Category Archives: NYC Best

The Dutch: American Fare for Wait-Worthy Exploring

Asparagus Okonomiyaki and a Poached Egg

You know the sign of a excellent restaurant is one that you walk by at the opening hour of 5pm with a glance at empty tables assuring you of a seat, only to be proven wrong with an hour-long wait when you return a mere 30 minutes later {at a time which still rivals the early-bird special.} But this should come as no surprise for diners at The DutchAndrew Carmellini’s latest and greatest outpost in the heart of SoHo.

The good news: if your dining preferences are flexible, you can score a lively seat at the bar or window-counter, where you can digest the scene of high-powered, loafer-wearing dudes and well-heeled ladies who are happily sucking down oysters, while washing it down with a whiskey or wine.

But this scene will only distract you momentarily until the waitress presents the deliciously spicy cornbread and a menu that will leave you torn and asking for recommendations. My eye was immediately caught by the Asparagus Okonomiyaki with a Poached Egg — for those who aren’t familiar with okonomiyaki, a Japanese savory egg pancake that can be topped with a variety of ingredients, The Dutch’s nod to this traditional dish’s flavors was genius. With a topping of rich yolky goodness, uniquely papery bonito flakes and a traditional sweet worcestershire-like sauce, the asparagus spears were merely a raft carrying the unlikely {and absolutely perfect} Japanese flavors…at a restaurant that describes itself as being “American-focused fare.” If I hadn’t already polished off the cornbread, the plate would have been wiped — and I mean wiped — 100% clean.

Grilled Swordfish, Summer Beans, Mustard and Pine Nuts

It’s summer and right about now the Swordfish are hanging out in local waters, so with the temperature rising, this sea born Grilled Swordfish and Summer Bean entree with Mustard and Pine Nuts was an appealing choice. I also stand firmly behind the claim that mustard is the best secret ingredient that can be added to a dish — it’s sharp, peppery, colorful and ready to go at a moments notice. And given that swordfish is a meatier fin-friend, it easily stands up to the strength of the mustard. The dish was straightforward and simple, and for that I loved it.

The Skim: Whether you’re looking for a scene or a sensational supper, The Dutch is the SoHo selection for you. If you’re able to get a reservation, great, otherwise go early or willing to wait — but whatever the way, just go!

Map: 131 Sullivan @Prince
Reservations: Taken! {start calling}
Phone:  212-677-6200

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The Beagle: A Restaurant You Should Be Loyal To

Fresh Baby Corn with Mayo, Lime and Cilantro

Sorry for the hiatus — sometimes life just gets in the way. But there have been no shortage of delicious eats since the last post and if you’re on the hunt for some doggone good chow, then sniff away at The Beagle — the latest addition to my Favor8 list.

The Beagle opened only two short months ago, but has already established itself as a dining and drinking establishment to be loyal to. The space is small, but spacious, and its decor is inspired by the servants’ working quarters of a grand country house. I half expected to see a roaring hearth with some spit-roasted chicken and a sleepy dog {obviously a Beagle} curled up in front of the fire. But while the atmosphere has the throwback comfort of a country home, both drink and dinner menus are inspired lists of exciting and innovative fare.

There is something for every appetite — from small “tidbits” to full-on “pairing boards,” which feature smartly paired dishes of creative kitchen wizardry, with superb cocktails that will have your head spinning {especially if you order up the barrel-aged White Dog Manhattan!!}

It didn’t take much to be impressed by the clever baby corn on a stick with a lick-able dipping mayo that had me panting for more. But that was just a taste of what was to come with the Sweetbread & Calvados and Lamb Neck & Rye pairing boards. The lusciously tender sweetbreads with a perfectly crispy outer edge were served with raisins, caramelized fennel, capers and delightfully etched glass of Drouin Calvados.  It was rich, sweet, salty and perfect. Sadly I was sharing with a table of other hungry hounds, but I could have easily devoured the entire dish on my own. The Lamb Neck & Rye competed for a second fav — served with anchovy relish, cucumber and a mini preakness cocktail — it too showcased the brilliant appeal of hitting on all your tastebuds.

Sweetbread & Calvados Pairing Board

While they say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, I may beg to differ when it comes to The Beagle’s roast chicken. We’ve all had our fair share of roast chicken over the years, but when I heard theirs had cheddar and roasted fennel stuffed under the crispy skin, my ears perked up and I quickly sat at attention. There was something about that simple twist that just made sense. If you can improve on apple pie with a few slices of cheddar cheese, why not a roast chicken? The sharpness of the cheese, with the sweetness of the fennel had us all jumping through hoops and begging for seconds — and seconds we did order. It was that good.

Roast Chicken with Cheddar and Fennel

The Skim: If you’re trying to track down an evening of fantasticly innovative dining and imbibing, while feeling like you’re enjoying everything from the comfort of someone’s dining room, then The Beagle is your new home. Go hungry or with a sharing-friendly pack and taste your way through all the goodness.

Map: 162 Avenue A {@ east 10th}
Reservations: Taken!
Phone: 212-228-6900


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Getting Local, Personal {and Naked} with Jimmy Carbone of Jimmy’s No. 43

Local Naked Cowboy Oysters from the Long Island Sound

Local Naked Cowboy Oysters from the Long Island Sound

When I co-founded Freshocracy with my partners, we set out with the primary mission of making it easier for busy New Yorkers to get back in the kitchen and cook from scratch. But our secondary mission was to delight our customers with the simple and intense flavor of locally harvested and seasonal ingredients that taste like real food is supposed to taste. You can’t argue with a sweet, juicy field red tomato when it’s picked at its peak and comes straight from the farm to our customers’ tables.

Eating local or calling yourself a locavore may seem like a new trend or matter of awareness to most of you, but there are a few trailblazers in the New York food scene who have been upholding this food philosophy since before it was a coined phrase. Jimmy Carbone, owner of Jimmy’s No. 43 {an East Village locavore-centric artisanal beer and food den} and founder of The Good Beer Seal, is a man everyone should know. He is an avid supporter of local farmers {check out his menu or join a small-farm CSA with pick-ups at Jimmy’s}, an innovator in planning fantastically fun food fests {Cook Out NYC, Meatopia, Taste of Tribeca, The Great New York City Shuck ‘N Suck} and an educator in what it means to enjoy good food and good beer {local oysters and beer tastings every Wed/Thurs + other local-centric events}

In honor of Edible Manhattan’s Eat Drink Local Week, I chatted with Jimmy to understand what inspired his love and respect for all things local…and then slurped down a few Long Island Naked Cowboy Oysters and cold brews at the Jimmy’s No. 43 Eat Drink Local Oyster Event to fully appreciate how he spreads the local love.

While Jimmy grew up with a sensibility that food from local farms is the freshest, getting access to it wasn’t always as easy as going to Union Square on the weekend with your resuable bags. It wasn’t until Jimmy opened his first restaurant, Mugsy’s Chow Chow, in 1994 that he started going to the greenmarket to shop, but even then the market was smaller and his menu wasn’t entirely dedicated to local ingredients. In 2002, with his lease running out he renamed the restaurant to Patio Bar and reinvented the menu to be more focused on the market. The result was amazing food, but there was still a disconnect between his diners’ undeniably positive reactions and their understanding of the local influence on their meals. In Jimmy’s words, “people thought it was weird.” The seminal moment in Jimmy’s locavore timeline came after he opened Jimmy’s No. 43 in 2005. Jimmy hired a new chef to go to the market five days a week to source their dairy, produce and meat from local purveyors. After setting a number of standards for their menu, Jimmy’s No. 43 was awarded Slow Food NYC’s Snail of Approval seal {an award recognizing quality, authenticity and sustainability of the food supply of the City of New York.} Six years later, Jimmy’s continues to serve up an inspired menu that could only be made better by enjoying one of the many fine microbrews on his bar list. His local philosophy and New Yorker’s reception of it finally converged.

But just because Jimmy uses high quality, local ingredients, doesn’t mean his menu will put a large hole in your wallet. Jimmy very smartly works with farmers to select cuts they have excess supply of, keeping his costs low while helping these small producers sell their inventory. If his regular good food menu and good prices aren’t enticement enough to spend some time sipping beers and noshing at No. 43, then swing by on Wednesday or Thursday for $2 local oyster night. If you’re lucky, Eddie Oysters, the fastest shucker in the land, will be on hand to entertain and feed you. Oyster Trivia: don’t be afraid to slurp one too many of those slippery little suckers — they are only 10 calories a piece!

The thing I love about Jimmy is the casualness of the world he has created. It’s not about didactic local teachings, but enticing a community of diners and sippers with a consistently good local food and beer atmosphere. Lure them in with a stellar menu and fantastic food events and perhaps they will leave with a better understanding of what it means to Eat Drink Local. We at Freshocracy certainly hope so too!

Eddie Oysters Gettin' Naked

More Local Goodness:
Freshocracy {and yours truly} Featured on Good Food Jobs
Summer Lovin’ Me Some Oysters @Mermaid Oyster Bar
NYC Best: Purely Good Food & Wine

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Do This! Edible’s Eat Drink Local Week Kicks off this Saturday

Eat Drink Local Week 2011

Local. Local. Local. We at 8.ate@eight and Freshocracy think Local is where it’s at. Not only are there amazing foods being harvested within 250 miles of NYC, but there are amazing people doing things with this food {and drink}. This is one of my favorite weeks in the city each year — everything from local oysters to local brews are being showcased in a series of seriously summery shindigs. So clear your calendar and devour all the goodness coming our way from Edible’s Eat Drink Local Week!

Saturday June 18th — Festival of 7 Ingredients

Those are seven stellar spring foods–in this case strawberries; peas; chives and green garlic; rhubarb; lamb, oysters and yogurt–produced or farmed or fished locally. Each has delicious stories to tell, and to jump start Eat Drink Local Week Edible Manhattan is hosting a festival and tasting (oyster stew! green garlic and chive quesadillas! spicy lamb salad with pea greens!) and includes wine from Wolffer Estate in Long Island and beer from Kelso of Brooklyn.

When: Saturday 6/18 6 to 9pm
Where: OpenHouse Gallery in SoHo at 201 Mulberry Street
Tickets: $25  HERE

Wednesday June 22th — Taste of Greenmarket

The benefit of all benefits to raise money for the Greenmarket Youth Education Project. Just check out this incredible lists of chefs:

Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern
Dan Barber of Blue Hill & Blue Hill at Stone Barns
April Bloomfield of The Spotted PigThe Breslin & The John Dory Oyster Bar
Marco Canora of Hearth & Terroir
Mary Cleaver of The Green Table & The Cleaver Company
Marc Forgione of Marc Forgione
Alex Guarnaschelli of Butter
Kurt Gutenbrunner of Cafe KristallCafe SabarskyBlaue Gans & Wallsé 
Rick Hickman of The Green Table & The Cleaver Company
Lauren Hirschberg of Craftbar
Peter Hoffman of Savoy & Back Forty
Patti Jackson of I Trulli
Gabriel Kreuther of The Modern
Bret Macris of Rose Water
James Meehan of PDT
Marc Meyer of CookshopFive Points, & Hundred Acres
Marco A. Moreira of Tocqueville Restaurant
Deborah Racicot of Gotham Bar and Grill
Julie Reiner of Clover Club & Lani Kai
Aaron Sanchez of Centrico
Justin Smillie of Il Buco
Bill Telepan of Telepan
Karl Franz Williams of 67 Orange Street
Galen Zamarra of Mas (farmhouse) & Mas (la grillade)

When: Saturday 6/18 6 to 9pm
Where: Studio 450 450 West 31st Street, New York, NY
Tickets: $225 General Admission 7 to 10 PM; $350 VIP Tasting 6 to 10 PM Purchase tickets

June 26th — Beer and BBQ

Beer and barbecue at Townline BBQ in Sagaponack to kick off Eat Drink Local on the East End. Look for all seven ingredients, including a roasted lamb with yogurt and chives, smoked oysters, plenty of peas and strawberry-rhubarb something.

When: Sunday 6/26
Where: Townline BBQ in Sagaponack
RSVP: call Townline, 631.537.2271, or buy your tickets here.

JUNE 29 — Meet Your Maker

“Meet Your Maker”: a local food and drink artisan tour at the Brooklyn Brewery. In celebration of Edible’s Eat Drink Local Week Edible is teaming up with The Brooklyn Brewery, Blue Bottle, Brooklyn Winery and Mast Brothers Chocolate for a night local food tours and beers.  $15 gets you a tour of one of four businesses and a gathering at the Brewery for beers afterwards.

Where: The Brooklyn Brewery, 79 N 11th St, Brooklyn
When: Wednesday June 29th, 6 to 9pm
Tickets:
Reserve your space here.

JUNE 29 — Strawberry Social

The Strawberry Social: to raise funds for Food Systems Network NYC at La Plaza Cultural Community Garden.

Where: La Plaza Cultural Community Garden; 9th St. and Avenue C
Tickets:
 $50 Reserve your space here.

JUNE 30 — Oyster and Beer Party

A Long Island oyster and beer party to end Eat Drink Local, at Jimmy’s No. 43. This all-you-can-eat event will offer up precious Blue Points along with “Naked Cowboy Oysters,” wild-harvested bivalves named after the infamous Naked Cowboy himself (heads up, word is he will be making an appearance).  Craft beer and wine (sourced from the East End of Long Island) will be available for purchase.  Featured beer will include Greenport’s Duck Porter, and wines will be from the Paumanock region vineyards.  Notable shuckers will attempt to dethrone Jimmy’s No. 43 champ, Eddie “Oysters,” winner of the 2010 NYC Food Film Festival’s Great New York City Shuck and Suck.

Where: Jimmy’s No. 43
When: Thursday, June 30; 5 to 10pm
Tickets: $35 Get your tickers here!

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Do This!: Freshocracy Greenmarket Cooking Demo This Sunday

Freshocracy

NYC’s local farm-to-table
grocery and recipe delivery service. 

The tools to put better meals on your table. 

“Freshocracy takes real ingredients, from real local farms, and wraps them in a bow with a recipe card that promises success at the table.”
— Keith Gibson, Grazin’ Angus Acres Farm

Come Meet and Try Freshocracy!

When:  Sunday 6/12 from 12-2pm
Where:  77th Street Greenmarket (@Columbus Ave)
What:  Christina and Andreas will be running a cooking demo of their favorite Freshocracy recipe: Ostrich Tacos with Lime-Pickled Radishes
Why:  Why not?!
  • Meet Christina (or just say hi)
  • Watch, taste, ask questions, ooh and ahh
  • Introduce neighbors and friends to the new farm-to-table delivery service that so many New Yorkers have come to know and love!
  • Meet the farmers who are working hard each week to bring you such amazing seasonal farm-fresh food!
  • Did we mention free food?
See What People Are Saying About Freshocracy:

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M. Wells: Veal Brain on My Mind

M. Wells Diner

M. Wells Diner

Have you ridden the 7 train out to Hunters Point Ave yet? If your answer was no, my swift reply is WHY NOT?! In the midst of an otherwise industrial and sparse block, stands a small stainless steel building reminiscent of the typical pre-fab diners we associate with an American food trend in the 1950s. But this home of M. Wells diner is anything but typical in menu or atmosphere.

M. Wells is the love child of husband-and-wife team Hugue Dufour and Sarah Obraitis. Dufour, who previously resided at Montreal’s Au Pied de Cochon, has brought his appreciation for nose-to-tail dining to a most unexpected neighborhood, in a most unexpected format with the most unexpected menu items, that will have your head spinning and the likelihood of future Hunters Point excursions a certainty.

Tucked away in our own intimate vinyl booth, we started with a blow-your-mind-can’t-get-it-outta-my-mind order of veal brains. Armed with a sense of adventure, I was determined not to leave without first trying this dish. And I probably won’t ever leave M. Wells again without first having a little brain food. The center was smooth and delicate and practically melted away, while the outside was graced with a crispy breading, onions, capers and plenty of butter and lemon — if I didn’t know any better, I might call this Brain Piccata. A must.

Veal Brains

Like Oysters? How about the Beau Soleil Oysters with Coffee Sabayon? It’s like a lighter version of surf n’ turf — a salty delicate oyster topped with, not sea foam, but an earthy, rich coffee-based sabayon. A morning walk on the beach.

Oysters and Coffee Sabayon

Oysters and Coffee Sabayon

One of the other most intriguing starters was the Escargot & Bone Marrow. Both rich and delightful on their own, could obviously only be made better by putting them together. Cut lengthwise, the cavity of the bone was lined with the specialty snails and covered with a blanket of marrow and a red wine puree. Grab a small toast, spread, close eyes, savor, repeat.

Escargot & Bone Marrow

Escargot & Bone Marrow

This is when I suggest you bring enough friends along so you can just keep going. At this point in the meal you’ll be blathering on about how amazing each bite has been, you might be on your second or third equally as intriguing cocktail, you’ve zeroed in on the mighty fine tunes filling the air and you will be glad that there is more to order and friends to share this experience with.

Case in point: we did not shy away from the $85 Aged Cote de Boeuf for Two {we shared with four and had leftovers}. Served on a large platter with Bordelaise sauce, the tender pink cut was the true surf ‘n turf of the evening. Its partner: a large cellophane-lined metal bucket of cajun crawfish that were both steaming and southern-spiced hot to perfection.

Cajun Crawfish

Cajun Crawfish

The Skim: If you’re bored with your regular NYC restaurant haunts, be bored no longer. Of course you have to be one of those people who is willing to travel for food — contrary to popular belief, not all good restaurants live below 14th street. Be sure to make a reservation, as the small digs don’t leave much room for walk-ins and from what I could tell there aren’t too many other options close by. M. Wells is a must for any adventurous, comfort-food seeker who can appreciate eating from brain to chicken feet and anything in between.

Map: 21-17 49th Avenue at 21st street
Reservations: Taken!
Phone: 718.425.6917 

Adventures in NYC Dining:
18 Favorite Meat Dishes for Men & Barbeque Heaven @Fette Sau
Momofuku That Pork Butt is Good!
Brooklyn Fare Fares Well, Earning 2 Michelin Stars

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Luke’s Low-Key Lobster Roll Licks Competition {And My Lips}

Luke's Lobster Roll

Luke's Lobster Roll

I’ve had many a lobster roll in NYC. It’s like the great burger debate — everyone always wants to know who tops the competition. So naturally I have made my way about town sampling each take on the warm-weather favorite — Mermaid Oyster Bar, Pearl Oyster Bar, Lure, Ed’s. But I was especially excited to see the UWS dining renaissance lure two new lobster shacks in the past month: Luke’s Lobster and Ditch Plains. This is a no-lose situation for a lobster lover to have two walking-distance destinations to visit, but I have to say I was especially excited to see Luke’s join the ‘hood.

Instead of a walk-in chinese take-out, we now have a walk-in Lobster counter. Nothing fancy — a few bar stools and a parchment-lined red plastic diner basket is all you really need to focus your attention more properly on the simple, but standout sammie. You order at the counter from a simple seafood, soda, soup and chip menu that is Maine-sourced, and in a matter of a few seconds dinner is served.

Luke’s was only started two years ago, but owner, Luke Holden, has long been connected to the Maine coastal waters. He sources all his lobster meat from his father’s sustainable Maine seafood company, making his the only roll that’s traceable from the sea floor to your plate {love this!} What’s truly special is the lobster is only graced with a small amount of mayo, lemon butter and a few “secret spices.”  Everything should have some secret spice on it in my opinion, but the true secret to why this particular lobster roll stands out amongst the crowd is the fresh sweet claw meat that is used for each roll. This is also why you pay far less than any other lobster shack since there is much more market demand for the tail meat. The best deal on the menu: for only $21 you can get half a lobster roll, half a shrimp roll, half a crab roll, a pair of Empress claws, Miss Vickie’s chips and a Maine Root soda!

The Skim: Now that the sun is starting to shine and Spring seems to finally be here, I say break out the plastic bib and get thee to Luke’s Lobster. They also deliver, so if you prefer to enjoy from the comfort of your stoop, divine lobster goodness is only a phone call away.

Map426 Amsterdam Avenue
Reservations: Not Taken
Phone: 212.877.8800

Other Warm Weather Winners:
Not so Standard Biergarten
Mission Dolores {Accomplished}: Great New Brooklyn Beer Garden
Community Food & Juice: Fresh & Fantastic Fare 

NYC Best: Summer Sausage & Other Seriously Good Eats @ Summerstage

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NYC Best: Purely Good Food & Wine

Niwa Maki of Avocado, Enoki Mushrooms, Pickled Heirloom Baby Carrots

If someone were to invite you to dinner to eat raw vegan food, your first inclination might be to run for the closest burger joint, laughing the entire way.  I’m sure your mind is picturing things like shots of wheatgrass or a plate of cucumbers and carrots, but there is more to the essence of raw vegan food than juices and crudites.  Raw Vegan defined: Pure Food & Wine’s
menu is entirely plant based and does not use any processed ingredients. Nothing is heated above approximately 118 degrees in order to preserve vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. But while there is a certain science behind this way of life, the essence of Pure Food & Wines food is elegant, complex and intriguing from start to finish.

Let’s start with the niwa maki of avocado, enoki mushrooms, pickled heirloom baby carrots with asparagus, mango, scallions, spicy aioli. The presentation is as beautiful as any roll I was lucky to order in Tokyo and the range of flavors and textures provided the perfect wrapped package of, well, raw ingredients.

Hazelnut Crostinis with Crimini Mushrooms and Caper Bearnaise

Hazelnut Crostinis with Crimini Mushrooms and Caper Bearnaise

And then there was the hazelnut crostinis with crimini mushrooms and caper bearnaise with caraway sauerkraut, local apple cider reduction. Um, yes. I can’t even explain how they created something so creamy, with no actual cream. But when you take a bite, the crunchy nuttiness of the crostini, topped with the earthy, pickly and slightly sweet scoop of mysteriously raw and vegan goodness is just pure good food in its unsimplest, simple form.

Pad Thai with Kelp Noodles and Baby Bok Choy

Pad Thai with Kelp Noodles and Baby Bok Choy

I could have stopped there and felt like one lucky duck, but for an entree I ordered up the pad thai with kelp noodles, baby bok choy, snow peas, king oyster mushrooms, tamarind sauce, sesame salted cashews, cilantro oil. All good things. All together. Pure. Raw. And Outstanding. The flavors are so refreshing and with so much depth, I would venture to say if someone took you there and never told you what kind of restaurant this is, you would never know the difference. And not to be outdone by the food menu, Pure’s bar ranges from organic and biodynamic wines to seasonal sake cocktails.

The Skim: Or should I say, the skinny.  If you’re truly a New York foodie, then you can’t stop at visiting the best steak house, burger joint or lobster shack. You must pay a visit to the purely good Pure Food & Wine and see what it means to combine raw vegan food with haute cuisine. I’ll tell you one thing, you’ll feel great when you get up from the table, no matter how many of those crostini you take down.

Map: 54 Irving Place
Reservations: Taken!
Phone: 212.477.1010

Christina is an unapologetic carnivore, but knows a good thing when she tastes it — whether it’s raw steak tartar or raw pad thai made of kelp. 

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Freshocracy On Fox News Live!

Wow, what a week! After launching Freshocracy under the radar just a few weeks ago, we somehow got picked up by Fox News Live {Video: HERE}! One week later, I’m riding the subway down to News Corp. with two bags of fresh greenmarket ingredients, recipes and pre-measured seasonings to show the entire world how easy it is to get back into the kitchen and cook from scratch {seriously, we’re taking all the hard work out of the equation!}

We’re small, but growing and our goal is to make it really easy for busy New Yorkers to put better meals on the table. We do all the planning, shopping and some of the pre-measured prep to deliver everything you need to make dinner easily. The best part about it {well there are many things} is that we source the absolute best ingredients from the local farmers’ market — you just can’t get quality and flavor like this elsewhere. All you have to do is pull out a few pots and pans, follow our easy directions and enjoy!

So if you know any busy working urbanites, new moms or just lovers of good food who are looking for an exciting cooking experience to be apart of, spread the word about Freshocracy! Ramp butter, green garlic, 100% grass-fed beef, 100% Berkshire Pork, mustard greens — are all part of next week’s delivery. Oooooooh!

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and see all the amazing things we’re doing!

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Announcing the Launch of Freshocracy!

Freshocracy

NYC’s Local Farm-to-Table
Grocery and Recipe Delivery Service

Quite Simply: The tools to put better meals on your table.

  • The best local, sustainably-farmed greenmarket ingredients – handpicked by us!
  • Our favorite recipes – inspiring new flavors and improved cooking skills
  • Pre-measured pantry items to reduce waste, saving you time & money
  • Delivery to your door every two weeks

After a year of exciting new food ventures — launching my blog and the 8.ate@eight supper club, attending countless foodie feasts and meeting so many food-loving friends along the way, I’m starting a very exciting new greenmarket grocery and recipe delivery service called Freshocracy.

So many people ask for advice and recommendations about how to make a delicious meal without a lot of effort. Undeterred by the lack of counter space and mini appliances in my own kitchen, I realized all people really need is good products and a little guidance.

Quality Local Greenmarket Ingredients

{fresh, local and sustainably-farmed greenmarket goods is a great place to start — you really can taste and see the difference, I promise}.

Local sustainably-farmed greenmarket goodness

Awesome Recipes!

{And then it helps when you have a great recipe to follow. How do you know it’s great? because I’ve tried it and recommend it much great ooompf! We’ve integrated the instructions for the entree and side, making it extremely easy to get a complete meal on the table at once using all the ingredients we deliver. Each recipe can be made in 30-45 minutes}.

Pistachio-Crusted Lamb with Green Bean and Tomato Salad

Conveniently Pre-Measured!

{And of course it doesn’t hurt to have some conveniences that save you time — we’re all busy New Yorker’s after all. The Freshocracy team pre-measures everything you need for the recipe. Right down to the 1 TBS of worcestershire sauce you need so you don’t have to go out and spend $9.99 for an entire bottle that you will never use again}.

Freshocracy does all of recipe and ingredient planning, shopping and packaging — and then delivers it right to our customer’s door. We take the least fun parts about cooking out of the equation. All you have to do is Join, turn on the stove, chop a few fresh ingredients and enjoy a meal made from scratch in the same amount of time it would take you to review a menu, place an order and wait for take-out.

Follow Freshocracy and stay updated on how to put better meals on your table!

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NYC Best: A Cafe Stands For…

A Cafe Gulf shrimp sauté, in a coconut milk crème fraîche with cayenne curry

Adventurous…Alluring…Anonymous…Appetizing…the A train??

A Café has been a small eating haven on the upper west side for over 10 years, but somehow I never discovered it until recently. It’s not the type of place you walk by and take notice of. The front is anonymously non-descript, it’s nestled next to a defunct custom hardwood floor shop and the name itself doesn’t exactly provide any tantalizing color. But should you venture inside this small space, you will find organic French Caribbean cuisine worth writing about and a BYOB policy to jump for joy over {hard to find in NYC}. What’s even more exciting? They take reservations and offer a prix fixe menu for $25 from 6-8pm. Ok, so it’s inexpensive, easy to get into, personal wine collection-friendly and quaint, but the food?

Amazing.

The whole operation is more or less a one-man show. With a tiny — and I mean TEENY TINY — kitchen in the back, plates keep flying out with the speed of a assembly line operation. Your host/server/expediter/bus boy/”bartender” works the room with such precision you would never even notice staff size {or lack thereof} unless you took a trip to the restroom in the back and saw where all the magic happens.

And magic it is — the grilled Hass avocado, mushroom terrine in a shiitake-sesame dressing {must try to recreate this at home}, was an alluring combination of flavors that was creamy and earthy, while also surprisingly {and pleasantly} served warm. The broiled Bourgogne escargots, with pastis in a cilantro-chili butter was lick your plate-worthy — and lick we did. We had the pleasure of sitting at a table next to the owner and chatted it up for quite awhile. He was quick to tell us these are not just any escargot, but sourced from the best of the best — and I think I agree. For my entree I had the gulf shrimp sauté, in a coconut milk crème fraîche with cayenne curry. This was the dish that really caught my attention and showcased the marriage of the French and Caribbean cuisines. The flavors were rich and comforting and left me wanting more.

The Skim: If you’re looking for something a little off the beaten path, a trip up to 108th/Columbus is well worth the adventure. And if you know anything about Duke Ellington’s song, Take the A Train, {check it out HERE} well then you’ll understand where A Café really got its name {west 106th street was named Duke Ellington Blvd after his death}.

Map: 973 Columbus Avenue {between 107 & 108th}
Reservations: Taken! email: reservations@acafeny.com
Phone: 212.222.2033

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Found: Coffee Foundry Hides Secret Joe Gem in Karaoke Bar

Clever Coffee Dripper

What do you do with a Karaoke bar during daylight? Turn it into a coffee bar, naturally. I have walked down west 4th many a day and night and can honestly say I have never paid attention to the karaoke bar, let alone noticed this super cool coffee cupper called The Coffee Foundry. You have to keep a sharp eye out for the sandwich board out front beckoning you to pay a visit to this boutique brewer because the facade is only marked with the karaoke bar signage. Alas, a hidden gem serving everything from single origin pour-over joe to microbrew beers.

The space has the appeal of a cool late-night joint with rich blue backlighting and bar seats to perch upon while watching your cup prepared to order. The pour-over method has an entertaining appeal, but is also their preferred method of brewing to enjoy the best flavor coffee beans have to offer. And yes they even roast their own beans in LIC to ensure the freshest bean to brew possible. Using the cleverly named Clever Coffee Dripper, the brewmasters combine the best features of French press and filter drip brewing. With French press brewing, you can control steeping or infusion time, but heat loss and sediment in the cup can be a problem. Whereas, brewing with a paper filter usually loses the control over steeping time as the coffee begins to drain immediately. The Clever contraption adds a stopper to a filtercone, combining control over steeping time with a sediment-free cup. Voila, a delightful cup of hot, rich, caffeinated goodness.

So next time you’re in the mood for a little coffee Journey, hang out with the very fun and knowledgable Coffee Foundry brewers. If you stay there long enough, you can witness the switchover from coffee dripper to bar shaker and move right into your best rendition of Don’t Stop Believing.

Map: 186 West 4th Street

Love Me A Good Cup ‘o Joe:
Blue Bottle Coffee Brews One Brilliant Cup at a Time
Crop to Cup Creating Quality Community Coffee
Give Your Monday Morning Mug a Kick in the Pants with Kicking Horse Coffee

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NYC Ramen Wars: Ippudo vs. momofuku noodle bar

momofuku noodle bar vs. Ippudo Ramen

All this talk of it being the coldest and snowiest January in NYC history and a mercury-dropping forecast on the horizon, beckons the need for a piping hot bowl of really good ramen. Not the kind you buy for $0.25 and live on as a college kid, but true to Japanese blood ramen. Having already gone to momofuku noodle bar and written about it recently {here}, I went back to another favorite, Ippudo for comparison. Instead of giving you a recap of each drop of broth and the flavors you missed by not being there, I thought I would pit one against the other and see which would come out victorious in 8.ate@eight’s Ramen War.

My evaluation criteria:

  • Wait {inevitable}
  • Music {necessary for the wait}
  • Bar {also necessary for the wait}
  • Atmosphere
  • Service {the Japanese are known for it, afterall}
  • Steamed Buns {who doesn’t love a good set of buns}
  • Ramen {what really matters}
  • Overall Winner

WAIT: 90 minutes @Ippudo vs 30 minutes @momofuku
In all fairness, and an important disclaimer to the entire evaluation, I went to momofuku noodle bar at lunchtime and Ippudo for dinner, so there should be an expected difference in the amount of time.  That said, when both of these places are open they enjoy a constant stream of patrons, so I would expect them to be equally as popular for lunch or for dinner.
Wait Winner: momofuku

BAR: Yes @Ippudo vs No @momofuku
If you’re going to make me wait, you’ve got to give me a place to rest my elbow and quench my thirst. And while bigger isn’t always better, Ippudo’s sake, beer and cocktail menu is more extensive than the more focused selections at momofuku. Plus you can’t really beat the 2:1 happy hour special during the week.
Bar Winner: Ippudo

Ippudo Bar

 

MUSIC: House @Ippudo vs Rock & Hip-Hop @momofuku
I liked the music at both places, so it all depends on your mood. I have to give a slight edge to momofuku for the range of toe-tapping tunes that make you move in your seat {once you finally get there}.
Music Winner: momofuku

ATMOSPHERE: Dark @Ippudo vs Bright @momofuku
Momofuku has a clean, bright space with light, blond wood tables and stools lining the narrow restaurant. It’s simple and all about the food. Whereas Ippudo welcomes you with a cozy, dark bar that does not let on as to how much room actually exists beyond the hostess stand {perhaps adding to the mystery of the wait}. When your number is finally called at Ippudo you are guided to the back and welcomed with the traditional shouting of “irasshaimase” from all of the staff, making you feel a little important and excited about what’s to come. Both places have open kitchens to entice the hungry diner with the bowls of genius Japanese goodness you are about to be served. There are other great pieces of eye-catching art at Ippudo that lend to the tipping of the scales in this face-off.
Atmosphere Winner: Ippudo

SERVICE: Traditional Japanese @Ippudo vs American @momofuku
Having recently been to Japan, I will say one of the most noteworthy elements of my dining memories was the service — attentive, instantaneous and discreet. At Ippudo the service lived up to traditional Japanese expectations – a welcoming shout of “irasshaimase” to start the dining experience off with a feeling that the entire staff has just personally invited you to their table. Water glasses were filled before they were even a quarter empty and often without even noticing it had been done. Plates were cleared the instant the last scrap was devoured. And after a complimentary cup of tea to end the meal, the bill was promptly delivered after our server made sure there was no additional food or drink we wished to order. While the service was not bad at momofuku, it was only as good as you would expect at any American restaurant.
Service Winner: Ippudo

STEAMED BUNS:  Pork @Ippudo vs Shiitake @momofuku
Yeah, yeah, so they shouted something indecipherable at you — who cares? All that really matters here is the steamed buns you stuffed in your mouth and the ramen you slurped with satisfaction. True, and who doesn’t love a good steamed bun? Light, pillowy and slightly sticky, these are the wonder bread of the Japanese sandwich. In Ippudo’s case, a tender and a somewhat sweet and spicy pork treasure, and in momofuku’s case, an earthy and generously portioned stack of sautéed shiitakes with thin slices of Japanese cucumber.  If I could say this was a tie, I would, but that’s a cop-out I’m not willing to take. It might have something to do with how hungry I was after a 90-minute wait, or that all things pork are Godly, but I had a strong urge to double down on my Ippudo pork buns, and would have if my bowl of ramen didn’t come out so quickly — giving Ippudo the edge over my momofuku order.
Steamed Buns Winner: Ippudo

Ippudo Pork Steamed Buns

 

RAMEN: Brothy @Ippudo vs Substantial @momofuku
This, of course, is seemingly the most important of all categories. We are talking about Ramen Wars afterall.
  • At momofuku I ordered the momofuku ramen — pork belly, pork shoulder, poached egg.
  • At Ippudo I ordered the Karaka Kogashi Miso Ramen — ‘Ippudo chintan’ based noodle soup, a dark, rich broth made from charred miso with Ippudo special blended hot spice, topped with pork belly chashu, 1/2 boiled egg, cabbage, spinach, naruto. I have also had the more directly comparable Shiromaru Hakata Classic — pork loin chashu, kikurage, menma, 1/2 boiled egg, red pickled ginger, sesame & scallions.

I think by just reading the description, you can image that there is so much ‘yum’ swimming around in each bowl, you will never again enjoy that orange package of instant ramen. The clear deciding factor for me, however, was that momofuku showcased these ingredients, only pouring a small amount of the broth into the bottom of the bowl, whereas Ippudo generously filled the bowl to the brim with soup. My preference was for momofuku’s balance in favor of the delicious pork belly, mushrooms, runny poached egg that are the main attraction to this dish and only complemented by the broth and ramen. But let’s be clear – both bowls were empty by the time I was done.

Ramen Winner: momofuku
 

momofuku ramen w/ eggy goodness

Ippudo Karaka Kogashi Miso Ramen

 

OVERALL WINNER: Ippudo
It’s like never winning a tennis major, but still being ranked number one. I never exactly understood how that happened, but when you evaluate the overall performance in all match-ups large and small, you don’t have to win the ramen crown to come out as my favorite NYC Japanese ramen player. You will very likely come away from both Ippudo or momofuku noodle bar feeling warm and full of Japanese goodness, but you might as well enjoy a 2 for 1 happy happy hour while you wait! I’ve also nominated Ippudo as one of 8.ate@eight’s Favor8 — congratulations!


8.ate@eight Favor8
Seal of Approval

Arigatou. More Things Japanese Kudasai:
NYC Best: Momofuku That Noodle Bar is Good Too!
Behind Bohemian
Love, Love Shabu Shabu: Fun to Say and Eat
Sensational Summer Sushi @ Geisha

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Send Your Valentine an Ice Cream Gram from Milkmade

Valentine’s Grams are back! Make someone’s day this V-Day by surprising them with a pint or two (or three or FOUR), of our seasonal ice cream delivered right to their home or office. So much better than red roses!

Each Valentine Gram includes a handcrafted pint of one of Milkmade’s seasonal flavors and a personalized handwritten card. Grams are $15 each with a $5 per location delivery fee. Orders must be placed by Thursday, February 10th and Grams will be delivered on Monday, February 14th to any home or office in Manhattan or Brooklyn.

How to Order:
First, select from Milkmade’s seasonal flavors.

Milkmade's V-Day Flavors

Then, choose your delivery preference.
Milkmade’s delivery zone includes offices and home residences in ALL Manhattan and Brooklyn zipcodes (well, within reason). Delivery is scheduled for Monday, February 14. Delivery options include between 10am and 2pm, between 2pm and 6pm, or between 6pm and 9pm. Please note that someone MUST be home to receive the delivery (or they can leave it with front desks with freezers) because delivery does not include a cold pack.

Orders may also be picked up at Milkmade’s East Village “headquarters” on Sunday, February 13 between 6pm and 10pm. The delivery fee will (obviously) not be charged for pick-up orders.

Grams are limited. To place an order, please click here.

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NYC Best: Momofuku That Noodle Bar is Good Too!

momofuku noodle bar

After coming back to 20 inches of snow after Christmas, there was nothing I craved more than a big bowl of soup…or even better, David Chang’s present to New Yorkers, a bowl of piping hot, warm-your-soul, Japanese ramen.

As is typical of David Chang’s Momofuku empire, regardless of what time you go, a line of diners hungry for something special streamed out the door into the snow bank.  We managed to squeeze into the open-kitchen bar seating that overlooked where all the magic happens {clearly my preferred perch anyway}. As we sat on the blond wood stools, we could see the fast-moving kitchen hands lining up ten bowls at a time, scooping  in the piping hot, flavorful pork broth. The broth, which only filled the bottom third of each bowl, served as the base for the precisely segregated additions of diced scallions, shitake mushrooms, chard, and pork belly, all topped with a runny poached egg sprinkled in sesame. It’s up to you to delicately savor each of David Chang’s contributions separately or give the whole bowl a swirl of your chopsticks to marry the flavors and see what this genius ramen is all about.

momofuku ramen w/ eggy goodness

And while you might be there for the ramen, don’t forget to order a round of steamed buns. These made-to-order treats are prepared at the other end of the narrow open kitchen, where a white, pillowy bun is generously stuffed with shrimp, shiitake or pork.

momofuku shiitake steamed bun

The Skim: Love him or hate him, David Chang knows a thing or two about subtly inventive food. Priding himself on using only the freshest ingredients, mostly locally sourced, David Chang has brought good things to New York in his Momofuku empire. It’s snowing outside — time to conjure up a visit downtown.

More Momofuku:
Momofuku That Pork Butt is Good!
Le Grand Fooding ‘Twas A Grand Yummy Evening

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Filed under Eat Here!, NYC Best

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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Filed under 8.ate@eight, @home {recipes to love}, Do This!, Eat Here!, NYC Best, {Drink Me}

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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In a Thanksgiving foodpickle? Your Answer is Seconds Away

We all stumble upon questions mid-prep. How do I defrost this turkey quicker? What do I mix with the juices with to make gravy? How many pounds per person should I plan for? Usually, my mom is at the ready to answer all my cooking fire alarms, but if you find you need an instant answer or don’t want to ask the woman who raised you, foodpickle from food52 is a real-time food q&a service supported by a community of passionate and knowledgeable foodies at the ready to share their expertise and set you on the right preparation path.

And if you’re the one with all the answers, you could win a up to $150 prize from Viking for the being the best foodpickler each week!

TEXT MESSAGING
You can now text your questions to foodpickle! Just send an SMS text msg to 803-380-FOOD (3663) and foodpickle text you back the responses right away.

FOODPICKLE ON TWITTER
Tweet @foodpickle a question from anywhere — your stove, the grocery aisle, a dinner party. foodpickle will @reply or d.m. you the responses.

Follow @foodpickle on Twitter to see questions and answers as they come in.

Read more: http://www.food52.com/foodpickle#ixzz164cxUUNs or see Foodpickle coverage on ABC News: http://bit.ly/eLkuEW

Turkey Fail? Eat Out at One of 8.ate@eight’s FAVOR8 Instead:
8.ate@eight’s New Top 8 FAVOR8 Restaurant List

The Art of Eating {and Drinking} Well @ L’Artusi

Rustic Space Features Really Good Wood-Burning Oven Pizza
Highlands Highlights: Scottish Plaids, Pub Fare and Hand
18 Favorite Meat Dishes for Men & Barbeque Heaven @Fette Sau
The Red Cat: Comfortable Quarters & Cuisine
Community Food & Juice: Fresh & Fantastic Fare
August in April

Happy Thanksgiving from 8.ate@eight!

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FAVOR8: New on 8.ate@eight

Hungry for more inspiration from 8.ate@eight?

FAVOR8:
Now you can easily access 8.ate@eight’s Top 8 Favorite Restaurants from the new tab at the top called FAVOR8. When you’re looking for a great meal out, this list will provide a sure thing. I’ll continue to update the list as new meals inspire me to spread the love, so check back and Eat Up!

As always, you can access all restaurant reviews by clicking the Eat Here! category in the right column.

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Blue Bottle Coffee Brews One Brilliant Cup at a Time

Blue Bottle Coffee Brooklyn

It was several months ago during a trip to San Fran that I found myself at the Ferry Building on a brisk Saturday morning. With sleep in my eyes and jet lag fogging my weary head, I decided a steaming cup of coffee was in order. And so I stood. In a 30 minute line. For coffee. This is not something I would normally do, but the craving had settled in and my interest was piqued as I noticed many others patiently and happily waiting. Waiting for what? Waiting for a single cup of freshly ground, individually dripped, piping hot and made to order Blue Bottle Coffee. Was it worth the wait? Was an individually dripped cup of java really that good? Of course it was. So imagine my delight when I learned Blue Bottle was bestowing it’s bean to brew love on Brooklyn.

Blue Bottle Coffee One Cup at a Time

The brilliance of this brew rests in the fact that the beans are roasted onsite, allowing for the absolute freshest possible cup to be prepared specially — for you and only you. Once ground, the beans are placed in a paper filter that is nestled in a ceramic drip cup, and which magically come to life as prime temperature water is poured from the spout of a swan neck kettle. Drip. Drip. Drip. Wait. Wait. Wait. And so is born your beautifully crafted cup of Blue Bottle joe.

“I will only sell coffee less than 48 hours out of the roaster to my customers, so they may enjoy coffee at its peak of flavor. I will only use the finest organic, and pesticide-free, shade-grown beans.”
— Blue Bottle Coffee Founder Vow

Blue Bottle Roasting

It is no small thing to walk into a minimally marked building, down a minimally trafficked street, on an off hour of a weekday, to find a concentrated crowd of eager Brooklyn Blue Bottlers. The intense perfume of fresh beans, the hum of the roasters, the casual conversation of a loyal caffeine crowd, all welcomes you with open arms as soon as you enter the garage door fronted store. This isn’t your typical coffee stop that lures you in with free wifi and tables at which to pitch your tent for hours. No, Blue Bottle offers a standup bar to encourage socializing while you tip the mug, and a great view of what it means to create small production coffee in the freshest way possible. The only thing wrong with it? It’s 30 minutes from my apartment.

Brooklyn Blue Bottlers

Map: 160 Berry Street, Brooklyn

Warm Me Up:
Crop to Cup Creating Quality Community Coffee
Give Your Monday Morning Mug a Kick in the Pants with Kicking Horse Coffee
Do This!: Eataly is Big Box Batali

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Filed under NYC Best, SF Best, {Drink Me}

8.ate@eight’s 100th Post

Whew! Has it really been 100 posts? That’s a whole lotta food and drink to digest. Check out the most popular posts of all time and a few that may have been written before you started reading…

Top 8 8.ate@eight Posts

recipe goodness :: how to cook the perfect sunnyside-up egg
Brooklyn Fare Fares Well, Earning 2 Michelin Stars
recipe goodness :: Alton Brown Does Bourbon in the Morning
Do This!: Vote for The Chocolate Gallery for Best Breakfast
recipe goodness :: savory cauliflower fried rice
Give Your Monday Morning Mug a Kick in the Pants With Kicking Horse Coffee
recipe goodness :: orzo summer salad
recipe goodness :: whole-grain mustard and rosemary pork chop

8 Posts You Should Read Again

Wintry Wine & Whiskey Warm-up @ Vintry
Bocca di Bacco: I say PotaTO, You say PoTATo
Barney Greengrass: Long Live the Sturgeon King
barmarche: Some Clever Crudites

5 & Dime: 10 oz. at Five Napkin Burger
Community Food & Juice: Fresh & Fantastic Fare
Two Thumbs {Bouley} Up{stairs}

Wilfie & Nell: Not Your Grandpa’s Watering Hole

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Del Posto Presents Murray’s Cheese & Salumi Wine Party @NYCWFF

Set inside the private room at Del Posto, Murray’s Cheese threw a Sunday soiree where wine was flowing and some of the best artisan cheese and salumi was being hand cut and shared freely with eager New York City Wine & Food Festival fans.  Here were some of my favorite slices — all of which can be cut and carried home from Murray’s Greenwich Village or Grand Central locations.

La Quercia: Rossa Heirloom Proscuitto
After talking to the owner of La Quercia, Herb Eckhouse, for awhile, I walked away with several slices of the most creamy, silky prosciutto I’ve ever had and a new appreciation for buying domestic. Made from 100% Iowa-raised Berkshire Pork, this special breed’s short muscle fibers and fat creates a smooth and buttery bite, better than any slice I’ve found elsewhere…yes, even compared to some from Italy. Find it HERE

A lot of us visit Italy and dream of bringing back a little piece of that lifestyle, but Herb and Kathy Eckhouse actually did this after living in Italy for a former job. Over a coffee at an Italian cafe and a few slices of prosciutto, a friend fleetingly said “if you make something this good, you’d make a lot of people happy.” It’s been 10 years since that comment and now this couple has mastered that delight, using the best, responsibly raised pork to highlight the bounty of Iowa and share an artisanal prosciutto product that is pure enjoyment.

Want more? You can actually buy a subscription to a whole pig and over the course of 2 years of breeding and aging, you’ll get various shipments of the best quality pork money can buy — from head to tail. Contact Kendra@laquercia.us for info.

La Quercia Prosciutto

Farms for City Kids Foundation, Spring Brook Farm: Tarentaise
Spring Brook Farm is doing something really special in cheese — they’re involving kids. 100% of the proceeds from this fresh cow’s milk Vermont cheese supports the Farms for City Kids Foundation, which brings children to the farm for a one week immersion in farm-based curriculum, giving kids a hands-on experience and understanding of microbiology, food preservation, health and nutrition. If that’s not reason enough to try this, how about the fact that they won First Place in the Best USA Cow’s Milk Cheese category at the World Championship Cheese Contest in Wisconsin!

Farms for City Kids, Spring Brook Farm Tarentaise Cheese

Vermont Butter and Cheese: Cremont, Bonne Bouche, Creamy Goat Cheese, Sea Salt Butter
This isn’t the first time I’ve written about Vermont Butter and Cheese — remember when I gushed about trying their cheeses at the Fancy Food Show?  Just because I’ve sampled their spread before, didn’t mean I wasn’t going back for seconds. That luscious Double-Cream Cremont mixed-milk cheese that I previewed at the Food Show, is only a few months on the market and is already outselling their previously most popular Bonne Bouche. It’s a beautiful thing when best gets even better. Put this is on your next cheese platter, right next to all the other extraordinary cuts I’m introducing you to. Find it HERE

2010 Best Goat Cheese in America

Creminelli Fine Meat: Casalingo, Tartufo, Barolo, Wild Boar. Americano and Della Musica Sausage
That’s a whole lotta meat. And this is why I love what I do. I snagged a slice {or maybe two} of the Wild Boar sausage. It was earthy, salty, meaty goodness. And it was made here in the fine U.S of A. I’m catching on — no suitcase or jet lag needed to enjoy the artistry of authentic handcrafted Italian salumi. Using only choice cuts from select breeds raised on small family American farms, Creminelli Fine Meats are creating a great meat eating experience. Find it HERE

Creminelli Fine Meat Wild Boar Sausage

Cellars at Jasper Hill: Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, Landaff Creamery Landaff
To close out a lot of nibbling, I stopped by one last table and was glad that I did. Let me first start by saying this Cabot Clothbound Cheddar was something truly unique because it actually tasted subtly like roasted peanut butter. I’m sure that’s not the first thing you would compare a cheese too, nor is it likely the most appealing way to describe a cheddar. But for that very reason, I was stopped in my tracks and forced — yes, forced — to go back for another bite to make sure my taste buds were not deceiving me. It’s made from one herd’s milk, sold to Jasper Hill when the cheese is only 3 days old, bound in cloth and and aged for 10-14 months in their new 22,000 sq. ft., 7-vault facility in Jasper Hill, VT.  This may not be that exciting to most of you, but it excites me. No one else in the U.S. has a facility of this scale and is doing what they are — that can only mean one thing for us cheeselovers. More. Incredible. Artisanal. Cheese. Find it HERE

Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, Jasper Hill, VT

So there you have it. Good American cheese and salumi that does not involve plastic-wrapped single slices. Thank you Murray’s for indulging us with some truly delightful handcrafted bites.

This Whole Post Excites Me, Tell Me More:
Summer Fancy Food Show: Full Belly and Learnings Digestion
Do This!: A Taste of What to Expect @ Artisanal Premium Cheese Class
NY Craft Beer Week, Get Your Goggles On

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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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Seal of Approval

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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Getting Tipsy with the Tippling Bros. @NYCWFF Mixology 101

The Tippling Bros. Introduce Mixology 101

What do you get when you mix a crowd full of foodies, a session focused on mixology and two non-related “brothers” stirring in some fascinating facts about the history of cocktails and tippling tips and techniques? A real good time. After attending two earlier New York City Wine & Food Festival events that day, all I expected was to sit back, take notes and learn a hint or two from Tippling Bros. Mixology 101, but what we got was an early start to a boozy Saturday night.

Tippler Paul Tanguay Settin' Up Bar

The event kicked off with a seasonal Champagne cocktail called Fireside Sparks, created by the two tippling partners Paul Tanguay and Tad Carducci. As we sipped, these “perpetuators of libational awareness and enjoyment” jumped into a lesson, fully equipped with a powerpoint. Not exactly what you would expect from typical barmasters, but these experts are two of the most well known beverage consultants, whose common mission it is to help the world drink better! Here’s some useful info to successfully get you through your next trivia bar night…

Tippling Trivia:

  • The word “punch” originated from the Hindi word for five — panch {make a fist and it will all make sense}
  • There are 5 components to the original punch recipe: spirit, citrus juice, sugar, spice {often tea} and water
  • The word “cocktail” first appeared in print in 1806. Politicians, dignitaries and wealthy businessmen drank cocktails in the morning to get over the previous night
  • The original cocktail was made up of: spirit, sugar, water and bitters
  • Jerry Thomas wrote the first cocktail book in 1862

Hardly Done with Fireside Sparks, When The Smokey Margarita Arrived

It was not soon after starting to sip down the first cocktail, that the second arrived — a Smokey Margarita. Mmmm, love ‘ritas. How generous of them to give us two cocktails while we enjoy the mixology lesson. On to bar tools…

Every Home Bar Should Have:

  • Shaker {Boston or Cobbler}
  • Mixing Glass
  • Strainer {Hawthorn or Julep}
  • Bar Spoon {You know, those spoons with a really loooong stem}
  • Muddler
  • Jigger {Don’t be afraid to measure, proper proportions are key to a quality cocktail}
  • Knives
  • Juicer

Check out Bar Products and Cocktail Kingdom to stock your bar properly.

Tippling Bros. Tips:

  • Pecking order — Always start from the cheapest ingredient when concocting your cocktail — that way if you lose count or mess up, you’re not out the good stuff!
  • Perfect “sour” proportions — 2:1:1 Strong:Sour:Sweet {e.g. Margarita}
  • Manhattan or Martini proportions — 2:1
  • Garnish — Add an aromatic garnish to change the flavor profile of your cocktail and make sure it’s sticking out of a glass such that your nose gets near it when you sip {try a rosemary sprig stuck in a cherry to anchor}
  • Batches — make 3/4 of the amount of drinks you want to serve when making batches {ice / water makes up 25% of every cocktail}. P.S. Making batches is a great way to enjoy your own party without having to play bartender. That’s one lesson I starred, highlighted and underlined.
  • Make crystal clear ice — Boil water and pour while hot into ice cube trays or muffin tins. The movement of the boiling water pushes out all the air, to create “clear” ice. Get fancy by adding citrus slices to your form after 30 minutes in the freezer.

Somewhere between learning about shaking and stirring, a Manhattan appeared in front of me and somewhere between learning about the garnish in my newly poured Autumn Manhattan and the wisdom of making batches, my pour from the Bottle of Baron also arrived. Ok, I get it. This is a drinking event. I checked my watch, it was only 6pm. The night was young, but I was well into an evening of strong cocktails thanks to my new friends. I guess this is what you get when you attend a session all about mixology, hosted by the masters of tippling themselves. Thankfully with camera in hand, I could put down the pen and still manage to snag some great cocktail recipes for you all. Cheers and Bottoms Up!

Tippling Bros. Hand Crafted Cocktails

Fireside Sparks

Hardly Done with Fireside Sparks, When Smokey Margarita Arrived

2 oz. Cranberry-Infused Whiskey
.75 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1 oz Spiced Syrup
1/4 Tangerine
1 oz Chilled Sparkling Wine

Muddle tangerine in a mixing tin. Add remaining ingredients and shake. Float champagne over the back of a spoon. Strain into a chilled flute or sour glass. Garnish with a tangerine peel and sugared cranberry skewer. Lightly dust with nutmeg.

Smokey Margarita

1.5 oz Tequila Blanco
0.5 oz Mezcal Joven
0.5 oz White Grapefruit Juice
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1 oz Agave Nectar
Grilled Lime Slices for Garnish

Spicing the Glass Rim:
2 parts Kosher Salt
1 part Cinnamon
1 Part Cumin
1 Part Chili Powder

Shake all ingredients together. Strain over ice in an old fashioned glass rimmed with Mexican-spiced salt. Garnish with grilled lime wheel.

Autumn Manhattan

Autumn Manhattan

2 oz Sazerac Rye Whiskey
1 oz Cinzano Sweet Vermouth
0.25 oz Oloroso Sherry
2 Dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters
Rosemary Sprig stuck in a cherry for garnish

Stir all ingredients together until well chilled. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with Luxardo cherry and rosemary sprig.

Bottle of Baron {think sweet island cocktail}

8 oz Aged Rum
2 oz Grand Marnier
2 oz Simple Syrup
4 oz Orgeat Syrup
4 oz Fresh Lime Juice
2 tsp Hibiscus Concentrate {Jamaica Concentrate at your local bodega is the same thing}
6 oz Cold Water

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl or plastic container. Funnel into a clean wine bottle. Cork and refrigerate for several hours before serving. Serve over one cube of ice in a small punch glass. Garnish with an orange slice or vanda orchid.

It's Closing Time


Bartender, I’ll Have Another:
Hands On with Giada De Laurentiis at Food Network’s NYCWFF Demo
recipe goodness :: Alton Brown Does Bourbon in the Morning

New York City Wine & Food Festival Kicked Off With Good Eats
Kickin’ Ancho Chili Fresh Citrus Margarita

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Filed under @home {recipes to love}, NYC Best

recipe goodness :: Alton Brown Does Bourbon in the Morning

Yes Alton, I'm Still Saving You A Seat at 8.ate@eight

Alton Brown considers himself a Southern cook and lives by the motto that everything that happens in the kitchen is about science. And what is the defining flavor of the South, you ask? Bourbon, of course. Bringing those two perspectives together during his New York City Wine & Food Festival demo, Alton concocted three classic Bourbon recipes shared in the post below:

Bourbon Mint Julep
Bourbon Ice Cream
Bourbon Banana’s Foster

It’s 11am and Time for a Mint Julep

Alton Brown’s Bourbon Mint Julep
Prep Time: 3-5 mins
Serves 1

10 mint leaves
1 tsp sugar
1 jigger Bourbon
Ice
Seltzer or Club Soda

Add the mint leaves and sugar to your glass and gently muddle to bruise the leaves, but careful not to tear {about 3-5 turns of a muddler}. Add a full jigger of Bourbon, fill the cup with ice and top off with seltzer water or club soda. Alton recommends not stirring for a stronger surprise near the bottom of your swig.

Gentle Muddling is Key

Getting into the science behind cooking with Bourbon, Alton pulled out the periodic table and his chemistry notes to explain that ethyl {found in alcohol} doesn’t freeze — in fact it acts as an antifreeze. So when making something scrumptious like Bourbon ice cream, it’s important to mimic the flavors you would find in Bourbon, with non-alcoholic ingredients. Pulling out a glass pickle jar for easy ingredient shaking and a large canister of liquid nitrogen {clearly not in most home kitchens}, Alton revealed a few on-stage tricks for instant ‘scream.

Alton Brown’s Bourbon Ice Cream

1/4 cup Bourbon
2 cups Half & Half
1/2 cup Agave
1/4 cup Molasses
1/4 cup Buttermilk
1/2 tsp Nutmeg, grated
Handful Chopped Pecans
1/3 cup Bacon, Cooked Extra Crispy

Add the Bourbon, Half & Half, Agave and Molasses to a microwave safe container and microwave until the Molasses dissolves. Allow to cool. Add cooled liquid and rest of ingredients to a tight sealing container {Alton recommends a bulk glass pickle jar} and shake vigorously.  Add to home ice cream maker, or if you’re like Alton, add to a Kitchenaid mixer and starting pouring in liquid nitrogen for great effect and a quick freeze {not sure I would actually recommend this}.

It's All About Science in the Kitchen

Adding a Touch of Bourbon for Authenticity

Shake Shake Shake

Everything Into the Mixer (Including the Liquid Nitrogen)

Wrapping up the 45-minute demo, Alton pulled out a few more tricks, this time involving flames, to make a Banana’s Foster dessert to pair with the Bourbon Ice Cream. An important ingredient to making this dessert successfully is heat from the caramelized sugar. Without it, the Bourbon would not burn on its own. And note to the parents out there, it’s impossible to boil out all the alcohol because steam from the cooking process puts the flame out first….so if you want little Johnny to fall asleep early, this might be the dessert for him.

Alton Brown’s Bourbon Banana’s Foster

Cook Time: 7 mins
Serves 2

2 TBS unsalted butter
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
2 under ripe bananas, sliced in half lengthwise
1/4 cup bourbon
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

Melt butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over low heat. Add brown sugar and nutmeg and stir until sugar dissolves. Add bananas and cook for 1 minute on each side, carefully spooning sauce over bananas as they are cooking. Bring sauce to a simmer and carefully add the bourbon. If the sauce is very hot, the alcohol will flame on its own. If not, using stick flame, carefully ignite and continue cooking until flame dies out, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. If sauce is too thin, cook for 1 to 2 minutes until it is syrupy in consistency. Add orange zest and stir to combine. Immediately spoon the sauce over ice cream and serve.

Alton Melting the Sugar and Butter with the Bananas

Opa!

Great Bourbon Demo

Great demo and early morning learnings for us science geeks who like to know why something works or doesn’t work in the kitchen! If you liked Alton Brown’s Bourbon in the morning approach, then check out his new book that just came out called Good Eats 2: The Middle Years.

More NYC Wine & Food Festival Fun:
New York City Wine & Food Festival Kicked Off With Good Eats
Hands On with Giada De Laurentiis at Food Network’s NYCWFF Demo

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