Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Bits & Morsels

Asparagus wrapped in Eggplant and Ricotta at Patsy's.

I get a kick out of you. This past Saturday night I went to Frank Sinatra’s old hangout — Patsy’s. Patsy’s was founded in 1944 and has been a family business ever since. There have been only three chefs in the restaurant, Patsy Scognamillo, his son Joe Scognamillo, and the current chef Sal Scognamillo. Chef Sal is as friendly and genuine a guy as they come. When I arrived on Saturday night he was working the room and making sure everyone was comfortable and very well fed. Sal is also pretty media savvy and has made numerous TV appearances to promote the restaurant and the Patsy's environment. When you first walk in to Patsy's, you are greeted by a wall of photographs of the hundreds of celebrities (or "Friends of Patsy's Restaurant" as they like to refer to them) who have dined there. Patsy's was one of Frank Sinatra’s favorite restaurants (he would eat upstairs, in the back with the curtains drawn), so there is a very cool Rat Pack vibe to the place.

If you don't already know, the food at Patsy’s is classic Italian. My favorite dish on this particular Saturday night was the asparagus wrapped in eggplant and ricotta cheese smothered in red sauce. It was a hearty winter dish, yet the asparagus were cooked delicately to where they still had a freshness and crunch to them. My mother had the cheesy manicotti which was also quite tasty, thanks in part to a generous dose of nutmeg. For dessert we had the tiramisu and a warm batch of almond cookies which came straight from the oven.

We happened to go on the late side, after the pre-theater rush, and the crowd was made up of mostly regulars, many of whom are native New Yorkers. Pre-theater, post-theater, or any ole' time, everyone's gotta go to Patsy’s. [Patsy’s]
Patsy's at 236 West 56th Street; The upper level where Frank Sinatra would sit in the back and close the curtains.
Clockwise from top left: Patsy's sauce; In the dining room post the pre-theater rush; The cheesy Manicotti; Chicken Parmigiana.
Clockwise from above:

Whole Wheat Pasta with Fra Diavolo Sauce; Chef Sal and George Clooney, one of hundreds of photos of celebrity friends and patrons of Patsy's; Chef Sal Scognamillo on Saturday night; Asparagus wrapped in Eggplant and Ricotta.
Clockwise from top left: Serving up the Mille-feuille or Napoleon; Our choice for dessert, Tiramisu; Almond cookies served hot; Mille-feuille up close.
If you are contemplating going on a diet, check out this review of delivery diet foods. Sticking to a diet is hard but it’s much harder in New York where there are tempting restaurants on almost every block. Utilizing a diet service which delivers 3 meals a day and snacks can be helpful in keeping your diet on track. rated eDiets as the best meal service out of Nutrisystem, The Zone, Pure Foods, and Jenny Craig. [Epicurious]

There is a truffle shortage in France. [USA Today]
The effects of global warming are becoming more and more salient with time. There is a truffle shortage in France which is due to the lack of adequate rainfall. Instead of middlemen buying truffles in large quantities, it’s reached the point where tourists and gourmands are buying truffles by the piece. In the past five years the prices of Truffles have almost doubled. This is a reason for all gourmets to start taking climate change seriously! [USA Today]

Here is a list of restaurants from Details Magazine
that serve the best breakfast. The list includes spots from all over the country. The two New York restaurants on the list for the most important meal of the day are Barney Greengrass (not surprised) and the Mei Lai Wah coffee house on Bayard Street. I haven’t been to the coffee house, but they are known for their rustic and gritty atmosphere and no frills but delicious food. I'll write about it for an upcoming Bits and Morsels, so stay tuned. [Details]

I am sad to report that Café La Fortuna on the West Side is closing due to a rent increase. This was the oldest café on the West Side and one of my favorite places in the City. For some reminiscing read about La Fortuna on NYSD. [Lost City]

Till we eat again,
Jordana Z.

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