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5 Brooklyn Foods to Eat Before Summer Ends

11 Aug

We’re getting down to the last few weeks of summer, so it’s about time you started your Summer 2014 Brooklyn Food (and Drink) Bucket List. But where to begin? I have a few suggestions. Here are my top five picks.

1. Hay Rosie Ice Cream

Hay Rosie recently opened in Carroll Gardens, offering up unique ice cream flavors from Sriracha Popcorn, to Lemon Bar, and Sage Chocolate Chip. The tiny tasting room is worth a visit, and you can even stock up your freezer with their ice cream “cubes” instead of pints. I suggest the Malted Chocolate with Honeyed Peanut Butter Swirl if you’re into that kind of thing.

The infamous Sriracha Popcorn ice cream

The infamous Sriracha Popcorn ice cream

2. The Pines’ Yard Menu

One f my favorite Gowanus hot spots, The Pines, created a “Yard Menu” for summer, served in their charming backyard. Head over on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays for items like blistered shishito peppers, lobster rolls with bloody mary mayo, and free DIY s’mores.

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3. Four & Twenty Blackbirds’ Blueberry Pie

Fresh blueberries are one of the best things to come out of summer. Four & Twenty Blackbirds has managed to elevate the blueberry pie while keeping it simple– with a crisp, buttery crust and sweet blueberry filling that oozes onto the plate with each forkful.

four and twenty

4. Lobster Joint’s Lobster Bloody Mary

True, you can enjoy a bloody mary anytime of year, but I prefer The Lobster Joint in Greenpoint in the summer, when I can sit in the back picnic tables with a lobster roll and lobster roll bloody mary. The spicy, horseradish-filled cocktail is topped with a giant chunk of lobster claw. Ah-mazing.

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5. Alma’s Fish Tacos

Alma makes this list not only for the fish tacos (read: crispy battered fish with crunchy cabbage and radishes in a soft corn tortilla), but also for the gorgeous rooftop views of the city and the sweet frozen margaritas. It’s the ultimate summer dinner destination.

alma

 

 

Where to Brunch Right Now: Home/Made

1 Aug
Fiddlehead Toast with Homemade Ricotta

Fiddlehead Toast with Homemade Ricotta

My favorite summer brunch destination? Home/Made,  the Red Hook restaurant with welcoming vibes, a quaint garden, and plenty of comfort food. The ladies behind the restaurant, Monica Byrne and Leisah Swenson create a warm atmosphere that make you feel like you’re dining in your home kitchen (but with much better food).

For those of you who believe “eggs are eggs” and they cannot be elevated beyond that, try the eggs at Home/Made. I don’t know what their secret is, but the wild mushroom and fontina scramble takes the usual skillet to plate scrambled eggs to the next level. It’s served with buttery, garlicky Potatoes Provencal and a thick slice of grilled walnut bread. I. Can’t. Get. Enough. Most recently, Home/Made exceeded my expectations when I tasted their special– Fiddlehead Toast with Homemade Ricotta. The combination of creamy ricotta and earthy fiddleheads on the crisp toast was perfect.

Make sure to sit in the backyard, a charming spot with a sprouting herb garden, with a grapefruit mimosa, enjoying the last few weeks of summer sunshine.

Fill Your Pantry with Ft. Greene Farms

17 Jul

bas2Here’s how to give your pantry a Brooklyn Makeover: Switch out your common sriracha, mustard, granola, and relish with a local purveyor’s goods; I recommend Ft. Greene Farms. The brand recently launched with four small batch, all natural, locally sourced products: Charred Sriracha Sauce, Whole Grain Mustard Spread, Homemade Granola, and Hot Pepper Relish. Each batch consists of no more than 250 jars, with each jar being cooked, filled, and labeled by hand.

Ft. Greene Farms was created by Nate Meshberg (of Chef Michael White’s Marea & Morini, and Tasting Table Corporate Kitchen). He found himself experimenting with new condiments and side dishes in his spare time, and wanting to share those creations, he launched Ft. Greene Farms with the freshest goods from local farms.

I taste tested each item, and was astounded by the quality and amount of flavor packed into each product. The mustard became my go-to aoli ingredient, the sriracha made its way into my stir-fry and soba noodles, and the granola took on a granola bowl at breakfast. I had never purchased a pepper jelly ore relish before, but it quickly became my favorite of the four–  a fantastic addition to a grilled cheese sandwich and plenty of cheese plates.

Ft. Greene Farms succeeds in elevating breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack time. Get yours here. 

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How to Serve Up Your Stinky Cheese

7 Jul

photo(16)I have an affinity for cheese plates. Most weekends (or weekdays for that matter) you can find me at Stinky Brooklyn, BKLYN Larder, or Bedford Cheese Shop, stocking up on fresh hunks of stinky cheese and crunchy crackers. Whether I’m munching on the snack solo or entertaining a group, I like to serve it on something pretty.

That’s why I was thrilled to discover American Stonecraft’s “Food Slabs,” glossy-finished serving stones made from farm-gathered fieldstones. Each piece is unique, and they are handmade (cut and polished) in Massachusetts (my state of birth).

I served my creamy truffle-y cheese and rhubarb graham crackers on my Food Slab, but think it would also make an awesome plate for sushi or cut fruit.

You can buy one here, or at Brooklyn shops like Journey Home or Atmosphere.

Food Find: The Everything Mary

15 Jun

bmI visited French Louie for their opening day serving brunch. I was impressed that on their first brunch day, they staff and menu was so spot on, with dishes like Cured Arctic Char Tartine and Creme Brûlée French Toast. But my favorite find was the “Everything Mary,” made with Everything Bagel-infused Vodka and a caraway salt rim. It has a savory oniony taste with notes of poppy and sesame, which goes well with the sweeter tomato flavor of the mix. The restaurant wasn’t sure how brunch-ers would react, so they took it off the menu, but will make it if you ask.

Say Cheers with Medicinal Cocktails

4 Jun

bijansDo I see a “cocktail cleanse” in the future? Ok, maybe not quite, but at Bijan’s in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, you can feel better about happy hour.

Bijan’s serves a “medicinal” cocktail menu—meaning they add herbs and spices with nutritional value to mixed drinks for an extra boost. Take the signature “Bijan” for example, is a mix of vodka, pineapple, healing mint, immune-building elderflower, and cayenne.

“We make all of our own all-natural syrups daily, use fresh squeezed juice, and spices like cayenne ‘awaken’ the body. Nothing is artificial here,” said Erica English, Bijan’s General Manager.

The herbal ingredients, like mint, basil, and their specialty iced tea with rose petals, come from a local shop just down the street—The Herb Shoppe, a retail business selling organic herbs & teas, and providing herbal healing & medication. Bijan’s also brings its health-conscious tendencies to its Persian-inspired menu. Instead of salt, dishes are flavored with Pepper and Sumac, a Persian spice made up of 250 different herbs. And have no fear if you’re dining with your gluten-free, vegan, lactose-intolerant, or nut-allergic pals, Bijan’s makes an effort to accommodate all dietary restrictions and allergies—so no feeling awkward about menu requests.

Bottom line: Go for the cocktails, stay for the food, and enjoy the added bonus of natural, organic herbs and spices.

 

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Drool of the Day: Lobster Roll from Red Hook Lobster Pound

19 May

roll

You’re Invited: Americana Seasonal Wine Dinner

12 May

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 9.02.52 PMThe next event from The Sauce is here. We’re partnering up with Kitchensurfing again– the place to find local chefs to cook for you at home. Join us on May 20th, as Chef Sara Bojarski creates a seasonal, “Americana”-themed 4-course menu with May’s freshest offerings. Sara is a photographer & blogger-turned chef who attended the Institute of Culinary Education.

Sara chose each course based upon the wine selections of the evening, from Wine Awesomeness, a curated wine delivery service on a mission to fight the common misconceptions about wine.

We’ll dine at Kitchensurfing’s Headquarters in Brooklyn. Get your tickets here.

The Best Finds from the New Colonia Verde

6 May

Fort Greene’s new Latin American restaurant Colonia Verde specializes in cuisine cooked over an open fire. Their fresh dishes are best enjoyed in their back greenhouse space, ideal for a Spring day– too cool for an alfresco meal, but warm enough to want to enjoy the sunshine. The front of the restaurant features a comfortable bar that overlooks the kitchen, with cool cocktails, including my selection, The Piscosa, as the waitress described, “like a margarita but better.” It’s a refreshing mix of jalapeño, tequila, cucumber, and lime, garnished with a little chile pepper.

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I started with the ceviche, topped with a creamy, citrus-y sauce, and yuca strips. The fish was fresh and flavorful, but I felt like the dousing of sauce slightly took away from the simplicity of the fish. However, the crunchy yuca strips were a nice and unexpected texture addition.

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I stayed with the seafood theme, and chose the Whole Grilled Brook Trout, wood-grilled and filled with pistachio-coconut cream and served with roasted fennel. I loved this dish; particularly the pistachio-coconut cream sandwiched inside the two sides of the split fish. The roasted fennel was a unique choice; it reminded me of caramelized onions, and the cheese on top added some richness. Each entree was served on a wooden board for a clean presentation.

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I almost skipped dessert, but instead selected “The Brooklyn Mess.” A glass layered with coffee ice cream, sweet mango, whipped cream, and a crispy grape nut-like cereal. Each cold, crunchy, creamy bite was the perfect end to the meal.

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Brooklyn Mother’s Day Gifts for Every Mom

23 Apr

Gift Mom something  special this Mother’s Day– something with a little Brooklyn charm. I’ve picked out a few gift ideas to fit a variety of Mom personalities.

The Home Cook 

If your mom enjoys cooking up new dishes in the kitchen, get her the Frankie’s Spuntino Kitchen Companion and Cooking Manual. I actually gave this to my mom for her birthday, otherwise, this would be my top choice. The guys behind the iconic Brooklyn restaurant share some of their best recipes like Cavatelli with Hot Sausage & Browned Butter and Escarole with Sliced Onion & Walnuts. 

frank

The Stylish Mom

Is your mom decked out in the best accessories? Get her these Seed Pod Earrings by Natural Abstract Jewelry, available at By Brooklyn.They’re classic and simple, but still unique and one-of-a-kind.

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The Designy Mom

Brooklyn-based illustrator Claudia Pearson Illustration just launched Tea Towel Time— a subscription service for tea towels. Sign her up, and mom will receive a fresh new tea towel each month.

tea

The Mom with The Sweet Tooth

Do you have a mom who can’t resist a box of chocolates? Skip the drugstore version and go for these Sea Salt Caramels from Nu Nu Chocolates, available at With Love from Brooklyn. They’re rich and decadent with a touch of sea salt to complement each sweet bite.

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The Oenophile

Some moms would rather indulge in a glass (or bottle) of wine over chocolates. If that’s the case for your mom, grab your mom a bottle of wine from Red Hook Winery. My favorite is the Jamesport ‘Clone 95’ Chardonnay, but if you go to the winery, you can do a tasting to find something to fit her wine style. Brooklyn Wine Exchange usually carries a few of their wines too if you can’t make it to Red Hook.

wine