5/22/2003

mexican? ha. went to the mexican sandwich company in park slope last night, and it was about what i expected. those chowhound posters were getting all excited about this place, but i think i'm beginning to realize that anything the slopers have to say should be discounted (by like 50%). it wasn't terrible, just mediocre like so many other places over there (save for blue ribbon and al di la). and sorry, bub, but just because you use a tortilla doesn't make your food mexican. especially if you're using duck confit. we had the white bean and chorizo "gourmet quesadilla," and shit, there was a lot of garlic in that thing. we're talking 40-60 whole cloves in a 12" pizza-like thing. i'm not exaggerating in the slightest. i think garlic does funny things to my gastrointestinal system. and it definitely doesn't make me too popular on the subway. (i noticed that on every train i've been on for the past 10 hours, there's been at least a 2-seat radius of empty seats around me.) oh, but on the upside, the red snapper tacos (with mango salsa, natch) were excellent. score, pt. one: thanks to my craigslist obsession, i snagged all these awesome french classics for five, yes, five bucks. now i need a big dictionary. score, pt. deux: but even better, on my way down through tribeca to pick up these books, i stumbled upon this amazing little straight-out-of-neverending-story cookbook store. the lady specializes in antiquarian, rare, and out-of-print volumes, and she had a truly astonishing collection. i mean, first editions of de groot. larousse gastronomiques from, like, 1924 or something. there was even this intriguing book called bite ("a new york restaurant strategy for hedonists, masochists, selective penny pinchers and the upwardly mobile"), by gael greene, the new york magazine food writer with the horribly supercilious prose. this little collection is all about eating well in new york, and apparently, she's alot older than i'd originally thought -- she recounts stories about soule and other really old-school establishments. i was tempted, but i like her about as much as i like LA times' david shaw -- that is, not much (ugh ugh ugh). admittedly, this shop is a lot less reasonable than kitchen arts & letters and the choice a bit more limited, but i found this utterly beautiful series of italian cookbooks while browsing. they were published in the late 70s and are bound with corrugated cardboard. there are all these color illustrations in each one and these illustrations are not only stylistically and graphically really fucking cool, but they look like they're handpainted. i paid way too much for one, but now it is the most gorgeous thing i own. each volume is titled "[italian city] in bocca" ([city] in the mouth), and my copy is for piemonte. (there was also roma, toscana, marche, and something else.) all the text is in italian, but there are english translations of the recipes. the pages are made out of heavy unbleached stock (with all those fun pulpy bits in them). i would've gotten the roma one as well, but these books are ridiculously, ridiculously expensive. i only justified buying it because it felt like i was getting a serious piece of art. some of the books have little italian quotations or song lyrics about food. even the typography of the index is brilliant. and no, i'm not telling you where this shop is. update to recent boston photos. mmm. i could go for a cannolo now..

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