You would sit in this dining room if you ate at Eleven Madison Square Park where diners are treated to an extremely personal experience. Is it too personal?
Picture this: you’re walking into an upscale restaurant that you’ve never dined at before. You’re greeted and congratulated on your brand-new job and told that the chef has taken care of your wife’s gluten allergy.
This is the next level in dining, where restaurant professionals are trying to provide a more personalized experience for their customers by Googling them after they make a reservation. One of the restaurants trying out this method is Eleven Madison Park in Manhattan, where mâitre d’ Justin Roller says that he “cyber-stalks” each of the restaurant’s guests on Google before they come to Eleven Madison Park.
He goes even further than birthdays or anniversaries:
“If I find out a guest is from Montana, and I know we have a server from there, we’ll put them together,” Roller told Grub Street. “Same goes for guests who own jazz clubs, who can be paired with a sommelier that happens to be into jazz.”
So is this okay? Or is it creepy stalking? According to a CNN poll, almost 40 percent of dining patrons would be okay with a restaurant Googling their name “if it means some special treatment.”
Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @JoannaFantozzi
Lisa Lin can understand why home cooks might be interested in Recipeasly. The website allows users to collect their favorite recipes from around the Internet in one convenient location, sort of like an online recipe box.
But as the founder of Healthy Nibbles, a seven-year-old website featuring hundreds of recipes, Lin doesn’t like how Recipeasly has marketed itself or how it developed a product without any apparent buy-in from the food bloggers and recipe developers who could be most affected by it.
“I can see why you want to bookmark all of them in one place,” Lin said during a phone call from her home in Sacramento. “I wouldn’t go and create a [website] that mines all of that content and puts it into a new thing for people to access for free. There’s just so much copyright infringement on there. So I just don’t understand why that kind of process didn’t go through the developers’ minds.”
After a presumably lengthy development period, the Canada-based Recipeasly announced a relaunch on Sunday in tweets from at least two of its creators, Tom Redman and Jack Read. Redman trumpeted that Recipeasly would “fix online recipes” by removing the clutter. Both men said the site would give users access to their favorite recipes “without the ads or life stories.” They asked for feedback and retweets.
They got a lot of the former, most of it critical of a site that’s built on the backs of recipe developers and bloggers, many of them people of color who rely on their own websites for income and to provide intimate cultural and culinary information in the “life stories.” In the Recipeasly model — based on conversations with food writers who tested the site before the founders took it offline — users can paste in a URL, and the site will strip the recipe of ads, long intros and everything else, save for the information found in the “recipe card” section of a coded webpage, which usually includes a photo, ingredients list and cooking directions.
The resulting Recipeasly page doesn’t even include a mention of the recipe developer’s name, just a small link button back to the original recipe. Numerous critics were labeling this outright theft of intellectual property, although copyright protections for recipes are not so clear-cut.
Neither Redman nor Read responded to emails or tweets from The Washington Post seeking comment. But Redman spent a fair amount of time on Sunday trying to explain the business model for Recipeasly as the criticism mounted. He apologized to “content creators” and said the site’s founders had “nothing but respect and admiration for the time, money, effort and years that going [sic] into creating great recipes & websites.”
Redman also noted that “imported recipes are only visible to the user who imported them — similar to if a user had printed the recipe or copied it into a doc.” He added that Recipeasly and its creators “do not make any money off of this. There is *no* revenue, much less profit.” Redman even suggested that the site was built for bloggers and recipe developers to monetize their work.
The comments fell mostly on deaf ears. Some bloggers, for instance, screen-captured pages from Recipeasly. One page clearly indicated that users can make their recipe collections private or public.
If the scraped recipes are public, they have the potential to hurt the very people who created them, said Lin, the founder of Healthy Nibbles. For starters, should Recipeasly build a large and loyal user base, the recipes on its platform could rank higher in Google search results than those on websites where the recipes were originally published. That could diminish traffic to the original sites and therefore hurt ad sales. Right now, Lin said, she lives off the ad sales from her site. She declined to say how much money her site generates but said it’s in the six figures, annually.
Just as troublesome for bloggers, if Recipeasly built a loyal following, its creators could use the site to sell products, ingredients and tools to home cooks, thereby creating revenue streams for the founders. An active user base, uploading thousands of recipes a month, could generate data that could be of value to outside marketers and businesses. All of this value, food bloggers note, would be based on recipes that Recipeasly’s founders did not create.
According to the U.S. Copyright Office, recipe developers cannot copyright a mere list of ingredients. But they might have a copyright protection claim, the department’s website notes, when “a recipe or formula is accompanied by substantial literary expression in the form of an explanation or directions, or when there is a collection of recipes as in a cookbook.”
For food writers, the issue is whether their recipes qualify as an original or “literary” expression. This is where it gets murky with copyright law. Even though the final dish may be original and unique to the writer, or to the writer’s family, the building-block language used to compose that recipe doesn’t usually qualify for copyright protection.
“You have to remember that it is an exclusive right because copyright, like a patent, it’s a monopoly,” said Kandis M. Koustenis, a Washington attorney who focuses on intellectual property and copyright law. “You’re granting someone the exclusive right. So you cannot tie other creators and authors and recipe writers from the ability to use these basic building blocks. And that comes up in fashion and that comes up architecture.”
Recipeasly is not the first website and/or app to come under criticism for scraping recipes from food bloggers, online magazines, newspapers and the like. In 2019, Apple removed Copy Me That from its App Store after recipe developers complained to the tech giant. Copy Me That offers premium memberships for $12.99 a year (or $24.99 for a lifetime membership), which, among other things, allows users to scale recipes they’ve saved or create customized shopping lists.
“The app removal was instigated by a handful of website owners who filed complaints with Apple. They say it infringes on their copyrights when you save their recipes into your own private recipe box,” Copy Me That said in a statement at the time.
“Of course, bloggers, photographers and recipe creators deserve to make money from their hard work,” the statement continued. “This is why the Community recipes encourage people to visit the original websites, why even private recipes have a link back, and why you have to visit the original website in order to create your own copy of a recipe.”
One look at the Apple App Store finds numerous other tools that help consumers scrape outside sources for recipes. They go by names such as Cook’n, Recipe Keeper, RecipeBox and the like.
They’re all designed to collect a user’s favorite recipes in one location, a convenience for those who don’t want to comb the web or a library of cookbooks for their go-to dishes. But the apps and websites have increasingly become a source of tension between those who just want recipes without the stories and advertisements and food bloggers who rely, in part, on the stories to generate web traffic, which in turn generates revenue. Stories, bloggers will tell you, contain keywords, demonstrate authority and generally appease the Google algorithm gods in a way that can place these blogs higher in search results.
But it’s even more complex than that. The stories are personal. They’re cultural. They’re often told from the perspective of women, immigrants and people of color who have created and invested in a platform to share their stories. The recipe aggregator sites, bloggers note, basically tell the creators that their stories have no value. It’s the same message America has told immigrants and women for centuries, now just in electronic form.
C rab Rangoon, aka, Crab Ragu, Cheese wonton or Chinese cheese puff, is a famous American Chinese appetizer where golden crispy outer wonton shell meets the addictive creamy cheese filling.
I first learned about crab rangoon when I was at a local Chinese takeout restaurant, where I worked as a part-time helper on Fridays during my high school. Growing up in China, prior to working at this restaurant, I had very limited knowledge in American Chinese food because Chinese takeout was rarely on my family’s dining table.
So after I fried a dozen orders of crab rangoons on my first day at job, I was so curious that I had to try one of these cheese-filled wontons. I was instantly hooked and couldn’t stop eating it from the deep fryer basket until the owner started to stare at me…
Although I still haven’t be able to fully appreciate American Chinese dishes, I have remained a fan of this yummy wonton appetizer.
They are a must try for me whenever I get Chinese takeout or eat at a Chinese buffet restaurant (which doesn’t happen too often).
On a side note, if you enjoy crab rangoon a lot, you’ll probably also like this coconut shrimp dish and walnut shrimp which are both Chinese buffet favorites of mine.
On the other hand, if you want to learn more about traditional wonton dishes, here is a Cantonese style shrimp wonton recipe for you to check out.
Authentic Chinese food or not, these delicious cheese wontons are a great finger food for parties and they are very easy to make. You can find wonton wrappers in most of your local supermarkets nowadays. For the filling, you need cream cheese, scallions, and crab meat or imitation crab meat stick (what most of the restaurants use).
To start, cut the imitation crab sticks in halves. Separate the sticks into fine threads.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the imitation crab sticks with other cheese filling ingredients.
Place teaspoonful of cream cheese filling in middle of a wonton skin. Wet the edges of the wonton wrapper with water.
Fold the wrapper in half to form a triangle. Press all edges to seal.
Optionally, brush some water on the left and right angles of the triangle and fold these two corners inward for better presentation.
Alternatively, fold the two opposing corners without sealing the edges.
Bring the other two corners to the center and seal all edges.
Over medium heat, deep fry the wontons for 1 – 2 minutes on each side or until golden crispy. Drain the excess oil on a paper towel and serve the wontons warm.
At restaurants, crab rangoon is served often with sweet plum sauce, duck sauce, and sweet and sour sauce. Feel free to serve it with your other favorite sauces or you can just serve it straight up.
Eggplant Parmesan from the Atlanta-based Varuni Napoli.
Andrew Thomas Lee Photography
On Thursday, March 19, like so many government officials, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms put forth an executive order calling for the closure of in-person dining in restaurants across the city. Thankfully, for those hoping to support their favorite eateries, a majority of restaurants are able to remain open for carry-out and delivery orders.
Additionally, several Atlanta restaurants have provided recipes for some of their most sought after dishes. In the mood for a hearty ragu? Bellina Alimentari has you covered. And if you’re in the market for something a little lighter, Mission + Market has provided their recipe for charred albacore tuna with chilled rice noodles, green papaya and ginger soy dressing.
In addition to a delicious recipe you can make at home, each listing below includes a link or information on how you can shop online or purchase a gift card, so you can support now and nosh on your favorite dishes when restaurants begin to re-open. The Atlanta-based Giving Kitchen is also collecting donations that will directly support those affected in the hospitality industry.
Eggplant Parmesan is one of the ultimate comfort foods, so let Varuni Napoli help you find peace with their recipe for Eggplant Parm.
To purchase a gift card from Varuni Napoli, you can reach out by phone (404-709-2690) to have a gift card mailed to you or to arrange a pickup at their Midtown location. The restaurant also recently launched their digital gift cards.
3 Tablespoons Pecorino Romano
1 1⁄2 Cups of Fresh Mozzarella (1/2 Cup per layer)
1 Cup of Ragu (1/4 Cup per layer)
Clean the eggplant and remove the stem. Cut the eggplant vertically making each slice 1/8 inch thick. Fill a bowl with water and place the eggplant slices in the bowl with 2 tablespoons of salt. Make sure the slices are fully covered by the water. Let them soak for a few minutes. Take the slices out of the bowl and dry each slice completely.
Fry the slices for 2-3 minutes. The slices should turn a light golden brown color. Preheat oven to 500°F. Spread 1⁄4 cup of Ragu sauce on the bottom of the pan. For the first layer, use one full slice of eggplant. After, cut one full slice of eggplant in half and place on top of the first full slice of eggplant. Make sure to cross the first full slice with the half slices. Place another full slice on top. Cut another slice in half and layer on top. The first layer should be one full, two halves, one full, two halves.
Cover each layer with ragu sauce, Pecorino Romano and mozzarella. There will be three layers of eggplant, each with ragu sauce, Pecorino Romano and mozzarella. Place pan in oven and at 500°F and cook for 10 mins. Once outside of the oven, cover with 1⁄4 cup of Ragu, some Pecorino Romano and one basil leaf. Let the Eggplant Parmesan cool before serving.
A hearty ragu from Bellina Alimentari.
With less than a dozen ingredients and straight-forward directions, Bellina Alimentari’s ragu is too easy, not to make.
Bellina Alimentari is one of few shops to offer an online store filled with products like extra virgin olive oil and semi-dried cherry tomatoes.
1 1⁄2 lb fresh egg tagliatelle (if you are using dried pasta 1 lb is plenty)
1 lb ground pork (a fatty cut, ideally belly)
1 lb canned San Marzano tomato
1⁄4 lb Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
Finely chop the onion, celery, and carrot (soffritto). In a large pot heat a tablespoon of EVOO and add the soffritto. Cook for a few minutes on a high flame, then lower the flame and add the meats.
Cook the meats and veggies for another half hour before adding the wine. Once the wine is absorbed add the San Marzano tomatoes. Add a teaspoon of salt and half of pepper. Once the sauce is ready you can always taste and adjust. The ragù should cook at low flame for at least two hours, but even longer works great, some keep it going for up to six!
Bring a pot of water to boil on the side, salt it and cook the tagliatelle for suggested time on packaging (always taste 1min before just to be sure it stays “al dente”). Once ready drain, keep just a bit of the cooking water and add to the sauce. Mix well and serve with parmigiano reggiano cheese. This dish pairs beautifully with red wine.
Mission + Market's refreshingly delicious Charred Albacore Tuna dish.
Mission + Market - Charred Albacore Tuna with Chilled Rice Noodles, Green Papaya, + Ginger Soy Dressing
For a lighter option, Buckhead’s Mission + Market has offered up a light, but flavor-packed recipe for their Charred Albacore Tuna dish.
Customers interested in nabbing a Mission + Market gift card or two can call in (404-948-2927) to place their gift card orders, which can be mailed or picked up in person. Additionally, Mission + Market is offering $10 back on every $50 and $25 back on every $100 you spend on gift cards now through Tuesday, March 31.
Soy Noodle Dressing For Tuna Salad
100 g. Fresh Chopped Ginger
Combine all ingredients into and blend together in a vita mix. Allow 2 hours in a cooler to ensure the guar gum blooms. Stir and use.
To Build The Salad
1 ea. Shredded Green Papaya
1⁄2 pack Three Ladies Brand Softened Rice Sticks
4 ea. Albacore Tuna steaks
Mix together all the ingredients except for the tuna in a bowl and dress with the soy noodle dressing. Sear the tuna dry in a very hot cast iron pan with sea salt, thyme and black pepper. Arrange in a bowl and shingle the tuna around the edge.
Looking for the perfect recipe for dressing? Looking for a new addition to your family’s holiday must haves?
Your timing is right. The past 12 months have been a windfall for cookbooks that honor the heritage and flavors of the South, by black authors. There is no better time to celebrate the foods that have been so important to our culture than November, as we plan our Thanksgiving menus and kick off the holiday season.
The Athens, Georgia native gives traditional Southern dishes a new spin with recipes that embrace the past but push forward with new flavors and ingredients.
Her collard greens pesto is amazing. And if you are a grits and cheese lover, try her grits with New York cheddar and blue cheese. Like many of the books on the list, the recipes are great and yet the stories in the book really set the time and place. After all isn’t that what good food is all about?
For years Dora Charles was one of the cooks behind the scenes in the food empire that is Paula Deen’s kitchen. Now she takes the main stage with a cookbook all her own.
Where Nicole Taylor gives the South a new lens, Ms. Charles is a Soul Food traditionalist in every sense of the word. If you want recipes that are close to the grandmothers’ kitchens, this is the book for you.
Her stories that accompany the recipes really give a feel for authentic experience of black cooks in the U.S. for generations. It feels like home.
(And yes, if you like a little tea served with your fried chicken and buttermilk corn bread, she does give the inside scoop on her complicated relationship with Deen.)
Robbie Montgomery was an entertainer with Ike and Tina Turner, but it was her show on OWN, Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s, that made her a household name.
The book is a mix of the recipes from her restaurants and her family kitchen, as well as her insights into perseverance and success. The book showcases her world famous macaroni and cheese, just in time for your Thanksgiving table, and it also gives you an inside look at her life on the road.
This book is more of a work of food and culture narrative than a traditional cookbook. But it is a must have for anyone who is interested in food, history, culture, race and class.
Tipton Martin really pushes the envelope on our conversations on Southern food and the messengers of the stories. This is on my recommendation list beyond just food.
Well known food blogger, Joycelyn Delk Adams makes her cookbook debut with Grandbaby Cakes. It is a perfect addition as you tackle your holiday baking and beyond. And it reads like a conversation at the family table. Make sure you check out the Fig/Brown Sugar Cake.
Southern Soups and Stews by Nancie McDermott is one cookbook that deserves a place at this table, even though the author is not African American. So many cookbook authors include recipes that anchor Southern cooking without talking about the fact that they are firmly grounded in black culture. McDermott does her due diligence to give the backstories of great Southern comfort food, including honoring the role of black cooks in creating them.
Chef Jennifer Booker is all about the fresh farm-to-table ingredients and she showcases them with solid food prep techniques and beautiful presentation. Chef Booker treasures fresh produce and healthy preparation but she also knocks your socks off with rich recipes such as braised short ribs and caramel cake. This cookbook stands traditional Southern food on its head by doing a little fusion with French cuisine.
Boasting a rich tradition of culinary excellence, The Pfister proudly invites you some of the most memorable and delicious Milwaukee food and dining establishments. Our downtown Milwaukee restaurants are just one of a few reasons Conde Nast Traveler was inspired to name The Pfister Hotel in Downtown Milwaukee among the World's Best Places to Stay.
Our guests enjoy a smoke-free atmosphere in all of The Pfister Hotel's downtown Milwaukee restaurants and lounges. Enjoy a traditional luncheon, host a graduation dinner party, or sip on cocktails while overlooking a downtown Milwaukee cityscape.
I've been noticing an alarming trend in grocery stores. Even the ones that try to mimic a farmers' market by decorating their produce sections with rustic wood crates and hay bales are doing strange things to vegetables.
They shrink-wrap the popular parts - the celery and romaine hearts, for example - and cut off and discard all the edible extras. I can only wonder, where have all the beet leaves, carrot tops and leek greens gone?
When food waste is at an all-time high, you'd think we would be embracing the whole vegetable rather than tossing aside the less-prime parts. It's these often-maligned or misunderstood extras that I tackle in a new cookbook called "Root to Stalk Cooking: The Art of Using the Whole Vegetable." It's the plant version of nose-to-tail cooking, but instead of pig's feet and beef tongue, the recipes utilize fennel fronds, radish leaves, broccoli stems and even corn husks, deliciously.
While whole vegetables may be scarce at supermarkets, farmers' market shoppers and vegetable gardeners are familiar with produce that has all its extra greenery, stalks and roots intact, and many of you are looking for ways to use them up.
Just as buying a whole chicken is more practical than the pricey boneless-skinless breasts, whole vegetables are a much better value than packaged celery hearts or broccoli crowns. They're also usually fresher - food degrades once it's broken down, and carrots with bright green tops are a sure sign of a recent harvest.
It's a locavore catch-22 that just as our interest in local food expands, the amount of food we waste as a nation keeps increasing. It's now estimated that 40 percent of all food in the United States is wasted, with global estimates ranging from 30 to 50 percent. Just imagine the correlating amounts of wasted land, energy and water that go into its production.
As food costs have risen, it only makes sense to get more out of each food purchase. And, from a culinary perspective, many of these extra parts have a slightly different character than the main vegetable, offering new opportunities for building flavor and texture in a dish.
I don't suggest anyone be hard-core about this, even though my husband has nicknamed my book "Compost Cookery," given its earnest bent. There are plenty of times I do just compost carrot tops, which aren't that wonderful tasting on their own. They do, however, make a lovely salsa verde or quinoa tabbouleh if you go to the effort to save them.
But I'm strident about buying broccoli with its stems attached, since I love their sweet crunch, once peeled. Plus I get more servings out of each bunch.
In the same vein, I've learned to consistently slice cauliflower through the stem to get more out of it, and to add the sweet broccoli or cauliflower leaves to whatever I'm making.
I used to assume the dark green part of the leeks were inedible since every recipe tells you to cut them off. But, they actually taste like a cross between chives and spinach, and they take on a silky texture if you cook them long enough - which is about twice as long as the white and light green parts.
In many recipes, I call for only one part of the vegetable, such as a shaved broccoli stalk salad with crumbled cotija cheese and lime. But in others I combine the "main" and the extra parts, depending on the situation and the amount you may get from one vegetable.
Here are a few things you can do to preserve certain vegetable parts longer:
-- Use radish greens or beet leaves first, even before you use the actual radishes or beets. The root tops don't store well once you chop them off. Try a creamy dressing, sweet corn and tomatoes with spicy radish leaves. Add sauteed beet greens to a grain salad or strata, or any dish where you would use kale or chard.
-- Fresh herbs can go bad quickly. Instead of throwing out half a bunch, preserve them by chopping them and adding acid (vinegar or lemon juice) and/or fat (olive oil, butter or even rendered pork fat) to make simple sauces and spreads. These can be frozen for a week or longer.
-- Extra vegetable parts can also be frozen for stock. I especially like to freeze asparagus tips each bunch is precious, and they really do add flavor to a soup or braise.
-- Leek greens or tops hold well in a plastic bag in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator, which is fortunate since you often end up with a ton of them. That is, as long as the store hasn't hacked them off and sent them to that great compost bin in the sky.
Let's hope that's a grocery store trend that turns around, since by cooking with all those extras you can make at least a tiny dent in overall food waste, and get a lot more value and flavor out of the food you buy.
Here are some ideas for getting the most out of the whole vegetable:
Artichoke leaves: If you're trimming artichokes down to the hearts for a pasta sauce or appetizer, don't throw out the leaves that have piled up on the counter. Gently steam or blanch them until tender, then roast them in a hot oven with olive oil and sea salt until golden. Serve with mayonnaise or melted butter.
Asparagus stems: Each time you snap off the tough ends, place them in a freezer bag until you have enough to make an Asparagus Stalk Stock. For each quart of stock, you'll need the ends from about 3 or 4 bunches, plus some chopped onions, celery, and herbs, preferably of the scrap variety. Add about 6-8 cups of water, or enough to cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil, then simmer about 30 minutes. Strain, and store in the refrigerator or freezer.
Broccoli stalks and leaves: Cut off the stalks and any leaves at the base of the florets, then cut each stalk into batons by removing the thick outer layer with four long cuts of a chef's knife. Shave this tender part of the broccoli into slaws or salads, or use in a stir-fry, and add the leaves to either. Both are delicious raw or lightly cooked.
Cauliflower stems and leaves: Instead of always cutting the florets off the stem, cut into the whole head and through the stem to make cauliflower steaks about 1/2-inch thick. The flat surface caramelizes well when you pan fry or roast them. Add in the tender leaves at the end of cooking.
Carrot tops: These greens can stand in for parsley when finely chopped, especially in a version of the Italian herb sauce salsa verde. Or, add some to a grated carrot salad to balance the sweetness. Just trim off the lower thick stems from the carrot tops, then remove any thicker stems or discolored leafy fronds.
Chard stems: After removing the stems from the leaves, simmer them in salted water until tender. Puree with tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil to make chard stalk hummus.
Fava beans: These legumes usually require a double round of peeling, but if you toss them in olive oil and salt you can grill them whole until the beans steam through in their shells. After grilling, the peel even becomes tender enough to eat, or you can opt to just pop out the beans, like edamame.
Romaine lettuce: Rather than throwing out the outer dark green leaves you don't use in a Caesar, simmer them with peas in a soup or save to use them as wraps, as with Korean bulgogi and rice.
Peppery and fresh, radish leaves are tender enough to play the part of lettuce with a spicy kick. Here their spiciness is tempered with sweet corn and tomatoes, as well as cucumbers, which are salted first to firm up their texture.
To make the salad: Quarter or halve the cucumber(s) lengthwise, then scoop out the seeds. Slice the cucumber, place in a small bowl, and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let sit for 15 minutes, then rinse, drain, and pat dry.
Meanwhile, remove any stringy stems or yellowed parts from the radish leaves, then tear the leaves into bite-size pieces. Place the radish leaves, radishes, corn, tomato and onions in a salad bowl.
To make the dressing: Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
Add the cucumbers to the salad with salt and pepper to taste, toss with the dressing, and serve.
Per serving: 150 calories, 2 g protein, 10 g carbohydrate, 12 g fat (2 g saturated), 2 mg cholesterol, 282 mg sodium, 2 g fiber.
When you have leftover stalks from a bunch or two of chard, you can chop them, saute them until tender and then toss them with golden raisins (sultanas) and toasted pine nuts to make this tangy relish for pork, lamb or firm fish like swordfish. With its vinegar-soaked raisins, the relish even works as a creative substitute for cranberry relish at holiday dinners if you double or triple the recipe.
Instructions: Place the golden raisins in a small bowl with the vinegar and water. Let soak while you prepare the other ingredients.
Place the pine nuts in a small frying pan over medium-low heat. Toast, tossing occasionally, until golden, about 6 minutes. Watch carefully, as they burn easily. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
Place 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and red chile flakes and saute, stirring occasionally, until the onion is mostly tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and chard stalks and cook for about 2 minutes. Add a splash of water, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the stalks are tender, about 10 minutes.
Add the sultanas with their soaking liquid and bring to a simmer. Let the liquid cook off slightly, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat, stir in the pine nuts and the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, and season to taste with salt. Serve immediately or at room temperature.
You can refrigerate the relish up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature and add the toasted pine nuts right before serving.
Per serving: 166 calories, 3 g protein, 16 g carbohydrate, 11 g fat (2 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 29 mg sodium, 2 g fiber.
Making use of potato skins and rendered bacon fat, this crispy snack can be a byproduct of any recipe that calls for potatoes and/or bacon. Or, you can save bacon grease when you cook bacon and keep it in the refrigerator to make this recipe later. The slight bitterness of the potato skins is matched by an assertive brown sugar spice mix and the smokiness from the bacon. You can tell these chips are done when the bacon aroma becomes unmistakable.
Instructions: Preheat the oven to 400°.
In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, salt, paprika, pepper and thyme.
Place the potato skins in a medium bowl. Pour the bacon fat over, then sprinkle with half of the spice mixture. Turn the potatoes to coat evenly in the fat and spices.
Spread the skins evenly on a baking sheet, making sure that most of the pieces are in contact with the bottom of the pan - this helps ensure they become crisp. Sprinkle with the remaining spice mixture.
Bake until the potato skins start to become crisp and golden, about 12 minutes. Stir and continue cooking until uniformly crisp, 3 to 6 minutes more. Serve right away on a plate lined with paper towels.
Per serving: 183 calories, 3 g protein, 28 g carbohydrate, 7 g fat (3 g saturated), 7 mg cholesterol, 317 mg sodium, 5 g fiber.
This recipe originally came from Tony Sung of Eric's Chinese in San Francisco, who makes a version of a Taiwanese stir-fry with cured pork belly and the dark green ends of leeks, a substitute for a particular kind of baby garlic shoots that are difficult to find here. It's a brilliant way to use a part of the leeks that usually gets thrown away. Serve with medium-grain rice.
Instructions: Place a wok or large frying pan over medium heat and add the vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and chiles and stir-fry until fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the pork belly and stir-fry until the fat is translucent, about 3 minutes.
Tilt the wok to pour off all but 1 to 2 tablespoons of the fat. Add the leeks and stir-fry until tender, about 3 minutes.
Add the sugar and stir-fry 1 minute more. Stir in the soy sauce and serve immediately.
Note: If you're not used to stir-frying with lots of whole chiles, start with about 5 or 10 and turn on a fan because the fumes can make you cough. Chinese dried chiles, or Hunan chiles, are sold at Asian markets, as is air-dried, salt-cured pork belly. If you can't find the pork belly, you can use pancetta sliced 1/4-inch thick, then into 1-inch strips.
Per serving: 295 calories, 10 g protein, 15 g carbohydrate, 22 g fat (6 g saturated), 40 mg cholesterol, 988 mg sodium, 2 g fiber.
Getting a seat at Rao’s is like buying a time-share. Since 1896 the tiny Italian-American restaurant has been serving up family-style lemon chicken and seafood salad beneath strings of Christmas lights on a corner in East Harlem. But after New York Times food critic Mimi Sheraton gave it a three-star review in 1977, Rao’s enacted a notoriously strict reservation system to preserve its devout community of regulars. Now table assignments are made in weekly, monthly, or annual increments, and only a rare few get inside. Forget being somebody—you need to know somebody to get past co-owner Frank Pellegrino Jr. (His father, Frank Pellegrino Sr., was nicknamed Frankie No for his stalwart ability to turn away celebrities and regular folks alike.) After decades of gossip about what exactly goes on inside those red doors, we sat down with Frank Jr. to set the record straight.
Rao's opened on this corner in East Harlem in 1896 (no, that's not a typo).
Photo by JOHNNY MILLER/Courtesy of Rao's
Just getting a table at Rao’s is tough enough. How does someone manage to get their photo on the wall?
Regulars will bring in someone who is notable and then it’s a matter of, “Hey, send me a picture, sign it, and I’ll put it up on the wall.” People don’t bring in photos as much as they used to, but they do send me electronic photos, and I print them out. We pay homage to the people up on the wall: We very rarely take down anyone’s photo.
Let’s talk menu. Are all of the “family” recipes really from your family?
That’s one of the most beautiful things about the restaurant. Every dish is a family recipe that has been passed on from generation to generation, including the sauce that we sell in the markets. They all come from my Grandmother Paulina, Aunt Anna, and Uncle Vincent, and are recipes that were brought over from Italy. My dad and my aunt collaborated together on pretty much all the staple dishes, and now my chef Dino [Gatto] is involved. The recipes themselves evolve but their origins remain tried and true.
Speaking of the Rao’s jarred sauces, do you ever use them in the restaurant to save time?
We always make the sauce at the restaurant fresh, but I can assure you it’s the same recipe. Of course it’s scaled different, but the mechanics are all the same. That recipe came from my great-grandmother, my aunt Anna, and my dad, and it changes over time. It’s that same human touch—I’ll use the structure of the recipe but put a dash more salt or this much less oregano—and it becomes a rhythm, a routine, second nature.
These saucy meatballs, made from a mix of veal, beef, and pork, are just as iconic as Rao's red doors.
Photo by JOHNNY MILLER/Courtesy of Rao's
Has the menu evolved?
You have to be sensitive to what’s going on in the marketplace and the palates of our guests. Scungilli [sea snails cut into pieces] isn’t a big hit and I’m happy about that because it’s a big pain in the bottom to clean scungilli and put it in our seafood salad. But when I was younger, working as a waiter, if I didn’t put scungilli in the seafood salad I would have cut my hands off.
How much parm do you go through in a week?
In Las Vegas alone (we opened there in 2006) we go through probably a wheel and a half to two wheels every ten days. It’s about 84 pounds a wheel. I go through probably a wheel of parm a month in Los Angeles (opened in 2013), and in New York, almost the same. Of course we use other kinds of cheese too, like Locatelli and Pecorino Romano.
Who gets to pick the music in the restaurant?
We have a jukebox in every restaurant with a wonderful selection of music. Now the younger generation—which is me (and which is not so young anymore)—has expanded the spectrum. I have to honestly say that my favorite jukebox right now is the one in L.A. It’s just dynamite. It covers everything: the Eagles, the Beatles, the Stones.
What about the one at the original NYC location?
Back in the day our jukebox was one of the most notable jukeboxes in the city of New York. It was all Motown, doo-wop, Sinatra, Rat Pack stuff, a lot of the classics, and programmed by a dear friend of my father’s. That jukebox was the catalyst for two albums that my dad created the first was called An Evening at Rao’s, and it was part and parcel of our first cookbook launch in the ’90s. It’s comprised of 17 songs, one of which my father performs. It’s called “The Ham (Le Cabotin).”
All locations will be open with normal dine-in/carry out operating hours
SUNDAY - THURSDAY 11AM - 9PM
FRIDAY - SATURDAY 11AM -10PM
For a party of 6 or more please make a reservation 24 hours ahead of time.
Please call restaurants to make a reservation
If you crave Amish country food, home cooking, farm-fresh goodness and friendly service, the Bird-in-Hand Family Restaurant & Smorgasbord in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, will satisfy your appetite. Sample your favorite scratch-made dishes from our all-you-can-eat family buffet. Visit our sumptuous soup-and-salad bar – and be sure to save room for our dessert buffet. Prefer table service instead of the Amish-style buffet? Select made-to-order dishes from our varied menu. It offers something for everyone.
If you’re dining with the whole family, your children 12 and under will love our unique Noah’s Ark Kids’ Buffet. Built by a local Amish craftsman, it features a kid-friendly selection of favorite foods for younger taste buds and, of course, delicious desserts.
We make most of what we serve from scratch using only the freshest ingredients. In season, produce comes from local Amish and Mennonite farms, and we use meat and poultry from local producers. Some of our most popular traditional Pennsylvania Dutch recipes date back to Grandma Smucker, and every dish we serve meets the Smucker Family’s high standards. Enjoy our breakfast buffet, lunch buffet, or dinner buffet Monday-Saturday.