Tag Archives: Food

Do This!: Get $10 Towards Lusty Kitchen Provisions by Food52

$10 Provisions by Food52 Credit

I’ve been working on preparing for the launch of Food52’s new shop, Provisions, for the past year. Foraging for lusty items that any cook would want to get their hands on.  We’re not launched yet, but soon friends, very soon. Until then, we’re sharing a $10 credit with those of you trendsetters who want to be in-the-know early. Follow this link, enter your email and the credit will be waiting for you when we open our doors — Christmas comes early!

Remember: a memorable meal isn’t just about what’s on the plate, it’s about the plate too.

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recipe goodness :: mastering julia child’s fillet of sole meuniere #jc100

Julia Child's Sole Meuniere

Julia Child’s Sole Meuniere

Filet of Sole Meuniere was Julia’s first-ever meal in France.  She described the sole as “a morsel of perfection” and “the most exciting meal” of her life.  It was this simple preparation of sole that inspired  Julia’s 40-year love affair with food and the start of a cooking revolution in America. The dish takes less than ten minutes to prepare and since the filets go for a swim in clarified butter, there is no shortage of rich “French” flavor. Pour yourself a nice glass of chablis and take a petit voyage to France for dinner.

“There is no substitute for the taste of butter in good cooking…” — Julia Child

Sole Meuniere

Fillet of Sole Meunière

Serves 6

6 skinless, boneless sole or other thin fillets
Salt and fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup of flour or so for a plate
4 tablespoons clarified butter
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
4-6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 lemon cut into wedges

  1. Dry the fish, remove and bones, score, trim and lay flat on wax paper.
  2. Dust the fillets with salt and pepper. Just before sauteing drop each fillet into the flour to coat each side, shaking off any excess.
  3. Set the frying pan over high heat and film with 1/16 inch of clarified butter. When the butter is very hot, but not browning, rapidly lay each fillet side by side leaving a little space between each (don’t overcrowd).
  4. Saute 1-2 minutes on both sides, turning carefully so as to not break the fillet. The fish is done when just springy. Immediately remove from the pan to a platter or plates.
  5. Sprinkle each fillet generously with parsley.
  6. Wipe the pan completely clean, set over high heat and melt with new butter until bubbling.
  7. Pour over fillets — the parsley will bubble up nicely. Season with salt, serve with lemon wedges immediately.

Bon appetit!
recipe goodness :: mastering the art of julia child’s salade nicoise
recipe goodness :: mastering julia child’s rolled french omelet
recipe goodness :: mastering the art of julia child’s chocolate mousse
Do This!: Celebrate Julia Child’s 100th Birthday 

Excerpted from The Way to Cook by Julia Child. Copyright © 1989 by Julia Child. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.

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recipe goodness :: more minted peas please!

peas

spring peas

There is something remarkably relaxing about shelling peas. It feels like I should be sitting under a big 200-year old oak tree, sipping lemonade while the biscuits bake in the oven. Sure, they are a bit of work, but as you snap each pod releasing the perfect pea pearls into your lapped bowl with a tink tink tink, there is a feeling reaped treasure. The beauty of these bright green gems is the hard work ends there. A little steam, olive oil and salt & pepper and you have a complete dish.

Pea Shelling Sunday

Pea Shelling Sunday

Steamed Spring Peas

2 lbs of peas in their pod {look for big fat pods}
1/4 cup water
salt & pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
olive oil for drizzling

  1. Pour a glass of lemonade or wine and pop a squat with a large bowl in your lap.
  2. Patiently shell each pod letting the peas collect in the bowl {and saving the pods for stock?}
  3. In a 7-10″ pan add peas, water, salt and pepper and cover tightly with a lid.
  4. Heat to a simmer and then remove from heat and let rest with the lid on 10-15 minutes until tender.
  5. Drain any excess water, scoop into a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and season with chopped mint, more flake salt & pepper as needed.

It’s the Simple Things:
Homemade Ricotta
How To Cook The Perfect Sunny Side-Up Egg
Spritzy Sunday Morning Citrus Cocktail 
Barcelona Balsamic Chick Pea Salad
How to Love a Radish

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recipe goodness :: egg on egg salad {introducing bottarga}

egg on egg salad sandwich

egg on egg salad sandwich

Ok this is a totally spectacular way to amp up an otherwise standard mid-week lunch. Egg salad: meet your new friend bottarga, also known as poor man’s caviar. Stop. Keep reading. This is not caviar. Bottarga is a delicacy beloved by those salty Italians, but has been finding its way more recently onto U.S. restaurant menus. Shaved over pasta, pizza and yes, even eggs, this salt-cured, sun-dried mullet roe is the perfect way to add the saltiness of the sea to a dish with very little effort. It comes pressed into a hard form that can be swiped along your microplane to finish a dish like a fine pecorino or can be slid along a mandolin for more decadent paper-thin slices that become a central addition to your plate. Lucky for us there is now an American-produced Cortez bottarga that you can get your hands on from Anna Maria Fish Company.

Egg on egg means business. With a little creamy mayo and peppery dijon to bind the this salad together, all I did was toss in a few radish leaves {no you should not throw those out when you buy radishes — they have amazing flavor!} and green scallions for color and a contrasting herby flavor. Then zested some salty bottarga over top to make this standard lunch truck sammie a true stand-out.

The goods

The egg on egg goods {bottarga lower left}

Egg on Egg Salad

Serves 1

2-3 hard boiled eggs, peeled and  roughly chopped
1/2 tablespoon mayo
1 teaspoon dijon
1/2 small scallion diced {or 2-3 chives}
4-5 radish leaves, washed and julienned
Pepper to taste
Bottarga for grating
Good crusty bread

  1. Roughly chop your eggs. I often remove one of the yolks to cut back on the dry bits.
  2. Toss everything, except the bottarga in a bowl, reserving some scallions for topping later.
  3. Add more of anything you desire, then serve in a bowl or on top of a toasted piece of bread.
  4. Sprinkle with some scallions for giggles and then grate your bottarga across the top, adding as much or as little as your salty italian desires.
  5. Sit down and be amazed by your revamped american favorite.

Other Ways to Jazz Standards:
Blueberry, Lemon & Coconut Pancakes
Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits
Cumin & Dill Dijon Egg Salad with Radish Sprouts
Creole Roasted Fresh Corn-Tomato Salsa

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recipe goodness :: grilled green garlic

Grilled Spring Garlic

Grilled Green Garlic

Springtime brings lots of treasures that are here for a blink of an eye and then gone from our flourishing greenmarkets. Ramps, strawberries, asparagus — just some of the items that get loaded into our resuable shopping bags as we lust over these edible signs of the outdoor dining season. One of my favorite flash finds is green garlic {also known as spring garlic or new garlic}. These long green shoots look a lot like scallions, but are the beginnings of the larger garlic bulb we have come to be more familiar with. When the farmers trim these stalks it makes way for those bulbs to continue growing throughout the season and brings us a mild sweet garlic treat as a bonus. My favorite thing to do is toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper and throw them on the high rack of the grill to slow roast for 10-15 minutes until perfectly tender. They are mild enough to be eaten on their own, but make a killer topping for crostini slathered in ricotta, grilled pizzas, a nice juicy steak or even eggs.

Grilled Green Garlic

1-2 bunches spring garlic
olive oil
salt & pepper

  1. Trim roots and dark green fiberous leaves from garlic stems and slice in half lengthwise.
  2. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper to coat.
  3. Place on the top rack of the grill with the heat on low and roast until tender and starts to brown.
  4. Serve whole or dice into smaller pieces as a topping.

Green Goddess 
Orzo, Spinach & Feta Summer Salad
Spinach, Strawberry & Halloumi Salad
Tomato, Basil & Feta Salad
The Ultimate Summer Slaw
Grilled Thyme-Cumin Vegetable Kabobs
How to Love a Radish
Violet-Radish Spring Salad with Secret Lemon-Garlic Dressing

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Vinegar Hill House is a Sweet Spot for Supper

Vinegar Hill Specialty Cocktail: blanco tequila, curacao, lime, grenadine

Vinegar Hill Specialty Cocktail: blanco tequila, curacao, lime, grenadine

 Vinegar Hill is not a Brooklyn neighborhood you hear much about — perhaps because it only stretches for about six blocks and is neighbored by the more buzz-worthy DUMBO. But if you have thus far overlooked this charming area, I suggest you take a stroll through this historical corner {and more strongly suggest you don’t wear cobblestone-unfriendly heals when you do.} The neighborhood feels a bit like you have traveled back in time with Federal style homes, quiet sleepy brick-laid streets and a few storefront gems that sit happily on a mostly residential row and look like places you could buy an antique musket from the Battle of Vinegar Hill during Irish Rebellion of 1798 {and now you know where the hood got its name.}

But my first trip to Vinegar Hill was not prompted by an historical expedition. Rather, it was to grab dinner at the equally as charming and most definitely delicious Vinegar Hill House. The copper-topped bar and copper-haired-bearded bartender was a quick conduit to a warming-first impression. The cocktail menu is simple in length, but lists an inspired concoction of choices. After a brief chat with said bearded bartender, he pleasantly described  his affinity for Despues del Ensueno {pictured above} — delightful on that humid summer eve.

The dinner menu did not disappoint either. Special app of the night: house-cured ham. It was so good I ate it too quickly to take a picture — professional mishap #1. We also sampled the farmstead cheese & salumi platter with homemade crackers and a pickled quail egg. With duck pate rounding out the selection, this clearly was not just another cheese platter and we were better for it.

Vinegar Hill Cast Iron Chicken

Vinegar Hill Cast Iron Chicken

Feeling old-world New York, I could not resist the Cast Iron Chicken. It comes straight out of the brick oven piping hot with the danger of searing your arm if you mistakenly touch the pan as you gleefully dig into the juicy, buttered bird — professional mishap #2. But it was well-worth the lasting burn mark. If you want to go for a safer eating option, try the Mezze Maniche — a shorter version of the always popular rigatoni that is stopped with a lovely pork ragu.

Vinegar Hill Mezze Maniche with Pork Ragu

Vinegar Hill Mezze Maniche with Pork Ragu

The Skim: Getting out of the city slog doesn’t have to mean you need to travel to the Hamptons. Spend the summer visiting some of New York’s less-trafficked neighborhoods to digest a little historical charm and a fantastic meal for the evening. Vinegar Hill House is only a short walk from the river, so it also lends itself to being a great place to start the night before a NYC skyline stroll along the Brooklyn waterfront or before attending a bargemusic concert under the great Brooklyn Bridge.

Map: 72 Hudson Avenue, Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn
Reservations: Taken for 4+ Sun-Mon; 6+ Sat/Sun Brunch
Phone: 718-522-1018

Other Favorite Brooklyn Haunts:
Under the Bridge, Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory Treat {Post-VHH Dessert!}
18 Favorite Meat Dishes for Men & Barbeque Heaven @Fette Sau
Rustic Space Features Really Good Wood-Burning Oven Pizza @Roberta’s
Blue Bottle Coffee Brews One Brilliant Cup at a Time
A Better Brooklyn Breakfast @ Dizzy’s Finer Diner 

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Barcelona Digested: Food for Foodies

And so comes the end of my Barcelona digestion. The recap of everything there is to love about Mercat de la Boqueria, how chocolate is central to Catalonia and where to go when you want to eat like a local, can only be ended with a summary of the places you must visit if you’re someone like me. Someone who takes more pictures of her food, than any 15th century painting or statue. The best thing about Barcelona is its astounding mix of traditional and avant garde — for that reason, it might just be one of my top 10 favorite cities to eat in.

Tapac 24 {Tapas and Great Breakfast | L’Eixample}
Tapas bar of acclaimed chef Carles Abellan, owner of Comerc 24. Great place to grab a full breakfast if you’re craving more than a typical croissant or boccadillo. It’s just off Passeig de Gracia, so an easy stop in this area before or after you check out the block of discord and Gaudi’s famous architecture. I had the most delightfully crispy edged egg, with a gooey yolk that ran all over a pile of roasted potatoes and chorizo. Um, yes. Why don’t they eat more breakfasts like this in Barcelona?

Breakfast at Tapac 24

Federal {Australian Farm-Fresh & Great Breakfast | Poble Sec}
Poble Sec is a new up and coming area, and is home to some of the best new restaurants {Ferran Adria of El Builli fame just opened Tickets and 41º here}. Federal is Australian-owned and serves an amazing full breakfast, which is hard to find in Boccadillo-loving Barcelona. The kitchen closes at 4pm on Sunday and there is always a wait, so plan to get there no later than 3pm. I had the most amazing coconut-banana bread w/ honey labne and a free-range egg with a yolk the color of a setting sun. Amazing.

Coconut-Banana bread with labne honey

Free range eggs straight from heaven

ABaC {High-End Dining |Tibidabo}
ABaC is the Per Se of Barcelona. Very quiet dining, inventive cuisine, extremely attentive service.  This should be on any high-end dining list and is worth every penny. I’d tell you everything I ate, but would ruin the surprise — just know that there was frozen “lipstick” involved.

ABaC: Maresme peas royal with Iberian consommé and citrics, barnacles and sea cucumber

La Botifarreria de Santa Maria {Spanish Meat Market | Born}
If you’re looking to smuggle some acorn-fed Iberico ham, Serrano ham or sausages in your suitcase, this is your place. If meat is what you’re looking for, come here and take in all the varieties — there’s even a Coca-Cola infused sausage.

Cured Meat!

Honey and Cheese Market {Market}
Stop by this market every other Friday and Saturday outside the Santa Maria del Pi church. Another great place to pick up some local goods for gifts — sample honey from eucalyptus, thyme, oranges, lavender, you name it and pair it perfectly with some delicious local goat and sheep’s cheeses.

Hone and Cheese Market

Other previous written-up foodie favs:

Cacao SampakaArtisanal Chocolates to die for

Mercat de La Boqueria The best market on the planet. Clearly, since it’s in every Barcelona Digestion that I wrote.

Everything you want to read about Barcelona:
Barcelona Digested: Hang with the Locals – Cava and Cafe Catalonian Style
Barcelona Digested: Chocolate Central
Barcelona Digested: Mercat de La Boqueria
recipe goodness :: barcelona favorite recreated | balsamic chick pea salad

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recipe goodness :: braised grass-fed beef brisket and polenta

Braised Grass-fed Brisket and Polenta

It’s Superbowl weekend and you’re looking for an alternative to just another bowl of chili? Why not delight your pigskin party pals with a warm, rich bowl of polenta and braised brisket. The best thing about this dish is you can throw it all in a pot and let it cook for a few hours {or make the day before!}, while you enjoy the TV ads and a few brews. Of course, this dish is perfect for any cold winter night and doesn’t have to be saved for the big game — the bonus is it gets better with age, so leftovers are supreme.

Braised Brisket

Braised Grass-Fed Beef Brisket and Polenta

Serves 8-10 | Preheat Oven 350º

5-6 pounds grass fed brisket {I love Grazin’ Acres}
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 bottle red wine
14 ounces fire-roasted whole tomatoes and juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3-4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 large sprig rosemary, leaves chopped
2 bay leaves
water
polenta
parmesan for grating

Braised Brisket Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Soak dried mushrooms in 2 cups boiling water.
  2. Cut round piece of parchment with a quarter-sized hole in the middle to fit inside the pot on top of your ingredients before putting into the oven. This will prevent the sauce from cooking down too much.
  3. Season brisket well with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large, heavy pot (I used a 7.5-qt. enameled cast iron dutch oven) over medium heat until shimmering. Brown brisket for 2-3 minutes per side, then set aside. Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of accumulated fat from pot {using grass-fed beef, which is leaner may not leave much excess fat}, then sauté onion, carrots and celery until soft. Add garlic and stir until fragrant.
  4. Create a hot spot in the pot by moving vegetables aside and leaving about a 3-inch radius bare. Add tomato paste to the hot spot and stir vigorously until caramelized, then stir into the vegetables. Add red wine to deglaze and cook until liquid is reduced by half. Add tomatoes, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, mushrooms and soaking liquid (minus the last 1/4 inch to keep sediment out of your dish), plus herbs.
  5. Add brisket to pot, fat side up and fill with water until brisket is nearly covered. Bring liquid to a boil, then cover with the round parchment paper and tight fitting lid and braise in oven for at least 3 hours or until brisket is fall-apart tender.
  6. Remove brisket from liquid and set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove bay leaves and discard. While brisket is cooling, skim fat off surface and then purée the braising liquid with an immersion blender until thick and set over medium-low heat to reduce if the sauce seems thin. When brisket has cooled down, discard large pieces of fat, then shred the beef and return it to the pot.
  7. Brisket can either be served immediately or refrigerated overnight. The next day, remove additional fat from the surface before reheating.
  8. When serving, cook polenta per package instructions.
  9. Add polenta to serving dish, topped with braised brisket and grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Adapted from Minimally Invasive for food52.com

And a Side Of…:
Red Chili-Lime Cornbread Muffins
Rosemary, Truffle and Parmesan Chips or Fries
Roasted Cauliflower with Gremolata Breadcrumbs
Autumn Manhattan {Herby Garnished Classic a la Tippling Bros.}

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recipe goodness :: inside-out scotch eggs w/ ground lamb, harissa yolk & panko gremolata

Inside-out Scotch Egg

What is an inside-out scotch egg you ask? If you want to be a traditionalist, the scotch egg usually involves enrobing a hard boiled egg with ground meat, breading it and deep frying that sucker. As I prepared for 8.ate@eight’s Robert Burn’s night with the Tippling Bros., I knew I didn’t want to be deep frying, nor serving something that ends up being the size of your fist, so I took inspiration from these flavors, flipped them inside out and created an appetizer that is creamy, spicy and somewhat devilish — the perfect drinking companion. Serve this at your Superbowl party and you will be legendary!

Inside Out Scotch Egg With Ground Lamb, Harissa Yolk & Panko Gremolata
Makes 12 | Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

6 Eggs, two-weeks old

Lamb:
¼ lb ground lamb
1 teaspoon harissa paste
salt

Harissa Yolk:
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon chives, chopped very fine
1 teaspoon harissa paste {add more for spicier kick}
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Panko Gremolata:
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons of fresh parsley, chopped

For the eggs and lamb:

  1. Use two-week old eggs to allow hard boiled egg to separate from the shell more easily. The night before you plan to make, rest each egg horizontally in the carton with the lid open. This will help center the yolk for better presentation.
  2. Bring eggs to room temperature for 30 minutes {still resting on their sides}.
  3. Add eggs to a large pot and fill with water, covering the eggs by at least an inch. Salt the water and bring to a boil.
  4. When water is boiling, remove from heat and cover with a lid for 30 minutes.
  5. While eggs rest, sauté ground lamb, harissa paste and salt until no longer pink. Remove from heat and drain any excess oil.
  6. After 30 minutes, cool eggs in ice bath immediately and rest for 20 minutes.
  7. While eggs cool, make gremolata.
  8. Once cooled, roll each egg along the counter to crack shells and place back in cold water for 5 minutes to allow for easy separation between egg and shell.
  9. Remove the shell, cutting each egg in half and remove the yolk into a separate bowl.
  10. Mash the egg yolk till powdery and then add remaining ingredients. Taste mixture and add additional harissa if you prefer spicier flavor.
  11. When ready to assemble, use a small spoon to scoop lamb into the cavity of each egg half.
  12. Using a pastry bag and tip with a large opening, pipe the egg mixture on top of the lamb in each cavity.
  13. Right before serving, sprinkle the gremolata on top of the yolk and enjoy!

For the Gremolata:

  1. In a small sauté pan heat olive oil on medium heat and add panko breadcrumbs. Continue stirring until panko breadcrumbs are light brown in color.
  2. Add minced garlic and lemon zest and stir to release the flavors, about 2 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and add to chopped parsley.
  4. Set aside until ready to serve {may get soggy if added to eggs to early}

You Might Also Like These:
How To Cook The Perfect Sunny Side-Up Egg
How to Cook the Perfect 8.5 Minute Egg
Mini Wild Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie w/ Scotch! {bottom of post}

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Crispy Cayenne Roasted Potatoes

Crispy Cayenne Roasted Potatoes

Still on the wintry kick here — winter hibernation, means good satisfying meals that don’t leave you hungry or bored with flavor. After a visit to the farmer’s market, I came home with an array of colorful potatoes just begging to be roasted and crispy. These are not your mother’s potatoes. I suggested a few varieties below, but you can use any combination, although I like the smaller spuds that are easy to cut into bite-sized pieces and get a nice charred edge on them. I also like these because they vary in both color and flavor, so you take a simple roasted potato dish to something with much more depth and with no additional effort. This recipe is easy to throw together as a last minute side dish and requires minimal prep.

Crispy Cayenne Roasted Potatoes
Serves 4 | Cook Time: 45 minutes | 400º

¼ lb Fingerling Potatoes
¼ lb Purple Peruvian Potatoes
¼ lb Red-Skinned Potatoes
Olive Oil
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Rinse and dry potatoes. Cut each potato in half through its narrowest equator and add to medium sized bowl {quarter them if yours are larger than a ping pong ball in size}.
  3. Add olive oil to coat, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper {1/2 teaspoon if spicier potatoes are preferred}.
  4. Toss to coat and spread evenly on baking sheet.
  5. Slide baking sheet into middle or lower rack the in oven for 20 minutes.
  6. After 20 minutes, use a spatula to turn potatoes allowing opposite side to face up. Rotate baking sheet 180 degrees and place back in the oven for remaining 25-35 minutes, until outer edge is brown and crispy.

The Side Came First, Now For the Entree:
Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken
Pistachio-Encrusted Spring Lamb w/ Pickled Red Onions & Cumin Yogurt Sauce
Whole-Grain Mustard & Rosemary Pork Chops

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8.ate@eight’s Boozy Robert Burns Bash w/ The Tippling Bros. & Highland Park

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What do you get when you put 30 lassies and laddies in a room with an abundance of top notch Scotch and Tippling masters who know how to shake up a mean cocktail menu? A boozy bash celebrating Robert Burns with uninhibited poetry recitation and a memorable gathering of new friends.

Who is Robert Burns you ask and why are you throwing a party in his honor? In addition to writing many well-known poems, Robert Burns can be thanked for contributing Auld Lang Syne to our annual celebration of the New Year. In his honor, Scots {and non-Scots alike} gather each January for an evening of uproariously informal drinking, noshing and a little poetry recitation to pay tribute to the Scottish Bard.

So many splendid things from the evening to recap, so without further ado…

8.ate@eight + The Tippling Bros. + Highland Park & The Famous Grouse =
A Grand Robert Burns Menu:

The Menus

Scottish Inspired Bites

Inside-Out Scotch Egg
w/ lamb sausage & harissa yolk,
topped with panko gremolata breadcrumbs

Scottish Smoked Salmon
w/ sweet red onion crème fraiche

Chevre Devils
w/ thyme-spiked chevre & spiced pecans

Lamb Sausage Roll
w/ harissa aioli

Mini Wild Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie
Sautéed in Highland Park Single Malt 12 Year Old

Millionaire’s Scottish Shortbread
w/ Maldon salted caramel & semi-sweet chocolate

Food Prepared by: Christina DiLaura


Scottish Inspired Handcrafted Libations

Mother Club Punch
Hendrick’s Gin, blood orange, heather honey,
cranberry and ginger beer

Roberto Roy
Famous Grouse blended scotch whisky, vermouth,
Galliano Autentico, Averna Amaro, orange bitters

Hudson Highland Cup
Highland Park 12 year old malt whisky, NY State apple butter
and maple syrup, lemon juice, sparkling dry cider

Smoke in the Hills
Beefeater dry gin, Islay malt whisky, Yellow Chartreuse,
honey, lemon, smoked salt

Tam O’ Jerry
A Scottish take on the classic Tom and Jerry, made with Highland Park 12 yr., Drambuie liqueur, fresh organic eggs & exotic spices

Cocktails Prepared by: The Tippling Bros.
Sponsored by: Highland Park and The Famous Grouse

Behind the Food and Drink

The Famous Grouse and Highland Park Contribute to A Great Robert Burns Night

Departing from both a traditional haggis-centric Robert Burns menu and my typical 8.ate@eight four-course dinner, I wanted to create a bite-sized menu inspired by a range of Scottish flavors that would be easy to enjoy while moving about the room with cocktails in hand. One very obliging guest with an authentic Scottish accent blessed the bites, reading the traditional Selkirk Grace.

Some hae meat and canna eat,
and some wad eat that want it,
but we hae meat and we can eat,
and sae the Lord be thankit.

Scottish Smoked Salmon w/ Sweet Red Onion Creme Fraiche

Inside Out Harissa and Lamb Scotch Eggs

 

As guests arrived, The Tippling Bros. packed a mean punch that quickly warmed the crowd, fresh from the wintry 15º wind chill. And they continued to pour one outstanding whisky cocktail after the next, heralding a new appreciation for an otherwise standalone spirit, each with unexpected flavor combinations that went down like water. Whisky, after all, means water of life. As each new drink was distributed, this dynamic duo provided an explanation as to what inspired the creative concoction, while also sharing some useful Tippling trivia.

  • Did you know Burns wrote a song about barley? An ingredient so important to Whisky making {and the Scots}, it warranted personification as the character John Barleycorn.
  • ‘Blended’ Scotch Whisky – is Scotch Whisky distilled at more than one distillery from a combination of malted barley and other cereals.
  • Single’ Malt Scotch Whisky — is Scotch Whisky distilled at a single distillery entirely from malted barley.

Tippling Bros. Making the Mother Club Punch

One Beautiful Block of Ice

Smoke in the Hills

Derek, our consummate venue host and true Scotsman, also regaled us with some previously unknown facts about Burns. Good ‘ole Rabbie apparently was a man about town, fathering twelve children by four different women, seven of which were illegitimate. That aside, his literary contributions were also abundant, warranting this day of national celebration and his depiction on the £5 banknote. Well I’ll drink to that!

Derek Shares His Robert Burns Knowledge

Tippling Bros. Trivia

After consuming this useful trivia and half the Tippling menu, we had arrived at the pinnacle of our Robert Burns night agenda: make guests read indecipherable Scottish poetry in their best Scottish accent. The prize for the best channeling of Robert Burns was a highly sought after bottle of Highland Park Single Malt Scotch Whisky, aged 18 years and a roaring round of applause. It’s amazing how the competitive spirit will inspire sensational Scottish brogue. With everyone in good spirits {literally}, the collective participation in reciting verses from Tam O’Shanter, To a Louse, and two non-Burns toasts To the Lassies and Reply from the Lassies, ended the evening with much laughter and also a very passionate rendition of Auld Lang Syne.

 

Easier to Watch

Poetry Recitation Begins! {4 Cocktails In}

Colette Made An Impressive Run for the Highland Park Prize

Nervous Poetry Readers -- Get Them Another Drink!

In an effort to warm my guests before they headed back out into the dark and cold night, we opened up more Highland Park Single Malt 12-Year and 18-year, as well as the blended Famous Grouse for sampling neat. After enjoying several standout cocktails, it was also a treat to taste the complexity that exists even in a single pour of Scotch. The 12-year exhibiting a more gentle, lighter sip to the smokier, almost caramel-like 18-year. Not a bad way to end a full-on Scottish evening. To top it all off, the winners of the best poetry recitation and most impressive tartan garb also took home a bottle of Scotch to share the spirit of Robert Burns with friends.

 

Aaron Was Determined to Win the Highland Park 18 Year {and did!}

More Party Gifts -- Menus, Recipes and Stickers!

 

Tapadh Leibh {thank you}!

Thanks, as always, to my guests for participating in the 8.ate@eight evening {some traveling from as far as Chicago!} Thanks to Sarah and Derek for letting me takeover your apartment for two days and for all your help in seamlessly orchestrating a memorable Robert Burns night. To the Tippling Bros. teamTad, Paul, Gianfranco and Amanda for contributing the necessary liquid courage to a room of 30 people asked to recite poetry {!} – with your artful handcrafted cocktails and mixology genius, I’m certain we made Robert Burns proud. To Highland Park and The Famous Grouse, for so generously supplying that liquid courage and introducing a fine range of Scotch to the 8.ate@eight crowd. And to Kristin and Karen for capturing the whole evening on camera.

Full Album of Photos: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=42802&id=128649143836083&saved

Stay tuned for news of the next 8.ate@eight event. If you aren’t on the invite list, email me at 8ateATeight@gmail.com to be added. Hope to see you at the table!

Recap of past 8.ate@eight dinners:
A+ 8.ate@eight Back to School Nite
8.ate@eight Went Whole Hog and Hog Wild @ the Big Southern BBQ
Who Cut the Cheese Didn’t Stink!
Silencing of the Spring Lambs was Lambtastic

 

Wild Mushroom Shepherd's Pie w/ Highland Park 12-Year Old

Recipe Goodness ::

 

Mini Wild Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie w/ Highland Park 12-Year
Serves 8 | Cook Time: 45-60 Minutes | Preheat Oven 400º

Mashed potatoes:
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 ounces unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg yolk

Mushroom filling:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, peeled and diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms
1/2 pound shitake mushrooms
1/2 pound white button mushrooms
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/2 cup Highland Park 12-Year Scotch
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
1/2 cup fresh or frozen English peas
45 mini phyllo pastry cups

  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Place the half-and-half and butter into a microwave-safe container and heat in the microwave until warmed through, about 35 seconds. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the half and half, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the yolk until well combined.
  3. Move oven rack to top position and preheat the oven to 400º F.
  4. While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place the canola oil into a 12-inch saute pan and set over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrots and saute just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine.
  5. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook until browned and tender.
  6. Sprinkle the mushrooms with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, Scotch, vegetable broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine.
  7. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.
  8. Add the peas to the mushroom mixture and remove from heat.
  9. Line up phyllo cups on a baking sheet and fill using a teaspoon with mushroom mixture.  Top with the mashed potatoes, using a pastry bag and large tip or a plastic baggie with the corner cut off.
  10. Place on the top rack of the oven and bake for 20 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown.

Final Thoughts:

The horse and cow live thirty years,
And nothing know of wines and beers,
The goat and sheep at twenty die,
And never taste of Scotch or Rye,
The sow drinks water by the ton,
And at eighteen is nearly done,
The dog at fifteen cashes in,
Without the aid of rum or gin,
The cat in milk and water soaks,
And then at twelve short years it croaks,
The modest, sober bone dry hen,
Lays eggs for years then dies at ten.
All animals are strictly dry;
They sinless live and quickly die.
But sinful, ginful, rum-soaked men
Survive for three score years and ten;
And some of us, the mighty few,
Stay pickled till we’re ninety-two!

 

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Gone Fish. ‘in Sausalito

 

Fish. Dungeness Crab Sandwich

Fish., a sustainable seafood restaurant and fish market in Sausalito, shows sometimes nature’s simplicity is all you need. The chalkboard menu hung over the open kitchen lists the selections of the day and features “f/v” beside each dish, prominently naming the fishing vessel responsible for your fresh catch. Well that’s a glowing idea.

The doors opened for lunch at 11:30am and it was not long before the line was easily 20 people strong and continued to grow with the lunch hour rush. People will wait for good food and Fish. {so says the name} is good food period.  It’s crab season in San Fran, so it didn’t take much reflection to decide to bite into the dungeness crab roll.  This delight was served on a slightly sweet and fluffy brioche roll that was no doubt swiped generously with butter and toasted face down on the grill, before being stuffed with perfectly seasoned crab that did nothing more than slightly accentuate the sweet, natural flavor of the main catch. With a Ball jar of pinot grigio and a side of salty fries, I had the makings of a fantastic mid-week lunch with my brother. As it turns out Fish. was also the location of my brother’s first date with his now wife – I guess they don’t say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach for nothing.

The Skim: Looking to clear out of the food fog? Head on out to Sausalito for a taste of what fresh food should be all about. Weather permitting you can enjoy your catch at one of the picnic tables overlooking the marina – just be aware of jealous seagulls who want a bite of Fish.

Other SF Catches:
SF Best: Nopa
SF Best: RoliRoti Rolls Out Revolutionary Rotisserie
Blue Bottle Coffee Brews One Brilliant Cup at a Time

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Behind Bohemian

Bohemian

I debated for a long time as to whether or not I was going to write about this NYC restaurant. Not because I don’t love it, but because I love it too much – I was hesitant to let anyone else in on the secret.  But after eating here three times in only a week {a first for me, EVER}, I decided it was only appropriate to share the love – my mother taught me never to be selfish after all.

This secret little gem is a place with no sign out front. A place with a long hallway that leads to a locked and unmarked front door. A place where you have to ring the doorbell to enter. And a place where you can only get a table if you call ahead, dialing an unpublished number that can only be acquired from someone who has been there before (ahem). This is my kind of place.

Sound pretentious? That’s the beauty of this little Japanese food find – it’s anything but. The lack of marketing and exposure is intentional to maintain a quiet environment filled with passionate regulars and excited pursuers of plated perfection. Once inside, you are greeted by its small and welcoming staff who guide you to one of six tables or one of six seats at the bar. The space feels more like a living room, with comfy couches and low cushioned armchairs surrounding knee-high tables that invite you to relax while enjoying each precisely prepared bite.  With white walls and an almost unnoticeable rock garden, it’s as if the intentional zen-like décor was designed to make the artistic dishes the only eye-catching visuals.

Japanese Cucumber Cocktail

The hand-crafted cocktails and meticulously grown and prepared food is the reason I’ve gone completely nuts for this place.  The first time I went I ate at the bar, which allowed me to watch in awe as Take, the resident bartender, hand carved a perfectly round ice cube from a block of ice, and sliced paper-thin Japanese cucumber circles into my precisely measured cocktail.

Seasonal Veggie "Fondue"

We were also wowed at first sight, when our meal started with a vibrant veggie boat of captivatingly crisp crudités served on ice with the most elegantly smooth, bowl-licking anchovy cheese “fondue”.  I could have stopped there an been ecstatic, but out came our sushi flown in from Tokyo’s Tsukiji market, with a clarity that let the candlelight shine through and a firmness in each pinkish bite unlike any I have had since I was actually in Tokyo. heaven.

Sushi Perfection

I could take you through every dish I ate each of the three times I paid a visit to Bohemian, but then this post would go on for days. I will say, if you can swing the premium prices for the washu-beef steak, that is definitely something you don’t want to miss. Since Bohemian is tucked behind the Japan Premium Beef market, you could consider this the specialty of the house,which you will quickly realize with each beautifully buttery bite.

The Skim: If you are seeking small and spectacular, find a way to get a seat at Bohemian. I am not above taking bribes or offers to be treated to dinner in exchange for a phone number, but I won’t post it here.

Can’t Get A Seat, Try One of These Japanese Joints:
Love, Love Shabu Shabu: Fun to Say and Eat
Sensational Summer Sushi @ Geisha
Momofuku That Pork Butt is Good!

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8.ate@eight Presents: A Robert Burns Night With The Tippling Bros. | @1.22.11.8pm

The Tippling Bros. Introduce Mixology 101

8.ate@eight Presents: Robert Burns Night with The Tippling Bros.
Saturday, January 22nd, 2011, 8:00pm
Handcrafted Cocktails, Scottish-Inspired Noshing and Scottish Lore

Location to be revealed just prior to event

What is Robert Burns Night with the Tippling Bros. you ask? First off, it’s an event NOT to be missed. It’s unlike any past 8.ate@eight — I’m opening up the evening to triple the fun with 24 spots and I’m switching up the itinerary. It’s an evening that will involve celebratory contributions of a traditional Robert Burns Supper (though it’s not a sit down dinner) mixed with a healthy dose of superb cocktails handcrafted by the Tippling Bros., renowned mixologists and perpetuators of libational enjoyment!

What’s a Robert Burns Supper? You may think you haven’t heard of the great Scottish poet before, but think again when the clock strikes midnight on 12.31. In addition to writing many great poems, Robert Burns can be thanked for contributing auld lang syne to our annual celebration of the New Year. In his honor, Scots (and non-scots alike) gather each January for an evening of uproariously informal drinking, noshing and maybe a little poetry recitation to pay tribute to the Scottish Bard.

Tell me more about the Tippling Bros.? I met the Tippling Bros. at the New York Wine & Food Festival and since then we’ve been brainstorming a great evening to do together. The Tippling Bros. are world renowed mixologists who specialize in the art of the drink. They are planning 5 handcrafted, scottish-inspired cocktails for the evening, and will be slinging spirits in the midst of the other Scottish fun — they will not only teach you about the history of the cocktail, but will make this a hands on event so YOU too can become a master Tippler.

Getting Tipsy with the Tippling Bros. @NYCWFF Mixology 101

See here for a recap of past 8.ate@eight events:
A+ 8.ate@eight Back to School Nite
Big Southern BBQ Meets Small Northern Rooftop
Who Cut the Cheese Didn’t Stink
Silencing of the Spring Lambs was Lambtastic

Reservation policy is first come, first serve. When I reach 24 guests, the list is closed for the evening. Please feel free to invite guests or forward to friends. A mixed crowd is encouraged!

RSVP HERE!: 8ateATeight@gmail.com

Hope to see you in your finest plaids!
Christina

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recipe goodness :: secret dilaura family frittata with sweet italian sausage

I think my grandmother would be more proud than angry that I’m sharing her recipe for Frittata with Sweet Italian Sausage. Her frittata evokes memories of the holidays, so I thought it’s the perfect time to share with all of you. Every Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter morning for the past 32-ish solid-food eating years, I have walked into a kitchen smelling of roasted sausage and sweet buttered Italian panettone toast.  Inevitably the kitchen also smelled of grandma’s spaghetti sauce, slowly simmering away for the evening feast. I cannot recount a past holiday when grandma’s frittata was not the start to a day filled with family and good eating. And even now that my grandmother is no longer with us, my dad has taken over as the frittata master — beating, cooking and flipping our breakfast to perfection. Tradition is good.

Her frittata is not rocket science, but requires a little skill with the flipping of a hot pan, which could result in a dozen eggs on your shoes, if unsuccessful! But the finished product is worth the risk and makes for a beautiful breakfast presentation to share with friends and family. We’ve been making this every year with italian sausage, but you can always get creative and substitute veggies, cheese, fresh herbs, whatever!

DiLaura Family Frittata with Sweet Italian Sausage

Serves 5-6 | Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 40-50 mins. including roasting sausage

1 dozen eggs {2 per person, plus 1-2 extra for good measure}
3/4 lb sweet italian sausage {I love Grazin’ Angus Acres grass-fed beef sausage}
1 TBS olive oil
1/4 C water for thinning
salt and pepper to taste

Step 1: Roast sausage for 30-40 minutes at 375° in a baking dish. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. {Note: Sausage can be cooked a full day in advance to save time and make the breakfast prep quicker}.

Step 2: Crack eggs into a large bowl and add ~1/4 cup of water, salt and pepper generously {my dad actually uses the very precise method of putting the bowl under the faucet and turning it on for a second to add water}. Beat eggs until a light froth forms on top.

Beat eggs and cook sausage

Step 3: Cut each cooked sausage at a 45 degree angle into 1/4-inch thick pieces. Heat a medium sized non-stick omelet pan to medium heat with 1 TBS of olive oil. Place as many slices of sausage as will fit side by side in the bottom of the pan and brown lightly for ~2 minutes. Reserve any excess slices to serve on the side. Using tongs, flip each piece individually and brown the other side.

Brown sausages slices on each side

Step 4: Remove any excess oil with a spoon. Pour beaten egg mixture into pan over browned sausage slices.

Our beaten egg mixture over browned sausage slices

Step 5: Using a rubber spatula, continuously move around the side of the pan, pulling the firm egg away from the edges, allowing liquid to pour over the edges and stream to the bottom. Also use the spatula to break through the middle of the frittata creating small holes in the center where egg liquid can seep through the bottom. Be sure to also push the sausage slices into the firming egg. When almost all of the egg liquid has gotten firm, get prepared to flip.

Pull edges away with spatula to allow liquid to pour over edges

Step 6: Use a platter that is larger than the pan with angled edges. Remove pan from heat, place platter upside down on top of the pan and hold firmly in place. QUICKLY flip pan and platter, angling slightly away from you so any excess liquid won’t run onto your hands or arms {my dad prefers to do this over the sink, just in case he accidently spills, so there is no egg on the floor}.

Hold platter firmly and quickly flip frittata from the pan to the platter

Step 7: Slide upside down frittata back into the pan from the platter, so the uncooked side is now on the bottom of the pan. Cook 2 more minutes or just enough time to firm the remaining liquid egg. Rinse and dry platter while frittata finishes cooking.

Slide back into pan to firm uncooked side

Step 8: Flip the frittata back onto the platter. The last side cooked is less brown and looks better when presented facing up. Cut into equal sized pie slices and enjoy!

Last side cooked facing up

More Eggs that Are Everything They’re Cracked Up to Be:
recipe goodness :: how to cook the perfect sunny side-up egg
Greenmarket: Put Smarter, Cheaper & More Scrumptious Food on Your Table
Michael Pollan Agreed With Me, $8 Eggs Are A Good Idea
The Art of Brunching Well @ L’Artusi
A Better Brooklyn Breakfast @ Dizzy’s Finer Diner

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Outstanding Upper Ouest Side Dining

Ouest

My parents were recently in town and I took that opportunity to finally visit a great upper west side restaurant that has been on my “list” of places to try for waaaaay too long. I can’t explain why it took me 7 years to eat at Ouest — I’ve heard nothing but good things and it’s only 5 blocks away from my apartment. But there you have it, 7 years came and went and I finally walked through the doors leading to a small, intimate dark-wood bar, a short hall of cozy red leather booths and a hidden, unexpectedly spacious dining room in the back. Despite the soaring ceilings and a second level platform where more diners overlook the main room, Ouest provides a warm and sophisticated environment with oversized mirrors and almost circus tent-like chandeliers creating a red glow over the round red leather seating.

The atmosphere was not the only thing that did not disappoint. I was craving greens, so I started with an appetizer that doesn’t sound like anything spectacular, but just like the unexpected, hidden dining room, this dish was one more surprise worth noting. The Mixed Seasonal Greens with Herbed Red Wine-Parmesan Vinaigrette comes out as a beautifully stacked sculpture of curly, crunchy leaves, lightly dressed in the most wonderfully simple, but flavorful vinaigrette. Nothing fancy — no croutons or crumbled cheese to get in the way of the fresh greens and its companion dressing. Note to diners — the salad was large enough that it could easily be shared between two, even three people.

Ouest Mixed Seasonal Greens with Herbed Red Wine-Parmesan Vinaigrette

For my entree I got the Pan Seared Diver Scallops with Fennel-Mint Risotto and Autumn Mushrooms. And yes, this too tasted just as fantastic as it sounds. The perfectly cooked seared scallops sat atop a bed of creamy risotto that was slightly sweet from the roasted fennel, fresh and herby from the mint, and earthy from the bits of mushroom. I was reluctant to share a bite, but that also probably made room for dessert!

Pan Seared Scallops with Fennel-Mint Risotto and Autumn Mushrooms

This is when I can’t refrain from dessert. Every course has been so noteworthy, I don’t want the meal to end. And I convince myself that dessert cannot be missed or the entire dining experience will be hopelessly incomplete. And I was right. The Peanut Butter-Chocolate “Bombe” with Spanish Peanuts & Warm Chocolate Sauce was as tasty as it was beautiful. Nothing goes better with chocolate than peanut butter, as was confirmed in each bite. I would say the sauce could have been warmer, but I was already won over by the entire meal and was willing to let it slide.

Ouest Peanut Butter-Chocolate Bombe

The Skim: Pricing falls on the higher end, but if you’re looking for a special occasion outting or have a few dollars you’re willing to trade for a memorable meal, I would highly suggest a trip to the upper Ouest side. Everything from the warm ambiance, to precise service and a stellar menu makes for a meal worth going north of 14th street for.

Map: 2315 Broadway {@84th Street}
Reservations: Taken!
Phone: 212-580-8700

What Else Can I Find on the UWS?
Barney Greengrass: Long Live the Sturgeon King
Community Food & Juice: Fresh & Fantastic Fare
5 & Dime: 10 oz. at Five Napkin Burger, that is

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18 Favorite Meat Dishes for Men & Barbeque Heaven @Fette Sau

How To Cook Meat for Your Man

A few weeks ago I went to this amazingly wacky collectors exhibit in Brooklyn — a range of collections from hotel ashtrays to museum dust {???}. As I made my way around the room of oddities, I stumbled upon one table that did catch my interest. A collection of meat recipe booklets from the June Cleaver days: “Meats for Men”, “There’s Always Time to Cook Meat”, “Meat Recipes You’ll Talk About” were just some of my favorites. All published by various national livestock and meat boards of one nature or another, these booklets are full of hints on how to cook stews fit for a king or manage your meat over the course of the week — good nutrition calls for meat at least once a day, after all. With all this insightful inspiration, I was craving some good honest meat {wouldn’t you?}. Luckily NYC’s #1 rated BBQ joint, Fette Sau, was conveniently located right across the street from all this nonsense. Some pulled pork and a cold draft was in order!

First up, one of their many craft beers poured from the clever cleaver taps — one too many brews and an ornery attitude could get you in serious trouble!

Craft Beer Taps @FetteSau

And this is why you get a beer first. A long line of pork patrons eagerly away their moment to order. Hey ladies, notice how many men are here??? Don’t worry, the line goes reasonably fast, but why not share a cold one and a conversation while you wait.

Fette Sau Patrons

And while you queue up and converse, you can get inspired by the meat wall — a brilliant dissection of piggy cuts that any meat-loving man or woman should know!

Fette Sau Meat Wall

But what we really care about is das menu. The glorious list of smoked meats, waiting for you to step up and order by the pound. Black Angus Pastrami, Berkshire St. Louis Pork Ribs, Pulled Pork Shoulder, Berkshire Spicy Pork Sausage and more, served with a side of Coleslaw, Guss’ Kosher Pickles, Burnt End Baked Beans, among other goodies. The best part about this place — order a sample of everything and anything you want as it all gets dished on a big ‘ole tray with wet naps and some buns. Fette Sau’s BBQ is dry rubbed and smoked with a blend of Red and White Oak, Maple, Beach and Cherry. And while no sauces are applied during cooking, a selection of sauces awaits you at the communal picnic table seating, so you can play around with flavors and get creative stacking and gnawing at your order if you choose. The premium selection of organic, small-farm heritage meat is juicy with a prevalent smokey flavor that permeates the entire cut and decisively reminds you that this is not just another BBQ joint serving sticky sauced ribs. No, this is the #1 rated BBQ destination in all of NYC, and I can see why.

A Little of This, A Little of That

The Skim: If you’re looking to put a little meat on the bone, or a place to take your man so he can eat like a king, then Fette Sau is a must. The beauty of this high quality BBQ joint is it’s small cozy feel. With a tray of smoked goodness and a ball jar of suds you can settle in to stare longingly into the electronic fireplace with your king of the castle.

Map: 354 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn
Reservations: Not Taken
Phone: 718-963-3404


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Stick it To My Ribs:
Le Grand Fooding ‘Twas A Grand Yummy Evening
SF Best: RoliRoti Rolls Out Revolutionary Rotisserie
recipe goodness :: red chili-lime cornbread muffins
NYC Best: Summer Sausage & Other Seriously Good Eats @ Summerstage
8.ate@eight #3: Went Whole Hog and Hog Wild @ the Big Southern BBQ

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Do This!: Free Fall Cheese and Chocolate Extravaganza!

Free Fall Cheese and Chocolate Extravaganza!
Saturday November 13
7:30 p.m. until the cheese runs out…

The Red Hook Bait and Tackle
320 Van Brunt St. (at Pioneer St.)

Learn about the cheeses and chocolates
and how to pair them with wines, beers or spirits.

RSVP to wurwarg@gmail.com to attend, so they can make sure there is plenty of cheese and other good things. Did I mention this extravaganza is FREE! Life doesn’t get much better than that.

Matt Bonano and Jessica Wurwarg (Cheese People)
Colleen Riley (Chocolate/Dessert Person)
Edie Stone (Bait and Tackle Person)

Map: 320 Van Brunt St.
Public Transit Directions: Take the B61 Bus or the F to Smith and 9th St.
RSVP: wurwarg@gmail.com

Cheese Plating in Progress

So Much Cheese, So Little Time:
Do This!: A Taste of What to Expect @ Artisanal Premium Cheese Classes
8.ate@eight #2: Who Cut the Cheese Didn’t Stink!
Del Posto Presents Murray’s Cheese & Salumi Wine Party @NYCWFF

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The Art of Brunching Well @ L’Artusi

L'Artusi Bloody Mary

It was not long ago that I was raving about my dinner at L’Artusi, the attractive, open-kitchen Italian spot tucked down one of those non-perpendicular West Village streets.  So when they asked me to come preview their newly created Brunch menu before the public unveiling this Sunday {October 17}, I couldn’t help but spread the love again. I am an encourager of exemplary eating establishments. When I have a great meal, I want you to know about it. I want you to go. Tomorrow! So pick up the phone, make a reservation {212.255.5757} and then keep reading.

Every good brunch deserves a bloody mary. And every good bloody mary deserves some “hmpf”. What I mean by that is I want spice and all sorts of goodies in my Sunday cocktail — I want veggies, I want olives, I want lots of little bits floating around giving me that liquid-salad-with-a-kick kind of feeling. Because frankly, if I’m drinking on a Sunday morning {thank you Tippling Bros.}, I need to feel like I’m getting some sort of nutritional benefit. L’Artusi’s Mary does just that — and with a cherry, err, pancetta cube on top.

Graciously our very helpful server also suggested we start with the bread basket. This isn’t just any roll and butter basket. This is a collection of seasonal, bready goodness — a cranberry muffin, cherry scone and some dark, nutty bread that I couldn’t get enough of. All served with a side of whipped, soft, creamy butter and a lovely plum jam.

L'Artusi Bread Basket

My favorite of the two mains we ordered was the Eggs Florentine. We already know my obsession with eggs,and that I assert high expectations for any egg dish that I order at a restaurant. And this exceeded them ten-fold. Served on crispy polenta {clever Italian substitute to the ‘ole english muffin} with lovely, bright green spinach and a perfectly poached egg that oozed creamy, golden goodness, the florentine was then lovingly topped with a tomato-hollandaise, again adding a unique flavor profile and twist to the classic preparation.

L'Artusi Eggs Florentine

We were also treated to an unexpected dish that has my vote for best contender on the menu. The Polenta Amatriciana is probably best shared between two people because of its richness. A bowl of polenta {that I’m sure has no shortage of butter in it} is topped with the same amatriciana sauce that graces their bucatini on the dinner menu. This stuff is amazing — a combination of tomato, pancetta and red chilis, it is smoky and slightly spicy. What else would you want on top of a bowl of creamy polenta? An egg? Yes, I thought so — a perfect poach floats on top of this bed of delight, just waiting to be broken open so all the eggy yumminess can swim around with all the other flavors. And to really round this out, the entire dish is finished with some freshly grated parmesan cheese.

L'Artusi Polenta Amatriciana

How about the sides? You can’t go wrong with the pancetta bacon or the super crispy rosemary potatoes. I agree with the person verbally singing the praises of that pancetta bacon and if you need a little crispy, salty potato to soak up your Saturday night, well then you’ve found them!

“This the the best bacon I’ve ever eaten in my life” — overheard @ L’Artusi

The Skim: And that, my friends, was a brunch worth sharing. I expect L’Artusi’s sunday brunch will be just as popular as their dinner is, but even if you can’t manage to get a reservation, you are always welcome to walk in and eat on the really comfy stools at the bar or start with one of their creative morning cocktails or fresh juices while you wait.

Map228 west 10th {btw Hudson & Bleecker}
Reservations: Taken!
Phone: 212-255-5757


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I ♥ Eggs Too:
The Art of Eating {and Drinking} Well @ L’Artusi
A Better Brooklyn Breakfast @ Dizzy’s Finer Diner
Community Food & Juice: Fresh & Fantastic Fare
Weekend Brunch: Eat Eggs @ Edward’s
Greenmarket: Put Smarter, Cheaper & More Scrumptious Food on Your Table

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New York City Wine & Food Festival Kicked Off With Good Eats

Chelsea Market After Dark

New York City Wine & Food Festival kicked off Thursday night with several star-studded events attracting celebrity chefs, industry big-wigs and foodies for a weekend long line-up of good food for a good cause. The weekend is jam packed with 120 day and nighttime events, seminars, demos, book signings and dinners with up close access and to some of the biggest culinary names and their tasty creations. The best part about it all {besides this being foodie heaven} is that 100% of net proceeds go directly to Food Bank for New York City and Share Our Strength, two community-based organizations focused on helping to fight hunger — allowing us to literally put our money where our mouth is.

Alton Brown Sock Puppet Blue Print

What better way to launch into a series of eating and drinking events, than by attending the Chelsea Market After Dark event hosted by Food Network great and host of Good Eats, Alton Brown. Every single business operating out of Chelsea Market also showed up with some of their tastiest creations to design an evening centered around an assortment of flavors and bites for foodies to sample as they socialized through the halls of the former Nabisco factory, which is now home to some of NY’s best specialty food shops.

Alton Brown, looking awfully fit and sharp in his corduroy jacket, hosted his own mini-bash amongst some of his set props and scientific paraphernalia, generously mingling and taking photos with the crowd. As fans inched in around him, I jumped in for an intro and took the opportunity to learn a few things worth sharing:

Favorite Kitchen Utensil: His Brain
Most Important Dish to Learn for New Cooks: Eggs {I agree!}
Favorite Spice: Cumin {have you tried my cumin egg salad recipe Alton? We might be new friends}
Favorite Recipe: Whatever his wife makes {always a good answer}

Alton Assuring Me He'll Attend My Next 8.ate@eight Supper Club

Know Your Beef

A True Chemist

Taste Buds Dissected

Chelsea Market is one of my favorite places to shop, with everything from bakeries and farmstand meats to an olive oil filling station and kitchen supply store, there is no shortage of places you can stop in to pick up the makings for a weekday dinner or artisanal products for a unique gift. After hangin’ with Alton’s whimsical puppets and props we explored the rest of the market for other worthy discoveries. Lots to taste, but here are some highlights:

The Lobster Place: Fresh shucked oysters
One of my favorite places to pick up fresh fish or seafood — they have a huge selection of whole, filleted and pre-seasoned fiddies, the prices are reasonable and there is a chowder and sushi bar for a quicker bite when cooking is not an option.

The Lobster Place Shuckin' Oysters

Pure Food and Wine: Pinot Noir Pepper Tarts with Cashew Cheese, Caramelized Shallot and Black Trumpet Mushrooms
Don’t run away when I tell you Pure prepares only raw-vegan and organic food. They are doing things with fresh ingredients that would make you believe magical cooking techniques were involved, but in fact everything they serve you has not been cooked. The flavors are extraordinary, the presentation beautiful and you don’t leave feeling in need of undoing a button or two.  I love meat just as much as the next carnivore, but this was MY FAVORITE bite I sampled the entire evening. There’s something to say for not messing with nature.

Pure Food and Wine Pinot Noir Pepper Tarts

Jacques Torres: Chocolate Chip and Mudslide Cookies
Everyone who knows me knows I’m not big on sweets, but after taking a bite of these I would recommend to all you chocolate lovers to run and get one for yourself. The Jacque Torres chocolate chip cookie was top notch, but the mudslide cookie was a chocolate champion, replacing the butter in the recipe with more chocolate and creating a richness that will make your head spin.

Jacques Torres Chocolate Chip and Mudslide Cookies

Dickson’s Farmstand Meats: Pulled Pork Sliders
After too much chocolate on the tongue, I had to wash it down with something savory again. One of the most popular tables of the evening {as evidenced by the line} was Dickson’s Farmstand Meats pulled pork sliders. And I can understand why — using all locally sourced, artisanal pork, they topped this guy off with a creamy, pickley slaw/spread/relish — whatever you want to call it, it was good. Full of flavor and texture it was MY FAVORITE CARNIVOROUS bite of the night.

Dickensons Farmstand Meats Line Awaiting Pulled Pork Sliders

DFM Pulled Pork Sliders

Yum! ‘nough said.

More to come on other NYC Wine & Food Festival events. In the meantime, stop by Chelsea Market if you haven’t already discovered this mecca of artisanal and good food goodness. Its factory feel is cool enough to check out on its own, but I could get lost for hours among the ever increasing number of shops and stands bringing some of the freshest and best food products to New Yorkers.

Map: 75 9th Avenue @ Chelsea Market

Other Chelsea Market Favs:
recipe goodness :: Alton Brown Does Bourbon in the Morning
Hands On with Giada De Laurentiis at Food Network’s NYCWFF Demo
NYC Best: Falafel @ Ruthy’s, Chelsea Market
Why Buy the Cow, When You Can Get the Milkshake for Free?
NYC Best: Take the Dull Out Of Cooking {Knives} with Samurai Sharpening @ Chelsea Market

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Brooklyn Fare Fares Well, Earning 2 Michelin Stars

A year ago I went to Brooklyn Fare with 7 other close friends to dig into an evening of fine dining and free flowing wine, while seated at a superbly intimate and unique, but casual, chef’s table in the kitchen of Brooklyn Grocery. So I am extremely excited to hear and spread the word that the Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare Grocery was just awarded 2 Michelin stars — one of only 10 restaurants in New York and the only restaurant in Brooklyn.

Michelin Guide director Jean-Luc Naret said the eatery was one of the best 300 restaurants in the world.

In honor of their honor, I thought I would recap the memorable meal. A picture is worth 1,000 words with this post! For a fixed price {wine is BYO}, we watched our meal being prepared table side, chatted with chef, Cesar Ramirez, and left happy, satiated foodies. Reliving this meal through photos makes me want to go back tomorrow! As you can see, what was supposed to be a 5-course tasting menu, actually turned into 13 — hence why we had to call the local wine store to restock our supply {come prepared}!
The evening started out with a shot of Lemon Verbena Foam

Starting out with a shot of Lemon Verbena Foam


And A Bite Sized Parmesan Macaroon

Followed by a fried ball of liquid foie gras. WHAT! Amazing liquid gold in a bite.

And then Crispy Crab Balls {not pictured}, leading to Fresh Oysters w/ Sea Water Gelatin Film

Fresh Oysters w/ Sea Water Film


On to more foamy goodness — Parmesan Foam, Shaved Lemon Zest and a generous heap of Truffles

Parmesan Foam, Shaved Lemon Zest and Truffles



And a lighter Hamachi Crudo w/ Soy and Lime

Hamachi w/ Soy and Lime


Finished Product


The beginnings of Crab and avocado wrapped in bibb lettuce, topped with button mushrooms and shaved porcini — An amazingly rich, but light; fresh, but earthy contrast of flavors.

Laying the Avocado Foundation


And then the Crab Roll


Crab and avocado wrapped in bibb lettuce, topped with button mushrooms and shaved porcini


Our taste buds were doing jumping jacks, but this was nothing compared to the next dish: Egg, truffle foam and fried italian black rice. You can only imagine how well this combination of both consistencies and flavors played together. I quickly started to lose track of which course we were on or if these dishes were even on the listed menu — it was one tantalizing bite after another. With a lot of wine to wash it down!

Egg, truffle foam and fried italian black rice. A-mazing.


And just when the rich flavors start to make your head spin in glee, Chef Ramirez lightens things back up with a Fish stew with lobster, frog legs, octopus, cod cheeks, topped with lobster foam.

Fish stew with lobster, frog legs, octopus, cod cheeks, topped with lobster foam


And a most interesting John Dory with Veal Jus – redefining surf & turf?

John Dory with Veal Jus


And to finish off the savory menu, a highly seasonal and highly delightful, Milk fed pork, baby leeks, shaved apple stack topped with melted powdered caramel.

Milk fed pork, baby leeks, shaved apple stack topped with melted powdered caramel.


Of course, the evening also ended with something sweet, colorful and fantastically fun to eat. Poached plum, topped with ricotta, 26-year aged balsamic, muscato gelee and plum marshmallows.

Poached plum, topped with ricotta, 26-year aged balsamic, muscato gelee and plum marshmallows.


I could not begin to describe the complexity and brilliance of this meal with words, so hopefully the photos are enough to make your mouth sing. I’m guessing the wait list is longer than a line at Whole Foods on a Saturday afternoon, so get your friends, set a date many months from now and get involved. When you make your reservation be sure to ask for the recommended local wine store that will help pair wines with the meal the day prior {just plan for more courses than revealed and don’t be shy about sharing with Chef Ramirez and his team}.

Map200 Schermerhorn
Reservations: Required!
Contact: Heidi at 718-243-0050 or email kitchen@brooklynfare.com

More Brooklyn Fare:
Mission Dolores {Accomplished}: Great New Brooklyn Beer Garden
NYC Best: Source Your Spices and Specialty Foods @ Sahadi’s
Crop to Cup Creating Quality Community Coffee

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Aria Sings a Harmonious West Village Wine Bar

Chef-owner Roberto Passon {of Bocca di Bacco} opened his own venture Aria in the past few months, featuring small plates {cicchetti} and small glasses {ombre} of Italian food and fruits of the vine. Like most wine bars, it’s small, dimly lit, with exposed brick and a chalkboard menu — and lacks a full kitchen. But just because they’ve constructed a quaint atmosphere, doesn’t mean they haven’t figured out how to send out lip smacking food that you’re reluctant to share.

Aria Grilled Lamb Chops

We started with the burrata {just say the word and I’ll order it}, but followed that with the best plate of the evening — two grilled lamp chops in a balsamic vinegar sauce. They were just the right amount of salty with each sweet, juicy, herby bite. I found myself wanting more than the one I was alloted {my half of the plate} but our over-excited bartender-waiter insisted we order the gorgonzola stuffed dates. This is the type of thing that you know is probably not good for the waistline, but you enjoy every bite — dates, stuffed with gorgonzola and wrapped in prosciutto before being cooked to a crisp outer layer. It’s a rich morsel of chewy goodness. Four was too many though, so these we did happily share with our new bar stool friends perched to our left.

Aria Gorgonzola Stuffed Dates

The Skim: You don’t have to go for the food to enjoy Aria though. With a generous amount of bar space given the size of the bar {seats wrap around to the bar tending side}, it’s easy to order a few ombres of wine or house cocktails, quickly make friends with the bartender {who is all too eager to pour you a shot of Italian liquor} and have a harmonic evening. It makes for a great date destination, place to grab some vino with friends or perhaps make some new ones.

Map: 117 Perry {Btw Greenwich & Hudson}
Reservations: Not Taken
Phone: 212.242.4233

Fill Me Up:
Bocca di Bacco: I say PotaTO, You say PoTATo
Wintry Wine & Whiskey Warm-Up @ Vintry

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recipe goodness :: flaky cheese straws, as easy as being barefoot

Inspired by her planned trip to Paris, my roommate purchased the Barefoot Contessa’s cookbook, Barefoot in Paris. And eager for the departure, we sat down one evening to plan a meal to bring a little taste of French cuisine to the comforts of our NYC apartment. The Barefoot Contessa’s recipe for cheese straws is simple, but outstanding! I would encourage everyone to keep a box of puff pastry in the freezer at all times for an impromptu addition to your next dinner party or to simply add a little flavor flare to a mid-week meal. And you could really substitute a number or herbs and cheese to take these straws in your own direction (rosemary and parmesan, chili powder and aged gouda, or cinnamon and sugar for a breakfast/dessert straw)

Barefoot Contessa’s Cheese Straws

Prep Time: 5-10 mins | Cook Time: 10-15 mins
Makes 22-24 Straws

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2 sheets (1 box) frozen puff pastry, defrosted in the fridge
1 extra-large egg (large is fine)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup finely grated Gruyere cheese
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Roll out each sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured board or counter until it’s 10×12 inches. Beat the egg with 1 TBS of water and brush the surface of the pastry. Sprinkle each sheet evenly with 1/4 cup of Parmesan, 1/2 cup of Gruyere, 1/2 tsp of the thyme, 1/2 tsp of the salt and some pepper.

Step 1. Roll flavorings into puff pastry

With the rolling pin, lightly press the flavorings into the puff pastry. Cut each sheet crosswise with a floured knife or pizza wheel into 11-12 strips. Twist each strip and lay on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Step 2. Twist each strip and lay on baking sheets

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned and puffed. Turn each straw and bake for another 2 minutes. Don’t overbake or the cheese will burn. Cook and serve at room temperature.

Step 3. Bake, cool and enjoy!

What Else To Put on the Plate:
Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken
Spinach, Strawberry & Halloumi Salad
Gourmet Grilled White Truffle Corn

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Reliably Good American Bar and Bites @ Rye House

RYEHOUSE: 11 West 17th Street

Sometimes you just want a good reliable NYC bar and restaurant — a place you can grab lunch mid-week, a cold beer after work with friends or a handcrafted cocktail on a saturday night with intriguing ingredients such as orange blossom water, egg white and small production rye. It’s hard to find all those things in one destination, but Rye House has succeeded in creating a reliable bar and restaurant menu with reverence for traditional American spirits and cuisine.

I met my friend for lunch on a cold rainy day and shook off the chill with a soup and sandwich combo. It pleasantly reminded me of something I may have been able to order if I sauntered in off the cobblestone street of New York City circa 1850. The Spring Onion Potato Soup with a sourdough crouton and provolone was served in a sturdy handled bowl and was just the hearty starter I needed.

RyeHouse Spring Onion Soup

The “Pittsburgh” sandwich was the perfect pairing to go with the simple flavors of the onion soup and had its own warming qualities with a unique combo of grilled andouille sausage, provolone, house slaw, fries all stacked together and served on a wooden plank. The spice of the sausage was nicely mellowed out by the crisp slaw, and while the fries weren’t exactly necessary on the sandwich, they added a different sort of salty, crispy bite that made this a lunch to remember {lunch menu HERE}.

RyeHouse Pittsburgh

The Skim: With a long welcoming bar placed near the front and high tables along the wall, the casual atmosphere of Rye House invites you to stop in for whatever you’re in the mood for — a good craft draft, a creative cocktail or memorable, but simple American cuisine. Rye House also holds weekly beer tastings featuring a changing selection of craft brews, so this may just be the perfect place to discover some of the names appearing at NY Craft Beer week.

Map: 11 West 17th Street {Btw 5th & 6th Ave.}
Reservations: Taken!
Phone: 212.255.7260

Pour Some More Por Favor:
Highlands Highlights: Scottish Plaids, Pub Fare and Hand Crafted Cocktails
Not so Standard Biergarten
Mission Dolores {Accomplished}: Great New Brooklyn Beer Garden
Wilfie & Nell: Not Your Grandpa’s Watering Hole

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NY Craft Beer Week, Get Your Goggles On

NY Craft Beer Week is an annual celebration of New York City and its craft beer community. The week’s events range from neighborhood beer walks and bar promotions to tasting festivals, food pairings and beer dinners. So when I was invited to the NYC Brewer’s Choice event at City Winery this week, I grabbed my drinking stein and shoes and headed downtown for what was sure to be a hop-ping good time. City Winery rolled out the wine barrels and rolled in the kegs to throw the best beer bash I have ever been to {even if you count college}. The space was packed with beer aficionados and regular eager amber samplers like myself, who had about 20 breweries to sip suds from and several artisan food purveyors generously pairing our brew with some tasty bites.

Patience and a penchant for tipping back a glass swiftly is what it took to power through the crowds and extensive selection in order to cover the spread thoroughly. There were definitely some highlights and unique brews worth making note of and keeping on your short list for the next time you visit the local pub.

Crafting Crowd

Empire Brewing Company: Roasted Pumpkin Ale (Syracuse, NY)
Made with over 100 lbs of fresh roasted pumpkins from Critz’s Farm in Cazenovia, NY. The pumpkins are added to the mash and then the beer is spiced with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and clove. Deep amber in color, this autumn ale is the perfect cross between a cream soda and a pumpkin pie. It is a DE-LIC-OUS draft!

Ballast Point: Navigator Dopplebock (San Diego, CA)
Brandy barrel-aged, this brew was deep brown with a thick foamy head and strong chocolate and coffee flavors. It was easy to drink and the brandy added a complexity that paired very nicely with the 70% Mast Brothers dark chocolate they were serving.

Ommegang: Cup o Kyndness (Cooperstown, NY)
Appropriately named after a line from Scottish poet, Robert Burns’, poem Auld Lang Syne, this Belgian-Scotch style ale was a wee bit smokey and reminiscent of, well, a glass of scotch. One of the more unique pours of the evening, I would highly suggest this on a cold, rainy evening or when you’re looking for something a little different to warm the soul.

Stillwater Cellar Door (Baltimore, MD)
A light golden color, Cellar Door, exhibited hints of tangerine and sage, two delightfully refreshing flavors that made this brew a selection I could sip on a stellar summer day or as a perfect pairing with some salty cheeses or seafood.

Turns out I’m actually bad about taking pictures of drinks, so you’ll have to settle for snapshots of some of the highlights from the food pairings.

Betty Brooklyn, a brooklyn based private chef and caterer, whipped up some amazing deviled eggs with pancetta topping off the delicacy. The yolk was incorporated with some of the rendered pancetta fat homemade mayonnaise and dijon to create a salty, creamy, smoky pillow of flavor in one bite.

Betty Brooklyn: Deviled Eggs

Mama O’s Premium Kimchi was cookin’ up some crazy good kimchi chili and kimchi salsa. That makes so much sense — hot peppery, gingery, pickled Korean flavor goodness meets American classics — why hasn’t anyone done that before!

Mama O's: Kimchi Chili and Salsa

Orwasher’s Bakery crafted some creative crusty breads using Six Point Ale, combining old world technique with new world flavors to create a super soft center surrounded by a crust that echos when you tap it…just how good artisan bread should be!

Orwasher's Artisan Rustic Beer Breads

Clearly a evening to remember — if I can after all that beer. So next time you visit your local Cheer’s, ask if they carry any of these craft drafts and give these suds a sip or two to suit your mood.

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