Thursday, April 28, 2011

Save the Essex Street Market!

The Minda
A few weeks ago I headed over to Shopsin's to have lunch with Donny from Eat to Blog. Seeing as I had been eating out a lot that week, I wanted to eat something on the slightly healthier side (read: no mac n' cheese pancakes). I went with the Minda: turkey bacon, egg whites, and cheddar on an English muffin. It was delicious with its melted cheese and butter in the nooks and crannies. But since then I found out that the little piece of history market is in danger!!!

Essex Street Market opened back in 1940 as a place for the pushcart vendors to congregate and sell their wares. Throughout the years it's had boom times and bust times (the 1970s and 80s), but has managed to survive, in part due to a $1.5 Million renovation done in the mid 90s. With a trend back to knowing your vendors and supporting local businesses, I think the Market is seeing some of the best times ever and is an attraction for tourists and locals. I firmly believe it should be landmarked given its history and role in the surrounding community. But now, it's in danger of being moved as part of the redevelopment of the area (namely, the empty parking lot area across Delancey). To try to stop Community Board 3 or SPURA from moving the Market, one Lower East Side resident has started a petition. If you want to sign, click here. And then reward yourself with some Shopsin's or Roni Sue's.

Essex Street Market
120 Essex Street

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dough's Irresistable Doughnuts

Doughnuts from Dough

I can only resist a doughnut or so long. I first read about Dough in the New York Times' recent doughnut round up, when I saw them featured on Fork in the Road, I knew a trip out to this relatively new Bed Stuy shop would be in my near future...

This past weekend, Lawman-in-law brought a box of these for our Easter table. We had already feasted on wild boar ragu with homemade gnocchi, and my rendition of Paulie Gee's awesome Cheek Corea salad, there's always room for doughnuts. Though the doughnuts themselves are enormous, they are remarkably light, no post consumption regret here. I could have eaten a lot more. Lawman-in-law brought an assortment of cinnamon sugar, passionfruit and cacao nibs, and Nutella filled doughnuts. The slightly bitter cacao nibs perfectly balanced the sweetness of the passionfruit glaze. I'm not typically a passionfruit fan, but I went back for extra bites of this one. But it was the soft and pillowy cinnamon sugar doughnut that stole my heart.

Their doughnut holes recently tied for first in Serious Eats NY's Great NY Doughnut Tasting. Another reason to make a return trip. I could definitely see myself working my way though the full menu here--you know, for science and the good of the blog.

Need more Dough porn? Check out Food Curated's video.

305 Franklin Avenue
Brooklyn, N.Y. 11205
(347) 533-7544

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Chicken & Waffles for Lunch!!

Chicken & Waffles Cupcake
Early last week, it looked as if we could get another chance to try our favorite cupcake, the Chicken n' Waffles cupcake from Robicelli's. NYU was planning on throwing some EcoFair downtown and had invited Robicelli's to do a one day only pop up! But the weather didn't cooperate. Then early yesterday word came out that NYU was only postponing the event, and it's rescheduled for TODAY! Thank goodness, today wants to be just as gorgeous as the past few days around here.

Chicken & Waffles Cupcake
The EcoFair is happening from noon until 6pm at Gould Plaza on West 4th Street off Broadway. The Chicken n' Waffles will be available until they run out, and Matt & Allison are bringing take-away containers for those of you who want to bring treats back to the office. So, you might want to make it an early lunch. Liddabit Sweets is also going to be there for those of you jonesing for one of their candy bars.

Reminder: Matt & Allison are still trying to raise funds for their DeKalb Market store, you can contribute a few dollars here.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Colson Patisserie's Raspberry Jelly Doughnuts

Colson Doughnut

Colson Patisserie's fantastic Chocolate Brioche Suisses has captured my weekend breakfast attention of late. This past weekend I arrived earlier than usual and my brioche plan was a doughnut...

Like their neighbor Almondine, Colson also makes raspberry jam stuffed doughnuts. Quantities are extremely limited--the guy behind the counter told me that they only make 10 to 12 doughnuts.

Soft and tender these doughnuts didn't have quite as much filling as the ones at Almondine and Lawman felt were a little bit heavier. The dusting of powdered sugar bought a welcome bit of sweetness. While I don't know that these doughnuts will eclipse the brioche suisses, there's nothing like a fresh doughnut on a Sunday morning.

Patisserie Colson
374 9th Street (at 6th Avenue)
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hot Cross Buns, Hot Cross Buns!

Hot Cross Bun on a plate

It's holy week and 'tis the season for hot cross buns. Most of these traditional buns that you find at your local bakery or supermarket tend to be subpar--dry, overly sweetened, chalk full of preservatives. Skip the store made ones and make your own at home. And for style (and deliciousness points) add some peanut butter...
If you mosey over to the Peanut Butter & Company All-Star Blog, you can get my full recipe for Peanut Butter Hot Cross Buns.

Plated Hot Cross Buns

Enjoy and Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Trying Out the Menu at Patacon Pisao

Patacon Pisao
Last week I got to enjoy two meals with new friend A-Tooch from Foodies at Work. The first was a blogger dinner at Fives in The Peninsula Hotel which I tweeted about (the photos are in our Flickr) and the second was an invite out to Elmhurst to eat at Patacon Pisao. The first time I'd come across Patacon was at last year's Vendys, and I'd had them in my mind ever since.

Empanada & Tequeño
Patacon Pisao got its start back in 2005 as a truck in Inwood, the same truck that can be found today on 202nd Street from 7pm to 6am! The Elmhurst shop was originally just for cooking the food, but luckily for daytime masses they turned it into a sit-down location. Our host that evening was Jonathan, the son of the owner, and he was super generous to us-he allowed us to taste the best dishes off the menu and there were even some doggy bags! We started off with empanadas and tequeño (cheese fingers). Yes, cheese fingers literally means fried cheese wrapped in dough. You know it was delicious.

This was the beef patacon arepa: shredded beef with queso frito, lettuce, tomato, and sauce sandwiched together by two fried plantain slices corn meal. It was rated one of the best sandwiches in New York. Take advantage of your wet naps after eating this because you will eat every bite and be quite the mess. (Ed: the patacon is super awesome too.)

A Patacon original is the Tachucho, a wrap that includes white American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and sauce. We received ours with their juicy and tender shredded beef. This sandwich was invented by Jonathan's mother when she saw the types of sandwiches Americans were eating. It's a lighter option to the patacon (ed: and arepa!), but let's be serious, this is all Venezuelan comfort food.

Quesillo (Flan)
You'll want to save some room for dessert. Brownie and I are both fans of their Tres Leches-it's soaked almost to the point of a cake pudding and fantastically sweet. But I was surprised to really like the Quesillo (flan) as well. Typically, I find the jiggly texture off-putting, but theirs is more solid and full of caramel goodness.

And be sure to try the Chicha, a rice pudding horchata. I may stop by just to get this a few times during the summer.

Patacon Pisao
85-22 Grand Avenue
(718) 899-8922

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Let My Peep-le Go!

Charleton Hes-Peep as Moses

In honor of Passover, here's a repost of an oldie but a goodie from last year. My Peeps diorama entitled: Let My Peeple Go!

Egypt-Peeps Chariots and their Charioteers

The parting of the Red Seas background is painted in food coloring. The Egyptians chariots are made of "tulip peeps" and their horses are chickies (natch).

Let My Peeple Go!

Happy Passover to those who are celebrating!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Cupcakes are the New Pie

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Cupcake
If you were lucky enough to catch Robicelli's Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp, a limited edition flavor available last week only, you know how delicious it was. Strawberry Rhubarb, one of my favorite flavor combinations, is the first pie I ever made from scratch; it holds a special place in my heart. So even after an afternoon of bowling and booze, I still managed to make my way to Eastern District to pick up this baby.

The cupcake involves oat cake topped by vanilla buttercream with strawberry rhubarb compote and a sprinkling of oat crisp. The buttercream and compote tasted like the best pie filling ever, sweet and tart. The cake itself was dense-you would not call this a fluffy cupcake-but the different flavor complemented the compote nicely, letting the topping be the sweet aspect of the cupcake. I can only hope that they bring it back out of the vault when strawberry rhubarb is in season here!

Now, if you're as big of a lover of Robicelli's as we are you're probably excited for their Dekalb Market store. But the Robicellis need some help getting it started! If you like keeping Mom & Pops afloat, click here to learn how to support them!

Eastern District

1053 Manhattan Ave
(718) 349-1432

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Robicelli's Now at Qathra

Robicelli's Now at Qathra
File this under: the universe provides. When one door to cupcakes closes another may open across the street. I was sad to read that Market (the cute little market owned by the Mimi's Hummus folks) was no longer going to be carrying Robicelli's. Mere days later I discovered that that they are now being carried by Qathra, the awesome Ditmas Park coffee shop (basically kitty corner from Market) that opened last fall...

Qathra with their delicious coffee, spacious back patio and free wifi is a much welcomed new spot in the nabe. Add Robicelli's cupcakes and you might find me holed up there for a good long while.

This week Robicelli's has a fantastic sounding "STRAWBERRY RHUBARB CRISP" Oat cake, vanilla buttercream, homemade strawberry rhubarb compote, oat crisp. And it's available this week only, then back in the vault til next spring! I've got to get over there for one of those!

1112 Cortelyou Road
Brooklyn, NY 11218

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Shake Shack Isn't the Only Thing Going at Citi Field

Blue Smoke's Fried Chicken Sandwich
Oh the Mets, I'll be happy if they break .500 in September, but the silver lining in this dark cloud of a season is cheap seats to Shea! We're talking $20 and under people! I went to the day game last Sunday since I needed a magnetic schedule, and hungry for some lunch I headed to the 'food court' behind center field. Of course, Shake Shack's two lines were a half hour long and knowing that Blue Smoke's options are just as good, I headed over there. I've tried their pulled pork, but not their fried chicken!

No Line!
I'm not sure if the fried chicken sandwich was around last season, but it definitely wasn't on the original menu. The chicken is coated with a lightly seasoned breading before being fried up. There's a definite buttermilk taste, but it was hard to tell if that was coming from the buttermilk ranch sauce or the chicken itself. Whatever it was, it provided a nice taste to this sandwich. The white breast patty was nice and juicy, exactly what you'd expect from Blue Smoke. For $8.75, this may be the best fried chicken sandwich available at any major league stadium.

P.S. the Mets have a day game tomorrow and it's supposed to be beautiful out again.

**ADDENDUM** When I was ordering the chicken sandwich, I noticed that the special taps with Brooklyn Brewery beers were no longer available! For the back story behind that, click here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Berry Fro-Yo is Like 40 Carrots From a Truck

Vanilla Fro-yo with Chocolate Chips
Yesterday was bliss, wasn't it? It was a nice break at least, a sign of what's in store (and a reminder to get new sandals because your ones from last year are busted.) Yes, it will be 90 out before we know it, and I will be searching for the Berry Fro-yo truck. I'm not the fro-yo fanatic of this duo-I prefer full-fat and fried ice cream-so forgive me for totally missing out on Berry's very existence last year. I'm older now and my waistline requires more work, so I'll gladly fro-yo it up.

Berry Fro-Yo
I spotted the truck at its usual spot on 4th Avenue and 14th Street and decided to try my luck. The regular cup is $3 with two toppings for an additional $1. Make sure to ask for your two toppings! I didn't and it cost me the same amount. Since my love of ice cream overrides my liking of fro-yo, I only get fro-yo when it's good. 40 Carrots is the best in my book mainly because (I think) they use full-fat yogurt or cream. I find Red Mango acceptable while Pinkberry is too icy and tart, and all the rest fall somewhere between the two. And now Berry Fro-yo is now in the number two spot. The owner, Avshar Kirksall, makes his own frozen yogurt available in original tart and vanilla with the regular toppings you find everywhere (berries, nuts, cereal, etc.) I picked the vanilla with chocolate chips. The chocolate chips were average, but the yogurt was exceptional. Creamy and smooth with slight vanilla flavor, it wasn't too icy or pucker-face tart. The creaminess was just a tad below 40 Carrots, enough to make me think this is from actual yogurt. And the amount you receive is just about the same as any of the other places, but at least with this one you have access to the owner. This will totally be on my radar during the warmer months when I'm stopping by Union Square.

Berry Fro-yo
Usually at 4th Avenue & 14th Street

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Prospect Park Uncle Louie G's is Back for the Season!

Strawberry Wafflewich

After this winter's big snow(s) crushed the Prospect Park Uncle Louie G's tin awning/shaded seating area, I got a little worried. Weeks went by and I didn't see a new awning go up or a new Uncle Louie G's sign for that matter. Where will I get my post walk in the park wafflewich? Well, my worries were put to rest this weekend...

Uncle Louie G's is Back!

The Vanderbilt and Prospect Park Southwest Uncle Louie G's is sporting a new awning and sign which looks like it has a whole new more cartoony logo. Not really sure how I feel about the logo itself--my gut reaction is not a fan--but I sure am glad that Uncle Louie G's is back.

The lady behind the counter said they were operating variable hours right now, usually everyday from 11am until at least 8pm, but when summer rolls around they'll be open until 11pm.

I hope that summer also brings the return of the pretzel cone. Fingers crossed!

Uncle Louie G's
157 Prospect Park SW
Brooklyn, NY, 11218

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Choice Eats, Street, and Sweets

Strong Place Booth
Last week was one of our favorite events all year long, Village Voice's Choice Eats. This year they upped the ante with Choice Street (food trucks outside) and Choice Sweets (special dessert section), along with an additional VIP dessert section. And we got to check it all out together since one special lady let me get an early VIP ticket birthday present for Brownie!

Taim Mobile
The night started outside this time where Kimchi Taco, Korilla BBQ, Joyride, Taïm Mobile, and Wafels & Dinges were set up for Choice Street. Since they were right in front of the regular line, the early birds could get stuff to munch on while waiting to head inside.

Red Hook Lobster's Lobster Roll
Downstairs in the VIP lounge, Brownie told us to run over to Red Hook Lobster Pound's table-they were running out of lobster rolls! Buttery, lobster goodness!

But one of the most mobbed tables was SCRATCHbread's, homemade cheese with fresh bread and some truly awesome buttercream brownies will cause scenes like that. I need to get my hands on another one of these brownies: moist chocolate brownie sandwiching buttercream. Where it was at.

The Crowd
Once we were allowed upstairs, the free for all happened. I was just excited to be there again and knew that Brownie has the game plan ready. We just followed and waited until she allowed for imbibing.

Sunburnt Calf's Pulled Lamb
One of the first things she went after was the Sunburnt Calf's pulled lamb slider. The girl loves her lamb.

Court St. Grocers' The Delight
Another highlight was trying The Delight from Court Street Grocers. They're doing corned beef justice on Orwasher's pumpernickle.

Takashi's Beef Belly
The most elegant presentation of the night did have to go to Takashi. They were assembling little sculptures of beef belly. It tasted as good as it looked too.

VIP Dessert Room
Then we took a drink break. And then we headed downstairs to the (very hot) VIP dessert room.

I only managed a little bit of Liddabit, Robicelli's half cupcake, and the cookie sandwich from Baked. And I again promised to make it to the actual store soon. This time, I promise to hold my promise.

The Blue Stove Pies
Brownie, the pie lady, headed for The Blue Stove pies. I've heard they're some kind of awesome, but have yet to seek out the Williamsburg store. Bad things can happen if I know that delicious pie is within walking distance.

Kelvin Slush
And on the way out, a little Kelvin for the road.

Every year gets better! We'd like to thank the Village Voice, the wonderful ladies behind Big Picture Media for hooking us up with press passes, and one of our newest readers, Felicia, for letting me buy her VIP ticket for Brownie!

Also, all photos here are © Tanner Grubbs. Check out some of his photography here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Cheek Corea from Paulie Gee's

The Cheek Correa
If you eat but one salad all year long, let it be the Cheek Corea from Greenpoint's pizza hot spot, Paulie Gee's...

Here's what you get: chick peas, ditalini pasta, escarole, sliced Red Onion, olive oil, lemon juice and "oven crisped Berkshire guanciale." This salad is bright, fresh and brilliant. Between Blondie, Lawman and me we split two pies, a salad and a dessert. As with any trip to Paulie Gee's I could just keep eating, but between the three of us that was plenty of food and it was nice to have some greenery before the pies started coming out of the oven. If I can find a good guanciale source you'd better believe this is finding a way to my Easter table this year.

CAN'T WAIT until Paulie Gee starts brunch service on April 17th. Sounds like a good post Tax Day reward to me!

Paulie Gee's
60 Greenpoint Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11222

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Introducing Kansas to Shopsin's

For both of us, one of the biggest moments in our new relationships is introducing that person to Shopsin's. Brownie introduced it to me, and I have now introduced it to Kansas. He went with no advance look at the menu and knew what he wanted in less than 10 minutes. Bonus points were scored by getting something that involved mac 'n' cheese pancakes that I would never be able to finish: the Mo' Jemima.

While I was happy eating another Mo'Betta, Kansas got a mac 'n' cheese pancake pyramid stuffed with bacon and Shopsin's perfectly poached eggs (they've got poaching down to a science!) He says it tasted awesome with hot sauce, awesome with maple syrup, awesome without either, and kept him full for a least five hours. It's $21, making it one of the most expensive things there, but damn it's worth it. Of course, he also got to see someone thrown out-always a plus. He now understands why Shopsin's is one of my few loves where I would cry tears of sadness should it be 1,000 miles away.

Essex Street Market
120 Essex Street

Monday, April 4, 2011

Thank you, thank you!

Pies Are Round No, Pies Are Squared

A couple of weeks ago, I shared with you my Serious Eats/Instructables Pi Day Contest Entries. Thanks to your votes I made it to the finals and last week I found out that my "Pies Are Round? No, Pi(es) Are Squared!" took first prize!

First prize is an iPad2 that's going to be engraved with 314 digits of pie and the Serious Eats logo. I think I'll call it my Pi Pad. I'm super, super excited. There were a lot of AWESOME entries (you can check the other finalists and winner here). I've been longingly checking out iPads but with a little dude, it's not something that was in my budget in the near or far future. So psyched to be able to check out the exclusive Gourmet Live content now!

So thank you, thank you, thank you again and again for your support! I wish I could give each of you a slice of pie!