Red Wine Beef Stew: Warming The Home

IMG_6416Home and the warmth and security of it have been on my mind recently. After 10 years in an apartment I love in New York City, I’m finally moving out — where to? It’s hard to say.

When I look back on the years and think about what I’ve adored about this little Brooklyn pad, there are far too many things to list. But I do know that what started to make it feel like a home when I first moved in was that moment after all the boxes were unpacked and the dishes put away, when I could finally pull out my pots and make a good meal for me and the Ex.

So when my Let’s Lunch group decided on the topic of “housewarming” for our virtual lunch date this month — in honor of HapaMama‘s new kitchen finally getting done — I started getting hungry for a comforting, hearty dish that would truly make me feel at home in any new place.

What to make? Well, how about a classic? And so, red wine beef stew it was …

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The Nomad (New York): One Last Feast For The Road

The NomadThe thing about starting the tradition of sending a visitor off from your city with a terrific last meal is that well — you’ve got to keep that going.

I’d quite royally spoiled my fashion editor friend Clifford Pugh when we feasted on delicious stuffed clams and vegetable crudites in a memorable green goddess dressing in New York City, right before he hopped on a plane back to Houston after the September fashion shows. So when Clifford came back to New York this month (for my birthday!), I knew I had to plan something good for his final lunch here.

The place had to be comfortable and chic, like Clifford, and the food — well, after our last meal at The Clam, I knew it had to be pretty darn great.

Which is how we found ourselves converging on a place that instantly came to mind: The Nomad, at the rather fashionable Nomad Hotel

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The Clam (New York): Feasting in Fashion

Clam stuffiesThe early chilly days of fall always have me nostalgic for the summer feasts of very recent memory.

Which is how I found myself thinking about one of the most perfect lunches I’ve had this year — one that happened during New York fashion week, no less, a time that tends to be focused on fitting into clothes than eating any food.

On the last day of this season’s shows, my very dear friend Clifford Pugh, editor-in-chief of Houston’s CultureMap magazine, called, wanting to toast the end of the week after Ralph Lauren and said, Let’s eat.

Well, you don’t have to ask me twice, which is how we ended up having the loveliest lunch at a little place called The Clam …

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Wilma Jean (Brooklyn): Fried Chicken, Down-Home

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It’s been a rough few weeks over here — between the stresses of packing up the lair for a move, wisdom teeth extractions and trying to squeeze in writing somewhere in there, I tell you, it’s all been enough to send a girl running out for fried chicken.

Which, it turned out, was not a bad idea.

Some chefs with rather tasty chops had just opened a new casual Southern restaurant near me in Brooklyn in July, after all. The specialty? Fried chicken …

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Mile End Delicatessen (Brooklyn, N.Y.): Poutine Paradise

PoutineAs you might imagine, I have a gigantic soft spot for fries, gravy, meat and cheese.

Separately, each of these rocks my world. Faced with them together? I get instantly weak-kneed.

Recently, I’ve had the extremely good fortune of living near Mile End Delicatessen, a little New York City mini chain that specializes in poutine, that scrumptious Canadian dish that combines fries with cheese curds and meat gravy.

And so, on a recent Sunday, I just happened to wander over …

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