Monday, September 20, 2010
Taste of Broadway
Going to Sardi’s is always a treat. I never get tired of that famous showbiz eatery. Being there Thursday night was extra special -- the launch party for Carliss Retif Pond’s latest book, Taste of Broadway: Restaurant Recipes from NYC’s Theater District.
Carliss has reason to celebration. The 224-page book is gorgeous, with 50 color photos by Jess Espinosa that bring this great part of town to life. All the energy is there; I can almost hear the taxi horns and feel the sense of excitement that surrounds Broadway day and night. Just skimming through it is a joy.
What’s between the covers should delight anyone who loves to cook. Carliss has gathered recipes from 31 restaurants that represent the best of New York dining. She presents a full spread, from starters right through to dessert, including a chapter on drinks.
The photos take us “backstage” into the kitchens and all around Times Square. It’s all so real I can practically smell the food cooking and bask in the marquee lights. Restaurants featured include superstars like the ‘21’ Club, Chez Josephine, Sardi’s and the Algonquin and lesser lights like Market Diner. For the fun of it, Taste also reveals locations where popular movies were filmed and the names of famous stars known to frequent restaurants in the area.
Carliss certainly has the chops to put this book together. She received her culinary education at Le Cordon Bleu, Paris, and Ritz Escoffier School. She’s been a culinary advisor for Bloomingdale’s and a banquet coordinator for the Plaza Hotel. She is also the author a another cookbook, Sizzle in Hell’s Kitchen.
An insightful touch that really grounds this book in the Broadway community is Carliss’ inclusion of full-page quotes, each featured on its own burnt orange page, from 14 theater district professionals, ranging from Shubert Organization chairman Phil Smith to Jose Estevez, a bartender at Sardi’s. I am honored to be among these contributors. Carliss had asked me to write about Broadway Blessing; those comments now appear on page 178 -- right across from Peter Chimos’ (of Frankie & Johnnie’s Steakhouse) recipe for creamed spinach.
Anyone who knows me well will find it hysterical that I’m quoted in a cookbook. To say I don’t cook is an understatement. My oven has been lit once, in 1999, when I turned it on just to make sure it worked before closing on my apartment. Since then I have kept it dusted.
But, then, New York is full of people like me who make reservations rather than dinner. Now there’s finally a cookbook we can get excited about -- to use it as a restaurant guide while skipping all the bother of buying and measuring ingredients. Carliss lets us have all that good theater district food one way or the other, whether she’s telling us how to prepare it or pointing us in the direction of some of our favorite meals in classic dining establishments. Restaurants here I come!