Hello, again

Founded by the late Daniel Rogov, welcoming foodies to discuss the dining scenes in Israel and abroad, along with all things related to kosher food.

Hello, again

Postby Francois de Melogue » Wed Oct 29, 2008 9:51 am

Good Morning... and then a very short intro then I need to go back to work...

Hello EVERYONE from Stratsplace! It's been a little while since I chatted with everyone. Lisa and I are now in New York City opening a seafood restaurant on east 82nd street. Before anyone jumps down my throat for quitting yet another restaurant...

Flex Mussels (or Flex in the City as we call it) is one of the two concepts from PEI that I worked for over the summer. I am short term helping the owner open the place and offer some pristine seafood simply prepared... more on this later...

Grimod
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Re: Hello, again

Postby Daniel Rogov » Wed Oct 29, 2008 11:11 am

Grimod, Hi.....

Welcome back! Keeping up with your career has something distinctly akin to following the path of a hyperative grasshopper. All of which is just fine and forgiveable of course because of your considerrable talents and the adventures on which you take us.

Two questions and one request:

(a) Are you settling in for the while in Manhattan or elsewhere; (b) Do you have electricity in your apartment or did you insist on a flat without electricity; and (c) do keep us informed of your dining and cooking adventures in the big city.

Best
Rogov
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Re: Hello, again

Postby Shel T » Wed Oct 29, 2008 1:57 pm

Grimod, LOL, I've also followed your adventures (odyssey?) during the stratsplace regime and like Rogov's questions, can hardly wait for the answers!
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Re: Hello, again

Postby Mike_F » Wed Oct 29, 2008 4:04 pm

Welcome back Francois!

I guess http://www.flexmussels.com/ is the PEI parent of the place you are opening now? Is the NYC site just a winter gig, or a long-term move?

cheers,

Mike
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Re: Hello, again

Postby Francois de Melogue » Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:37 am

once again I apologize for the very short reply... sometime soon I will have time...

apartment with electricity... yeah
living in Brooklyn... short term... Till january... after I am heading west to learn and work at a goat cheese operation...
love short term NYC... hate long term NYC

Flex in PEI is simplified... NYC is more city-ish. Is that a word?

GRIMOD
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Re: Hello, again

Postby Francois de Melogue » Thu Oct 30, 2008 1:10 pm

mussels, mussels, mussels.

mussels - $16/lb
classic white wine, herbs, garlic
spartan kalamata olive, garlic, tomato, oregano, olive oil, white wine
abbey Belgian triple, caramelized onions, orange zest
provençal tomato, basil, saffron, orange zest, pernod, garlic, white wine
negril red, gold and green peppers, jerk, lime, garlic, red stripe
big apple apples, sparkling apple cider, button mushrooms, cream
the mexican chipotle peppers, lime, cilantro, sol, garlic

mussels - $17/lb
thai green curry – coconut milk, lemongrass, coriander, lime, garlic, ginger
bombay Indian curry, mango puree, coriander, garlic, ginger, lime, white wine
san daniele prosciutto, caramelized onions, white wine, garlic
fungi portabella, shiitakes, button mushrooms, thyme, smoked bacon, garlic
dubliner guinness, toasted walnuts, caramelized onions
citron lemon, lemon grass, lemon vodka, white wine
portuguese linguica, clams, tomatoes, white wine, garlic

mussels - $18/lb
bisque lobster, tomatoes, brandy, scallion, cream, thyme, garlic
green fairy absinthe, caramelized onions, sweet peppers, cream
southern bourbon, mustard, roasted corn, country ham, cream
geisha girl sake, green onions, pickled ginger, garlic, bird’s eye peppers
maine lobster, corn, white chowder, parsley
spaniard chorizo, tomato sauce, sweet peppers, red wine, spanish olives
acadian gumbo sauce, shrimp, andouille, okra
peking peking duck, scallions, black beans, ginger, rice wine, garlic


the number 23 – MP flavor changes daily, ask your server for details
Flex famous hand-cut fries - $5

not mussels.

appetizers
chowder flex mussels fresh chowder of the day
goat cheese toasted goat cheese, simple greens, roasted beets, candied walnuts, apples
spicy greens arugula, prosciutto, shaved fennel, pecorino, blood orange vinaigrette
rillete smoked salmon and fresh salmon rillete, red onion, capers, toasted brioche
grilled mussels mussels, double smoked bacon, piperade, esperlette peppers
crab cake belle river rock crab cake, vegetable slaw, citrus aioli, fried herbs
burnt fingers crispy fried calamari, shrimp, oysters, shallot rings, spicy aioli

seafood
lobster roll daily steamed 1 # lobster, celery, lemon, drawn butter, toasted bun, three mayos
PEI lobster traditional mussels, steamed 2.5# lobster, hot apple pie
fish and chips tempura battered fish, flex fries, tartar sauce
scallop seared scallops, ginger and green onion glaze, rice box
salmon grilled organic salmon, leek fonduta, mustard butter
halibut grilled halibut, mashed potatoes, lobster, scallops, mussels, tomato confit
provençal sunshine provençal seafood stew, shellfish, finfish, saffron tomato broth, rouille, croutons

whole fish ask your server about tonight’s selection
not seafood
farm chicken roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans
short rib hereford beef short rib, mashed potatoes, crispy leeks
steak frites hereford hangar steak, flex fries, béarnaise
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Re: Hello, again

Postby Francois de Melogue » Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:29 pm

ROGOV:

wonderful to be back in touch with the cyberworld... let me answer your questions and comments:

(a) Are you settling in for the while in Manhattan or elsewhere;

My wife and I, due to our extremely short contract (here till January... maybe later) and having a dog, were very limited in our housing options. We live in Brooklyn and commute every single day to Manhattan. It is a shock to ride the subway everyday after living the last few years in far greener spots.

(b) Do you have electricity in your apartment or did you insist on a flat without electricity;

In all honesty, I appreciate my time in NYC but am very glad that it is short. If I were a multi millionaire perhaps I would love living in the City. The commute is hard sometimes and the choices of places to walk my dog is even harder. She is used to running around off the leash. I would gladly trade this for my old shack in the woods. I do admit that there are certain pleasures in living here. It is a cool, cool cool city with many choices for diversions. Every kind of restaurant, shop and entertainment you could possibly imagine. Also extremely dirty, loads of garbage and the excesses are stunning.

(c) do keep us informed of your dining and cooking adventures in the big city.

I certainly will. So far I have scratched my itch of chinese food, eaten a absolutely horrid meal at Pearl's Oyster bar, had very mediocre meals at Resto and Cafe B (two Belgian restaurants) and had a very mediocre meal at Artisanal. I did, however have an incredible meal driving down from Prince Edward Island in Waterbury Vermont.

“Find the shortest, simplest way between Earth,
the hands and the mouth”
Dining at Hen of the Wood
at the Grist Mill in Waterbury, Vermont


Lisa had struck up a conversation with one of our customers at Dayboat this summer. During the course of conversation he had mentioned a restaurant tucked away in an old grist mill in Waterbury, VT that was conceptually very similar to what we were doing… an ever changing menu featuring mostly local food that was creatively prepared. We tucked this bit of info away into the memory banks and figured we would get there when we could.

Last night we had the opportunity to dine there. We first emailed the restaurant asking if they minded a brightly colored bus and two slightly gamey casually dressed customers in for dinner on Tuesday. No response. While doing laundry Lisa called and asked if they had any space that evening. The person replied that they were fully booked with no room whatsoever for stinking hippies. At that point I wondered if they had indeed gotten our email. Not deterred so easily Lisa and I decided the best plan of attack was just to come in at 5 when they opened and beg, bribe or whatever.

The gentleman at the door told us indeed they were fully booked but that we could sit in their bar like area known as the window box. We didn’t care… in fact I would have been perfectly content sitting on milk crates in their kitchen. As it turned out, the window box was actually the best seats in the house. We had views of their three outdoor seats, a river and trees. That’s not to say that folks sitting in the regular seats didn’t have comfortable seats or pleasant views, quite the contrary, we just prefer natural features. The dining room was mix of exposed wood beams and stone with an open kitchen.

Our waiter came and offered us a drink to start with. He then asked if the painted bus was ours. If we weren’t in Vermont I would have feared deportation. He then told us he had a 1980 bus sitting at his house that unfortunately was used more by mice than himself. I already liked this guy. He had me at bus.

We started our meal with a bottle of Vision Cellars Chileno Vineyards 2006 Pinot Noir and three appetizers. We had Wild Vermont Hen of the Woods mushrooms sautéed in a Vermont apple brandy and cider sauce served over Red Hen Bakery bread with a slice of Vermont bacon over. Excellent flavors, great simple presentation. Sometimes it is refreshing when talented Chefs do simple dishes unmolested. We also had an appetizer of Rhode Island Calamari with Pine Nuts, Hot Peppers and Basil and the show winner, Slow Roasted Niman Ranch Pork Cheeks on Mustard Crème Fraiche. The calamari was good but the cheeks were off the hook damn good. I suppose if you know me at all you would know that I gravitate towards cheeks… halibut cheeks, cod cheeks, beef cheeks, pork cheeks. I am a bonafide nose to tail eater.

Our waiter was wonderful, in fact all the waiters were wonderful. We wondered if this was in part due to the fact that we were eating in our normal Bacchus style or that other people seemed to get the concept less than we did. The table next to us had no concept of food and came in with many preconceived notions like big scallops were inferior because they were big. We spoke with several waiters throughout the course of the meal. All seemed to be knowledgeable and into working here.

The next round of food and wine started with an Owen Roe ‘Seven Hills and Saint Isidore Vineyards’ Walla Walla 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, a big muscular wine with blackberry and leathery notes. Lisa had picked it to go with my Rib Eye. For main courses we had the rib eye steak with a Hen of the Woods compound butter, roasted potatoes and braised greens; smoked LaBelle Farms duck breast with buttered parsnip puree and braising greens and finally a dish of Sheep’s Milk gnocchi with local sweet corn, pine nuts and arugula. The rib eye was a tad overdone but still wonderful and extremely satisfying. The duck breast went well with both the pinot noir and the cabernet. The sheeps milk gnocchi were amazing with the corn and arugula. All in all a very satisfying meal.

We ended the meal with a few cheeses off their cheese tray. We tried the Jasper Hill Farm ‘Constant Bliss’ which is a raw ayrshire cow milk aged sixty days, Consider Bardwell Farm “Manchester” which is an aged, raw milk, goat cheese Tomme styled cheese and Champlain Creamery “Champlain Triple Crème” that is exactly what it sounds like it is. The cheeses were served with slightly salty crostini’s and toasted hazelnuts and apple butter.

Overall the meal was unbelieveable and great. The downside, if there is a downside, would be the selection of desserts. That night was the new Pastry Chef’s first night and there were only three offerings. I am cutting the new pastry chef a little slack and would hope that the choice of desserts would reflect the ever changing menu with the same enthusiasm as the Chef apparently has. I would highly recommend Hen of the Woods to anyone travelling through this part of the country. Their information can be found at: http://www.henofthewood.com/
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Re: Hello, again

Postby Mike_F » Sat Nov 01, 2008 6:21 am

Francois,

Interesting post, thank you.

Strikes me that by now you must have accumulated enough such encounters to put out a book on them. Something on the lines of The "Hippie Chef" Recommendations for Great Food Experiences in Out of the Way Places... . If you write such a volume, do let us know when it's published.

cheers,

Mike
Of course we must be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.”
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Re: Hello, again

Postby Francois de Melogue » Sat Nov 01, 2008 3:50 pm

funny you should say that... i started a blog on a similar vein... a little more VW specific guide for wayward travellers and fellow gypsy Chefs who just simply enjoy living their lives... opening in a little over one week... wahoo. busy busy busy
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Re: Hello, again

Postby Leanne S » Sun Nov 02, 2008 9:11 pm

Hi, Francois, sounds like your previous plans to head west this month had to be changed-- at least, I think I remember your saying that-- anyway, best wishes to you and Lisa.
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Re: Hello, again

Postby Matilda L » Wed Nov 05, 2008 7:54 am

Hi Francois

I've been keeping up with your blog. Some nice material. Looking forward to some more virtual food experiences from your new post.

best,
Matilda
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