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Quindlen
On Wednesday, October 24, 2018, Scarsdale Adult School presents An Evening with Anna Quindlen in conversation with cultural historian Lori Rotskoff from 7:30 to 9 pm at Scarsdale Middle School.

Among other things, Quindlen, a celebrated writer and former columnist for The New York Times will discuss her most recent work, Alternate Side, her ninth book of fiction in her highly successful career. This novel of “first-world problems” tells the story of the tensions of a tight-knit neighborhood on a rare dead-end block in New York City, from the perspective of Nora, an empty-nester in a seemingly happy marriage. With humor, understanding, an acute eye, and a warm heart, Quindlen explores what it means to be a mother, a wife, and a woman at a moment of reckoning.

Born in Pennsylvania, Quindlen grew up in New Jersey, attended Barnard College, and now resides in Manhattan. While a columnist at The New York Times, she won the Pulitzer Prize and published two collections, Living Out Loud and Thinking Out Loud. Two of her novels, One True Thing and Black and Blue, have been adapted into movies. Her memoir, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, published in 2012, was a #1 New York Times bestseller. Her non-fiction book, A Short Guide to a Happy Life, has sold more than a million copies.

Rotskoff, who will be conducting the interview and moderating the Q&A, specializes in women’s and gender studies, memoirs and narrative nonfiction. After majoring in history at Northwestern University and working for a year at the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington, DC, she earned a PhD in American Studies at Yale. She has taught undergraduates at Yale and Sarah Lawrence College, and designed and taught a seminar class for adults at the Barnard Center for Research on Women from 2005 to 2015. She leads independent book groups and classes in literature and cultural history in New York City and Westchester. Her contemporary memoirs book discussion course at SAS is perennially full. Her other upcoming SAS classes this semester include Family Mysteries and Family Histories in Personal Documentary Films, One Day Only Book Discussion of There There by Tommy Orange, and One Day Only Book Discussion of Educated by Tara Westover.

Registration in advance is highly recommended; tuition is $25. Seating cannot be guaranteed for walk-ins. Reserve your spot at www.ScarsdaleAdultSchool.org.

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LeProvencalOutsideA breath of fresh air has blown into Mamaroneck. For many Westchester residents Le Provencal Bistro has been a staple in the county. After over 20 years, the original owners have returned to their European roots. A young, energetic and enthusiastic team of owners are making Le Provencal Bistro their own.

On busy Mamaroneck Avenue, this charming spot welcomes you with several bistro tables and seasonal potted plants at its entrance. The bar area is at the front, overlooking the street and the bi level dining room is cheerful with many French scenes lining the walls. My visit was within a few weeks of the new ownership and it was with great enthusiasm, that they indicated that they look forward to encouraging a friendly vibe at the bar and dining rooms and adding some new cosmetic changes in the dining rooms. “Our work is all about service and fine food. Our menu focuses on the food of Provence and our daily specials are seasonal and international in flavor. We believe there is always room for improvement. Service is very important, and we offer curbside pickup. Simply call in your order and we will bring it to your car.” This is a nice perk, if you wish to savor the dishes in the comfort of your own home without the concern of parking on the bustling street.

Le Provencal seats about 85 guests at their white linen clad tables with bistro style napkins and they have added additional artwork to the existing collection. The new owners love interacting with their guests and the wait staff was most accommodating.

The kitchen is headed by Chef Faustino Juarez, a master at his craft who ran the kitchen at steakfritesSteak FritesLe Provencal for many years. More than a dozen appetizers are available ranging from the classics to more trendy preparations. As the weather cools off you may wish to start with a bowl of homemade soup, perhaps wild mushroom soup or as I did, with lobster bisque. It was presented in a white porcelain footed bowl. The broth was rich, but not overpowering and morsels of fresh lobster studded this flavorful potage. Housemade foie gras was an elegant classic starter. Resting on toasted brioche with a tangle of caramelized onions and marmalade on the side, it was rich and delicious, a treat that I do not indulge in on a regular basis. A jumbo lump crab cake was mostly crabmeat enhanced with red bell pepper and just enough bread crumbs to hold it together. A nicely dressed mesclun salad with cranberries and walnuts balanced this dish.

A popular trend on many current menus are variations of avocado toast. At Le Provencal, one of the dinner appetizers is a super variation on the theme. Here, the base is grilled bread, nice and crisp, topped with carefully slice half moons of ripe avocado, a generous portion of smoked salmon and a sprinkling of toasted pistachio nuts. The result was divine. Yet to be sampled are escargots bourguignonne, Provençal onion tart and jumbo lump crabmeat salad with cucumbers and sauce Louis.

scallopsScallops in beurre blanc sauceMain courses are both traditional and creative. A bowl of moules poulette arrived in their plump glory piled high and steamed with herbs in a white wine sauce. Shoestring pommes frites were crisp and the mussels were steamed just to the right point so they remained cooked but tender. We couldn’t resist the hanger steak with those wonderful pommes frites. The steak was marinated with garlic rosemary and thyme and served just as I desired, black and blue. The classic combination of steak, pommes frites and fresh haricots vertes was a favorite. Other possibilities are coq au vin, beef bourguignonne, sautéed salmon with mushrooms, lentils and leeks in a chardonnay beurre blanc, shrimp Provençal, lobster linguine and steak au poivre. Quite good was a daily special of sea scallops in a beurre blanc sauce. They shared the plate with sautéed spinach, ratatouille and grilled zucchini slices. This delicate dish was both delicious and colorful.

Among the homemade desserts prepared by the pastry chef are classics of crème brulee, chocolate pot de appletartTarte Tatincrème, profiteroles, Sergio’s banana cake lemon tart or as I devoured, a warm , melt in your mouth tarte tatin. The crust was the base for the wedges of caramelized apples. It was sooo good and shared the plate with vanilla ice cream. A special of the day was a classic chocolate opera cake with its many layers. An international wine list is offered with some exciting new selections to come.

A lovely brunch menu is available on Saturdays and Sundays. The choices include eggs benedict with smoked salmon or black forest ham, and omelettes to name but a few of the many options. A nice addition to the brunch menu are both sweet and savory crepes where you can choose your own combination of ingredients.

If lunch is your meal of choice, on Monday through Friday, you can enjoy a 2 course prix fixe lunch or a la carte appetizers, salads, entrees and desserts. Sautéed John Dory tartines and a Provencal palette of quinoa, mushrooms, Beets, lentils, ratattouille and burrata are nice choices.

We loved the original Le Provencal for many years and look forward to many fine meals at the newly envisioned Le Provencal Bistro of the present time and for many years to come, as the new owners make it their own.

Le Provencal Bistro
436 Mamaroneck Avenue
Mamaroneck, NY
914-777-2324

Recipe: Mussels Poulette (Serves 4)

3 Pounds Mussels, Scrubbed
1 Tsp. Chopped Garlic
1 Tsp. Chopped Shallots
2 Tsps. Chopped Fresh Herbs (Chives, Parsley, Tarragon)
1 Cup White Wine
1 Cup Clam Juice
1 Cup Heavy Cream, Or To Taste
Place mussels in a large pot on high heat Add shallots and herbs and garlic Add cream, clam broth and white wine at the same time. Boil for 5 minutes. Discard any shells that do not open. Serve and enjoy.

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sakanaroll
With the opening of Sakana Japanese Cuisine, culinary artists have taken up residence on North Avenue near Quaker Ridge Road in New Rochelle, where pristinely fresh Japanese food is presented for your dining pleasure.

It is said that Japanese cuisine is considered both fuel for the body as well as food for the soul. Upon chatting with Jason Lin, I learned that, “great emphasis is placed on quality and freshness of ingredients. We get our fish 4 times a week and we offer great service, fresh fish and creative presentations. We look forward to the residents of the area to get to know us as we become part of the neighborhood and become better and better. We even have a special refrigerator in our kitchen which keeps the delicate fish at the correct temperature.”

The décor at Sakana is simple. As you enter a large sign announcing Sakana hangs above the sushi bar at the rear of the space, which seats 5 guests. Here you can observe the sushi chefs busy at their craft. There are modern black booths, tables and a banquette seating about 49 guests. A tall bamboo plant graces the sushi bar, a token of good luck. One wall has a wavy framed art installation which lends a calming and peaceful atmosphere.

The executive sushi chef is Brian Chen, whose creations are as appealing to the eyes as to the palate. My suggestion is to start your meal with selections of sushi appetizers and hot appetizers. Several of these choices are traditional such as gyoza, edamame, crispy calamari, yakatori, sashimi appetizer and assorted Japanese pickles. We chose some of the more creative beginnings. Outstanding was the crispy famous pancake. The thin, crisp, glasslike pancake sat at the bottom of the plate, and was topped with julienne strips of the freshest of seafood, tuna and other pristine fish, mango and avocado. It was a delicate and delicious starter. We also loved the lobster wrap. Here, a rectangular strip of fresh salmon was filled with lobster salad and matchstick strips of Sakana5cucumber. It was rolled up, and was a lovely combination of textures, with the smooth salmon, chunky lobster salad and crunchy cucumber. Pepper tuna acted as a wrapper for several vegetables. It was rolled up and resulted in a savory bite. The cool vegetables paired well with the spicy tuna. Rock shrimp arrived on a bed of greens in a white bowl. The shrimp were lightly fried and topped with a fragrant creamy sauce. If you wish, several soups are offered, from the traditional miso soup to hot and sour miso soup, seafood soup, shitake mushroom soup and shrimp won ton soup. Salads are varied, as well.

It was time to sample the vast selection of rolls. There are the classics of California roll, spicy salmon, spicy tuna, eel cucumber, king crab and the list numbers about 40 possibilities. For the more adventuresome, I suggest working your way through the 22 house special rolls. With names like angry dragon, sexy girl, fire and ice, volcano roll, ocean roll and Godzilla roll, it is hard to choose. We made 3 very fine selections. The Madonna roll was composed of shrimp tempura, spicy tuna and asparagus filled with a wrap of yellowtail and white tuna sprinkled with tobiko and scallion. A perfect complement was a slightly sweet house made sauce. The marble trio was worth a try, as well. Here seaweed infused soy paper which was marbleized in appearance, encased tuna, salmon, yellowtail and avocado was quite good and pretty as well. Our third choice was the signature Sakana Roll. Here, black salmon and asparagus was the filling, topped with tuna, eel, salmon, yellowtail and avocado. It was finished with red and black tobiko and was a nice and spicy offering. Sushi and sashimi are also available a la carte or on a platter with miso soup or salad.

Sakana1If hot dishes are your desire, enjoy the hibachi offerings prepared on the kitchen hibachi table. Chicken, steak, salmon, shrimp, vegetable, scallops and lobster tail are available. The tempura is excellent, very crisp and cooked a la minute. The shrimp and vegetable tempura were both light and non-oily. Absorbent paper beneath them picked up any extra oil. The shrimp were cut lengthwise before being dipped into the batter and broccoli, squash, and sweet potato worked well when cooked tempura style. Katsu dishes, also lightly crusted, were tasty, as well when sprinkled with fresh lemon juice. Teriyaki can be ordered with tofu, shrimp, chicken, beef, salmon, tuna or seafood. Our chicken variety was grilled and sliced and paired with fresh vegetables and topped with sesame seeds. Bento boxes of teriyaki, tempura, beef negimaki, katsu, sushi or sashimi offer a nice tasting. If you visit at lunch, there are lunch specials, lunch boxes and hibachi lunches.

Complete your meal with mocha ice cream, fried banana or tempura ice cream.

Enjoy the artistic preparations of pristinely fresh ingredients at the new Sakana Japanese Restaurant which offers takeout and delivery, as well.

Sakana Japanese CuisineSakanaInterior
1287 North Avenue
New Rochelle
914 637 8888
http://sakananr.com/

Katsu Chicken

3 chicken breasts
¾-1 cup cooking oil
1 cup flour divided
2/3 cup panko crumbs
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon Lawry’s seasoning salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1 large egg, beaten
3 tablespoons milk
Pinch salt and pepper

Place chicken breasts one at a time in a plastic bag. Flatten each one using a rolling pin or a meat hammer to ½ to ¾ inches thick uniformly. Repeat until each breast is pounded out. Cut breasts into palm sized pieces. Mix together ½ cup of the flour, panko, salt, garlic powder, seasoning salt, cayenne and onion powder. Set aside. In another bowl mix egg and milk. In a third bowl place ½ cup flour with a few shakes of salt and pepper. Mix well. Using a fork, dunk each piece of the chicken into the flour, then the egg wash and then into the panko mixture. Be sure that at each step the chicken is completely coated. Fry in medium or medium high heat in preheated oil in a skillet until golden brown on both sides and the inside is no longer pink. It should take about 6 to 7 minutes depending upon your stove. Remove from the oil and let it sit for 3 to 4 minutes on a wire rack before serving.

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CarShowAScarsdale Concours D’Elegance of 2017. Photo by Andi SchreiberThe 16th annual Scarsdale Concours D’Elegance returns to Scarsdale on Sunday October 7th. It will take place in the Scarsdale Village. Each year, over 100 different vintage or exotic cars are showcased around the village of Scarsdale. Currently, the oldest car registered is from 80 years ago, an unrestored 1938 Buick Century Model 61.

The Scarsdale Concours D’Elegance was founded upon three ideas:

A passion for great cars both new and vintage
A desire to showcase Scarsdale students as part of a constructive and giving community
The opportunity to raise significant funds for area charities.

The show has evolved greatly over the past 15 years. Evan M. Cygler and Dennis O’Leary III founded the show as high school sophomores, creating a solid foundation for a show that has become an enjoyable community event. Students are still large contributors to the success of the car show. There are currently six students on the official board, all passionate about their work as board members. “I enjoy being on the board of the car show because it brings the community together. It combines charity with our love for cars,” says Jonah Schneider, who has been a board member since his freshman year of high school.

The admission and car registration fees, combined with community sponsors, advertisements, and donations, raise the significant amount of money that is donated to various charities after the show each year. The show’s 16 board members choose multiple charities each year to which they plan to donate. The show has raised over $400,000 total for different charities across Westchester County.

With just a few days until the show, board members are finishing up their preparations for the event. Members are extremely excited for the show and anticipate a great turnout. Andy Albert, who has been a dedicated board member for five years, has enjoyed his time spent working on the show. Albert said, “It is a great way to give back to the community and enjoy a top shelf car show."


If you are interested in registering your vehicle for this year’s show, you can learn more here

 

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shrimpAs new restaurants pop up frequently in Mamaroneck, I seem to be visiting this diverse community frequently. Most recently, there was Sofia’s, and Fez. Newest among these choices is the unique Donjito. The group who brought Popojito to Scarsdale recently has graced Westchester with its charming Donjito Tacos and Tapas in Mamaroneck. Here the menu is a unique rendition of Nuevo Latino dishes. Executive Chef Carlos Rodriguez said, “We hope to create memories for our guests and meet their expectations of dining out in a spot where the nucleus of our dishes are of Latin and Spanish roots." They indicated that Mamaroneck is a community experiencing revitalization with a very diverse population.

Sue Vitiello, General Manager, a welcoming presence in the dining room, described Donjito as having the appearance of a Spanish wine cellar. The bar area in the front has high tables and many seats at the bar. The dark woods, brick and brown textured leather lend a sophisticated look to the space. Seating about 69 guests in the interior and about 40 in the lovely outdoor back patio, the mood is set for a great dining experience.

Headed by Executive Chef Carlos Rodriguez, and Chef de Cuisine Sean Fitzgerald, this is a kitchen where real care is taken in each step of the preparation resulting in excellent finished products. It is refreshing to note that both Chef Rodriguez and Chef Fitzgerald appear to be on the same page with their attention to high standards. Executive Chef Rodriguez majored in acting in college and worked in restaurants to earn his tuition. His exposure to the culinary field, in addition to the fact that his mom is a chef, led him to “his happy place.” He worked his way up the culinary ladder at many restaurants in the tristate area to the title of Executive Chef. Chef de Cuisine Fitzgerald enjoyed cooking from an early age. He believes in learning the basic methods of food preparation and studied at The Culinary Institute where he learned all of the basics. “You need to know all of the rules before you can break them and add your own touches.” Their philosophy includes the thought that, “We do the best that we possibly can. We owe that to our guests and are thrilled that they chose us.”

The menu and presentations at Donjito show off the artistic eye of the chefs. Each dish is carefully designed to appeal to all of the senses. Good stock makes good sauce. Chef Rodriguez indicated that, “All of our sauces are homemade starting with a good kitchen made stock. ... No pre prepared stock bases in this kitchen.” Some very important basics in this kitchen are garlic, salt, water and tomatoes.

A recent meal at Donjito was delightful. If I needed to use one word to describe the dishes guacamolehere it would be balance or harmony. Each dish had many facets of flavor and a perfect balance of tastes and textures is achieved for maximum enjoyment. Most of the menu is gluten free and dishes that are not gluten free are marked with 2 stars. The first thing that caught my eye was the heavy silver flatware, a sign of quality which followed throughout the meal. Dishes for the table included the familiar guacamole. Here the ingredients added to the avocado are crushed before being added to the avocado, lending even distribution of spices to the dip. Chorizo flatbread, Donjito wings, and shishito blistered peppers are offered, as well. We started with outstanding mussels. Served in a large skillet, they were nicely spiced with just the right amount of kick. The charred chunks of garden tomatoes, melt in your mouth roasted garlic and white wine broth with toasted pita bread was divine. I’m glad they included a soup spoon at my setting since the broth was so good. From the tapas section, I couldn’t resist a favorite of gambas al ajillo. Both head on and shelled jumbo shrimp were seared with a garlic sauce. This was not your every day garlic shrimp. Served with a heavy cream enriched fresh corn mousseline and guajillo salsa and flour tortilla and garnished with microgreens, it was unique and delicious. If you are gluten free request a corn tortilla instead of the flour variety. A rustic pottery dish of pulpo a la plancha looked like a still life. The crisp octopus was poached in white wine and then seared resulting in its fine texture. Burst cherry tomatoes, balsamic onion jam, red chili salsa, red radish, paprika oil and micro cilantro garnished this tasteful presentation. Future tapas choices may include beets prepared three ways, tuna tostada and gazpacho.

tacosFor the tacos choices, once again, they are creative and wonderful. With three tacos to each plate, choose from grilled chicken with black bean puree, slow roasted pork or wild mushrooms or as I sampled, salmon with marinated cabbage, avocado and mango habanero salsa. Here a thick slab of salmon sat atop the accompanied ingredients. A wedge of lime completed this dish, excellent in its simplicity. I also loved the short rib barbacoa taco. Here the juicy short rib was shredded and filled with flavor. It was braised in Mexican coke, different from the American coke since it is made with sugar cane. A thick slice of candied chipotle bacon, fried shallots and red radish slices completed this excellent dish, bringing tacos to a very high level. I look forward to trying the wild mushroom and goat cheese taco in the future. If you are with a group, try the Donjito Taco Mezcla, a ten taco platter.

Entrees include the very popular Paella Barcelona with bomba rice, shrimp, chicken, saladchorizo, mussels and octopus, chicken enchiladas, or chile rellenos. I opted for the churrasco. The skirt steak was marinated with chipotle peppers and served with that wonderful Mexican street corn on a skewer with spices and cheese and a potato chorizo hash.

To accompany your meal, there is a creative hand crafted cocktail selection, many of which are created by Sue Vitiello, with an interesting twist, bottled beer, beer on tap, wine and sangria. Desserts are prepared in house and include molten chocolate cake flavored with tequila, churros, and tres leche cake to name a few.

Get into a Latino state of mind and enjoy the carefully prepared dishes awaiting you at Donjito Tacos and Tapas.

Donjito Tacos And Tapas
122 Mamaroneck Avenue
Mamaroneck, New York
(914) 902-5486
www.donjito.com

Sunday – Wednesday 11:30 – 3:30, 5:00 – 10:00
Thursday – Saturday 11:30 – 3:30, 5:00 – 11:00
Take out is available too.

Recipe: Gambas al Ajillo (serves 1)setting

3 gulf shrimp head off
1 gulf shrimp, head on
1 Tbsp. sliced garlic
1 Tbsp. dried guajillo chiles
3 ounces white wine
6 ounces shrimp stock
1 white onion
1 carrot
½ bunch celery
1 bay leaf
½ bunch thyme
4 Tbsps. tomato paste

In a large pot place shrimp shells, onion, carrot, celery bay leaf, thyme and tomato paste Add 2 quarts of water. Simmer and reduce by 1/3 for about 45 minutes.

In a hot sauté pan add a bit of oil until hot but not smoking. Season the shrimp to taste and saute until colored on both sides. Add garlic until golden brown. Add 1 Tbsp.butter until melted and bubbling. Deglaze pan with wine. Once the wine is reduced away add shrimp stock and guajillo chiles and keep moving pan around to emulsify the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the corn mousseline, grill 2 ears of corn and cut off the kernels. Place in a saucepan with 1 pint of heavy cream Cook down to a pasty consistency and add pinch of salt and 1 Tbsp. butter. In a separate bowl whisk 1 pint heavy cream until light and fluffy. When corn mixture is cool fold it into the whipped cream and refrigerate.

Place the shrimp on a plate. Pour sauce over shrimp. With a heated tablespoon, scoop out the corn mousseline and place next to the shrimp. Enjoy with tortillas or toasted bread.

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