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Big Daddy’s Still Makes Me Feel Like a Kid/Alcoholic Again
Feb 13th, 2014 by donuts4dinner

I’ve written about Big Daddy’s, a diner with a focus on absolutely delicious/disgustingly fatty throwback foods, before, but I just found some photos in my archive and need to show them to you in case you need a reminder of how amazing/awful/amazing this place is. I understand entirely that this is the sort of food meant for children and drunk people. And I’m both of those at heart.

Big Daddy's NYC
Bow Wow Wow

Breakfast on a waffle: buttered waffles, scrambled eggs, Canadian bacon, American cheese, hash browns. A completely nutritional dinner.

Big Daddy's NYC
Real “Mac” Coy

A burger, covered in mac & cheese and crispy bacon, served with sweet potato (excuse me, sweet potater) tots, of course.

Big Daddy's NYC
Cotton Candy Circus Shake

Cotton candy topped with cotton candy.

Big Daddy's NYC

All served in a space that’ll make you think of ’50s soda fountains, ’60s hippies, and ’80s Saturday morning cartoons.

Big Daddy’s
239 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10003 (map)

Restaurant Review: Primehouse New York (Restaurant Week Summer 2009)
Aug 11th, 2009 by plumpdumpling

My boyfriend, Kamran, and I base most of our Restaurant Week dining decisions on the inventiveness of the menu, which is why we chose Primehouse New York over Smith & Wollensky or Delmonico’s on the 31st. Passion fruit and gazpacho? Yes, please.

• APPETIZERS •

Passion Fruit Gazpacho
Lump Crab & Avocado

Grilled Double Cut Bacon
Roasted Figs, Frisée, Maytag Blue Cheese

Heirloom Tomato & Goat Cheese Salad
Micro Basil, Sea Salt, Aged Balsamic

• ENTREES •

Scottish Salmon
English Pea & Mushroom Risotto,
Preserved Lemon Beurre Blanc

Marinated Hanger Steak
Grilled Portabella & Arugula Salad, Roasted Pepper Salsa

7oz Dry Aged Petit Sirloin
Caramelized Summer Vegetables

• DESSERTS •

Bittersweet Chocolate Tart
Ladyfingers, Nutella Ice Cream

Strawberry Shortcake
Coconut sorbet

I don’t care for seafood and absolutely can’t eat tomatoes, so even though a salad is the least-appealing appetizer in the world to me, it was my only choice, and it turned out to be one I didn’t regret. The lettuce was lettuce, but the goat cheese with the bacon was perfect for the glutton in me, and figs are one of my favourite fruits. There was a upper-thick slice of bacon on either side of the plate, and while one was perfectly crisp, the other was chewy and fatty. While I’m usually much more of the burnt bacon type, I welcomed the diversity.

Kamran ordered the passion fruit gazpacho, of course. It arrived with the mound of crab and basil (or tarragon–we weren’t sure) looking rather lonely in the center of the large bowl, but then the waiter poured the soup around it for a delightful presentation. I don’t know that I’ve ever had gazpacho in my life, so I’m not sure how it’s supposed to taste, but this tasted exactly like salsa. A really, really good salsa. The kind you always want in Mexican joints but never actually get.

Kamran and I like to get different entrées and sample each other’s, so when I decided on the filet (obviously), he went for the hanger, thinking he’d appreciate the larger size. But no. The moment he saw the look on my face as I tasted my first bite, he knew he’d made a mistake.

I know the steak looks a little crusty and the vegetables a little drab in this photo, but the dish was very much the opposite of both these adjectives. Kamran’s hanger was a little bit embarrassing next to my filet, and although he tried to tell himself that it was just delicious in a different way, it wasn’t. It was decent and nothing more, and Kamran didn’t even want all of the extra portion size in the end. Sorry, hanger.

We didn’t even discuss getting a side, but as soon as our waitress walked away, I casually mentioned macaroni and cheese, and so it was. It was very homemade-tasting and had a nice crunchy topping. It was pretty standard, but standard mac and cheese is still pretty special.

My bittersweet chocolate tart was rich and fudgey, although the cake crust dumbed it down. No complaints, though. I ate every last bite of it and mopped up the chocolate drizzle on the plate with the sliver of chocolate stuck in my ice cream, too.

Kamran prefers a lighter dessert, so he was happy with his strawberry shortcake. The crunchy coconut slivers provided a nice texture, and there was no chance of the coconut sorbet with fresh strawberries being bad. I finished Kamran’s dessert for him, too, if you must know.

For the remainder of Restaurant Week, Primehouse appears to be lunch only, but we went at night and were surprised at how many couples weren’t trying the Restaurant Week menu. All around us were tables with raw bar towers, and one in particular caught Kamran’s eye, because he swore Tom Colicchio was sitting at it. I wasn’t convinced, so we called it a truce by deciding that it was his younger brother, Rod Colicchio. (Who doesn’t really exist, of course.) But watching to see how the supposed Rod Colicchio was enjoying his food became the focal point of the dinner nonetheless.

I really thought my filet at Primehouse was as good as any I’ve had in the city, although I hesitate to say that, knowing that the restaurant is part of the B.R. Guest restaurant conglomerate. However, a waiter near us flaunted the fact, telling his table that their size allows them access to the best ingredients. And they’re serious about what they serve, going so far as to have their own Kentucky bull (named Prime) that provides all of the beef they serve in the dining room. So maybe I shouldn’t be embarrassed to have liked it so much.

The only thing the older steakhouses have on Primehouse in my mind is the environment. While I appreciate a more trendy setting for a date, I also like how the sparse, serious décor of a steakhouse like Peter Luger lends itself to more of a focus on the food. Primehouse was full of soft chairs, floor-to-ceiling mirrors, and an inexplicable slick 80s feel. It was lovely, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t my grandpa’s steakhouse. Which may be just what you’re looking for.

Big Apple Barbecue 2009
Jun 16th, 2009 by plumpdumpling

Kamran and I arrived at last year’s Big Apple Barbecue in Madison Square Park just as it was closing down. We got free leftover Snapple and ate cheeseburgers at Shake Shack. It was a lovely time but sadly barbequeless.

This year, we planned a little better and decided to go on Sunday when there was a better chance of rain and therefore a better chance that all of the less-barbeque-fanatic types would opt to stay home. We found the menus of each of the 15 pitmasters, bookmarked guides to the best of the festival on our BlackBerrys, and decided to arrive halfway between the lunchtime and dinnertime rushes.

What we found when we arrived was total chaos. The lines stretched for blocks, every last inch of ground was covered either by someone eating barbeque or someone’s sauce-covered trash, and our BlackBerry bookmarks suddenly wouldn’t load. We headed for the information booth and found a map, recognized a couple of names from the guides, and decided to narrow our feasting down to two pitmasters.

We headed toward the tent for Big Bob’s, but the line was so long that we lost track of it halfway back. We found what looked to be the end of something and asked the people there which vendor they were waiting in line for. “We’re not sure,” they said. But we decided that no matter which line we were in, we were going to get barbeque, and that’s all we cared about.

A giant truck and trailor beside us pumped Santogold and Vampire Weekend while people attempted to pitch metal rings into a bucket in order to win mini footballs. Men pushing trash carts blew whistles to get our attention before they ran us over. Local politicians shook hands and passed out color brochures requesting our votes.

It would’ve been, you know, not totally miserable had there been any end in sight. And with long lines come all of the people willing to do anything to get at the front of them. An old man appeared to Kamran’s right and stayed there, sort of hovering between us and the people behind us and if to confuse one of us into thinking he was legitimately with the other. We learned the best way to stand to discourage people from wanting to cross through the line using the space in front of us.


These people want some BBQ!

After fifty minutes, we were finally to the portion of the line that was actually stanchioned off, and we felt like we were safe. But just then, this man in a green t-shirt somehow got in front of us and seemed to be talking on his cellphone just to avoid a confrontation when we got brave enough to call him out on being a line-cutter. Kamran did this slick little shoulder maneuver that got us in front of him, but then he excused himself and pushed ahead of us. I was about ready to bust out my shiv, but the guy ducked under the stanchion and joined a group of people holding a bulldog puppy. A few minutes later, the guy somehow ended up with a plate of barbeque while we still waited in line.


Totally intense line craziness and that jerk in the green shirt on the left.

We reached the tent and paid, but juuuuust as it was our turn to get a sandwich, the pan of barbeque ran out, and the man scooping pork parts held us up. While we waited, he gnawed on the super-spice-infused burnt bark and didn’t offer any to us, even though it’s obviously the best part. When the pitmaster brought him a new tray of chopped shoulder, he tried to pour the bark into the new dish, but the pitmaster said it wasn’t fresh enough and threw it away. Which both impressed me and made me sad.


Blurry Pitmaster Chris Lilly with Dana Cowin, who we nerdily recognized from an episode of “Top Chef”.

With our pulled pork sandwiches and our sides of coleslaw finally in hand, we decided there was absolutely no way we were going to stand in line at any of the other stands and scuttled away as quickly as we could to a quiet side street to gobble. In the end, our sandwiches with half white sauce and half traditional BBQ sauce were delicious, but having been to another barbeque joint that Friday night, we couldn’t help but think that sitting down and not having to wait an hour for a sandwich far outweighed any extra tastiness that pork might have had. And we’re not sure it actually had any extra tastiness, anyway.


BBQ Bliss

In defense of the Big Apple Barbecue, my friend Ash arrived right at start time on Sunday morning and said she was able to get quite a sampling of pig before the lines got crazy. And they do offer a fast pass that lets you skip the line . . . for $100 per person. I like that each vendor only sold one type of pork and one side, and I like that they did a great job of giving each tent the same sort of sign telling what was on their menu and how much it cost. However, maybe next year the workers with purple flags on tall poles who were supposed to be marking the end of each line could stop chatting with the crowd and actually mark the ends of the lines, ifyouknowhatImean.

Not that I’ll be there to see it, since Kamran and I have agreed to treat each other to a nice sit-down dinner at any of the local barbeques next year instead.

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