Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day!

Hope you get a chance to relax, eat some grilled foods and enjoy a day off. I'll be back Friday!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Dinner at The Vanderbilt

We took my Mom to The Vanderbilt (570 Vanderbilt Ave., at the corner of Bergen St., 718-623-0570) for Mother's Day. Having only been there for their opening party, I was interested to see how they had settled into themselves. I'm happy to report that everything was pretty much excellent, save for some slow-to-get-to-our-table food. Made up of mostly small plates, the menu veers from meats, to seafood to veggie-heavy dishes. I started out with one of the cocktails from their menu, the Tupelo Julep made with rye whiskey, cognac and apricot mint syrup. It came like a slushie with tons of shaved iced which melted over time into the drink. It was interesting, but my favorite is still the Glyda Rose (named after the proprietor's mom).

I started out with some Serano Ham Croquettes, five little fried balls of yumminess. Akin to a Rice Ball, these little guys were flavorful, full of small pieces of ham and topped with a dollop of remoulade.

I also ordered the Brandade du Morue, served with Piquillo peppers, olives & parsley. It's similar to Bacala, salted & cured cod, mashed up with the peppers & spices. It's a do-it-yourself dish where you make your own costini with the toasted pieces of bread. It's perfect for sharing, as it's actually a lot of the one taste to finish by yourself.

I also got an order of the Pork Belly from the Specials menu, served with Spring peas. Fatty, meaty, salty & wonderful. The peas lent a fresh, green flavor that brightened it up.

My boyfriend ordered the Hangar Steak which came with a spring vegetable fricasse. This sometimes comes out too tough and chewy, but this was tender, cooked perfectly to order and very flavorful.

We also got a couple of desserts that we shared. They're known for their freshly-made Warm Spiced Doughnuts that come with pistachio ice cream, brandied cherries & apricot orange blossom coulis. Served hot and covered with cinnamon & sugar. Yum!

We also got an order of the Chocolate Semifreddo that's served with dried cherries & crisp phyllo. This was OK. The chocolate semifreddo was good, but the crisp phyllo was almost like an afterthought, it didn't make much sense paired with the frozen chocolate.

I really like The Vanderbilt. It's a nice place with comfortable, aesthetically-pleasing decor and delicious foods.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Food News!

Cafe Mei Mei is now Cafe Ribant. They will be hosting a Backyard Barbeque on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, starting at 4pm and going until closing.

The 5-Boro Pizza Tour will cover Brooklyn on May 30th. For more info check out Jeffrey Tastes. He's looking to do it via bicycle, so get in touch if you want to work off your pizza in-between tastes.

The Metropolitan Green Weekend Market (439 Metropolitan Ave., at Havemeyer) starts this weekend on May 28th! Housed in a LEED certified building in Williamsburg, the weekend-long market will have local artisans, clothing and food! It will only take place for four weekends, ending on June 27. They're still looking for vendors, so if you've got something to sell, email them!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Dinner at Roman's

After getting high marks from some friends, I was eager to try Roman's (243 DeKalb Ave., between Vanderbilt & Clermont, 718-622-5300) for dinner. On a recent breezy evening, a friend and I sat outside on the sidewalk, at one of five tables set up next to the bus stop. It's a bit of a weird arrangement, but it was so nice out it was a shame to go inside. We ordered a bottle of Rosé and awaited our food. The menu changes daily, based on what's in season, available and good.

Our first course was Roasted Asparagus with shaved Pecorino and topped with a Fried Egg. I love when eggs show up in dinner foods! The asparagus were crunchy and slightly nutty, and the egg provided a creamy, yolk-y touch.

Our second course was a Lamb Agnolotti; small dumpling-like pasta stuffed with a tender, slightly sweet meat. It was served in a hearty, clear brown broth dotted with sliced scallions.

We then shared the Special Goat Entree which consisted of three cuts of meat - shoulder, rib and sausage. The goat comes from their local cheese providers, and was incredibly tender, served with a green chimichurri sauce. The shoulder was my favorite, and it fell apart with the touch of my fork. The sausage was nice too, mixed with herbs and fresh-tasting. It was quite pricey though, and took up by surprise as it was a special, and was not listed on the menu. Make sure to ask!

We also ordered a side of Braised Radishes with Mint. They were beautiful to look at but tasted more like Brussels Sprouts, a little funky and stinky. The mint was a nice touch though, and made for a bit of a sweet and refreshing flavor.

I really liked the food, the service and the wine. The interior is beautiful as well - white tiles, dark wood, on the small side. I'll definitely head back next time I'm out celebrating something.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Soda Bar

I'd been to Soda Bar (629 Vanderbilt Ave., between St. Marks Ave. & Prospect Pl., 718-230-8393) a number of times before I ever tried any of their food. I'm not sure I realized they even had a menu, and an interesting menu it is. It's filled with Polish food - Kielbasa, Pierogis and then an assortment of fried things - fish, onions, potatoes. I went with a big group to celebrate a friend's last day of work and we ordered a bunch of things. The Kielbasa Sandwich was the best thing I sampled. Served on Foccacia, it's got a layer of spicy mustard to off-set the salty, juicy grilled meat. I was pretty impressed.

I also got an order of Onion Rings. They were GIANT, and pretty greasy, but they were made with real, thick slices of onion, and shared with a few people, not too deadly.

Our group ordered Mushroom Pierogis and Potato Pierogis, both of which came with bacon sprinkled on top (bonus points!). The potato was hands down the better of the two. The mushroom was a bit funky tasting, whereas the potato was fluffy and light. It was a nice touch with the side of sour cream AND apple sauce!

There was also an order of Fish & Chips placed, which came with a side of tartar sauce. This is such a beige meal, it's pretty unappetizing looking, but the fish was decent and the fries were alright too. If you're hanging out and drinking beer, sometimes a basket of fried foods is just what hits the spot!

Soda Bar is a great place, especially if you're part of a large group, since they have a huge back room filled with couches and comfy chairs.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Food News!

On Saturday, May 22nd, this month's Greenpoint Food Market will take place at the Church of the Messiah (129 Russell St., between Nassau and Driggs) AND they've created the theme of "Picnic in the Park" - McGolrick Park that is. You can head into the church, pick up some snacks, and take it into the park to relax and chow down. It gets pretty crazy in there, what with the 47 vendors!

Brooklyn Blogfest 2010 will take place on Tuesday, June 8th at the Brooklyn Lyceum (227 4th Avenue, at the corner of President St.) at 7pm! Absolut Vodka is a sponsor this year, which has enabled the Blogfest to be FREE and will make for a very fun after-party! I was a "Food & Craft" blog representative last year and enjoyed the festivities very much. Head over to hear Andrea Bernstein of NPR moderate a panel of bloggers, or join a break-out group that focuses on the topic of your choice. Good treats and cocktails will be passed!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Dinner at Henry Public #2

Please excuse the late post. Life is super busy right now!
Happy Eating!

Henry Public (329 Henry St., between Atlantic Ave. & Pacific St., 718-852-8630) is a great place; it's very inviting and they use food made with quality ingredients and cocktails that harken back to an older time, but it's definitely on the pricey side, and a special I got recently really disappointed me. The burger, excuse me, hamburger sandwich, is delicious, made with pasture-raised, grass-fed beef, served with or without cheese and a side of perfectly crunchy, salty fries that have you searching for the last, fried bits of potato they're so good!

On our last visit, my boyfriend and I split the burger and also shared an order of their Brisket/Roast with vegetables (carrots, mushrooms, potatoes), and this is where I became disappointed. While the meat was tender and the brown sauce rich and complex, although maybe a bit too salty, where were the veggies??? There was maybe one quartered mushroom and perhaps one carrot cut in half and then quartered. It was ridiculous. You need the veggies in this dish, otherwise it's just a big portion of meat. The veggies get nicely roasted with the juices and contribute so much to the meal. It just didn't seem worth it to me.

It is such a lively, comfy spot though, that's open crazy late on the weekends (til 4am!). I won't write it off, but I know to stick to the basics from now on!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Food News!

There's a new CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program in town and it's from Holton Farms.

From their press release:

Holton Farms, located in Westminster, VT, is a family-owned farm run by eighth generation farmers—in other words, we take farming seriously. By practicing sustainable farming methods, our farm produces a diverse selection of agricultural products including vegetables, herbs and fruits, grass-fed beef cows, pigs, cage-free eggs, maple syrup and more!

Our goal is to produce and deliver wholesome food with integrity directly to the consumer. To make this happen, we've come up with our own affordable and completely customizable CSA Select program. Our CSA Select program is different in that customers get to choose what and how much they want rather than taking home a box of whatever is given. This cuts down on waste and is also a better value. We've put together a simple diagram to explain how our CSA Select program works right here.

The program will run from May 17 until November 21, bringing seasonal produce to the city each week at various drop-off locations, (two spots in Brooklyn!) and our goal is to sign up as many CSA Select members by May 17 so we can use the proceeds to enhance our offerings throughout the season.

They're offering a 5% discount for readers of Eat It Brooklyn use the code: HFEATITBKLYN). This is a great opportunity to support a family-owned & run farm, and to get a consistent supply of fresh veggies for more than 6 months straight!

Also, this Saturday, May 15th will be the opening of the Red Hook Mercado at 410 Van Brunt St., starting at Noon! I can't go, but if you make it down there, let me know how it is! You can get stuff from Fattycakes, Robicelli's cupcakes, Grinhaus, Solber Pupusas & Country Boys/Fernando Martinez. Yum!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Book Giveaway Winner!!!

I had three entries for the Vegan/Raw Food Cook Book Giveaway from these awesome folks, and the winner is Katherine, who posted first, bright and early in the morning. I hope your hubby appreciates your hard work to find him foods he can eat & enjoy. Congratulations! Email me your info and I'll put you in touch with the Snubbr people. Yay!

Savory Treats at Little Buddy Biscuit Company

For the longest time I thought Little Buddy Biscuit Company (635 5th Avenue, between 17th & 18th Streets, 718-369-6355) was just a dessert place with amazing cookies & cupcakes, but no! I went there recently and discovered that they have all sorts of savory treats like Pot Pies, homemade Hot Pockets and even some vegan stuff! They make their Hot Pockets in cute shapes like crescents and triangles and stuff them with delicious cheeses and veggies. I ordered one with mushrooms and one with artichoke hearts.

The artichoke one was my favorite. It was tangy & zesty and had chunks of artichoke in it. It was seasoned nicely and worked well as a savory treat. The mushroom one was less interesting to me - it was slightly on the sweet side and was too mushy in consistency. It would have been nicer if there were some slices of mushrooms inside instead of a mushroom puree. The dough was on the thick side, and a bit chewy; I was expecting something a little lighter and flakier. I'd like to try their Pot Pies, as I've heard great things about them. For now, I'll stick with the cookies, which are fabulous!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Dinner at Verde

Don't forget the Book Giveaway! There are only 3 days left to enter. Just comment on Wednesday's post and you'll be entered to win one of these vegan or raw food cookbooks!

I eagerly awaited the opening of Verde (216 Smith Street, between Butler and Baltic Streets, 718-222-1525), the newest spot to open on Smith Street, closely watching it's progress over the last few months. I had the opportunity to go last night with a friend to check it out. I actually walked by earlier in the week one evening and noticed the hostess standing expectantly at a podium that was basically placed on the sidewalk, while the restaurant was totally empty. It struck me as totally desperate and I logged it as Strike One.

The open, glass front is nice, and the wooden fixtures and hanging plants are appealing. The backyard garden is also a draw, especially now that the weather is so perfect. We headed straight back there and surveyed the menus. I ordered a Mojito and she picked a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. The wine wasn't chilled enough, but the mojito was minty, slightly sweet and very tasty. The hard, wooden chairs were uncomfortable though. For my meal I ordered the Penne with Mozzarella, with capers, olives, pignoli nuts, cherry tomatoes and Tarali breadcrumbs. There's a lot going on in that dish, and there for the most part everything worked well together. The proportions were nice, and the mozzarella was smoky, which was a nice & unusual touch. I didn't like the Tarali breadcrumbs though - they were too sweet and were chunky, almost like pretzel nuggets. I would have preferred it to be saltier instead of so sweet.

My friend ordered the Filet Mignon with Polenta, Spinach & Mushrooms. The polenta was a joke. It didn't seem homemade and was a small rectangle of stale & tasteless cardboard. The rest was good though - the meat was cooked to order and the veggies were flavorful, although there was too much lemon thyme used, which gave the entire dish a citrusy overtone that just wasn't right.

We were too full for dessert, but I was intrigued by the Pineapple Ravioli which is a thin slice of ravioli stuffed with vanilla ice cream, frozen and topped with coconut cream. Sounds interesting. So, I'm not so sure about this place. They do have a 2 for 1 Happy Hour weekdays from 4 - 8 pm, but there's also a giant flat screen TV at the bar, that's also back-lit with bluish fluorescent lighting. I'll stick to the backyard, or keep walking to another place.

Verde on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Food News!

Happy Cinco de Mayo and Book Giveaway!!!

The Red Hook Mercado coming back May 15th! For over 30 years delicious, traditional Central American food has been cooked and sold at the Red Hook Ballfields, including dishes made by New York Vendy First Prize Award Winner Fernando Martinez of Country Boys and Summer Stage headliner Rafael Soler of Soler Dominican. There will also be new vendors joining the regulars this year, including Erin Norris of the forthcoming and much awaited for sausage parlor Grindhaus. Norris will be serving Spicy Bitches, a kind of corn dog produced for Norris by Brooklyn’s own Meat Hook. FattyCakes NY will also be there! Owner Jennifer Taylor has created a Brooklyn cookie company that will custom bake cookies in any flavor combo you want. She's also got some crazy combos of her own for sale, including the Movie Theater Cookie, a chocolate chip cookie with buttered popcorn and gummy fish ‒ can wait to check it out!

Book Giveaway! One lucky reader has the chance to win one of a these vegan, gluten free or raw food cookbooks. One winner will be chosen, all you need to do is comment on this post and tell me why you want one of these books. A winner will be picked on Monday, May 10th. Good luck!

And don't forget about tonight's Guactacular, taking place at the Bell House. Call to see if tickets are still available.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Chocolate from Nunu Chocolates

This is going to be short and sweet, but that's fitting as I'm writing about CHOCOLATE! Nunu Chocolates (529 Atlantic Ave., between 3rd & 4th Avenues, 917-776-7102) was started by a husband & wife team and initially their chocolate treats were sold at stores and markets around town. They were able to open their Flagship store in Downtown Brooklyn about a year ago. It's a sweet little spot on a busy stretch of Atlantic Avenue, with a few tables, a window seat and a small couch at which you can stop to enjoy their wonderful wares.

I went in for a Hot Chocolate (on a recent cool afternoon) and if my taste buds could do a double take, they would have. This was the richest, fullest, creamiest hot chocolate I've ever had. AND the dusting of chocolate flakes on top! Gorgeous!

I also picked up a caramel-filled chick for later. Nunu uses only the finest chocolate from a family-run farm in Eastern Colombia that practices sustainable farming, and you can tell. This little chick was super sweet & creamy, and filled with an almost salty and toasted-tasting caramel. You can see some of it oozing out of the side!

Check this place out. Their chocolates come boxed in pretty little packages that make perfect little gifts. They also do custom orders!