Archives for December 2012

A Day of Respect

Since the tragedy that occurred in Newtown, I have not had a chance to publicly offer my condolences, my heart, and my thoughts to those affected by such an unspeakable act of depravity.

Like other bloggers in my field, I am taking today to reflect and show respect by interrupting my normal blogging schedule

My prayers are with the the community of Newtown, and I hope that this will be the last one of these posts that I will ever have to write.

See you tomorrow for regularly scheduled blogging.

Spicy Thai Cilantro and String Bean Stir Fry

This recipe is based on this one – a traditional Thai dish that I love.

But you know what else I love? Not having to go out of the house to get ingredients.

That’s where this dish came from…ingredients I had in the house. It ended up turning gout so well that I’m not sure I would even go back to make the original! If you don’t have fish sauce, you can use Worcestershire sauce, but the flavor won’t be exactly spot on. Definitely buy some fish sauce the next time you are at a specialty or Asian grocery store – a bottle lasts forever and is so, so useful.

Spicy Thai Cilantro and String Bean Stir Fry

Ingredients:

1  lb. ground chicken

1/2 lb. string beans, cleaned and chopped in half or pieces

1 bell pepper, diced

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, diced

3 Serrano peppers, diced

2 tbsp. fish sauce

1 tbsp. soy sauce

2 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp. ground ginger

2 tsp. rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

large handful cilantro leaves (at least 1.5 cups), cleaned

1. Oil a large skillet or wok, and put the heat on high until the oil shimmers. Then, drop in the onion, garlic, chiles, and bell pepper.

2. In about 10 minutes, or when the veggies are fragrant and starting to soften, add in the string beans, ginger, fish sauce, sugar, and soy sauce. Let it cook for 10 minutes more, or until the string beans have softened in some parts and charred in others. The fish sauce will be stinky – don’t worry, it really calms down once it reduces and the flavor will be savory and salty, not at all fishy. 

3. Add the rice vinegar and cilantro. Taste the sauce and see if it needs more sour, salty, or sweet. Adjust accordingly.

4. Add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Taste for seasonings

You may need a little splash of Sriracha to get it to that really tear inducing heat level.

5. Serve

I still love gai pad krapow , but wow…this might give it a run for its money. The string beans are juicy and slightly charred. The bell peppers are sweet and soft, and the chiles add a light, citrusy heat. The fish sauce really adds that deep umami flavor that that food has – not at. The tang of the rice wine vinegar, salt of the soy, and sugar compete the fully rounded taste. The chicken is bursting with fresh cilantro flavor and is light enough to eat for lunch. It isn’t overly salty or spicy, especially if you eat it with rice noodles. This would also be great with broccoli or a few cherry tomatoes. I can’t think of anything this wouldn’t be great with – it is healthy, it is tasty, and it is so easy to make.

I am so glad that I didn’t want to go out of the house for groceries.

Flip Burger Boutique – Where’s the Drama?

During my trip to Atlanta, I ate a lot.

Well, I guess I should substitute “trip to Atlanta” to “life,” but you get the picture.

One place I was dying to check out was Richard Blais’ molecular gastronomy influenced restaurant Flip Burger Boutique. This Top Chef contestant had always made really cool and unusual food on the show, and when I heard about tableside frozen nitrogen shakes and burgers with blue cheese foam, I knew I had to check it out.

The feel of the restaurant is very cool and sleek, like something you might see in Santa Monica. You could get a cozy booth or be sat at one of the long communal tables. The server we had was extremely efficient and friendly – we had, in fact, only exemplary service during our whole time in Atlanta. The food came out quickly.

Butcher’s Cut with Crumbled Bleu Cheese, Caramelized Onions, Soy Truffle Vinaigrette, Frisee, Pickled Shallots, and Red Wine Jam

This burger was only good where it could have and SHOULD have been great. It was brought down because it was overcooked, so the meat was bouncy and a little tough. It was brought down by a very sweet jam that overpowered the umami, salty vinaigrette. It was elevated by the tangy shallots, tender frisee, and delightfully soft, absorbent bun. The cheese was very good – creamy and funky without being overwhelming. It just…could have been so much better. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t as great as I wanted it to be.

Fry sampler with sweet potato tots, onion rings, and French fries.

The sweet potato tots were greaseless, sweet, and spicy with cayenne. The onion rings, while a bit heavy on the batter, were fresh and piping hot. Now that those are covered, let’s get to the important stuff. The fries are some of the best in recent memory. Fried in beef tallow, they have a very hearty, deep taste that positively reverberates in the mouth after the first bite. The fries themselves are crispy and hot, and dipped in the blue cheese foam (airy and funky – one of Blais’ molecular touches) or the house made ketchup they are excellent.

Foie gras milkshake

I know what you are thinking – this is going to be awesome – fatty, creamy, faintly heady with the taste of foie echoing in the background. Kinda weird, kinda gross, TOTALLY awesome.

SO NOT WHAT IT WAS.

I mean, it was good. It was a very nice, thick, cool vanilla milkshake. Fragrant…with vanilla. Tasting…of vanilla. Where was the foie? And where was the tableside liquid nitrogen pouring? If they stop doing the tableside presentations, they might as well just do old fashioned milkshakes.

Nutella and toasted marshmallow shake

Less disappointing, though the lack of chemical mixing at the table was still a letdown. Nutty and a little bitter, it was balanced out by the sweet marshmallows. Recommended.

Flip burger confuses me. The food is good, and some of it is great. However…where are Blais’ sensibilities? Where is the drama, the molecular gastronomy, the sense of the weird and wonderful? My guess is that he has toned this all down in hopes of attracting more people to his restaurant, but sadly, I think that it might attract fewer.

Bring back those milkshakes and I will gladly return to try other burgers on the menu – I think that they have a lot of potential!

West Egg is a Good Egg in Atlanta

There are so many things about West Egg that are absolutely right, I think that we should just do this in list form:

1. Any breakfast place named after The Great Gatsby is automatically cool, regardless of the food that it serves. So I was predisposed to like this spot.

2. The line outside meant that there was a half hour wait. The coffee that I could get in the meantime and the enthusiastic looks on the faces of people who were finished eating meant that I waited on it.

3. Industrial casual cool. Spacious and comfortable, with a great, welcoming server who was quick on coffee refills.

Fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese and bacon

4. Why don’t I eat pimento cheese every day? I mean why on earth not? This pimento cheese is the best I have had. Creamy and sharp and salty and studded with velvety pimentos. It melts just slightly on the sour, juicy fried green tomatoes,  its creaminess cool against the hot tomatoes’ acidic tang. The bacon is thick cut and smoky, and the swath of ranch dressing on the bottom provide a mild, cooling aspect to the dish. I cold eat this thrice a day, every day, for about 5 months.

As my charming dining companion said “These are as good as jalapeno poppers without the embarrassment of actually being a jalapeno popper.”

Well said.

5. My friend’s salmon cakes Benedict looked delicious and he said it was fantastic.

This is the friend who came up with the jalapeno popper line, so you can imagine how discerning and elegant his tastes are.

Huevos Tejanos – eggs scrambled with jalapeño, onion, tomato, chipotle salsa, and sour cream, with roasted garlic grits

6. Almost as good as the huevos rancheros at Cookshop, and that’s saying a lot. The salsa is even better than that at Cookshop – smoky, spicy, full of deeply roasted tomato flavor and plenty of spicy garlic. Speaking of spicy, they really load up the jalapenos here, seeds and all. I didn’t even  need any hot sauce for my eggs, and that NEVER happens. Juicy tomatoes  finely diced onions,and a dollop of smooth sour cream rounds out this excellent egg dish. The grits along side are a superstar – creamy and thick without being gloppy. Filled with sweet roasted garlic flavor and enough black pepper to stand up to the spice and heat of the eggs.

 7. West Egg has delicious food, excellent service, and fair prices. It also serves brunch till 10 pm on Sundays  Need any more reasons to come here?

Oh yeah..it is also named after The Great Gatsby. That should do it.

The Varsity – Disappointing Burgers with Awesome Sides

I’m totally unprepared for how to start this review.

I am used to recommending delicious food and unmissable experiences. I have no problem suggesting that you take out a mortgage on your home to enjoy a fine meal or travel 400 miles for the perfect slice of pizza. But, how can I recommend mediocre food?

And yet…I am.

The Varsity is the world’s biggest drive in. Though this Atlanta institution has been open since 1928 (with a few locations around town, now), precious little has changed in the decades that have passed. The menu is still short and sweet, the prices are still cheap, and carhops still come to your vehicle announcing “what’ll ya have?”. That’s the battle cry here – it is found at the counters and from the carhops, and though I have heard that there is a special ling that you must use to order, I just went up to the counter and winged it and did just fine.

Though the original location seemed totally packed, the ordering process went quickly and easily, with some totally kind and competent cashiers.

Onion Rings

A standout of the meal. Thick cut and freshly fried, covered in a batters o light and crisp that it actually has a pocket of air between the onion and its coating. The onions are sweet and steamy, an ideal counterpart to the lightly crunchy, wheaty breading. It feels somewhat ridiculous to be this obsessed with onion rings, but…honestly? They are totally awesome.

Chili Cheese Slaw Dog with Mustard

I wanted to love this…but it isn’t up to the standards of my favorite dog. The hot dog itself lacks snap and spice, the slaw is rather insipid, and the chili has only the faintest touch of spicy-savory flavoring that the best hot do g chili should have. The bun is cottony and though the whole dog is certainly tasty enough, it is in no way the best hot dog I have ever eaten. Tasty enough to eat, not tasty enough to build a shrine to.

Chili Cheese Burger

Also disappointing – can’t hold a candle to Merritts. Dry patty, somewhat grainy chili, and a spongy bun. Not bad, not good. Totally forgettable – which is NOT what I expect from the world-famous varsity.

Frosted Orange
Luckily, things look up with dessert. The frosted orange is heavenly – like what I imagine an Orange Julius might taste like. Creamy and cold, the first taste if of sweet, rich vanilla. Then, there is the final ending note of orange, citrusy and fresh. It is lighter than a milkshake but heavier than a soda – the prefect addition to a meal.

Fried Peach Pie

And this. Get it. McDonald’s should be embarrassed for selling the swill that they call fried pies. This is the queen of fried pies. A flaky, none to sweet shell that MUST be made with lard or some other oil unknown to us poor Yankees. It is just that crisp and rich. It is filled with smooth, sweet peaches that while some might see as slimy, I know to be luscious. This is one of the best treats on the face of the planet, and THIS I can heartily recommend.

The other stuff? Not so much. Yet, I ate the hot dog. I scarfed down the burger. And the fries looked so good that I wished that I had more room to try them. And, more than that…it’s The Varsity. It’s an institution, it’s cheap, and everyone in Atlanta eats here. There is no better way to really become part of the city during your short visit there, and the vibe is so laidback and fun that I can’t help but recommend it.

Cotton Candy and Dirty Water Dogs

It’s time for a little roundup of some of the best bites I have had in recent weeks. Without further ado:

Fried Olives at Acqua

This UWS eatery has some delicious food on the menu. The ravioli I sampled was tender and filled to bursting with a subtle veal stuffing, well dressed in a creamy but not overpowering sauce. There is also a good wine list, including a very nice prosecco by the glass. however, that isn’t what I am talking about. What I am talking about is what you get with that glass of prosecco, when you order it at the postage stamp sized bar. It’s about tiny green olives, briny and fragrant, served warm in a crispy breadcrumb coating. They are juicy and meaty, not overly bitter, and a perfect start to the meal. Get here early and sit at the bar for what might be one of the most underrated bar snacks in the city – the bowl is complimentary and refilled as often as you like. I emptied a bowl myself and was never made to feel bad for it. Just bring cash, since this is one of the last restaurants (perhaps on the planet) that refuses to take credit cards.\

Champange and Amaro cocktail at Bathtub Gin

I love this tiny speakeasy more and more every time I go. Just go to Stone Street Coffee Company, wait for the red light to go on at 6 pm, and enter into a secret den of tin ceilings, luxurious bathrooms, and excellent cocktails. This one (I could kick myself for not writing down the name), is one of my new favorites. Amaro is a walnut liquor that is extremely nutty and edges on the savory side of sweet. It works well with the light, floral champagne, grounding it and giving it body. It is a lighter version of scotch – deep, complex, alcoholic enough to make you sit up and take notice. Highly recommended.

Cotton candy at Landmarc

A totally whimsical ending to an otherwise standard meal. A pink cloud of airy, fluffy spun sugar arrives just above room temperature at the table. As you pull off tufts of the stuff and let them melt in your mouth, just try not to giggle. It is sweet and sugary – that’s it. No black pepper, no salmon foam, nothing weird or complex. It is just nostalgic, light, and very sweet – the perfect ending to any meal.

Hot dog  with mustard, onions, and kraut at Papaya King

Because it’s not all about champagne cocktails. Sometimes, you want a cheapo hot dog made out of mystery meat and a cottony bun. It is salty, savory, and slightly funky with sauerkraut. It is so utterly satisfying on a cold day, especially with a tall paper cup filled with bitter, chemical filled Diet Coke.  I ate this sober and am proud that I did. After 6 years here, I think I might finally be a New Yorker.

Landmarc on Urbanspoon

Fritos and Foie Gras Foodie Gift Guide

My good friend, the grand dame of NYC food blogging Feisty Foodie, put out a gift guide earlier this week. Well, I’ll be damned if I let another Hanukkah go by without doing my own foodie approved gift guide. So, here are gifts that I have gotten or would love to get that you should consider getting the foodie in your life

For the Klutz – Global Knives

Here is the thing – the sharper the knife, the less chance you have of hurting yourself. I know that seems counter intuitive, but have you ever tried to cut a piece of paper with those plastic toddler scissors? That is a great way to stab yourself in the wrist. Same with knives – the duller they are, the more chance there is of you sawing back and forth and really cutting yourself. These knives were given to me as gifts, and though they are not cheap, they are the most used items in my kitchen. They cut through tomatoes, beef, and turnips with equal precision. One or 2 clean motions and I have a smooth, clean cut. They won’t easily dull and if they do, you can easily have them sharpened. Get these and say goodbye to kitchen bandages.

For the wannabe alcoholic – ChocolatRouge Wine

Do you like Yoo Hoo? Of course you do – if you didn’t, you would be an android. If you are, indeed, a human, this chocolatey wine drink may be the best things that has passed your lips since, oh, EVER. Sweet, creamy, and rich, this is not at all bitter or tannin-y. Rather, it has a slight tang at the end that cuts through the cream without taking away from the sweet drink. It is so indulgent and just alcoholic enough to give you a little buzz after a couple of glasses. This is so great for the holidays, and, as a bonus, is very reasonable. I tried this at a press event and have been steadily going buying bottles ever since.

For the latke maker in your life – Faberware food processor

Though I didn’t pay for mine, I would in a heartbeat. This 12 cup processor is LEAGUES past what your mom used to make latkes with. It comes with different blades in protective plastic covers, has rubber feet on the bottom so it doesn’t move while you are shredding potatoes, and holds 12 cups of food, so you don’t have to use 7 million batches. The wide feed into the machine makes work go faster than ever and the machine is incredibly easy to use and lock. This made my Hanukkah preparations about a GAZILLION times easier and better in general – shaprer blades, better capacity, and superior design in general. Huge fan of this, and at under $75, it’s an unbelievable value for the money.

For the lazy blogger – Photojojo macro lens

How tired are you of seeing sub par cell phone photos of food on the blog? And how tired am I of schlepping around my humongous dSLR, when I am not even allowed to use the flash at half of the events I attend? This is the ideal compromise – photoJOJO has a macro lens that attaches to your cell phone. I mean the macro lens ATTACHES right to your CELL PHONE. There really couldn’t be anything more fantastic than this. Imagine whipping out your camera and getting food porn-worthy shots of rare steaks, crisp spring rolls, and fudgy chocolate cake. Though I don’t know if it works, it’s an incredibly cool idea, and I would love to try one of these puppies out.  An awesome idea for any foodie-cum-social-media maven.

For yourself – Gigantic Jar of Nutella

At various specialty food stores and online, you can by giant  jars of Nutella. If you don’t know why I would want this, just stop reading now. We don’t understand each other.

For the person you want to impress – gift certificate to Tocqueville

My favorite restaurant in the city. I just love how old fashioned it is, how elegant, how luxurious, and how seasonal it is. The restaurant is just a stunner, and for the price it is ia tremendous value, especially at the lunchtime prix-fixe. Don’t think this is a cheap gift, but it is one that will impress and that will be remembered for years to come.

Disclaimer – some of these products, as described, were press samples. I was not required to write about them, and my opinions are my own.

Brisket and Tsimmis

As Anthony Bourdain said “Only Texans and Jews understand brisket.”

If you want something smoky and savory,head to Texas  Get a side of mac and cheese and really enjoy some down home BBQ. However, if you want something a little saucier, a little softer, and a little sweeter, look to your Jewish friends. Think fall-apart-in-your-mouth beef swimming in a sweet and savory sauce with tender root vegetables.  We don’t tamper with this recipe and we don’t ignore it.

We make it every Hanukkah and eat it with gusto.

My guess is, once you have this incredibly simple recipe, you will, too.

Brisket and Tsimmis

Ingredients:

7 lbs. brisket (with the point and fat cap)

6 onions, sliced into rings

1 lb. carrots, cleaned and sliced into large chunks

1 lb. parsnips, cleaned and sliced into large chunks

1 large can tomato sauce

1 can beer

2 cups prune juice

1 cup pitted prunes

1/2 cup brown sugar

1. Cut the beef into pieces, if necessary, then place it fat side down in a BURNING HOT stockpot. You will hear it sizzle and sear. Let it rest for about 2 minutes, or until it becomes easily unstuck…

then sear it on the other side. Repeat with other pieces.

The meat is seared to lock in the juices for the long braise ahead.

2. After you are done browning the meat, you turn the oven to 350F, and…

add the carrots, onions, and turnips to the pot.

3. Now, mix all of the other ingredients together in a bowl, and…

add the sauce to the pot. Give it a good stir to try to get the sauce down around that beef.

4. Turn off the stove and cover the pot with tinfoil, crimping down the edges tightly  You want absolutely no steam to escape here. The whole point is that this is covered for hours and hours, braising and breaking down fat and connective tissues until the beef is soft enough to cut with a spoon. You can always cover the pot with a lid after the foil, but don’t skip the foil.

5. Now, set it in the oven for a good 6 – 8 hours. It is done when the meat is truly, totally tender.

Try not to eat it straight out of the pot with a serving spoon. I, of course, fail at this every year. The carrots are tender, the prunes are fat and juicy…

and the beef is bovine perfection. Skim the fat off the top and serve it now, or…

6. Separate the beef from the sauce and refrigerate both over night. When it comes time to serve it, simply remove the fat off the top of the Tupperware.

It should have risen to the top in one orange clump, which you can simply pick off. So much easier than separating it while it is hot!

Now you are left with just the tsimis.

7. Now, slice the fat cap off the brisket and toss it,

slice the brisket, and put it in the tsimis. Reheat the whole thing on the stove, in the oven, or even in the microwave until it is hot, and…

8. Serve.

This is beef stew gone sweet. It is sweet potato pie gone savory. It is slightly malty form the beer and very earthy from the parsnips and sweet carrots. The onions simply swoon in submission to the tomatoey, beefy sauce, and the prunes pick up the irony, hearty taste of the beef. The beef itself is really soft and mild without being mushy or cottony – that’s what sealing that thick fat cap does. It protects the meat from losing flavor or texture. We eat this for breakfast lunch, and dinner the week after we make it – it actually gets better as it sits.

Not that something this delicious sits around for long.

East Noodle and Izakaya – More Than Meets the Eye

You know those restaurants you walk right by? The ones that seem just a little too cheap, or where the menu is jut a little too big, or where the deal just seems a little too good to be true? Most of the time you are right to pass those by. Most of the time, you just keep on walking to a smaller, more authentic place, and you are sure to get a better value for your time and money.

BUT…

sometimes, you should go into those places. Like when there are 5 of you who are cold and hungry and just on the verge of whining. Like when this place has a huge table just waiting for you. Like when the atmosphere is jovial and fun, not to say rowdy.

Like when you pass East Noodle and Izakaya on St. Marks. From the outside it’s a tourist trap. From the inside, it’s a melting pot of student teachers form NYU, families with kids, couples on dates, and lone diners at the bar.

It’s ideal for a delicious but inexpensive meal.

Though you could get the agedashi tofu, creamy and custardy within its crisply fried exterior, saturated in salty sauce, or the thick and hearty vegetable pajeon, that isn’t why you come here. You come here for the many delicious yakitori. Here are just a few of my favorite skewered meats and vegetables:

Chicken thigh with scallion

Simple but supremely done. Moist and tender chicken, slightly bitter from the char marks on the outside. Tinged with salty soy and separated from the bite of sharp scallions, this is a delightful skewer.

Chicken thigh with yuzu

Oh, get this. The thigh is rough and charred from the fire, bursting with savory juices within. Atop, it is brushed with sour yuzu juice that is so spicy that it makes the lips tingle. Not overly fiery, it definitely announces its presence, and it’s hot and sour taste compliment’s the meat’s natural sweetness.

Pork belly

Pork, come to mama. Supremely fatty and sweet, with a garlicky bbq sauce on the outside that picked up the savory notes of the pork. If you don’t like pork belly or visible fat, don’t get this. But if you love the natural taste of pork and the  mushy taste of well caramelized fat, then jump on this skewer and ride it to the end of the line.

Chicken hearts

Like grilled liver but a bit less chalky and more bouncy. That minerally, iron-heavy taste combined with salty-sweet teriyaki sauce. If you like liver, you will absolutely love chicken hearts. Get over it people…if you have eaten hot dogs, you have eaten offal.

JapChae

Yeah, i know I said it was all about the skewers. But this Korean holdover really deserves mention. Glass noodles sautéed with vegetables. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? But these noodles are something else. Tender and slippery, with a good bite. Coated in salty, umami forward sauce that is sweet without being cloying and savory without being aggressive. Sweet onions, soft zucchini, and other vegetables rounding out the dish. This is really something where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Bravo to the chef.

Bibimbap

Traditional? No. But delicious? Yep. Soft and sticky rice, crisped by the dolsot, blended with spicy gochujang, bits of softened vegetables, and strips of long, thin, delightfully fatty gyudon beef. Don’t miss it…it’s addictive.

This whole place is addictive. I defy you to spend more than $30 a person here, with each person leaving stuffed to the gills. The service is fast, the atmosphere is fun, and the food, while not revelatory, is really tasty.

You will be so glad that you stepped into a restaurant that you would normally pass over.

Reuben Egg Rolls

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

At least, that’s how I hope the folks at Red Farm take it.

Though I haven’t yet eaten at the highly acclaimed Chinese restaurant, I have heard much about their acclaimed pastrami egg rolls. That’s right, egg rolls filled with luscious Katz’s pastrami, fresh vegetables, and sauerkraut.

This is the perfect Hanukkah food, right?  Fried AND pastrami!

Well, it is almost perfect. It needs some cheese and a little Russian dressing to really make it the ultimate Chewish Hanukkah food.  Be aware that this recipe take forever to make – it’s a lot of prepping, rolling, and frying. It takes a few hours from start to finish, but it isn’t complicated, just time-consuming. That’s why you see my sister’s fingers in all the pictures – this is a recipe that should really be made in tandem.

Reuben Egg Rolls (inspired by An Immovable Feast)

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. wiss cheese, shredded

1/2 lb. sauerkraut, squeezed in a towel to drain it of all moisture

1/2 lb. pastrami, thin cut and finely shredded

2 -3 cups oil in which to fry

bowl of water for sealing egg rolls.

Russian dressing to serve alongside

1. Make sure that when you are wrapping, you cover the wonton wrappers with a damp paper towel, or they will dry out and rip when you start to roll them. Trust me, this is an all important step.

2. Now, it’s time to roll. Take your time and while keeping the rolling tight, try not to make any tears or holes. If you do, it’s ok – just keep frying them. Put a teaspoon sized combo of meat, cheese, and kraut, in the corner of your wrapper facing you. Then…

start to roll, until you roll up to the next 2 corners.

Like this!

3. Then, squeeze your filling into the middle, and fold in each corner of the wrapper to make a little packet.

4. Now, continue to roll, until you almost reach the end of the wrapper, and then…

ta da! Simply moisten along the “envelope flap” with water until the edges are sealed and you are good to go! Now, this is gonna take you a good, long time. Just grab your child, your younger sister (some young person who can’t run away) to do these with you, then you can even store them overnight in plastic containers. That’s what we did, with wet paper towels in between each layer, and they turned out perfectly crisp.

5. Now, in a large and heavy stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the oil to at least 350F (you know it is good to go when you drop a piece of bread in and it instantly fries). Then fry the egg rolls for about 5 minutes, until they are deeply golden brown on both sides.  Don’t put more than 5 egg rolls or so in the pot at a time, to ensure that they don’t lower the temperature of the oil.

Make sure that you keep the pile of egg rolls under a damp paper towel while you fry. If there are a few little tears that develop, don’t worry about it. Just keep frying and it will all work out.

Pastrami tends to soothe all wounds.

When you have a pile of gorgeous, crispy crunchy egg rolls, you are done!

6. Dip in russian dressing and serve.

THIS is how you make a pastrami egg roll. You fill it with fatty, peppery pastrami and load it with tangy sauerkraut. you throw in some tangy swiss cheese that melts and oozes with each bite through warm, crispy wrapper. You dip it in savory Russian dressing and you feel oddly that you are both at dim sum and the deli.

And you also kick the ass of everyone else’s same old, same old latkes and donuts Hanukkah party.

I might have started out imitating Red Farm, but the truth is…the chefs there might want to take a page from my book.

I won’t be mad. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.