Local Links


Good morning on this yucky Monday. But my, wasn’t the hint of spring over the weekend beautiful? I saw forsithia, tulips, crocus — and people dining al fresco!

I’m off for a couple of days, so I won’t be posting much until Wednesday, but I did want to give you your weekly dose of Local Links — and tell you about two great meals in the city this weekend. First, I had an amazing meal at Gramercy Tavern last night. It was a tasting, and every course sang. It was well-thought, with repeating themes but a smart progression. Just a couple of examples:

Warm Salad of Vegeatables and Farro:

Beets, broccoli, cauiflower, fingerlings, chard, celery leaves. Who knew these could be so earthy and satisfying. If Michael Anthony would prepare this dish for me every day, I would happily become a vegan.

Lamb papardelle with olives, lemon confit and swiss chard:

Delicate ribbons of pasta and the zing of olives and lemon balanced the rich lamb.

Speaking of lamb…

Have you ever seen anything so beautiful? Rack of lamb with broccoli puree and bok choy. Simple flavors but an ethereal combination. Even after my big long tasting menu I was able to appreciate the intricacies of the dish.

There’s more — we had six courses and my husband was served a different dish than I, so we actually tasted 12 — but I will move on…

… to this:

This is the pizza at Di Fara in Brooklyn. These are the people waiting for pizza at Di Fara in Brooklyn:

There is a reason people ride the Q train an hour into Brooklyn for Di Fara pizza. It’s this guy:

Dom DeMarco. He’s thought by some to be the best pizziaolo (that’s pizza-maker) in the US.

People wait hours as he slowly and carefully stretches each round of dough, spreads his San Marzano tomatoes over it and sprinkles the three different kinds of cheeses. After he’s added your toppings, if you’ve requested any, he uses that metal olive oil can to dress the ‘za with oil.

The dough was still bouncy. The cheese was gooey and great. The crust was charred. The balance was perfect.

I can still taste it.

Now, I leave you with what other people have been talking about this weekend — and don’t forget to make your reservations for Hudson Valley Restaurant Week!!<br><br>

Emily adores The Farmhouse at Bedford Post. The pear and shiitake salad, she says, “embodies chef Brian Lewis’ approach: excellent ingredients that combine light and rich, sweet and savory so that the sum is greater than any individual taste.” Here, here, Emily. (NYT)
MH covers the Swordfish Chop. (NYT) This made me go back and check our article on it from last week. I can’t believe I wrote Lisa’s name wrong. I don’t know what I was thinking! My apologies! If any of you all ever see errors, please call me right away….I’ll print a correction immediately. Seriously, everybody makes mistakes; I just don’t want them to live on and on….
Dara’s kids actually eat what she’s prepared — it’s ziti and green beans and it looks delicious. (CITK)
Rinku makes an egg curry. (CIW)
Two visits to the kick-off for Hudson Valley Restaurant Week: Doug — who because of me missed his chance to win a cheese wheel; and Debbie, who poses with Vincent Barcelona of Harvest and Eric Gabrynowicz of Tavern. I did a video report, and you’ll see it next week.
Doug also visits Kelly’s in White Plains for trivia night. (HT)

And that’s about all for now. As memories of GT and Di Fara linger…..

Remember, I’m looking for guest bloggers for Restaurant Week and for guests to tell me about their Restaurant Week experiences on our live broadcasts from restaurants. Please email me to apply for either — or both!

Make your reservations soon! See you Wednesday.


About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and lohud.com, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.


  1. Beautiful food from Gramercy Tavern – looks delicious. I just recently had farro for the first time at Tarry Lodge, prepared simply with mint and pomegranate – I’m in love with it! So simple and rustic–hearty with a snap, yet still refreshing.
    Thanks for sharing – I like to hear about your outtings in NYC as well as around here.

  2. smallbitesguest on

    oh yeah, that pizza joint is legendary. never made it out there myself though. one of these days….

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