Russ & Daughters

April 19, 2014

Pesach cruises along, about half done. Now, usually, I get focused on the bread. That’s mostly the point, for we don’t eat leavened products for eight days to remember our people leaving Egypt in a rush. (As an aside, and as a reminder that the bible and history often don’t co-exist perfectly—highlighting, perhaps the inherent conflicts between fiction and non-fiction—here’s a piece by Smarya Rosenberg, Passover:  The Real Meaning of Matzah, from thefailedmessiah.com.)

Alas, my focus on bread does not relate to the affliction imposed on my people; instead, it’s the affliction I’m feeling, missing a favored part of my diet and a treasured hobby. Now, I’ve shared a decent amount about my bread world. The reviews are

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Pesach and Pizza

April 13, 2014

Pesach aka Passover commemorates the Jewish departure from Egypt. The celebration lasts seven or eight days, and Is Passover 7 or 8 Days? does some explaining about the 7 v. 8 issue. Regardless, we don’t eat leavened products, or those food products that can rise, during this period. (Rabbi Thomas and Marcia Louchheim explain how the Ashkenazi, Sfardim, Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox parts of our people deal with these issues at Legumes and Rice on Passover.)

Anyway, so I spent today doing Pesach baking for the Seder we’re attending on Tuesday, and pizza to get the bread out of my system before I take a week off (from bread.) Seder means order, and for the non-Jews who follow me,

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Basic/East Village San Diego’s Pizza Choice

April 11, 2014

A week ago I was in San Diego aka Heaven on Earth! Last Friday I reported on an excellent dinner at Monello. I did not, however, share the fact that we had weekend guests who arrived, young and hungry, at about 10 p.m. And what do hosts do for young and hungry guests who arrive at 10 p.m. on a Friday night? Feed them!

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We walked over to Basic, located in the East Village across the street, almost, from Petco Park’s right field fence. I found Basic years ago, and rarely do I present myself in San Diego without dropping by. (Pictures taken earlier in the week. It’s not sunny at 10:30 p.m., even in San Diego.)

Here,

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Monello

April 5, 2014

Monello means “brat” in Italian. Not a very nice name, but there’s a back story. Monello is the younger, less fancy sibling of Bencotto. Thus, brat fits. Both are top-drawer Little Italy food emporiums. (San Diego’s Little Italy, that is.) And I’m here to report on dinner at Monello.

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Monello focuses on food with a seriousness of purpose not found in many places. None I can think of, anyway. The sweet vermouth is homemade in the restaurant, and combines an extraordinary mix of herbs and other additions. You won’t want the bottled stuff, ever again! Cured meats are outstanding. (Prior visit.) Pastas are made in-house, and are cooked perfectly. (See below.) The mozzarella cheese last night was made

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March Madness Thoughts (and Pizza)

March 30, 2014

Fifty-nine games played, and by the time some of you read this, that number will be 60. There will be 63 total games—not counting those play-in games on the first Tuesday—in NCAA March Madness, the post-season Division 1 men’s basketball tournament. In the end there will have been lots of fun, some money exchanges between regular people, lots of coin changing hands at the sports books in Las Vegas and elsewhere, plenty of ad revenue for CBS and TBS, and a strong sense in host cities that they receive an economic boost from hosting part of the tournament, actual numbers notwithstanding. Oh, there will also be a National Champion!!!

Every year storiesstories, and

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Sky Bar and Brooklyn Pizza Company

March 20, 2014

I “bowl” on Monday nights. Not really, actually, but a close friend and co-worker gets therapy—his word, not mine—at the bowling alley one night a week. (He’s been engaged in this particular form of therapy for longer than I’ve been alive, and with the same main group for most of that time.) So, when he started nudging me about my Monday nights, I told him I’m “bowling.”

So here’s the truth, which may surprise very few readers. I’m a member of the Emperor Penguins trivia team. We play trivia on Monday nights at Sky Bar in Tucson, and have been so engaged since around November 2010. (Emperor Penguins, you ask? Long story, for another post.)

Alas, this story does not

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Cheese!

March 13, 2014

Blu – A Wine & Cheese Stop is my new favorite place in Tucson!

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Time passes, so I don’t recall when I became acquainted with Blu for the first time, but I think it was in late 2012. Somewhere, somehow, I heard about a virtual cheese shop that delivers. Wow! Cool!!!

With my first order I met Tana Fryer, delivery person, cheese monger, and co-owner with her wife, Kelly Fryer (the new Executive Director at the YWCA, a “going places” organization). Maybe “got in early” mattered, but in those early months a quick call resulted in cheese, pretty much on demand. Norma Lorge, Mesch, Clark & Rothschild’s receptionist extraordinaire, sees lots of people and things coming and going (including,

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Bialys

March 7, 2014

Bialys are not bagels! Not at all!!! Yes, they’re both round. Chewy. Found in Jewish delis. And not the same!

So what are bialys? Show and tell, in that order.

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A bialy is a roll, and its formal name may be bialystoker kuchen. They come from Bialystock, Poland. Bialystock is, of course, most famous in the United States for exporting its name, attached to Max, the lead character in the play/movie/play The Producers, written by Mel Brooks.

The traditional bialy comes topped with chopped onion and poppy seeds. No blueberry, honey whole wheat or other flavors. No whole, either, but there is a depression in the middle to house the bulk of the onions and poppy seeds.

I

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Pizza Primer

February 28, 2014

Ms. J doesn’t eat pizza much anymore. I think she’s a victim of anti-gluten disease, a condition caused by a generalized phobia for anything which a bunch of people are shunning. (Alas, Ms. J feels better than she ever has, and is as fit and trim as can be! So, who am I to talk?)

Me? I’m still a fan, but only when the pizza’s worthy. No late nights with Dominos, Papa John, or Little Caesars for me. And I find myself, increasingly, favoring what I make at home.

I like my pizzas lean and dry, mostly. Barely there with the cheese and less/no sauce, and I’m happy. And, as it is with the soaked salad you asked the restaurant

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Momofuku Bo Ssam

February 20, 2014

Ms. J does not love meat. She eats chicken and turkey, likes well-done salmon, and passes on most everything else. Or so I used to think!

A few years ago I fell into the momofuku ambit. Momofuku means lucky peach, and it’s also a restaurant group, started and led by David Chang. (Learn more at momofuku.) I have not dined at any of its 12 locations in New York City, Toronto, and Sydney. I have, however, made two of the highly touted momofuku dishes at home.

We’ll skip Crack Pie for now. It’s a variation on Chess pie, a southern favorite; alas, it’s more complicated, sweeter, and one very fine pie.

Right now, we’re focusing on momofuku bo ssam

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