Dreams of my father. Lots of them starting at ten. Mad times in Manhattan 1960’s. Train from Springfield, dining car with formal tablecloths, waiters, silver, china. First plane ride on a PamAm prop to Idlewild from Bradley. Lunch at Toots (as in tootsie, not a horn sound) Shor watching an already drunk Jack Lescoulie at the bar during a day of buying men’s clothing at the Sperry Rand building at 1290 Avenue of the Americas. Jack was Dave Garroway’s sidekick on the Today show. Sardi’s for dinner then late at Jilly’s singing around the bar with Nancy Wilson into the wee hours. Memories of trips to New York with my Dad. Priceless.
Copa Cabana to see Sammy Davis, Jerry Vale, lots of other Italian singers named Frankie or Johhny or Tony. Steve Lawrence, Eydie Gormé. The bocce court at Il Vagabondo. Cousin Joey DiVito and his wife Tootsie (really) took care of me. P.J. Clarke’s, Elaine’s. Those were the days.
Swanky times at Sign of the Dove, 21, La Grenouille, Le Veau d’Or. Daddy Joe always acted as if it were his own dining room at home. They responded in kind. The Assembly steakhouse, Old Homestead, Peter Luger’s, The Palm. O’Neal’s original Ginger Man.
No wonder restaurants have always been the center of my life. Every time I’m on the West Side Highway heading south along the Hudson, I’m home.
Happy Birthday, Dad. 8/30/30
Hake is a meaty flavorful white fish. I like to make a soup with vegetable or chicken broth. Fish becomes flaky and absorbs the moisture from the vegetables. Usually add fresh tomatoes, peas, broccoli, red or vidalia onion. Any veggies that hold up to broth and appeal to you will do. There is really no measuring, it’s about the proportions and servings you need.
Today I’ll use 1 box Pacific organic vegetable broth, 1 1b. Hake filet, a handful of fresh peas, one head of broccoli florets, 8 halved yellow cherry tomatoes. Add ground black pepper, a few red pepper flakes, a dash of oregano. Boil then simmer until vegetables are tender.
Great for lunch. Or, for dinner with a crusty bread. If you want a heartier meal, can add noodles or rice until tender, then add fish and veggies. Even better, a package of Butoni wild mushroom agnolotti.
Would have been 100 today. Julia’s kitchen re-created at the Smithsonian above. Smith College grad, Northampton, Massachusetts.
Serves 4. Figure 1 dozen little necks per person.
In a bowl or glass container, add the following: A generous half cup of olive oil, 1 tsp. ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes, 6 cloves of garlic (3 chopped, 3 mashed), 1/2 cup chopped parsley, 3 tbs. UNsalted butter.
In a deep skillet, heat 3 tbs. vegetable oil. Add 4 dozen cleaned little neck clams. Cover on high heat until clams start to open and release their juices, 4-5 minutes. Add above sauce ingredients, stir and cover for another 3-5 minutes until all clams have opened and sauce is heated.
Concurrently prepare enough linguine to serve 4. Ladel clams and sauce over the pasta. Have a crusty bread on hand to sop up extra sauce.
We use a lot of garlic, you can use less. Never use salted butter. Clams have enough. The star is the sauce, finished by the nectar of the little necks.
Photos: G.F. Levine, M.D.