Friday, February 20, 2009

Heavy lunch, light dinner

I met Steve for lunch yesterday. He works in the Flatiron building, and we stuck to the neighborhood - we went right across the street. Despite working in the vicinity five years ago, I had never even noticed Eisenberg's. And no wonder. It's a hole-in-the-wall place no more than 20 feet wide and four times that deep. Narrow and skinny. However, the food is not skinny food. As the hard-working countermen's t-shirts say, "Eisneberg Sandwiches, raising the cholesterol of New York since 1929." I don't think much has changed since 1929. The wooden counter and back bar look authentic. So do the round red-topped counter stools. Some small tables are squeezed in the back but you don't get the show if you sit back there. We had a good time watching that show - the countermen are never still as they bark out orders and fill orders for the counter and tables. I didn't see any written tickets except for take-out orders. We were sitting in front of the grill station where one man worked the omelet pans, grill, and flat top, in addition to serving up soups (lots of Matzo ball today) and fries.

Steve had a pastrami on rye and I had a cheeseburger deluxe. The pastrami smelled delicious and tasted great. The cheeseburger was just ordinary so next time I'll get something from the long sandwich list. The woman next to me had egg salad with bacon that looked wonderful. I was also amazed that there were no checks here. The counterman told us to just tell the cashier what we had and he'd ring us up. The honor system seems alive and well at Eisenberg's. A real throw back.

So since lunch was heavy, we ate light for dinner. I planned to have warm olives, salad, and the Tarte d'Alsace from Trader Joe's for dinner, but it turns out the only thing we wanted was the olives. Those are a favorite of ours. We ate almost all of them up with a demi-loaf of warm French bread. And that was dinner.

Warm Olives
2 cups mixed unpitted olives, drained (although I usually just use a jar of Kalamata)
1/2 cup E.V.O.
3 cloves minimum of garlic, minced (I used five last night because a couple cloves were scrawny)
Orange zest (I usually use one whole orange)
Lemon zest (I usually use one whole lemon, but you can add as much or as little as you'd like of both zests)
6-8 sprigs fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, parsley, or oregano), divided
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1/2 -1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients (but leave out a few herb sprigs). Place in a baking dish and bake 20-25 minutes, stirring once or twice. Remove from oven and let sit several hours to meld flavors. Or just dive right in like we do. Cooling, schmooling. Remove charred herbs or stems and replace with fresh sprigs. Reheat just before serving or serve at room temp with bread and goat cheese.

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