Things are in flux at the day job right now, which has made finding time for blogging an even greater challenge than usual. But a chance culinary encounter I had last week demands some attention. Last Friday night as I was heading to Bargemusic for the terrific David Holzman recital I reviewed a few days back, I noticed signs for the Landing at Fulton Ferry, a new eatery that had just opened across the street from the very famous pizzeria with the long, long line, not far from the waterfront.
Running a bit late, I walked on by, but as I was heading back to the subway, I stopped for a closer look. The Landing, it turned out, was little more than an old-fashioned hot dog cart tucked into a walled parking lot, with a few wooden picnic tables scattered around. There were only four items on the menu; the one that dragged me in was the Chicago Dog.
Having been to Chicago only a handful of times in my life, I found the city's traditional "dragged through the kitchen garden" frank a complete mystery. But ever since I read this article on the signature dog in Time Out Chicago, I'd been wanting to try one for myself.
Boy was I glad I did. Not only was the Chicago Dog an amazing profusion of juicy, tangy tastes in a poppyseed bun, but my pleasure was so evident that the proprietor insisted that I try another offering, the Texas Meal Dog. Mind you, I hadn't identified myself as a media representative, just as a Texan who'd never encountered a Chicago dog before. But the vendor was in a good mood, and clearly wanted to try his invention out on me.
This, too, was a special treat: an all-beef frank drowned in a savory homemade chili, topped with pickled red onion. (The two other varieties are the Brooklyn Bridge Dog, a frank with the usual NYC trimmings, and the Berlin Currywurst, a German brat with a homemade tomato-curry sauce.) I grabbed a handful of menu cards from the cart as I made my way out to the street, and rubbed my belly all the way home to Queens.
Sadly, I didn't find time before tonight to blog about this splendid discovery. But this afternoon I told my story to a friend and occasional concert companion, the most excellent TONY food editor Gabriela Gershenson. No more than an hour later, she'd tracked down proprietor Richard Mauro and told his story on our in-house foodie blog, The Feed. Bonus! Thanks, G.G., and kudos to Mr. Mauro. You'll find him serving up weiners with care at the corner of Old Fulton and Everit Streets in DUMBO, from noon to midnight every Thursday through Saturday.
While I'm spieling in a culinary mode, my thanks to another good friend, Peter Cherches of food blog Word of Mouth, for organizing a fabulous group meal tonight at Szechuan Gourmet, a fine midtown restaurant. I'd enjoyed the restaurant once before, at lunch with Pete and our friend/fellow music blogger Brian Olewnick a few years ago, and liked it even better this time, with Dr. LP along for good measure. (And happily, Prescient Pete made our reservations before Frank Bruni's recent Times review created lines...)
Pete is a master in both culinary and social aspects in situations like these. The last time the Doctor and I went on one of his outings -- to Malagueta, a terrific Brazilian restaurant in our home neighborhood -- we liked it so much that we held our wedding rehearsal dinner there, a year and a few days ago. Thanks again, Pete.
Elodie Lauten - The Death of Don Juan (Unseen Worlds)
Kaija Saariaho - Château de l'âme; Graal Théâtre; Amers - Dawn Upshaw, Gidon Kremer, Anssi Kartunen; Avanti Chamber Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Esa-Pekka Salonen (Sony Classical)
Bajofondo - Mar Dulce (Decca)
Nas - Nas (Def Jam)
GZA - Liquid Swords (Geffen)
N.W.A. - Straight Outta Compton (Priority)
Ludacris and DJ Drama - The Preview (Gangsta Grillz)