Radio On The Real. Edi Frauneder.

We sat down recently to chat with Austrian expat and culinary wunderkind, Eduard Frauneder. Edi is one of the world’s youngest Michelin Starred chefs and over the past few years has completely taken the Manhattan food scene by storm.

Edi Frauneder

Portrait of Edi Frauneder by Craig LaCourt for On the Real. www.craiglacourt.com.

He and his partner Wolfgang Ban have two smash restaurants (Seasonal, uptown’s elegant tribute to Germanic flavors and downtown’s rustic Austrian tavern, Edi & the Wolf) and most recently, a cocktail bar called The Third Man. Edi may have been born in Austria, but he is every inch a New Yorker: frank, funny and totally unafraid to share his perspectives on great food, running restaurants and what life is like behind the line.

About the Author |
We earn our living selling New York City. The next day is never like the last. The last is never ordinary. We witness all sorts. We listen to the City’s noise. We devour its phenomenal food. On the Real is our documentary. It is your pack of unfiltered New York 100s.

The Dana Special.

For the nine months of her pregnancy, my wife was prohibited from eating things that are Bad For The Baby: cold cuts, sushi, vodka, lead paint chips, and so on. So now that she’s no longer sharing her body with the little rascal, I asked her what was the first thing off the forbidden menu she wanted to eat. No hesitation. Out of all the things in New York City she could have, she requested a Dana Special from Esposito’s. We’ve talked about G. Esposito & Sons before here. These guys are old school butchers who have a killer assortment of fine meats, Italian foods, and they are no joke with the Dagwood-style sandwiches, either. We haven’t come close to trying them all yet, but there can be no doubt that the Dana Special is one of the most eminently cravable sandwiches ever.DanaSpecialPicture a fresh crusty sesame seed hero baked a block away at Caputo’s Bakery, stuffed to the brim with Italian ham, spicy soppressato, marinated sweet peppers, fresh Buffalo mozzarella, oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pep… and the colpo di grazia? Paper thin-sliced eggplant, lightly breaded and perfectly fried. Sweet and tart, salty and crunchy, its no wonder that this was the sandwich of all sandwiches my wife wished to eat after nine months. And being a good husband I ordered one for me, too. Solidarity! Can’t let her do this thing alone, am I right?

About the Author |
We earn our living selling New York City. The next day is never like the last. The last is never ordinary. We witness all sorts. We listen to the City’s noise. We devour its phenomenal food. On the Real is our documentary. It is your pack of unfiltered New York 100s.

Escarole Pie.

I’m a savory guy. Give me a hot meatball sub over cookies or candy any day. And without question, this time of year I’ll take a slice of Escarole Pie over chocolate covered Peeps or a Cadbury Egg. Have you had Escarole Pie? Up until I moved to the neighborhood of Carroll Gardens, I hadn’t even heard of it.Escarole Pie Served for lunch at Christmas or Easter, this traditional Neapolitan dish is particularly outrageous this time of year when the winter escarole is at its peak. It’s baked like a traditional pastry topped pie, but filled with fresh green escarole, garlic, olives, capers, onions, pine nuts, raisins and occasionally anchovy. It is a salty, sweet, crusty and faintly bitter baked delight. It’s unlike anything else I’ve ever tasted and on paper it probably shouldn’t be so delicious but who am I to challenge several hundred years of Italian culinary wizardry? You can try to bake your own (good luck with that) or if you act quickly there is absolutely still time for you to hop the F train to Carroll Street and pick up this seasonal treat from local butcher-deli geniuses, G. Esposito & Sons Pork Store. And hell, if you’re already at the counter there you should probably ask them to make you a Dana’s Special Hero to go. That’s the sub to get, and we wouldn’t steer you wrong because we’re all about feeding your face at On the Real. Enjoy your weekend and happy holidays!Esposito & Sons

About the Author |
We earn our living selling New York City. The next day is never like the last. The last is never ordinary. We witness all sorts. We listen to the City’s noise. We devour its phenomenal food. On the Real is our documentary. It is your pack of unfiltered New York 100s.

Blue Apron.

We’re a household that enjoys cooking, but the trouble during the week boils down to logistics. After a long day of work, it’s time to wrangle the kiddo through the nightly gauntlet of dinner, bath, and bed. By the time you head into the kitchen at 8:30pm, the amount of creative energy left is more along the lines of ordering take-out than slapping together a Stroganoff. Fresh Direct is a great concept that we rely upon, in that the groceries magically appear. But Fresh Direct doesn’t help you plan the meal…or you end up with a pound of parsley when all you wanted was a pinch, or discover that dammit, I thought we had eggs and we don’t. I know, I know, these are not real problems! But it’s the shit that happens every night and occasionally it’s demoralizing. When a friend told me about her love of Blue Apron, we thought it sounded worth a try.groceriesBlue Apron sends you groceries for three meals written by chefs every week. In the box is every item you need for that dish, all fresh food, and measured out to the exact quantities necessary for those recipes. A minimum of waste. You still have to prep and peel, you still have to actually cook, so it’s not anything like a pre-made meal. But where it really wins is that you don’t need to think about stuff. Go ahead and follow the recipe, and don’t sweat it because they included exactly the right amount of fresh dill. Just give it a rough chop and toss it in, Batali.SteakAnd if last week is any indication, the food is great. This week they’re sending Steak Fajitas with Guacamole, Blood Orange Roasted Salmon with Chickpea & Cucumber Salad & Oregano Chicken Thighs with Squash Ribbons & Quinoa. Sure, why not? Oh, and the price is fair: $10/person, per meal. So three nights a week we can have delicious home cooked meals with no planning and no waste? No brainer! That’s why I had to tell you about it.

About the Author |
We earn our living selling New York City. The next day is never like the last. The last is never ordinary. We witness all sorts. We listen to the City’s noise. We devour its phenomenal food. On the Real is our documentary. It is your pack of unfiltered New York 100s.

The Cold Weather Companion.

Drinking at the bar? A movie? Dinner? Meh. How about something really different this weekend when the sun goes down… Consider a trip over to the Gowanus Nite Market. The most recent iteration in the pop-up market phenomenon, the GNM is a 5,000 square foot eclectic indoor bazaar featuring local artists and vendors, cold beer, tasty foodstuffs, and a live DJ spinning. One other pretty intriguing detail: this market happens to be located inside the lower level of a gigantic industrial warehouse chock full of boutique movie props called “Film Biz Recycling.” Why not, right? The party starts at 7pm and goes to midnight. It’s a truly unique nighttime experience, only in Brooklyn (natch.) Eat your heart out, Brian Williams.Gowanus, Gowanus Night Market, GNM

About the Author |
We earn our living selling New York City. The next day is never like the last. The last is never ordinary. We witness all sorts. We listen to the City’s noise. We devour its phenomenal food. On the Real is our documentary. It is your pack of unfiltered New York 100s.

The Cold Weather Companion.

We’re always looking for something weird and fun to do indoors on the weekend. There’s no shortage of weird and fun things to do in this town, but rare is the weird, fun thing also simultaneously a terrific charity event. One such affair on our agenda this particular weekend is the 20th annual Canstruction competition down at the World Financial Center. Here’s the deal: it’s a contest where 25 leading architecture, engineering, and design firms are enlisted to transform more than 100,000 unopened cans of food into larger-than-life pop art masterpieces like this one.converseEach of these design firms have spent months planning their entries but are allowed only one superfreakout night to meticulously stack and color-coordinate their cans into ingenious feats of engineering. Are you listening, Bravo? Why isn’t this a reality show? Regardless, it’s exactly the kind of supernerd stoner thing that will no doubt produce some bizarrely clever pieces of transient art. And the feelgood kicker is, at the end of the exhibition the structures are dismantled and all the food is donated to City Harvest. At last year’s Canstruction, 73,970 pounds of food were collected, translating into nearly 74,000 meals for the city’s hungry.canstruction 2011, bustAdmission to the show is free, but all visitors are asked to bring a can of “high quality” canned food (no spaghetti-o’s, I guess) to the exhibition’s collection station to reach a goal of collecting over 50,000 pounds of non-perishable edibles. Do good for humanity! See gigantic ladyparts comprised of tin cans! It’s a win-win this weekend for the Cold Weather Companion.

About the Author |
We earn our living selling New York City. The next day is never like the last. The last is never ordinary. We witness all sorts. We listen to the City’s noise. We devour its phenomenal food. On the Real is our documentary. It is your pack of unfiltered New York 100s.

Sauce. Old Mule.

We are what I would call a condiment household. Ketchup. Dijon. Soy Sauce. Sriracha. Spicy Brown. Mayo. For these essential spreads, generic brands will suffice. But not for barbecue sauce, friends! The barbecue sauce in our fridge goes by a proper name: Old Mule. If that seems like a strange thing to be so particular about, I’d just like to stress you need to try this stuff. Thick, tangy, sweet and spicy. It’s got zip and some heat, but not the overwhelming sort. It’s spoon-licking good sauce.Sauce, barbecue, Old Mule, BBQWe especially love it because it takes a half-assed dinner like broiled chicken or burgers and makes it seem like you really made something happen. You should taste what a layer of the donkey sauce does on the top of some pedestrian baked meatloaf. You can dip fries in this stuff, put it in baked beans, slather on a pork sandwich. I have considered brushing my teeth with it. The only catch is, no one sells it in the stores up here because it’s made by a tiny family business. You need to order it online direct from the Blueridge mountains of North Carolina. I appreciate that you’re rolling your eyes, saying, “dude, I’m not mail-ordering barbecue sauce from North Carolina. Stop it.” Now imagine I am shaking you by the shoulders. Do we ever mess around about food on this site?! Take a leap of faith. And now in closing, we’d like to present you with this handsome picture of an old mule. Order the sauce!Old Mule

About the Author |
We earn our living selling New York City. The next day is never like the last. The last is never ordinary. We witness all sorts. We listen to the City’s noise. We devour its phenomenal food. On the Real is our documentary. It is your pack of unfiltered New York 100s.

Hillsdale.

It seems to me that the secret to being a long-term and semi-mentally well-adjusted Manhattanite is to locate a periodic weekend escape hatch outside of town. Doesn’t have to be fancy; just a quiet place where you can unwind, walk on some wet leaves or sit in the sand. I respectfully submit that even the most hard-core urban dweller can benefit from a place where you can connect with nature a bit. And for a few years now, we have enjoyed traveling up north for a Columbia County weekend and finding small cottages to rent.If you’ve never been to Columbia County, it’s about two and a half hours north towards the eastern part of New York State, southeast of Albany and immediately west of the Massachusetts border. The land up there is completely beautiful with gentle rolling hills, winding roads and charming small towns like Hudson, an antiquing mecca for decorators and collectors.To our shellshocked city senses, it truly seems like virtually unspoiled country. There are no shortage of great weekend rental properties, and one of our favorite sites to find a home is VRBO. With VRBO’s help, we’ve stayed on a working farm from 1801 in Ghent, a sunny house up on a bluff that surveyed the twists and turns of the Hudson river in the (aptly named) town of Hudson and most recently, a charming little house in Hillsdale that sat right by a chattering stream in the woods. Other than the peace and scenery, one of the other things that keeps us traveling back is the sweet eats. Due to it being an agricultural region, the proximity of amazing produce makes for some pretty fantastic farm-to-table feasting. Half the fun is scouting fresh local ingredients and then cooking a big dinner in our borrowed home for the weekend, but the options to dine out are also stellar. If you’re planning a weekend trip (and you should, it’s great any time of year) here’s some of our own “must-visits”:

Stroll Warren Street in the town of Hudson (“Upstate’s Downtown!”) – over 60 antiques shops from high-end to low-brow, lots of cool home stores (Courtney loves Lilli & Loo) and a disproportionately large amount of galleries featuring wonderful art & photography exhibits.

Swoon Kitchenbar. Terrific food, great atmosphere. It’s all about the Brown Sugar Brined Pork Loin.

Old Chatham Sheepherding Company. Award winning sheep’s milk cheese and yogurt, and you can visit the sheep. For the kids, you sickos.

Local 111 Restaurant. We went here on a date night one time. As fresh and delicious a menu as anything I’ve ever had. For real.

Olde Hudson Specialty Food. Man, I love this little grocery. They’ve got the whole shebang there, much of it sourced locally. And the staff really seems to love working there. Refreshing.

Grazin’ Angus Acres. Strictly grass-fed animals that have more freedom to roam than we do. The steaks are thick and juicy, and here’s a tip: get a dozen eggs to scramble at home. Like nothing you’ve ever tasted.

Hudson-Chatham Winery. This historic farmhouse winery sits among a fragrant carpet of grapevines and makes for a happy place to have a tasting. Grab a couple of bottles on your way out; we suggest the Merlot, the Blanc de Blanc, or the Baco Noir Reserve. Or all three.

About the Author |
We earn our living selling New York City. The next day is never like the last. The last is never ordinary. We witness all sorts. We listen to the City’s noise. We devour its phenomenal food. On the Real is our documentary. It is your pack of unfiltered New York 100s.

Roberta’s. Shrimp Roll.

Roberta’s is the coolest restaurant in New York City.  So cool, it needs it own ON THE REAL category to prove this bold, but accurate proclamation. On Moore Street just off the corner of Bogart in East Williamsburg sits her incredibly unassuming entrance to a former garage.  The interior is adorned with a mishmash of found wood panelling, benches, tables and wall hanging chattel rounded out with a healthy dose of non-pretentious tattooed personality. The pizza they create in that big old oven in the front kitchen and the plates they churn out of the back is simply perfect.

I had the shrimp roll on a recent visit. Simple is the word of the day here, but simple can be perfect and my meal was. The shrimp was exquisitely cooked and lightly tossed in mayo with a little bit of chopped tarragon. The bite coupled with the perfectly cooked-that-morning-out-back-in-a-wood-fired-oven and buttered roll kinda made me want to cry. The addition of the freshly picked, roasted and salted fingerling potatoes on the side make the meal flawless. I washed it all down with a Dean’s Dream which is an up concoction of blanca tequila, lime, mole bitters and cracked black pepper.  Amazing.

Lulu was desperately trying to get a peek at the Tiki Disco happening behind the plywood walls in Robert’s garden; a former junk yard. And that is part of what sets Roberta’s so far apart from the rest.  The owners have willingly jumped into so many fires over the last couple of years. They run the Heritage Radio Network. They grow as much of the food they serve on premises and get whatever else they can from Brooklyn Grange..the massive rooftop farm in Long Island City. They throw everything from raging feasts with bonfires, to a garden dinner series, to neighborhood block parties, to beach parties at their place Ripper’s at Rockaway Beach. And, if you want to go seriously upscale, they have the $180 a head tasting menu at Blanca right next door.  ON THE REAL is going to go in-depth on all things Robert’s over the coming months.  Hope the shrimp roll and a shot of a longing three-year-old is enough to start.

About the Author |
We earn our living selling New York City. The next day is never like the last. The last is never ordinary. We witness all sorts. We listen to the City’s noise. We devour its phenomenal food. On the Real is our documentary. It is your pack of unfiltered New York 100s.

Rockaway Beach.

It’s Labor Day weekend and traffic is sure to be a bitch started at around noon on Friday. We’re avoiding it all and taking the A train to Rockaway Beach. This wide swath of sand is only a 45 minute ride from the West 4th Station in the Village, so if you’re not already firmly planted on the beach in Montauk or some glassy body of H²O in the Berkshires, it’s about the best and cheapest bet for cooling off on what is sure to be a scorcher of a weekend.

It may be a little more crowded than your usual getaway in Southampton, but so what…it’s a clean beach…on the ocean…within the five boroughs. And for food, there are bunches of options. Check out Caracas (of East 7th Street and Grand Street in Brooklyn fame), Motorboat and the Big Banana and Ripper’s an offshoot of Roberta’s in Williamsburg.  Here’s a link to Rockaway Beach Club for the full list. Have an amazing weekend!!!

About the Author |
We earn our living selling New York City. The next day is never like the last. The last is never ordinary. We witness all sorts. We listen to the City’s noise. We devour its phenomenal food. On the Real is our documentary. It is your pack of unfiltered New York 100s.