Monday, June 22, 2009

Food Film Festival 2009

Last week Rob and I headed up to the water taxi beach in Long Island City to catch some of the third annual Food Film Festival. It incorporated many things I like -- free stuff, sand, faux palm trees, beer, events that are walkable from my apartment, cheeseburgers, a beautiful view of the city and films that are short enough to fit my attention span. Monday night was a perfect night to go -- it wasn't too crowded and the weather held out, although it did get a little chilly.

The films themselves were okay, although I wasn't terribly impressed with any of them. Beef is Bueno, which gave a brief glimpse into the Argentinian beef farming industry, was one of my favorites. Partially because it makes you think about where your food comes from, but mostly because they handed out free samples of grass-fed beef burgers afterwards (but WHY on earth would they put ketchup on all of them?!). Eat or We Both Starve was an interesting look at a catfish restaurant in Mississippi with lots of history and a strong Southern soul. I learned quite a lot about how tequila is made from Sixty Hands, but by the end it felt like a really long infomercial for Patron.

Overall, a really fun and unique evening, and the setup on the beach made me feel like I'd left the city (save for the huge skyline looming right across the East River). Maybe next year I'll go more than one evening to see if any films strike my fancy.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Peter Luger.... Finally.

Life is pretty good when both your best friends and your boyfriend were planning on taking you to Peter Luger for your birthday. I'm the biggest steak fan I know, and to never visit the place that repeatedly receives SO much hype just seemed very wrong. Now that I can add my name to the guest list, I think my life trajectory might be a little bit more on track. A very special thanks to my pals for making this happen!

It's really hard to live up to Luger style hype, and thankfully, they did not disappoint. Six of us went for lunch last Saturday, and I was amazed at how many people were packed into the front room, waiting for a seat.

Everything here was top notch, from the service to the dinner rolls. First up, the bacon. I don't think I've never seen bacon this large before. These crazy big slabs were more like charry, smoky, fatty ham. I was planning on saving a piece for the cheeseburger, but that was impossible -- it was all gone in minutes. I had to be very quick to grab this picture before it all got snatched up!

Peter Luger is repeatedly awarded with best burger awards, so we ordered one with cheese and one without, medium rare. The cheeseburger was perfectly cooked, nicely seasoned, and the slice of mild cheddar on top really helped define it. Definitely an ideal burger, though I'm skeptical of its best in the city status. I'll have to do my research.

I didn't get a picture of the creamed spinach because I was too focused on not picking up the bowl and trying to drink it down. You didn't even have to chew it once. I can't imagine how much butter and cream must have gone into it to make it taste so amazing.

Finally, the porterhouse: Steak for Three! Medium rare, obviously. The steak arrived on a sizzling hot plate -- so hot that you can sear pieces of beef on it to suite your taste, as the waiter demonstrated for us. They put a small upside down saucer underneath one end of the plate to keep all the juices down on one side. Then the waiter put a piece of meat on each of our plates and topped it with a spoonful of the juices ("fat-free," he jokes). The meat was very tender and flavorful, to a point that I don't even think I realized until I had the leftovers the next day. Leftovers should never be so good. The visible pieces of fat aren't chewy or rubbery, they meld into the meat and melt so nicely on your tongue. Perfect amount of char on top of the meat as well.

One thing that Rob pointed out to me later -- where's the fillets? Porterhouses should have the filet side. They are missing. This upsets me, as the huge potential of filets at Luger's is lost.

If I told you I was too full for dessert, I would be lying. I totally could have done it. It was actually the layer of grease I felt forming in my stomach that urged me to opt out. I'll have you next time, sundae with homemade schlag. Next time....

Peter Luger
178 Broadway
Brooklyn, NY 11211