Wild River Review
Wild River Review
Connecting People, Places, and Ideas: Story by Story
May 2010
Open Borders

December 7, 2011

Andrew Scrivani-Photographer

Schiller's Restaurant: Photograph by Warren Bobrow

I met Andrew Scrivani through our mutual friends Gail Schoenberg and her husband/partner Rich Eldert.  Gail has a marvelous way connecting interesting people to people.  Part of the art of Public Relations is that genuine talent in recognizing this art.

Also at the table was Pichet Ong who is a world- renowned pastry chef.

We dined at the restaurant named the Orange Squirrel in New Jersey.

Andrew and I hit it off immediately and we discussed photography, light and food throughout our meal.  We kept in touch after our repast- something that is often difficult with highly divergent schedules and work demands.  It was almost a year until I saw Andrew again after trading some emails back and forth.

Andrew is also a freelance photographer for the New York Times.

My writing has progressed through the kindness of Joy E. Stocke, my editor at Wild River Review.  Then, a fortuitous meeting took place a couple weeks ago.  Andrew and I bumped into each other at a retail store out here in NJ.  I asked him if he would entertain a conversation about the Times, my writing and the project that will follow (just below) named the Five Questions.

Schiller's Restaurant: Photograph by Warren Bobrow

Andrew is a kind and generous, gentleman.  He took me out to lunch in NYC to hash out some ideas, get to know each other- and share a meal at Schiller’s on the Lower East Side.

It was here that I asked him to participate in my project for Wild River Review/Wild Table.  Without further delay, may I present Andrew Scrivani!

Andrew Scrivani: Photo Credit: Soo-Jeong Kang

WRR: Where are you from?

I am a life long New Yorker. I grew up on the North Shore of Staten Island and have lived most of my adult life in Brooklyn and Manhattan.  Some of my family goes back 3 generations on Staten Island, proudly before the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was built and the population increased five fold.  The not-so-politically- correct moniker the bridge wore as I was growing up was “The Guinea Gang Plank”.  The only place where there are more people of Italian descent per capita in the world is Italy.

Erselia "Sadie" Milo my great-grandmother courtesy of Andrew Scrivani

WRR: Who taught you to cook? Mother? Father? Grandparents?

My main influence in the kitchen was my maternal great-grandmother. She was from Cefalu, Sicily and is the person I dedicated my blog to. In smaller roles were my maternal grandmother who taught me how to bake and my mother who I learned all of the basics from. A bit later on, when I ate vegetarian, my father’s younger brother taught me a bit about eating and cooking that way.

WRR: What are your earliest memories of food?

My first kitchen memory was a traumatic one. My grandmother was baking cookies for me because I was upset that my parents had left me and went on vacation when I was about 3. I climbed up to the counter and put my entire hand on a searing hot cookie sheet. I learned a few valuable lessons there, one, that hot cookie sheets are very, very dangerous…and two, that sympathy cookies had a very powerful effect on my recovery. It was then that I started to realize how food could affect mood and memory.

Pistachio Linzer Cookies: NYT CREDIT: Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

WRR: What do you have in your freezer right now?

Most notably, I have a large roll of pigskin that I plan to make a bresaola with and put in a big pot of my grandmother’s Sunday Sauce. I also have 3 bottles of 8 year-old Haitian Rhum Barbancourt Reserve Speciale that my friend David brings home for me whenever he visits his in-laws there.

Maraschino Cherries Photo: Andrew Scrivani

WRR: Any cocktail ingredients in your fridge?  Do you cure your own cherries?

I have do have some simple syrup and a jar of maraschino cherries that I cured for a photo shoot a little while ago.

Family shot of Soo-Jeong Kang, Niece Daniela Sabel, Daughter Julia Scrivani in Nice, France by Andrew Scrivani

WRR: Is there anything that you prepare (or eat) that brings a tear to your eye when you eat (or smell) it?  Why? Who does this remind you of?

When I was a kid my great-grandmother would grow fresh basil on the side of my grandfather’s house. In the spring, I would play in the yard with my brother and the air was warm and filled with the vibrant scent of the basil. It reminds me of my grandfather, who I was named after and was extremely close to. He died when I was 13 and I think about him a lot. That smell brings me right back to that house every time.

WRR: If you could be anywhere in the world at this very moment, where would that be and why?

In the South of France. I go there in my mind so often. I have such beautiful memories of Nice and Aix en Provence with my family. The light, the smells and the sea all got into my soul. I’ve been to so many enchanting places but it’s there that I wish I could snap my fingers and be there anytime I wanted.

WRR: Social media brought us together… (thank you!!!!) Do you use a Smart Phone?  Twitter? (will need link) Facebook? (will need link) LinkedIN?  Anything you want to say about the Real Time Internet and how it’s helped your career?

I am a tech junkie. I use a smartphone, a tablet, my laptop and anything else wired or unwired to communicate with people. I blog (makingsundaysauce.com), I am on Twitter (@andrewscrivani), on Facebook (Facebook.com/andrewscrivani), Instagram and to a smaller degree Linked In. I would have to say that social media has been a definitive game changer for photographers. Gone are the days where the only way you could get an editor’s attention was to send a post card or request a meeting. Now, through all of these outlets you can not only showcase your work but also make personal connections with the people who may want to hire you. They can see more than the work, they can see a bit more of your personality. I think it has helped me greatly because I am essentially a social person and like to get to know people. Social media has provided a gateway for more actual personal interaction. It has been a great icebreaker for me.

Thank you Andrew for your enlightening comments and powerful imagery.  Cheers!  wb

To support our mission and passion for good storytelling, please help support my work and make a tax-deductible donation by clicking here:  Wild River Donation.

Wild River Review/Wild Table editor, Warren Bobrow grew up on a Biodynamic farm in Morristown, NJ. A graduate of Emerson College in Boston- with a degree in Film, he spent his senior year of college as a research assistant in visual thinking. (Center for Advanced Visual Studies @ MIT)

To learn more about Warren, click here:  Wild River Review.

Please follow me on Twitter @WarrenBobrow1

Blue Hill/Stone Barns: Time Exists in Harmony with Nature

WILD TABLE – Billy Reid: Bourbon, Branch and a Splash of Southern Lore

Who owns the rights to work published in Wild River Review?

All work published in the pages of Wild River Review belongs to the magazine.

For print publication, please contact: info@wildriverreview.com

We welcome online links, but you must be fully credited with a link back to the Wild River Review website.

Warren is a cocktail blogger for Williams-Sonoma and also for Foodista.


Warren Bobrow’s interview with Food Business International 12/2011

wb Photo: Andrew Scrivani

April 6, 2011

Mark Kurlansky: World Without Fish- The Five Questions by Warren Bobrow, Editor Wild Table- Then, a taste of a most delicious Sea Salt from Sweden named Falksalt.

I sat for a while yesterday for a conversation with Mark Kurlansky, the New York Times Bestselling author of Salt (2002) Cod (1997) The Big Oyster (2006) The Basque History of the World (1999) The Last Fish Tale (1999) All these books speak to Mark’s passion for salty air and what the influence this air means to world survival.  For Mark, it seems that his life is filled with all things fishing.

His love for the ocean carries into his home.  You can see it in the hand built fishing boat models crafted from wood that line the top of his arts and crafts designed bookshelf in his pre-war style- NYC office.  You can hear it in his stories of sailors who toiled at sea and his childhood,  far away from the ocean.  To fiish out in the dark and mysterious oceans for the illusive inhabitants of the sea has become Mark’s mantra for this cautionary tale.

Mark’s workspace is filled with books of his travels and his trade. I immediately noticed his passion for literature and the visual metaphors that speak to his lifetime at sea or at least, near the water.  A solidly built man, with a shock of white hair, Mark shakes my hand with the power of a person used to coiling hemp (read rough) ropes.  I envisioned him hauling lobster pots from the deep and ice cold churning water without any assistance.  His hair, wild, was a bit shorter than my own, yet he is not corporate in any way, shape or form.

His home is comfortable, dark and filled with his personal memories and dreams.  I was amazed by all of his books, stacked high from floor to ceiling on the handsome, custom built arts and crafts-style bookshelves.

World Without Fish is written for children and adults.  The book begins with the premise that it’s great that people enjoy eating fish.  Entire countries were founded on feeding people through the richness and bounty of the sea. These countries sent sailing vessels further and further away from shore to find the fish. In recent times, certainly over the past several decades- there have been major changes afoot because of pollution, temperature changes, and reef destruction due to these destructive influences.

Mark’s book, World Without Fish, explains the decline of fish populations around the world as a direct result of human populations and overfishing.

Overfishing is just avoidable.

I held the brightly illustrated hardcover book in my hands. It’s a magnificent creation!  The artwork, almost a cartoon type format, created by Frank Stockton grabs my attention immediately and holds it throughout my reading.  Crisp, heavy paper carries the message and the photography that dots the page is a joy!  The line spacing is what I also noticed immediately.  For these- older eyes it’s rather pleasing to have double spaced lines.  I don’t have to use such a bright light to read! Certainly this is a book for kids, but unlike any children’s book I ever read growing up.  Mark writes in a style which is kid friendly, informative and fun.  Which is not to say that the subject matter is trite, far from.

If we don’t teach our children to respect the ocean, how can we hope to save the ocean and its inhabitants for future generations?  Here’s how you can teach your kids and yourself how to do it!

( The following list is from Mark’s publicist at Workman Publishing, Rebecca Carlisle.

Thank you for all your kind and helpful assistance Rebecca!)

1. You should eat fish, but only good fish, fish that were caught sustainably.

2. Where can you find sustainable fish?

3. Line-caught vs. net caught fish.

4. Why the fish we eat, including tuna, salmon, and cod, could become extinct within 50 years.

5. The impact of oil spills, pollution, and debris on the marine environment.

6. The history of fishing and how it became and industry.

7. Why farmed fish aren’t the answer.

8. The effects of overfishing and global warming.

9. How evolution could, and is already, reversing itself.

10. Why are jellyfish are the “cockroaches” of the sea?

But what can we do about it?

There are plenty of things we can do and after you finish Mark’s book, you may feel differently about ordering fish in a restaurant or buying it haphazardly in a store.  Doesn’t it scare you that 90% of the large fish in the ocean have disappeared in the past 50 years?  It scares me.  Plenty.  Mark’s book gives clear and thoughtful instructions on what we can do to save the few fish that we still have.  And through this intervention or rescue if you will, the world will continue to have fish into the future.  Of course with any cautionary tales there are consequences.  And these aren’t pretty.   Our seas have become oceans filled with death.  Only jellyfish live there.  A giant septic pond of decay filled with garbage from our throw-away society.

And through this decay the potential for our survival is very grim indeed.

From Mark’s book:

Most farmed fish we eat today are fed wild fish that are caught by massive net draggers the size of factories. These net draggers indiscriminately scoop up wild fish by the thousands and grind them into fish meal, which is then pressed into fish pellets to feed the fish back on the farm.
—Learn more from Mark Kurlansky’s WORLD WITHOUT FISH (April 18, 2011)

The Five Questions: Mark Kurlansky

1.  Why Fish?   What is it about fish that interests you?

I grew up as a Jewish kid from Hartford, Connecticut.  True it was land-locked but that only stimulated my imagination of the sea.  I was drawn from an early age to fish and fishing.  I always wanted to work on commercial fishing vessels and did for a while.  I summer in a town up on the Massachusetts coast famous for their “old salts” the rich history of their seafaring tales.  Not too mention the plethora of great freshly caught and prepared seafood! Growing up I had the fantasy of being a biologist.  The ecology of the sea was (and still is) a real draw for me.  My books speak of this commitment to the sea.

2.  Do you cook?  If so, what is your favorite thing that you prepare?   Who taught you how to cook?

I do cook, yes I love to cook.  But what I love to cook most are desserts.  They make me happy.  I like to bake.  In many ways baking brings me back to growing up.  There was always food in our home.  My mom, grandmom’s..  they all cooked.. There is only so much food you can eat on a daily basis.  I love making specialty cakes.  My grandmom’s and mom always had things baking in the house.  There are only so many slices of cake you could eat.  My dad was the grill guy.  He was the king of his domain at the grill.  But my true cooking lessons were taught by the women in my family.   I love the foods of New England.  Chowders, lobster, oysters.  They remind me of when I worked on a commercial fishing boat.  I love foods from Paris and lived there two different times.  Some of my favorite foods are trout, caught in the wild (when we don’t release them immediately) and steak- eaten in Idaho.  That’s about all you can get there.  Steak or Trout.  Simply prepared with passion. Like fly-fishing? Eating simply?  Go to Idaho.

3.  Is there anything that you have eaten that brought a tear to your eye when you had it?  Why?

Well as far as a tear in my eye?  No.  But I love to have the good feeling that go along with making something wonderful in the kitchen.  I’d rather make something that made me happy than one that made me sad.

4. If you could be anywhere in the world right now where would that be?  What would you be eating/drinking once you got there?

I’d be in the Basque region of Spain eating Bacalao (Salt Cod) or in Jamaica eating ackee and saltfish or out in Idaho eating Trout, freshly sprung from the Snake River.  You have to earn the fish’s trust to catch them.

5.  What is in your refrigerator right now?

Ah… in my refrigerator right now?  Nothing!  This is New York City!  No one keeps any food in their fridge.  Oh, yes, I do have one thing in there.  A hunk of cheese from the Basque region in Spain.  That lasts forever.
Thank you Mark for taking part in the Five Questions.  I also really enjoyed reading your book and I plan to do something about your talking points immediately!

Mark Kurlansky was born in Hartford, Connecticut.  After receiving a BA in Theater from Butler University in 1970, and refusing to serve in the military, Kurlansky worked in New York as a playwright, having a number of off-off Broadway productions, and as a playwright-in-residence at Brooklyn College. He won the 1972 Earplay award for best radio play of the year.

He worked many other jobs including as a commercial fisherman, a dock worker, a paralegal, a cook, and a pastry chef.

In the mid 1970s, unhappy with the direction New York theater was taking, he turned to journalism, an early interest–he had been an editor on his high school newspaper.  From 1976 to 1991 he worked as a  foreign correspondent for The International Herald Tribune, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, The Philadelphia Inquirer. Based in Paris and then Mexico, he reported on Europe, West Africa, Southeast Asia, Central America, Latin America and the Caribbean.

His articles have appeared in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines, including The International Herald Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Miami Herald, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, Time Magazine, Partisan Review, Harper’s, New York Times Sunday Magazine, Audubon Magazine, Food & Wine, Gourmet, Bon Apetit and Parade.

In addition to numerous guest lectures at Columbia University School of Journalism, Yale University, Colby College, Grinnell College, the University of Dayton  and various other schools, he has taught a two week creative writing class in Assisi, Italy, a one week intensive non-fiction workshop in Devon, England for the Arvon Foundation, and has guest lectured all over the world on history, writing, environmental issues, and other subjects.  In Spring 2007 he was the Harman writer-in-residence at Baruch College teaching a fourteen week honors course titled “Journalism and the Literary Imagination.” His books have been translated into twenty-five languages and he often illustrates them himself.
He has had 19 books published including fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books

Among the awards he has received are:
  • 2007 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Nonviolence
  • 2007 Doctor of Letters, Butler University
  • 2006 Bon Apetit Magazine’s Food Writer of the Year.
  • 2001 Basque Hall of Fame
  • 2001 Honorary ambassadorship from the Basque government
  • Cod received the 1999 James Beard Award for Food Writing and the 1999       Glenfiddich Award
  • The children’s book, The Cod’s Tale, received the Orbis Pictus award from the National Council of Teachers of English.
  • The children’s book, The Story of Salt, received the ALA Notable Book Award
  • A Continent of Islands and Cod both received The New York Public Library Best Books of the Year Award
  • Salt received the Pluma Plata award from the Bilbao Book Fair and was a finalist for the LA Times Science Writing Award and the James Beard food writing award.
  • 1968 received the ALA Notable Book Award
  • Cod, Salt, 1968, and Food of a Younger Land were all New York Times Best Sellers and along with The Basque History of the World were international best sellers. But, of course, given that Sarah Palin’s tome is also a best seller, this seems a dubious laurel.


Falksalt from Sweden

I love professional samples.  Joe Domanski from Falksalt (Foodworks) sent me a lovely free box of very special sea salts from Sweden.  I love all things Swedish.  Cameras, cars (I drive a Volvo) Ikea.. like a homing pigeon for my Volvo…come back to the Motherland…  Distilled Spirits from Sweden, Chef Marcus Samuelsson… I like Sweden.  Sort of reminds me of Maine.  Similar topography.  People.  Vocal inflections.  The train system. Thank you Joe for keeping me in salt for a good long time.  I promise to create some interesting cocktails with your flavored salts.  Did I say I got these as a gift?  Just like to stay on the up and up.

Put me on a plane for Sweden.  I want to go.

Falksalt is not your usual finishing salt.  The flavors are not typical either.  Citrus, Karl Johan (lightly smoked)  Black Salt, Wild Garlic, Natural and Smoke, plus Rosemary, Chipotle, and Wild Mushroom.  My favorite is the Citrus.  It is crunchy in texture and alive with culinary possibilities.  If flavor is your passion seek out these sea salts.  They are called Crystal Flakes and for good reason.  Light in texture, almost fluffy. They have a crunch and finish that goes on for days it seems.

Falksalt Citrus Salt for a perfectly roasted chicken.

Roast your chicken as you like, well rubbed with pepper and stuffed with whole garlic cloves. Let rest for 10 minutes, drizzle the pan juices over the top and sprinkle with Falksalt Citrus finishing salt.  That’s it!



B&G Oyster/Boston- Photo: Warren Bobrow

Stockton Farmers Market Photo: Warren Bobrow

Please click here for a brief bit of enlightenment!


To support our mission and passion for good storytelling, please help support my work and make a tax-deductible donation by clicking here:  Wild River Donation.

Wild River Review/Wild Table editor, Warren Bobrow grew up on a farm in Morristown, NJ. A graduate of Emerson College in Boston- with a degree in Film, he spent his senior year of college as a research assistant in visual thinking. (CAVS @ MIT)

To learn more about Warren, click here:  Wild River Review.

Please follow me on Twitter @WarrenBobrow1

Blue Hill/Stone Barns: Time Exists in Harmony with Nature

WILD TABLE – Billy Reid: Bourbon, Branch and a Splash of Southern Lore

WILD TABLE-Hunts Point: I’m cold just thinking about that night

Who owns the rights to work published in Wild River Review?

All work published in the pages of Wild River Review belongs to the magazine.

For print publication, please contact: info@wildriverreview.com

We welcome online links, but you must be fully credited with a link back to the Wild River Review website.


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

The Five Questions:

Sarah Maslin Nir

Warren Bobrow/Editor-Author Wild Table

photo credit: Keith Bedford

At Chaos Cooking, an event in Brooklyn where 30 people cook 30 dishes on 4 burners

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.

If you’ve ever seen King of New York, this Bloody angle plays into the scene of getting to Apotheke.

(Note: look for the plaid shorn hipsters, you’ll find the bar soon enough)

photo credit: Sarah Maslin Nir

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.

photo credit: Sarah Maslin Nir

In Santorini, helping prepare my dinner (with some trepidation)

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*

photo credit: Sarah Maslin Nir

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.

photo credit: Sarah Maslin Nir

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.

Tomato and mint in a fritter.

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


photo: Warren Bobrow

Tavern Direct line of Balsamics- photo: Warren Bobrow

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.

Summer Strawberry/Balsamic

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.

Lou Bivona
585 738 3018/cell
8 Somerset Dr
Tenafly NJ 07670


To support our mission and passion for good storytelling, please help support my work and make a tax-deductible donation by clicking here:  Wild River Donation.

Wild River Review/Wild Table editor, Warren Bobrow grew up on a farm in Morristown, NJ. A graduate of Emerson College in Boston- with a degree in Film, he spent his senior year of college as a research assistant in visual thinking. (CAVS @ MIT)

To learn more about Warren, click here:  Wild River Review.

Please follow me on Twitter @WarrenBobrow1

Blue Hill/Stone Barns: Time Exists in Harmony with Nature

WILD TABLE – Billy Reid: Bourbon, Branch and a Splash of Southern Lore

WILD TABLE-Hunts Point: I’m cold just thinking about that night

Who owns the rights to work published in Wild River Review?

All work published in the pages of Wild River Review belongs to the magazine.

For print publication, please contact: info@wildriverreview.com

We welcome online links, but you must be fully credited with a link back to the Wild River Review website.

wb and M8

September 29, 2010

The Five Questions- Frank Bruni

Frank Bruni with Maureen Dowd at a party. Photo- Katherine Q. Seelye

Several months ago I mustered up enough courage to write to Frank Bruni.  He had just released his book , “Born Round“, and I wanted to share with him some thoughts that I had.  A conversation ensued and we exchanged some emails.

I had struggled with food issues for years.  We had some common ground regarding food and our consumption of it.  This seemed to me like a good place to start a conversation.

The period of time when Frank was the chief restaurant critic for the New York Times (2004-2009) figured broadly into my culinary world.  His succinct writing style serves as a metaphor for all students of food writing.   He is first and foremost a journalist.  Frank was classically trained as a hard-news reporter.  Examples of his writing are featured regularly in The New York Times.

My take-away from reading his numerous articles is his  joy of the content. Simply put, Frank’s work is fun to read.

I asked Frank if he would be interested in participating in The Five Questions- not knowing that he would accept my invitation.  It does my heart good to know that the proof is here.

Thank you Frank for helping me find my passion for good storytelling. wb

1. When eating at restaurants that are unfamiliar to you, do you look for things on the menu that are familiar?

Usually, no. When I’m eating out, I’m more often than not in a restaurant I’ve gone to because I have reason to believe it offers something interesting, so I want to experience that restaurant on ITS terms, not on mine. I’m analyzing the menu and talking to the server in order to make sure I understand what the restaurant prides itself on. I want to give the restaurant a chance to shine as brightly as it can — that’s not just in the restaurant’s interest but in mine as well. So my menu analysis is in the service of that. I try not to order things on a menu that may be sops to trends, to convention, to timid eaters: the chopped salad; the tuna tartare; that sort of thing. I also try to avoid the one appetizer or one entree that seems to represent the chef’s greatest indulgence of his or her whims. Once I’ve eliminated those suspects, so to speak, I focus on the rest.

2. There is an upswell of cheese, most pronounced in the past few years. Do you have a favorite style or flavor? I’m pretty open and wide-ranging when it comes to cheese, though in truth I eat less of it than I’d like to. I don’t keep a lot of great cheese around the house because I know I’ll nibble and nibble and nibble on it in an absent-minded fashion and wind up consuming much more than I should. And in restaurants, by the time a cheese course would come, I’m full. So most of my cheese eating happens in a snack-y way when I’m at the bar of a restaurant for a drink and for something between meals or instead of a meal. Anyway, I’ve always been a huge fan of all blue cheeses, which I just love, love, love. I think blue cheese is one of the best complements to a burger: the Roquefort that April Bloomfield puts on the Spotted Pig burger comes instantly to mind. I also think that a lot of diners still haven’t come fully around to the wonders of truly great Parmesan as something to be eaten in chunks, on its own, and not simply grated over pasta. Some aged Parmesans attain really complex, nutty nuances, and if you’re a salt freak, which I tend to be, it’s a cheese that wholly satisfies that appetite.

3. Fall is almost here. Do you have a favorite dessert for the cooler weather?

My taste runs more savory than sweet, and some of the iconic fall desserts — e.g., pumpkin pie with Thanksgiving — aren’t among my favorites at all. But there’s a maple budino dessert at Locanda Verde in TriBeCa that comes onto the menu around October and tastes like a compendium of autumnal flavors. It’s been justly hailed by the New York Times’s current restaurant critic, Sam Sifton, among others, and it deserves to be tried. No way I’ll let the fall unfold without one or two helpings of the maple budino, which underscores what a terrific, super-talented pastry chef Karen DeMasco is.

4. What is your favorite cocktail? Mixed by whom and where?

My true favorite is gin martini made by me, myself, with either Hendrick’s gin or Bluecoat or Plymouth, depending on my mood. I have a collection of very pretty martini glasses — that’s one of the reasons I like the martinis I make best — and I know exactly how much ice I want in the shaker and how vigorously I want to shake in order to get a few crystals of ice onto the surface of the drink. I also like my martinis truly, truly dry, so I just coat the interior of the glass with vermouth, pour away the excess, and have only gin in the shaker. You could argue I’m not drinking a martini at all. But it’s the way I like it.

5. If you could be anywhere in the world, where would it be? What would you eat/drink while there?

I dream constantly of being back in the Piedmont region of northern Italy, where the Slow Food movement was born; where the world’s best white truffles come from; where Barolo is made. The veal there is magnificent; so are the agnolotti. There’s a richness in the food—including, yes, butter—that you don’t always find in the Italian cooking to the south. There’s terrific chocolate in the Piedmont. Don’t think “Mediterranean diet.” Think pure indulgence.

Frank Bruni- Photo: Soo-Jeong Kang

Thank you Frank for bringing your delicious, edible form of writing to the pages of the Wild River Review.

To support our mission and passion for good storytelling, please help support my work and make a tax-deductible donation by clicking here:  Wild River Donation.

Wild River Review/Wild Table editor, Warren Bobrow grew up on a farm in Morristown, NJ. A graduate of Emerson College in Boston- with a degree in Film, he spent his senior year of college as a research assistant in visual thinking. (CAVS @ MIT)

To learn more about Warren, click here:  Wild River Review.

Please follow me on Twitter @WarrenBobrow1

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