Tag Archives: latkes

Chai Five For Kutsher’s Tribeca

There’s a new kid on the block, and by kid I mean restaurant and by block I mean neighborhood. Tribeca welcomed Kutsher’s with open arms, almost at the same time Demi pushed him out.  But, there’s no actual relation here.  Kutsher’s Tribeca is the new restaurant brought to you by the Kutsher Family, as in the Kutsher family who owns Kutsher’s Country Club in the Catskills.

The century old resort is infamous, well infamous to Jewish families in the tri-state area.  It’s been a second home to hardworking families, focusing on community, tradition, and of course, good food.  Just like its upstate predecessor, Kutsher’s Tribeca has the same goals of creating good food, which is exactly what it does.

Kutsher’s is reinventing what it means to be a JAB – Jewish American Bistro.   The menu is filled with nostalgic dishes that have a modern twist.   Chef Mark Spangenthal is turning old classics into new favorites.

One of my old favorites dates back to my camping days.  Kutsher’s put its spin on Bug Juice, to make an adult friendly drink for the kid inside of us. Although it’s normally made with Vodka, I ordered mine the Bite-Sized way, with tequila instead.  Tequila, home-made fruit punch and grapefruit bitters. But the most noteworthy part of this cocktail are the punch ice cubes.  As the cubes melt, the juice dissolves so the drink doesn’t get watered down.  Now that mixologist is a real mench!

We started with the Wild Halibut Gefilte Fish, which was plated with beet and horseradish tartare and garnished with a micro arugula and parsley vinaigrette.  Beet and horseradish tartare might just be a fancy way of saying horseradish, but there was nothing snooty about this dish.  The wild halibut is mild which gives the gefilte fish a subtle flavor, unlike the jarred stuff you might be used to.

I couldn’t pass up Milton’s Short Rib & Brisket Meatballs with caramelized onions and creamy horseradish sauce and can you blame me? Such a whimsical spin on an old classic cannot be ignored! My hopes were high for this dish, and I definitely wasn’t disappointed.  The meatballs were tender and intensely flavorful.  They were totally reminiscent of mom’s brisket.

You know how much I love latkes, so of course I also ordered the Crispy Potato Latkes at Kutsher’s.  Well, really I asked for two orders of them, one with apple sauce and sour cream and one with caviar, in true Bite-Sized fashion.  They were crispy and dense, which made them the perfect vehicle for sweet apple sauce and salty caviar.

I have a hard time turning down Challah, so when I saw that the Country Club Chopped Salad had challah croutons, I decided it also had to be ordered.  Chickpeas, apples, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, walnuts and challah croutons were mixed together on top of a bed of butter lettuce.  Tossed in a lemon honey vinaigrette, this salad was a delight, emphasis on the light.

We also ordered the Crispy Artichokes alla Judea.  The artichokes were lightly seasoned with lemon, garlic, parsley and paired with a salad of greens and shaved parmesan cheese.   The crisp greens balanced the salty artichokes and creamy cheese.  This small dish with big flavor was one of my favorite appetizers.

The Grilled Romanian Steak was intensely flavorful.  Caramelized onions and a well developed glaze made this steak unusually robust.  Each bite was better than the last.  It was served with a roasted garlic and mushroom knish that was less than stellar, but the steak was so delicious the knish was quickly forgotten.

Some girls might run at the first sign of schmaltz, but not this Bite-Sized Blonde.  A little rendered fat never hurt anyone.  Okay, it might hurt someone.  Schmaltz and Svelte are not exactly words that go together.  But in the case of Schmaltz verse Svelte, Schmaltz always wins.   So, I ordered the Duck Schmaltz Fries.  They were perfectly crunchy on the outside but light and airy on the inside, the way all good fries should taste.

I ordered the Brussels Sprouts, because let’s face it, after the schmaltz, I needed a little green. The Brussels Sprouts were roasted with rosemary and olive oil for an earthy taste.  Simple sprouts, simply good.

Dinner isn’t over until the fat lady sings, or I get dessert, but after this meal, I was quickly on my way to becoming the fat lady.  Good thing I don’t sing.

We started with the cookie plate, and yes I just said started.  You didn’t think that’s where dessert was going to begin and end did you? This was no ordinary cookie plate though.  Hamentashen, rugelach and macaroons filled this plate.  Another whimsical item on the menu that was so cleverly delicious!

The Rainbow Cookie Hot Fudge Sundae was calling my name, and I don’t even like rainbow cookies.  Well, I don’t love rainbow cookies.   You know how I feel about cookies.  Covered in vanilla ice cream and marshmallow fluff, these rainbow cookies transformed into heavenly sweetness.

But, the star of the dessert menu was the Chocolate Babka Bread Pudding.  It was creamy and seriously decadent.   I would say this was one of the best things I ordered all night, but the truth is, everything I ate was one of the best dishes I ordered all night.    Forget two thumbs up, Kutsher’s gets a Bite-Sized Chai Five.

Kutsher’s Tribeca
186 Franklin Street
New York, NY
212.431.0606

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One Hell of a Chanukah Party

Last night, I had one hell of a Chanukah party.  The champagne was flowing, the caviar was chilled, the latkes were piled high.  It was a great night with great friends and family.  So great, in fact, that I dreamt about it.  So, when I awoke, I was still thinking about latkes.  But isn’t that truly the test of deliciousness? When you dream about your food.  Sure is.

Leftover latkes are incredible.  If you have a lot, you can pop them in the freezer and defrost at your leisure.  Or, if you are like me, and eat 15 at a time, you probably won’t have any latkes for the freezer.  I never do, because I eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner.   Breakfast Latkes are some of my favorites.  The latke is like a hash brown, but better, because it’s a latke.  So, it’s an egg-cellent base  for eggs.  Get it? Happy Chanukah!

 

 

Menorah Blahnik

So, last night was the night, the big night. And by big night, I mean my big Chanukah party.  I’d prepped all week.  After you saw my Thanksgiving prep, did you really expect anything else? Right. So after a week of prep work, I was finally ready.  While there was lots of yummy stuff on the menu, there was clearly one leading lady and that leading lady was the Latke. 

Although I celebrate Chanukah with the 3 C’s, champagne, caviar and chocolate, none of these means of celebration would exist at my party without the latkes.  My latkes, like many of my other recipes are easy.  Well, easy with a food processor. If you are grating potatoes by hand, and make it through 10 lbs. without fainting, well that’s really a Chanukah miracle in itself. 

Latkes (10 servings)
Ingredients
5 lbs.of baking potatoes
5 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
15 tablespoons flour
2 tbsp. kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable Oil
Butter

Directions
Wash and then peel the potatoes.  Grate them lengthwise. Place the potatoes in a colander or kitchen towel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. (Potatoes hold a lot of liquid!)

Combine the potatoes in a bowl with the egg, flour, salt, and pepper. Mix well.  I recommend using your hands.  It’s fun, it’s messy and it’s really the best way to get all the ingredients incorporated.  

Add oil and a little butter to a skillet over medium to high heat. Drop a heaping tablespoon of the potato mixture into the sizzling butter and oil.  I like big, thick latkes while my Dad likes them to be thin and crispy.  So I change up the amount of potato mixture I add the pan to create different size latkes. Feel free to play around! 

Flatten the latke with a spatula and cook for approximately, 2 minutes or until the bottom is golden brown. Flip the latke and then flatten again. Cook for approximately another 2 minutes, until crisp on the outside and golden brown.

Remove from the pan and set aside on a paper towel absorb some of the excess oil.  Serve with apple sauce, or the Bite-Sized way, with a dollop of sour cream and a touch of caviar!

Happy Chanukah!

Recipe inspired by Ina Garten
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/potato-pancakes-with-caviar-recipe2/index.html

Dreidles to Play With and Latkes to Eat

Chanukah is my favorite holiday, well really second favorite.  Obviously because Halloween is my first.  But I guess if we are only talking holidays in terms of religion, Chanukah is my number 1.  Wait, who am I kidding? Candy is a religion. Halloween is still my number 1.  But I really do love Chanukah.  Now, I know what you are thinking; Chanukah is my favorite because I get eight presents.  Well both my parents can attest to the fact that that’s just not true anymore.  So what makes this holiday so special? Everything, that’s what.  But, if I had to narrow it down I could choose 3 choice words to describe this holiday: champagne, caviar and chocolate.

I bet that’s not what you were expecting me to say.  But since when is this Bite-Sized Blonde predictable? While predictable I’m not, I am traditional.  And I mean that in the sense that I create traditions and then follow them.  So, for me, Chanukah tradition is all about the three C’s.

Champagne is somewhat obvious.  I told you once, a party just ain’t a party without a little of the bubbly stuff.  And Chanukah is one hell of a party.  You certainly cannot celebrate, especially a miracle, without champagne.  I think that’s considered sacrilegious.

Caviar – also a celebratory food, but that’s not the reason you’ll find it at my Chanukah table.  Caviar is salty, which offsets the greasy latkes perfectly.  With just a hint of sour cream, it’s really the perfect pairing.  If this tasty treat sounds awfully familiar, it’s because it’s kind of like a blini, but better.  And in case it didn’t sound familiar at all, and know you’re wondering what a blini is, I’ll tell you.  A blini is a pancake typically topped with crème fraiche and caviar.  What makes my Chanukah blinis great, is a great latke as a base.

Now chocolate.  Chocolate is as much a part of Chanukah as dreidles.  Hello…gelt.  But, if you’re anything like this Bite-Sized Chocoholic, gelt isn’t enough to calm your cravings.  So, we end our Chanukah celebration with even more chocolate.

I hope your mouth is watering.  I know mine is.  But what I really also hope is that you have a wonderful Chanukah!

Stay tuned this week for recipes, and of course, a photo recap!