The Five Questions: Sarah Maslin Nir
February 2, 2011
Sarah Maslin Nir (Writer for The New York Times-City Room) (The Five Questions)+ A plate of Short Ribs and Balsamic Vinegar
I’ve read Sarah’s Nocturnalist column for the New York Times and I love her writing. Her work is a glimpse into the grim and not so grim underbelly of New York City at night. I used to work in nightclubs years ago. Danceteria was my favorite place to work back in the 1980’s.
Reading Sarah’s writing is like sitting at the bar of a really cool club and listening to her read to you- beatnik-hip, poet style. She writes with a smile. Her written groove shines through every word.
Recently I came across one of her meanderings (nocturnal, of course) describing a meeting of West Coast and East Coast beers. How cool is that? I picture Sarah as one of the in-crowd who know right now what we will only discover, or maybe not ever discover!
She knows about the ins and outs of New York City. I wonder if she was a NYC location scout in another career?
Thank you Sarah for offering some time to me today. Now, I certainly am thirsty!
1. I’m a fan of rum punch especially those from Smuggler’s Cove. Do you have a favorite drink?
Yes I do. It’s very specific to one place. This drink is called The Rite of Passion.
(Rite Of Passion: pineapple-infused mescal tequila, smoked pineapple, dried chipotle rim)
Do you have a favorite cocktail lounge in NYC?
Apotheke is the name of the place. It’s a theme kind of place- A cocktail temple, it resembles an Opium den. You have to know where it is and knock one of the many doors off Doyers street.
The place has no sign, I think there is a Chinese restaurant up front.
(Note: look for the plaid shorn hipsters, you’ll find the bar soon enough)
2. If you live in NYC, I’m in trouble asking you this because most everyone eats out, but what is in your refrigerator right now?
I do live in New York and the only thing in my fridge is a bottle of mean beans Rick’s Picks Pickled String Beans. They have a real kick of spice. A few of them and the juice also makes a MEAN dirty martini …
I’d eat the whole jar right now if it was at my desk.
3. Is there any food or drink that brings a tear to your eye why you eat/drink it? Why?
One thing for certain. Dried apricot paste- Sometimes they come from Turkey. I’m very careful of imitations. The product is dried fruit leather. My family is from Israel via Poland. I always buy apricot leather at the Shouk outdoor market. So, it was my 9th birthday and I was at the Shouk. The guy who sold fruit leather, especially my favorite- the apricot leather learned that it was my birthday. He gave me some to eat without charging me. And, he also spoke to the flower vendor to give me some fresh cut flowers. I was charmed.
It was the first time I ever felt like a beautiful woman, at only nine. I remember thinking, ‘this is what happens when you are a grown up lady, men give you stuff!”
I recognized the guy years later and told him about his gift to me when I was a little girl. He gave me a sheet of the apricot leather to eat. Every time I eat this specific kind of fruit leather I am transported to that place. It is truly a beautiful feeling.
*And it brings a tear to my eye*
4. Social Networking brought us together. Do you live Tweet during the day? Own a Smart Phone?
People are much more accessible through Twitter. Yes, I Tweet at night and have quite a following on Twitter. I use my Smart phone and it has become somewhat of a Siamese twin. I tweet all night. It’s cool to have my readers along with me in REAL TIME on my nocturnal adventures.
On assignment, NYT photographer Piotr Redlinksi scoots us around the city on his motorcycle
5. If you could be anywhere in the world with a round trip first class ticket where would that be? What would you eat/drink when you got there?
I’d like a ONE WAY ticket to Santorini in the Greek Islands. The Myth of Atlantis was based on its history. The Island has a half moon shape. The topography looks like Mars. Every thing is built on the cliffs. It was a hippie colony during the 1960’s. Atlantis Books is a really cool place. People who work there can stay there. I love this place and would never want to leave. After all, I did say, one way, First Class.
The first thing I’d want to eat are the fresh sardines that just leap from the ocean water to the grill.
I also love the wood ear mushrooms that are woven into another dish, tastes like the bark of the tree where the mushroom grows.
I’d throw Ouzo on the floor and light it on fire…
But to drink? All I’d want is a big old glass of water.
Thank you Sarah. Cheers to you for your participation in the Five Questions. wb
Quick and Easy- Short Ribs
Salt and pepper some nice bone-in short ribs. Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. Preheat your cast iron pan to just below smoking. Place the seasoned ribs in the pan fat side down. Cook until charred, turn and then do the same on all sides. Slice a few onions, crush some garlic cloves in their paper and scatter around. Add to the pan (off the heat) about 1/2 bottle of good red wine. Place in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes, turn down to 275 and finish for another hour or so. Reduce drippings for your mashed potatoes and serve with a nice Barolo from the 1970’s.
Lou Bivona at Tavern Direct was kind enough to send me a sampling of products that his company distributes. Initially he had read an article about me in the Morris County Daily Record, was impressed to my qualifications as a writer, and wanted to give me chance to see what I thought about his products. After trading some emails back and forth I received some samples.
Last night my wife and I roasted some short ribs and grilled some winter vegetables. We took some time to taste through his line of balsamic vinegars with our meal.
First of all, I am very impressed with the quality of the packaging. His labels are printed clearly, have nice artwork- in a way they resemble the type of kitchen that they would grace- rather than in a cabinet, but on counter. But the true quality of the product is what is contained inside.
My tasting notes are as follows:
Blackberry Ginger/ Balsamic
This isn’t your supermarket “garden variety” balsamic vinegar. Thick with notes of sundried cherries and woven with toasty oak. The ginger is in there, brooding in the background with a slight burn from the fresh grated roots. It’s tasty stuff- I would enjoy this on grilled baby back ribs with sweet potato and scallion spears. There’s an Asian theme in there- some soy, sesame and garlic flavors as well. Maybe the balsamic is fooling me but I think this would be tasty on cocktail franks instead of the usual mustard- or maybe with the mustard?
Citrus on the Green/Balsamic
Is it the zingy then tangy quality of tangerine? Or perhaps the smell of vanilla, charred oak, and lemon zest? This balsamic is calling out for a plate of peppery arugula and a potent rum punch. I like it with a hunk of a grass fed short rib cooked in a cast iron pan until they melt.
All I could think about was a bowl of vanilla gelato with this glaze of vinegar poured liberally over the top. Yeah, maybe some sheep’s milk cheese too.
Autumn Fig/ Balsamic
This balsamic is a trip to Italy in a bottle. Ripe, sundried figs are pureed then combined with the aged balsamic vinegar. I poured it on my short ribs and over fork mashed Yukon Gold potatoes. The figs are summer in a bottle- the balsamic acidic yet not bitter. Pretty amazing juice. My favorite.
Final thoughts. I see these products not just as salad or vegetable accompaniments, but also as elixirs or cocktail ingredients. They are equally delicious as a digestif.
I cannot think about anything more delicious than a really great quality balsamic after a rich meal. A few tablespoons would be the perfect cap-off to great wine, food, and conversation!
Tavern Direct is sold in very few locations. I know they would like to grow the business. Perhaps with the help of some more happy customers they will find their niche. Thank you again Lou for allowing me to taste your passion.
585 738 3018/cell
8 Somerset Dr
Tenafly NJ 07670
wb and M8
Warren Bobrow is a mixologist, chef, and writer known as the Cocktail Whisperer. In 2010, Bobrow founded “Wild Table” for Wild River Review and serves as the master mixologist for several brands of liquor, including the Busted Barrel rum produced by New Jersey’s first licensed distillery since Prohibition.
Bobrow has published three books on mixology and written articles for Saveur magazine, Voda magazine, Whole Foods-Dark Rye, Distiller, Beverage Media, DrinkupNY and other periodicals. He writes the “On Whiskey” column for Okra Magazine at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum and has written restaurant reviews for New Jersey Monthly.
His first book Apothecary Cocktails, was published in September 2013; and immediately went into a second printing. In 2014, he published Whiskey Cocktails. He was born and raised in Morristown, NJ, on a Biodynamic farm.
Warren Bobrow in this Edition
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