Table Scraps

22nd February
2010
written by spd

In celebration of our 1 1/2 year anniversary, belated Valentines Day and our Broadway debuts, David and I recently treated ourselves to the tasting menu at Thomas Keller’s Per Se!  I have many updates before I get the “Apple Slices” of these past few weeks, but I thought I would give you a peek at the menu in the meantime.

Microsoft Word - 02.15.10 dinner.doc

16th January
2010
written by spd
La Cage Aux Folles at Broadway's Longacre Theatre

La Cage Aux Folles at Broadway's Longacre Theatre

I’m excited to share that I’ll be making my Broadway debut in the London transfer of La Cage Aux Folles (set in the French Riviera and based on the play and movie of the same name). Previews begin April 6th towards an official opening on April 16th at the Longacre Theatre.  I’ve known of my offer since November 11th, but was hesitant to share the news until a contract was signed, sealed, delivered.  This Sunday in Calgary marks my final performance with the Fiddler on the Roof tour. I’ll be vacationing in Lisbon and Madrid for the two weeks that follow, and rehearsals will begin shortly thereafter in New York.  Still so many updates to share from our stay in Toronto, and lots of exciting eats write about once David and I are in Europe… 2010 is looking up!

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22nd September
2009
written by spd
Foie Gras Entier carving station.  (img: David Kaley)

Foie Gras Entier carving station. (img: David Kaley)

My boyfriend, David, recently returned from his cousin’s wedding in Paris.  While looking through his photos, my jaw dropped when we came to this picture of the hors d’œuvre line.  Look at that mammoth piece of whole foie! Given that most of his family is from France and Hungary, the two largest producers and consumers of foie gras, I suppose it should come as no surprise that they had a foie gras carving station at the reception.  Generous chunks sprinkled with a little fleur de sel and served on crustini… can you even?

10th September
2009
written by spd

YAY!

  • In the past two weeks, I’ve eaten many meals while standing. And I’m not complaining! Portland’s food cart culture has been written about in every food rag there is, but somehow, I never gathered just how many carts there are in Portland, or what a fine product they turn out. Restaurants must surely loath them, because they have a miniscule overhead and can, therefore, provide a hefty meal for a fraction of the cost. During my time there, I had some mean Carne Asada Tacos, stellar Pad Thai (and not-so-stellar Pad Thai), Crab Rangoon the size of a burrito, the list goes on. The most I ever spent in one sitting (standing?) was $7.50. I was most impressed, however, by the array of vegan and vegetarian booths. You may have gathered by now that I’m certainly not opposed to eating a little meat! But I was blown away by the vegan rice bowls at Sonny’s Bowl at Stark and 3rd. Their very own BBQ Soy Curls sit atop Green and Yellow String Beans and Brown Rice with Citrus Ginger Sauce. Also at Stark at 3rd, DC Vegetarian serves up a filling “Steak” and Cheese, made with their own seitan. My only complaint is that most carts they aren’t open on the weekend, and most close before 5pm.
  • The weekend, however, is a great chance to visit numerous Farmers Markets around town. The Saturday Market at Portland State University’s South Park (between SW Harrison and SW Montgomery) is open from 8:30am-2pm. I didn’t give myself nearly enough time to take in the stands featuring picture-perfect produce, locally caught seafood, artisan charcuterie… I just ran manically through the place looking for a pre-show meal. I have to pat myself on the shoulder for my choices: Buttermilk fried chicken and Biscuits, and an Heirloom tomato sandwich on a Sesame Bagel with Cream Cheese, Basil Pesto and Bacon. The tomatoes were so incredible, and packed such an intense punch of flavor. That’s what happens when produce is allowed to ripen on the vine, instead of being picked green and packaged for sale one week later. I didn’t want to leave!

NAY!

  • Perhaps we were spoiled by Portland’s table-less eats, but the yearly Festa-Italiana offered up a pretty lackluster meal in between shows. We scoured stands, and found mostly dried out pasta slopped out of heating trays. I went for one stand’s calamari, which was heavily breaded and served with a watery marinara. The caesar salad was overdressed and missing parmesan cheese. My castmate Trevor had a doughy calzone. Are these people Italian or wha? So… stick to the carts, I say!
  • When we first arrived in Spokane, I was delighted to hear that we were visiting during the 30th Annual Pig Out in the Park. Over forty food stands conveniently located one block from our theatre? Yesplease. Unfortunately, these stands weren’t set up by restaurants selling their signature dishes… most were glorified Fair Food. Sure, the elephant ears were fantastic, and you could pick up a deep fried twinkie if you dared to. But the Asian carts are pretty run-of-the-mill and the $4 lemonade is… get this… Countrytime. Not a lemon in sight, and boxes of Countrytime in an adjacent trash can. The soba noodles at the Island Noodle stand make the fest worth a trip. Over twenty vegetables go into the wok, and they are as fresh as can be. Served with Ginger chicken and crumbled macadamia nuts for $8? One visit wasn’t enough… they were my pre-show meal on-the-go three times that week!
The nutritious soba noodles at Island Noodle, Spokane, WA (img: Sean Patrick Doyle)

The nutritious soba noodles at Island Noodle, Spokane, WA (img: Sean Patrick Doyle)

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14th July
2009
written by spd

I’ve just completed a much-needed two-week layoff from the Fiddler tour.  I’m en route to San Diego now, mildly satisfied with the Au Bon Pain salad that sits in front of me… dreaming of some of the irresistible eats that I’ve noshed on while in the city.  In no particular order:

  • Canadian Lobster with Porcini Mushrooms and Almond Emulsion; at Charlie Palmer’s Aureole. One of the most perfectly cooked pieces of protein I’ve ever placed on my tongue.  After years of overcooked Maine lobster dipped in clarified butter, this felt like a revelation.
  • Homemade Vanilla Chai Ice Cream; prepared by my boyfriend, David. Every super hero has their secret weapon and my boyfriend’s is his kitchen aid.  Pasta, cookies, ice cream… the joys that have come from this clunky piece of hardware make up for the counter space it devours.  He steeped six tea bags in the milk and cream, and followed a standard Vanilla recipe (from Joy of Cooking?) from there.
  • Maryland Crab Cakes with Tomato and Sweet Fresh Corn over Arugula; at Square Meal by Yura. The best crab cake I’ve had outside of Maryland, hands down.  I can see why her UES clientele refuse to let her take it off the ever-changing seasonal menu.
  • Diver Sea Scallop “Sandwich” with Pan Seared Foie Gras, Sugar Snap Peas, Passion Fruit, and Chives; at Charlie Palmer’s Aureole. This signature starter is texturally satisfying, and as delicious as it is beautiful.
  • Spiced Berkshire Pork Loin, Warm Guindilla Chili-spaetzle salad, Nashi Pear Compote, and Salsify Crisps; at Public in Nolita. This entrée satisfies your sweet and savory teeth in one bite.
  • Sour Cherry Soup with Sour Cream; prepared by David’s mother, Harriette. My boyfriend isn’t the only member of his family blessed with culinary know-how.  His mother introduced me to this Hungarian classic during dinner on their terrace.
  • Salad Nicoise at Fig and Olive in the Meatpacking. My family and I ducked in to Fig and Olive before watching the 4th of July fireworks.  I felt like a bore for ordering such a classic, but I wanted something light.  I was not disappointed when it arrived – it was, perhaps, the most divine Salad Nicoise I’ve ever had!  Paper-thin marinated raw tuna, crisp haricot vert, tomato, roasted potatoes, hard boiled egg, black olives, meaty white anchovies, red bell pepper, red onion, citrus & Picholine olive oil dressing… quite beautiful, with all of the elements deconstructed on the plate.
  • Bone Marrow with Parsley and Fleur de Sel, served with Grilled Bread; at Café d’Alsace on the Upper East Side. Nothing trumps the massive marrow bones at Prune on the Lower East, but these came very close!
  • Truffled Fettuccine; prepared by my David. Using the pasta attachments that I gave him for his birthday, David and I rolled out our own fresh pasta… with little secret folded into the dough: truffle oil.  We served it with sautéed oyster, porcini, and shitake mushrooms.  Earthy, divine!
  • Goat Cheese, Beet, and Endive Salad at Artisinal in Murray Hill. It wasn’t life-changing, but my parents and I had a lovely meal at Artisinal, by Picholine’s Terrance Brennan.  It’s easy to see why cheese lovers flock to his fromage-centric bistro!  This healthy spoonful of goat cheese transformed a now cliché salad into a masterpiece… milk heaven!

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