Eight New Enthusiasms

This might be one upbeat post too many, what with all the valentines, but let’s try and enjoy this positivity while it lasts, OK? When I talk about enthusiasms, I mean things that have caught my attention (or in this post’s case, my appetite) in a big way; they may or may not morph into permanent turn-ons.


As far as I’m concerned, the cocktail of the summer is the Americano (equal parts Campari, sweet vermouth, and seltzer). Ideally, the vermouth is Dolin, which is available at Chambers Street Wines.

Me: Do you plan on carrying the larger bottles again?
Clerk: No, we only carry the smaller bottle now. It goes bad after a while, so—
Me: Not in my house, it doesn’t.

(You can buy bigger bottles at Pasanella and Son.)


Frankly Wines sells a bottled drink called Americano—from a company called Vergano—that has some of the richness of an Americano cocktail, but not all of the complexity or the punch (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing). The shop’s owner, Christy Frank, recommended it mixed with seltzer, but I preferred it undiluted, on the rocks. This post isn’t making me look good, is it?


Sometimes, such as during the day, I drink non-alcoholic beverages. I met up with Alexia Brue of Well + Good one afternoon at Kaffe 1668, and the café didn’t have lemonade, so I halfheartedly ordered an iced decaf. Alexia recommended I try an iced Americano—it was as if she knew exactly what I needed, because I loved it. The morning drink of the summer is the Americano, too! It’s a wet, hot Americano summer!


I think Jehangir Mehta’s Mehtaphor is the most interesting restaurant in Tribeca right now—leaving aside Corton, I suppose—although I’ve found one dish I love, and so I’ve stopped being all that adventurous. It’s the Indian street burger (still iffy about that name), and it’s kind of like an Indian sloppy Joe. Best of all are the garlic fries on the side. Having been burned by garlic powder—the devil’s work—too many times in the past, I was wary at first, but (as I’ve since learned) Mehtaphor fries the potatoes in garlic-infused oil. And you only get a handful, so they’re precious, the way anything fried should be.


I knew Takahachi Bakery made ice cream and sorbet, but I had never tried it, probably because I tend to go in the morning for an iced Americano. The other day, I looked in the case, and I saw that one of the flavors was black sesame. I was back a day later. The black sesame ice cream is nice and pillowy, and it’s a gorgeous gray. I ordered it with vanilla because that seemed the flavor least likely to clash. But I’ll be back for the yuzu ice cream….


The Harrison dessert menu tends to include a slice of “birthday cake,” and when I was there recently to try the $30 prix fixe lunch—a great deal, but come hungry—I chose it as my dessert. Just look at it! I felt like I should swing a bottle of Champagne at it and give it a name.


I’ve finally persuaded Adam that we can’t go to Tamarind Tribeca without getting the dal makhni, “black lentils simmered overnight on a slow fire with onions, garlic and ginger.” I haven’t had it in two weeks and I can call to mind precisely how it tastes. I would eat it every day if I could.


After my friend Lisa and I went on the East River Ferry and to the new East River Waterfront park, we stopped in the new Milk Street Café on Wall Street for refreshment. They make a good mango smoothie, but what I enjoyed even more was sitting in the picture window and watching the passersby. The window is wide enough that you get enough time to actually inspect people, but not so wide that they get time to inspect you.



  1. This one made me laugh. I’m going to try out your Americano summer fun.

  2. “Swing a bottle of Champagne at it and give it a name” made me laugh out loud. You are too funny Erik.
    You make the Americano cocktail sound very good and since I have all ingredients on hand and already chilled – I’m ready.
    As a proud Canadian, one of our house cocktails is the called the “Maple Leaf”, it’s not too summery, so our summer favourite is the “Sunset Goose”. Shoot me an e-mail if you want the formulas.

  3. Your posts just keep getting better! My next two stops are Takahachi and Frankly Wines – it’s been a tough week already.

    And Andrea, if you wouldn’t mind, I would love the formulas to the “Maple Leaf” and the “Sunset Goose”.

  4. yeah, good stuff. Although when it comes to Campari I prefer the Negroni (substituting gin for the selzer). Somewhere you can probably still buy Schweppes “Bitter,” the non-alcoholic soda version of this very flavor. Maybe not in the US.

  5. Yes, this is a fine post. I’ve got to try the Americano cocktail. Any thoughts on Dolin vs Carpano Antica? In stock I usually have Dolin as my dry and Carpano as my sweet. Oh, btw, as an appreciator of good vermouth, I would suggest checking out the housemade vermouth at Amor y Amargo in the EV. It’s quite delicious.

    You’ve been really knocking it out of the park with your posts lately. I don’t know how you find the time, but you’ve put up a pretty constant stream of interesting material. Nice job!

  6. It’s so funny (and nice) that everyone liked this post, because I was worried that it would be seen as a throwaway…. Thanks for the compliments!

    @all who’ve never had an Americano cocktail: With a third Campari, it’s still a fairly bitter drink, so see if you can taste someone else’s (not mine) before you order one.

    @Andrea: Recipes!

    @HST: I love a Negroni—although my first one was at a rooftop hotel bar in Naples (nothing humble about that brag), so all have paled since. And they make me a little too drunk too fast. Also, I have bottles of Sanbitter in the fridge, from Italy or Amsterdam (can’t remember, so maybe it was Amsterdam) that are like the Schweppes drink you mention. To be honest, even more than Campari, I love a Barolo Chinato, a fortified-and-spiced wine (Frankly Wines has the best one, the Cappellano) that is IDEAL for sipping by a fire. San Pellegrino makes a soft drink, Chinotto, that hits some of the same notes.

    @Doug: I’ll need to do a taste test before I can get back to you. The Dolin dry is a lovely aperitif (but don’t order it at the Harrison because they pour it like it’s a single malt). Dolin was what got this household excited about vermouth. And will check out Amor y Amargo—thanks!

    And now I think I’m going to go make myself an Americano.

  7. @kp: Erik’s got the recipes now so he can either forward my e-mail or post them.

  8. That’s my cue….

    2 ounces Canadian rye whiskey
    3/4 ounce maple syrup
    3/4 ounce lemon juice

    Shake with ice and strain into an old fashioned glass over ice. It goes without saying that the maple syrup must be real, the lemon juice fresh and the recipe is best made for 2.

    1 1/2 ounces vodka
    1/2 ounce Pineau des Charentes
    1/3 ounce simple syrup
    1/3 ounce lemon juice
    2 dashes bitters
    sliver of orange peel as a garnish

    Shake very well with ice and strain into a martini glass. Again, batching this up to 3 drinks makes the measuring easier and a more dangerous drink serving 2. The Pineau is not always easy to get but I’ve had occasional luck at Chambers Street Wines and buy 2 bottles—it also makes a lovely apéritif on its own.

  9. Campari Collins, with homemade ginger syrup. Or else Champagne splits.