Month: March 2017

The Craftsman of Yore is No More

When you write about food, people like to ask you for a favorite restaurant. For me, favorite means different things, and so there has never been just one. I have a favorite for out-of-town guests and fancy occasions, for breakfast, for pizza, and for Korean food. But the most important favorite is the neighborhood restaurant I go to at least once a week because the wait staff is lovely, the atmosphere is charming, and the food is, without fail, great. For a long time, for years, that was the Craftsman Restaurant & Bar. A dear friend and I used to meet there once a week to hash out our life and work conundrums over the Craftsman’s fantastic Manhattans (a toothpick stacked with house-macerated sour cherries before they were a thing), or for the brief time they were available, the wonderfully tanniny Emily’s Sumac. We liked the hummus, smoky and garlicky and surrounded by simple but pleasing vegetables — bright pink watermelon radishes, pickled cauliflower, parboiled green beans, and such. Another good memory: Early one summer evening, …

In Favor of Rustica’s Polenta Bread

In these parlous days, Rustica’s Polenta Bread (available on Mondays) offers solace. The crust is crunchy, and the inside is cool and airy and squishy soft. It smells like popcorn, and tastes like corny, slightly sour, very luxurious white bread. Toasted or not, it is magic with salty butter — just the thing to calm the heart and smooth down the hackles. [Appeared in Heavy Table. Photo Credit: Rustica Bakery]