Tuesday, October 30, 2012

We Hope Everyone's Alright

Alex and I hope all of our readers are doing okay this day after. I have been spared despite losing my internet mid-storm, but numerous friends and family members are without power. My heart goes out to all my friends currently mourning the horrible passing of Tony Laino and Claudene Christian. Stay safe, friends! jump

Monday, October 29, 2012

Stay Safe Friends!

Coffee cake 

Hello readers. Come tomorrow morning our East coast pals may or may not be able to read this depending on what Hurricane/Snowcane/Frankenstorm Sandy has in store for us...

We hope that you all well stocked with the essentials: water, flashlights, cake, booze. Whatever you need to ride out the storm. I wish I had some of this cake on hand, it's a super awesome coffee cake from Miss Softee that's going to be in our upcoming cookbook. I do however have some Oreo Pumpkin Ice Cream (also most likely going in the book!) and a Costco sized box of brownie mix and a fridge full of homemade pizza. I've been loving reading what everyone has been cooking on twitter. What are you stocked up on? What are your storm essentials?

Friday, October 26, 2012

So. Many. Things. To Eat This Weekend

Hester Street Fair
Yesterday, my better half reminded everyone that this is the last weekend of the Red Hook Food Vendors' 2012 season, but that's not the only thing going this weekend. Halloween's coming up and everyone's getting in the spirit!

Melt Bakery
Hester Street Fair is also entering their last weekend tomorrow and will be celebrating with a Halloween Blow-Out this Saturday! There will be pumpkin decorating, a photobooth, a tarot card reader, and of course, food. Some of our favorites will be there like Kitty Lee Thomas Sweets, Melt Bakery, Mayhem & Stout, and Cuzin's Duzin. Or you can head to the LES on Sunday for Pickle Day on Orchard Street between Delancey and Houston. There will be ALL SORTS of food, but most importantly *12 different pickle vendors*. Everyone from Brooklyn Brine to The Pickle Guys. Might as well get out and enjoy the weekend before the hurricane comes.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Start Making Some Tummy Room Now, This Weekend is the Last of the Season for the RH Vendors

Yuca and Chicharrón from El Olomega
Sunday, October 28th...that's the last day of the Red Hook Vendors' season. Ten delicious trucks together for the last time in 2012. Come out and support the vendors and thank them for the year...

This past year I spent a lot of time at the ball fields gathering oral histories from the vendors from our upcoming book, New York a la Cart: Recipes and Stories from the Big Apple's Best Food Trucks. Eight of the ten vendors will be featured. Their stories of perseverance in adversity are inspiring and if you've ever been to the ball fields, you know that their food in world class. Here's what you might not know. The vendors' permit will be up at the end of their 2013 season. They will have to take their bid to the city again to win the right to vend in the spot where some of the vendors have been for nearly 40 years. For decades the vendors have been a vibrant part of Red Hook and an important part of the neighborhood's transformation. The vendors are, in short, a culinary treasure. In the span of two blocks you can get Mexican, Ecuadorian, Dominican, Salvadoran, Colombian, and Guatemalan food. All reasonably priced. All generously portioned. The vendors give up the best of their spring, summer and fall weekends to serve customers. It's hard work with long days and hours of prep that you never see. If you love their food, consider making the trip out this weekend to say thanks and tell them you hope to see them next year!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Let's Debate Red Velvet Cake Trends

Red Velvet Cake Debate
Last year, Nichelle Stephens of Cupcakes Take the Cake and a ton of other projects pulled a whole bunch of food people together to debate red velvet cake. I wished I could go, but couldn't. And now this year, I GET TO DEBATE! Bez is going to be so happy she sharpened my debate skills the other night in Jimmy's No. 43.

Mmm.  Red Velvet
Next Friday, the 2nd (sidenote: holy shit, it's going to be November next week) I'm going to debate trends in red velvet madness with Amy DeGiulio of Sugar Flower Cake Shop and Gary Reloj of OMGFoodie. I'm going to do research and bring note cards and eat red velvet doughnuts in preparation. Oooooh, maybe I'll even bring some fresh red velvet doughnuts!

The debate will be at New Work City (412 Broadway) from 7pm to 9pm. Tickets are less than $12! And you'll at least get a free doughnut and the chance to meet me! Buy your tickets here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Talde Makes a Tasty but Spendy Brunch

Talde Brunch: Pancakes 
Blondie loves Talde. Her post made me want to try Talde, but you know, life, book etc kind of got in my way. A couple of weekends ago, Lawman, Lawman-in-law and Little B and I finally hit Talde. If there's a phrase that gets me going on a Sunday it's dim sum brunch...

Talde Brunch: Tater Tots

The waitress explains that all the dishes are meant for sharing, so order a bunch and split them up. While some items on the menu like the spareribs and the awesome tater tots with sriracha ketchup are easily divisible. Other dishes like the corn pancakes or the Korean fried chicken with waffles were a bit less so. Where there's a will, however, there's a way.

Talde Brunch: Spareribs
The spareribs ($10) were FANTASTIC. Such slow smoked goodness. I could seriously eat an order of these myself. But there wasn't enough to make a meal there alone (and come on, I love me some pork shoulder, but seriously, 6 pork shoulder "ribs" for $10--it's pork shoulder!).

The corn pancakes ($12) with Edwards Surryano h.a.m. were a better bet in terms of value. You still might be hungry after them, but not overly so. Plus sweet corn pancakes with browned butter syrup and cured ham is goooooood.

Likewise the Korean fried chicken & waffles ($14) are a good bet for those with a larger appetite. Lawman and Lawman-in-law were disappointed that the wings were more like Korean-inspired hot wings rather than that crispy crunchy friend tastiness we're used to getting in K-Town.

The flavors are complex and undeniably good, but you could easily run up a serious tab on sharing plates. If you're watching your wallet, I'd suggest going in a large group so you can have just a taste without getting stuck with a big bill.

369 7th Avenue
Park Slope
(347) 916-0031

Monday, October 22, 2012

Eating Out on The East End

Apple Cider Doughnuts
One of the classes offered in the Food Studies program at NYU involves studying sustainable agriculture on The East End of Long Island. Besides the usual coursework, our little group got to spend three days out on Long Island, visiting all sorts of farms, and of course, eating.

Lobster Roll
Friday started early visiting, of all things, vineyards. Nothing like a glass of wine first thing in the morning. I wasn't fully awake until lunch at Love Lane Kitchen in Mattituck. I went with the lobster roll and while the chunks of claw meat were sweet and delicious, the thick bread made eating this as a roll a bit difficult. I know see what everyone's talking about when they say the roll matters.

Razor Apples
Later that afternoon, we headed to Wickham's Fruit Farm. During the entire tour of the orchard all I could think about were the cakey apple cider doughnuts being made fresh up at their roadside stand. Once I got my hands on a bag of those, I spied different apple varietals for sale including "Razor." They're harder like pears and sweet--getting a bunch of these right off the tree would be perfect for so many apple treats.

Sag Harbor Farmers Market
Saturday morning started early too with a visit to Sylvestor Manor before heading to the Sag Harbor Farmers Market. There I was introduced to Mecox Bay Dairy's cheeses. It's delicious enough to overcome my fear of Eataly, the only place it can be found in the city.

Mary Woltz
From there on out, it was a long day. We got to meet Mary Woltz of The Bees' Needs--and yes, we all bought honey.

Sea Salt
And see how exactly Amagansett Sea Salt makes its salt.

And then it was time for dinner at Commander Cody's on Shelter Island. This plate of steamers was fresh and great.

Fried Chicken
But I was in love with their fried chicken. It was definitely one of the best plates of fried chicken I've had in my life. So crunchy, so moist, it made my fried chicken dreams come true.

Upside-Down Caramelized Apple Tart
Sunday's last meal was at the famous North Fork Table & Inn. We all sat for a wonderful fancy meal and tried to act classy though three days of touring and driving was taking its toll. My meal ended with this Upside-Down Caramelized Apple Tart which other tarte tatins in my life couldn't hold a candle to, but there was something not on the menu that needed to be eaten.

North Fork Lobster Roll
The lobster roll from their truck! Big Bobo and Sis-in-Law told me I *had* to have one, so maybe I snuck out between the salad and the entree and ate half a lobster roll outside. It was gorgeous out! I needed some alone time! It was a really good lobster roll.

Love Lane Kitchen
240 Love Lane
(631) 298-8989

Wickham's Fruit Farm
28700 Main Road
(631) 734-6441

Commander Cody's
41 Smith Street
Shelter Island
(631) 749-1851

North Fork Table & Inn
57225 Main Road
(631) 765-0177

Friday, October 19, 2012

This Weekend: Eat Chicken, Make Curry (and/or Pie)

Chicken Biscuit from Pies 'n' Thighs 
I love autumn in New York--there are so many great food events and this weekend is no exception! If you love good eats and some good friendly competition, then Sunday, Sunday, Sunday is for you...

Kicking things off at noon is the 3rd annual Grub Street Food Festival. Once again New York Mag's Grub Street is pairing up with the Hester Street Fair crew for a street festival of epically delicious proportions. Expect to see Pies 'n' Thighs and other Hester regulars among the 100+ vendor assembly. If you can't find one or twenty things you want to eat, then you're not trying.

Over in Brooklyn, the Food Experiment boys are back with the CURRY EXPERIMENT. From 1 to 4pm you'll sample curry dishes from the city's most competitive home cooks.

  Apple Gruyere Pie, just like Pushing Daisies! :) 

Cap off your day with the 10th annual APPLE PIE CONTEST at Enid's. The open pie call is from 5- 5:45pm, judging begins promptly at 6pm. They promise: * celebrity judges* * food on sticks* *seasonal drink adventures* *thrilling prizes* Note for all of you fancy pantsies. Pie must contain apples AND crust. And no separate sauces, creams or accessories are allowed. The pie stands ALONE!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Bismarck Doughnuts


For my ongoing classic American desserts column at Serious Eats, I've been hunting down favorite regional and retro recipes. I have Bismarck Doughnuts in my sights, but I could use your help. Have you ever had a Bismarck? And if so, can you share you impressions?

I've seen your standard jelly round jelly-filled doughnuts called Bismarcks, but in my experience as a New England girl the Bismarcks I've know and loved have been more bar-like then filled with a strip of jelly and topped with a creamy frosting like these bad boys found at West's Bakery in Rhode Island. Have you ever had one of these sorts of Bismarcks? I'm trying to get the texture right for the doughnut--in my memory it was slightly dense but chewy. Have you had one? If so, where? And what was it like?

Park Slope Now Has Everything Pretzel Rolls

Du Jour Bakery
Park Slope has everything lately. And now they have everything pretzel rolls. Yes, rolls that are made from pretzel dough with everything bagel toppings.

Du Jour Bakery
Du Jour Bakery quietly (in my world at least) opened over the summer, the love child of two really great pastry chefs. I didn't have a chance to stop by until recently, wooed by delicious sweet things. But I was shocked by a savory, the said everything pretzel rolls. It's Brooklyn's answer to the pretzel croissant, the marriage of two ubiquitous savory treats done in a way to make them super fancy. For those of us who sometimes feel the need to take the dough out of bagels, this is perfection.

Du Jour Bakery
365 Fifth Avenue
Park Slope
(347) 227-8953

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mighty Quinn's Brisket is Mighty Goooood

Mighty Quinn's Brisket sandwich 

There are still a few weeks left in the Smorgaburg DUMBO's season at the Tobacco Warehouse. The DUMBO location is ideal for Brooklyn's downtown parks making a it a lovely spot to spend the afternoon especially if you have a brisket sandwich in hand from Mighty Quinn's BBQ...

I don't live in Williamsburg and as much as I enjoy the Flea and the Smorgasburg, it can be hard for me to get there. Hence I've missed out on all the hubbub around Mighty Quinn's slow barbecued brisket. When chatting with Ed Levine at the Vendys, Mighty Quinn's name came up as Ed's favorite place place for brisket in the city, I knew I had to make the trip to check them out. If their brisket was getting raves from the "Missionary of the Delicious" (and he was even serving it for his own Rosh Hashanah) then I needed in on that.

Regular readers know that I very, very, very rarely eat beef. It's just not my thing. But the way Ed described the brisket it sounded so tender, so flavorful, so, so very good that I had to try it. And I was not disappointed. The brisket is sliced to order for sandwiches so it's super moist then piled high on a soft brioche bun. The sandwich is topped with a spicy and sweet sauce, a sprinkling of salt, then finished with pickled onions. It is, in short, one of the most perfect sandwiches I've ever experienced. Every bite leaves you wanting another bite and another. The small is $5, and is really just enough to whet your appetite. Go big ($9) or go home, I say, especially after braving the line which is always the longest of the vendors. Also go early or go hungry. They routinely sell out before the early afternoon. For those of you who don't get out to the Flea or the Smorg, the good news is they're opening a brick and mortar in the late fall. Keep tabs on them via twitter @MightyQuinnsBBQ for updates on locations and openings.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fancy Dessert Eating

Gotham Black Forest
The change of the seasons means that all the fancy seasonal places are changing their menus which means that this is the time of year that we'll get invites to eat these new menus. Normally, we say no. But one of our mutual acquaintances is the sister of the new pastry chef at Gotham Bar & Grill, Ron Paprocki, so when an invite came through to eat some of his latest dessert options, I decided this gratis meal was okay. Also, I never get to eat a fancy places like Gotham Bar & Grill.

Buttermilk Panna Cotta
The meal of  four dessert courses began with the Buttermilk Panna Cotta which involves one of my favorite fruits, huckleberries! If you've never had them, they're like blueberries mixed with tart raspberries. Mix that with maple ice cream and an oat crumble I would shovel in my mouth daily if it was for sale, and you have the best dessert that could totally double as breakfast.

Gotham Black Forest
Next came Gotham Black Forest: chocolate crème, chocolate dacquoise, chocolate sable, cherry balsamic and bing cherries, and mint ice cream. I kept imagining this is what Hansel & Gretel would serve at their dinner parties after they've grown up. You know they live large off the witch's jewels.

Vanilla Semifreddo
To break up the two rich sweet plates, we were served the Vanilla Semifreddo, a winner for anyone who loves tart citrus desserts. Mango, passion fruit, and coconut are represented in the dish multiple ways and I liked each one, but I loved the sugar glass. Breaking things during dessert is always loads of fun.

Caramel Chocolate Mousse
The tasting ended with the Caramel Chocolate Mousse, the lightest, fluffiest mousse I've ever known. The plate has just the right amounts of chocolate and caramel, you won't be overwhelmed by either.

Think you can't afford such goodness? The restaurant is still doing a $25 Greenmarket Prix Fixe lunch currently with the Buttermilk Panna Cotta. Go ahead, be fancy.

Gotham Bar & Grill
12 East 12th Street
(212) 620-4020

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Myanmar Baptist Church Food and Fun Fair is this Weekend!

Shan Noodles

It's time once again for one of my all time favorite food events of the year, the this weekend's 17th Annual Fun Fair at the Myanmar Baptist Church in Queens...

The event is usually held in the summer but this year they had to postpone it until the fall. Why is this event so exciting? Well, you don't often find Burmese food in the city and this is high quality home cooked yumminess. Before my first Fun Fair experience a few years ago I was completely unfamiliar with the wonder that is Burmese food. It's a geographic center for deliciousness. Myanmar is bordered by China on the northeast, Laos on the east, Thailand on the southeast, Bangladesh on the west, and India on the northwest. As you can imagine there are all sorts of interesting influences in Burmese cuisine.

Tips: Bring cash and your appetite. Food tickets are $1 each and different dishes have different ticket prices.

Here are some of my favorites from years past:

Light and refreshing spring rolls...

Myanmar Baptist Church Food and Fun Fair 2008: Spring Rolls

Pickled mustard greens. These are homemade by the church ladies. Homemade, people! Hello, delicious...

Myanmar Baptist Church Food and Fun Fair 2008

One of the most popular dishes at the fair by far is the fresh fried paratha bread. If you want to give it a try you'd best put your name on the list when you first arrive. You have to pay in advance and get a ticket to reserve your spot. Each bread is made to order so the wait is LONG.


Myanmar Baptist Church Food and Fun Fair 2008

The event has been growing in popularity with food lovers from all backgrounds and for the past couple of years they've outfitted the tables with illustrated signs in English with photos of the dishes. The parish community is warm and welcoming and did I mention that I love the food?


If you've been in the past take note of the NEW location! DATE: 13 OCTOBER, 2012 (SATURDAY).
TIME: 11:00AM - 5:00PM

For more pictures from previous fairs check out this slideshow:


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

So Many Good Things Happening!

Making That Cake
I'm prepping to head out of town on two whirlwind jaunts--one to the East End, the other to Seattle. But fun times mean working double hard when I get home. And of course the next two weekends are FULL of fun weekend activities. The NYC Wine & Food Festival is going on! The Food Film Festival is going on! There are tons of other things going on! Where to begin?!

First there's the NYC Wine & Food Festival. All sorts of activities! What to do totally depends on what you can afford, and what kind of weekend you want. Like fancy times and dessert? Head to SWEET. Like brunching? Head to Blackberry Farm Brunch or the Whimsical Indulgence Brunch. Want to know how us food people eat so freaking much and don't weigh 5,000 pounds? Head to this panel discussion (though for free I'll tell you it's from all the time standing in kitchens and running. A serious amount of running.)

And then next weekend is the Food Film Festival. Last year, I got participate for the whole Food Film Festival weekend and let me tell you, it was *awesome.* Tickets through the main website are almost ALL gone, but head over to DailyCandy and they have more options. I personally recommend going for the Food Porn party on Saturday night and heckling our friend, Jason Lam, when he wins something for Deep-Fried Tofurky: A Thanksgiving Miracle. And if you're one of those high-roller types who wants VIP access to the whole weekend, I would like to let you know that A) I'm single and 2) there are only (as of last night) 10 VIP tickets left via Underground Eats. Get on it, people!

Lucky 777 Chili
Or if you're more low-key, head on down to the Battery Urban Farm this Saturday! They're having their Harvest Festival from 11am to 3pm and I'm seriously bummed I'm missing it. Bobbing for apples! Potato sack races! Leaf rubbings! It's the perfect day for those of you with kiddies. On Sunday, the first cook-off of the fall season kicks off at Jimmy's No. 43 with a Chili Cook-Off! Lucky 777 Chili--yes, that same chili dog I had last weekend--will be there. Think you've got the winning chili recipe? Well, then you need to enter!

Bacon Cupcakes!!
Or, *OR,* the Bacon Takedown. Hi, hello there, hey. Bacon. Takedowning

And now you officially have no reason to sit inside pantsless doing nothing all weekend.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Much Love for Mayhem & Stout

Mayhem and Stout braised meat sandwich 
I first encountered Mayhem & Stout at this year's Vendys. They were named a finalist in the brand new Market Vendor Category. They're booth was right by where we were serving up some Kelvin Slush cocktails and their braised meat sandwiches so their braised meat sandwiches were super accessible. They were also super tasty. So good that I broke the cardinal rule of the Vendys, thou shalt not eat of the same food twice. But I couldn't resist. Their pork shoulder sandwich with spicy slaw is so tender, so meaty, soo gooooood, I had to hunt them down at Madison Square Eats...

I think I actually got the same sandwich they were serving at the Vendy's: Pork Shoulder with Spicy Slaw & Sweet 'n' Spicy Dragon Sauce. If you love slow cooked meaty goodness you must, you must, you must seek out Mayhem & Stout. They had a shop in the Dekalb Market (RIP) but you can find them right now at a few pop-ups around the city:

Madison Square Eats: Worth Square, 9/21-10/19; 11:00-9:00 p.m. daily

Urban Space Meatpacking Market: corner of 13th & Washington; 9/1-12/24; 11:00 - 10 p.m. daily

Hester Street Fair: 10/27; 5:00-10:00 p.m.

Follow them on twitter @MayhemandStout for the latest news and other events. I've got my fingers crossed that these guys get a brick & mortar soon.

Monday, October 8, 2012

BK Pour, A Beer Lover's Delight

Brooklyn Pour
This past Saturday was the second annual, and my first, Brooklyn Pour, the beer-centric little brother to Choice Eats. It all went down in One Hanson Place aka the bottom of the Williamsburg Savings Bank Tower. Sampling 100+ beers sounds like the best thing I could ever do on a Saturday afternoon.

Brooklyn Pour
The lobby was completely filled with beer stands, from one end to the other. Plus there was beer downstairs, we're talking a lot of beer. But once I entered I needed food. Out back we went.

Lucky 777 Chili
I *really* wanted to try Stable House's lobster tacos, but they weren't ready to serve yet. So I went one table over to someone who was, Lucky 777 Chili. $4 and I had a chili dog with the works, the best thing I could ever eat before downing a bunch of beers.

Chez Lola
But I wasn't done. I could see the crowds coming in and I knew that once I started sampling, I wasn't going to be stopping for food. Donny picked us up a bowl of paella to munch on from Chez Lola. I debated a Nutella pretzel after this, but wanted to head back inside.

Innis & Gunn
One great thing about these sort of events is you can test the beers you never get around to buying for yourself. Take Innis & Gunn. I've seen it around, never having a chance to sample it. Now I know I won't ever be taking that chance to sample it. Sorry, Innis & Gunn.

I quickly washed that out of my system by stopping by the Narragansett table. It holds such fond memories of hanging out at Rippers, eating burgers, rating the surfers.

Java Brew
One thing I was introduced to that I liked was the Java Brew. I'd never put coffee in my beer before, though it sounds like the perfect hair of the dog recipe. A near-pint of Rare Vos, a few ounces of Grady's Cold Brew, and you're set. Promise.

Brooklyn Pour
It was hard to get a lot of pictures in since it was a bit packed and, well, everything would look the same. It's all beer. For those of you who don't know the history of the building, it pretty easy to figure out that the lobby used to be the bank. It leads itself to all sorts of cool scenes like this one. It would have been great if he could have handed me one through the grate.

And then there was the VIP section. They got to look down at us hoi polloi.

Brooklyn Pour
But all in all, this is an excellent way to spend an afternoon. There's beer! There's food! The Village Voice doesn't play around when it comes to their events!