A Foodie's Dream, it said on the Shake Shack Website, speaking of what was billed as
Cronut Concrete Day at The Shake Shack Flagship Madison Square Park location on September 17, 2013 to Benifit The NY Police Widows & Childrens Fund and The Madison Square Park Conservancy. Uber-Hot Pastry Chef of The Moment, the creator of the Uber famous Cronut, Chef Dominique Ansel joined forces with Danny Myer and Shake Shack combining what is arguably New York's Best and most beloved Burger Joint, The Shack Shack with 2013's Hottest Food Item and story the Cronut which is Half Donut & Half Croissant into one tasty little pastry. New Yorkers line up for both. They are both super tasty items that are at the top of their games, and both democratically affordable for just about anyone, with a Cronut going for $5.00 and a Shack Burger at just about 5 Bucks as well at $4.90 ... They are both as tasty as can be, and I will go on record for about the 20th time right hear and now, since we're speaking of it, The Shake Shack Burgers are without a doubt New York's Best, A # 1, Best Burgers in Town .. I don't care if you say it's The Black Label Burger at Minetta Tavern, "No Way," and actually thier less hyped Minetta Burger is the "better burger" at Minetta .. No, it's not The Brindel Burger which Josh Ozersky has now marked as his choice of NY'S # 1 Top Burger. No I like the Brindel Burger, but the Shack Burger has it beat for the true great American Burger. Yeah, I like the Burger at Peter Luger which is a sort of un-known secret and great value, but Shake Shack's Burger is better. I love PJ Clarke's and JG Melon is in my top 3 New York Burgers, but I'll still give an edge to Shake Shack. Well, there I go and said it again, Shake Shack Burger is the Best ..
Dam, I went off track there for a minute. Sorry, couldn't help it, when I'm on the subjects of Burgers and the awesome and wonderful Shake Shack.
Back to the Cronut and Cronut Concrete Day at the Shake Shack. The people at Shake Shack and Dominique Ansel, the Cronut Person put together a day to raise money for two great foundations, combining New York's Best Burger and NY'S Hottest new sweet dessert treat the Cronut. The Cronut offering was actually a collaborative effort combining Shake Shack's Butter Caramel Frozen Custard in a paper cup with Cinnamon Sugar Cronut Holes on top. Wow!
The day was a huge success with many happy fans of both items. And it has us wondering will Danny Myer be putting together a deal to bring the Cronut permanently to The Shake Shack? Hhmmm!!???? Would be interesting and quite wonderful. Time will tell ....
"When a meal centered around a Sunday Sauce is announced, one can have visions of Blissful Ecstasy at thoughts of eating Pasta laden with Italian Sausages, Savory Meatballs, Beef Braciola, and succulent Pork Ribs. All this has been slowly simmered to culinary perfection. Yes just the thoughts can enrapture one into a Delightful Frenzy of the Most Blissful Feelings of smelling, seeing, and consuming all the ingredients, the Sausages, Meatballs and Gravy. Yes a Sunday Sauce can and does have such effects on one’s mind, body, and soul. And, I do not want to sound prejudice, but this is pure fact, it is the Male of the Italian-American species who Love The Sunday Sauce in all its form, far more than the female sex. True! Meatballs too! And Italian-American men and boys Love and hold oh-so-dare, their Meatballs, Sunday Sauce, Sausage & Peppers, and Meatball Parm Sandwiches.
The Sunday Sauce that my mother would make was with Meatballs and Beef Braciole. My memories are vivid watching my mother stuffing the Braciole with garlic, parsley, Pecorino Romano, and Pignoli Nuts, then tying the bundles with butchers cord to hold the Braciole together as they slowly simmered in the Gravy. Another fond memory was helping my mother roll and shape the Meatballs."
This passage has been excerpted from Daniel Bellino-Zwicke's upcoming new book
SUNDAY SAUCE, which will be available in Paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com or at a bookstore near you. Sunday Sauce is due for November 2013 release. In the meantime see Daniel's other books (La TAVOLA, Clemenza's Meatball Sunday Sauce) on Sunday Sauce, Italian-American Food and The Italian-American Experience in New York and America ...
A question most asked by restauarant professionals in New York who love Tony Bourdain and his minor-masterpiece Kitchen Confidential on the underbelly of the New York Restaurant World and the restaurant scene in general. Yes, you read Anthony Boudain's New York Times Best Seller and what launched Tony into fame as the Star of such shows as : A COOKS TOUR, NO RESERVATIONS, The LAYOVER, and PARTS UNKNOWN on CNN.
In KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL Tony talks wth adulation of his former boss whome Tony called Big Foot . Tony expounds on Big Foot's unconventional managerial skills in the restaurant business in New York and the many things he learned from him. Bourdain never mentions the guys name, so it has been the source of major intrigue to all who have read Anthony Bourdains entertaining book.
"It's gives me no pleasure at all," Bourdain told the paper. "It ain't pretty, either the charges or the reaction. I may have been an adversary or a critic of Miss Deen. It gives me no pleasure to see her torn apart by the people who were kissing her ass a week before."
Yes, the best Italian restaurant in Greenwich Village is “Not” CARBONE, “Not” Babbo, and certainly not one of New York’s most “Overrated Restaurants of all, the gossly overrated Il Mulino, which is over-priced, good, but no where near to the high exaltation that those who know little of what makes a great Italian Restaurant give to it.
Greenwich Village without question is tops in New York when it comes to having a string of New York’s best of the best Italian Restaurants. There’s Babbo, the Uber Hot “Restaurant of the Moment,” CARBONE. There is Lupa, which for me and quite a number of others The Batali Bastianich’s best restaurant in New York, not Babbo, no Del Posto. Yes, we will get to Greenwich Village’s Best Italian Resataurant in a string of not only the Village, but all New York. The Best is without question Bar Pitti on 6th Avenue near Bleecker Street and smack dab right next to arch enemy # 1 Da Silvano, a restaruant the gave birth to Bar Pitti but a few years ago had a “Nasty Nasty” highly publicized break-up between former 50 /50 Partners Silvano Marchetto the creator and still owner of Da Silvan which for a number of years rained supremme as New York’s # 1 Hottest Celebrity Restaurant of all (I myself was Maitre’d there during 3 of those years). Anyway Bar Pitti for those in-the-know and those who “Know” what they are talking about, and not some Food Critic that knows just a tiny fraction of what many eithers more cable know. Really seriously under quilified people who are put into place as critics by such, supposedly reputable publications as The New York Time and New York Magazine. It’s a sin.
So yes, Bar Pitti is tops. The food is amazing. And most important, it’s consistenly amazing. The food is always the same. Same being is that dishes like Coda d’Vaccinara (Braised Oxtails) Veal Milanese, Paparadell con Sugo di Cinghiale (Wild Boar Ragu) are authenticall and perfectlly cooked and done so each and every time they are done. If you get one of these dishes or any other on the menu or one of the daily specials, it will be the same if you get it today and then 3 weeks or 3 months down the road. The cooks in that kitcehn are conssitent, consistently good, and near flawless. The food is great, the ambaince and decor quite nice and fitting to what a Italian restaurant should be and that people expect, and not over contrived over-done like some joints such as SD 26 or Georgio Armani’s new restaurant Armani Restorante, both over-done, not warm and in the spirit of a truely great Italian Restaurant and one such as Bar Pitti. Yes, wonderful decor, great food, consisitency, good service, and a super great vibe created by the clientele that frequent the spot, many of whome are in publsihing, movies, advertising, and other high profile positions.
BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANT GREENWICH VILLAGE
And ALL of NEW YORK
You can talk all you want about Babbo, which is good. I have had had numerous meals there. The experience is quite nice, with a wonderful warm ambiance, excellent servic and an area that they could teach Bar Pitti a thing-or-two. They have a great wine list, although not the best Italian List in the city as those who again don’t realy know have calaimed to it. That honor goes to Barbetta on West 46th Street which is so off-the-wall great, it makes Babbo’s fine wine-list look like childs play. If you don’t beleive me, check it out. The food at Babbo is very good, but I’ve got to tell you “not always.” I’ve had a few disappointing dished there, which were barely good and far from tasty. In the 21 years I’ve been eating at Bar Pitti I’ve never had such a dish that I’ve been disappointed with the way I have a couple times at Babbo, and I never remember being blown away with any dish the way I have been blown away by Bar Pitti’s Bolito di Manzo, Braised Oxtails, Tagiatelle with Black Summer Truffles or Trippa al Parmigiano, all Awesome. Hey, it may sound like I’m knocking Babbo. I’m not. It’s just that when so many think that one place is the best, and it really isn’t and it has more praise than it deserves and has been highly exalted by people like Frank Bruni and The New York Times and other prominent entities that irrisponsibly “miss-lead” the general public that doesn’t know any better. The general public is counting on entities like the New York Times to report factually. By buying a newspaper or magazine the are paying for good information and when publications like The NY Times, Time Out and othe publications put grossly under-qualified people in position as Food Critics when they know very little, and there are hundreds who know a thousand times fold more than a NY Times Food Critic, it’s is just plain wrong.
So, yes Babbo is dam good, though higher exalted then it really deserves, it’s not as far off the mark as one horrible restaurant around the block from it. A restaurant that is so Highly Over-Rated it’s sinful. This restaurant is IL Mulino, a restaurant that has good food, not great that is way over-priced expensive, the decor is dark and horrible, and the service annoyingly mechanical. The place is a Huge Dissapointement to those who actually know what constitutes a great restaurant, and more specifically a great Italian restaurant, one such as Bar Pitti … Basta !
New York's best burgers in Jersey? .. Well, one of the best. New Jersey does have some great burgers and dogs. It was once the Diner Capital of the World and though most are gone, a few old joints can be found here and there. One great old place is White Manna Hamburgers on River Road in Hackensack, New Jersey. The place is awesome, New York has nothing like it. Wish we did. The structure of White Manna Hamburgers is quite rare. First off, old diners are sadly a rarity. This structure is a sort-of a mini-diner. Well a believe it was designed simply as a Burger Stand, and that's what it is, built by the Paramount Company of Oakland, New Jersey some time in the 1930's. The design is beautiful and I've never seen another like it .. White Manna is a live, living Museum Piece that feeds people tasty burgers and shows them a good time. You've gotta love it. I took a trip there with my brother Jimmy a couple of weeks ago. We planned a nice little day together, Bowling at Wallington Lanes our childhood Bowling Alley and still one of America's best .. We planned on going to White Manna and Rutt's Hut for "Rippers" but changed our plans slightly. Instead of Rutt's Hut, Jimmy took me to White Mana in Jersey City. I had never been to White Mana, JC though I had passed it a thousand times. So Jimmy wanted me to check it out. I believe Jimmy likes White Mana JC better than White Manna in Hackensack, I'm the reverse, though I did like the place in Jersey City as well which was a Burger Joint at The 1939 Worlds Fair and brought to Jersey City after the fair and has operated there for more than 70 years. You'll notice a similarity in names. The one in Jersey City is spelled with one "n" and Hackensack White Manna 2 "N'S" .. There's an explanation. When White Mana JC was opening in the Mid 40s the sign maker mad a mistake and made their sign with one instead of the 2 he was supposed to write the sign as White Manna .. He mad it with one n, the owner accepted it and never changed it. End of story.
Back to White Manna Hackensack. Well, the Burgers at White Manna are dam good. I love them. They're all little Slider Type Burgers cooked with onions and put between a Martins Potato Roll. Yumm!!! The are tasty as Hell. I Love them. I Love going to this beautiful little Gem of a Burger Stand and Love the Show they put on as they grill your burger and everyone else's. It's pure poetry in motion.
Yes we went bowling, we had Burgers at White Manna in Hackensack and at White Mana JC .. After we finished bowling with beers and Big Lebowski White Russians we rode around a little checking out our old stomping grounds. Jimmy asked me if I wanted to go to The Colonial Diner in Lyndhurst. He didn't have to ask twice. The Colonial Diner is one of those few Old-School Stainless Steel Diners that Jersey used to be famous for .. The diner has recently been renovated but they kept the old character intact. Jimmy had the Pot Roast Special, I the Prime Rib. We both got Soup, Bread, and plenty of Potato and Veggies with our meal. It was great. I wonderful top off to a wonderful day of Jersey Burgers, Diners, and Bowling. Nice.
Eggplant Parmigiano, not an easy dish to get right. Good that is. Tasty, prepared properly. Eggplant is a hard thing to work with, not everyone knows how, Giovanni Tognozzi and his boys (Cooks) know how .. They know their stuff those guys who work the kitchen at what I call New York's Best Italian Restaurant, "Yes Bar Pitti." Some may disagree, but they probably don't know what they're talking about, maybe they do. In that cas, lets just say "They have their opinion, I have mine," and Bar Pitti is top notch, thee A # 1 Best Italian Restaurant in New York, not an easy task. They prove it over-and-over-again. They proved it to me again today, with the Meleanzane alla Parmigiano, it's awesome, and as good as it gets. I should know, I'm Sicilian, and we eat more Eggplant than any other region of Italy. They eat a lot in Napoli, but the Sicilians have them beat. Sicilians are the King of Eggplant when it comes to Eggplant Dishes in Italy. The Sicilians have they famed dish Caponata, a sweet and sour eggplant stew that when done right, by a master, it simply devine, as is mine if I must say so myself. I worked on that recipe for more than a year, tweeking it, getting the right balance of eggplant to tomato to onions, to olive oil, celery, sugar and vinegar, topped off with some nice big fat Green Sicilian Olives. Dam, I'm getting hungry just thinking about it, The Caponata, "My caponata," not many can make it as good as mine, "No Brag, Just Fact."
Sicilian Eggpnat Dishes? They grill it and dress it with Olive Oil and Vinegar, season with salt & pepper of course. It's quite a good antipasto item. The there's the famed Pasta alla Norma, a pasta dish made with eggplant sauteed with garlic, olive oil, and tomatoes, and topped with grated Ricotta Salata Cheese .. You can use whatever pasta you like, Spaghetti, Bucatini, Cavatelli, Rigatone, whatever .. The best in New York can be found at Degrezia Restaurant on East 5oth Street in Midtown Manhattan. Their Pasta alla Norma which they call Gargenelli alla Siciliana at Degrezia is awesome. DeGrezia is a hidden Gem that not everyone knows about, but those "In-The-Know" have it down as one of the Best In The City, best Italian Restaurants that is. Check it out on Zagat, they got very high marks.
Hey, anyway I got off on the beaten track a minute as I often do. I start out talking about Bar Pitti and their awesome Eggplant Parm, then I'm on to these eggplant dishes of Sicily and wind up talking about Pasat alla Siciliana at DeGrezia. Well, one thing often leads to the other.
Let's get back to Bar Pitti and their Melanzane Parmigiano and why Bar Pitti is New York's BEst Italian Restaurant. Well, they prove it over and over again. The food is great, authentic, done right and consistently so. The ambiance is nice, they have nice wines, and pretty good service. And the prices, though not cheap, are fair. Well the Food at Bar Pitti is quite simply, Great. And it's always great. I've eaten at Bar Pitti more than 200 times over the years and every dish I've ever had has been excellent or dam close to it. I've had the egplant parm there befor, and have always like it. I got it today when I ran into some friends (as I often do) sitting outside. They told me to sit down and have a glass of wine. I did. I was a bit hungry and ordered the Melanzane Parmigiano. Befor it came, my buddy Mike let me have one piece of hsi Coda di Vaccinara (Roman Braised Oxtails), which might very well be my single most favorite dish at the place (love the Trippa) as well. The Oxtails were a special that they serve about 2 - 3 times a week, and they are superb. My friends Michael and Jasmine had already ordered and when he told me he had ordered the Braised Oxtails, my interest was peaked. I thought about getting them but decided against it as I didn't feel like having so much meat on these day. I'm a Meatatarian (I eat meat, but less, about 3 times a week). Well problem was solved when Michaels Oxtails came, he looked at his dish, and said I could have one piece. Awesome! I ordered the Eggplant Parm, had a piece of Oxtail with a bit of the Soft Polenta and a few pieces of sauteed zucchini which were unsurprisingly perfect. That's Bar Pitti for you, usually perfect or near to it. Bar Pitti, New York's Best Eggplant Parm, Coda d' Vaccinara (Braised Oxtails), and quite simply New York's number # 1 Italian Restaurant. Basta!