Here’s how it happened. When my mom asked me what she could give me for my 50th birthday, I said “A Broadway show and a nice meal, just the two of us.” The restaurant she chose was one of her faves, Marea, but then she changed her mind—her pal Cynthia, with whom she was staying on the UN-traffic-clogged East Side, said we had, had, had to go to Omar’s—only open ten weeks. I hadn’t heard of it. Checked it out on Urban Daddy—interesting but I hate clubs. I looked into the namesake and thought, South American party boy—I don’t know, Ma. But she’d reserved it, even ordered a car for after the theater for the special occasion, so I didn’t argue. It’s in one of my favorite neighborhoods, West Ninth between Fifth and Sixth, and we descended from the sidewalk to Read On »

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To help us enjoy our 50th and 51st birthdays, our friend Ingrid sent us some exquisite oysters from Maine. After we’d eaten them, perhaps still delighting in the pleasure, Donna became enthralled with the shells. Me too, and I just wanted to put this photo up. Because. In October, Brian Polcyn and I will be traveling to Ingrid’s territory for demos and cooking of the noble pig, not only to promote the new and revised edition of Charcuterie, but also to benefit Ingrid’s Island Culinary & Ecological Center. Can’t wait! If you have access to pristine oysters but have never shucked before, you will need a shucking knife (about the cost of an oyster and widely available), and this good video shows how to do it. If you liked this post, read: My past post on Read On »

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Chef Donald Link’s coastal seafood restaurant is a necessary stop when in New Orleans.    

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Foraging your own mussels on the sea coast and why they taste so good fresh, via Independent UK.

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Donna and I arrived in New York last Tuesday to begin setting up our city outpost in the West Village, and we were struck anew by the extraordinary dining scene there. I plotted three very different theatrical performances, and they parallel the dynamism and diversity of the traditional, quirky, experimental food of NYC. I wonder if these traits cause coincidences. Last year I had a surprise encounter with my news mentor, Arthur Gelb, returning me to the Times, formative if unhappy years. This year we arrived in Times Square to have a pre-show cocktail at Sardi’s. We hadn’t been there a few minutes, and I don’t know what we’d said other than placing an order for a wine and a martini, but we’d struck up a conversation with a woman seated catty-corner to us. She said, “You Read On »

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