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    POLPETTINI DI MACCHERONI

    Marta on Eater NY | October 30, 2014

    MARTA IS SERVING ABSURDLY TASTY MAC AND CHEESE BALLS More

    RESTAURANT REVIEW

    Marta on Bloomberg.com | October 30, 2014

    OFFAL-Y GOOD PIZZAS AT DANNY MEYER'S MARTA AND NICK MORGENSTERN'S GG'S By Tejal Rao   GG's Ebony and Ivory pizza.   The pizza is scorched at its edges, covered entirely in cheese, pocked and handsome like the face of the moon. Then there’s a shower of fragrant white truffles at the table ($60). Yes, this is a bit over the top for a pizza that is, technically, for one person. But every time you lift a slice up for a bite, you’re hit with a little more of that knee-wobbling, mind-bending perfume.   Pizza turns out to be a more interesting vehicle for truffles than a bowl of risotto or gnocchi, because you get to go at it with your hands. You get close to it, and there is so much range in texture here to enjoy than in a spoonful of rice. But a less glamorous slice -- the tripe pie -- won me over on one of my recent visits to Marta, Danny Meyer’s new restaurant in the redesigned lobby of the Martha Washington hotel.   It was also thin, but draped with such wee garlands of soft, braised tripe, and such a fine layer of sauce, that the crust didn’t give at all under its weight ($16). Still, the tripe made its presence known in the rich, deeply concentrated flavors of the tomato sauce. With the cheese, tiny mint leaves, and clips of chile, this pizza evoked a big platter of trippa alla romana, a traditional dish of tripe braised with tomatoes and wine.   Nick Anderer, chef and managing partner, has been cooking Roman food at Maialino since it opened in 2009. Though Marta lists a saltimbocca (made here with trout instead of veal) and other large dishes, it’s really all about these crackling pizzas, blasted in the open kitchen’s gleaming wood-fired ovens. The pizzas are thin and persistently crisp, topped with precisely as much as they can hold and no more, whether it’s sliced potato and a bit of egg, or pork sausage and mushrooms.   At GG’s, Nick Morgenstern’s revamp of Goat Town in the East Village, it seems there’s a substantial square grandma pie ($18) on every table. They are the opposites of Marta’s crisps -- thick but supple heavyweights, loaded with cheese and curly-edged pepperoni pooling with fat. The grandma pie is satisfying and celebratory, and when it comes to the table it suddenly feels like you’re having a proper pizza night (because you are).   To make it, chef and co-owner Bobby Hellen proofs the dough in the square pan, par cooks it, lets it cool, then returns it to the oven with toppings. It’s a longer process than the regular pizzas, which is why the quantity each night is limited. That doesn’t matter too much to me. My favorite pizza on the menu at GG’s was thinner, more restrained, dotted with pieces of sweet black morcilla, a delicious Spanish-style blood sausage made with onions and rice.   Hellen, who grew up on Staten Island, makes his own paprika-happy, uncased morcilla for the Ebony and Ivory ($17), a delicious number that also involves chiles and thinly sliced garlic. In the hot deck oven, the morcilla weeps. It seasons the mozzarella with more heat and sweetness. And even though this pizza is scattered with blood sausage, it maintains that familiar slice shop droop, a slump of flexible, chewy crust that encourages you to fold each slice in half (and, yes, consume it at twice the speed).   Marta is at 29 East 29th Street in the Martha Washington hotel; +1 212 651-3800 or martamanhattan.com   (ORIGINAL ARTICLE)

    ONE-SIZE-FITS-ONE

    Hospitality Quotient's Susan Salgado in Inc. Magazine | October 29, 2014

    WHY YOU SHOULDN'T TREAT ALL EMPLOYEES THE SAME By Susan Reilly Salgado, PH.D   How to apply a one-size-fits-one approach while maintaining a level playing field level in your organization.     I've been asked the question many times: Is treating all employees the same the best way to lead your team?   One would think so--after all, isn't the most fair practice one of equal treatment? The question typically comes from very caring managers who genuinely want to accommodate the individuals on their team, and who are wary of being taken advantage of and opening the floodgates for special privileges. So the question of fairness is fundamental; and my advice often surprises them. The answer is no--you shouldn't treat all employees the same.   When you strive to create a workplace that is characterized by a culture of hospitality--one where people express mutual caring and respect for one another--treating every employee the same doesn't get you there. We at Hospitality Quotient believe that in employee relations--and in business in general--one size fits one. Your ability to fairly and deftly manage the particular needs of individual employees and provide a unique experience that leaves each team member feeling valued is the ultimate goal.   There are many ways this one-size-fits-one approach can be developed. For example, providing continuous, gracious feedback to employees is one of the most important things leaders can do. But that doesn't necessarily look and feel the same for each member of your team. In my first meeting with a fantastic boss, many years ago, his first question to me was: "How do you like to receive feedback?" His question allowed me to shape a fundamental aspect of our interactions based on what I felt would work best for me, and it opened a line of communication that allowed me to reveal myself--to share my preferences and insecurities. From that point forward, receiving his feedback was a breeze for me--and for him--and over time, I was even able to ask him, "How do you like to receive feedback?" We built a foundation of trust that has been the cornerstone of our relationship to this day.   Keep in mind, it's not just about how you like feedback--there are any number of questions that fit into this category, like, how you like to be communicated with (email or phone?), or how you process difficult conversations (let's hash it out in the moment, or give me time to process) or even how you work best (brainstorming alone or in a group?) Paying attention to your employees' preferences helps to build in a sense of caring that who you are as an individual matters. In a sense, it's like listening to the radio--there are many radio stations on the dial, each with their own frequencies. Figuring out how to manage each employee is like tapping into each employee's individual frequency--and really listening.   Does that mean that you can accommodate every request and every preference? Of course not. When you have an open-plan office, you can't change the noise level in the room for someone who prefers to work quietly. However, you can agree to norms of behavior that will allow people to carve out some space for their preference. For example, wearing headphones to signify that you are focusing on work and prefer not to be disrupted, or using a shared calendar to indicate "do not disturb" times are ways that you can preserve individual preferences while maintaining the unity of your workplace.   It becomes trickier territory for leaders when more seemingly significant issues arise, such as what time employees start or end their day, or whether people are allowed to bring pets to work (why her dog and not my iguana?). The fact is, employees will have requests, needs, and preferences that great cultures will try to accommodate the best they can, on a one-size-fits-one basis.   To be truly effective, leaders must be thoughtful in their approach to giving individual employees what they need, knowing that from person-to-person those arrangements will likely be different. If you can find the right balance between accommodating individual preferences and maintaining workplace unity, your employees will not only feel recognized and valued, but they'll have the space and agency to engage more closely and thoughtfully with their work.   So how do you decide what's fair? I like to use the "reasonable person test" that the US Court system uses in determining negligence. Every time I decide to make an accommodation for an employee that is special in any way, I ask myself, would a reasonable person agree with me that this is the right thing to do? Another way to think about it is, would I be comfortable telling others on the team about this arrangement? While you may choose not to do so for privacy reasons, it still helps to have a mental judge in your mind to ensure that any special treatment feels fair, for your team and for yourself as a leader. It's the difference between making a special accommodation, and a special deal.   Ultimately, any unique arrangements for a particular employee should be based on a number of contextual, personal factors; and in this way, these arrangements do not need to apply to everyone. Making a particular accommodation does not, and should not, open the floodgates for the rest of your team to be automatically entitled to the same. Think of these agreements as separate, helpful gestures that are all on a level playing field--not everyone should get the same thing because not everyone needs, or even wants, the same thing. Use the "reasonable person test" and a one-size-fits-one approach to treat each employee the way they want to be treated.   (ORIGINAL ARTICLE)

    RESTAURANT REVIEW

    Marta on Eater NY | October 28, 2014

    MARTA, DANNY MEYER'S FIRST AND ONLY PIZZERIA, DELIVERS THE GOODS By Ryan Sutton   Marta, a sexy new Danny Meyer hangout in Midtown's Martha Washington Hotel, is so soaring and elegant it could double as a showroom for Gulfstream jets, Sikorsky helicopters, and tanks — all at once. Not bad for a pizzeria. And if Shake Shack is any precedent, this could very well be the first in a small empire of pie joints stretching from the horse-trodden steppes of Kazakhstan to the deepest, most unforgiving shopping malls of Dubai. Maybe. But for now, there’s just one Marta, and its ultra-thin Roman-style pies are among New York’s best.   The quality isn't quite a secret. A few minutes into a recent meal at Marta, a young fashion editor tells me she booked her table 28 days in advance, the same advance noticed required to secure a spot at Eleven Madison Park, one of the country's best and most expensive restaurants. It's the type of ridiculousness that makes you throw up your arms and declare, WTF, until you realize that so many folks stay away from Brooklyn pizzerias like Roberta's and Paulie Gee's for precisely the opposite reason: they're for walk-ins only.   So alas, even though the reservation policy makes you want to accuse Danny Meyer of being all button down and Basic, you realize he's doing something just differently enough to make you think the old school way can feel as compelling as the new school way. And luckily Marta reserves about half of its seats for walk-ins like me who don't plan their margherita encounters a month out, no matter how awesome those encounters are.   Funghi pizza with maitakes, chanterelles, and thyme [All photos: Daniel Krieger]   And those pies, which come courtesy of Maialino chef Nick Anderer, are awesome indeed. They're crisped up in one of two black ovens that are about the size (and price) of a Mini Cooper, with chimneys rising up to the fourteenth floor. To the left of them is a custom-built Infierno charcoal grill (roughly $40K) that spews Cirque du Soleil flames. Looks like Danny Meyer, the force behind such Michelin-starred venues as Gramercy Tavern and The Modern, still has a few tricks up his sleeve, not to mention a tolerance for risk.   Meyer and Anderer are no doubt aware that the New York Pizza Gods have had a tendency to punish the off-the-beaten-track efforts of even the most experienced operators. We all remember Keith McNally's Pulino's, which first served crunchy square cut pizzas when it debuted. It closed last year. And as for Michael White's Nicoletta, with its leaden, Wisconsin-style pizzas — it's still open, but few pizzerias have been the subject of such poor reviews.   Anderer will fare better. Some have compared his pizzas to those at Mario Batali's Otto, but Marta's are airier and lighter, with an almost lo-cal taste that evokes the ethereal bar pies of Eddie's on Long Island. The crust, cooked for two to three minutes at 700F (compared with about 60 seconds at 900F for a Neapolitan), boasts a slight chew, growing crunchier towards the outer rim. It's the closest a pizza can approach cracker status without fully achieving it.   Salsiccia pizza with fennel sausage, mozzarella, and crimini mushrooms   If a Neapolitan pie is about showing off good bread, Marta's pies are about showing off good toppings. Without appetizers, one could easily finish two Marta pies. Some stand outs:   Margherita: This one's an ode to tomatoes, with a racy, Riesling-like acidity. The basil is strong, nearly medicinal, with the milky house-made mozzarella a bit overwhelmed by all the strong flavors.   Amatriciana: The tomatoes are softer here, with a kick of sweet onion, a dabble of stinky Pecorino and a punch of funky guanciale. The flavors are so clear you could close your eyes and you'd know you're eating a riff on the namesake pasta dish.   Goat sausage: This is a fine ode to the musky Maghreb taste of goat, tempered with a lemony kick of kale.   If you threw this many chanterelles and maitake mushrooms over a Guy Fieri dish it would still taste good Fungi: If you threw this many chanterelles and maitake mushrooms over a Guy Fieri dish it would still taste good; what makes this pie brilliant is how it balances the earthiness of the mushrooms with a bit of sweet onion and bitter thyme.   White truffle: Anderer himself shaves the pricey petals over your fontina and ricotta pie; too bad the truffle doesn't have the same intoxicating pungency as it does at spendier restaurants. Still, at $60, it's a decent enough introduction to the pricey ingredient.   Tripe: Why does it taste so tripe-y? Because what appears to be a standard tomato sauce is really the organ meat's braising liquid. The pie is topped with sharp leaves of mint to awaken the palate. It is perfect.   Carbonara with potatoes: This looks and tastes like Anderer took a very un-kosher knish, spiked with guanciale, egg, and pepper, and smashed it over a pizza with his fist. This is your new favorite brunch dish.   What does one drink with pizza? Good French bubbly. Marta has what might be New York's best list of non-exorbitant Champagnes, with fifteen selections by the bottle at $99 or under, and three by-the-glass pours, including a vaguely sweet and apple-y Vilmart & Cie ($19), a soft and fruity Paul Bara rose ($22), and a Fleury 95' extra brut ($29), which packs the nose of a Fig Newton and the tartness of a Warhead candy.   Tempura-style seafood fritto misto   Octopus salad with potatoes   Mixed grill of lamb chops   And there's more than just pizza. Start off with fritto misto, a bevy of briny bianchetti, pillowy skate and tangy shrimp that are all so delicately fried that tempura would be a more accurate title. Skip the rabbit meatballs (not enough sauce), the fried pasta balls (a mushy mess), and the forgettable octopus salad.   Entrees are serious business, like a $100 dry-aged porterhouse packing a clean, intense beefiness (though no real dry-aged funk), or hefty duo of lamb chops (grassy and juicy) flanked by charred lamb ribs and minty lamb sausage. Skip the ho-hum pork ribs in favor of a life-changing trout saltimbocca, a big-ass fish that's practically pink from a layering of nutty prosciutto. Finish off with a buckwheat tart, studded with rice pudding and fresh apples shards.   Maybe in this Neapolitan-heavy world, we could use a few Martas here, there, and in Outer Mongolia. I'm sure Danny Meyer has us covered.   Photographer: Daniel Krieger   (ORIGINAL ARTICLE)

    STICKY BUN SUNDAE

    North End Grill's Tracy Obolsky on Eater NY | October 27, 2014

    NORTH END GRIL'S STICKY BUN SUNDAE TASTES LIKE A TURBO-CHARGED CINNABON By Vox Studios     (ORIGINAL VIDEO)   Welcome back to Consumed, a new video series in which Editorial Producer Kat Odell combs Manhattan and the surrounding areas for one-of-a-kind eats and drinks.   Danny Meyer's North End Grill, a New American restaurant in Battery Park City, has a secret. And that secret is pastry chef Tracy Obolsky, who is responsible for the restaurant's excellent array of playful sweets. Crowning North End Grill's dessert list is Obolsky's newest addition, a sticky bun ice cream sundae. Ice cream made from puréed sticky buns is layered with nuts, cream, and caramel. Flavor-wise, it's like Cinnabon on crack. Watch.

    CHICKEN BRINE

    Marta's Nick Anderer on Epicurious | October 27, 2014

    WHY YOU SHOULD ALWAYS BRINE YOUR CHICKEN IN BEER More

    RESTAURANT REVIEW

    Marta in New York Magazine | October 26, 2014

    RESTAURANT REVIEW: DANNY MEYER'S MARTA, THE CRACKLY ROMAN-STYLE PIZZAS COMMAND YOUR ATTENTION By Adam Platt   Photo: Carolyn Griffin/New York Magazine   Like lots of worthy restaurants around the city in this non-­ornamental-dining era, Danny Meyer’s fine new Roman-style pizza joint, Marta, doesn’t quite get the décor it deserves. The name is an Italianized “Martha,” as in the Martha Washington hotel, a recently renovated old pile of a structure on East 29th Street that was briefly famous, long ago, as the country’s first women-only hotel. The front lobby of the new Marta hasn’t been fully decorated yet, although that hasn’t stopped the proprietors from jamming a few dozen café tables next to the windows on one side of the room. There’s a bar in one corner, and a slightly awkward dining counter built around a couple of impressive wood-­burning ovens along a wall. The floor is predictably mobbed most evenings, so you may find yourself nibbling your pizza, like I did, in a mezzanine space that feels a little too much like an oversize futon loft.   But, oh, what a pizza they serve at Marta. One of Danny Meyer’s many talents is finding promising young chefs and empowering them to great heights. His partner and co-owner here is Nick Anderer, who has worked wonders in the realm of Roman pastas and pork dishes at their Gramercy restaurant Maialino and who now turns his attention to the Eternal City’s most particular and finicky of comfort foods. As any pizza freak will tell you, the crust of the Roman pie is lighter, crispier, and thus more brittle than the floppy, chewier Neapolitan variety New Yorkers are used to. It’s supposed to be wispy like a cracker (pizza is a snack in Rome and often devoured on the fly) but sturdy enough to hold a variety of toppings, since Romans, famously, like to adorn their pies with all sorts of elaborate items (fresh figs, whole eggs, foie gras) besides the usual tomato sauce and wads of melted cheese.   With the help of Meyer’s state-of-the-art wood-burning ovens, Anderer manages to strike an elegant balance between what New Yorkers look for in their pizza (comfort, pulchritude, familiarity) and the slightly racier, more adaptable Roman model. The pies at Marta are roughly as big as a large Frisbee but twice as thin, and like the proverbial potato chip, it’s more or less impossible to eat just one. I liked all of them (there are ten or so varieties on the menu), but the most successful tend to evoke the classic tastes of Rome itself. I’m thinking of the salsiccia, pooled with a gentle crumbling of pork sausage and barely visible cremini mushrooms; an ingenious creation called patate alla carbonara (drizzled, like the pasta, with whipped eggs and pepper); and the Amatriciana, which Anderer and his cooks dress with red onions, flakes of chile, and frizzled squares of guanciale, that famous Umbrian pork-jowl delicacy.   You can complement your refined pizza dinner at this unlikely hotel-lobby restaurant with a variety of simple fritti and salad dishes served, like in a Roman trattoria, on painted blue-and-white porcelain plates. There are fat, surprisingly tender rabbit meatballs baked with black olives and spoonfuls of ricotta, and deep-fried potato croquettes folded with scallions and bits of soppressata and served with wedges of lemon on slips of butcher paper. The seafood fritto misto di mare I ordered one afternoon was sodden and oily by classic Roman standards, but there were no complaints about the pizza-friendly salads on the menu, which include lemony tangles of arugula; a romaine-heavy Marta mista; and delicious little fronds of fresh escarole, dressed with soft bits of Gorgonzola, each one delicately topped, like cherries on an ice-cream sundae, with more of Anderer’s favorite garnish, guanciale.   Chef Nick Anderer. Photo: Carolyn Griffin/New York Magazine   In addition to the world-class pizza ovens, the kitchen at Marta is equipped with a flame-belching wood-burning grill, capable of turning out a veritable tsunami of rustically grilled lamb chops, joints of beef, and assorted poultry and fish dishes in a matter of minutes. The lamb chops in question aren’t cheap (you get three for $35, plus a few slices of sausage), but they were perfectly charred on the evening I sampled them and served with the salty little ribs on the side for maximum fatty goodness. The nicely sizzled costata di manzo short ribs receive similar treatment, although if you’re looking for a breather in the midst of all this red meat (and pizza), try the sweet, almost peachlike, roast swordfish (it’s suffused with fennel), or the deboned trout saltimbocca, which is grilled with a pattern of flattened sage leaves inserted under the skin and stuffed with the faintest scrim of prosciutto.   As usual with a Union Square Hospitality Group establishment, there are plenty of carefully chosen libations on tap at Marta to enjoy with all of this deceptively sophisticated grub. My uncle Frank, who last visited the Martha Washington hotel when Veronica Lake used to haunt the old dining room in the lobby, was impressed with the large-batch “bottle-aged” ­Negronis, which are premade with vats of Beefeater gin and Campari and measured out, for maximum facility, in little soda bottles with handwritten Negroni labels around their necks. He was less impressed with his tiramisu dessert, which is drowned in too much booze and served in a meager shot glass. So get the excellent buckwheat-and-risotto tart instead (it’s scattered with fresh tiny strawberries), or the ice-cream panino, which is constructed with smoked-mascarpone-flavored gelato, two salty, addictively delicious chocolate biscotti, and a coating of crushed pistachios.   Marta - 2 Stars   29 E. 29th St., nr. Madison Ave.; 212-651-3800; martamanhattan.com Hours: 7 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. daily.   Prices: Appetizers, $6 to $15; pizzas, $12 to $17; entrées, $25 to $35.   Ideal Meal: Escarole salad; carbonara, Amatriciana, and/or salsiccia pizzas; lamb chops or trout saltimbocca, ice-cream panino.   Note: If truffles are your thing, we suggest the special black-truffle pizza (with goat sausage) instead of the slightly pricier white-truffle pie.   Scratchpad: Three stars for the pizzas, wood-grilled meats, and the ice-cream sandwich. Minus a star for the marginal room and décor.   *This article appears in the November 3, 2014 issue of New York Magazine.   (ORIGINAL ARTICLE)

    ONBOARDING

    Hospitality Quotient's Susan Salgado in Inc. Magazine | October 23, 2014

    SO YOU'VE HIRED SOMEONE GREAT--NOW WHAT?   How your workplace environment can make or break a new hire's potential for success. By Susan Reilly Salgado, PH.D     Over a recent breakfast meeting, a colleague, Marisa, was discussing her company's challenges in integrating newly hired people into their culture. She went on to describe candidates who aced every round of interviews and had buy-in from all levels of the company. In her opinion, such high-performers should successfully and seamlessly integrate into the organization's culture without assistance. She was perplexed why some of her new hires hadn't lived up to her expectations--failing to assimilate or just not turning out to be the motivated personalities she saw in the interviews.   There was a time when I believed that simply hiring the right people was the key to success for building a strong and aligned organizational culture. Yet time and again, I've seen that hiring well is just not enough--and in fact, it can backfire if you are not prepared to engage and onboard amazing people once you find them.   I told Marisa a story about a woman I knew who was amazing at her job--a true winner that any company in her industry would be proud to hire. This woman was intelligent, innovative, hard-working, thoughtful, and a great team player--people simply liked working with her. Then she went to work for another company, and she changed. Her innovation and creativity began to decline; her positivity and thoughtfulness faded. Her remarks about her team and their work were dripping with sarcasm. She had become a shadow of the spirited and charismatic woman who had never failed to deliver on her results.   What happened? She had joined a company in which she found she had no voice. Her supervisor did not welcome her suggestions--in fact, he resented them and discouraged her from speaking up. The culture was one of complacency, and she found herself on a team with people who lacked the motivation to exceed expectations.   Hiring great people is not enough. If you put great people into a toxic work environment, they too become toxic. If you surround them with negativity and apathy, they will become negative and apathetic. These emotions are contagious and given how much time we spend at work, it is no surprise that it catches so easily. On the bright side, positive energy is just as contagious as negative energy. If you hire outstanding candidates and immerse them in a culture of empowerment, positivity, and collaboration, their skill sets--both tactical and emotional--will only expand and contribute more to your organization.   Without a positive culture that is purpose-driven and inspired by thoughtful leadership, great employees can easily lose their way and fail to live up to our expectations of them. It is a leader's job to ensure the success of the team--and therefore to pave the way for their success. Without effective leadership, even the best hires will struggle or fail.   But even the best companies with the best cultures sometimes fall short when it comes to how they onboard new employees. There is a tendency to think, as Marisa did, that such great people should be able to 'figure it out' or 'make their way' on their own--whether we think so consciously or unconsciously. In fact, the best way to get new employees on board, up to speed, and feeling part of the team is to ensure that we have processes in place to effectively bring them into the fold, teach them the ways of the organization, learn the values and norms of the culture, and find their own place within the team.   There are many ways to build a great onboarding process--from being prepared for new hires with a ready desk and computer, to creating social opportunities for them to connect with their new team. But don't overlook some of the more nuanced behaviors that can really make them feel welcomed and appreciated in their new role. For example, be sure to listen to your new team member's ideas and learn from their fresh perspective. Arrange their job function in such a way so that they can feel like they're exercising agency and collaborating with the team as a valued member. Break down the bureaucracy and be generous with your time and accessible for dialogue as your new colleague becomes familiar with the workplace. Take every opportunity to build trust and set your new colleague up for success, so that he or she is poised to make impactful contributions.   Ensuring that you create a positive work environment where "winners" will thrive is every bit as crucial as landing that perfect candidate in the first place. So before you go too far down the path of focusing on your hiring practices, make sure that you have a strong culture of hospitality to onboard and support your new hires once you find them. Only then can you be sure they will continue to perform like the great hires you expected, and only then can you expect them to stay for the long run.   (ORIGINAL ARTICLE)

    A CONVENIENT ACCIDENT

    Marta's Nick Anderer on Epicurious | October 22, 2014

    HOW TO CARBONARA-IFY JUST ABOUT ANYTHING By Matt Duckor   Photo by Matt Duckor   To Chef Nick Anderer, anything that includes just four simple ingredients can be considered a carbonara: pecorino, black pepper, guanciale, and egg.   So that, plus a convenient accident, explains how a "carbonara pizza" showed up on the menu at Marta, the Roman-style pizzeria Anderer opened along with Danny Meyer in New York late last month.   "I knew I wanted to do a potato pizza--that's all I wanted to do." says Anderer. That idea stems from a classic Roman pie that involves thinly sliced potatoes baked on top with a little bit of rosemary and sea salt. The only problem? "There are few places that do it well, but most times it comes out dry and bland." Anderer added guanciale and pecorino to his potato pies, but still felt the result was a bit dry.   Then, while doing recipe testing for one of the menu's egg-topped pizzas, Anderer and his team noticed that one of the poached eggs broke open and spilled across the pie. He liked the effect and decided to do something similar with the potato version.   "We weren't even thinking carbonara--but we all said to each other, 'we just created carbonara'," recalls Anderer.   Now, there's one key to making carbonara out of just about anything.   Coddled eggs.   For the carbonara pizza, Anderer takes eggs that have been coddled--a process that slowly cooks eggs that yields a tender yolk and opaque white--and whisks them in warm creamer vessels before pouring them over the cooked pizza after it comes out of the wood-fire oven.   Want to make carbonara magic at home? First, you'll need to make coddled eggs. Don't have an egg coddler? No problem.   Bring an egg to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Prepare an ice bath in a mixing bowl. In a small saucepan, bring water deep enough to cover your egg to a boil. Lower the egg into the boiling water with a slotted spoon and let cook for one minute. Remove the egg with the slotted spoon and immediately place it in the ice bath.   That's it. Now, crack it into a bowl and whisk the slightly solidified white and yolk together and then pour over any hot, freshly cooked food you'd like to carbonara-ify. The heat of whatever you pour the coddled egg over will set the yolk and gently cook the white, just like the hot pizza crust does at Marta.   The possibilities for what you can use as your base ingredient are pretty much endless, as long as the carbonara building blocks (again, that's egg, pecorino, black pepper, and guanciale) are involved. Can't track down guanciale locally? Diced pancetta or bacon work just as well.   Here are a few ideas to get you started:     Roast potatoes: It's difficult for rosemary and garlic-covered roast potatoes to get much better. But smash these guys up with a fork once they're almost done cooking, toss some diced raw guanciale and grated pecorino on there, and let it crisp up in the oven. Then, pour the coddled egg over the delicious mess you've just created and stir it up.   Croquettes: Make these ham and cheese croquettes, but using pecorino and crisp cubes of fried guanciale instead. Then, blow minds and break hearts by deploying your coddled egg as a dipping sauce topped with cracked black pepper. Next level.     Brussels sprouts: What's better than roasting Brussels sprouts in guanciale fat? Nothing. Transform it into the most addictive vegetable side with the other carbonara building blocks.     Frittata: It might seem obvious, but the baked egg-y breakfast hero that's known as the frittata is just begging to be made in a carbonara. Add guanciale and pecorino to this bad boy and you're there.     Pizza: That's why you're here in the first place, right? Anderer tops a thin, cracker-like dough with crumbled boiled potatoes, thin raw slices of guanciale, a good amount of pecorino, and throws the whole thing in the pizza oven. Once it's out, the pie gets doused in coddled egg and showered in black pepper. Try it with this simple grilled flatbread.   Baked potato: Sure roasted potatoes work, but how about the mother of all potato dishes: the baked potato. Upgrade your bacon to crisp-cooked guanciale, grate some pecorino on top, crack black pepper all over it, and swap out that fat pat of butter for a coddled egg. Hey, you can even try salt-baking your potato if you want to go the extra mile.   (ORIGINAL ARTICLE)

    CELEBRATION TO REMEMBER

    Gramercy Tavern's Miro Uskokivc on Real Baking with Rose Levy Barenbaum | October 22, 2014

    A MIRO(CLE) NEW PASTRY CHEF AT GRAMERCY TAVERN IN NYC By Rose Levy Barenbaum     Actually his name is Miroslav Uskokovic but everyone calls him Miro. I met him for the first time a few months ago when having lunch with my friend Marko, who introduced us, and was charmed both by him and by his exquisite desserts. So when my editor Stephanie, and marketing manager for the new book Allison, invited Woody and me to lunch before signing advance copies of the book at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's nearby offices, Gramercy Tavern was my first choice. I've long been a fan of chef Michael Anthony so I knew that we would be in for a special treat. And we were far from disappointed.   Chef Anthony prepared many delicious courses which were not on the actual lunch menu and amazingly he presented a different dish for each of the four of us. Most memorable was the salmon, so lightly smoked the only way I found out it had been smoked at all was by asking the secret for its extraordinary moistness. We were too busy sampling everyone's food to stop and take more than a few photos but we made up for it when it came to dessert. After all, we were celebrating the birth of baking book and a new pastry chef at the restaurant. Kudos to Chef Anthony for making so many fabulous courses but somehow managing to keep them light enough to make room for a vast array of desserts!             The dessert 'course' began with something many would not consider dessert unless they realized that tomato is a fruit and not a vegetable. Chef Miro cleverly spun an intensely flavorful sugold tomato into a one mouthful bite of deliciousness by topping it with a cap of cream cheese mousse. These special tomatoes came from the nearby Union Square Market and were the last of the season.     We knew that we were in the hands of a master magician.   Next four desserts arrived, a different one for each of us but, of course, we shared and tasted everything. We enjoyed each one but possibly the Brown Betty was the favorite.     No! for me my top favorite was the Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse, Banana Cake and Concord Grape Sorbet--the stunning dessert at the top of this posting. Next was the Brown Betty. Chef Miro came out to greet us and present this dessert to me. How did he know!     the Apple Caramel, Black Currant Jam and Hickory Ice Cream was a stellar seasonal offering     as was the Pear Walnut Cake, Oat Crumble and Blue Cheese Mousse.     For a grand finale Miro presented me with this lovely toasted meringue covered surprise. The inside was a moist coconut cake and on the plate was written Congratulations!     And we presented him with an advance copy of the book which Woody and I both signed.   And just as we thought we'd reached the end an enticing plate of cookies arrived with a little glass of milk for each of us.       We were each handed a little goodie bag to take home. Mine contained an elegant shiny black box with magnetic clasp. That evening, I had no dinner except for allowing myself one of the chocolate bonbons which turned out to be the world's most elegant and delicious rif on mallomars. And the next morning for breakfast I polished off the little plastic bag of Gramercy Tavern Granola with milk.   This was a celebration I will always remember.   (ORIGINAL ARTICLE)

    DINING BINGE

    Gramercy Tavern on Zagat.com | October 22, 2014

    NYC DINING BINGE: WE TRIED 12 OF THE BEST RESTAURANTS IN 12 HOURS   Zagat takes its hometown by storm, hitting up a dozen of the hottest eateries and bars in just 12 hours.   (ORIGINAL VIDEO)