Searching for steak and talking to a celeb chef

·4 min read

“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.” – Julia Child

I laughed the other day when a friend asked me: Did you really eat all that steak? (he had seen my Instagram with a lot of meat shots).

The answer is yes. I love steak (and red wine with my steak!) so the fact that so many steakhouses have recently opened — and continue to open — despite inflation (and the pandemic) was particularly interesting to me.

Lohud Food & Dining Reporter Jeanne Muchnick with Mentor Berisha, owner of the recently opened Mentor's Mediterranean Steakhouse in Chappaqua. Photographed June 2022.
Lohud Food & Dining Reporter Jeanne Muchnick with Mentor Berisha, owner of the recently opened Mentor's Mediterranean Steakhouse in Chappaqua. Photographed June 2022.

And though I don't love paying $60 (and higher) for a New York strip, it's an indulgence I'm willing to treat myself to after these past pandemic two years. I also want to support local and understand how tough the restaurant business is these days, especially for those who have no choice on listing expensive entrees due to rising costs.

Buon appetito

I just finished Stanley Tucci's second season of CNN's "Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy," and have to say I'm bummed I couldn't get an interview with him (not for a lack of trying!). We have so much in common. He's a Westchester native. I live in Westchester. We both scour for the stories behind the food. And we're both in media (he's more in entertainment but let's not split hairs.) I also did a story last April on where to find authentic Italian in our area that he would like (and that I think is out-of-your-way worthy).

If I was updating that list, I'd add the new Augustine's Salumeria in Mamaroneck where husband-and-wife owners Marc Taxiera and Brianne Myers have put a heavy emphasis on farm-driven ingredients, small producers, and cooking that's as true to Italian cooking as possible.

Lohud Food & Dining Reporter Jeanne Muchnick, center, with the husband-and-wife owners of Augustine's Salumeria in Mamaroneck, Brianne Myers (left) and Chef Marc Taxiera. Photographed June 2022.
Lohud Food & Dining Reporter Jeanne Muchnick, center, with the husband-and-wife owners of Augustine's Salumeria in Mamaroneck, Brianne Myers (left) and Chef Marc Taxiera. Photographed June 2022.

That means Italian food similar to what Taxiera grew up with. Diners will also get to see the cutting of salami, prosciutto and more in action in a showcase area in the back of the restaurant.

Speaking of Mamaroneck, how great is it that the theater is back? I love independent theaters. And I love ones that feature movie memorabilia and have luxury powered recliners in addition to surround sound.

Westchester native Leah Cohen, the chef/owner behind Pig & Khao and Piggyback by Pig & Khao in Manhattan, is one of the judges in a new PBS cooking competition that celebrates the multiculturalism that makes American food unique and iconic.
Westchester native Leah Cohen, the chef/owner behind Pig & Khao and Piggyback by Pig & Khao in Manhattan, is one of the judges in a new PBS cooking competition that celebrates the multiculturalism that makes American food unique and iconic.

Star struck

While we're sort of still on the topic of celebrities (i.e. Tucci), let me say how fun it was speaking with Leah Cohen the chef and owner of the acclaimed New York City restaurants Pig & Khao and Piggyback NYC.

The Scarsdale native is on a new show on PBS, airing June 24. “The Great American Recipe," which also features judges Tiffany Derry and Graham, is all about showcasing each contestant's signature dishes for the chance to win the national search for a great American recipe. The show, which celebrates the multiculturalism that makes American food so iconic, is hosted by Alejandra Ramos, a trained chef and food writer known for appearances on the Today Show and Telemundo.

Loss

On a more somber note, the loss of 48-year-old Anthony Apostolico, owner of Haverstraw's Italian Food Center, is beyond sad. He was killed in a freak crash on the Palisades Interstate Parkway earlier this week. He was always a kindhearted friend to lohudfood and was known for his smiling face and delicious, authentic food, in particular his colossal Italian Special Combo, which in 2017, won the top number of votes when lohud asked readers for their favorite deli sandwich in the county.

We'll always remember Apostolico smiled broadly as he showed off his creation, stuffed with ingredients imported from Italy nestled in fresh bread from Arthur Avenue in the Bronx.

Mark your calendars

Reminder I'll be at Lyon Park in Port Chester next Thursday, June 30 from noon to 2 p.m. at The Perfect Mix food truck. There will be a special lohud sandwich and 10% of proceeds sold during that time period will go to Feeding Westchester, which provides nutritious food to those in need in Westchester County. Let's meet — and eat!

Lohud Food & Dining Reporter Jeanne Muchnick with her fave sweet potato fries at Horsefeathers in Tarrytown. Photographed June 2022.
Lohud Food & Dining Reporter Jeanne Muchnick with her fave sweet potato fries at Horsefeathers in Tarrytown. Photographed June 2022.

Notable Bites

(Things I ate - and loved - this week)

  • Pan seared broccoli salad at Horsefeather's in Tarrytown, a tangle of mixed greens, gorgonzola and balsamic vinegarette. I added shrimp. And, because I can't resist sweet potato fries on a menu, I also had that.

  • Pan roasted chicken breast with black truffle, confit of leg, sautéed Swiss chard and roasted potato at Augustine’s Salumeria in Mamaroneck.

Lohud Food & Dining Reporter Jeanne Muchnick with steak from Macelleria Italian Steakhouse in Pelham. Photographed June 2022.
Lohud Food & Dining Reporter Jeanne Muchnick with steak from Macelleria Italian Steakhouse in Pelham. Photographed June 2022.
  • New York strip steak at Macelleria Italian Steakhouse in Pelham (there's another location in Armonk). I also had the broccoli. mashed potatoes and the crabcake and found all to be reasonably priced and delish.

  • Latte and pineapple cake at Cafetero Coffee Company in New Rochelle. This recently opened coffee shop, in the Modera building, sources its beans from various regions of Eje Cafetero. They also have killer iced coffee. I will be back.

Latte at Cafetero in New Rochelle.
Latte at Cafetero in New Rochelle.

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Jeanne Muchnick covers food and dining. Click here for her most recent articles and follow her latest dining adventures on Instagram @lohud_food or via the lohudfood newsletter

This article originally appeared on Rockland/Westchester Journal News: Advice for home cooks from celeb chef Leah Cohen plus why steakhouses are so hot