Sorry the blog has been so quiet lately, I've been busy over at nrn.com, where I’ve been filing stories about all sorts of things, from vegetarian menu items (that one’s for subscribers only, click here if you want to subscribe), to Cascabel chef Todd Mitgang (listen to the interview here), to Carino's new low-calorie kids' menu, to 5 Napkin Burger’s beer list, to Marco’s Pizza’s new lending facility for franchisees.
“Oh, that’s boring,” egg man Howard Helmer said yesterday when I told him about the Marco’s Pizza story, which I’d filed that morning.
What can I say? Some people want to read about beer lists, others about menu items, others about creative ways, during this credit crunch, to help franchisees fund their expansion.
Here at NRN we have something for everyone in the restaurant world.
I was at lunch with Howard, goose farmer Jim Schiltz (freshly returned from a feather conference in China, during which everyone apparently asked Hungary to desist from its centuries-old practice of live plucking), and Food & Wine executive editor Tina Ujlaki. We were at the much ballyhooed ABC Kitchen, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s new restaurant focused, like all new restaurants these days that aren't burger joints, on local, seasonal food.
Howard ordered a pizza for the table, one with morels, Parmesan and a “farm fresh egg.”
Howard represents the American Egg Board, you see. He also occasionally represents the National Goose Council, of which Jim is the president and only member (we only produce about 250,000 geese a year in this country, and most of them are raised or processed by Jim — or both).
Howard was supposed to retire recently, and was going to be replaced by Next Food Network Star runner up Jeffrey Saad.
Jeffrey's doing a lot of the social networking stuff for the egg board, which is all well and good, but apparently they still want Howard to make omelets at state fairs and whatnot.
So he’s not retiring.
I ate relatively lightly — raw diver scallops with market chiles, anise hysop and lime, followed by sautéed Arctic char, summer beans, lime and spicy corn broth, and Jim and I split one of the signature juice drinks, made of peach, currant, cherry and ginger — because my friend Jonathan Ray was in town and I’d managed to finagle us a table at The Little Owl.
But it was a 6 o’clock table, which was fine with us because Jonathan had to take a train back to Westchester that evening. But it meant I shouldn’t gorge myself at lunch.
This is embarrassing to admit, but I hadn’t been to The Little Owl before. It’s one of those little places that everybody seems to love, and although it’s not new by any stretch of the imagination —it opened in May of 2006 — it continues to be a hard place to get a table.
So, good for The Little Owl, but with so many places to check out, sometimes I pass over the cute little ones that are hard to get into.
So I was glad Jonathan was in town, because it was an excuse to check the place out, and to eat:
baked clams with watercress salad and bagna cauda vinaigrette,
broiled halibut with corn, favas and pesto vinaigrette