Here’s Westchester Magazine restaurant critic, food writer, and blogger Julia Sexton on the best five things she’s eaten in the past 30 days.
(1) Baloney Sandwich at Blue Hill Café (630 Bedford Rd, Pocantico Hills 914-366-9600; bluehillfarm.com) Here’s a shaming little fact about growing up a food-obsessed child: I was a pain in the ass to feed. I loathed peanut butter and jelly, and tuna salad made me shudder, but the most repellent of all to me was a baloney sandwich. Oh, how those sweaty slabs of pink mystery meat made me gag, especially when layered onto Wonder bread with its hideous lunchroom whiff. No amount of mustard or—ugh—ketchup could help this revolting stuff.
And yet Chef Adam Kaye’s baloney sandwich at Blue Hill at Stone Barns is a revelation. While clearly a nod toward baloney’s Italian ancestor, mortadella, Kaye’s silken lunchmeat is still ineffably American. It tastes like baloney dreams that it could taste—and on a Blue Hill focaccia with pickled onion and lemony mustard, it’s a poetic ode to lunchmeat.
(2) Mignonette at Club Car (1 Station Plz, Mamaroneck 914-777-9300; clubcarny.com) I am a fool for oysters—summer, winter, R or no R. To me, they’re like an antidote to all of the rich, highly manipulated food that I eat. Oysters are about naked beauty—though one drop of a perfect mignonette acts like the flower behind the ear of a Gauguin nude. I like the sprightly version at Club Car.
(3) Salty Dog at my home for Easter This is one of my all-time favorite cocktails—it’s easy, unselfconscious, and (the way I make it) very strong. Its three ingredients are vodka, freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, and salt, delivered via a salted rim. This drink has the unassailable appeal of salt-sweet-acid, like a margarita, but without the margarita’s drunk twenty-somethings connotation. Recently, my cool was hijacked when my under-the-radar cocktail was taken up by Grey Goose and is now marketed as a “Greyhound.” Grey—get it? Ugh.
(4) Prosciutto di San Daniele at Tarry Market (179 N Main St, Port Chester 914-253-5680; tarrymarket.com) It’s expensive and annoying to serve because its white ribbons of fat stick together when you’re trying to tease apart the sheets—but, oh, how this ham is worth it. As I laboriously transferred the slices to a board, taking time with each one, they were being hoovered up by my guests as fast as I could work. I got a few, though!
(5) Morel-Crusted Loin of Spring Lamb with Sunchoke Purée, Glazed Cipollini Onions, Dandelion Greens, and Mustard Seed Jus at Xaviars at Piermont (506 Piermont Ave, Piermont, NY 845-359-7007; xaviars.com) At a wine dinner for Revenant’s Tony Knox (and friends) in the lead-up to Westchester Magazine’s Wine & Food Weekend, I was served this tender, morel-scented loin of lamb, which was stunningly paired with Revenant’s equally umami-rich Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley ’06. This was one of those meals during which the entire table fell silent in order to listen to what their senses were saying.