From the Vault: Ben's Chili Bowl

Walking into Ben's, even on a night crowded with tourists, a line wrapping around the counter and winding its way through the restaurant, you get a warm feeling like walking into a family friend's house. The hip hop bumps, bass rumbling throughout the conversation and laughter that flows from customers to cooks. In an era in a city where kindness is a premium, Ben's is overflowing.

via TriViews

The cooks dance behind the line, taking pictures of college kids at the counter who know, just like we all do, that we are in a truly special place.


How to Horrify Your Dinner Guests

Because of my upbringing, I take Halloween very seriously.

When I say "my upbringing", what I mean is this: my childhood house turned into a crypt for the entire month of October and part of November because my mother takes Halloween very seriously. Our front yard was a cemetery. Our windows were blockaded with ghosts and warning signs. Navigating the spider webs in the hallways became an important skill. There was a fountain of blood in our dining room. Doorknobs turned into monster hands. Am I painting enough of a picture for you? Every year my parents threw a balls-out, lavish, enormous Halloween party for 100 of their closest friends. I've decided it's my responsibility to uphold this tradition, albeit on a slightly smaller scale in my adult life. In that spirit: a little Halloween party food porn:


Pork Plucks and Kindred Nerd Spirits

Big thanks to my wonderful friend JSuh for alerting me to what's happening on Four Pounds Flour this week.

I can frame this, right?

What's happening is some pretty significant digging into the New York Historical Society's culinary collection and the resulting nerdery. JSuh pointed me to the final post of the series, Unusual Meats, and now I am obviously hooked and will read everything Sarah has ever written on Four Pounds Flour, because clearly we are the same kind of nerd.Go check it out!


A National Day to Get Behind

I don't remember the first pickle I ever ate. But I do remember the first pickle I ever asked for more of.

1st Pickle Festival in NYC

They were hamburger dill chips and they accompanied the grilled cheese sandwich of my dreams.


An Ugly Limbo

I will never claim to be the kind of person who does not complain about the weather. I hope you guys can forgive me. There is something about this particular transition of fall to immediate winter that really seems to throw me and the ones I love into a funk. I'm envisioning the next six months of bitter cold, slush on the ground and decreased sunlight, but am not quite to the point where I anticipate cozy nights with hot toddies and braised meats. It's an ugly limbo, October. 

Fried Pickles with Vanderbilt Ranch Dressing

One freak snowstorm later, November is here with its closed windows, boots and early sunsets. I am glad to say that I spent one of our final bonus days of summer a few weekends ago sitting in the window of The Vanderbilt, sipping a cocktail of tequila and grapefruit juice, acting like I will never stop wearing flip flops and sun dresses.