Tag Archives: Southern

NYC Best: I’m In Love with Jacob’s Pickle

Jacob's Pickles Warms West Side

Jacob's Pickles Warms West Side

At first glance you might think this picture is of a really cool bar in Brooklyn. Lucky for upper west siders, it’s the newly opened Jacob’s Pickles — an outpost that took over a former lighting store and is bringing a new brightness to the neighborhood’s dining scene. Serving a menu centered around artisanal Beer, Biscuits, Pickles, Jams and Sustainably-Raised Meats, owner Jacob Hadjigeorgis saw an opportunity to bring simple American craft-comfort cuisine to an area that doesn’t welcome news-worthy restaurant openings with the same frequency as stops below 14th-street. I think Jacob is going to be a new friend.

American Craft-Comfort CuisineThe atmosphere has a casual elegant buzz about it. Soft lighting illuminates a wood-planked wall of bottles and jars behind the bar. The opposite wall is lined with tables intimately spaced along an elevated black leather banquette — the looks of which any man’s man would like in his own living room. Sit across from the banquette or at the bar and you’ve scored a seat in the most comfortable and cool looking bar stools I’ve seen in a long time. I should have taken a picture of these perfect perches, but with a deep seat, a back and arm rests, I promise they are the vehicles fit for a lengthy pickling session {you, not the gherkins}. The music is subtle so you can still have a conversation, but adds to the warm vibe — if I didn’t know any better, it could have been my ipod playing. It was the energy of the crowd that was really humming — I was enthralled.

The menu: 25 American craft beers on tap list some of my favorites {Founder IPA from Michigan}, as well as others begging to be sampled {Speakeasy-Prohibition Ale from California}. Intriguing cocktails include the Dirty Aphrodite, a martini made dirty with dill pickle brine, and the B.L.T Bloody Mary, which sounds like breakfast in a glass with peppercorn vodka, Niman Ranch bacon and a jalapeno pickled egg. There’s also a selection of artisanal root beers on tap, lemonade and other craft sodas if you’re looking to keep things simple. But even those can be converted to a float if you want to take it to another level. For the truly over the top treat, try the Sixpoints-Otis Oatmeal Stout float or the Allagash Black float. Beer and ice cream? Awesome.

Honey, Chicken and Pickles Southern Biscuit Sandwich

Honey, Chicken and Pickles Southern Biscuit Sandwich

But don’t get too carried away with the drink selection before you order up some grub. Like pickles? You’ve come to the right place — special or hot sours, candied beets, salt & pepper asparagus, sweet & spicy carrots, sour green tomatoes are just a few ways to get started. There also seemed to be a lot of fried pickle plates coming out of the kitchen {everything tastes better fried}. Our neighbors were ooohing and aaahing over the mac ‘n cheese — not surprising, since Jacob owns a mac n’ cheese shop in Boston, which was his primary focus before gracing us with his presence. The southern biscuit sandwiches all sounded outstanding — we tried the creamy mushroom gravy smothered chicken and the honey, chicken & pickles versions. The latter of which was my order and was the perfect sweet-salty-vinegary marriage of flavors. I swapped out the cheese grits for fries and the house ketchup {which I would bottle up and take home, if I could}. Speaking of which, if you just can’t get enough of these specialties, you can take home jars of their house-made pickles, preserves and 32- or 64-oz refillable growlers of beer. I’ll have to speak to Jacob about adding his ketchup to the pantry. Full menu here.

As if you don’t already have enough reasons to hop on the northbound subway, Jacob’s Pickles will be hosting a daily beer tasting from 3-6pm, which will also feature specials. Sounds like a perfect reason to leave work early.

The Skim: Good vibe. Good beer. Good grub. ‘nough said.  Will be back for more — tomorrow. This newcomer has quickly won me over and despite only opening a month ago, I’m adding it to my Favor8 list.

Map: 509 Amsterdam Avenue {Between 84th / 85th}
Reservations: Not taken
Phone: 212.470.5566 


8.ate@eight Favor8
Seal of Approval

Other Favor8s:
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 Beagle: A Restaurant You Should Be Loyal To


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Filed under Eat Here!, NYC Best, {Drink Me}

recipe goodness :: southern breakfast casserole

Southern Hospitality Casserole

It’s Masters week in Augusta! My dad and I were lucky enough to attend on Monday thanks to our Atlanta-based friends who scored some tickets for us — I do believe my dad will die a happy man now. I hear these are the hardest tickets in sports to come by, so recognizing ya’ll won’t be attending, I thought the next best thing was to bring the South into your home.

Southern hospitality is unlike anything I have experienced in other areas of the country {then again, it’s not hard to be impressed when you live in New York}. My dear friend Ann wanted to make sure we had a “meal that would stick to our ribs” and get us through a full day of hitting the links, so she rose with the roosters and baked this amazing egg casserole for us. The great thing about this recipe is that it should be prepared the day before, so you can do all the dirty work ahead of time and just throw it into your oven in the morning. The result: a delicious and easy Southern hospitality-breakfast that  will impress your guests.

Southern Breakfast Casserole
350º | Bake 1 Hour | Prep Night Before

10 slices white bread
1 lb ground sweet sausage
2 cups sharp shredded cheese
2 cups mild shredded cheese
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
3 cups milk
6 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

  1. Remove crust from the bread and cut into squares.
  2. Saute sausage and drain well on paper towel.
  3. Arrange half of the bread squares in the bottom of a lightly greased 9×13 casserole dish.
  4. Top with sharp cheese, then sausage, remaining bread squares, and then mild cheese.
  5. Dissolve mustard in a little of the milk. Beat eggs and add the milk, mustard, salt and pepper.
  6. Pour mixture over all the layers.
  7. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  8. Bake uncovered in a 350º oven for 1 hour or until firm and browned.

If you really want to get creative, I bet this would be darn good with rosemary-sourdough bread or mixed with a little spicy sausage! Or for you vegetarians out there, some hearty mixed mushrooms would be amazing. Enjoy ya’ll!

A Yankee’s Breakfast:
Blueberry, Lemon & Coconut Pancakes
Secret DiLaura Family Frittata with Sweet Italian Sausage
Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits
How To Cook The Perfect Sunny Side-Up Egg
How to Cook the Perfect 8.5 Minute Egg

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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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Belmont Stakes: Best Get Boilin’ Ya’ll

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Even though the Belmont Stakes is a NY based race, there is something about horse racing that evokes an affinity for all things southern. And even if you’re not into horse racing, you can no doubt get excited by chilled cocktails and pots boiling away on the stove, preparing home cooked fare from the deep south.

Last night I went roof hopping from mine to my neighbor’s {this didn’t involve any James Bond leaps} for my first ever Low Country Boil Bash. For those of you, like myself, who don’t know what Low Country Boil is, let me paint you a picture. First, you start with what could only be created in the south, Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka {flown in from South Carolina}. Mixed with lemonade, this stuff tastes exactly like the sweet tea you would expect to find at a southern picnic, but is actually hard liquor. Of course you only realize that after you quench your thirst with a few innocently big gulps on a hot summer’s evening. Good thing there were trays and trays of ‘boil’ to soften the blow.

Crawfish, Crawfish and more Crawfish

So what makes up a Low Country Boil? 6 pounds of fresh Louisiana crawfish were flown up for the evening, steamed to bright red perfection and served with a heap of fresh corn, red skinned potatoes, shrimp and andouille sausage, all of which was boiled together with onions, garlic, old bay seasoning, salt, pepper, butter and lemon halves.  Yes ma’am! And it wouldn’t be a southern meal without a little cornbread or bacon, so why not serve that with bacon-cornbread muffins! The newspaper was spread, napkins were stacked and we all gathered round to dig in and start pulling the tails off the crawfish. This might seem intimidating if you have never done this before, but if you think of it like a mini lobster, you realize it’s not only easy, but fun, and the reward is a sweet meat that is worth the effort. For those who consider themselves adventurous {me} you can suck the head to get to what most southerners claim is the best part {not me}. I wasn’t able to stay for dessert, but I was eyeing the homemade peach cobbler and red velvet cupcakes that topped off a lovely nod to southern cuisine. We should all learn a thing or two from southern hospitality and invite more of our city neighbors to hop roofs or walk down the hall for a friendly gathering, because I have to say, that was one memorable NYC meal. Thanks friends!

Low Country Boil Takes On NYC

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