If you are visiting NYC and want to maximize your chances of getting into a hot restaurant without reservations, what should you do?
Go there for lunch during the week.
The place probably won’t be crowded.
Places I’ve had to wait over an hour to get into for dinner during the week have been completely dead at Friday during lunch. I was one of 10 people at one of my favorites places at 12:30, the middle of the lunch rush.
You can chat with the staff without them hating you.
If you try to chat with the bartender during dinner, chances are that you will be despised. But if you go sit at the bar during lunch, the bartender will be much more likely to chat with you about cocktails. Last week at Ssam Bar I was one of two people sitting at the bar and I talked to the bartender Josh about amaro, swapped cocktail recipes, shared liquor recommendations, and he even poured me some samples.
The prices are lower. With less demand and smaller portions, you are likely to meet lower prices for the same quality food. If there is a popular dish on the dinner menu, there is likely a similar lunch version of the dish.
Like any rule, there are exceptions to this. You are probably thinking of some right now. Of course some places are busy at lunch. It isn’t always easy to take a full hour for lunch. Some dishes are only available at dinner. Yeah, I get it.
The point here is to approach going out in a different way: Go when other people aren’t going. Lunch during the week is the easiest for me given my flexible schedule. If lunch doesn’t work for you, try going out later (9pm or after) or going out in bad weather.
I tried it and I don’t think I can ever go back.?????
Breifly, you melt the cheese in a non-stick pan and then throw down a tortilla (corn works best) over half of it. Once the cheese starts to crisp and the tortilla is warm, remove the pan from heat and carefully slide a spatula under the tortilla and cheese to remove your new creation.
It works on breakfast tacos and regular tacos alike, as well as with a variety of cheeses. The cheese is crispy and crunchy around the edges, still a little gooey on the tortilla, and has a deep, rich flavor.
We like to mix up our hotdog toppings in the Grimmett house so that we feel a little less guilty about eating hotdogs. Sometimes it is cucumber kimchi. Sometimes chili, cheese, and fritos. Sometimes sauerkraut. Sometimes coleslaw. Sometimes ginger scallion sauce.
Last night it was quick-pickled cucumbers, radishes, and green onions with a spicy mayo.
Ingredients for the quick pickles
1 Kirby Cucumber
4 medium radishes
2 small green onions, greens and whites
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white sugar
Juice from 1 small lime
Instructions for the quick pickles
Slice the cucumber in half lengthwise, then slice each half into 1/8 inch thick half disks.
Slice the radishes in half, then slice each half into 1/8 inch thick half disks.
Slice the green onions into 1/2 to 1 inch long segments at a 45 degree angle. (Or you can slice them however you want. It really doesn’t matter.)
Toss these all in a bowl with the salt, sugar, and lime juice. Mix together thoroughly.
Let sit for 15-20 minutes before you top your hotdogs with them.
Daikon radishes work great too, but I didn’t have any when I made this, so I used regular radishes.
Ingredients and Instructions for the spicy mayo
Mix together 3 tablespoons of mayo with 1.5 tablespoons of whatever spicy asian-style sauce you have on hand.
Sriracha works fine. I prefer ABC Sambal sauce from Indonesia. You can get it on Amazon. This stuff is everything I wanted sriracha to be. It has more garlic, more spice, and is all-around tastier.
This is easy to scale up, too. Keep the ratio 2:1 mayo to hot sauce and you’ll be good to go.
You could make your own mayo, too. But let’s be honest: The reason you are making hotdogs tonight is because you probably didn’t want to cook a full meal. That jar in your fridge will do for now, but plan ahead next time. The homemade stuff is easy to make, keeps for at least a week, and is far superior to the Hellmann’s you are used to.
Since summer is almost here, you know you’ll make hotdogs soon. Do yourself a favor and make some interesting toppings. Write your favorites in the comments.
If you have a sous vide circulator, making your own turkey for sandwiches is incredibly easy and the result is tastier than the stuff at the store.
N.B.: You’ll notice that in the photos I left the skin on the turkey breast. That was a mistake. I highly recommend that you remove the skin and as much fat as possible before cooking it. I attempted to sear it before slicing, but I ended up removing the skin from what I actually ate.
Just looking for time and temperature recommendations for turkey breast? 145F (~63C) for 2.5 hours.
1 Whole Turkey breast, bone-in and skin-on
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Remove the skin and as much fat from the turkey breast as you can.
With a sharp boning knife, remove the breast meat from the breastbone. Save it for turkey broth.
Season both halves of the breast meat with salt and pepper to your liking.
Vacuum seal each half individually and save one in the freezer for later. Seal the bag twice to avoid leaks. Or, if you don’t have a vacuum sealer, put each in a ziplock bag and use the water displacement method to remove the air before sealing them.
Set your sous vide water bath to 145F (~63C)and put one of the halves of turkey breast in. If you used a ziplock bag, make sure to clip the zipper part to the side of the container to avoid leaks.
Let the turkey cook for 2.5 hours. (If you are cooking the frozen one you set aside and it is still frozen, cook it for 3.5 hours.)
Remove the turkey from the water bath. If you like warm turkey sandwiches, open the bag and slice the turkey immediately and assemble your sandwiches.
If you prefer cold turkey sandwiches (as I do), plunge the bag of turkey into an ice bath to cool it down, then leave it in the fridge for three hours. After it is properly chilled, open the bag, remove the juices and congealed fat, then slice for sandwiches.
Now that it is winter, we eat soup every week. This ham and black bean soup is high on the rotation. It takes longer than some other soups to make, but it is delicious and filling. Perfect for the cold, windy weather.
1 Cottage ham
1 lb of dried beans, pre-soaked or boiled
2 medium carrots
1 medium onion
2 celery stalks
1 green bell pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
Salt and pepper
Put the whole cottage ham in your soup pot and put in enough water to cover. Simmer the ham for 45 minutes.
Remove the ham and set aside. Save the remaining liquid in the pot.
Dice the onion, celery, green pepper, and carrots. In a separate skillet, add the oil and veggies, then sweat them.
Add the black beans, spices and the ham liquid in the pot with the sweated veggies.
Dice the ham you set aside earlier. Add it to the pot.
Bring everything to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for an hour. Add more water if it gets thicker than you prefer.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve the soup with diced red onions, sour cream, or shredded cheese.
Vegetarian or vegan? – Leave the ham out, add more carrots and celery, and use vegetable stock for the liquid.
There are so many variations of pesto these days that it is almost a catch-all title for green sauces. I’m not against that, but it is hard to know what to expect when someone says pesto. I prefer the simplicity of the classic version, both in taste and ease of preparation.
Classic pesto is made with fresh basil, garlic, pinenuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil all ground together with a mortar and pestle.
I don’t have a mortar and pestle large enough to do this, so I use my awesome food processor to make it. You could also use a blender.
2 cups fresh basil leaves
3-4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup raw pinenuts
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Put the fresh basil leaves, garlic, cheese, and pinenuts in the food processor, put on the top, and turn it on. Slowly pour the olive oil in through the drip hole while the food processor is running. Stop the processor and scrape down the sides with a spatula if needed. After the pesto looks like a paste, turn it off and add in the salt and pepper. Pulse it a few times to combine. If the pesto is too thick, add some more olive oil.
Pesto is best made fresh and consumed right away. If you do need to save it for a few days, put it in a jar and put a 1/4 inch of olive oil on top of it to protect it.
How to use it
Toss with pasta and cherry tomatoes
Toss with zucchini noodles and grilled chicken (what Amanda and I did with the pictured pesto)
When summer roles around and it gets hot outside, I start to get a craving for hot dogs. I prefer cooking hot dogs on the grill, which became a problem last fall when we moved into an apartment without a porch or access to a grill of any sort.
I don’t like to eat boiled hot dogs (sorry, Dad!) and my grill pan leaves a lot to be desired (namely the lack of smokey grill flavor), so I had to search for another way to make them. I found the solution when I watched the cook one day at Five Guys. He cut the hotdog down the middle lengthwise and butterflied it, then cooked it on the griddle. This is how Shake Shack does it now, too.
Griddled Hot Dogs at Home
Heat a few tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium high heat. (I used my favorite cast iron skillet, but you can use any heavy-bottomed skillet.)
Split your hot dogs lengthwise and butterfly them.
Once the butter has started to brown, place the hot dogs inside-down in the pan.
Get a piece of aluminum foil big enough to cover the pan, place it on top of the hot dogs, and then put something heavy on top to weigh down the dogs. I use a brick covered in foil, but you could use a smaller pan or a saucepan filled partially with water. (Don’t get the water on the hot dogs!)
After about 3-4 minutes when the dogs start to look crispy on the inside, flip them over and cook another 3-4 minutes.
While the dogs are cooking, open your potato buns so that the inside is facing up and toast them under the broiler in your oven for 1 minute.
When everything is done, assemble! Try some of the suggested toppings below.