Exploring Greenwich Village

(published in Travel and Leisure) As dusk falls over Greenwich Village, I’m at Minetta Tavern, sipping a martini with friends who last drank here 61 years ago. “It’s like night and day,” says Lynn Reiser, a handsome painter, as she assesses the old bar where Wall Street guys now order rye whiskey at 35 bucks a shot. “It’s the people. We were all artists then.” Reiser arrived in the Village in the 1940’s, when young artists and writers started coming for the camaraderie, conversation, …[Read more]

Exploring Trieste

It’s lunchtime in Trieste, the handsome Italian city on the Adriatic, and at Buffet Da Pepi, a genial crowd surges forward toward the serving station, lured by fresh pork simmering in fragrant broth. The steam rises. The three guys serving up the food resemble old-time countermen at a New York deli or maybe Tom Cruise as the bartender in Cocktail. The art is in the speed, the deft theatrical wielding of carving fork and knife as they haul the meat onto a marble slab, carve off slices of fresh pork, …[Read more]

New Yorkers stock up for Passover

Passover, one of the most important occasions in the Jewish calendar, begins on Friday. It commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. And it's also a very busy time at New York's Jewish delis. (first published by the BBC) I am on the phone to Russ & Daughters - trying to order food for a party - and a quiet, familiar voice says: "Hello, Reggie, this is Sherpa Lox. How can I help?" "Oh, good," I think. Sherpa knows his way …[Read more]

Hawaiian Fish Tales

In seafood shacks, at gourmet tables, and especially during a stomach-defying live-fish auction, Reggie Nadelson discovers the true—and a new—Hawaii. It's 5 a.m. at Honolulu's fish auction, and I'm eyeballing a quivering Hawaiian opah, a pink and silver moonfish, round and flat as a plate. Nelson Aberilla, a quality-control manager at the auction, cuts the tail off a tuna, sticks in his hand, pulls out some flesh, squishes it in his fingers: Is it firm enough? Fatty enough? He offers me a fistful. …[Read more]

Mastering the Art of Cake Decorating

For her latest culinary escapade, pays a visit to Ron Ben-Israel for tips on crafting a dessert almost too pretty to eat. "Elton John’s people just called and asked me to make his birthday cake—what should I do?" says Ron Ben-Israel when he calls to postpone my cake-decorating lesson. For Elton, I let him off the hook. A few weeks later I’m in Ron’s Manhattan loft where he designs and makes voluptuous, witty works of edible art—bowers of flowers, replicas of designer shoes. In the sunny …[Read more]

Icing on gingerbread

Reggie Nadelson, January 10 2009 Lovely, scented Santa Fe where in winter the air smells of pine and cedar. Where ristras of bright red chillies hang over every wall. And where, on top of the adobe buildings, the farolitos – traditionally votive candles in brown paper bags, now plastic bags with electric lights …[Read more]