Restaurants »Egg (for Dinner)

135 North 5th Street, Brooklyn

Since my first recommendation of Egg, it’s become a media darling – constantly winning magazine awards for it’s breakfast and taking on the long lines that accompany such accolades. It seems to get less recognition for it’s equally yummy farm house style dinner. A while back we enjoyed roasted chicken, a great dish of small treats (including a sci-fi looking sister to the cauliflower) and a great pound cake a la mode. The menu changes according to what’s in season.

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Posted on June 27, 2010

Web Sites »The Selvedge Yard

Inspiring Images

The Selvedge Yard has a definitive stylistic point of view and among other things, is a great online stop for images and musings on rugged, American male style. Author JP describes his site as “about all the things that interest me– a menswear product, presentation & branding guy with a passion for people, places things & ideas of enduring heritage, quality, authenticity & character.” The site never fails to inspire, and the archives are great to browse. I’ve included a few photos below/after the jump, but there’s so much more to be found and read at the site itself.

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Posted on June 27, 2010

Restaurants »Eat

124 Meserole Ave. Greenpoint, Brooklyn

I feel bad – Our neighbors, Greenpoint’s Eat Cafe,  deserves a much better representation than this grainy, dim iphone images, but my camera batteries were dead and Shaun came to my rescue with his phone, so please forgive me. It’s a particular shame considering how lovely a picture the dishes would make. Fresh vegetables, flowering greens, and other delights adorn the plates of Jordan Colon, owner chef and part time farmer.

Rustic and laid back, the one time record shop has an informal feel. The space is unfettered with a soundtrack, warmly dim, and sparse. There is no wait staff, just an order window with the ever changing locavore menu posted on chalkboard next to it. We opted for the suggestion of splitting the entire menu: a yogurt beet soup that was my favorite of the night – I wish I had a bucket in my freezer, a homemade wheat focaccia with a strong melted cheese and garlicky greens, a green spelt salad, potato gnocchi with asparagus and a wonderfully maple slathered apple tart with a bunch of cute and sweet fresh garden strawberries atop. It fed the two of us well. I also recommend an iced tea to wash it all down, or take advantage of the byob policy.

The menu will definitely quench the taste of the healthier crowd and even with a small list of items, has plenty (actually all during this visit) of options for veggies.

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Posted on May 31, 2010

Recipes »White Chili

from Simply Recipes

I’ll be honest, my cooking and baking lately has resulted in the unexpected. Banana bread turned into a thicker almost pudding like creation recently, and even chocolate chip cookies from a back of the box recipe turned out entirely edible but undeniably strange (baking soda vs baking powder and brown sugar versus natural sugar does make a difference, it seems), and this Simply Recipes White Chili proved to be no different.

As you can see from my mediocre photograph, it’s not exactly white, which could be  in part because of my inclusion of a generous amount of chili powder and red kidney beans, and it’s far more on the soup side of things than chili. This is my fault for opting to use what I had on hand, namely canned beans (both kidney and white) and guessing that two cans equals a pound of dried. I think I was wrong, and yet the meal was still absolutely delicious and fulfilling.

Seems that any recipe with a good basis can be messed with and still turn out noteworthy and Simply Recipes always has some good recipes to play around with.

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Posted on May 31, 2010

Restaurants »Flatbush Farms

76 Saint Marks Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

You’d never know it from the dark, stark exterior, but Flatbush Farms hides a sprawling, lovely back yard garden, perfect for an early brunch surrounded by Park Slope babies. The food here is simple and yummy: omelettes with fresh ingredients and sharp cheese, fluffy eggs with potatoes (which feature apples thrown in, or as my friend called them “invisible raisins”), thick slabs of bacon and over-sized banana foster pancakes that sat someplace between a pancake and banana bread. I recommend getting a stack for the table to enjoy.

While the restaurants online manifesto is an obnoxious read “The philosophy is one of simplicity, masked in a complexity matched by none. The gastronomic rogue abounds with numerous philosophies and a mash of cultures, though one aesthetic… etc” the sustainability and use of local and seasonal ingredients shines in the food.

It’s a leisurely place, where brunch can take an hour, so call friends, and get there early to start to a relaxing weekend. And don’t forget to order pancakes for the table!

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Posted on May 9, 2010

Restaurants »The Breslin

16 West 29th Street

For such a chic scene, The Breslin at the Ace Hotel sure boasts a gut busting, fat making menu. From pork rinds to pork bellies, there was much to drool over for us piggies, and we wound up sharing the salt and vinegar crisps and pork scratchings (rinds) to start with. Next came a rich bone marrow and onion soup for me while Jim dug into their famed lamb burger and nicely crispy steak fries.

But even as the rich and wonderful food fills you, you’ll not want to skimp on dessert. We shared a sticky toffee pudding that came in a mammoth bowl (but was totally doable split among the four of us) and a Chocolate Stout Syllabub with bubbled caramel and crème fraiche. My goodness yum!

The philosophy of the menu is not vegetarian friendly, you’ll find all sorts of nose-to-tail cooking here from pigs feet to head cheese, nor is the place friendly to taking photos as it’s so dim (but who cares with all the food to focus on), nor is it friendly to big groups and planners. It’s immensely popular but takes no reservations – we had no problem getting a private (literally, it had a curtain with which we could block out the rest of the world) booth because our dear friend Laura was a guest. BTW, her room was also adorable and well put together in the same rugged, quirky and stylish theme.

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Posted on February 21, 2010

Recipes »Baked Grits with Country Ham, Wild Mushrooms, Fresh Thyme, and Parmesan

grits with ham and mushroomsfrom Cooking Light

With my very limited patience as a cook and a human being it’s impressive that I spent nearly two hours preparing this Grits, Ham and Mushroom dish the other night, and thank goodness it was all well worth it or I’d never spend that long ever again. I could seriously have served this in my own little country farm, Egg-style restaurant and make a killing, even nabbing a spot on all the Time Out and New York best of lists… but I digress.

The only trouble I encountered was that my grits stayed liquidy rather than congealing into a cake like the recipe intends (though it didn’t affect the magnificent taste one bit). I would probably follow the box directions for the grits part rather than the ones listed in the recipe for more predictable results.

The sauce, by the way, is incredible and must be able to be utilized in other recipes. And don’t skimp on the ham, go for the best you can find.

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Posted on January 17, 2010

Recipes »Buttermilk Oven-Fried Chicken (Worst Recipe)

Some things (sadly) are just meant to be fried. While someone somewhere I'm sure has been able to achieve the golden crispness that I always see in photos of baked 'fried' chicken recipes, it won't be with this particular recipe.

I made this for friends, and while the chicken itself was moist (the only complimentary thing that could be said), it looked like I had found some paste and half-heartedly tried to spread it across a plain, bland chicken breast with my finger. The guests were polite, and I've since redeemed myself with some awesome chili.

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Posted on November 9, 2009

Restaurants »Stone Park Cafe

stone park cafe chickenI almost never order boring old chicken at a restaurant but I had a hunch about the menu offering at Stone Park Cafe: roasted farm chicken with homemade tagliatelle, chanterelles, and garlic jus. Oh my, if all chicken tasted like this, I'd never order anything else. It was really just perfect. Warm sourdough bread and an inviting, dimly lit, bustling environment was equally nice and I can understand why this place is a staple for my friends that just moved to the area.

They enjoyed a fresh heirloom tomato salad and Jim's cod special was also yummy. The menu is updated frequently based on what ingredients are in season. It was pretty busy the night we ate there and I do recommend reservations, but I've heard it's easy to get a seated on off hours. The two owners, Josh Foster and Josh Grinker who grew up in the neighborhood, have previously worked at Tribeca Grill and Le Bec Fin.

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Posted on September 21, 2009

Recipes »Baked Onion Rings

Well, they're not much to look at, and even Mike, who made these baked onion rings as an accompaniment to last weeks excellent home made White Castles will admit it. But throw all appearance-based expectations aside, these things are delicious! And waaay better for you than the deep fried kind.

Here's a recipe from the Food Network site

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Posted on August 24, 2009

Recipes »Chicago Dog

With several left over smoked Ham's Bacon hot dogs from our Adirondack weekend (Ham's Bacon is a smoke shop that is actually called Oscar's but I like my name for it better) I began searching for recipes for hot dogs.

Of course I quickly found the Chicago Style Dog, a piled up sandwich that I've seen on Shake Shack menus (but after waiting in line, who can resist always buying a hamburger) but I've never tried one myself.

We got a very detailed how to at Hot Dog Chicago Style, a site devoted to the traditional local dish. Sadly, not every ingredient was readily available in town, so To as to not upset any die hard fans of the site who may scoff at the slightest adaptation, I call our creation Chicago Hot Dog New York Style.

We used pepperocini peppers in place of sport peppers and regular relish instead of “bright green relish”?and sesame seed buns instead of poppy. We did find celery salt, though and if I were you I wouldn't skip this vital ingredient, a dash of it brightens the flavors.

Jim tells me this style hot dog began as hobo food.

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Posted on August 3, 2009

Restaurants »Union Square Cafe

union square cafeI've walked by Union Square Caf? many, many times but paid it no mind; something about its pristine yet maroon exterior and tourist friendly location never gave it much curb appeal to me. But a recent trip with my parents landed it on the agenda as we met with one of their friends (who chose the location).

Completely ignorant of the restaurant's substantial pedigree (Danny Meyer and Michael Romano) and praise (lots of Beard, Zagat, and magazine awards), I had no idea I was in for such a yummy lunch. My pasta was topped with a perfectly poached egg and the sauce was really exceptional. It was a special dish that supported some local farm, but without taking notes, I'm afraid I can't tell you anymore than that.

It was a perfect setting for an upscale casual business lunch. It's a spot that lacks the trends of newer distinguished dining options betraying its late 80's roots in minor ways, but it's generally and simply pleasant too. Our little perch above the fray of the restaurant was actually a fun spot to eat and peek at the action below. We showed up not too long after a late breakfast, but I'd be eager to leave more room for dessert next time.?

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Posted on July 6, 2009

Restaurants »Back Forty

back forty restaurant

? Why do I mention it now?

Because Back Forty has been a staple for my friends and I. We eat here more than any other restaurant together. Also, their famous Crab Boil is going on all month, but reservations are in high, high demand and have been known to sell out within two minutes. To try your hand at it, go to their website the Wednesday before the Tuesday you want to attend.

Here's what I said back on 1/7/08:

This New Years Eve, rather than our typical outing to Mike and Shaun's with Prosecco, Scrabble, and the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon, we all decided to go out. Marcus was awesome enough to find the spectacular deal at recently opened East Village restaurant Back Forty, which for $55, we enjoyed a family style meal and one free cocktail.

We chose the shaved fennel and pumpkin salad and fried Wellfleet oysters to start. Both were excellent. The fried oysters were declared by everyone at the table to be the best any of us had tried. They were crunchy, salty, and very fresh. The fennel and pumpkin, which came with a lemon tumeric vinaigrette, was a refreshing combination of contrasting flavors and textures.

As our mains, we chose the rotisserie suckling pig and the whole grilled Catskill trout. The pig was good, but surprisingly the trout stole the spotlight. I think the preparation of this dish alone restored a passion for fish in at least a few of us at the table.

For sides, we chose parsnips with white anchovy and Aleppo vinaigrette, a dish I was particularly excited about, but was the only slight disappointment in the whole meal. The parsnips were simply not flavorful enough or tender enough for my taste. Little matter though, because the brussel sprouts with dried cherry butter was simply amazing. French fries, nice a hot with rosemary salt rounded out the savory part of the meal.

The amount and quality of the food was really impressive, especially for the price, which was at least twenty dollars less than other spots which didn't even include a drink. We were well sated before dessert came, but of course, could not resist the sweet selections.

I had fresh donuts with apple cider glaze and they were as yummy as expected, but the real prize was the stout float – a complex taste sensation of bitter and sweet. It was a highlight in a very special meal and worth a trip to Back Forty for alone.

They seemed in general to excel in beverages. Aside from the Stout Float, other offerings from their small but well thought out drink menu included a cask ale beer, creamy and delicious, The Loisiada Sling, a sweet cachaca, ginger and chipotle concoction, and the cocktail favorite of the night, the Back Forty, a wining combination of Ezra Brooks whiskey, maple (though none of us were sure what this meant exactly) and lemon. A real winner, that one.

It was a grand place to finish out the new year. Bustling, but not too loud, with Willie Nelson and The Violent Femmes playing in the back ground. The service was excellent and the setting was refined and a bit rugged chic. The term back forty, refers to “the acres a farmer sets aside from his regular crop, for planting whatever he fancies” according to the New Yorker and it seems Chef Peter Hoffman fancies good, hearty food, spectacular cocktails, and an easy atmosphere.

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Posted on June 15, 2009

Recipes »Sylvia’s Barbecued Ribs

Why do I mention it now?

Because the weather and season is finally begging for barbeque goodness.

Here's what I said back on 3/5/07:

There are a few things I usually won't even bother to try and make on my own, ribs are one of them. Most recipes usually require a BBQ, which is not feasible in my apartment, but these babies are baked and despite a long prep time (a whole day of marinating and two hours cook time), a fairly simple ordeal.

The results betray this fact: this is a delicious, restaurant caliber dish that I could not believe I had made myself. Share with friends, though, there will be plenty.

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Posted on June 15, 2009

Recipes »Garlic Lover’s Rub and Sauteed Ramps

garlic lover's rub steak with sauteed rampsAs a true garlic lover, and therefor the perfect audience for a Garlic Lover's Rub, I would have liked to have marinated my flank steak (this rub can be used on anything) for longer, but I was not prepared ahead of time and only have enough time for the minimal marinating (2 hours). Still the meat was flavorful and went perfectly with the wild ramps.

If you haven't heard all the food lovers going ape for ramps, then you haven't been reading food blogs nor hanging out at farmer's markets lately, have you? Because these pungent little wild onions are all the rage and with the simple preparation (literally salt, pepper, butter, ramps) from Martha, the coveting greens got to shine on their own.

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Posted on June 1, 2009

Recipes »Supreme Melt in Your Mouth Pancakes

bisquick supreme melt in your mouth pancakesOne of the downsides of my neighborhood is that almost nothing is up as early as me on Sunday morning. When I wake up with a craving for pancakes and want to try a delicious sounding recipe from Serious Eats at seven in the morning, I pretty much have to wait until the normal people roll out of bed closer to ten to get the ingredients from the grocery store. Well, this past Sunday I was not willing to wait and I opted instead to see what Bisquick had to offer using ingredients I already had.

There are two “melt in your mouth” pancake versions that differ from the traditional. I tried the “supreme” which includes sugar, baking powder, and vanilla. The result is a lighter and sweeter pancake that took maple syrup well and didn't leave me with a rock in my tummy, despite the fact that I made a hulking stack of them just for the two of us.

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Posted on April 27, 2009

Restaurants »Peter Luger

peter luger burger brooklynPeter Luger is an institution, the take your dad who loves meat there place forever. I've had a few amazingly satisfying steaks in my time when family's been in town, but I'd never tried their more affordable and highly praised lunch time burger until a recent day off.

The place is a bit more calm on a weekday, but it had gotten pretty full by the time we left the crisp white shirts, dark wood, and nautical dishes behind us. While we didn't need a reservation on a Friday afternoon, on a weekend it probably wouldn't hurt.

The burger is nice and fat and, unsurprisingly, the meat itself is to die for. Cooked perfectly medium rare, which is not the easiest for some restaurants, (other bloggers have even complained about Luger's as such a culprit) I found it fresh, salty and beautifully pink inside.

The huge pile of ribbon thin onion rings were also worth writing home about, the kind of snack that's terrible for you but so good it pops up afterwards in dreams. While I've adored their famous steak sauce on steaks in the past (we even have a bottle in the fridge), it's a perfect topping for a beef burger as well.

My only complaint was the bun, and it's really just a personal thing. I know a substantial bun is necessary for just the basic operations of a hulking burger, but I happen to prefer mine a bit squishier, the kind of bun that does its job but bows down in submission to the all mighty innards. But still, it's a great meal to be had in classic settings – worth the trip during the day (it's only available for lunch) and the comparatively cheap (in this expensive burger crazed city) $9.

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Posted on April 27, 2009