Blog of Award-winning authors
ANDREW DORNENBURG & KAREN PAGE
Named one of GourmetFood.About.com's "Top 10 Food Blogs"
Named one of The Fifty Best Links for Epicureans
Named to MUG 400 for "distinctive contribution to life in New York"
"Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page monitor the pulse of the food world like nobody's business. There's a fantastic database of restaurant reviews, too."
— Babbo pastry chef Gina DePalma
"If you asked me what I came into this world to do,
I will tell you: I came to live out loud."
— Critic and novelist Emile Zola (1840-1902)
"There is nothing under the sun better for man than to eat, drink, and be merry. Go, therefore, eat your bread with joy and drink your wine with cheer.”
— Ecclesiastes 8:15
Two pastry chefs stopped by to have their copies of our book
THE FLAVOR BIBLE signed at Chicago's Green City Market
Aurora Roman of The Book Stall in Winnetka with Karen
Andrew with Jean Huyler of The Book Stall in Winnetka
Sunday, September 21, 2008 — Most of the year, we spend a lot of time in front of our computers thinking about our readers and their needs. So what we love most about going out on book tour is having the chance to actually connect with them "live," to see their smiling faces and hear from them what they're most interested in. These exchanges are invaluable in prodding our own thinking along and even sparking new ideas (and, yes, selling copies of our latest book!).
Having just returned from Chicago, we're very grateful for our visits with readers who are already so enthusiastic about our new book THE FLAVOR BIBLE. Thanks to everyone who stopped by our signing at Chicago's wonderful Green City Market on Wednesday morning, including Tim from Blackbird and Paul Virant from Vie restaurant. And a special thanks to Aurora and Jan of The Book Stall in Winnetka, who were so lovely to chat with as they handled book sales at the market.
Disappointed to miss us in Chicago? Not to worry — we're due to be back in mid-November, and we'll hope to see you then!
For details on our upcoming appearances in Vancouver, Portland, Seattle, Washington, DC; Chicago, and elsewhere, please see our News and Events page.
The Book Stall is at 811 Elm Street in Winnetka. Phone: (847) 446-8880. Web: www.thebookstall.com
NoMI Wine Director Fernando Beteta pours
novelist Loraine Despres a glass of Brut Rose
Starting dinner for 4 at NoMI with a sushi / sashimi platter
2007 Domaine Sigalas Santorini (Greece)
NoMI's Burgundy Truffle and Foie Gras Creme Brulee with
Caramelized Hazelnuts and Petite Herbs
2007 Max Ferd Richter Riesling Zeppelin (Germany)
Butter Poached Maine Lobster with White Asparagus, Jamon
Iberico, and Burgundy Truffles at NoMI
2001 Domaine Fougeray de Beauclair Marsannay
Sommelier Fernando Beteta introduces us to Purple Angel
Dry Aged Beef: Four Story Hill Farm Rib Eye, Bacon Beignet,
and Smoked Onion at NoMI
2005 Montes Purple Angel (Chile)
Strawberry and Cream "Field" with Crispy Strawberry,
Cheesecake in Textures and Sorrel
The Los Angeles-in-Chicago setting of NoMI's 7th floor
outdoor Garden called for a chilled glass of Tavel Rose
NoMI Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho with Avocado and Jicama
NoMI quartet of sorbets (our favorite was the creme fraiche)
and a candied paper-thin lemon slice
Two other diners just as happy to be dining at NoMI
While in Chicago, we experienced an unforgettable dinner at NoMI at the Park Hyatt Hotel overlooking Michigan Avenue and Lake Michigan. NoMI's Wine Director Fernando Beteta expertly paired some intriguing wines to accompany Execuitve Chef Christophe David's dishes — which sent our already-high pleasure levels soaring!
After kicking things off with glasses of NV Champagne Regis Fliniaux, Grand Cru a Ay, Brut Rose, we were introduced to Beteta's fascinating concept of having a "pacer wine" that is likely to be a pleasing accompaniment to many of the courses served. In our case, he made it a 2003 Domaine Rolly Gassman Gewurztraminer. Then, certain courses had another recommended pairing, to allow a delicious point of comparison with the "pacer wine."
The experience was truly global (Guatamalan native Beteta serves wines from around the world to accompany Lyon native David's cuisine), contemporary (with avant-garde touches that added interest without distracting from the clarity of the flavors), and — best of all — excellent.
In fact, we enjoyed dinner so much that we returned to NoMI for an informal lunch (in its outdoor Garden) of gazpacho (showcasing the winning combination of tomatoes + avocado + jicama) and a peekytoe crab sandwich with fries, both beautifully accompanied by chilled Tavel Rose. The calendar may read "Autumn," but anyone looking to extend the pleasure of the season is advised to squeeze in lunch outside at NoMI during the last warm days of "Indian summer"!
NoMI is on the 7th Floor of the Park Hyatt at 800 North Michigan Avenue (near Chicago Avenue). (312) 239-4030. Web: www.nomirestaurant.com
A special thank-you to Park Hyatt Concierge Karen Giobba, who impressively connected us with a frozen Giordano's spinach pizza to take home to New York City in a matter of minutes!
The candlelit dining room at Inside Park at St. Bart's
Our waitress at Inside Park explains the "Little Bites" that
are served three for $18
Andrew loved Inside Park's pappardelle with braised rabbit
Inside Park's signature souffle was also a huge hit
We loved Miran Shim's hand-stretched apple
more than we loved saying "hand-stretched strudel"
After our "friends and family" dinner, Cynthia is diligent in
sharing her comments on the experience with Inside Park
The upstairs room at Inside Park displays a rotating series
of slides depicting scenes from New York City parks
Inside Park at St. Bart's is at 109 E. 50th Street (inside St. Bart's Church) at the corner of Park Avenue in Manhattan. (212) 593-3333. Chef: Matthew Weingarten (ex-Savoy). Pastry Chef: Miran Shim. After a delay of more than a year, Inside Park finally opens to the public as of September 23rd.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008 — The 2004 Provenance Vineyards Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon was awarded an
impressive 91 points by a leading wine magazine. We'd rate the 2005 vintage an
That is, an 8 on the enneagram, a widespread personality typing system that has been taught by as varied a set of groups as the FBI, the Jesuits and Stanford Business School.
Thinking of wines as having personalities can help you make better pairings with food. With that in mind, the powerhouse 2005 Provenance Vineyards Rutherford cab ($40) surely qualifies on this nine-point system as the Challenger, or one that must have its own way. As Andrew's pick this week, it's a full-bodied and intensely flavored red that could obliterate light dishes.
In exploring how the enneagram could be applied to wine, we brainstormed with creativity expert Michael J. Gelb, author of the bestselling "How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci." Gelb also collects wines, and he says the enneagram is one of the most useful tools for understanding their differences. After all, as he puts it, "The finest wines have their own personality, expressing the unique characteristics of the grape, earth and season."
We typed various wines, then compared notes with Gelb.
9: The Peacemaker. The heart of a 9 is its agreeable nature, which can mediate any situation. No matter what food is on the table, a 9 wine goes along cheerfully. Rosé is the ultimate 9: Its dominant characteristics morph seamlessly from those of a white to those of a red as need be. Keep an eye out for the newly released and exceptionally food-friendly 2007 Tapeña Rosé ($10) from Spain and the 2007 Kim Crawford Gisborne Rosé ($13) from New Zealand.
8: The Challenger. Like the Provenance Rutherford cab, these wines dominate. The wine comes first, and the food (almost invariably red meat) must bend to its mighty will. Gelb says, "Barolo, 'the king of wines,' is an 8." We also think of tannic cab, malbec, tannat and petite sirah; one of the best and most restrained type-8 wines we tasted this year was the 2004 Neal Family Napa Valley Petite Syrah ($40).
7: The Enthusiast. The ultimate epicure, this type celebrates joie de vivre. Gelb counts himself in this category; when it comes to wine, champagne, with its lively bubbles, is the quintessential example. Pop a cork, and it's ready to party with anything except red meat -- and a rosé champagne will dance with that, too. With its creamy lemon curd flavors, whisper of sweetness and streams of exuberant bubbles, Karen's pick this week, the NV J Cuvee 20 Russian River Valley Brut ($32), will lift your spirits and the flavors of virtually any hors d'oeuvre, especially fried or salty ones.
6: The Loyalist. Always there and always reliable, it's your house wine, pairing well with most of the dishes you like to eat at home. Gelb's house wine is the 2004 Muga Reserva Unfiltered Rioja ($26), which he characterizes as "a phenomenal value" for its "remarkable elegance, complexity and depth." When we're not tasting for this column or our next book, our more modest household opts for one of our favorite Rieslings or, with red-sauced pasta or roast pork, something like the light- to medium-bodied 2006 Tortoise Creek Central Coast Merlot ($12).
5: The Investigator. These are "meditation" wines that you can sit in a corner with and examine. With them, food is beside the point. Old Bordeaux is a prime example that Gelb classifies as "the most intellectual wine." Also worth investigating are wines featuring unusual varietals, including charmers such as the 2007 Clayhouse Central Coast Adobe White ($15), a chenin blanc-dominant blend. It contains 22 percent Princess wine grapes, which have yet to be recognized by the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, so the grape composition listed on the label totals just 78 percent.
4: The Individualist. When Robert Louis Stevenson wrote that "wine is bottled poetry," he was surely referring to a pinot noir. "It's a 4 wine: elusive, artistic, romantic and difficult to understand," Gelb says. The 2005 Faiveley Domaine de la Croix Jacquelet Mercurey ($23) is a red Burgundy from a classic vintage that delivers impressive value while pairing beautifully with mushroom, salmon, tuna and lamb dishes.
3: The Achiever. Lots of actors are Type 3s, in that they can perform any role. Chardonnay can do the same: still to sparkling, dry to sweet, steely to oaky. "High-powered California chardonnay is a 3 that will do anything to entertain and hold your attention," Gelb says. The 2006 Matanzas Creek Sonoma Valley Chardonnay ($30; $25 at Calvert Woodley) boasts balanced oak and a hint of botrytised fruit, and it can star with chicken or pork in a creamy mustard sauce.
2: The Helper. We think of sweet, semi-sparkling Moscato d'Asti and big, fruity shiraz, with all their food-friendliness, as typical 2 wines. "Australian shiraz gives everything and just wants to overwhelm you with love," Gelb says. That's certainly the case with the 2005 Omrah Shiraz ($18) from western Australia, whose bright cherry and blackberry fruit and pepper notes cozy up to lamb.
1: The Perfectionist. Sauternes is the ultimate 1 wine. "It transforms [noble] rot into perfection," Gelb says. Match it with Roquefort cheese and you have a holy grail pairing.
As a 1, Karen identifies with perfectionists on a quest for ideal matches in every wine-and-food-pairing situation. Luckily, as a 9, Andrew keeps the peace by reminding her that any agreeable match is worth taking pleasure in.
TIPS: The Enneagram
Wine lovers wishing to learn more about the enneagram can check out the book "Personality Types" by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson (Houghton Mifflin, 1996).
Curious about your own type? You can find the free RHETI Sampler Test, which has been taken by more than 800,000 people in the past five years, at http://www.enneagraminstitute.com.
Double Crown at 316 Bowery near Bleecker Street
Australian Riesling with Pigs in a Wet Blanket with lychee
and coconut sauce
Spanish cava accompanying fried white bait with dried chile
Marinated hamachi served with chopsticks
Heirloom Tomato Terrine with paneer, chili oil, lemon basil
Don't miss the "Half-Pint Of Prawns with iceberg and Mary
The tuna (left) and duck (right) accompanied by sides
The AvroKO-designed room glowed with warm touches
A velvety smooth chocolate dessert with a kick
Sunday, September 14, 2008 — We'll admit that we didn't attend tonight's opening dinner at Double Crown as media but as "friends and family," so we're clearly known fans of the restaurant's wildly talented chef Brad Farmerie (having raved about his cuisine at Public and The Monday Room in this space, and having featured him in our latest book THE FLAVOR BIBLE: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs, which receives a starred review in the 9/15 Publishers Weekly).
But Farmerie definitely earned it. Andrew was nearly skewered when a Public patron ran into him with her bar stool on our first visit to Public. That Brad's food at Public (and, subsequently, The Monday Room) is so impressive as to have made up for even that speaks volumes.
The food at Double Crown speaks even louder. At tonight's opening dinner, we didn't taste a single off-note among all the fabulous dishes we tried — from the "Hawker Style Snacks" (little bites cleverly designed to be delivered to the table quickly to be snacked on while you decide what else to order), to the best heirloom tomato salad we tasted in 2008 (with its yogurt dressing served beneath the tomatoes so as not to mar their colorful presentation) to the Half-Pint of Prawns, which was perhaps the single best "shrimp salad " we've ever tasted.
Is the restaurant already perfect? Of course not. There was the usual opening week fiddling with the lighting along with the volume level of the pulsating house music. But the staff (including our genial waiter Gennaro) was already on it. While the music was so loud that certainly no one heard Karen's fork drop mid-dinner, it was spotted by a sharp hostess within just a few minutes and replaced immediately by a sharp (not to mention well-inked and tattooed) runner.
East Village hipsters will flock to Double Crown for the of-the-moment ambiance (the work of the talented and award-winning designers at AvroKo), but foodies will return for Farmerie's exciting Asian-influenced flavors.
We know we will.
Double Crown is at 316 Bowery (at Bleecker) in Manhattan. (212) 254-0350. Web: http://www.doublecrown-nyc.com
One for you, one for a friend
Monday, September 8, 2008 — We're tickled to see the range of far-sighted readers who are stepping up to become FLAVOR BIBLE Visionaries by pre-ordering two copies of our new book THE FLAVOR BIBLE.
In addition to the host of a PBS cooking show (below) and the associate producer of an online cooking school, they include an Academy Award-winning filmmaker and the owner of a club where the Rolling Stones shot their "Streets of Love" video. Damn!
THE FLAVOR BIBLE
Left: Daisy Martinez's cookbook Daisy Cooks
Right: PBS host Daisy Martinez with Karen Page
Sunday, September 7, 2008 — Our new book THE FLAVOR BIBLE is being published on Tuesday, September 16th. As a tribute to the "visionaries" who pre-order two or more copies of the book online and forward the receipt to CookbookRave@aol.com by September 15th, we will thank them all by name as "FLAVOR BIBLE Visionaries" in the Acknowledgments of our next book.
Since we put word out about this tonight, our hearts have been warmed to see receipts already starting to trickle in. One that caught our eye was from our fellow cookbook author Daisy Martinez, exuberant host of the cooking show "Daisy Cooks" on PBS, who wrote, "Hola Karen and Andrew,
Congrats on the new tome! Best wishes."
What a class act! Our heartfelt thanks to Daisy — and to all the other visionaries who are showing early support for THE FLAVOR BIBLE.
You can be one of them by clicking here to order two copies of THE FLAVOR BIBLE on Amazon.com, and then forwarding your receipt here.
Earlier — God bless Gloria Steinem. Reading her recent op-ed "Palin: wrong woman, wrong message" in the Los Angeles Times helped to keep Karen sane, knowing that there are other writers out there (while we're busily immersed in launching our latest book) who are able to write many of the things she'd want to write, if only there were time. Highlights:
"Sarah Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Hillary Clinton. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger."
"This is not to beat up on Palin. I defend her right to be wrong, even on issues that matter most to me. I regret that people say she can't do the job because she has children in need of care, especially if they wouldn't say the same about a father."
"Perhaps McCain is following the Bush administration habit, as in the Justice
Department, of putting a job candidate's views on 'God, guns and gays' ahead of competence. The difference is that McCain is filling a job one 72-year-old heartbeat away from the presidency."
"Palin's value to those patriarchs is clear: She opposes just about every issue
that women support by a majority or plurality."
Karen's question is, if Sarah Palin is a younger Phyllis Schlafly, where is the younger Gloria Steinem who should have written this op-ed? Where is the next generation of women activists who will ensure that women not only don't lose their hard-won rights, but that they will continue to make progress? And where is the funding and other support that will ensure that their voices are heard, now that it's more crucial than ever?
A point of disagreement with Steinem: Karen doesn't believe that "American women...suffer more because of having two full-time jobs than
from any other single injustice." Childless women are not spared the ridicule and misogyny Steinem cites, which suggests that the source of women's suffering is more deeply-rooted than this.
Saturday, September 6, 2008 — Having spent most of a very long day yesterday either preparing for or actually filming a segment about our forthcoming book THE FLAVOR BIBLE, the pleasure of coming home to a wonderful new review of the book by Associated Press Food Editor J.M. Hirsch was especially sweet:
"Many people think the secret to great cooking is mastery of technique. It helps, but it's hardly crucial. The key to cooking that tempts and satisfies, that brings people to the table, then brings them back for more, is understanding flavors and how they work together. And while a culinary degree certainly helps one understand this, more important is a willingness to try new foods, as well as old foods in new combinations. Now there is a book to help you take that flavorful trip. Flavor masters Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg have compiled an encyclopedic primer to flavor. Their just-released THE FLAVOR BIBLE not only explains what foods taste like, but also offers exhaustive lists of flavor pairings for each. They suggest mascarpone, for example, goes nicely with almonds, ladyfingers and peaches, among many other options. They also suggest pairings to avoid, such as maple syrup and brown sugar (too intense). The first two sections of the book explain how flavor works and offer advice from chefs and others about how they pair various flavors to create great recipes. It's one of the rare cookbooks without recipes that everyone should learn to cook from."
As authors, there are few things that warm our hearts as much as when someone really "gets" our book — and shares it with others. We might add that this hold true more than usual in the case of a radical book like THE FLAVOR BIBLE, as we've had our doubts about how a culinary book containing not a single recipe would be received. Our sincere thanks to J.M. Hirsch!
Credit: Julia Ewan
Wednesday, September 3, 2008 — OK, we'll admit it: There have been years that even we were sick of Chardonnay. Having tasted more than our fair share of it in the 1980s, we were more interested in moving on to other varietals. But classics are classic for a reason. Chardonnay is a classic that has been ripe for rediscovery (not that most ever lost their taste for it to begin with), as we write about in our column in today's Washington Post "Chardonnay, Back from the Brink":
As summer cools into autumn, it's time to open progressively bigger wines to better match the heartier dishes likely to be gracing your table. Among whites, that means chardonnay.
Did we just hear a yawn? Chardonnay's popularity in the late 1980s was followed by a backlash against increasingly over-amped levels of alcohol (which can be mistaken for sweetness) and oak (which is about as appealing as chewing on toothpicks). However, if you've been in the ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) camp over the past decade, you might not have noticed that many winemakers have responded by moderating those levels, achieving more delicious and food-friendly results.
Chardonnay is not only America's most-planted varietal but also the world's second-most-planted (behind Spanish Airen, used in brandy), reflecting the ease with which it is grown around the globe. We think of it as the Tom Hanks of wine grapes: incredibly popular, and versatile enough to play a wide range of roles (from dry to sweet and from still to sparkling) under a range of aliases (such as Chablis, Meursault, Montrachet, Pouilly-Fuisse and white Burgundy) with varying accents (including French, Californian, Italian, Australian and South African). It usually takes the spotlight, yet it's neutral enough to play alongside chenin blanc, Semillon and even sauvignon blanc.
The chardonnay grape also takes direction well. If it's dressed up with a judicious amount of oak from its time fermenting and/or aging in barrels, you might find buttery, toasty and/or vanilla notes. If it's not, you'll appreciate its lean minerality. And when the grape is botrytised, it's a sweet revelation.
If you prefer unoaked chardonnay, look to regions where that style dominates. Burgundy's northernmost region of Chablis produces steely, dry and elegant white wines from mostly clay and limestone soil that also contains minuscule fossilized oysters, which contribute Chablis's notable minerality.
All three of the following wines are aged in stainless steel.
The crisp acidity of the 2006 Joseph Drouhin Chablis ($20) makes it a perfect match for oysters on the half shell. It cuts through richness even better than the slightly mellower, yet still lovely 2005 vintage. Both also pair with lighter fish and shellfish, and even a Caesar salad. While a $300 Raveneau Chablis offers an eye-popping example of Chablis's ultimate potential (albeit through the use of oak), even Karen's pick this week — the 2005 and 2006 Domaine Laroche Saint Martin Chablis ($30) — illustrates richness, elegance and complexity. Though it's also an ideal match for oysters, it turned our dinner of sauteed end-of-season soft-shell crabs into a memorable feast.
In the early 1980s at Jeremiah Tower's Santa Fe Bar and Grill in Berkeley, Andrew was excited to try his first sip of chardonnay from the relatively undiscovered Central Coast pioneer Edna Valley Vineyard. He found it an epiphany of balance and finesse, with its hint of smoke from the barrel. Recently Andrew took a trip back to the future by tasting the 2006 Edna Valley Vineyard Paragon Chardonnay ($16; $10 at Calvert Woodley), which still holds its own as one of the best-value chardonnays around, and named it his pick this week.
Other lightly oaked chardonnays worth exploring are the 2006 Kali Hart Vineyard Chardonnay ($14) from California and two from Washington State: the 2006 Columbia Crest Grand Estates Chardonnay ($13; $8 at Calvert Woodley), which is another steal for the price, and the 2006 Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Chardonnay ($18), which is fermented in American oak barrels, delivering bright apple and pear fruit flavors upfront with a light vanilla and butterscotch finish.
Moderately Oaked to Oaky
Note, if you haven't already, the rule-of-thumb correlation between oakiness and price: The less expensive the wine, the less likely it is to have spent time in expensive oak barrels. The following oaked wines should continue to age well for the next few years, or even longer.
They pair best with creamy dishes, pastas, scallops, shellfish and chicken.
The 2006 Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay ($36) from New Zealand's Auckland region is 100 percent barrel-fermented, then barrel-aged for 11 months, but you'll still sense some of the same high-acid tropical fruit flavors you'd expect to find in a local sauvignon blanc. Satin-textured and full-bodied with notes of apples and peaches, the 2006 Robert Mondavi Chardonnay Reserve ($40) from Napa Valley's Carneros region is largely (90 percent) barrel-fermented before spending about 10 months aged sur lie in oak.
The lusciously creamy 2006 Iron Horse Corral Vineyard Chardonnay ($45) is fermented in small, new French oak barrels. Our favorite producer of domestic sparkling wines made in the traditional method, Iron Horse also produces the impressive Iron Horse Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine ($38) from 100 percent chardonnay, and the two illustrate the different heights to which a single vintner can elevate the grape.
Before you typecast chardonnay as pairing only with savory food, recall the sweet 2007 Wölffer Late Harvest Chardonnay ($37/375 ml), redolent with honeyed apricots, which we've praised in this column previously.
Indeed, given the right director (winemaker), chardonnay can be successfully cast into a wider range of roles than virtually any other varietal.
To read more, visit The Washington Post here
"Creative, self-motivated cooks who don't demand recipes' precise prescriptions will cheer the publication of this guide to the kingdom of taste....[THE FLAVOR BIBLE] is a valuable reference...and sets down in print what has often been believed inexpressible."
THE FLAVOR BIBLE
Monday, September 1, 2008 — Happy Labor Day which, appropriately, is finding us hard at work. There's so much to do now that our new book THE FLAVOR BIBLE is making its debut this month!
We did squeeze in a bit of pleasure yesterday. After a long run in Central Park, we paid a visit to the home of acclaimed photojournalist and fellow author Jill Krementz, who has just come out with her gorgeous new 2009 Calendar: The Writer's Desk (whose cover features a portrait of her late husband Kurt Vonnegut). The book is available only at BN.com and, due to limited production, you'll want to be sure to snap yours up quickly before they're all gone:
In this year's calendar, there are wonderful portraits of Roz Chast, Joyce Carol Oates, Elmore Leonard, Bob Dylan, Oliver Sacks, John Updike, and dozens of others, along with inspirational quotes such as:
"Artists who are thought so crazy are the most stable people in the world because they know what they want to do, and are able to do it, all their lives."
"The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Make a face in your mashed potatoes. Pretend you're Count Dracula. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something. Writing is just having a sheet of paper, a pen, and not a shadow of an idea of what you are going to say."
We're both fans of Steven Covey's FranklinCovey system, which we each use as our daily calendar. But Karen uses Jill's calendar as a "gratitude diary," in which she logs at least one thing she's grateful for every day.
Bellavitae restaurant, 24 Minetta Lane
Last night, we were both very grateful for the chance to pay a visit to our new favorite Italian restaurant Bellavitae (at 24 Minetta Lane, in Greenwich Village) with our dear friends Cynthia and Jeff Penney. After a warm welcome from Lisa at the door, we put ourselves in John's expert care, and he brought out an array of the kitchen's best piattini (including Ricotta di Bufala Fritters and Fried Little Meatballs), pastas (including Farrotto and Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe), salads (including a perfect Caprese salad made with mozzarella that had been flown in from Italy on Thursday), a perfectly rare steak (to accompany two Super Tuscans), plus dessert (including Mixed Berries sautéed in Balsamic Vinegar with Vanilla Gelato plus our favorite Italian cheesecake of all time). Mama mia!
Bellavitae is at 24 Minetta Lane, near Sixth Avenue just north of Bleecker in Greenwich Village. (212) 473-5121. Web: www.bellavitae.com