Friday, June 25, 2010

Hiatus...

It is with much reluctance and hesitation that I announce my month-long hiatus. You see, I'm getting married soon (that I'm excited for!), and just can't keep up with blogging like I want to. I've been writing less-than posts for a few weeks now, and decided that I need to devote myself these next few weeks to putting the final touches on the wedding.



I will be back, I promise, in mid-July (and may not even be able to resist posting some "Food News" before then). Wish me luck, pray for sunshine, and as always, Happy Eating!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ticket Winner!!! ...and Food News!

See how much I need this break? I missed my own deadline! I'm so sorry. And here I am breaking my own hiatus. Sheesh. But I just picked the winner, at random, out of a hat, with my eyes closed, I swear! The winner is....(8:37am) Sooznham!!! (My previous & briefly named winner doesn't even live in NY!) Congratulations! How exciting. You win a ticket to the awesome event tomorrow at Le Grand Dakar restaurant! Email me with your name so you can be added to the guest list. Even if you weren't a ticket winner, you can still go to show your support, eat some tasty Sengalese food and drink unlimited sangria. Yum!

Also happening this week, until Sunday, June 27th is the first ever Yelp Eats! Sort of like restaurant week, a number of the highest yelp-rated BK spots will have special $30 3-course Prix Fixe menus. I happened to attend a Yelp dinner at Blue Ribbon Restaurant last night that was deee-licious. Gumbo, smoked trout, crawfish, giant shrimp, braised ribs. Go there quick! Check out this website for all the participating restaurants.

Also on Sunday is StinkFest, Stinky Bklyn's fourth annual cheese-eating contest. Sounds a little dangerous to me, but I'm sure it will be interesting. There will also be music, and the area restaurants like Jake Walk and SmithVine will also be joining in the fun. It all starts at 11am with the contest happening at 2pm.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Dinner at Mai

There's a somewhat under-the-radar Pan-Asian restaurant on Atlantic Avenue that goes by the name of Mai (497 Atlantic Ave., between Nevins St. & 3rd Avenue, 718-797-3880). It's simply decorated inside, but it's the peaceful garden that's the big draw, along with the fresh and not-your-usual-Pad-Thai dishes. We ordered take-out from there recently and thoroughly enjoyed our meal.

We started with a classic appetizer of Chicken Satay. The meat was tender, slightly juicy and just a bit charred and the peanut sauce was thick with pieces of peanut. It's one of my favorites.



For my entree, I chose to get the Bun Tao, a glass noodle dish with vegetarian duck, shitake mushroom and asian greens sauteed in a ginger sauce. It was delicious. I love veggie duck, and Mai does it the best. It's not greasy, more like baked and a bit crunchy, and there were plentiful slices of mushroom. The greens were crispy, not boiled to death and the sauce was sharp, astringent and light.



My boyfriend got an order of Mee Rojak, a Malaysian style egg noodle with steamed vegetables & tofu in peanut lime sauce. The sauce is more like a curry, and a bit spicy. The noodles were thick and a bit chewy, but in a good way, the veggies nicely cooked and there was a perfectly cooked egg on the side. Very tasty.



I really like Mai. The food is fresh, quality and different from the standard Thai/Pan-Asian places around. Definitely go when the weather is good to sit in the beautiful back garden!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Special Ticket Giveaway!!!

I have one ticket to give away to one lucky reader to an awesome and tasty event. Next Thursday, June 24th, there will be a party/fundraiser at Le Grand Dakar, (285 Grand Ave., at Clifton Pl., 718-398-8900) a Sengalese/West African restaurant in Ft. Greene. It's owned by cookbook-author Pierre Thiam whose battle with Iron Chef Bobby Flay will also be shown at Thursday night's party. There will be live music (including Jojo Kuo's band - he played with Fela), along with unlimited food & sangria. Tickets are just $25, but one lucky person can go for free. Just sent your comments and I'll pick a winner at random. The winner will be announced on the morning of Tuesday, June 22nd.

For more information, check the Lake Isle Press website.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Food News!

While not in Brooklyn, there's an amazing event this weekend at the New York Botanical Garden (in the Bronx) as part of their "Get Out and Grill" weekend. On Saturday, June 19th, there will be a talk given by Dan Barber (of Blue Hill fame). Always Order Dessert partnered with the Garden to host this event, which starts at 11:30am in the garden. There will be food to purchase, or you can bring your own lunch.

Back in Brooklyn, on Monday, June 21st, there will be a Pie Crust Workshop, co-hosted by Brooklyn Brainery's and Lauren Cucinotta from Pie in the Park. Four pro crust makers will show you how it's done, with plenty of pie tasting along the way. The workshop will take place at the Gowanus Studio Space (166 7th Street, between 2nd & 3rd Avenues, 347-351-5753), at 7:30pm. No advance registration needed. $15 gets you in, a slice of pie, and helps support the likelihood of more events like these happening in the future.

This weekend's Greenpoint Food Market has been canceled (due to NYC DOH being persnickety about food preparation licenses and paperwork ever since this article came out), but there will be a "Think Tank Potluck" on Saturday, June 26th instead, to answer questions, provide tips and info on finding affordable kitchens to cook small batches of tasty treats, and generally support one-another over this hurdle. Good luck! The GFM is awesome and I hope to see it back soon!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Breakfast at Four and Twenty Blackbirds

PIE! That'll catch my eye pretty quickly, and so I finally made my way to Four and Twenty Blackbirds, (439 3rd Avenue, at 8th Street, 718-499-2917) a new coffee shop, bakery, breakfast place in the Gowanus neighborhood the pretty much specializes in Pie! It's a very positive addition to this slowly getting life back strip of auto repair shops and various industrial businesses. It's gorgeous inside, with lots of windows, pressed-tin walls and ceiling, wood floors and gigantic wooden tables. It's simple and tasteful but cute, and the scent of freshly baked pies greets you as you step inside.

We got two orders of Egg in a Nest for our breakfast. This is something I know as a fried egg in a hole cut out of a piece of toast, but this, this was one-of-a-kind amazing. Part souffle, part savory muffin, part baked egg, it was juicy, fluffy and flavorful - with thyme and cheese to make it strong and tasty. Isn't it gorgeous?


I also got a Chocolate Chip Scone. It was flaky in all the right ways, dense, slightly sweet and wonderful. So pretty too, served on antique-y floral china.


I couldn't leave without getting a slice of pie, for later. Out of the four flavors (Apple, Strawberry Balsamic) I picked the Rhubarb Crumble. It, too, was delicious. Brown sugar and some cinnamon added just the right amount of sweetness to the oats on top. Fat slices of rhubarb throughout were perfectly tart and the crust was flaky and excellent. It was overwhelmingly buttery either, which was a nice change from the usual heavy baked goods found around town.


They do take custom pie orders, but make sure you give them two days notice. I am looking forward to going back for another slice of pie, and maybe a fig scone? Coming soon...Lunch!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Dinner at Seersucker

The new, Southern Seersucker (329 Smith Street, at Carroll St., 718-422-0444) has a very appealing aesthetic. The interior is all grays and concrete and metal, with 1 x 3s of weathered wood making up one slatted wall, and whitewashed brick on the opposite wall. There's a bar (so I'm assuming they're waiting for their full liquor license - only beer and wine for now) with stools and hanging lamps with metal-capped light bulbs to reduce the harshness. The front window is one big pane, with a simple "Seersucker" written in white letters. The concrete floor made for a noisy dining room though when the place was at full capacity. I could barely hear my dining companion.

We started out with the Crispy Pig's Foot. I asked the waitress if it was weird, but she said that people loved it and that it didn't look like a foot. It came breaded and fried and was served on a bed of dressed watercress and chopped walnuts. I really didn't like it. It was gelatinous and funky, and the nuts and dressing didn't add to the flavors at all and tasted more like spoiled milk.



For my main entree I chose the Skirt Steak, with asparagus and potatoes. This was amazing. Sometimes skirt steak is tough and chewy - this was tender, juicy, flavored just right and cooked to perfection. The asparagus were wonderful as well - nutty and crunchy and the potatoes added a nice, creamy touch.



My boyfriend got the Shrimp & Grits, with Country Ham and Mushrooms. Where was the ham??? About 5 minuscule pieces dotted the entire dish, which was unfortunate, because it was the best-tasting part of the whole dish! The grits were tasteless and mushy, as were the shrimp. They seemed overcooked and bland and plain. Bummer. Even the "hot sauce" he was given to go with the dish was seriously lacking in heat - and I have a pretty low tolerance!



I'll definitely go back - the Pork Chops and Chicken & Dumplings sounded great, and the desserts were tempting as well (Pecan Pie, Mississippi Mud Pie). They're closed Mondays but they take credit cards!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Food News!

This weekend: A neighborhood-wide sidewalk sale in Red Hook. From 10am - 6pm various community members will be selling clothes, antiques, toys, books, etc. The Red Hook Mercado will be open too, so they'll be food as well! For more info, click here.



A cool food event is happening Tuesday, June 15th at P.S. 107 in Park Slope. It's "The Way We Eat: Issues at the Table", with Michael Moss, a NY Times reporter, Traci des Jardins, owner/chef of Jardiniere, a San Francisco restaurant, Kim Severson, author & Times reporter and Janet Poppendieck. Tickets are $15. More information can be found here.



For Father's Day, Little Buddy Biscuit Company is offering three special, dad-inspired cupcakes with liquor-laced frosting! They are:

*Yellow Cupcake with Tequila Lime Buttercream Frosting
*Chocolate Cupcake with Mocha Rum Buttercream Frosting
*Cinnamon Cupcake with Bourbon Pecan Buttercream Frosting

and they'll be available Father's Day Weekend (June 19 & 20).

Monday, June 7, 2010

Cookies & Cupcakes

There's a relatively new Coffee Shop/Art Gallery on Atlantic Avenue called Clover's Fine Art Gallery & Cafe (338 Atlantic Ave., between Smith & Hoyt, 718-625-2121). It's a huge gallery space in the back and seating in the front by the large window. I stopped in recently for a little pick-me-up and walked out with a Madeleine. It was dense yet light, and I could note the delicate flavors of citrus & vanilla. Their coffee was decent too - full-bodied, rich and mellow.



Further on down the road you'll find Downtown Atlantic (364 Atlantic Ave., between Hoyt & Bond, 718-852-9945). This is the restaurant that's also a bakery and has all the amazing looking cupcakes in the window. These babies are HUGE, and come in various flavors of cake and frosting (standard vanilla & chocoate, plus coconut, mocha, strawberry and more!), plus they've got cakes and pastries as well. Stop by for a box or call to place a special order for a special celebration.



They're really impressive and will delight young and old.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Ice Cream from Wheeler's Black Label Vegan Ice Cream

I had the good fortune of getting a pretty container of Vegan Ice Cream treats from Wheeler's Black Label Ice Cream Company. They're actually located in Boston, but they contacted me to announce that coming this summer they'll be serving their frozen vegan bon bons somewhere in the vicinity of McCarren Park. So naturally I said I'd give 'em a try!



In side the colorful box was an assortment of ice cream lollipops, some covered in plain dark chocolate, others included nuts. They were beautiful, nestled together, arranged in little paper cups.



I was given three different flavors, although they produce many more. My favorite of the bunch was the strawberry flavor. With chunks of real strawberries, it had the truest flavor, and was sweet & tart in all the right amounts.



There was a vanilla that was OK. Not quite vanilla, but nice in it's own right. The nuts were also a nice touch, slightly roasted, they added an earthy quality. There was a third flavor that I couldn't quite place (and they didn't provide an insert describing what they'd sent me). It was almost like nutmeg or cinnamon, some kind of astringent spice. It was good, if a little unusual.



So, keep your eye out for Wheeler's Black Label coming soon (hopefully) to McCarren Park, or thereabouts. Let me know if you spot them!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Food News!

Big news from the Hattie Carthan Garden in Bedford-Stuyvesant! First up is the 6th Annual Food Heritage Festival on Saturday, June 12th. From 12 noon until 9pm there will be tons of homemade dishes like Stewed Oxtail, Fried Okra, Rice & Beans and other dishes native to African, Latin & Caribbean cuisines. There will also be home-brewed beverages and live Blues music!

Also from the Hattie Carthan Community Farmer's Market is a different take on the CSA. Instead of shelling out all the big bucks in the beginning of the season for your weekly veggie deliveries, you can pay a pretty low monthly fee for a Single Basket ($12/week) or a Family Basket ($20/week) that will be full of seasonal fruits, veggies, herbs and eggs. Check out the flyer below for more info or go to the Hattie Carthan website for info on how to sign up.



Art Walk 2010 will take place this weekend along Atlantic Avenue on both Saturday & Sunday, with a block party on Saturday night and a Beer Garden set up at Atlantic Assets. Restaurants in the area will be offering special deals from 10% off to Happy House specials. There will be live music and other special events throughout the weekend. For a full line-up, go here!

And for your long-range planners, it's the Fundraiser BBQ for PortSide, produced by Brooklyn Based and sponsored (so far) by Brooklyn Brewery and Realty Collective. The event will take place on Saturday, July 3rd and the funds will go toward supporting summer programming (which includes free shows on the piers!). Food will be provided by the Red Hook Lobster Pound, Uncle Louie G's, and The Good Fork. Yum! For more information and to learn about PortSide, check their website.