the rib. Jay and some other chefs have decided that it’s really delicious on its own, so they’re cutting it off of the rib eye and using it in a variety of preparations that you can read about in the February 27 issue of Nation's Restaurant News (page 25).
Jay kept e-mailing the picture to me, and it kept getting lost in some fastness of cyberspace. It was becoming a real drag.
But still, I said I’d go to the Ambassador Grill at the Millennium UN Plaza Hotel to check out their new International brunch, and if I say I’m going to something, I go (except when I forget, which I must admit I’ve done at least twice). Besides, you can’t call chefs during lunch; they’re busy making lunch.
It was a big hotel buffet, so obviously there was a giant prime rib there, calotte all brown and glistening. What a perfect illustration for my story had I had half a brain and brought a camera.
But I didn’t. So I sipped a Bellini, engaged in polite conversation with my luncheon companions, ate shrimp, crab and lobster cocktail, prime rib with horseradish sauce and Yorkshire pudding, Peking duck, veal and beef stroganoff with spätzle, Austrian-style baked chicken, Vermont maple syrup-roasted vegetables and assorted desserts, including a strawberry coated in black and white chocolate made to look like a tuxedo. Then I high-tailed it back to the office, called Jay and walked him through uploading the picture to our server.
Mission accomplished. All is well with the world.

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