Food & Drink

Goal Oriented

Let Us Eat and Drink with Renewed Purpose

18db22569dbdb7f35be6bb03a507642f
Goodbye, 2015. We had a good run.

But this year, we pledge to have an even better run.

By continuing our studies in the fields of food and drink, mostly.

So below, UD editors weigh in with their steak- and liquor-related hopes, dreams and goals for the new year.

Cook a Steak Indoors. “I don’t live in a grill-friendly city. If I wanted to cook a steak outside, over charcoal, with a beer in my hand and a cartoon bird on my shoulder, I would have to do it on my fire escape, schlep to the East River or go to a much cooler person’s rooftop. These are all upsetting options. And so, if I want steak, I need to cook it in my kitchen. The problem: I have no idea how to do that. But I’m going to figure it out, and I’m going to figure it out soon. Or maybe I’ll just do it on my fire escape.” —Kelly Larson

Master the Art of Chili Making. “I’m a big fan of any food preparation that encourages experimentation, allows for periodic chip snacking and promotes beer drinking. To me, that’s chili. I’ve made the stuff exactly once in my life (last year’s Super Bowl) and the result was... promising. Little too much cumin. Not enough hot sauce. Beef could have been fattier. So my food goal for 2016: right those chili wrongs. Better preemptively stock up on beer.” —Adam Weinberg

Make My Own Cold-Brew Coffee. “I’ve been thinking about this for the better part of two years now, but still haven’t done it. I’m not sure what’s holding me back. My Keurig, probably. But this is the year I finally begin making my own. Also, I feel that cold-brew coffee would be an excellent vehicle for dark rum, so there’s some added incentive.” —Kevin Gray

Try Omakase. “Not sure how or why I haven’t done this yet. Just kidding, of course I am. Good omakase is just a tad very much over my sad food budget, and cheap raw fish is not a thing I want near my face. But this year, good omakase is going to happen. And it’s going to be glorious. I even promise myself to eat the uni, if that’s a thing that they decide to hand me, and pretend to like it.” —Ilana Dadras

More White Wine. “I tend to veer toward the darker things in life. The brown, the purple, the black. But this year, I resolve to spend more time drinking good white wine. More Austrian riesling, more single-vineyard Galician albariño, more Loire Valley sauvignon blanc. For one, I think I’ve overlooked the delicacy, distinctiveness and complexity to be found within white wine varietals in a region that’s so inundated with oaky, diacetyl-heavy California chardonnays. And two, it may be the only drink out there I’m yet to overdo. But I think I can do it in 2016. Believe in me.” —Hadley Tomicki

Homemade Pasta. “My nonna taught me how to make killer meatballs and gravy, but I’ve never even thought about attempting to make my own pasta... until now. I feel like it’s a necessary skill to have, being Italian and all.” —Bianca Monica

I Want a Go-To Drink. “I’m the type of person who likes to try everything once. Sure, I have my preferences—gin, mezcal, absinthe—but when I have the option to try something really different or unexpected, I usually do. This is partly because I’m still discovering what I like, and partly because I’m increasingly finding that I like everything—even rum, which I’d pretty much sworn off after too many bad Admiral Nelson–related hangovers freshman year of college. This year, though, I want to develop a go-to drink. Something I can feel good about ordering at a bar and can also make at home. Something a little different without being too pretentious or fancy. Maybe it’s a classic; maybe it’s a twist on one. I don’t really know yet, but I’m looking forward to finding out.” —Sam Eichner

Invest in Wine Futures. “When it comes to wine buying, I’m more of a grasshopper than an ant. If I buy it, I’m going to drink it. But lately, I’m interested in stashing a few good bottles for special occasions down the road. Yes, I know the idea of cellaring wine is becoming passé in some schools of thought—better viticulture techniques, better bottling and better winemaking has made long resting periods obsolete. Still, I can’t resist the thought of building my own mini cellar filled with just the good stuff. So once a month, I’ll get out of my comfort zone in terms of my maximum price (basically anything above $16), do a little research, ask a few questions and invest in one bottle that’s meant to peak in a few years to stash in a wine fridge. Hopefully, my future self will thank me.” —Chris LaMorte

Master the Art of Sandwich Making. “I’ve reached a point in my life where going down the street, waiting in line and paying $10 for a (pretty good) sandwich is a completely normal thing to do. Daily. But I don’t want it to be. I want to be the one making pretty good sandwiches, in the comfort of my own home, for a sum lower than $10. So I went to Whole Foods, bought a hefty loaf of quinoa/flax bread, a pound of ham, sliced cheddar cheese and spicy brown mustard. Then I made the same ham-and-cheese sandwich every day for a week. It was pretty good. The next week I bought the same ingredients, but used my George Foreman as an improvised panini grill. I expect to be adding actual vegetables to my sandwiches by the first quarter of 2016, and possibly making my own aioli by the year’s end.” —Eric Twardzik

Cook Tofu That Actually Tastes Good. “I cook a lot of mediocre tofu. As a vegetarian, it’s something I end up needing to make a rice dish or stir-fry filling, but somehow, it never comes out right. I buy the extra-extra-firm kind. I let it sear up in a pan (sometimes I even use a wok) until it looks nice and browned. I put all kinds of sauce on it. And yet, it always ends up very soft and sad and nothing like when I order it at a restaurant. This year, I resolve to do some serious tofu research and get to the bottom of what it takes to make it tasty.” —Leah Butterfield

Plating. “I’m not a bad cook. I do a paella that knocks my own socks off, a chicken piccata that could be mistaken for one-star restaurant quality and a spicy blackened grouper that people will persist through tears to finish. But damned if everything I make isn’t diminished at least 25% by my ham-handed presentation. I don’t know whether I’m so hungry once I finish cooking that I don’t care or I’m just plain inept, but I want my pretty good meals to look pretty good when I put them down in front of someone.” —Geoff Rynex

Elsewhere on the Daddy

More Food & Drink