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February 11, 2013

Now guys, this is going to come as a shock but I’ve got to tell you anyway.

I did some eating this weekend. (Whoo I know right? Better sit down, let it sink in.)

The snowy weather on Friday had M. craving cassoulet something fierce. We slipped into bar seats at Calliope, figuring Chef Korsh — being the reasonable man that he is — would have it on special. He did indeed, and it was excellent, as were the last partridges of the season, and the Baba Rhum and Gateau Basque by his wife, Pastry Chef Ginevra Iverson. Though we’ve eaten at Calliope many times, we had yet to try her desserts; we always get cheese after dinner. (“Oh you’re the cheese addicts!” the bartender said. Never a prouder moment, my friends. Never a prouder moment.) To top it off, Nancy joined us for a drink which turned into a full-fledged sleepover, complete with girltalk until my eyes couldn’t stay open one more minute. 

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: man are we lucky we’ve got a place like that across the street.

On Saturday we strapped on our snowboots and went furniture shopping at an absolutely wonderful store called Organic Modernism in Williamsburg (discovered thanks to the Of a Kind newsletter).

After, we had an early dinner at Bistro Petit, a newish, tiny (eleven-seat!), French-by-way-of-Korea restaurant that both of us have been wanting to try but only one of us could remember the name of (that would be him, always, and thank goodness he can read my mind). It blew us away. 

We began with braised Belgian endives with caramelized grapefruit and a goat-cheese-stuffed puff pastry pocket. It’s no exaggeration to say this had me buzzing. Next, BOTH pastas (hey, it was our only meal of the day, or so we kept telling ourselves). I mean, listen to these descriptions and tell me how we could have possibly not ordered one of ‘em:

1. Housemade Asian-style noodles treated like the sexiest little Italian pasta: slathered with pancetta, broccolini, tomato, garlic, fennel, pepper, Pecorino Romano…. Need I go on?

2. Farro mushroom risotto with approximately one dozen types of wild mushrooms and so much umami I’m certain it could be detected in space.

For our entrees we had Chef Sung Park’s version of Beef Bourguignon — short ribs (and you KNOW Koreans are the undisputed masters of short ribs) with a vinegar-rich sauce and slices of green apple, and absurdly fresh Black Bass cooked en papillote with tomatoes, olives, capers, and sweet little gnocchi.

Since Chef was already impressed with our appetites (he came out to chat/admire M.’s boots … I swear that man gets ten times the fashion compliments I do), we figured we’d go whole hog and finish with the only dessert on the menu: fluffy, still-wet-on-the-inside beignets and extra-strong espresso gelato. Arguably, the only dessert anyone would ever need.

Oh and did I mention it’s BYO?? 

Such a deal.

So goddamn great.

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December 14, 2012

A late-night snack at Calliope last night after the Control Group holiday party. M. has been battling a cold — while simultaneously getting a bar program off the ground! — and last night’s special, pot-au-feu, was JUST what the (French) doctor ordered. As for me — I’ve been trying to eat very healthy during the week so I can indulge like crazy these holiday weekends — classic oeufs mayonnaise felt luxurious without completely weighing me down. (Me and Julia Child — the only gals who consider mayonnaise a reasonable dieting option. Hey, I ate HALF.)

A note about pot-au-feu: although I’ve certainly read about it (in Food of France, among other things), I realized last night I had never tasted this hallmark of French rustic cuisine. The concept is elevating off-cuts of beef (marrow, tongue, etc.) with a rich broth, perfectly cooked vegetables, and pungent mix-in seasonings (parsley butter, horseradish, mustard, and coarse salt).

The concept is spectacular.

And now we are dreaming of hosting a pot-au-feu dinner party before the winter is through…. The appetizer? Healthy oeufs mayonnaise, mas oui.

PS: The iPhone 5’s camera handles low-light SO much better. Processing is also noticeably faster. Thanks, babe, for giving me your upgrade! You da best.

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November 30, 2012

Last night I actually hopped off my bike to take this picture. A sighting as rare as a white tiger in the wild: grey-haired homo sapiens in the East Village. 
Calliope brings all the seniors to the yard.

Last night I actually hopped off my bike to take this picture. A sighting as rare as a white tiger in the wild: grey-haired homo sapiens in the East Village. 

Calliope brings all the seniors to the yard.

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October 4, 2012

The other night M. was rather frustrated with all the government agencies, from the Indian Consulate on down (he’s trying to get his Overseas Citizenship of India so we can blow this popsicle stand should the country take a sharp turn for the Republican again) — and I had an inkling only a good meal at a lovely bar would knock him out of it. So we popped into Calliope, a newish French bistro a few steps from our apartment. (You may know it as the space once occupied by Belcourt.)

It was a rainy night — 9 pm, a bit late for a Tuesday — and to our surprise, it was packed.  Turns out that two glowing reviews came out that very day — in the NYT and the New Yorker, nothing to sniff at — and even grey-haired Upper West Siders made the schlep downtown. We chatted with the chef — one-half of a husband-wife team — and he was almost buzzing with excitement. And why shouldn’t he be? Sometimes things just come together. Sometimes it’s just your night. It was pretty thrilling to experience a tiny bit of that.

And the food? Excellent, of course. The platonic ideal of the modern French bistro. As M. said, “This is the kind of place that if you lived in Paris, you’d dream of having down the street.” All the better that we have it here.

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